Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Rise And Conquer Project - Month One

Have you ever looked at yourself in a mirror and quivered with indignation? Self-loathing thoughts tumble through your mind, spiraling you down the tunnel of self-hatred? I know that feeling. I’m sure most people have experienced varied degrees some time throughout their lives. But how do we pick ourselves up and love ourselves once again?

This past month I went on a self-love journey. I didn’t hate or loath myself beforehand, but I was stuck in a ditch, with two shattered legs, clawing my way through the muck and mud. It was a period of time where I felt like I was drowning in this sludge and I was in desperate need of some comfort. I also really wanted to feel joy again, on a more consistent basis.

We’ve all heard that joy comes from within. Or at least I know I’ve heard it thousands of times from life coaches, self-empowerment speakers and mentors, and people I consider on a higher enlightenment tier, like Dr. Wayne Dyer or Mahatma Ghandi or Oprah Winfrey or Nelson Mandela. You catch my drift. It’s spoken about on regular basis and the ones who have listened are well aware that you cannot find joy outside ourselves. At least, not true joy.

Despite my low, the beginning of April began well for me. I went on a family vacation to a California beach and I was able to enjoy some moments of calm serenity. It was the therapy I deserved to mend my broken soul and I bathed in the tranquility. But as usual, all good things must come to an end. I missed home, work, and my regular routine, but the thought of diving back into the madness of reality really struck me hard. I didn’t know where it was coming from or why I felt so down, but I knew I needed to face the darkness before it sucked me into oblivion.

I rose, not like a lion, but as a wounded deer skittish and fearful, desperately determined to escape the beast. And I might have felt weak and defeated, but I was committed to this new journey. I was going to heal my soul.

April showers, brings May flowers.

That was my mindset. No matter how broken I felt over the past year, I was going to rise anyway and breathe in a new mindset, lifestyle, and connection with my source. It was time for me to evolve and move onto the next level of my life journey.

The first week was easy. I meditated, worked out, ate well, counted to ten, instead of erupting in anger, and spoke to myself with kindness, determined to not commit any self-destructive crimes. I also met with a Reiki Practitioner, who spent ninety minutes straightening out my chakras and guiding me to self-healing. It was a good week.

Week two wasn’t awful. In fact, I stepped up my game. I spent more time meditating, took on more of the HIIT workouts, kept calm at work and at home, and I continued to shower myself with love. I was rising and on that Friday I woke up feeling the best I had felt in months. I had finally broken back through and was on my way up.

But then Saturday arrived. Everything went well for most of the day, when suddenly there was contention swirling around me, striking me from the most obscure areas. And unfortunately this unease and contention trailed into my Sunday, making my Mother’s day the hardest one I’ve ever had. By the time my head hit the pillow, I was heartbroken, confused and hurt. And I didn’t know how I was going to rise again. Monday arrived with a punch in the gut, and even though no one really did anything to me, I felt lost, upset and frustrated by most everyone in my life.

I had fallen again, and this time I felt like a complete and absolute failure. Why did it feel like I was forever destined to swim in the muck of life?

I survived that Monday. Barely. That night I meditated and aligned my thoughts with clear intentions. I wasn’t giving up that easily. I slept well and woke up to a new and better day. I felt stronger already, and I was determined to make my Tuesday successful. And it worked. Tuesday was amazing and the rest of the week I continued on with my goals and plans, arriving to the end of week three feeling satisfied and proud of myself. I kept going, even when it felt easier to give up. Who wants easy anyway?

Week four, I was busy. My step-daughter graduated high school and my daughter was graduating the next week.  Plus, work, house, writing, working out, and just life in general was piling up at my doorstep. I dove in and worked hard, determined to arrive at the end of May feeling accomplished, inspired, and on a self-love high.

The moral of my experience is this... Life has its ups and downs. Sometimes those downs are so low and so long, you wonder why you’re even here. And sometimes those ups are so amazing and such a rush, that when you hit the low again, you wonder what awful sin you committed to deserve this hellish punishment.

I think back to my early years and recall how easy, breezy school was for me. I rarely had to work hard for those A’s and B’s and I honestly believed I was just plain gifted. Until I arrived to college. All of a sudden, school was difficult and I fell flat on my face. I had no idea how to work hard for those grades. In fact, I got a crash course on hard work and I was failing miserably.

The ones who have it easy and glide through life will most likely fall deep the moment “difficult” enters into their lives. Like I did, they will feel victimized, unjustly served, and depression will yank them down to a pit of despair. Or a vicious pity party. One way or the other, the universe is going to give us the lessons we need to learn in life. And that’s okay. It might not feel okay, but it is (within reason, that is—abuse of any kind, bullying, rape, narcissism is never okay). It’s in these moments when we can decide, are we going to remain in the dark and allow life to have its way with us or are we going to rise up and take back our rightful power.

Self-love is the answer to our woes. 

When you find love within yourself and stop looking for it outside of you, the lows will still come, but you’ll know to honor those moments as they are and rise higher the next time you claw your way out. Each life battle is won by focusing, taking a deep breath and acting when the time is right. Reaction only makes it worse, but strategic action will bring you satisfaction, growth and evolved thinking. And as nice as it would be, life is not easy. Yes, some have it WAY better than others, but we all have our problems, trials and varied degrees of anguish. In those moments, remembering your value, your strength, and your love for yourself, will be your saving grace. You are your number one advocate and you’re always whole, even when you feel broken.

I meditated nearly every day in the month of May. I worked out and I hurdled back into Yoga. I chose to honor my body and listen to what it had to say. The deep breaths kept my blood pressure low and my anxiety attacks at bay. I decluttered my mind, along with my surroundings (still working on a few areas, but I’m almost done) and because of all this, I smile more. I recognize the light within. I feel the love surrounding me, from my source, my partner, my family and my friends. My life has shifted and I knew it would. I just had to do the work to remember who I am.

This is my Rise and Conquer Project. Each month I will pick something in my life to work on. Something that needs love, care, and attention. You can join in, watch my steps and then join in, or do your own thing. Or ignore me all together. But I’ll still be here, doing my thing, regardless of the naysayers 😘 Watch my journey and then create one of your own. I’ve gone down similar paths in the past, but each time I learn more, evolve to a higher state of being, and eventually rise to a whole new level in life. This time I’m stepping it up. I’m pushing myself to be my best and I hope I can inspire others to do the same.

These are the goals I laid out for myself for May:

1. Declutter my house.

    -creates peace within

    -a feeling of accomplishment

    -a house is a sanctuary

2. Do some form of exercise every day.

3. Cut back on sugar and carbohydrates.

4. Connect w/ my source EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.



    -stay focused

    -tarot readings


5. Continue to write books and blogs – set time away every day.

6. Honor my body, mind, and spirit.

    -go to counseling, talk through my troubles

    -massage, reiki

    -eat well

    -stay active

    -stay connected spiritually

My month of June will be a whole new experience, with a different goal. However, I plan on continuing to shower myself in self-love and strive to be better in all areas of my personal life. Exercise, eating well, writing, and connecting with my higher self, along with my source, will continue to be my focus.

A strategic plan out shines reaction. It can be difficult to arm myself against the negativity of the world, but as long as I have a design and stay focused, I believe I can rise to the next level. Stay tuned for month two and I hope to see you all setting your own goals and shifting into a higher state of consciousness. And if you have any questions, thoughts, and/or concerns, comment below and let’s chat.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Nourish and Honor Your Body

If you feel like you are losing control of your health and you don’t have the money or time to put a lot of effort into changes, I have one recipe that could help you out.  Everything can be purchased at the grocery store and won’t cost you much money.

****Disclaimer**** I’m NOT an expert in the nutritional or personal care field and I’ve only found what has worked for me, BUT that’s the point. These have worked and I’m willing to share in hopes they’ll give someone else a better life.  I’m not asking for you to sign up for anything or give me money to teach you how to live a healthier life.  I’m just giving it to you straight and letting you take the reins from there.

Over the past decade, I’ve researched and implemented several different ways to nourish and honor my body, inside and out.  And it has definitely been a trial and error kind of task, but I think at forty I’ve finally settled on a few basic ways to keep myself healthy and strong.

For years, I’ve had a morning ritual of drinking hot, lemon water, with about 1/8 teaspoon of honey.  It started over five years ago, when I had a bad winter of colds and I needed to find a way to gain more vitamins to keep me healthy.  Since then, I’ve drank this hot water nearly every morning.

About six months ago, I decided to start adding Apple Cider Vinegar, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.  I wasn’t consistent at first, but the past few months, I’ve had this drink nearly every single day and the few changes I’ve noticed are this:

  1. My stomach isn’t bloated.
  2. My muscles aren’t as cramped after workouts.
  3. My energy levels have increased significantly.

Those three issues are reason enough for me to continue.  Although, I still have my off days, they have decreased significantly since beginning down this road.  Here’s my recipe:

1 Whole Lemon
10 oz Hot Water
1/8 tsp Honey
¼ tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
2 Tbls Apple Cider Vinegar

Tweak it to your liking, which is what I did after looking up ideas.  I drink it with a straw and keep mixing it while I drink.  Not everyone has the tolerance for these ingredients, so if it’s too much, just decrease the amount or keep out the Cayenne Pepper. They all have health benefits, so if you can tolerate them all, keep it up and let me know how you feel in a few months!

I also eat two eggs, every single morning.  On rare occasions I have something else, but this is generally my breakfast.  I’ve done it for so long, I can’t even tell you when I started.  I change them up here and there, but I usually have two scrambled eggs, with a small amount of cheese mixed in.  From this, I get my protein and calcium, and when I add the lemon water, it’s plenty to get me through until lunch or a small snack.

The last advice I can give on nutrition, is to drink a lot of water.  I know the experts have been saying that for decades, but I can’t stress enough how 80 ounces of water a day can change your life.  Five years ago, I was drinking 88 ounces of Dr. Pepper a day and maybe 40 ounces of water.  My anxiety was out of control, my chest hurt every single day, my hands, feet, and face were constantly numb, and I had heart palpitations on a regular basis.  I was literally killing myself.  Once I began drinking 80+ ounces of water a day, and gave up soda for the most part, my life changed.  I wrote more about it in an earlier post, but my point is—water keeps us alive.  Trust that.  I bought me a 40 ounce Hydroflask, and I fill it up twice a day and drink all of it. 

Another change I’ve made over the past few years, is how I treat my skin.  I rarely tan, and if I do allow my skin outside without sunscreen, it’s only for twenty-ish minutes.  And then either the sunscreen is slathered on, the hat is placed on to protect my face, or I go back inside.  After years of tanning, I decided to embrace my pale skin and stop damaging what remained of youthfulness in my skin.  This is a picture of me today, clean face, no make-up and zero tan.  Maybe I look my age now, but when I turn fifty, I plan on still looking forty.  Cheers to my goals πŸ˜‰

After I clean my face, I have another ritual of lotions and potions that make my skin feel refreshed and soft.  I always start with a toner.  Right now, I’m using a DoTerra toner, which I really like.  I follow up with Oil of Olay under eye lotion, and then face lotion, mixed with about ¼ teaspoon coconut or grapeseed oil.  Living in Utah, and having extremely dry skin, makes the skin on my face feel constantly dry.  After I began following this regimen, I haven’t had any acne breakouts, dry patches, and my skin looks the best it has in years.  Yes, I have wrinkles and fine lines, but I’ve never used botox and I live in a dry climate.  Not to mention, I once believed I would be forever young, and didn’t realize all the damage I was doing to my skin until it was too late.  The earlier you start loving the skin you’re in, the better you will look at forty 😁

The picture shows three different face lotions that I use.  I love them all, and actually have one more, but I ran out of it and didn't have the jar for the picture. The St. Ives is probably my favorite and already contains Safflower Seed Oil. 

 Simple and easy.  I’ve been spending this month, really focusing on taking care of me, and I realized when I pay it forward and pass on information, my heart is happy.  So, take this for what is worth.  I’m not an expert, but I’ve done the research, while using various methods until I came up with ones that worked. 

Listen to your body and honor what it says.  As you figure out what works for you, pass on the information and let others know, they're not alone.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

What Eliminating Soda and Sugar From My Diet Did For My Body

Five years ago, I began this blog Create.Be.Imagine, to write about my goals and progress over a one year period. It was a quest to better myself and my life, and what a ride it has been!

For my first month, I had decided to honor my body by eliminating soda, sugar, and processed food from my diet. Before I began this journey, I was consuming two 44-oz Dr. Peppers every day. Two. Here is my blog post that I wrote after I completed month one.

Beginning of Month Two

I was on fire after that month was over and here's a list of the top ten changes I noticed in my body:
  1. My skin was clear of all blemishes.
  2. A wound on my foot that had still not completely healed after six months, disappeared.
  3. I had more energy.
  4. My daily headaches had been long forgotten.
  5. I slept all night long and woke up feeling refreshed.
  6. My anxiety attacks were nearly non-existent.
  7. My joints no longer ached.
  8. I was happier.
  9. The numbness in my face, hands, and feet disappeared.
  10. My brain fog lifted, most of the way. 
  11. (One more for good measureπŸ˜‰) ALL my clothes fit better!
I was so close to being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, by my doctor and I really believed I was in for a lifetime of managing this disease. When my symptoms began to disappear and I finally felt free of its chains, I realized that I never had a "disease". It was all diet based issues and problems, and if I could rise from it, so could others.

Loving myself begins from the inside out. Not only does it require a more positive mindset, but my body deserves to be honored and loved as well. Sometimes I still fall back into the rut of eating horridly, but more and more it is becoming easier to climb back out and shift myself into a loving mental and physical state.

Maybe that's what they mean by evolving and rising above. I'm not going to be perfect, but I'm getting better at being healthier and more loving towards myself and my body. I want others to know, it IS possible. Five years ago, I was losing so much, including my health. Instead of melting in defeat, I chose to stand and push through my achy joints and body, my exhausted mind, and my heart broken life, and become a stronger person. I will always be a better person for the trials I went through back then, and I'm grateful to now have the tools to keep me readjusting to a higher and more fulfilling life.

As someone said to me the other day, "It might not be that you are failing, but that you have finished with this level of your life and it's now time to rise to the next one."

So, here I am. Rising.

Are you ready to join me?

Let's get this party started πŸ™ŒπŸ™ŒπŸ™Œ

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Sculpting Your Book

“To write a book you need a lantern to light the way, a shovel to dig deep and a big, brave heart to make it to the end.” – Joanne Fedler
Recently, I've been stalking a friends sculpting progression, and luckily he’s been making it easy by posting his development on social media for everyone to witness, as he molds it into his final masterpiece. My quick glances at his work changed the other day, when I took a few moments to shuffle through the pictures and was instantly inspired by all the work and love he’s giving his current project. He truly loves what he does.

Books are no different. A manuscripts progress is usually not seen, or purposely shown for that matter, but a writer spends days, months, sometimes years molding their imagination into its final perfection.

I think back to when I first published, Eyes Wide Shut, and in retrospect I realize it wasn’t complete when I hit that submit button and tossed it out to the world to judge. I was a novice writer, still learning the tricks and trades and was anxious to have my words read. I was even more anxious to receive feedback.

For the first month or so, it was crickets in the wind. Nothing was said. And no one seemed to notice the anguish writhing through my stomach, waiting desperately for some kind of shining news. It didn’t come. In fact, the first bit of feedback was that it had its good parts, but it also contained its unpleasant sections. I had to close my eyes, take a few deep breaths and calm the storm raging through my heart. All that hard work and it was just… okay.

I had spent four years shaping this book. Yes, there were months that I didn’t touch it, because life happens and I still had no idea what I was doing. It was just a story at that point. But when I decided to push forward and finish the work, I leapt before I looked. And the crash landing was detrimental to my ego, to say the least.

If there is one piece of advice I could give an aspiring author, it would be, TAKE YOUR TIME. Especially for that first one. Create it, mold it, change it, breathe it in, and LOVE it. Give it your time and love, and then hand it over to an editor and let them do their magic. Yes, it costs money, but they’re worth every single penny. I learned that the hard way.

After a year of suffering through the rejection, I decided to really take a good, hard look at my book and fix it. So, between writing Enyo’s Warrior and all my other daily life tasks, I found the time to rework Eyes Wide Shut. It wasn’t easy and there were times I thought I was losing my mind, but I did it. I finally finished sculpting this book and I’m glad I chose to do so. I slapped a new cover on it, courtesy of Brandon Burgon, resubmitted it for publication and began finding more and more readers over the next year.

Since that time, I published Enyo’s Warrior and Protectors of the Stars, along with a short story in the Shattered Time Anthology. I took the time to mold and sculpt my later books, giving them a huge amount of love, admiration and time, and because I decided not to quit in the face of defeat, I’ve made a name for myself.

Now, my books might not be known everywhere, and people still don’t usually connect my face with my name and writing, but I’ve had my moments of recognition. And let me tell you, when it comes from someone who truly enjoys your writing, it’s a marvelous feeling.

Moral of the story... take your time, love your work, and sculpt your writing into a masterpiece. You will thank yourself for giving your passion the time it deserves.

And if you do fail, don’t be so rough on yourself. I’ve had to learn this the hard way, as well. Instead, take a step back, allow yourself to breathe through the heartache, redirect your path, and start again. Because in ten years, you will look back and pat yourself on the back for not giving up.

Cheers, my inspiring friendsπŸ₯‚

Sunday, May 7, 2017


His eyes seared into me like scorching knives. I wanted to escape, but I couldn’t tear myself away from his emerald irises. Stepping forward, the fear wormed its way up from my stomach and halted in my throat, making it difficult to breathe as it squeezed at my esophagus. I cringed when his lips twitched with a devilish grin, and he beckoned for me to come closer.

“No.” The word was barely a whisper, floating uselessly over my trembling lips.

He nodded and winked, knowing I couldn’t resist. Another step forward. My mind was screaming at me to run away, and my heart was beating a temporary tattoo against my chest, while my gut wretched from the terror that held my throat hostage.

Why am I so weak? The thought pounded inside my head, just as a single tear tumbled down my crimson cheek.

A deep laugh rumbled from his mouth, his eyes darkening from the desire swirling in the dense air between us. My foot moved another step forward, but my hands desperately searched for anything to pull me away. Grasping onto a chair, I shrieked when it tumbled to its side, my wide eyes still glued to the cryptic monster only a few steps away.

“You never had a choice,” he called out to me, his voice carrying a strength that slid heavily over my flushed body.

My breath caught in my throat, once again, and a thunderous train of goosebumps traveled up my arms, shooting across my neck. Another step. My hands flung out again, probing for a barrier or some kind of weapon. Grasping only empty air, sweat trickled down my spine, knowing I was meeting my end. He would destroy my life.

© Niki Liv 2017

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

How I Destroyed Myself

In order to save myself I must destroy first, the me I was told to be. - The Dreamer
To be honest, it didn't take a whole lot of effort to destroy myself.  In fact, I'm fairly certain 87% of it occurred while I wasted my time watching television shows and eating junk food.  Not much effort at all.

Sure, I made excuses.
  • I've been working all day.
  • I worked out twice already this week, that's enough for now.
  • I ate a salad for lunch.
I had plenty of reasons why I could take several breaks and be lazy all weekend long.  Yes, I wrote a book or two, but I'm not where I want to be and I KNOW I can do better.

So... I'm reinventing myself.

I'm tearing down walls and stripping away the studs.  It's been a long time coming and I've procrastinated for as long as I possibly could.  But guess what?  I'm not really happy.  I have been falling and slamming into roadblocks at every turn.  And it felt like nothing was going my way. 

I have the means and the ability to shift my path and for that I am grateful.  It might take some extra work and long hours, but in the end it will be worth it.

When life begins destroying you in small, subtle ways, creating a space where you are no longer fulfilled, happy or content, it's the universes way of telling you to make a change.  I was already destroying myself by allowing myself to lose sight of goals and plans, but now I'm actually building on that destruction and going inward.

It's time I rise to the next level.

It's time I stop focusing on what I can't change, and steer my sailboat into a much smoother voyage. I desperately deserve a break from the crashing waves.

This is my month.  My "ME" project.  Because when I'm my best self, I'm the best for everyone else.  I don't have it all figured out, but I'm working on it and I plan on having a new perspective, a new foundation, and a fresh mindset by the end of this month.

Love and hugs from me!