As I end the semester and a chapter in my life, I write this letter to the students I have worked with over the years. You all have blessed me in ways words cannot fully capture. I try my best below.
To My Former Students,
First — how ya’ll doin?!
Second — Thank you.
Thank you all for taking this journey we call learning together. Whether it was over the course of a semester in a classroom, over Zoom, or over the course of years in different programs, ya’ll took the ride with me as I figured out what teaching…
Part of my academic recovery is learning how to feel and work with my emotions. Anger, I am finding, is becoming one of my best teachers…
“You cannot go to bed angry or wake up someone while you are angry, as you can kill them. You need to learn to work with your anger better.”
I looked ahead at the white cement wall, trying to process what my godfather had just told me. It was Fall of 2020. I came to the mat to consult Ifa as I was preparing to move back to Michigan and wanted to gain more…
Make your own commitment to the life you want, but be prepared to let go of the hold that busyness has on that life.
Peace : freedom from disturbance
I like living in or near the countryside. The long dirt roads, vast open fields, wild grass blowing in the breeze, low hanging clouds that pepper the horizon — it is the landscape and its sounds that draw me in and remind me of what peace looks and feels like.
It is the quietness and natural rhythm of the country that allows me to really hear and trust myself.
Maturity comes through facing the illusions of the past and present. When I faced my own reality, I discovered that I was running from a surprising truth.
“What do you really want?”
The question popped into my head one day on a walk; it took form in that slight break between songs on my playlist.
“What do you really want, Nicole?”
The question came to me again while doing dishes on another day. …
A crucial step in my own academic recovery was learning how to grieve as a way to heal. To do this, I started using a personal altar to safely dig deep into my pain and come out the other side. Find out how you can, too.
Are you sure, sweetheart, that you want to be well?… Just so’s you’re sure, sweetheart, and ready to be healed, cause wholeness is no trifling matter. A lot of weight when you’re well.”
― Toni Cade Bambara , The Salt Eaters
Grief (noun): deep sorrow, especially caused by someone’s death.
I walked into the…
Just when I thought I had fully surrendered to Spirit, I quickly realized I had even more to release. You will encounter the same.
On Surrender…and surrendering more
What is spiritual surrender? At its core it’s about letting go of the need to control the where, who, why, what, and how of our lives. Releasing these mundane needs of the ego allows us to be led by Spirit, not by might.
To surrender means to allow…
I thought I could pray with the best of them…
I grew up Catholic on the far Southside of Chicago, and attended Catholic School from Grades 1–12. No one was more about the cross than Young Nicole: from weekly mass every Tuesday, to weekends spent at Church functions, to taking a Religion class as a requirement every year. Me, the big J (Jesus ya’ll), and the Saints were riding deep.
Last month on Twitter there was a (still) trending hashtag called #BlackInTheIvory that is giving the space to tell our stories of what it means to be Black in the academy. For me, it is bittersweet as this is not the first, nor will it be the last time, Black folks have spoken about the racism, anti-Blackness, misogynoir, whiteness, and white mediocrity masking as rigor and academic objectivity within the walls of the Ivory Tower. My own career within academia over the past 20 years as a student, faculty member and administrator is awash with stories similar to those…