The power in doing what's best for you.

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I love getting inspiration from Instagram. For example, @lisaoliveratherapy posted weeks ago about doing things for yourself rather than other people. Lisa is an MFT up in the Bay Area and provides excellent therapeutic tid bits on her feed. This just happened to be the same day I said no to someone about their services. Let me explain….

About six months ago I was looking for a house cleaner. My neighbor referred her house cleaner to me and shared  that’s she’s been working with, Lupe, for some time. My neighbor, Cathy, brought her over to my house while I was recovering from surgery and honestly the house was an absolute pigsty. And that’s when I met Lupe.. She was so warm, kind, and didn’t speak very much english. We agreed that she would come twice a month and she would call me in regards to schedule and the cost of services.

It took a few weeks for Lupe to call but once she did she told me she would be there early Wednesday morning. Now, here’s an inside tip on me- I’m a night owl and when I’m in my creative season, I tend to stay up way past 3am. So, a housecleaner coming at 8:30 or 9am during the week is challenging for me. But, I wanted my house clean so I said ok.

The first visit Lupe was 15 minutes early. She arrived at 8:15am after a night I was up till almost 4am. The dog went crazy, I was jolted awake, and honestly I was a bit frustrated. I later found out that she likes to work early because she drives over the Mexico border Every.Single.Day to get to work. She’s also a grandmother of 5 children, takes care of an ailing (now passed) mother, and her own children who are grown, but not grown up. She has to get back to Mexico by 2pm in order to pick up her grandchildren from school. I no longer felt frustrated. I actually felt guilty due to my frustration with her early arrival and my lifestyle.

Unfortunately, the next few times Lupe didn’t show up or call. Or if she did call it was the day of or late the night before telling me she couldn’t make it. I completely understand that life comes up and for Lupe it was car problems, a dying mother, grandchildren, or being sick. I didn’t mind that she wasn’t able to show up week after week it was more of not knowing that made me anxious. It was hard to fall asleep because I was worried that she was going to show up even though I knew she wouldn’t.

Finally, Lupe called after weeks and weeks of no shows and told me she’s ready to come back to clean. I told her no. I told her thank you so much, but no. I told her I appreciated her dedication and for her services, but at this time it just didn’t work for me.. She apologized and we went on with our lives.

A few weeks later, she showed up at my door. I had just gotten back from a walk and was in the back room putting the laundry together. Pax was going nuts at the door and I knew it was her. She had been cleaning Cathy’s house and stopped by to apologize and ask if “I still need her.” I had a choice- I could say yes and just get over her erratic scheduling or I could say no and honor mine. I told her no, thank you. She apologized several times and I just explained in broken Spanish that my life is too unpredictable and I need more routine with cleaning.. I told her to stay well and she walked away.

I gently closed the door and tried to understand my emotions. I felt empathy and wanted to help. I felt satisfaction for doing what was best for me. I felt like an adult for taking control. I felt sadness and guilt.

Once I saw Lisa’s later that day I knew I made the right decision. Lisa writes on her graphic, “what works for them” then crosses it out and writes below it “what works for me”. It’s ok to say NO, it’s ok to say this doesn’t work for me! It’s OK TO NOT ACCOMMODATE ALL THE TIME FOR OTHER PEOPLE. Get more comfortable with saying no, because the satisfaction you’ll feel in regards to taking care of yourself is a better feeling than a clean house.

Setting boundaries is NOT easy. It takes YEARS of practice and experience. When I write “experience” I mean truly understanding yourself and being comfortable with disappointing other people because YOU know in your heart of hearts you’re doing what is best for you. I believe that when following through with our own needs we can actually give back to others even more authentically than just saying yes all the time.

Here are 6 tips that have helped me set boundaries:

  1. Not responding YES right away - saying “Let me get back to you on that” so I can really think about if I want to attend that party or host that girls night.

  2. Owning my decision. I use to be very wishy washy. Now, once I make it I TRAIN my mind to not look back. (Key word TRAIN… you gotta keep at it).

  3. I make up my own rules. Ex: A client of my mine was invited to a bachelorette party in another country. She felt like she had to go and would have major #fomo if she didn’t. But, in all reality she had no desire to go. So, I suggested that she plan her own fun with the bride in a way that worked for her. She ended up visiting her friend in New York rather than traveling out of the country and they had a great time.

  4. Write it down. Grab your memo pad in your phone and just start jotting the thoughts down on paper. Brene Brown calls this a resentment journal or a damn it! diary where she writes down her thoughts and feelings about her experiences.

  5. Awareness. You’ll notice as you start writing things down the things that trigger you OR the feelings of frustration you feel when you say YES even when you didn’t want to.

  6. Practice. The mind is a muscle- just like your biceps. You have to train your mind to start thinking and reacting in a certain way. So, practice. Practice saying, “oh that sounds fun but my plate is full right now”.

I hope these were helpful in starting to set stronger boundaries in your life! I’d love to hear if you have additional tips on setting boundaries so make sure to join my tribe by filling out the form below and share with me!!

xo, Nikki

Name *

selfishness vs selflessness- is there a difference?

I recently posted a blog post about my scary experience in the water. I was asked the question, “Was your husband ok with your decision?” I sat with it a couple days and I couldn’t let it go. Was my husband ok with my decision to jump in the water and save Pax. At first I was extremely taken back and went all feminist rant in my head. I asked the woman what she meant by it…a mom of 4 kids and a dog shared with me how selfless it was to jump in the water and save my dog. Am I not getting something? Am I not understanding the gravity of my situation? Why does it feel like it was literally a no brainer to jump in and DO something. It’s confusing but it’s also eye opening. We all share different perspectives. I am grateful to that reader for speaking up and sharing hers. We live in a world today that a lot of people who weren’t sharing their truth before are coming forward. What a powerful place to be in, to actually be able to SHARE what’s on your mind. If only we could also live in a world that was receptive to our thoughts and feelings.  I decided to ask the woman more questions and appreciate where she came from. And no, I didn’t ask Jarrod and I still haven’t asked Jarrod how he felt about me making the decision. Did he feel that I was impulsive? Reckless? Did he feel burdened by the amount of caregiving that he would have to embark on for the days to come? We all live in our own worlds, own head, own lives…even when we share our life with another person we are still on our solo journey. What an interesting concept, to need to check in with a partner about a decision being made. Part of me feels that it’s ridiculous to ask someone else (my spouse) “is it ok to jump in the water to save Pax and even if I die or get injured is it ok with you?” and at the same time is it a selfish decision to do that? Then it makes me think about selfishness and selflessness. My action to the dog was selfless but was it selfish to not think of others in my life? 

 When you put a blog post out there and you write from your soul- you only think about your own story. I think that’s a good thing because if you were thinking about all 500+ people who I saw read it that day- I probably wouldn’t have had the guts to post it. Now that I’ve received an alternative question about my decision making it has made me think much deeper about how we are all different yet beautiful beings. My hope from posting this is to shed light on our perspectives. How we are all human and this makes us unique. We go through different life experiences all the way starting from our entrance here on earth. Why do we question other people’s stories? How come we battle one another in politics, ideas, and even one’s own personal experience? I realize that as this account grows more and more personalities fall into the mix. I realize that by putting myself out there I allow for more push back and alternative perspective to land in my lap. Now, those are NOT things that I can control. What I can control is my action. My action to everything. To jumping off a moving boat to save my dog, to responding to my husband when he asks me to pick up after myself in the house. My responses to situations are what define my life- not the actual event. The events will constantly happen but my responses will change based off my experience. Does that make sense? They play off one another. What I know about jumping off a moving boat is different than it was before because it had never happened before.  How have you handled critical events in your past? Looking back would you change how you reacted? What have you learned from your experiences that have now evolved your perspective. 

So in the end, is there a difference between selfishness and selflessness? Because if we make one decision it impacts something else. Are our so-called selfless actions truly selfish- even when they feel good and fill us up?

By the way- I spoke with Jarrod before posting this and he called me, “brave” and was “proud to have a wife that would have jumped in the water to save our dog”… still it was a great conversation piece and perspective to have gained!

I am so grateful for all of your responses and questions about my recovery! If you are currently or have in the past experienced trauma or crisis and need some support or resources please contact me at

The day that changed my life forever. #yakima67


Yakima SixtySeven

Our story & dog boat safety

 It’s not easy to write this. I’ve tried 4 different times to write down the story and each time I get stuck at the same place. But last night, at 2am I was able to get it all out on paper.  So here it goes. My husband and I met on a Duffy electric boat, we got engaged on one, and we had one of the scariest experiences of our lives on one as well. On September 1st, 2018, we started out in Bay with another couple and all was well. As soon as we got on the boat I placed Pax’s life jacket on him and for some reason we decided to keep the leash on thinking that he probably wanted to go swimming but we had control of him… He decided to sit on the back area of the boat right behind Jarrod. About 5 minutes in the ride he slipped/ we think he jumped off the back right corner of the boat since he loves to swim. Jarrod said, “he’s in, babe he’s in” I jumped up and looked behind, Pax was on the corner of the boat paddling away with his life jacket keeping him afloat - this wouldn’t have been a problem except for the fact that his leash was caught and he was being pulled by the boat. Without thinking I dove straight in the water when I popped up I saw the boat was away from me and swam towards it. Jarrod was reaching down to grab the handle of Pax’s jacket and I was getting closer to the boat.

Once I was right behind the boat I kicked away as it was too close and they were able to grab Pax. My legs hit the boat propellers and I knew immediately something was wrong as it was a sharp immediate pain but also a state of calmness over my body. Fight or flight went into action and the adrenaline of everything just kicked in. I started to yell help, help me and my husband looked over at me like what? … I lifted my leg up out of the water and saw my skin flapped open on the top side of my foot. It looked different than other scratches and cuts I have had, I knew it was serious. My husband pulled me straight out from the water and that wasn’t easy. The length from water to the top of the boat was a large gap. They tied Pax’s leash around my right leg to create a truncate and called 911. The harbor police game and then the ambulance. We drove a million miles an hour to the hospital where I asked the EMT workers, “will I lose my leg?” …No response. I asked again and all I heard was the pain medicine they were administering and asking if I had any allergies. I sometimes wonder why ER people ask that because if you’ve never taken specific medication how are you supposed to know what you’re allergic to! Here’s to hoping! I don’t completely remember being pulled into the trauma center but was told we were heading there.  I learned that the difference between a trauma center and an emergency room is that is equipped to treat the highest risk injuries- think gunshot wounds, car accidents, major burns, boating accidents in this case. Trauma centers offer more extensive care than the ER. 

 I don’t remember being wheeled in but I do remember laying down staring at a bright white light with a million nurses and doctors zipping around my bed. The shock lasted for hours until I went into my first surgery. I ended up staying in the hospital for 10 days with 3 different surgeries. The surgeries consisted of sewing up some major lacerations on the right side and one laceration on the left ankle. The right leg had much more damage such as toe fractures & cutting the tendons that flex my toes and ankle. I sliced my right calf in half and have a total of 6 gashes between the two legs. They found a foreign object in my leg that wasn’t a boat propeller, maybe it was a fish – who knows? :)

Interestingly enough, when I was admitted into the trauma center on that fateful day I was given an alternative name by the team. They do this with all patients entering the wing as some patients come in unconscious or unable to speak or have any of their identifications. The name I was given was, Yakima Sixty-seven. When I googled what, it’s meaning was my mouth dropped wide open.

“You have a strong need for freedom - physical, mental and spiritual. You hate bondage in any form. You have love of beauty and philosophy, and you desire achievement. You are willing to take spiritual matters on faith instead of subjecting them to mental analysis. You are inventive, intuitive and extremely methodical. Since your will is so strong, you are hard to convince.” When I looked up the numbers 67 I found that 67 is described as a sign from angels which are here to help you realize your higher purpose in life!! Furthermore, in numerology the number 67 represents the idea of family first and keeping them secure.  

Ha! If you know me on a personal level this sounds quite fitting don’t ya think? In the end my accident resulted in 6 lacerations, 2 fractured toes, and 2 right foot tendons severed. I am off my right foot for 6 weeks and will wear a boot for 8-10 of those weeks. I’ve started physical therapy with going up and down my staircase and little walking but won’t really know the state of my functionality until later this year. 

It could have been so much worse. That same day, someone was rushed to the hospital to treat the same type of incident and they lost their life. Another young woman lost her entire leg. This is temporary & I know that. It’s SO fascinating how and when things like this happen in your life. What do they teach us? What do they result in being for us? I don’t know the outcome of this but I do know that it’s given me a lot of time to think about what I want out of life and who I am as a person. I use to (and still do) come down on myself so hard. Whether it was my body and weight or something about my career or that I wasn’t doing enough. Now, just doing one thing a day is something to be grateful for. I speak kindly to my legs and send positivy and kisses to them multiple times a day. What an adventure life puts us on. This has defiantly prepared me for more challenging experiences to come…I am ready for them.  

During this time, I’ve been able to truly focus on Pax’s instagram and Leader of the Pax. The stories that that people have shared and the well wishes I have received have been priceless. Gratitude for my life has been my motivator through the recovery process. The first thing people say to me when they learn about the injury is, “I’m so sorry you’re going through this and you’re just so strong- hang in there!” The funny thing is, I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry at all that this happened to me. The perspective I’ve gained is unlike any other.  Living in a hospital for going on 10 days is quite fascinating and you really learn a lot about yourself AND you have to let go of control. I’m so grateful for this experience no matter how painful it is because I’ve been able to see people, things, and my body at its most basic level. I’m a go go go person and FINALLY the universe said stop. So, while I was there I got to chat with my family and be present with them. I got to walk around the entire nurses’ station with the staff cheering me on and got to truly FEEL the accomplishment. I got to feel the swelling of my toes and the aftermath of walking. We go through life clicking likes and scrolling through pages without feeling each moment. The biggest lesson I’ve learned so far is to be vulnerable enough to *feel* the core of each experience in order to grow. I know much more than I did before this experience happened and I know that I will triumph forward. 

Hopefully, you will never have to go through what I have experienced but just in case, here are some boat safety tips I have put together:  

Dog Boat Safety Tips: 

  1. Plan on what you will do in case of an emergency - such as your dog going overboard. 

  2. Practice the plan… I know this sounds ridiculous but it’s super important to know a few options you could do. Of course, in the event of the accident, it’s not going to go totally to plan so at least talk with those you are on the boat with what you would do. Ex: if someone jumps in make sure the boat is off. 

  3. Craft a doggy first aid kit… any medications your dog is on, Dramamine in case of sea sickness (make sure to ask your vet!)

  4. Make sure your pup is in a life jacket- even great swimmers can easily drown in rough waters. I swear that having Pax in a life jacket helped him stay above water and paddle! Also, most dog life jackets have a handle which helps you grab the handle and pull them back to safety (that is how my husband got him out of the water) 

  5. Did you know dogs need sunscreen too? Look for a dog friendly brand. 

  6. Plenty of water- especially if they go swimming. Dogs can become dehydrated on a hot sunny boat. 

  7. I wish we had better commands for being on the boat so he was trained to stay out of the water while the boat was moving…things like “on boat” or “off boat” — make sure to brush up on your basic commands like sit, stay, lie down, and leave it. 

  8. If you own a boat or your renting, try a non-slip pad for the bottom of your boat and let your pup try it out

  9. Additionally, let your pup check out the boat before you leave the dock to get comfortable. 

  10. Dogs are naturally curious and if they are not secure they can fall in. I’ve researched mixed results about the leash. Some of the articles I’ve read say keep the dog secure with a leash without much give another say have the dog free so if they fall in at least they are away from the boat or propellers. I would check with your vet and do some research on what you feel you’re more comfortable with. I also think that the leash should be attached to the boat not in your hand- that is personal preference based off my experience.