Patience, love.

alamo square morning


If you’ve listened to any of my guided meditations, you know I talk a lot about being curious and kind.

That’s because we tend to be impatient and critical with ourselves.

There is a little voice inside my head that whispers “Faster, hurry up now, come on, everyone else is way ahead of you, get it together now, let’s go, no time to waste, why can’t you get this done already?

Patience is not what I’m best at.

For most of my life, I thought that patience was the same as waiting passively — like a wall-flower, hoping someone will come invite me to dance.  Patience felt powerless.

And then I had a realization:

That patience was really about being kind to myself (and others) when I felt irritated and pushy about things not unfolding along my preferred timeline.

Sometimes life takes its own time with things.

There is a distance between how things are now, and how you would like them to be.
How do you handle the gap?

Can you be present, and patient, in this moment?

Patience can still have action and power — a gentle persistence — but without being pushy or critical or irritable.  Patience is about kindness with the gap, kindness with timing, kindness with yourself and others.

It’s not always easy to be a human.

Our minds get a little crazy.  Our hearts get stormy.  Our bodies don’t always behave as we’d like — aging, illness, and unexpected injury all play their part within our lives.

It’s not always easy to be a human.

There can be a painful gap between how things are now, and how we would like them to be, and the timing might be outside our control.  Sometimes we fall into that gap — obsess over it — and it hurts very much when we are caught there.

That’s why this constant practice of kindness, towards yourself.  This practice of compassion.

Not always easy.

But also — remember — this is temporary.

One day, we each get to experience the end of life.  Our own, and of those we love.  That part is not easy.  But it is a part of being alive.

That is what makes this life — your life — so sacred.
That is what makes each moment — bitter, sweet, sour, salty — so precious.

That is why you are so worthy of love, and care, and patience, and kindness.   Because this one life is temporary.  And all the experiences and emotions that come along the way, well, that’s part of the journey.

What a sacred adventure this life is.


Patience, love.  And tenderness for all you experience, and all the challenge and beauty of being a human.


Kim Nicol - Sept 2014


For most of my life I completely dismissed meditation as boring rubbish.  Sure, it was ok for the hippies, flakes, and losers — but I was a real person, with a real job and a real life!  Who has time to meditate?  And why on earth would you want to sit around and do. . . nothing?

It made no sense to me.

And I grew up in Santa Cruz, a beautiful sea-side town affectionally known to many for its hippie vibe.

So it’s funny that I teach people how to meditate and practice mindfulness in daily life.

What changed?

Well, I found a teacher.  Not that I was looking for one.  But a series of random events brought me to a small group class, and that was the beginning of taking the “meh” out of “meditation.”

My first big insights:

I didn’t have to be sitting on the floor, wearing weird clothes, with incense smoldering in the corner.  It was something I could do in a chair, in my work clothes.  No incense required.

It wasn’t about sitting and closing my eyes, and then waiting for something to happen.  It was about becoming more observant and aware of what was happening right in front of me.  I felt like a scientist, or an anthropologist.

I’d feel more relaxed and energized. . . at the same time!

My home practice could be just 5 minutes. . . and it still worked!  I’d go to class once a week for a longer practice and group discussion, then practice on my own in these bite-size meditations that fit my life.  Awesome.

It was a revelation.

Meditation gave me a fresh perspective on my inner thoughts and emotions, and also a new way to think about the challenges of work and relationships.  It let me see things in a new light.  Gave me a fresh perspective.

Which changes everything.

Once you see something, you can’t un-see it.  And once I saw for myself how useful, practical, and awesome meditation was, I couldn’t not practice.  And I couldn’t not share it with others.

And that leads me to the whole point of this post, which is to tell you to read this post by my friend Heath.  He heard my interview on The App Guy podcast, and reached out to me with some questions.  I pointed him in the right direction, and then, well, you can read what happened after that.

Here’s a quote to get you started:

Being a type A personality growing up, I always cold-shouldered the thought of meditation because it just seemed ridiculous. I didn’t have time for it – I didn’t need it – I definitely didn’t want it. . .


I was living every second in the quicksand, barely keeping my head above the oxygen level. Something needed to change. . .

The story of what changed is so beautiful.  I know I’ve been there.  Maybe you have, too.  I think you’ll love Heath’s story.  I’m happy to have been a part of it!

Listen to my interview with Heath on The Artrepreneur Now podcast.

Listen to my interview with Paul Kemp on The App Guy podcast.

Kim Nicol - meditation and mindfulness coach

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Courage, love.

Because meditation slows you down, it lets whatever is inside become very vivid, very present.  It amplifies your existing joy, love, happiness. But it also brings the uncomfortable parts — fear, self-doubt, exhaustion — right up in your face.

This can be terrifying.  Especially if you’re in the habit of numbing, distancing, or distracting yourself by being super busy, over eating,  drinking too much, creating drama in your life and relationships, or losing yourself in TV or online (“there’s so much internet to read!”).

I know something about this. Continue reading “Courage, love.”

See the world, see your self.

This post is about travel, but it starts by noting that I am the child of two amazing people.  My mother grew up in the Philippines, and it was a very long time before I realized that not everyone’s mother knew how to wield a machete.  (It is an excellent gardening tool, and there is nothing better for taking the top off a coconut, which she demonstrated with grace on a family vacation to Hawaii.) My father grew up in a very small town in the Midwest and joined the Peace Corps.  He coached athletes for international competition, traveled through Africa, Asia, and Europe, and read me Kipling and the Olympic creed when I was young. Continue reading “See the world, see your self.”

Be willing to see.

A year ago I had to renew my passport, so I went to the Walgreen’s near my office at lunch to get photos taken.  I remember feeling exhausted, but also happy because I was excited for my upcoming trip.  The photos came out and when I saw them, I didn’t recognize myself.  I looked terrible.  I looked beat down and tired.  My face looked. . . saggy and dim.  Was that really what I looked like?  I felt my cheeks burn, and paid for my photos and left.*

Back at the office, way up on the 26th floor where we had amazing views of the bay, I went to the restroom and looked in the mirror.  I really looked.   I saw bloodshot eyes, from staring too long at a screen.  I saw slumped shoulders.  A down-turned mouth.  I saw a spark in the eye, but it was dim.  Like an overcast sky.  I thought, This isn’t right.  I tried to smile.  It was grotesquely superficial and unconvincing. Continue reading “Be willing to see.”

It’s ok to update your dream.

I have a friend from law school.  She worked in Big Law, until the firm unexpectedly dissolved in that time when many traditional big firms unraveled.  Then she worked for a small firm, commuting an hour each way and figuring out child care while her husband finished his graduate degree in another city.

She told me, “I’m living the dream, Kim.  The only problem is:  it’s the wrong dream!”  The hours, the commute, the stress of work, the demands of being a parent and wife were wearing her down.  “I worked so hard to get here, and for what?  To never see my kid or husband?  To spend hours working with mean people?  It’s a joke.” Continue reading “It’s ok to update your dream.”

Take yourself on a date.

Take yourself out on a date.  Ask yourself who you are, how things are going, and what you desire.  Ask yourself how you feel.  Ask your body what it needs.  Then ask your heart.  Then ask your brain.  Ask your gut what it has to say.


There are many levels of your being, and they each have needs and opinions.  The brain is often the loudest.  It tends to bully or coerce.  “It just makes sense,” the brain says, “Be rational.  Do what I say.  I’m the smart one.” Continue reading “Take yourself on a date.”

What to do when the past shows up.

The doorbell rings.  You open the door and it’s your past, looking right at you.  You stare, heart pounding, and think, What do you want?  And it says, What do YOU want?  You think, Oh jeez, are we doing this again?  And it says, I don’t know, ARE we?

You have a couple of options.

You could close the door.  You could tell it to go away.  You could have a melt-down.  Or go through the familiar patterns from before.

You could also open your arms and embrace it.  Hold it close, feel how it feels.  Whisper a blessing in its ear.  And then open your arms and release it.  Let it go. Continue reading “What to do when the past shows up.”

Find the right tuning forks.

Here’s where this comes from:  I recently had my first acupuncture experience, and it included the strike of a tuning fork which was then placed at a point on the sole of my foot.  I’ve also been reading about mirror neurons, learning about the physiology of compassion and empathy, and spending time with professional musicians.

So I’m sinking my teeth into the idea that we are tuning forks for each other.  A tuning fork vibrates and produces a pure tone that guides the instrument home, to that same frequency, to that central resonance.  The vibration is experienced in three dimensions (maybe more?  do we have any experts on string theory in the house?). Continue reading “Find the right tuning forks.”