Jelena Iva Nikolić, the story of Becoming

28 January 2021

I met this beautiful woman about 7 years ago, I believe. I was asked by a friend to visit this new thing in town, Little Market on the Loft, a gathering of small organic producers and small businesses. I didn’t go immediately, but the name and the project came to me again a month later when I started my small business.

I was thinking of how I could sell my products, and I think it was only a few days after I have introduced my products to friends that I ran and climbed up to Tavan (The Loft) to see if I can be selling there. Boy, what a funky thing that was! Joyful, multicolored and multifaceted, tiny and chic, and vintage and soulful, urban and, well, just one of a kind. Just as its owner is.

A transformation and a turning point

Man, I was at some (new) point of my life at the time. A transformation has taken its wheels rapidly on me and wasn’t saving anything for later. I was very impressed and I wanted to live something like that. I had no idea what and how, but I was on my way to get where I am today. When I look at it now, it just had to be. That whole project of hers influenced me a lot in a time when I felt alone. It was a sign from the Universe, and I took it.

If I could choose only one word for Jelena, it would be colorful. Not only in colors, but she was so layered and eye-catching. Maybe this wasn’t her when I first saw her, but imagine something like this – boots and a summer dress, fake fur vest, dirty/messy hair half colored in – was that purple? – red lipstick on a no make-up cheerful face. And maybe sunglasses on warm, deep and playful eyes. And probably a hat. And she wore it like a badass. She was probably walking around with one of my freshly baked brioche’s in one hand while putting immortelle macerate around her eyes. Next time she probably had a silk bathrobe on. I might be exaggerating a bit over here, but I’m really not. And you guys who know her, wouldn’t you agree?

Who’s that girl?

I knew what I was attracted to – authenticity, boldness, courage, heart, confidence, soul, vision, creativity, flow. And now that I know a little bit more, I understand that she was a reflection of me in some ways, as everybody else we encounter is. She was me looking in a mirror, and luckily I dared to think I had it also. Somewhere deep inside. The Wild woman archetype.

Years later, after I have already become a mother myself and entered a whole new life, I saw her on her Instagram with a belly popping up! I felt an instant rush of happiness for her and I was filled with love and joy. That evening, I had a dream and a visitor. It was her grandma telling me about her and her childhood. The next day I had to call her and explain it all, and as I paraphrasing, she told me that it really was her grandma – that was how she looked and talked and that was her personality I have just described. Amazing, right? And that’s kind of when we connected.

And now, the Interview

I’m just so freaking excited to show you what we have made together. First, it was a pregnant photo-shoot that you’re looking at in this post, and now an intimate conversation about life, death, mysteries, beauty – life itself. Let’s dive in.

Jelena! This life is a crazy journey! I am so happy to be collaborating with you since you inspired me in many ways in the past years. Since my audience probably doesn’t know you or much about you, let’s just start by introducing yourself! Tell me a bit about yourself, who you are, what you do in life. Whether you include your age, Zodiac sign, and marital status, it’s up to you.  I love your story and I would love for others to hear it as well. 

I am Jelena Iva Nikolic, Jele, or JIN how I like to call myself because of the strong feminine energy that I am so in love with because it gives me softness, creativity, artistic approach to life, sensuality, love for the beauty, nature, innocence, matters of the heart, opportunity to express, to have a baby, to fall in love with a beautiful twin flame man, who is also Scorpio and lefty. He comes from India that is my big inspiration and resonates with a more exotic and wild part of me perfectly.

I love to travel, to explore, to learn, to break my patterns, conditionings, to discover beautiful landscapes, places, and people. I am a foodie, stylist, homemade chef, writer, interior designer, owner of a magical studio Tavan (means attic) and isattic space in my building, transformed into studio and small business, which is now loft and home of a dear friend, artist and soul brother Antonio Zaninovic.

That place has a big role in my creative life and growing into the woman I am today, entrepreneur, momma of the cutest baby boy, and a partner to the mystical, big-eyed powerhouse of a man that came from Bombay to live with me in Zagreb out of love and with intention to create a magical life – together. The thing that we both were dreaming of while living parallel realities/lives on different parts of the Globe. How we met is another story that will once become a part of my book or better cookbook with all kinds of recipes; How to bridge continents through hearts and on a plate! 

Years before I was trying to fit in, to work a ”normal” job and to be a ”normal” citizen/part of society. I was constantly failing in that – so at the age of 29, after a big burn out I finally decided to be(come) – Myself. I am going to be 43 in November.

This is so beautiful and so you! Were you always a free soul and a creative or did an event/phase/person initiated your becoming? Tell us a little bit more about your journey. 

I was always free, spontaneous, warm, curious, loving, simple, multi talented, super creative, unique, friendly, open, soulful, big hearted, generous. Aware of who I am very early in terms of being such a happy soul, full of life and in love with life and myself. Problems started when I was pushed to become something, someone else, and when I had to choose, define – what I want to do, who I want to be. Because it made me super confused I was often called weird, lazy, stupid, slow, different (as something negative), complicated, heavy, irresponsible, crazy, not focused just because people around me were not able to connect with me or to recognise my beauty.

So I started living the lie just to protect Them (parents, family, society). Still shedding off layers of it – but at the same time, thankfully, knowing who I am and what I am made of. It’s like collecting pieces of a puzzle, and it’s super exciting to finally and fully start living ALL of it. Without boundaries, shame or excuses.

Love and loyalty were part of my imprisonment, as well as giving others more space than to myself. Because I always had that home inside to get back to, I always knew I will be there / here for myself, I will always create a job, an opportunity that will bring me the money or all things needed to survive, or live out of something I love. I never doubted any of my talents, but also didn’t have time, or permission (inner/outer) to fully surrender or explore them.

I am surfing on a wave of creative work/lifestyle 20 years now, but there is so much more to give, to tap into, to unwrap. I love beginnings and changes, so for me, everything is opening at any moment, any situation. I could say I am again at the beginning at this stage of my life and am enjoying more than ever. 

Babe, I so resonate with this. Living a lie is everyday life for so many without even realising it. Most people never come to the point of asking themselves who they are and how they live their lives, which leads to so many dis-eases, dis-balances, dis-lives. I know that last one is not even a word, but you get the point. It makes me so happy we’re talking about this, for only letting our voices out will create space for others and give them permission to do the same. It is a rabbit hole that gets you to – well, You.

The mistery of Life

Let’s get deeper a little bit. How do you perceive life? How do you choose to live your life, what does life mean to you and how does death fit in?

Life is the most precious gift I ever got. It’s a blessing to be a part of the Cosmic plan, and I am more aware of that with each and every new morning. I am alive! What is more important than that? When I get into some negative thoughts, mood swings, social network feeds that make me question and doubt – the thing that is bringing me back to my center, to the Source of all creations is the notion; Man, I am ALIVE! That’s more than enough, that’s all I need to know, feel, do, accomplish; that single fact; I am alive, life is running through my veins, moves me, nurtures me, makes me feel loved, important and beautiful.

Death is just a reminder to keep back on that track. For me, at this stage of my life is very clear that death doesn’t exist, as well as darkness. Everything is alive, just changing shapes. And light is the energy of Love that makes all things possible, connected and real. I choose to live like that, to be a bearer of Light which is the meaning of my name btw; Jelena Is the one that brings Light. A Woman of the Sun. So when I surrender to that flow – everything becomes possible for me.

Beautifully said. For me, when I get into low vibe states I warn myself to remember the beauty of existence itself. As you say yourself, just BEING here, only being able to EXPERIENCE all of this life, no matter good or bad – that is irrelevant here – I am HERE, being, alive, having a chance to experience, to choose, to create, to walk the Path, to act – that is one of the things that gets me back on my feet. And when this happens in a low vibe state that I get into, it just makes me laugh at the circumstances at that point.

That’s when I remember, this too shall pass. Like, why am I even worrying or feeling bad. I am a soul having a human experience and I have chosen this all, my challenges are my steps up to higher realms, to a better version of me, if I choose, every single time, again and again, not to step into old patterns of behaviour , into victimhood, and to observe and learn from it. Whooh, this all makes me just so ecstatic! I can’t help it! Hahaha!

And Death, yes. I do have moments of getting into state of fear about my loved ones dying before me, yucks, but again, I have chosen my fears also to help me grow. I see Death only as a transformation; a change of state; change of Season. We live so shortly on this Earth, in this avatar, in this state, and yet we think this is all that matters and we keep living in fear of what happens after. I choose to believe that we are infinite Love; One; Consciousness – before, now and after.

And I would so recommend a book by Anita Moorjani about this subject. It’s called Dying To Be Me. It’s her first book that she wrote after having a death experience – I don’t want to call it near death, because she went on the other side and returned. It’s pretty amazing and inspiring. It is available on Amazon.

Stepping into motherhood

So, let’s talk – motherhood! Taa daa! (I laughed out loud when I wrote this, I don’t know why). That word, that experience, that life! Whoa! Momhood is a discipline for itself for every female out there, and for women like us who are self-aware and conscious, motherhood gets to a whole new level! Wouldn’t you agree? 

I agree. When You take it, as any other thing in life, with awareness and dedication it becomes an adventure, opportunity to make something better that will add more fun, meaning, purpose to Your Life.

It is not hard, it is not challenging it is natural and we are made for that. We just need to connect to that natural flow and enjoy it. Motherhood is a pleasure, honour that is awarding to both mother and a child and everyone around. 

Okay, this answer got me thinking about it the first moment I lay my eyes on it in my inbox. We as women, we as a society has been mislead into belief that being a mother is a sacrifice. How freaking wrong is that?

I respect every woman’s choice whether she wants to create life and take care of a child or not. But I just want to remind that it is so important that this decision, one or the other, comes from a place of Love, and not from fear or from the outside source. There is so much wisdom within that is available to us only if we take the time to dig in, only if we dare to reach. We, as women, also have a lot of healing to do.

And this also made me think about calling motherhood challenging – thank you for this perception shift! It is what it is, just like any other way of life. It is so very rewarding and such a catalyst for growth.

Wooh! I love this all. Okay, tell us a bit about your pregnancy. How was that for you? 

Pregnancy was complete bliss. Such a powerful state of surrendering to the Higher forces of Mother Nature and feminine, creative powers that are in all of us, and in everything that is alive on this beautiful Planet. Everything that is alive was once born, and went through the process of pregnancy and delivery. I was enjoying in every stage. Shedding all that was standing on the way of me being blissful and relaxed and open to receive. I felt guided and supported inside out. 

You saying this just made my pregnancy easier. Let me explain. Have you ever heard of how we heal our whole lineage when we heal ourselves? For example, when you choose to step up for yourself or find your voice even if your mother didn’t, and her mother didn’t make it either, you heal the wounds of your ancestor females.

No matter how strange it sounds, in this Multidimensional Universe, there is no time, really, it is only our perception. So, from this perspective, if you choose not to do the same steps as your progenitrix did that held them back, you give them space and permission to do that, no matter they don’t exist in this life anymore. So, thank you for doing all that you do. It doesn’t matter that we are not blood related, sisterhood is awesome.

Experiencing home birth

Let’s move on. That tea might be cooling down.  So, very uncommon for our region, you had a home birth. That was such a big dream for me and as I was going to have a hospital birth I remember secretly dreaming and hoping I could somehow pull off staying at home till the very last moment of my labor so I don’t have time to actually go to the hospital and give birth at home, but I knew it wasn’t a good idea doing it unprepared and without a support, especially with such a bad echo that stays behind most of the birth stories in our country. How did you decide to have a home birth?

Its natural. I just decided to follow that as well as have trust in my own powers, body, my baby. We don’t need anyone or anything to deliver babies. We are designed for that as women, and more we become aware of it – we will not give our power to others anymore. We have to realise that it is us, together with higher powers of this Universe, that is a benevolent force, full of love and magic, who are running this game, and are capable, brave, open and ready to embrace such an amazing gift as a child birth.

There is no bigger honour than to create, give Life in this Universe. So we should appreciate ourselves more, love our bodies more, listen to our inner wisdom and power as women. We should take back the birthing process, or labor, whatever You want to call it – because it is our birthright and mission in the Cosmic plan. It is not painful, messy, terrible experience but orgasmic initiation into the superpowers of becoming a woman and a mother.

Our bodies are beautiful nurturing transformative channels that become more powerful, beautiful, sensual and strong after the whole process of pregnancy and birth. Its humiliating and almost barbaric to be constantly pushed to look at the stretch marks, kilograms, cellulite, sogginess of breastfeeding breasts as many other shaming programs that are making us feel embarrassed that we gave birth. It’s like we have to hide it or fix it as soon as possible. It should be totally opposite. We should be celebrated as walking Goddesses and feel proud of taking part in such a powerful event. 

Oh, girl, you are so right, and this subject is deep! We should make a workshop (or something) to remind and empower women about it. I could talk about it for an hour now, but let’s continue. There is more juiciness coming up.

I’ve heard the story before and I am so happy and proud of you, almost like I did it myself. I feel like you did it for all women who had and idea about it but didn’t find support or resources to pull it through. How did you prepare yourself for your home birth and how did it all go? Can you describe the whole process and how you went through with it since it is an emotional journey as well, besides physical? 

I was reading Michel Odent’s book about orgasmic birth and immediately felt that I am ready for that kind of experience. I stopped listening or reading any other birthing stories (occasionally only positive / ecstatic ones). My amazing partner supported me all the way, read the book and was totally aligned with my decision.

It was like continuous lovemaking with the climax in the home birth/arriving of a magical soul, our baby. As great love has finally materialised . Because my pregnancy was so easy and healthy, which happens when You feel ready, healthy, full of trust in Your own body, Self and Partner, there wasn’t any doubt that something can go wrong.

I also had a fantastic midwife, Ursula Walch, specialised for the home births who told me that every cat knows how to give birth – so I can just imagine what a woman can do! We were a team of four; me, my partner, midwife, and doula. The midwife was coming from Austria/Graz. I called her when I felt the first contraction and she came in two hours together with a doula.

We spent 36 hours in our apartment waiting for our little prince to arrive. It was the most intense, funkiest, emotional, physical, spiritual experience ever. I had one burst of anger or better to say uncomfortable situation that lasted a few minutes and was because of the thoughts running through my head that were connected with fear. Thanks to autohypnosis training and loving, super present partner it was over so quickly.

Before and after that I was laughing, dancing, eating amazing Italian food made by dear friends, restaurant owners, getting massages, hot showers, and even one hour of sleep/rest! I also had a few orgasms in the process that were so enjoyable and unexpected.

The last phase was the best. I felt a deep connection with my baby, and overwhelming love mixed with a silent agreement that now it’s his time to be born. I was telling him that he is safe, and we are going to do it. We did it together, after I took off my clothes, drank two sips of masala chai and smoked two drags of a rolled tobacco cigarette of my partner.

Confidently stepped into our bathroom, grabbed the sink, squatted and in few contractions – ta daaaa! There he was, beautiful, peaceful, long, amazing baby that was not crying but making some sound like; ek ek ek ek for a few minutes like he is talking to all of us. There was a moment when he looked at each one of us and made contact.

My partner was the first to catch him because the midwife told him that he can, we were all crying and laughing at the same time. There was so much love, gratitude, excitement, grace, humbleness, and awe in those first moments/minutes of Fenix Kiaan entrance into this dimension. I will never forget it. It was a celebration!

The midwife checked the baby, I took a shower, came into bed, doula placed him on my breast and we were waiting for my parents to come to see him. They live in the same building so they saw him 40 minutes after he was born. It was life-changing experience for all of us and a time of deep connection on all levels.

Jelena, thank you so much for sharing this beautiful, intimate and kind of out-of-this-world experience, for there has been put a curtain between a woman and her vulva/vagina/womb in these last centuries. I am so glad we are taking it off. Thank you for being you, again and again, and inspiring others to step into their own superpowers.

Since you became a mother yourself in spring 2019. to a little bundle of love, light and joy with some sleepless and sexless (if that’s even a word) nights, I would like to hear your story about the transformation that was inevitable. What has motherhood brought into your life, into the new you? How do you feel it has changed you so far, in the very beginning of this new path?

We did have a practice of 40 days postpartum care that includes not stepping out into the outer world, staying in with the baby, nurturing the new mother with special food, warm environment (it was a tropical feeling inside the apartment, we were walking naked!). Me always in socks drinking only hot teas, soups and bathing in herbal baths, doing sitz baths a lot to help the perineum recover (it wasn’t cut or broken though).

I was not sharing my new experience with anyone but the closest people that were coming to help us clean and cook. We were so high on love hormones that we haven’t had time to think about sexlessness  also sleep deprivation is something that makes you think only about sleeping! That’s the only thing I still can’t get used to. 

So motherhood, except turning me into a sleepwalker! – made me more soft, more myself, more present, conscious. I am showing up more in my life and am very alert with what I am thinking, how I am feeling, doing all that I can to get my shit together. It’s not always easy, but it’s so important and real. I feel expanded, inspired, fragile and strong at the same time.

It’s so important to be supported by Your partner, and all the people that You feel like a community. They hold a space for momma and baby. And to have a chance to spend time with him both, equally, with all our time and attention is a real blessing. So he is getting all the best from both parents. That’s why I started called parenthood a sacred practice. 

This is also amazing, how you took seriously your first forty days. I was alone in this whole time and prepared myself as much as I could for this, but I do feel I should have found help. I love myself for how strong and dedicated I was at the time and choosing the less painful option of what was available for me at the moment. I’m very proud of myself.

A vision of motherhood unfolding

If you could look back retroactively, how has your vision of motherhood changed throughout the years, in your 20s, 30s and now in your 40s? 

Before I was feeling like the baby will take something from me, now I am aware that it is giving me so much it’s unexplainable. I have more space for all of it, patience and some deeper understanding. There were patterns and core beliefs around motherhood that were passed onto generations. I had to get rid of it to come to my own feelings and inner truths about it.

A lot of my women in the family didn’t enjoy motherhood, and that created dysfunctional relationships between, mostly, mothers and daughters. I am glad that I gave birth to a baby boy although I would be a good momma to a girl if she came first because of all the inner work that I’ve done. But it’s a good feeling to break the cycle!  

Life and Death merging

Life has a strange way of challenging and empowering or teaching if I may say so. Just short after becoming a mother, you have lost your own mother. How did this affect you? How was and still is your grieving process in a period of cherishing a life that has only just begun?

Since connection to mother is the strongest connection one can experience I believe, no matter what is the relationship between mother and child, good or bad. It goes way beyond physical and it has invisible threads that influence us greatly throughout our entire lifetime and beyond. Share your thoughts and experience on this.

Ufff – big topic. My mom was my greatest teacher. Biggest pain and biggest love. A very intense relationship that formed me in so many ways; good and bad. I wouldn’t say that what I feel now is grieving – more an empty space because she is not physically present. In my heart I know she is in a blissful state now, she returned home to her Higher Self. For the first time in my life, she could become my guidance and support and all the things I was craving for when she was alive and were not happening.

A strange sense of freedom opened for me after she transitioned. Like she took away all the negative energies, her own trauma and not healed parts so I could be free. She was constantly worrying about me and that was one of the reasons I felt burdened with some strange, frozen, heavy energies that were not allowing me to be fully who I am. As a parent now I know what is not good for my child, and I can be thankful for her teachings about it.

There is something magnificent about death, something so peaceful and full of grace. The energy released after was full of love and understanding that my mom, as a very powerful, successful woman, was helping hundreds of people who started giving that energy back to us as a family. She was an amazing human, deeply moral and strong in her commitment, convictions, and service. She was the most humble and true politician that was working for the community and good of all people. The thing that all the world leaders should do.

I am very proud of her and will take that legacy onwards. To my own life and the life of my son. He really had a fantastic grandmother. I will take care of passing the right stories about her and use her wisdom in my own life. I loved her with all my heart and I know now that she was feeling the same. So all in all – Love won. Love is always the soul-lution and greatest force in the Universe. 

Thank you so much, again, for sharing this. I’m sure this will open some new possibilities and heart spaces for many reading this as it has for me.

In what kind of mother would you like to develop yourself in? What do you wish for your future self?

I want to hold a space for my little one to unfold completely. To become what he came here to be/do. That means I will be his guardian, support, full of unconditional love and understanding. I am learning from him every day and letting emotional alignment take the biggest place in our relationship. I will create opportunities for him to grow, to explore, to expand and perceive life as a gift.

With the way he was born it already happened in so many ways. The base is built now and we will see what is going to come, day by day. From now to now. No pressure, no plans. I wish complete coming out of the closet, living my life fully as myself, doing the things I really feel I am here to do, create, materialise and shift to the next level. I am a lover of life and I want to live it and share it as long as I am here. Not only with my child but with my fellow humans family.

You’ve said to me how You felt that it would be great for me to start something completely new, and I’ve heard You. So now it’s happening. What will become out of it – You will be the first one to know. I promise ;).

Thank You for these amazing deep complex questions, and for being in my life as a soul sister and a creative ally. I appreciate our connection deeply and truly. I am writing these answers in such a beautiful, amazing place, surrounded by nature and the magical presence of Divine. That’s why I probably wrote some things I would never even think of!

Channeling the Truth, Beauty, Love, and Light. 

Waaaaah, goosebumps! Thank you! I am so full of gratefulness today writing and editing this conversation! Good things are coming our way, I can sense it, I have sensed it before.

Brainstorming to the end

Only a couple more of brainstormers, for the fun of it. As a foodie, what’s your favorite childhood dish – your grandma’s or mum’s baked or cooked goodie?

Granny’s ‘sponge cake’ (I’m not finding an English version for a slight, spongy batter full of organic eggs and with some butter of milk/yogurt) with her homemade apricot jam! Total comfort food and part of my beautiful morning childhood routines – cartoons & barley coffee with fresh milk included! (Today I am drinking barley coffee with almond or oat milk). Wild strawberries Pavlova – mum’s beautiful creation; total elegance mixed with exquisite taste & chic presentation! Birthday bestseller  

Omg, Pavlova! Wild strawberries! Oh, man. Talking about cravings right now in my pre-menstrual state. What is your fav ever dish now? And what’s your Man’s favorite cooking of yours?

My favorite are Strawberry Rhubarb pie and Black pasta with Salmon & Fennel.

My man’s; least favorite; My brain – he said (ah, that Indian wit). Everything I cook, especially my risottos & pastas! Tiramisu! 

What is your secret ingredient?

Improvisation. Flow. Creating something from nothing. Loving food/ceremonial nature of it/nurturing and including of all senses! 

I love this. Recommend a book – a must-read for every woman that wants to get closer to herself. 

Michel Odent; The Functions of the Orgasms – The Highways to Transcendence. No matter if You are pregnant or not/You want kids or not – its a Bible that shows how magnificent we, women, are & what we are capable to create! 

I’ve heard of that one before and I’m making my way to it!

Give us some music inspo – first thing that comes to mind and I’ll put the link below.

Ane Brun – To Let Myself Go.

Jelena, thank you once more for doing this and for taking a part in healing, expanding and overall growing of womankind. What we do is so very important, and if you ever again doubt in anything, come back to this article and read it top to bottom. Thank you for sharing these beautiful, intimate images we have created together, and for all the wisdom and inspiration you are constantly sharing.

I’m sending Light and Love to you, and to you my dear guest, who have just read this article to the very end.

This was created out of pure love, those questions came to me from the inside of my belly and that is the place I invite you to visit on daily basis. 

That is the place where your wisdom lies, this is the root of all that is, of all the knowledge that has been transmitted to you from your female ancestors, this is the way they all communicate with you, through you. And I’m just having tears of gratitude, magic, and power in my eyes right now, listening to this song and writing this.

We as women, we as a collective, are here to heal ourselves, to heal our planet, to help our Men find a way of supporting us if they have forgotten it as well along the way. I know this may sound as much of work, and as much of burden on our shoulders, but with the right mentors and so many free resources, today it is easier than ever! It is there, available, all we have to to do is reach out. 

Now is the time to stand up for ourselves and to stand in our full power, to create life and magic out of our wombs – and I don’t mean only children. It is up to you.

I hope you enjoyed this – well, almost a novel here – I hope it has brought value to your life and that you will be continuing being a badass creature, a powerhouse that you are.