A Life Examined – On Memoir Writing

Image by Anna from flickr via Wikipedia

Image by Anna from flickr via Wikipedia

“Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.”
~ Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

“From the ages of 8-18, me and my family moved around a lot. Mostly we would just stretch, but occasionally one of us would actually get up to go to the fridge.”
~ Jarod Kintz

 

This past weekend, unexpectedly, I was holed up in bed recovering from a nasty infection. I’d planned a million things for my weekend, but ended up doing nothing much except thinking and reading.

I’m revising my memoir right now. It’s my One Big Thing for 2016 – to have it completed and submitted to an agent or publishing house.

I remember when I began this wretched tome. How hard can it be, I said to myself. Writing about yourself has to be easier than writing fiction. You already have the story line and all you need to do is put words on the page.

I thought I could knock it over in three months.

Be warned, my friends. That is delusional thinking. This is my third year of effort, on the back of a lifetime of diaries and scribblings and, more recently, blog posts. I have come to discover that memoir means agony. It means the constant overturning of stones under which you’d preferred not to look. It means stripping your own skin – at turns with a blunt butter knife or a cheese grater. It means scrubbing back the tidy stories we tell ourselves in order to come to a deeper truth.

This is my fifth draft, and finally I feel that I am getting somewhere.  I believe I am writing now with a voice closer to my own (rather than a story voice – in the way that some people have a phone voice), and distilling experiences into clean and beautiful elixirs or poisons, depending on the circumstances.

Sounds awful doesn’t it?

And yet…

Through the process of writing this memoir I have come to see my life more clearly and to know myself more deeply. I have crashed through limited thinking and found grace and compassion for myself and others. I have excised meanness and victim-thinking and blame from my pages and from my mind. I’ve healed old hurts. I’ve found me. I’ve learned to love me, flaws and all. I’ve learned to love others in ways I’d given up on as impossible.

I hope, one day soon, to be able to share my story with you. More importantly, I hope to encourage any of you seeking to use part of your own life for writing and self-examination. Memoir is soul work. Our own story, examined, is a great teacher. Through sharing our stories we connect, one to another.

Image from pinterest

Image from pinterest

 

10 Simple Ways To Honour Your Spirit

“We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.”
~ William James

 

Here are my favourite ways to honour your soul and to acknowledge and deepen spiritual connection and intuitive wisdom:

  1. Talk to the Divine/God/Your Guides/Ancestors/Angels/Fairies/Mother Earth – know that you are heard
  2. Spend time in nature – it’s good for the Soul
  3. Learn to meditate. Practice often!
  4. Live in the moment
  5. Be aware of your body, your breath, your thoughts, your actions
  6. Be brave – love deeply
  7. Treat yourself and others kindly and without judgement
  8. Make time for spiritual exploration – be creative and use what you’re drawn to
  9. Trust your intuition – it’s like a muscle; the more you use it the stronger it gets
  10. Love and approve of yourself as you are NOW

You’re in my thoughts, prayers and meditations. Know that you are loved.

Nicole <3 xoxo

An Afternoon with the Cows!

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“Cows are amongst the gentlest of breathing creatures; none show more passionate tenderness to their young when deprived of them; and, in short, I am not ashamed to profess a deep love for these quiet creatures.”   ~ Thomas de Quincey

 

Late yesterday afternoon, after I’d finally finished the last of my psychic readings for the day, we all piled into the old farm ute and drove down to the river flats to check the feed (for you city folk that means we went to see how much grass was left in the paddock). Pleasingly, the river paddock still holds plenty of grass, even though it has homed the mothers and their bubs all summer. It’s been a good season. Plenty of rain. Plenty of heat. The herd are fat and happy, and many of the cows are close to birthing our new drop of calves.

It was an absolute delight to sit on the ground while the dogs cavorted and ran backwards and forwards from the river, and to watch the herd quietly grazing. Cows are curious animals, and they all came over to say hello.

I love living here, being surrounded by nature and the calming qualities of our bovine friends.

And check Calvin the calf out. Isn’t he getting big? But still cute as a button!

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Mexican Beef, Bean and Eggplant Casserole

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“Casseroles are one-pot-wonders!” ~ Carla Hall

 

I love a good casserole, and this one will feed a crowd! This tasty casserole is a filling meal, especially with a side of vegetables or salad. It is gluten-free and low carb too for people who are following those ways of eating.

Any left-overs are terrific served with corn chips, and we’ve even used them in tacos and burritos, or as toasted sandwich fillings.

Ingredients

500g ground beef, two medium onions, 6 cloves of garlic, 1 red capsicum (bell pepper), 1 teaspoon Mexican Chilli powder (or to taste), 3 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 beef stock cube, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 2 cans of diced tomatoes, 1 tablespoon dark chocolate (optional but good! – see this recipe for why), 3 large eggplants (aubergines). salt, pepper, olive oil, grated cheese (minimum of one cup)

Vegetarian or vegan? Substitute 2 cans of brown lentils for the beef mince, and use a vegan cheese.

 

Method

Eggplant

Slice the eggplant into rounds, about 1cm thick. Sprinkle lightly with salt and leave for an hour for them to sweat. Pat down with a clean dish towel to remove the moisture. This will remove any bitterness. If you are using small eggplant you can omit this step.

NB: While the eggplant is sitting, make your mince sauce.

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Lightly brush or spray the eggplant slices with oil, and then grill or pan fry until browned on each side.

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Set aside. Try not to eat too many. :)

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Mince Recipe

Add a tablespoon of oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add in your chopped onions and cook until softened but not coloured. Then add the beef mince and brown well.

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Now add in the spices and garlic, stir well and cook for a minute or two until fragrant. Then add the kidney beans, Capsicum, tomato and tomato paste. Stir well.

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Simmer for twenty minutes and then add the dark chocolate, if using. Adjust seasoning to your taste. Set mince aside to cool slightly.

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Assemble the Casserole

Preheat your oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).

Grease a 20cm x 30 cm deep casserole or lasagne tray or use your own favourite dish. You could also make two smaller casseroles if you prefer!

Place a layer of eggplant along the bottom of the casserole and then cover with a layer of mince.

Place a second layer of eggplant and then more mince.

 

Top the casserole with the final eggplant slices and then spread grated cheese over the top.

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Bake in a moderate oven for 30 to 45 minutes or until heated through and top nicely browned.

Serve with salad, vegetables, rice, bread or corn chips.

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Babies In The Air – Fertility Alert!

“Babies and Other Hazards of Sex: How to Make a Tiny Person in Only 9 Months, with Tools You Probably Have around the Home.”
~ Dave Barry

 

Since late last year I’ve experienced an avalanche of my clients experiencing unplanned and unexpected pregnancies. Or pregnancy on the first round of fertilisation or implantation.

There’s something in the air…

It would be remiss of me if I didn’t give you the heads-up about this!

There are so many souls wanting to come through right now, and many of these soul are old souls and high vibration souls who are finding it easier to connect in the energy of this new era.

That’s fabulous news if you’re wanting to start or add to your family.

If you don’t, please be careful around your fertility and use birth control!

Don’t feel compelled to become pregnant either. If you don’t provide an opportunity for birth, that soul will move on and find opportunity somewhere else.

 

There are also many babies and young children in care whose souls are searching for the right forever family. Children can come to us in many ways. If you’ve ever thought about fostering or adoption, now is a great time.

How To Develop A Conscious Relationship With Money

“If your mind carries a heavy burden of past, you will experience more of the same. The past perpetuates itself through lack of presence. The quality of your consciousness at this moment is what shapes the future.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

 

If you were struggling to lose weight, you might be asked to keep a food diary. In that diary you would record what you ate and when, and your emotions at each meal or snack. The purpose of this would be for you to begin to develop mindfulness around your eating habits. Much of the way we live our lives is unconscious. We walk through each day on default patterns, running on habit and ingrained beliefs and behaviours.

Many of us treat money the same way that we treat food. We consume (buy) without thinking, we spend to make ourselves feel good, we ignore our money or treat it with disrespect, or perhaps we don’t really think about it at all.

Food is vital to life and to our health. Our choice of food and consumption levels directly affect our wellbeing. The flow of money in our life is also vital to the quality of our lives.

Money is simply energy that flows to you and from you. It has no value of its own – it holds only the value that you prescribe to it. If you have never actively thought about money and what it means to you, then you will run subconscious programs about the value of money based on your family’s beliefs or of other authority figures in your life.

So how do you become conscious in your relationship with money?

In the same way that a dieter may become aware of their relationship to food.

Image from The Living Room

Image from The Living Room

 

Whether you realise it or not, money and your spending and earning are actually extensions of yourself and your conscious or subconscious core values. When we give and receive money consciously, we become aligned with our innermost values and we can begin to develop a positive relationship with money. We also become aware of any subconscious patterns or beliefs that may be limiting us, or which are out of synch with our conscious beliefs.

As you move through your week, think about the following questions:

  1. What do I feel when I pay a bill, or receive one?
  2. Where do I spend my money? Do the products and services I buy sit well with my inner values?
  3. Do I know where I stand about the important things in life?
  4. Do I have a plan for my life and for my money?
  5. How does the work that I do and the money that I earn  make me feel?
  6. How do I feel about my bank balance?
  7. Do I understand money, and my personal financial position? How does that reflect my core values? What charities do I support?
  8. Am I comfortable to ask for money that I have earned or that is owed to me? Can I speak up about my worth? Does the money that flows to me reflect that worth?
  9. Do I think about my life priorities and are they reflected in my spending and earning plans?
  10. Do I take care of my needs before I take care of my wants?

 

Each time you spend or earn money this week, pause and reflect on the energy of money as it passes in and out of your life, how that makes you feel, and whether your money supports your conscious or unconscious beliefs.

Becoming aware of the patterns of money in your life allows you to consciously align your values around money, and to move in flow with this energy in your life. Money flows to you and from you. How do you want this to look? How do you want to affect the world around you with your money flow? Know that you have the power to change your relationship to money simply by aligning your values and thoughts.

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Meditation for Healing Your Relationship With Money

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.”  ~ Charles Dickens

“Many people take no care of their money till they come nearly to the end of it, and others do just the same with their time.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

Hello, February. Aren’t you pushing some big buttons around money and abundance! Money, lack of it, insecurity around creating it, fear of never having it or of losing it, money mismanagement, poor investment or business decisions, lack of customers, deals gone bad, inability to spend money on yourself, shopping addictions, worry over the ability to support yourself and pay your bills – I’ve had an inbox jammed with messages from people in financial distress or freak-out this month.

I’ve also had a slew of emails from people in deep resistance about all things financial as they work through the first Money Pages of my Year of ME Planner.

So it’s time we had the money talk, don’t you think?

We’re sitting at the dawn of a brand-new energetic era. This is an age of coming back into balance; of sitting in our authentic selves. In this era everything is quicker. More connected. More visible. What we focus on is what we will attract more of.

At the same time our old outmoded beliefs are being brought out into the light so we can identify and own them and move on to new ideas which serve us better. Our old stories around money are holding us back. Our family’s beliefs too. We can’t keep hiding from the things we are ignoring. If money is something you’ve never been comfortable with, now is a terrific time to make peace with your money triggers.

Image from jarofquotes.com

Image from jarofquotes.com

Many spiritual and creative people have an uncomfortable relationship with money, and yet money is a fundamental aspect of daily life. As we move into greater integrity it’s time to step up and create a life that is in alignment with our Soul’s purpose. We are being asked to call back and integrate all of the lost and broken and shamed parts of ourselves – including our beliefs and feelings around money.

Money is simply another form of energy. If we are out of flow in one area of our lives it affects all of the others, so it stands to reason that if we are out of synch in our relationship with money, our creativity, our heart’s calling (among so many other possibilities), our financial situation can be impacted and brought out of flow too.

When we find our flow and move into alignment with money, it becomes easier to feel positive about our relationship to money. Whatever our current financial position, it’s all still numbers, and numbers can be changed by bringing our awareness to them and then taking action.

I’ve prepared a short guided meditation to help you to bring your energy into alignment with money and abundance.

All you need to do is set about 14 minutes aside, and then sit or lie somewhere quietly and follow along to the sound of my voice.

Nicole Cody’s Guided Meditation for Money and Abundance

Tomorrow I’ll share some simple ideas for creating consciousness around money.

Hugs and love to you,

Nicole xx