A Moment of Perfect Peace

Crescent_Moon_(2558144570)

“Spirituality is not to be learned by flight from the world, or by running away from things, or by turning solitary and going apart from the world. Rather, we must learn an inner solitude wherever or with whomsoever we may be. We must learn to penetrate things and find God there.”
― Meister Eckhart

Very late yesterday afternoon I had a sudden urge to go and water my vegetable garden.

It had been a difficult day, after a series of difficult days. I’ve been in tremendous pain from my current lyme medications, and doing my best to just simply sit with that pain. I’m not fighting my pain. I’m merely breathing and being aware of the pain within my body. The pain is so intense that normal functioning is a challenge. Instead I have given in to what is. I am riding each wave until I am thrown up onto the shore once more.

It’s been an enlightening journey, and when I have the words I’ll share some of that journey with you.

But for now I am tired, after so many days of so little sleep. So let me instead tell you about watering the garden.

It was late afternoon. You know, that soft afternoon light, just before dusk comes creeping over the horizon. I uncoiled the garden hose, turned on the tap and walked down the hill to my raised vegetable beds. My feet were on the bare earth, and the grass beneath them was soft and cool. The air was filled with the song of frogs and cicadas, and the last of the birds. Mr Grunty, our resident male koala, was grunting and barking and being noisy from his spot high in the gum tree just outside the home paddock fence.

A bat flipped past, so low that I could hear the flap of its leathery wings.

All this time I am wracked with pain. My face is contorted and I can’t see out of one eye. My ears pound, and my bones are on fire. Every so often my nerves jangle as though I have been tasered.

I am standing in the garden in agony, tears streaming down my face, trying to hold the hose steady on my young plants. I wonder for a moment why I have bothered to drag myself out here at all.

The air becomes scented with mint and nasturtium. I can smell the fragrant sun-warmed tomato foliage as the water hits it, scattering cool drops onto the mulch beneath.

Image from Goodness Is

Image from Goodness Is

Above me, a crescent moon has risen. Almost directly above the old hoop pine that shelters our little farmhouse.

In that moment, hose in my hands, feet in the grass, sounds of the close of day, moon above my head, body on fire, ragged breath, head full of pain, a great peace descends upon me.

A peace so profound, a connection so complete, that more tears spill. The pain is still there. Nothing about my physicality has changed at all. But beyond that, encompassing all of that – all of me, is a wonder and awe at the beauty and grace of this universe, and of my place within it.

My pain doesn’t matter. My illness becomes irrelevant. They are merely what’s happening to me at this moment. My soul, connected to everything and everyone, is always at peace. Even in great pain. Even when it feels like my world is undone.

The knowledge fills me up. The truth seeps into my very cells.

I carry that peace back into the house, and it quietens my mind. The pain is still there. But now there is also this other presence. This great comfort.

I feel like I have touched the face of God.

Or perhaps, God touched my face.

Or it was all the same thing…

And that presence is still here with me.

All of it, every breath, every moment, is love.

The Golden Light  by bnilesh

The Golden Light by bnilesh

 

And then the Storm…

Image from  Japan's Bureau of Meteorology

Image from Japan’s Bureau of Meteorology

“Another secret of the universe: Sometimes pain was like a storm that came out of nowhere. The clearest summer could end in a downpour. Could end in lightning and thunder.”
~ Benjamin Alire Sáenz

 

Sunday was Drug Number Four Day in my current Lyme medication regime. Today is, too. Ever the optimist, I had told myself that this week would be better.

Wrong.

It’s worse.

The Universe is throwing all kind of weather at me, and then some. It’s an every-flavour storm.

There’s a grim kind of humour in that, though, don’t you think?

I’m so side-swiped by pain that I’ve stopped crying and started laughing.

There’s no point cowering in a corner. I’ll meet this thing head on. Today’s glorious experiment? I shall turn pain into some kind of good. I feel so fiercely alive, so bright with the charge of this corrosive force, that I might as well channel it into something.

I’ll keep you posted as to how I go.

 

A Very Good Day!

Bert

“I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.”
~ Audrey Hepburn

 

What a wonderful weekend it has turned out to be. Good friends have come to stay at our little farm. Yesterday we laughed, and played in the garden with the dogs, and made dinner together, and stayed up talking. Our two dogs, Harry and Bert, are overjoyed to have children here who don’t tire of throwing sticks or going on long rambling adventures

On another exciting note, Ben brought me home a magical blue Triceratops dinosaur.

2014-09-26 08.48.49

He’s the kind of dinosaur who can fight off bad dreams while doubling as a pillow. Right now, I think that’s the best kind of dinosaur of all. Here’s another jaunty pic of him bringing home the groceries.

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Today is Drug Number Four day for me again, but I’m going to delay taking it until this afternoon. That way I can enjoy a morning of feeling relatively okay. We’ll visit the Bangalow Sunday Markets, have some lunch on the veranda and do a tour of the farm before  our lovely friends head back to the city, and I do battle with lyme once more, on this latest regime.

Last night our friends urged me to take photographs of dinner for my blog. I protested that there wasn’t a recipe worth blogging. Barbequed steak and sausages, local new potatoes in their jackets, a big salad and green beans from the garden. It’s just food I said. Anyone can make that.

So I’ve decided to share a photograph of the last time we had dinner at their place. Homemade lasagne! It was incredibly yummy. That’s Hannah, Mitchell and Milo in the photo, with their mum’s outstandingly good lasagne. I promise to get the recipe for you!

lasagne

What It Means To Be There For Someone

“There is a primal reassurance in being touched, in knowing that someone else, someone close to you, wants to be touching you. There is a bone-deep security that goes with the brush of a human hand, a silent, reflex-level affirmation that someone is near, that someone cares.”
~ Jim Butcher

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all
of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
~ Leo Buscaglia

 

A good friend of mine recently went to hospital for some scans. She’d had pain, and nothing had really helped. It was time to investigate more thoroughly.

To her surprise, and that of her husband, she was kept at the hospital, and was required to do more scans. After which she waited. An age of waiting after a long day of work. All they wanted to do was go home and have dinner. As time slipped away, as it became later and later, they worried about their dog, left alone in the dark.

The first scan uncovered a problem for which no-one had been looking. That problem created a flurry of interest, scans and doctors. Finally, late at night, my friend was sent home.

She made her husband promise not to tell anyone.

But when Ben and I bumped into her husband last Sunday morning I could see he was barely holding things together. I coaxed it out of him. And then rang my friend and arranged to have coffee. Our coffee date ended up being the morning I was floored with pain and misery from my new drugs. Still, something in me made me drag myself out of bed and dress. I told myself it was okay. I had a day off. I could soon go back to bed and rest again. My husband drove me the few blocks to where we would meet. The four of us, her and her husband, me and Ben, found a quiet table and sat down together.

At coffee I inquired about the hospital visit. One thing I’ve learned from so many years of illness, is that it helps to talk about it, and to share the secret fears in your heart. At first my friend was furious, especially with her fraught and guilty husband, but then I couldn’t shut her up. She’d needed to talk to someone, and her husband wasn’t coping. He didn’t want to talk about it. So they hadn’t. This big, life threatening, life changing thing simply hung unspoken between them like a black cloud of doom.

tobysestate3

Image from Chic Voyage

Just as we were leaving, my friend mentioned that she was going to see a surgeon the next day. I assumed she would be going with her husband. But no. As he sat with us he made every excuse not to go with her. She was going alone. She made excuses for her husband too. But I felt her distress.

As I lay in bed later that day, completely wrecked from my new lyme meds, my wise PA sent me a message to let me know she’d cancelled all of my remaining appointments for the week. Ben looked at me thoughtfully. Maybe you should call your friend, he said. Let her know you’ll be free to go with her if she needs some support.

I was sure she’d say no. That her husband would have come around.

She texted me straight back. Please, if it’s not too much trouble, she said. Please come.

So the next day, I did. I was too ill to drive her, but I helped her navigate there and find the right rooms. I held her hand in the waiting room and distracted her with endless chatter as the surgeon ran overtime with someone else and we waited, and waited.

In the appointment I watched my normally composed friend ramble mindlessly, in a complete panic. The kindly surgeon let her go until she finally ran out of words. I’d jotted her key medical history points in my diary, and I prompted her to go over them with him. He asked more questions, and briefly examined her.

Her films went up onto a lightbox, and then we all saw the monster in the room. A five centimetre aneurysm just above her aorta.

The room went quiet.

I held her hand. A silent language flowed between us.

The doctor discussed strategies and made phone calls. I made notes of it all in my diary. My friend needs more tests, and then complex surgery. In the meantime she must live quietly. No stress. Just quiet.

We drove home, knowing at last a little more of what might happen next. On the way we stopped into see her husband, and used my notes to let him know what was going on. I’m so glad I took those notes. My poor friend could barely remember anything that had been said.

That night I summarised the notes into bullet points and emailed them to her. So she’d be clear. So there would be one less thing to worry over.

In too many ways there is little I can do for my friend right now. But I know that my being there helped. When life gets hard it is so much easier with a friend at your side. I’ll keep calling her. Meeting for coffee. Holding her hand. Being there for her, and her husband. This journey won’t be an easy one, or a quick one. Long haul situations call for long haul friendship. After others have lost interest, or forgotten, she’ll still need support. Someone who can ask her how she is, and truly listen. Someone who cares.

We’re all on this wild crazy ride together. Sometimes we need to have someone there for us. Sometimes it’s our turn to be the one there for another.

It might not seem like much, to share the journey rather than being the one riding in on the white horse, ready to fix everything and save the day.

But as someone who has been at the receiving end of messages of support, of having a friend visit or call when I’ve been at my lowest, and having someone hold my hand through tough news, I can tell you that it helps. Sometimes it’s the only thing that does.

Image from ARE Inc

Image from ARE Inc

 

Breathing Through The Pain #LymeWarrior

A Breath of Freedom by Iladya Portakaloglu

A Breath of Freedom by Iladya Portakaloglu

“Your breathing should flow gracefully, like a river, like a watersnake crossing the water, and not like a chain of rugged mountains or the gallop of a horse. To master our breath is to be in control of our bodies and minds. Each time we find ourselves dispersed and find it difficult to gain control of ourselves by different means, the method of watching the breath should always be used.”
~ Thích Nhất Hạnh, The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation

 

Pain and I enjoyed a pretty intense relationship when I began my treatment for late stage Lyme disease at the beginning of 2013. My regime, which will last a minimum of three years, involves intense rotational use of various combinations of antibiotics, as well as diet, herbs and a myriad of other support tools. It’s a long road I’m walking, in order to regain wellness.

Recently, things have settled down a little. I’ve had more energy. I’ve been sleeping better. Pain has become an occasional thing rather than a stealer of breath and life-force. I’ve finally begun to feel good on my current meds combo.

That is, of course, until I brought in Drug Number Four.

I’ve slowly built up the intensity of three other kinds of antibiotic, anti-malarial and anti-bacterial that are the drugs on my current rotation. This combination was brutal to begin with, but I’ve reached the stage where I am now handling them well. Part of my treatment plan is to then bring in this fourth drug. It’s one I took earlier this year. It gave me fabulous longer term results, but it created a firestorm within my body while I was on it.

I’d been dreading bringing it back in. But of course I kept up this optimistic patter with myself, “You’ll be right, Nic. It will be heaps easier this time. It’ll be nothing like the last round.” I delayed taking the drugs too, because I wanted to be my best self for my recent retreat. So I took my first tablets on Sunday, seemingly without incident. I worked Monday, took all my drugs and didn’t skip a beat.

Then it hit me. About six pm on Monday night.

Oh God, I’d forgotten how intense the pain could be. That I would feel like I was dying all over again. That it would take all I had to bring my ragged breath back to some semblance of calm. Over, and over, and over again. All day. All night. Without cessation.

Quote from BullyVille

Quote from BullyVille

The good news? I’ll only need to take these drugs two days out of seven. It will get easier. It always does. Eventually. So, I’m breathing, and counting hours and minutes and moments.

I know, from previous experience, that the pain won’t kill me. That knowledge is my secret strength. I can endure this. One day, the pain will end, and I will be stronger, closer to healed, and I’ll have learned more about myself and the world.

It’s Friday today. I managed a few hours sleep last night. Today I’m a little better. Stronger. More determined. Sunday I’ll go Round Two with these drugs. Hopefully next week will be better than this week has been.

But it doesn’t matter. I’ll breathe my way through it. I’m in the killing zone. The bacteria that have made my life a misery are dying, so they can kick and scream all they want on their way out – just as long as they go.

I have things to do. Places to be. Trails to walk. Books to write. A husband who has his whole life on hold while I heal. So I’ll keep staring these squirmy little suckers in the eye until they back down.

Just watch me!

Image from Quoteko.com

Image from Quoteko.com

 

Rewarding Yourself Is A Good Thing

“The reward of a work is to have produced it; the reward of effort is to have grown by it.”
~ Antonin Sertillanges, The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods

“To celebrate the production of the work and the personal growth created by the effort is a wonderful thing. Stopping to mark a personal achievement can be a defining and cherished moment, and yet it is a moment so often wasted in our hurry to get to the next goal.” ~ Nicole Cody

 

Many of my clients are high achievers. But many of them have something in common which makes me feel quite sad:

They never stop to celebrate their achievements!

I don’t just encourage celebrating when you achieve a goal. I actively encourage you to choose a future reward as you are starting out – something that you will gift yourself in return for completing that goal – so that the way you celebrate your achievement also becomes a motivating force to help you get there.

Sometimes, having a reason to do something helps you to actually get that thing done.

Image from Pinterest

Image from Pinterest

Celebration creates an attitude of gratitude and puts your awareness on what is good in your life.

Choosing an event or reward for the completion of some activity into the future acts like dangling a delicious carrot in front of you. It will help keep you motivated on the hard days and the dark days.

Completing the event or reaching the milestone and then celebrating with your chosen reward reinforces the behaviour of striving and working consistently toward your goal. And of course, the act of reward or celebration helps you to sit and absorb the moment. It allows you to acknowledge to yourself ‘Hey, I did that!’.

Think about what’s happening in your life right now. Is there anything you’re working towards? How are you going to reward yourself when you get there?

It might be something you need to get done today. Maybe you’ll treat yourself to a walk in the park, or a coffee at your favourite cafe afterward.

Maybe it’s something bigger. Completing study. Retiring. Achieving a fitness or health goal. Paying off the house or credit card. Finishing a book you’ve been writing. Holding an exhibition. Finishing chemotherapy. Getting five years of bookwork and taxes up to date. The kids finally leaving home.

Image from photobucket

Image from photobucket

Perhaps it’s time to start something.

No matter, what it is, and whether the idea or project is in its infancy, or whether you’re midway there, think about how you could celebrate the completion point. Choose something that excites you.

At my encouragement, a friend of mine recently celebrated completing her PhD with a trip to Venice. When she committed to her PhD Carol was only part way through an undergraduate degree which she was doing at night by correspondence while she cleaned houses for a living to support her children. The whole time she was studying Carol squirreled spare cash away, had garage sales and sold things on ebay to add to the money that would pay for her trip. Most of Carol’s money went on rent and looking after the kids. Her Venice fund was a jar of dollar coins and silver. But it was her dream too. So she kept feeding that dream. Venice and doctorate went hand in hand after a while, and all her family and friends knew about her plans. Many of us gifted her funds towards the trip at her graduations.

Achieving the PhD was a huge thing for Carol. She was the first of her family to finish school, or to go on to university. She studied after her marriage broke up, and while she raised three kids as a single mum. By the time she was doing her PhD her kids were at university too.

She sent me a beautiful email from Venice. Here’s some of what she said, below:

“For the first time in my life I am acknowledging what an enormous effort all of this has been. Because, you know, at the start, part of me thought that achieving my PhD and going in Venice was some kind of fantasy, the sort of thing that only happened to other people, and not to Carol from Woodridge.

As I toured the canals in my Gondola today, I realised how far I’d come, and how many sacrifices I have made, this housewife from Australia who now has a doctorate and a future. Nic, this is also the first time I have ever done anything for me. Until now, it’s all been for my kids, and I wouldn’t change any of that, none at all. But to sit here, in Venice, drinking wine and eating pasta, filling myself up with the beauty and the history, well, it makes me realise that I matter too. My life and my dreams matter as much as my children’s. I am proud that I am also finally taking care of me. I’ve changed my own life.”

 

Image from  Lucky Trips

Image from Lucky Trips

How about you? What goal can you work towards? What reward can you choose for yourself? Maybe it will change your life too.

Bless xx

PS: I’ll share my crazy dream and reward with you. I’ve decided to walk the Camino with my husband in 2016, after recovering from Lyme disease and finally reclaiming my health. I intend to walk 800km, drink wine with my meals, be in my body and celebrate living! The walk will be my reward for wellness. Right now, as a girl who has spent the last four years mostly bed ridden, it is indeed a crazy dream. To be well. To walk so far. But hey, what a great reward. I already have money in a tin – the beginning of my savings – and a guidebook!

Will You Join Us for the 2014 Soul Sanctuary Retreat?

Image from lockerdome

Image from lockerdome

“When we pay attention, whatever we are doing – whether it be cooking or cleaning or making love – is transformed and becomes part of our spiritual path. We begin to notice details and textures that we never noticed before; everyday life becomes clearer, sharper and at the same time more spacious.” ~ R. Fields

 

I’m holding a residential retreat from November 29 to December 5, in beautiful Byron Bay. It’s a perfect way to see out the energies of 2014, and prepare for 2015. Perhaps you’d like to join us?

The Soul Sanctuary Retreat is for women only.  A safe space for us to come together, to step into our powerful feminine energy and sisterhood. It’s a week of pamper, nurture and time for yourself. A perfect opportunity for you to rest and rejuvenate, indulge in some self-care and make the focus all about YOU!

2015 is almost here. It will be a year for building solid foundations, new patterns of behaviour and engaging, and truly living from our heart’s truth. This retreat is designed to help you get ready for that energy, so that you can truly make the most of the year ahead.

Highlights of this week-long retreat:

  • We will learn some simple meditation techniques to calm us, centre us and clear us.
  • We will give ourselves space to relax and renew.
  • We will identify our hidden (or not so hidden) addictions, so that we can address them and create a plan for moving back towards balance.
  • We will explore where we sabotage ourselves and what positive behaviours we can practice instead of the old ways that no longer serve us.
  • We will discover how to connect with, and utilise our internal energetic compass.
  • We will learn how to use the Universal Ordering System to bring ourselves back into flow and abundance.
  • We will examine shame and how it steals our power and keeps us small and limited.
  • We will work with the Power of Forgiveness, which is a hugely transformative force for good in our lives.
  • We will discover or remember our Soul Passions; using some channeled wisdoms from Nicole and her Guides, some art therapy, some spiritual work and some journaling
  • We will work with our Guides and Ancestors, learning to connect into and listen to their wisdoms and insights.
  • We will learn about creating a Spiritual Foundation of practices that can guide us, soothe us and enlighten us.
  • We will create a group Earth Healing Mandala, an individual Heart Healing Mandala, and a very special Sacred Talisman Mandala to act as our personal Spirit Map for 2015.

 

There will also be plenty of restful time for naps, swims, contemplation, friendship and personal projects. There will be time for meditation, and lots of channeled goodness with Nicole’s beautiful team. There will be time for healing, journaling, relaxing, spiritual goodness and lots of yummy organic food, lovingly created by our own personal chef, the amazing Deb Preston.

On this retreat we will be working with the energies of the waning moon, which is perfect for developing a deeper understanding of ourselves, for inner work, for soul connection and spiritual guidance.

This gentle but powerful week will help you to truly bring the focus back to yourself, and to become clear about what is important in your life. Perhaps for the first time you will be able to see clearly what matters to you, and what has been holding you back. You’ll find ways to hear the whisperings of your own heart. What you find will enable you to create a path forward that has meaning and magic to it.

2014 has been such a big year, and the energies of 2015 are vastly different. Our retreat will enable you to move into the new year refreshed, clear and ready for what comes next.

I’m so excited about this course, and we still have a few places left.

If you’d like more information please contact Dana, my wonderful PA, at info@nicolecody.com or nicolecodyinfo@gmail.com

Or drop us a note below or on our facebook page and we’ll send the details through to you.

Lots of love :) Nicole xoxo