Who’s your Support Crew in 2014?

Image of the Blue Angels Support Crew watching a flight formation - Wikimedia Commons

Image of the Blue Angels Support Crew watching a U.S. Navy diamond flight formation 1952 – Wikimedia Commons

“Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm, I get high with a little help from my friends
Mm, gonna try with a little help from my friends”

~ John Lennon and Paul McCartney

Few of us get there on our own. The journey is always made easier when we have support, no matter what that journey is. So my big question to you is this:

Who is YOUR support crew in 2014?

No matter what kind of year you’re in for, we all need friends and helpful people. People who can cheer us on, offer helpful advice, pick us up when we fall, do the things we need doing but cannot do for ourselves, lend their own kind of magic to ours for that beautiful effect that multiplies our success to be greater than the sum of the parts.

I know that most of you are a lot like me…

Sensitive souls, empaths, carers, healers, kind-hearted people – we are stunningly good at putting everyone else first, and being that support which others need – being a support person is just what we’re wired to do. And if we’d had rough patches in life we’ve become good at being resilient and self-sufficient too.

All of this means that we may not be so flash at asking for favours or putting our hand up for help.

This year I’m putting up my own hand and asking for help. I’m drawing to me the best support crew I can to get me through 2014. I’m also minimising my contact with the crazy-makers and relationships that drain or sabotage me and my direction. (Want help with toxic relationships? Click here!)

Mots of us already have a support network. We may even be putting energy into supporting THEM right now. The biggest issue for many of us is that we don’t ask, or have found ourselves in the habit of having the barriers up as we steam along in that solo kind of self-sufficiency mode. Or we just plain forget that these people are here for us to draw on.

Not all of our support crew will work for love. And that’s okay too. Hiring people to support us is a great act of self-love and affirmation of self-worth. We can also access this support through books, courses and audio files.

We all need a cheer squad, and sometimes we need more tangible help. The point is – we can’t do it all alone!!!

Image of this awesome supportcrew from the South East London Ladies Swimming Club

Image of this awesome support crew from the South East London Ladies Swimming Club

Right now I have my husband and my wonderful PA, Dana, creating firewalls and boundaries in my work and personal life.

My fridge is full of nurturing soup from kind friends. Others have offered to clean my house while I’m too unwell to do this for myself.

I may not be able to get out much, but my sister and a few friends are on speed dial. I have great neighbours, and a fabulous bunch of Soul Sisters from my mentoring groups and retreats. I have all of you, dear readers, lending your support and kindness.

My Sisters of the Pen are always there for online and ‘for reals’ conversation and support for writing and life. The Queensland Writers Centre is my go-to place for continuing development of my craft.

And beyond my emotional needs I have doctors, herbalists, accountants, a good lawyer, a web designer (Hi Tim!), dentist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, an online business mentoring group, lyme boards and forums, music, libraries, bookshops and the internet. I have the Farmers Markets and some wonderful local cafes. There’s also the yellow pages for when I need a plumber, a termite expert or a tree lopper.

Of course, none of these people will be any good to me if I don’t reach out and ask!

Image by maryam

Image by maryam

2014 is shaping up to be a big year, and it’s time to start thinking about who you need on your support crew.

To help you get a better picture of what that may look like I’ve created a simple journal exercise for you!

Journalling my Web of Support

Image from akmhcweb

Image from akmhcweb

Here are some simple questions for you to think about and journal. Don’t feel that you have to answer them all today, but DO give them thought over the next few weeks.

1. Who in my family can I draw on for support, guidance, laughs or to help me lift that heavy bookcase? Remember that it’s okay to include loved ones who’ve passed over. I talk to my grandparents all the time!

2. Which friends in my life (online as well as people I’ve met in person) are supportive of me, my interests and my ambitions?

3. What do I really need to get done this year that I keep putting off?

4. Do I really need to do this myself? Who can help me with this thing? What kind of support do I need for each of those goals or tasks? Do I know someone? Can I pay someone?

5. Who can help me with my health this year?

6. Who can help me with my finances and/or business?

7. Who can help me with my spirituality and soul questing?

8. Who can I laugh with?

9. Who can I cry with?

10. Who’ll cheer me on up that mountain?

11. Music, movies and other motivators that keep me feeling good about myself and on track?

12. Habits and actions I KNOW do me good and support my journey?

I hope in some small way that I can support you too, through my blog and my facebook page. Let’s make this our best year yet – together!

Lots and lots of love,

Nicole xoxo

Image from sevenquotes

Image from sevenquotes

Remembrance Day 2013

Image from Country Threads, design by Fiona Jude.

Image from Country Threads, design by Fiona Jude.

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” 
~ Thomas Campbell

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 the giant guns of the Western Front finally fell silent. An armistice was declared and the Great War of 1914 -1918 came to an end. 70 million people had been mobilised during the conflict and over 13 million souls were dead, at least one third of them with no known grave.

That moment in time became deeply significant, and on the first anniversary of the Armistice two minutes silence was observed at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month, to honour the fallen. November 11 became known as Armistice Day.

After World War Two the tradition continued, but the name was changed to Remembrance Day, to reflect the need to remember all wars.

Today we are asked to stop what we are doing at 11am, and observe a minute’s silence to honour those who have died or suffered in all wars and armed conflicts.

Will you join me today, November 11, at 11am, at that time when the guns fell silent? Will you bow your head and remember the dead and all who have suffered and known loss? Will you acknowledge the peace we enjoy, and the life that is ours?

And will you take a moment later to be grateful? For your life, for blue skies or rainy, for that cup of coffee or that meal, for laughter and freedom.

Lest We Forget.

Understanding Soul Groups

Family Tree by Normal Rockwell

Family Tree by Norman Rockwell

“Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong mere force is feebleness: the truth more first than sun, more last than star…” ~ E.E. Cummings

I have not seen the Orchard Man for months, but I was not surprised when he walked out of the rain and gloom the night before last.

There had been a thunderstorm after midnight, which woke me right towards its end. Apparently I had slept solidly through the storm’s worst. As the rest of our little family snuggled down to go back to sleep I crept out onto the back veranda, where I sat in my rocking chair, looking out over the gardens and the citrus orchard which span the hill behind our farmhouse.

I had sat there in the dark perhaps ten minutes when the Orchard Man came. He was dressed in long heavy pants and a thick checked shirt. In one hand he carried a lantern. He stopped just by the magnolia tree, less than ten feet away from me, seemingly unaffected by the downpour.

“Good Evening,” he said unexpectedly. His voice was warm and his accent vaguely Irish.

I was so surprised that I stopped rocking. The Orchard Man had never interacted with me before.

“My name is John,” he continued. “And this time here, I see you are Nicole.”

“Yes,” I said. “Yes, I am.” I was so bound up with excitement and curiosity I could barely get the words out.

“You’ve scant rememberings,” John smiled. “‘Tis how it should be. But you’re of the line. You know you carry the gifts.”

I nodded. A barn owl swooped down and landed nearby.

Barn Owl 016b

We both looked over to it. He cleared his throat.

“We’re known to each other, you see. Alice, who came to visit you and your sister; me, who came to follow Alice. We’re all soul kin. You’d be wanting to call us a Soul Group. We are each connected and we come through the line, together, or connected between this space and yours over and over through time and space.”

I felt it. I felt his words deep within me. I knew them to be true. And I felt something else, so sharp, so painful that my eyes pricked with tears. “I have no children, ” I said. “The line stops with me.”

“Aye. In the tree of this family the line stops with you. And it is as was planned, although you no longer remember. But that is not how a soul group works. We are threaded through the bloodlines of this wider family, and we will continue to reappear through the line as oft suits us. Younger souls, older souls – all helping each other, all growing and learning and becoming. Over and over again. Having no children in this life does not conclude the line, only this small branch of the tree.”

I couldn’t stop the tears that ran down my cheeks. I’d always thought that one day I would be a mother, and though I am resigned to it, part of me still aches that it will never be.

“You and I, we are gardeners tending the family line. We prune a branch here and there so that the tree may grow strong and true. There isn’t only this. We are eternal. You are eternal. We all endure. We all go on. And love, love binds us all. There’s no harm done in this line stopping here. It shall go on somewhere else in this vast old tree. We are always connected, and you are never, ever alone.”

Little Gardener - Image from CQMagOnline

Little Gardener – Image from CQMagOnline

I sniffled, and tried a smile. “Are you waiting for Alice?”

“Yes,” he smiled too, “but I was also waiting for you. It’s nearly your time, you see.”

I knew he didn’t mean dying. I can feel it too. This idea that something big is about to happen. I can feel it swelling within me, but I can’t put voice or shape to that thing yet.

I looked up and he was gone.

Another owl flew over and perched above me.

I will wait. And I will be patient. Because it’s coming, and that’s why I signed up for this life…

All is well.

We are never alone. And we are much loved. I know that with my whole heart.

Image by Erin Leigh

Image by Erin Leigh

The Owl and the Eagle

“Baby eagles can never soar under their family’s wing.”
~ Liu Yang

I woke yesterday morning to find a Powerful Owl sitting on the clothesline in the last shreds of darkness, feasting on something caught between its powerful talons. The owl paid me scant regard and finished his supper before flying up into the branches of the teak tree, where he has slept all day, in view of my writing desk.

I like that I can feel his presence. I like that he watches me. Our farm is home to many owls, and for me their arrival in so noticeable a way always signals that something is about to happen. Owls have a strong energetic connection to my maternal line, and to my psychic abilities. I spent most of the day wondering what I might be in for next – if perhaps Alice might pay me a visit, or the Orchard Man.

powerful owl

Late yesterday afternoon Ben and I drove down onto the river flats to check the fences and to discuss planting a summer forage crop. Bert and Harry came along for the ride, but for once seemed quite happy to stay in the back of the ute, where usually they would leap out and head straight for the river.

2013-10-25 16.56.02

Ben and I walked the flats, our eyes at our feet, looking at the clovers and improved pastures and contemplating whether we’d have a wet or a dry summer. Still the dogs stayed in the back of the ute, mesmerised by something. They both craned their necks, so we did too, and there was one of our breeding pair of Wedgetail eagles, soaring on the thermals just above our heads. He’s huge, this eagle, and his wife isn’t much smaller.

He landed in a tree near us, watching. I felt like his eyes were right on me.

wedgetail-fly-31web

Mr and Mrs Eagle built a massive platform nest last year and had their first clutch of chicks on our farm. Two eaglets made it to adulthood, and one of them still flies over our orchard from time to time. The other youngster has headed off to find their own patch of territory.

The eagle kept watching us as we drove the rest of the paddock, coming to a stop near the nesting area.

IMG_0732

His wife came out to see what we were doing, and then Mr Eagle swooped over us and home, some dinner between his claws. Their nest is so big that we could no longer see the birds, so we gave up and went down to the river for a swim before coming home to dinner.

As I sat in meditation last night a Barn Owl alighted in the Jacaranda. We exchanged glances as a a powerful swoosh-swooshing noise cut the air. The Powerful Owl sauntered past, flying between us just a few feet off the ground. He came to rest back on the clothesline again. Shivers ran down my spine and my arms came out in involuntary goosebumps, although the evening was mild.

I went to bed with that weird sensation of something about to happen.

And then my dreams were filled with all manner of craziness, culminating in me waking during a furious storm. I took myself outside to the back verandah where I could sit in the darkness and watch the rain and the blinking fairy lights in the poinciana tree.

So I was awake when the Orchard Man came.

But that’s a story for tomorrow…

Just a little bit tired…

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“I must be overtired’, Buttercup managed. ‘The excitement and all.’
‘Rest then’, her mother cautioned. ‘Terrible things can happen when you’re overtired. I was overtired the night your father proposed.” 
~ William Goldman, The Princess Bride

Harry and I are a little bit tired today, so we’ll keep this post short. We both had medical appointments in the city yesterday. Harry for an anaesthetic and an x-ray for his mouth to make sure it was healing well and me for bloods, brain and heart scans to see how my Lyme treatments are progressing.

Harry’s vet is very happy with his progress, and I’ll get my own results in a couple of days. Compared to this time last year I’m travelling well, so fingers crossed for good news.

This morning we’re finally heading home to the farm. Hooray. The ute is nearly packed, and all we have to do is climb aboard. Our plan is to nap while Ben drives and Bert barks at everything. We’re tired enough that we should sleep through all the excitement just fine! We’ll have much more interesting things to write about tomorrow, I’m sure. :)

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Finding Sandra – a son’s quest to find the mother he never knew

Image from About.com

Image from About.com

“But there’s a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begin.” 
― Mitch Albom, For One More Day

*NOTE: I’ve changed the names and locations in this post to maintain the privacy of those involved, although their story is used with permission.

A young man, Darren, came to see me for a psychic reading earlier this year. At the end of our session, looking a little uncomfortable, he eased a much folded and tattered photograph out of his wallet and slid it across to me.

“Can you tell me anything about the woman in the picture?” Darren asked. “I know you don’t work as a medium, but I thought, well, you know…”

I held it for a moment, and then I looked up, puzzled. “She’s not dead,” I said. “At least that not what I’m picking up.”

“Are you sure?” His tone was urgent, and wildly hopeful. “Her name is Sandra. She’s my mum.”

I tuned in as much as I could. I was sure she was alive. And the more I tuned in the more information I got.

“She’s living in Baltimore. And she works in a hardware store.” The words just jumped out of my mouth. As I said them, the thinking part of me was saying ‘really?’ but I’ve learned to trust those blurted sentences so I went with it.

“Baltimore? That’s America, right?” Darren asked.

“I’m pretty sure.” I was very sure.

“So she just left me? That must be why everyone told me she was dead. What kind of a mother abandons her child?” His face became puffed and red, and a tear ran down his cheek. I felt so bad for him right then. He was in such emotional pain.

But I knew his mother hadn’t left him. Not willingly. And I said so. “There’s something not right,” I said. “I’m sure she didn’t want to leave you. It’s as if you just disappeared. She was very upset and frightened, and she had no money or way to stay in the country. So she went home. And home for her is America.”

He muttered something under his breath, and then told me the story of his earlier life. His father is heavily involved with a religious group. I guess some would call them a cult. Darren had been raised by his father and his father’s partner within this very closed community in a rural area of Australia. He was told that his mother had died when he was a baby, and Darren had no recollection of her. He had stolen this one precious picture from among his father’s possessions many years ago and hidden it so he would not get into trouble.

Darren had never been allowed to talk about his mother or to ask questions about her. He’d only learned his mother’s full name when he’d obtained a copy of his birth certificate so that he could get his learner’s permit for a driver’s licence. But Darren had always had doubts about what his father and step-mother had told him. As he became older and began to question the teachings of the leader of their community, and the actions of the group members, he began to think more and more about his mum.  Perhaps she had some family still alive with whom he could make contact.

When Darren came to see me he had left the community and religious group, and was trying to make a new life for himself. He was now shunned by the people he’d grown up with, and he was feeling very alone in the world. We talked some more about the possibility of his mum being alive, and then he asked me about study and his options for a career, and we finished up our session.

I didn’t hear from him again until the night before last. I was lying in bed and my mobile phone began ringing. I saw that it was an American number and so I answered it, thinking it was one of my friends who lives over there.

Instead it was Darren, who’d managed to obtain my number somehow. “I’m in Baltimore,” he said, “and I really need your help. I’m out of money, my visa’s about to run out and I’ve hit a dead end.” He’d visited every hardware store in the Baltimore area, and had discovered that his mother had worked at one until a few months ago. But they wouldn’t give out any of her personal details. He’d then used a phone book and narrowed his search down to three possible residential addresses, none of whom were answering their phone. “Can you get anything? Anything at all?”

In my mind I saw a picture of a red brick building that had been divided into apartments. I knew his mother could see the water from where she lived, and that there was something unusual about the door knocker. But that was all I could get.

Darren called me back a couple more times over the next few hours as he made a last desperate bid to connect with his mother.

Finally Darren found a place that had many buildings like the one I’d described. He went to each of them and eventually came to a door where the door knocker was a brass whale.

Image from Etsy

Image from Etsy

We both thought it could be the one. No-one was home so he sat and waited on the steps and eventually his mother came home from her new job, and there he was waiting for her.

I spoke to Darren again today. He said his mother recognised him right away because Darren was the spitting image of his maternal grandfather. They’ve been reunited and Darren is at last hearing his mum’s side of the story. One very different from the one he’d believed, growing up.

Darren can’t explain why he had this compulsion to suddenly look for his mother. His whole trip had been impulsive. And yet following his heart helped him be in the right place at the right time for him to reconnect with family.

There’s a lot to be said for following your heart.

As you’re reading this…

In

“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

 

I’m dog tired and as you’re reading this I’m probably asleep.

I’ve been up most of the night doing unexpected psychic work. That’s how it is with my life sometimes. Nothing ever seems to quite go to plan.

But I didn’t want you to turn up to an empty page today, so I dashed this off and I’m expecting that the auto-publish thingo will post this for me while I catch up on my beauty sleep.

I promise to update you tomorrow after I’ve had some rest. It’s a beautiful story of love, ignoring what others tell you, and bravely following your heart.

I hope you follow your own heart today. Your heart always knows what it wants.

Much love to you, and possibly some gentle snores :) Nicole xx

Was it all a dream?

beach - wategos

“Yesterday is but today’s memory, and tomorrow is today’s dream.”~ Khalil Gibran

It’s 5am. I woke this morning in my own bed. The cool dawn air from the windows flung wide is fragranced with lemon blossom, jasmine, green grass and rich earth. It’s a lush smell. A rich smell. So dense I can almost hold it in my hands.

My little farmhouse looks exactly the same – homey and inviting. Outside the koalas are grunting in the stand of gumtrees near our bedroom window. Birds are tinkling and tweeting their sweet dawn songs. The possum who lives in our ceiling has just thumped home across the roof. He’s so noisy I swear he might have a wooden leg.

Jasminum-polyanthum

I have done some yoga stretches on my bright pink mat. I have meditated on a cushion at the feet of Ganesha on the side veranda, looking out over the dark, still paddocks. I’d forgotten how many trees we have.

Now, while I am waiting for Ben and the dogs to wake I will move the hose around the fruit trees and water my strawberries as streaky fingers of light begin to fill the sky.

The mulberry tree is groaning with fruit, and some of it is ripe. I am joyfully shuffling recipes in my head, wondering how best to use the first berries. Already I have crammed some of the luscious fruit into my mouth. I am a pirate looting her own bounty!

mulberries

There is a softness to the air. There’s moisture, and a hint of rain. Clouds are beginning to thicken in the sky. Mist is curling up from the river.

Misty morning

Soon I will find my swimmers. We’ll leave Bert at home to sleep ( he is exhausted from the adventure of staying with friends and playing with their young children) and Harry, Ben and I will go for an early dip in the ocean. I’ll wash off this Outback dust and reclaim the salty heart of my own country. Then Harry can play Cafe Dog while we eat a good breakfast, drink freshly made juice and savour a coffee.

Today is a day for settling back in. Collecting the mail. Buying food. Replenishing my lyme meds. Making kefir. Getting bloods done. Washing mountains of dirty clothes. I expect there will be naps. I’m so very tired. If I’m honest, I pushed myself on this trip. Sometimes I gritted my teeth, painted on a smile and reassured everyone I was fine when I was less than that. Or worse. And I knew before we even left that I would. But I’m not regretful. It was worth it.

The Outback seems so far away this morning.

But all night my dreams were filled with endless expanses of golden grass, wide blue skies, drovers, dust and history…

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Outback Australia – A Snapshot

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“We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies.” ~ Shirley Abbott

I picked up a stone yesterday and put it in my pocket. I walked on a little further, stopped and picked up another. One stone for me and one for my sister. When I get home I’ll let her choose one, and we can hold them and be anchored to Longreach – the place our grandfather was born.

I’m feeling my heritage with every breath, every footstep. I can feel the stories of my ancestors stirring within me.

Here are some images of the past few days, so you can get a sense of where I am right now. It’s vast, wild and majestic.

Sending you much love from the Outback, Nicole xx

emu

road-trip-1

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longreach, food, harry etc 137

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