It’s Okay to Keep Changing – and How to Cope with People Who Don’t Recognise That

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“If people refuse to look at you in a new light and they can only see you for what you were, only see you for the mistakes you’ve made, if they don’t realize that you are not your mistakes, then they have to go.”
~ Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free


I received another message this week that I thought was best answered on my blog.

Lilly writes:

“Hello beautiful. Just wanted to ask some advice. I’m feeling really flat and down and sad this past week. My issues are based in trust and loyalty around family. I am trying to take a holistic approach to life and health in general , have been trying as hard as I can to do and be my best. My ” family ” is still full of doubt , spite and criticism of me and my abilities as a mum and person. My heart is bruised and my soul is weary. Can you offer any advice at all please ? Crystals to work with, books to read, certain meditations, angels to pray to, advice on how to react or not reactionary. ? Anything ?? I know your very busy and have a lot on your own plate but I’m sitting here feeling so lost and down and I don’t know who else to ask. Any advice at all would be deeply appreciated.”


First of all, Lilly, here’s a big hug (((HUG))). It’s hard when we’re doing our best and consciously making better choices to lift ourselves up and to live by our own values, and then to get pulled down by the people we had hoped would support us. You can always call on your Angels and Guides. Just talk to them out loud, or in your head, and ask for their help and support. Loved ones who’ve passed over can also bring us comfort. Some people talk to God. GO with what feels right to you.

Lilly, this is a hard one, and I’m going to consider it from several angles. Please know that I am no longer writing just about you, but about so many people just like you, and some who are not.


When You Really Did Do Some Things To Harm Trust:

If there was a time when you made mistakes or poor choices, or were immature or had a bad attitude or an addiction, then it’s likely that you hurt the people closest to you. It’s painful for family and friends to watch someone they love be in that space, and it’s painful to be on the receiving end of their bad behaviour, lies, addiction or attitude. When you’ve been continually hurt by someone you become wary of being hurt again. It is hard to trust someone who has put you through that, especially if they have promised or pleaded that they have changed, only to then fall back into those behaviours, or to manipulate your sympathies to their own ends.

In that kind of situation where you’ve hurt others, you will have to earn that trust back. You may want to apologise and let those people speak their hurts to you, so that they too can feel heard. And then you need to let your changed life and your actions speak for themselves. I have seen many brave people work the AA Twelve Step program or similar, and go back to people they had harmed – to explain and to apologise and to offer restitution. Sometimes it helped heal the relationship. Sometimes it just enabled the person who’d broken the trust to make peace with themselves that they had done the best that they could to put things right. Family counselling can help. Or a good counsellor or support group can help you to forgive yourself, understand what happened and move on.

If you’re the one who has been on the receiving end of that harmed trust, it is perfectly fine to look for evidence of change through a person’s actions and day-to-day life, rather than simply accepting what they tell you. The old saying about talk being cheap is true when you have been let down many times before. I wrote a post about that here called Listen With Your Eyes



When A Loved One Did Things That Harmed Trust:

Sometimes people we love lie. Or cheat. Or take sides. Or play favourites. Or are insensitive or mean. Maybe they have an addiction issue. Perhaps they have experienced abuse or trauma themselves. Or maybe they just made bad choices. People make mistakes. Sometimes, if everyone is willing to work on it, we can put broken back together. It usually takes time,  commitment, and the facilitation of a good therapist. I’ve known people who have forged better, more honest relationships after times of great hardship.

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BUT sometimes our loved one is a bully, a violent addict, a narcissist, a sociopath. Sometimes they are so broken or their behaviours so entrenched that all you will get is more of the same abuse every time you front on up to that relationship. Wanting or needing a person to change doesn’t make them change, no matter how hard you make changes to yourself, or try to handle the relationship differently.

In that situation, hard as it may be, you might need to cut your losses or put a lot of space into the relationship. Don’t put yourself into abuse ‘because it’s Christmas’ or ‘because they’re still my family’. Find a good therapist or counsellor for yourself. Work on you. Get a support network. If you’re an adult you have choices. You don’t need to continue to suffer that kind of behaviour. As a parent you don’t need to expose your child to that kind of behaviour.


When You’ve Changed and People Can’t Understand That:

We all grow and change over time. Some of us slowly. Some of us fast. If you’ve travelled extensively, and your family and friends haven’t. If you went to war. If you lost your partner to cancer. If you experienced trauma or chronic illness or some kind of ecstatic spiritual transformation…

Shared experiences are one of the things that unite us. If our loved ones haven’t got that same frame of reference you lose ground and connection. It can be easy to become distant. It isn’t that they don’t love you. It’s just that they don’t understand.

So, don’t expect them to. There will be other people who know what you are going through. Find them, and use them for mutual support and sharing. Or hold your experience close and sacred.

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Reconnect with family and friends by exploring the things you DO share in common. Old memories, family traditions, people and places that mean something that links you to each other.

We can still be loved, and be part of a family or group, and yet not be fully known or seen or understood. Truth is, sometimes we can even be a mystery to ourselves…


When You’ve Changed For The Better and People Can’t Accept That:

Sometimes we grow, and the people around us can’t cope with the fact that we are different. Sometimes we’ve done our best to fit in but we can’t keep pretending. Sometimes we reach a point where we can’t tolerate a situation or relationship because it doesn’t align with our ethics and values, or we will no longer tolerate victimisation, bullying, abuse or unhealthy behaviours. Sometimes we become better, wiser, stronger, more educated, or in other ways different to how we were. We outgrow lovers, friends, and even families.

In certain circumstances we can choose to hide or minimise that change for short periods of time in order to maintain relationships or family harmony. But if you are put down for your transformation, if you are rejected or victimised because of your choices, if you experience abuse – verbal, emotional or otherwise, then it’s time to leave that relationship behind, and to create relationships with people who value you. Value yourself first. Value yourself enough to walk away from those who belittle and diminish you.

Above all, Lilly, It’s important that you value and love yourself. That you make healthy choices for yourself and for your children. That you allow yourself to be valued by others and that you stand up for yourself, protect yourself, and keep yourself and your children out of situations that are abusive and toxic.

Create the life you want for yourself through mindful choices and actions. Grieve the loss of the way things could have been, but don’t dwell on it. Be the person and mum that is you evolving as your best self. Know that in doing that you’ll attract to you the sorts of people who will fit better with who you are and who you are becoming.

Sending so much love your way, Nicole xoxo

Extra Coping Tools

You might find these posts helpful too:

How to get through the hard stuff

How to deal with toxic people

Crystals for highly sensitive people

Free Guided Meditation for the Solar Plexus Chakra

Guided Meditation for Emotional Healing

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Sometimes The Best Way to Honour The Dead is to Celebrate

The last photo I have of Nana, taken with my Dad on my birthday, 6 September, 2012

The last photo I have of Nana, taken with my Dad on my birthday, 6 September, 2012

“We’re all ghosts. We all carry, inside us, people who came before us.”
~ Liam Callanan, The Cloud Atlas

My beloved Nana would have turned one hundred yesterday.

She passed three years ago, and I find myself missing her more as time goes on. We had a very special connection, and I still talk with her and feel her guiding presence in my life.

Yesterday I held a little celebration of her life, in a way that Nana would have appreciated. A cup of tea and a toasted ham, cheese and tomato sandwich (her favourite) followed by a pink cupcake. It wasn’t Nana, but it was the next best thing. The kind of ritual we had followed in life. Her traditional choice of meal if we went out shopping together.

Homemade toasties, just like Nana used to make!

Homemade toasties, just like Nana used to make!

As I age I seem to be gathering so many ghosts to me. It’s like that for all of us, I think. Friends die. Relatives too. Young and old and in-between. So many holes in our hearts, empty places at our tables.

The dead no longer occupy physical space in our lives, but they live on in our hearts. It only takes a song, the smell of cooking on the breeze, a certain place or particular company and they are right here with me. Sometimes, they visit me as ghosts. The veil between me and that other place can be nearly transparent at times.

People have told me that time heals and that memory fades,that eventually I will forget and move on, but I have to disagree. When you truly love someone, that love doesn’t fade if they are no longer here. Hearts are big enough to love many, and keep loving. The nature of the relationship changes, but the heart remembers. I’m glad it does. Why would you want to forget someone so precious?

Yesterday was also a time of reflection for me. Only three years ago I was dying from heart failure. I was on holidays in Thailand when Nana passed in November 2012. I’d had chest pain all day. I was struggling to walk. To breathe. Everything was hard, and I felt so ill and low. I wondered if it was the last holiday I might ever have with my husband.

When I found out about my grandmother’s death I walked down to the beach, and stood in the dark with my feet lapped by the warm caress of the ocean. The sky was lit with stars and as tears rolled down my face I looked up to the heavens and asked my Nana to help me. I told her that I couldn’t keep doing this – living with so much suffering and ill health. I wanted to live, or be done with it. Not this in-between place I’d been in for so long.

Only a few days later, back in Bangkok, a friend suggested that I get my thyroid checked again when I got home to Australia. A bizarre out-of-the-blue comment that led to my lyme diagnosis and subsequent treatment that turned my health around. I truly believe that Nana heard me that night, and helped in a way she’d never been able to while she was alive.

I’ll keep celebrating Nana’s birthday each year. It brings me comfort. It helps me to hold her close. Or maybe she’s holding me. All I know is that acknowledging her birthday seems as natural and right as it did when she was still here to eat that cake with me!

Sometimes the best way to honour our dead is to celebrate their living.

Thinking of you and sending much love, Nicole <3 xx

That's me on my Dad's lap and my little sister on Nana's lap

That’s me on my Dad’s lap and my little sister on Nana’s lap

A Big Few Days…

General Hottie Hospital by Foxy Belle

General Hottie Hospital by Foxy Belle

“It never rains, but it pours.” ~ Old English Proverb


Forgive me. This post is late in coming. Or early. Depending on how you look at it.

You see, we had just returned home to the farm to catch our breath when Ben became unwell. Unwell gave way to a difficult night, a worsening of symptoms and a dash to hospital back in the city again. At three o-clock in the morning.

I’ve had four hours sleep in the past two days. So I’m a bit wrecked. Too many family ill and occupying my thoughts and care right now.

Although I did get an awful lot of colouring done while sitting in hospital waiting rooms.

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Ben’s finally home, with a raft of drugs, and under the watchful attention of myself and Nurse Bert. At the first sign of any worsening he’ll be straight back in hospital, so he’d better behave!  Harry, of course, is also glued to Ben’s side, and has not chewed up a single thing. So far…

So I’m giving myself the weekend off, to catch up on some sleep and to look after my family. See you on Monday.

All my love, Nicole <3 xoxo

PS – I had to laugh. When I looked up the General Hottie Hospital images, I found out that the male doll’s name is Ben. He’d love that. Especially this next shot, which of course, bore NO resemblance to his actual hospital stay!

General Hottie Hospital by Foxy Belle

General Hottie Hospital by Foxy Belle

Reflections From A Cancer Clinic Waiting Room

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Image from

“From even the greatest of horrors irony is seldom absent.”
~ H.P. Lovecraft, Tales of H.P. Lovecraft

A small family cluster of us sat endlessly in the waiting room of a cancer clinic yesterday.

It was a busy place, at a busy hospital. On the way to the clinic, we’d passed a young woman who had lost her eye, a man in a wheelchair missing a foot, a series of shuffling and shambling patients of various ages.

There were hosts of worried relatives in thrown-together outfits, looking careworn and in need of coffee and a hug.

The waiting room was packed. We found seats underneath a television screen we could not see. But I listened to the running commentary.

The irony was not lost on me. Television spruikers talked about the importance of skin care and maintaining our youthful appearance. Life was better with young skin. You would be more popular, and get better jobs. You could look  like a movie star. Then there was a miracle exercise machine to effortlessly melt fat. It came with complimentary mineral makeup. Call now!

How truly offensive it was, listening to these paid presenters playing to our insecurities. Deprived of the pictures, the commentary took on a lewd ignorance.

Here I was, surrounded by people fighting for their lives.

For some, the fight isn’t going well. For some, the fight will be lost.

People bald from chemo, their skin fragile, bruised and thin, their faces bloated and round or gaunt and pale, looked away from the screen. I saw beauty in every single one. I witnessed the most tender exchanges of love and care. I saw how valued and precious each person was to their family and friends.

You are beautiful. Life is beautiful. This endless quest for youth and physical perfection is the ugly thing.

Hug your loved ones today. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to the people around you. Don’t buy into that garbage on television and the media. What’s inside you will always matter more that big hair, white teeth or a perfect hip-thigh ratio.

I love you. Right now. Just as you are.

Nicole <3 xoxo

Being There For Loved Ones


“It is only in our darkest hours that we may discover the true strength of the brilliant light within ourselves that can never, ever, be dimmed.” Doe Zantamata

Hello Lovelies,

Our family is going through some big stuff right now. Being there for my family is taking almost all of my time, and pre-occupying all of my thoughts.

It’s a difficult time. It’s also in some ways, even in the midst of great pain, a luminously beautiful time as we all come together to support each other. It reminds us how love is a force in our lives, that binds us and brings out the best in us.

I may not be timely in turning up right now while my priorities are elsewhere. My posts may be short. You might find it hard to contact me.

I’m sorry for that, but right now my family need me and that’s where I need to be.

I know you’ll understand.

All my love, Nicole <3 xx

Everything Will Wait, Except The Things That Can’t

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“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”
~ Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey


Illness has taught me many things. One of them is that most things can wait.

Strangely, it has also shown me that some things can’t.

When something, or someone, really matters to you, it’s amazing what can be reprioritised. On all but my very worst days I have found myself able to blog. You’re important to me – our friendship means a lot. Writing is one thing that I’ll find a way to do unless I absolutely can’t get out of bed, or function in a useful way.

If one of my animals was hurt I would be right there. If they needed me – unless I was on my last breath, and even then I think I’d try – I’d move mountains for my family, my husband, my dearest friends. There is a strength within us all that still surprises me when I dig deep and find it there waiting.

You don’t need to have illness to sharpen your focus about knowing what will wait, and what can’t. Use your values. Trust your heart.

I’m not talking the crazy desperate kind of sacrifice where we throw away what was important to us in order to support or sustain a bad relationship, or to get the attention of someone who was never worth our while. When we feel into those situations we can taste the crazy. We cringe a little, knowing our aim is off and then we rush forward hoping that fortune will favour us and momentum will clear away the whispering voice of our conscience that has already owned our stupidity or pointless gesture.

The things that can’t wait are clearly recognised and understood by our hearts. Our minds unify with our hearts, and burn with a bright purpose. We are transformed by a deep conviction. In short, we just know that this thing needs to be our utmost priority, letting everything else fall away.

There is something solid and steadfast in right choices. Even when we lose, we don’t regret our actions. We are guided by something so right and true within us. Doubt never creeps in. Not then. Not later. Our faith holds.

To be there for a loved one in crisis. To support a friend. To stand up for someone. To submit that paper. To voice our needs. To rescue that dog. To make that call.

We are compelled.

Always listen to that compulsion. Trust yourself to act. I sometimes think that God and all the angels and energies beyond our ken gather in that moment of decision to give us wings, to uplift and carry us, to enable us to help others or ourselves, to shine and claim our moment or to survive whatever may come. It’s a blessed space. A space of pure flow and love.

Look inside yourself and I know you’ll understand what I mean. Everything will wait, except the things that can’t.

Thank you for being here for me, my beautiful friends.

Much, much love to you, and some really big hugs,

Nicole <3 xoxo



We Are All Exhausted

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“He’s our rodent control officer. He doesn’t catch mice, he just terrifies them.”
~ Lilian Jackson Braun


I’d love to be writing an interesting and wordy blog this morning, but we are all exhausted. We being Harry, Bert and I. Ben is lucky enough to be somewhere else just now. Of course. He always misses the excitement.

Shortly after I hopped into bed and turned the light off last night we heard a faint scratching noise.

And then again.

After which we heard a squeak.

Harry was prepared to ignore it. I was vaguely concerned but thought it could wait until morning.

Bert? Bert leapt off the bed (oops, shush, dog on the bed, don’t tell Ben!), and went snuffling and wuffling over to the wardrobe. He wouldn’t let up until I opened the door.

Snuffle, wuffle wuffle, and then to my surprise a tiny mouse darted out of a box Ben had recently brought back from the farm.

Bert raced after it, and so it began.

All night Bert and the mouse ran all over the house (Try til 2am!) until finally he cornered the little critter in the cupboard under the sink in the downstairs bathroom, whose door I had left open to remind me to replenish the toilet paper in that room.


We reached an impasse. Bert would not move, and in my sleep-deprived state I had no idea how to catch the mouse. I left Brave Sir Bert standing guard over the small rodent and went to bed.

This morning Bert was still guarding the mouse, which had died in the night, probably from fright.

Hopefully the mouse had no other friends, and tonight we shall all be able to get some sleep!