Practicing Mindfulness with Your Power Word

Image from Google+

Image from Google+

“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”
~ Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

 

Well, here we are, nearly at the end of January.

Already I feel some of you slipping into despair. Slipping into the old patterns of thoughts and behaviours that no longer serve you. Going back to what was…

Some of you are feeling muddled. Even a little defeated. You started on a high, and already you feel your momentum dwindling.

That’s okay. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Change is almost always a gradual process.

Honey, don’t give up! It’s only January and we have a whole abundant year of possibility ahead of us.

Did you go ahead and choose your power word already? If yes, take that word out and get ready to exercise it a little. If no, then go here and get your power word sorted. You can even go a little further if you want, and explore it in more depth here, connecting your word with a crystal or stone.

That tiny word or phrase you’ve chosen holds a special magic for you this year. Let’s take a few minutes and connect back into that magic, so that it appears in your life as a guiding force.

Image from danspapers.com

Image from danspapers.com

Here are some tips and techniques for really using that word as a tool to bring about change:

1. Hold your Power Word crystal in your cupped hands. (Didn’t do that yet? Go here and get that crystal sorted) Breathe deeply, relax your body and then think on your word. Feel that word, and the energy of the word, entering your body. Feel it as a colour. Feel it as a vital flow and force within your veins, your nerves, your brain, your cells.

2. Ask yourself, How can I best live my word today? Now wait for an answer or a knowingness from within. It might be an idea, a specific course of action, a task or an inspiration. It might be small, or grand. No matter. Sit with that guidance and then apply it in your life today. Write notes in your journal if it helps. Then take a minute or two to plan your day around these intuitive insights.

3. At random times during the course of the day, hold your crystal and connect in to your word. Holding on to the energy of that word ask yourself What do I need to do right now? Doing this will keep you focused, and help you make better choices and decisions that will manifest a stronger year for you, with more deliberate and positive results.

I’m here to keep reminding you, and supporting you. I know that 2015 can be the year where it all changes for you. But for that to happen you need to be present in your life, you need to choose differently and consciously this year. You need to empower yourself. You can do it!

I’m cheering you on. You’re not alone in this.

Lots of love, Nicole xx

Guided Meditation for Orienting Mind Awareness

Image from The Hollow Log

Image from The Hollow Log

“You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a palace.” 
Frank McCourtAngela’s Ashes

This is the second in a series of seven weekly guided meditations I am recording for you.

The focus of this week’s meditation is the mind. This guided meditation will help you to be aware of the positive gifts of your mind, and teaches you a simple technique for accessing intuitive and subconscious wisdoms.

You’ll need to set aside about twenty minutes for this meditation. Sit or lie somewhere quietly, using pillows or blankets if needed to make yourself comfortable. Then simply close your eyes and follow the sound of my voice. It’s fine to let yourself fall asleep during the meditation, or immediately afterwards.

To listen to the meditation, click on the button below:

Image from quoteko.com

Image from quoteko.com

Easy Five Minute Meditation

Image from Daily Mail

Image from Daily Mail

“Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.” 
~ Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

 

Ever feel like there’s just not enough time in your day? I have a technique that literally extends moments, even when life is non-stop.

One of the things I love about this meditation is that it is both a an act of mindfulness and a celebration of one of life’s most accessible and simple pleasures.

To begin this meditation you require the following things:

  • A beverage of your choice. It can be hot or cold. You may make it yourself or have someone make it for you.
  • 5 minutes of time on your own, with no interruptions. No book, no laptop, no iphone, no company. Just you and your beverage. If you like you can even set a timer.

Location is not so important, but part of the pleasure of this meditation may be in mindfully selecting one. I’ve done this meditation in a cafe, in a workplace where every day was a misery, on my veranda at the farm, in a park, at the beach, in the middle of trying to move house – surrounded by boxes and chaos, at a train station and at home in bed.

Image from SeoulGirl

Image from SeoulGirl

Method:

Sit down with your beverage.

Breathe in deeply, and then exhale gently and completely. If you have been feeling very stressed allow a minute or so just to breathe, consciously relaxing your neck and shoulders, the muscles in your face and jaw, your abdomen, buttocks and thighs. Let your entire body become softer.

Take a wide view of the room or space where you are sitting. Be aware of the noises, the smells, the light. Soak it in, not focusing on any one thing, but gently taking in all of your surroundings.

Now bring your attention to your beverage. Notice the container which holds your drink. Pay attention to the shape, textures and colours.

When you are ready, pick up the beverage. Feel the weight of it in your hand. Notice the temperature, and anything else about the container.

Now bring the beverage close to your face. Breathe in. What does it smell like? Really give yourself to this experience. Savour the aroma.

Image by James Kerr

Image by James Kerr

Now take a sip.

Feel the liquid move across your lips and into your mouth. The warmth or chill of it. Roll the liquid around on your tongue, covering all of your tastebuds. Let the flavour fill your mouth. Notice and appreciate that flavour.

When you are ready, swallow.

Feel the liquid moving from your mouth, over your tongue, and down your throat into your stomach. Feel it warming or cooling you.

Then sit empty for a breath or two, just holding the beverage or having it in front of you.

In your own time repeat this process of mindfully engaging with and consuming your beverage. Let each mouthful be filled with awareness. Let it be a sensual experience that nourishes you on many levels.

Think only of drinking this beverage. If your mind wanders, bring it back to your breath. Bring it back to each mouthful.

You’ll find that five minutes provides a much more expansive feeling of passed time, and your will be refreshed and relaxed by the end of your mindful meditation.

Enjoy!

 

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Saying No to Conditional Love

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“You can be the most beautiful person in the world and everybody sees light and rainbows when they look at you, but if you yourself don’t know it, all of that doesn’t even matter. Every second that you spend on doubting your worth, every moment that you use to criticize yourself; is a second of your life wasted, is a moment of your life thrown away. It’s not like you have forever, so don’t waste any of your seconds, don’t throw even one of your moments away.” 
~ C. JoyBell C.

*Warning: Swear alert. Swears ahead.

I did something quite out of character for me yesterday.

There is someone who has been an important relationship in my life for a long time. You know the kind of relationships you just expect to endure, and to stay strong and connected. This person knew me, loved me, and was proud of me back when I was well and riding the crest of a wave of successes in my personal and business life.

The life I like to think of as my ‘former’ life. The one pre-illness. The one pre-psychic awakening.

The life I live now embarrasses the hell out of this other person. It has made things uncomfortable and awkward between us, without any kind of touchstone where we can easily connect, no matter how hard I try.

But in truth, we’ve been grown apart for a very long time, and so much of my championing and nursing along of the relationship comes from a sense of duty as much as from a place of love.

We speak intermittently. It’s been months now. I do my best to keep them in the loop of my life, so they were aware that I have been unwell. That I’m still unwell. When they called my home yesterday, Ben answered the phone because I was outside with my head in the toilet, violently ill from my lyme meds. He let the person know that I’d be a few minutes. He was politely honest about my situation.

Still, in keeping with the way this relationship has headed, the person did not ask after Ben, or me, or the farm. They talked instead of their latest achievements, and the achievements of others in their family.

When I was finally able to take the phone, this person did not ask after my health, not even in the polite way we all do where we don’t really need to hear the answer but we do want to observe social graces.

They just wanted to know what was happening with my career. Was I published yet? Why was everything taking so long? What was the hold up?

All I could do was stumble around saying that these last two years hadn’t been my finest (for those of you who don’t know, I was dying from unresponsive congestive heart failure, and then received a diagnosis of lyme disease where the treatment is saving my life but in the process making me endure the seven circles of hell) as this person insistently reminded me of who I used to be, and what I used to do. The life I had no choice but to walk away from.

For a moment I felt like one of life’s greatest losers. The shame was overwhelming. I felt so small.

Image from Midlife Rebel

Image from Midlife Rebel

I’ve been raised to be polite. But something happened yesterday. I got angry. And in that space of anger I also felt a need to put a stop to this.

“Fuck off!” I said gruffly. And then I hung up.

I shocked even myself.

But now, with some time and space between me and the big ‘hang up’, I’m feeling better about things. Cleaner.

Truth is, I still love them.

And I see the insecurity in THEM. The need for me, as part of their life, to be someone who others will judge well, and so judge this person well too.

But allowing them to heap shit upon me is not an act of self-love. Perhaps you remember that back at the end of 2013 I ran a retreat where all of us made a sacred vow - to love and treat ourselves well in 2014, to put ourselves and our needs front and centre in our lives rather than always playing second fiddle to everyone else.

I’m living that vow, and it is radically changing my world. In the best of ways.

It really is okay to say NO to conditional love. I hope that in sharing this experience, you can embrace that truth too.

Much love to you, Nicole xx

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Morning Rewards

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“As long as there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?”  ~ Cassandra Clare, City of Ashes

It’s still early. But already I’ve meditated. I’ve taken my morning ‘before food’ drugs. I’ve fasted and I’ve given vial upon vial of my blood to be tested for positive signs of health progress.

It’s time for a little reward. A well made latte.

I shall sit here on this golden morning and sip my coffee, savouring the aroma and flavour.

Then a day for me of doctors, specialists and various things of a medical nature.

But that’s later.

All that matters right now is that the morning is beautiful, and my coffee? Sublime!

I hope that in the day ahead you too find a few peaceful moments for yourself, a little time to nurture, nourish and just BE.

Much love to you, Nicole :) xoxo

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Image from Heidi Lamberton

Image from Heidi Lamberton

The ’10 Lovely Things!’ Challenge

Abstract autumnal backgrounds with petzval lens bokeh

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” 
~ Marcel Proust

Yesterday morning my lovely husband set me a glorious distraction (for those of you who aren’t up to speed I am currently taking a savage amount of drugs to combat Lyme Disease and various co-infections that left me with cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure and brain lesions) – to take a picture of ten ‘Lovely Things’ that made me smile or feel grateful during the day.

You know I am a huge fan of gratitude, and it certainly did help the time pass more easily and pleasantly.

Here are my ten pictures below:

Fat passionfruit on my neighbour’s fence – almost ready to eat! (And there’s two of my favourite passionfruit recipes here: Nana’s Passionfruit Slice and Passionfruit and Lime Curd)

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The beautiful colours on the trunk of this gum tree down near our cattle yards. Can you see the scratch marks left by Mr Koala?

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Green beans and tomatoes looking cheerful and tasty before we gobbled them up for lunch.

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Red Bull (isn’t he getting big!!!), peering out from behind the safety of the fence. I can be quite scary, I guess…

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A friend from the farm down the road invited me over for a quick visit and loaned me her cherished family cookbooks. It was an outing in my pyjamas! She pointed out all of her favourite recipes – explained over cups of tea and chocolate biscuits of course.

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Mae West, our youngest calf (whom we also call Daisy Mae due to her sunny personality), keeping company  with Blossom the cow, who is due to give birth any day now.

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Pearl – named after my favourite pirate ship :) – licking molasses out of the bucket. She’s such a sweet-natured girl too!

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Tiny sweet heritage strawberries that I found hiding away from the blue-tongue lizard who usually beats me to them.

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The strawberry-stealing blue-tongue lizard who has a fondness for napping in my laundry basket.

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Big green tree frog (bigger than my clenched fist) who landed on the kitchen window with a thump as I was putting together this post. He’s busy eating bugs and croaking love songs in the rain while I upload my pictures!

2012-01-19 20.55.22I also mentioned this challenge on facebook and had the gift of many other photos and words from friends expressing gratitude for the everyday blessings in their lives.

I hope you know I include you in my Blessings. Thanks for being here and sharing the journey with me.

Maybe you could find ten lovely things to be grateful for today too! It sure is a feel-good way of remembering just how rich life really is.

Big hugs and love, Nicole xoxo

Living like life means something!

Image from wallconvert.com

Image from wallconvert.com

“What day is it?”
It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
My favorite day,” said Pooh.” 
~ A.A. Milne

It’s a year since I first started my Lyme meds. I’d like to say that time has flown, but that would not necessarily be true…

Still, a year ago I was dying. I could barely catch my breath. My poor heart was about ready to throw in the towel. Things were grim.

Now I’m twelve months down the track, and that track certainly hasn’t been an easy one, but I’m hanging in. Sure it’s uncomfortable having to live through this drug therapy. It’s inconvenient being in pain, tired and muddle-headed. But hey, I’m still here.

I’m still here.

Today I’m going to savour each moment. I’ll breathe the salty air of Byron Bay and draw it deep into my lungs. I will lie on the grass at the farm and feel the sun on my face and the earth beneath my back. Every sip of tea, every mouthful of food – I’ll honour it. I’ll let myself really taste it.

I’ll surrender myself to each moment. It doesn’t need to be special. An ordinary day is just fine by me.

It’s all good. The hurty bits. The sad bits. The boring bits. The lonely bits. The fun bits. The tasty bits. The loved-up bits.

It’s all good. And I’m so glad to be here.

Thanks for sharing the journey with me.

My wish for you today is that you take a moment and really BE. Just be in your skin. Just breathe in that air. Be present with the ones you love. Savour the ordinary. Savour the miracle that is your life. Will you do that for me?

Much love to you, and some squishy big hugs, Nicole xx