Listening To My Body

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“The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.–Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.”
~ William Wordsworth

 

Yesterday I stopped.

Although I am on holiday and had a million exciting events planned I decided to cancel all of them.

Instead I put myself to bed and slept. Rising in the late afternoon I took a short walk, ate a simple meal overlooking the world from the top floor open-air cafe of our hotel. I watched the river flowing. I watched the sun set. I watched the play of lights in the night sky, and then put myself back to bed again.

So much sleep, and I feel as if I could still sleep some more. So it’s likely I will.

 

Once I would have pushed through this exhaustion. I would have allowed stubbornness to keep me upright and engaged, no matter how fatigued I might be.

No more.

Part of my holiday plan is to listen to my body and give it what it needs. It needs sleep. So I will happily comply.

How about you? If you take a moment, close your eyes and tune in, how do you feel? How much charge is in your physical battery? Your emotional battery?

What do you most need right now?

Try to give yourself some of that today.

Thinking of you, and sending so much love,

Nicole ❤ xoxo

Join Me For A New Journalling and Oracle Card Challenge?

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“The closer you come to knowing that you alone create the world of your experience, the more vital it becomes for you to discover just who is doing the creating.”
~ Eric Michael Leventhal

Keeping a journal is something I’ve done since I was a child. I don’t mean a simple diary, where you record the events of the day. You know what I mean… I ate this. I did this. Someone said that. No. I mean a place where I could explore ideas, talk with myself, and find my own answers.

Over the last few years I’ve created several journal challenges here on my blog, and I’ve just made a new one for you, to take advantage of the fabulous energies March and April bring for uncovering the hidden and neglected aspects of yourself, and for determining where you are out of step with yourself, so that you can bring your life into alignment with your true nature and values. It’s a great time for getting to know yourself better and for forging new directions in your life. Would you like to join me?

We’ll be starting this new challenge on Tuesday 28 February, so that you have time to gather your resources together. Our first Tuesday will be an orientation day. Then each Tuesday for March and April I will have a new journal activity for you to complete during the week. You’ll need a minimum of ten minutes to set aside each week for writing, and an additional five minutes per day for five out of seven days for energy work on yourself to facilitate your own healing and wellbeing. I’ll teach you everything you need to know. You can be a complete beginner at all of this!

I will be using the Chakras as a guide for this challenge. You don’t need to know anything about them either. All you need to do is bring a willingness to know yourself better.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A new journal. Choose one that feels right for you. Make sure there are enough pages to get you through nine activities.
  • Some pens and pencils.
  • A crystal or stone to use as a gratitude and focus stone. (If you’re doing my Year of ME program feel free to use your 2017 stone for this challenge!)
  • A deck of oracle or tarot cards.
  • A sense of adventure and a readiness to explore your inner world.

NB: A note on choosing oracle or tarot cards – choose cards whose pictures and messages are meaningful to you. Avoid cards such as tarot decks that show only coins or cups etc. Instead choose a deck whose imagery really speaks to you. It’s the pictures that matter. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to use them. I’ll be showing you.

That’s my own journal, cards and stones in the picture below. I’ll be right beside you doing each week’s activities too. My gratitude rock is a smoky quartz and amethyst point (that’s the big one – the other two are a tourmalinated quartz and a prehnite that live in the same bag as my oracle cards and who came with me on my holidays). The oracle cards I’ll be using are Colette Baron-Reid’s Enchanted Map cards. And I just bought a new journal from a cool bookstore here in Vietnam, where I am currently travelling. It’s just the right size for our challenge and not too heavy in my luggage. (I won’t tell you about the other five journals I bought at the same place…)

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Who’s in? Pop your name in the comments or let us know over on facebook. If you post a pic on the facebook page during this challenge, you’ll be in the running to win a cool prize! Stay tuned for details.

Much love, Nicole ❤ xx

 

A Taste Of Vietnam

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“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” ~ Bill Bryson

 

So, here I am in Vietnam, and our first day has been quite an adventure! We’re staying in the old section of the Grand Hotel, Saigon. Somehow we were lucky enough to be upgraded to a suite right beside a tranquil swimming pool and green oasis. It’ s a refuge from the heat, and a fabulous spot for writing. After an early morning stroll around the neighbourhood I enjoyed a refreshing swim and then some time working on my book before lunch.

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Ben and I are blessed to be travelling with an Australian-Vietnamese friend who is introducing us to a taste of local life. There’s nothing like having a tour guide with family in the area and inside knowledge! First up we tried local coffee – strong, sweet and good. Then after our swim Thanh took us to a simple noodle shop near our hotel and ordered us lunch. I got to enjoy my first ever bowl of authentic Pho – rice noodles in broth with thin slivers of beef and vegetables and a host of fresh herbs. Delicious!

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Next was some crystal shopping and a wander around some local markets.

So much of today has revolved around food. In the cool of the late afternoon Thanh’s Dad and three of his mates turned up on their motorbikes and took us for a tour of the city, and a visit to the oldest cathedral in Saigon.

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Travelling by bike is a great way to take in the sights, smells and atmosphere, although I must admit to being a little white knuckled at the craziness of the traffic until I finally relaxed into the flow of it. To a western eye it seems so disorganised, but if you step into that zen space and just go with it, there’s a strange logic and beauty to it.

After our city tour we finished up with dinner at an excellent Chinese restaurant. So much food. So much fun! The pictures below are rice vermicelli with fresh shrimp (prawns), garlic and chilli, and then a tofu and egg savoury custard topped with a meaty mushroom slice and some shellfish in a seafood bisque sauce. Oh my goodness, that was amazing!!! There was more too, but I was too busy eating and talking and laughing to remember to take photos! Sorry 🙂

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Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Sending much love your way, Nicole ❤ xoxo

 

Five Things That Made This Week Extra Wonderful Already!

“Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
~ Charles Dickens

 

1.New Journal Challenge!

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It’s been a while since I ran a journal and oracle card challenge, so I’ve decided to cook another one up for you. It’s fabulous, it’s free, and there will be more details here on the blog on Friday so stay tuned!

 

2. New Swimmers!

I needed new swimwear for my upcoming trip. Usually this is not the kind of shopping I look forward to. But… The very first place I went into, the very first swimmers I tried on – perfect fit! Don’t you love it when that happens? 🙂

 

3. Money In My Pocket!

When I was looking for a bag to keep all my journals and crystals in when I go travelling I came upon a pencil-case I though I’d lost years ago. When I opened it up there was $350 cash. Bonus! Now I have extra spending money.

 

4. Our House Sitter Brought His Dog to Stay!

I was worried about leaving Harry Dog on his own for the first time without Bert to keep him company. But our wonderful house sitter has brought his gorgeous Black Labrador with him and she is the sweetest girl, so now Harry has a friend and he won’t be lonely. Such a win!

5. Holidays!

Holidays? Yep. They start today. Hooray!!! By the time you read this I’ll be on my way to the airport! Two weeks in Vietnam and then two weeks in the Philippines.So excited!!!  I’ll keep you posted on all the fun and goodness. 🙂

 

Biggest hugs and love to you, Nicole ❤ xx

Why You Need Time for Yourself This Week! – Monday Oracle 20 February 2017

“Don’t die with your music still in you.”
~ Wayne Dyer

 

Hello, Lovelies.

It’s a big week ahead for putting your own needs front and centre in your life!

The oracle card I have chosen to guide us this week is ‘Service’ is from the Chakra Wisdom Oracle Deck by Tori Hartman.

If you read my forecast for February, you’ll remember that February is all about turning inwards, and tuning in to our own wants and needs, staying true to ourselves and our goals despite our fears or what other people may tell us. Keep that in the back of your mind as you read through the rest of this post.

 

So, what gifts does Service bring for you this week?

It’s a big wake-up call!

Usually (especially for Lightworkers and sensitive souls) our first thought when we think of service is to serve others.

This week, we are on notice that service must begin with us – we must look after ourselves and our own needs and dreams. This isn’t selfish. You cannot give to others from an empty cup. It’s important to fill your own cup first!

If you’re coming into this week already exhausted, take action to get this sorted out before exhaustion becomes burnout. Stubbornness might carry you through in the short-term, but if it is employed as a daily coping mechanism to push past fatigue or misery, it will never end well. Cut back your schedule. Cancel or rearrange things. Rest. Retreat. Take a ‘mental health’ day, or at least a few extra hours for yourself.

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This week is a good time to plan for or take action on personal maintenance issues too. You know, those things that are so easy to put off, and put off… Your yearly health check or pap smear, a dental check-up, a haircut or shopping for new clothes or shoes, fixing that broken thing that you never quite get around to, getting your tax sorted. Let yourself be a priority for a change. Go do those things you’ve been avoiding or making a low priority while you run around after everyone else.

Service also reminds us that the last day of our lives is not the time to realise that we never lived true to ourselves and our dreams.  Putting the hopes, needs and dreams of other people before our own is part of the problem. When we constantly put others first, we instruct the Universe that it’s okay for us to be second best, and for our own needs to go unaddressed.

But is that really true? Are we really okay with that?

I love Wayne Dyer’s quote at the top of this page, ‘Don’t die with your music still inside you.’  We don’t know how much time we have. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. So, if there’s something inside you that needs to be expressed or experienced don’t keep putting it off. Because we all run out of time. Make a start. Let go of grand plans and just begin.

 

Image from www.fustany.com

Image from www.fustany.com

 

Supportive crystals this week?

Carnelian will support you if you are tired, unwell or plain burned out! Add White Howlite to this if you are struggling with depression, anxiety or overwhelm. Just pop them in your pocket, or wear them somewhere on your body. They are also good to hold in meditation or to place under your pillow before sleep. And if you’re looking for a stone to help you commit time and action to your dreams, you can’t go past Ametrine!

Helpful essential oils? 

Young Living’s Joy or Common Sense essential oil blends, or  a combination (or singly!) of any of Rose, Rosemary, Lemon, Vetiver and Lavender. The Joy blend is fabulous if you are feeling anxious or uncertain, or a bit sad or stuck. It’s reassuring and uplifting; wonderful for gently shifting depression and self-doubt. I often wear it as a perfume. Common Sense oil is a super stress-buster that will help with allowing you to become clear about what you want, and to feel secure with your choices and decisions, especially around change. It’s my oil of choice in my diffuser this week.

 

Holding you, as always, in my thoughts, prayers and meditations, and intending for a you a life of abundance and joy, where you are no longer limited by your doubts.

All my love,

Nicole ❤ xx

‘Service’ is from the Chakra Wisdom Oracle Deck by Tori Hartman.  I use any oracle or tarot cards shown as a prompt for channelled messages and my own intuitive wisdom, so my take is sometimes quite different to the meaning found in a book or traditionally ascribed to a particular card.

Only Someone Who Has Chronic Pain or Illness Knows…

“Illness is the night side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.”
~ Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor

 

I’ve been unwell since my teens.

There have been so many diagnoses. (I won’t list them all here, although perhaps I should.)

I’ve pursued so many kinds of treatments. (Really. In over thirty years of continuous concerted effort I’ve done more kinds of diets, therapies, herbals, treatments, drugs and totally-out-there-hokey-but-I’m-doing-it-because-desperate regimes than I care to mention. Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth. And I’m still here. So some of it must have worked.)

There have been times where I have only been able to see myself through the prism of loss.

But that’s soul-destroying. It makes you die while you are still alive. And I want to live. So mostly I choose to view my life by framing it up around what I can do, rather than what I can’t.

I have read deeply and widely, in order to get an inside angle on my health. I have come to understand my body better. I have become a master at hiding or managing disability and at creating a life that works on my terms. Mostly.

Some days a pain comes. Or some other symptom. After which I spend hours backtracking and investigating. Was it because of something I ate? A chemical? Lack of sleep? A million other possibilities? Did I do this to myself or make things worse? I’ve lost days to this kind of hypervigilance. It never helps, although it can gift me a temporary illusion of control.

I have a long, long list every single day – of pains and problems and freakish symptoms which it long ago became too boring to mention, even to myself. Mostly it is background noise in my life. I live with pain. I live with the kind of things that would have other folk rushing off to the doctor. After a lifetime of discussing them with doctors and having no resolution these kinds of things become your new normal, and then, eventually, just part of your life.

Mostly, just like other people with chronic or terminal illnesses, I have continued to look quite unremarkable on the outside. Maybe just a bit tired sometimes, or a bit puffy or drawn or pale.

Image from www.wallls.ru

Image from www.wallls.ru

These days I’m actually doing much better. Especially after two solid years of horrendous antibiotic therapy for Lyme. After major surgery last year ( and then the superbug I acquired) and an avalanche of new drugs (and some old favourites) and then Chinese herbs, essential oils, modified diet (again!) and intravenous vitamin C.

I feel like I’ve turned a corner. I can function better, I have more energy than I’ve had in years. Life is opening out a little more for me. People comment on how well I look.

Although that better is comparative.

I still can’t drive. My vision is still impaired. I still need early nights and nana naps to get through the day. I have a horrible startle reflex. When I’m tired. I lose words. I sound like. A badly. Edited film. With pauses and breaks in. All the wrong places. Because. Brain not working properly.

I’m still immuno-compromised. (And please, will you quit rolling your eyes and commenting about how it always seems to be one thing after another with me? Yes, that’s true. Because I am immuno-compromised after so many decades of illness. The bugs that barely register with you or that inconvenience you for a few days still have the power to take me down, or even out. Don’t visit me when you’re sick. Wash your hands more. Practice good hygiene. Rant over.) Incontinence issues? Yep. Not quite nailed the superbug? Yep. Foods that send me spiralling into misery? Yep. Exhaustion? Yep. Pain that wakes me up and keeps me up? Yep. No libido? Yep. Tendon stiffness that sees me hobble when I get out of bed, or up off a chair after sitting for a while? Yep. Pay for increased activity levels with increased night-time pain and exhaustion the next day? Yep.

Yep.

Still, I have coping strategies, and meditation, and healing foods and emergency triage treatments. I have a wonderful local GP and acupuncturist. I have an incredible husband who is my full-time carer (although I hate to think of it like that, it’s the truth.) I have a beautiful group of friends and an online community who lift me up every day.

My life is good. It’s precious and wonderful and I am grateful for every breath.

Mostly.

I am one of millions just like me. People living with or despite conditions and illness. We’re doing our best. For some of us that’s actually pretty messy and awful at times. Most of which you won’t ever see. Some of us can’t get help. Some of us aren’t believed. Some of us don’t have the financial resources or the energy or education or support to even try to get past what ails us. Some of us will fail, decline, die despite help and treatment. Some of us have trajectories that are all downhill.

So, what can you do?

If you’re one of the millions, try to find some small thing each day to focus gratitude upon. Look at what you can do. That’s a big ask at times, but I’ve come to realise that what we focus on magnifies. I’d rather focus on the pleasure of savoring a cup of tea than on the fact I can’t see the bloody thing clearly anymore. When I focus on what still works and what’s still good, peace comes to me. You can heal or endure when you’re peaceful, more than you ever can when you are stressed or angry. (I know this from experience, but I won’t say ‘trust me’ – it’s better if you experience this yourself too, so that you can own it as truth in your body rather than just a concept in your mind.)

If you’re not one of the millions yet, know that it’s entirely possible that one day you might be.

If you’re not one of the millions, please stop pandering that New Age drivel to us about how this is all a beautiful learning experience, or that our souls chose this, or that we somehow created it, or perpetuated it. Or how we can turn this into a wonderful soul-growth opportunity. Or that God only gives us what we can handle. Don’t hang that judge-y guilt-trip on us. It’s not helpful and it’s not kind. Especially when we are having a bad day, which, incidentally, may be invisible to you. If you are one of the millions, stop hanging that guilt-trip on yourself.

Know that if a vegan, paleo, superfoods, raw diet, prayerful contemplation, soul-searching, vibration lifting, better exercise routine, detox or no-negative-thoughts regime actually worked for everyone there would be no more cancer or depression or chronic illness, or genetic abnormality or disorder already.

Don’t hang judgement on us when the network-marketing-product, special diet, cleanse-in-a-box, worked-for-your-neighbour or someone-you-read-about-online cure, doesn’t work so well with us. Or when we just don’t want to try one of those things. Again. For whatever reason.

Don’t tell us we’re heroes or warriors. We’re only dealing with the hand we’ve been dealt. Don’t tell us that you don’t know how you’d ever cope or that we’re incredible the way we are coping. Some days we don’t cope. Don’t perpetuate the myth of the incredible brave-warrior-ill-person. It’s just one more pressure we don’t need.

Please don’t treat us like we’re invisible. Please keep including us and inviting us. Even when we’re unreliable, or can only attend for a short while or not in the way you (or we) would prefer.

Unless you’re going to be mean or judge-y. In which case it’s actually better if we’re invisible.

Let’s not hide illness and disability anymore. Let’s bring it out into the open where it belongs, instead of shaming ourselves and each other around our perceived frailties and failings.

Every single one of us will know illness or injury or critical failure of something we had previously taken for granted at some stage in our lives.

Let’s treat this with kindness. Kindness isn’t a cure, but it’s a very helpful medicine.

Holding you in my prayers and meditations,

Nicole ❤ xoxo

Sneaking Back to Bed

“Laugh, even when you feel too sick or too worn out or tired.
Smile, even when you’re trying not to cry and the tears are blurring your vision.
Sing, even when people stare at you and tell you your voice is crappy.
Trust, even when your heart begs you not to.
Twirl, even when your mind makes no sense of what you see.
Frolic, even when you are made fun of. Kiss, even when others are watching. Sleep, even when you’re afraid of what the dreams might bring.
Run, even when it feels like you can’t run any more.
And, always, remember, even when the memories pinch your heart. Because the pain of all your experience is what makes you the person you are now. And without your experience—you are an empty page, a blank notebook, a missing lyric. What makes you brave is your willingness to live through your terrible life and hold your head up high the next day. So don’t live life in fear. Because you are stronger now, after all the crap has happened, than you ever were back before it started.”
~ Alysha Speer

 

I’ve had a big few days, lovelies.

A big month actually, between having intensive IV therapy to combat my superbug, and doing a load of readings and coaching for clients, and of hand-holding souls at the end of their lives, and of supporting people I care about through hard times.

This morning I woke up after a restless night, did my healing meditation for the world and all my loved ones (that includes you!) and then thought I would write my blog and get onto my avalanche of unanswered emails and messages that keeps growing while I have been busy attending to more urgent matters.

But I changed my mind.

My husband is sleeping in a dark, cool room. Harry dog has snuck up beside him.

And I am still tired.

So I am going back to bed for some more sleep and cuddles with my loved ones.

Because that’s what self-care looks like.

I hope you are looking after yourself too!

Hugs and love, Nicole ❤ xx