Small Steps, Repeated Often, Lead to Results

“A year from now you will wish you had started today.” ~ Karen Lamb

Did you get that thing about small steps?

Let me repeat that for you.

Small steps, repeated often, lead to results.

This can work either way.

Bad habits, even small ones, cumulatively will take us a long way in the wrong direction.

Small efforts, repeated often, can also take us towards our goals and dreams.

Every book ever published was written paragraph by paragraph, scene by scene.

Every return to fitness started with a slow and inelegant beginning.

Every thriving garden began by tending the soil, planting the seeds, watering, weeding, showing up each day, long before there was anything to harvest.

Every language was learned word by word, phrase by phrase.

Small steps are usually not impressive. The initial results may seem negligible. But all of these small steps, when taken consistently, eventually amount to something grand.

About now the initial impetus and excitement of the New Year is wearing off. Your big plans may currently seem impossible. You might be sliding back into apathy or overwhelm.

But maybe you just started in an unrealistic way. Maybe your small steps weren’t small enough. Or maybe you never even broke those bigger objectives down into tiny do-able chunks.

Today, start over.

What matters to you?

What do you want to achieve?

Commit to one thing.

Break that down into the smallest steps possible and simply begin.

Then keep going.

Day after day.

Just small steps.

A year from now you’ll be glad you did.

Need help with this process?

If you’d like some extra support with defining your One Big Thing and then breaking it down into achievable steps for 2017 go grab one of my Year of ME Planners over at my SHOP. (ME stands for Manifesting Energies, and the energies of 2017 are fabulous for making things happen!) This digital full-year planner can be in your inbox in minutes, ready for you to review 2016 and begin mapping out what matters for you as we work through 2017.

Need bigger support? Join my Year of ME 12 month course and community for a whole year of deliciousness – with webinars, meditations and loads of activities and helpful tools and the most fantastic and supportive online facebook group. You’ll feel right at home with us!

If you are looking to start or grow a business I’ve got planning tools for that too, as well as a course and community, and one place left for a year of personal mentoring and coaching with me.

All the information you need is over at my SHOP.

The Week Ahead – Oracle for Monday 22 January 2017

Destiny

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Hello, Lovelies!

Here’s the oracle card I have chosen this Monday, and my take on the energetic outlook for the week ahead. 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. ‘Destiny’ is from the Chakra Wisdom Oracle Deck by Tori Hartman.

If you read my forecast for January, you’ll remember that this is a month for seeing yourself and your life with fresh eyes – a month for stepping out of your old story and writing a new one for the years ahead, one that expands your possibilities and that brings you meaning and joy.

I love the message of this week’s card – Destiny shows so clearly the struggle within us as we look to what we want and then begin to doubt.

It’s not that we can’t see the possibilities for our life. We can! We can see how we might do something, create something, join something, be something.

We can even see how our lives might change if we commit to new habits, if we take action, if we do the thing. We want to believe in those possibilities for ourselves. We want to commit to them.

But…

What we also bring when we see these possibilities for ourselves is doubt. We find that we have a lack of confidence in ourselves and our abilities. A voice inside our head tells us we aren’t good enough. We don’t belong.

We begin looking for someone outside of ourselves to validate our decisions and choices. We begin to seek approval. We begin to seek opinions.

Before we know it we are swamped and overwhelmed. Our initial enthusiasm is dampened or gone, we are back in stuckness, we are defeated before we start.

Image from www.flickr.com Quote by BK, photo credit Husky

Image from www.flickr.com Quote by BK, photo credit Husky

Destiny reminds us that this is natural at the beginning of any journey. This doubt and fear and lack of confidence in ourselves is human. Most people feel it, including the people we see as successful and better than ourselves. They are just more practiced at hiding these feelings or overcoming them.

This week is a powerful week for meeting your indecision and lack of confidence head on. It’s a week that supports taking tangible steps towards change. It’s a week that encourages you to make decisions, to commit to a course of action, to back yourself and your plans and dreams.

It’s a glorious week for beginning to overcome lifelong patterns of ‘not good enough’.

Need help with that? Look no further than this year’s energetic forecast, and the wise advice and presence of the Prince of Disks, who advocates small steps daily towards our greater vision.

This week is also a beautiful week for planning the year ahead as we reflect on what has been, and where we want to go next.

If you’d like some extra support with manifesting your own positive destiny in 2017 go grab one of my Year of ME Planners over at my SHOP. (ME stands for Manifesting Energies, and the energies of 2017 are fabulous!) This digital full-year planner can be in your inbox in minutes, ready for you to review 2016 and begin mapping out what matters for you as we work through 2017.

Need bigger support? Join my Year of ME 12 month course and community for a whole year of deliciousness – with webinars, meditations and loads of activities and helpful tools and the most fantastic and supportive online facebook group. You’ll feel right at home with us!

If you are looking to start or grow a business I’ve got planning tools for that too, as well as a course and community, and one place left for a year of personal mentoring and coaching with me.

All the information you need is over at my SHOP.

Here's my own 2017 Planner, and my 2017 gratitude stone, my 2017 crystal pack, and the oracle cards I'm going to use for the year ahead. Pretty delicious, huh?

 

Supportive crystals this week? Citrine, Orange Calcite, Fluorite and Tiger Iron. Helpful essential oils?  Young Living’s Clarity essential oil blend, or  a combination (or singly!) of any of Basil, Bergamot, Cedarwood and Lavender.

This is a big week for moving yourself out of stuckness and back into flow. Talk kindly and encouragingly to yourself. Hold yourself to account. You can do this!

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

 

Calling All Lightworkers – Breathe in Pain, Breathe out Peace

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“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
― Martin Luther King Jr

 

Have you been feeling unsettled or agitated? Have you felt overwhelmed with world events or climactic ones? Are there problems closer to home causing you distress?

At times it is easy to feel small and insignificant – unable to help when all we feel in our hearts is an urge to try. Whether it is pain and illness in our family, or troubles within the environment or the wider world, we can often feel powerless to do anything meaningful.

But there is something we can do. Meditate!

Right now, one of the most helpful things that you can do as a Lightworker is to anchor love, light and positive intent in the world.

Tonglen is Tibetan for ‘giving and receiving’ and it is a beautiful and simple meditation practice than anyone can do, with no experience.  What matters is your intent.

Sit or lie quietly, and close your eyes. I like to sit with my spine straight, and my hands together in my lap, thumb tips pressed lightly together. If I’m lying in bed, I lie on my back with my hands crossed together over my heart. Try to sit if you can, but for those of you unwell or unable to do so, a prone meditation practice will still work.

Start by imagining someone who you want to help. It might be a friend with depression.  You breathe in the heaviness of their energy and suffering and breathe out joy and peace, or whatever other energy you feel would bring them comfort.

All you ever have to do is ‘breathe in’ the condition, emotion or suffering of another, making room for healing and comfort within them.  Then ‘breathe out’ positive energy, love and light to fill the space you have created.

The suffering of others is also our own suffering, so this meditation can help us as we endeavour to help others.  If you are in pain, breathe in your own pain and also the pain of everyone who is suffering from your affliction.  Breathe out relief to everyone, in whatever form feels most right to you.

Do not worry that the things you breathe in will become a part of you, further weighing you down. As you breathe in suffering it is transmuted back into light, and it dissipates harmlessly.

Sometimes you may not even have a word for what you are breathing it – it will simply be a feeling, a weightiness, a blackness or even a void.  Breathe out hope, lightness, joy and well-being.  Breathe out ease.

At times when we don’t know what else to do, this suffices. As you bring peace to others, you bring it also to yourself.  It is a very soothing and calming practice.  You don’t need to belong to any particular religion, or follow any particular spiritual philosophy.  This simple practice merely acknowledges that we are all human, all connected, and all the same – no matter who we are, or where we come from.

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama says of Tonglen:

“Whether this meditation really helps others or not, it gives me peace of mind. Then I can be more effective, and the benefit is immense.”

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In addition to meditation, here are some simple additional things you might like to try:

  • Treat yourself kindly and with care. Get enough sleep, eat well, and find things to be grateful for in your daily life.
  • Reach out to others with a spirit of friendship and compassion.
  • Spend time in nature, resting and reinvigorating your soul.
  • Don’t contribute to gossip, hurtful or negative talk, or sharing negative views or images on social media.
  • Spend time with your loved ones, and enjoy the company of your family and friends. Laugh together, and make good memories.
  • Read uplifting and nourishing books – both fiction and non-fiction.
  • Grow food or flowers.
  • Use your shopping dollars to support products, services and enterprises who contribute positively and responsibly to the environment and community.
  • Speak kindly to yourself and others.
  • Choose to remain positive and optimistic about the future. Anchor that energy of hope. Be inspirational to those around you.
  • Live life lovingly and to the best of your ability.
  • Follow your own joy. Create, dream, travel, start the project or business you’ve been thinking about for so long, connect, be yourself, learn something new, teach something you know, be the change.
  • Know that your life matters, your ideas matter, you matter!

Together, we can make a difference. Together, we might just change the world.

Sending so much love to you.

Thanks for sharing the journey with me!

Nicole ❤ xoxo

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Black Sticky Rice Pudding Recipe – Gluten Free, Vegan, Yum!

black sticky rice

“I like rice. Rice is great if you’re hungry and want 2000 of something. ”
~ Mich Ehrenborg

 

This is truly one of those comfort-in-a-bowl dishes. Black sticky rice pudding is popular in Thailand and parts of Asia. It can be eaten warm or cold, and makes a delicious dessert, but it’s equally good for breakfast or as a snack.

To serve I use a splodge of coconut cream or coconut yogurt, some fresh seasonal fruit, and sometimes a handful of nuts or seeds as well. It’s endlessly versatile.

Black sticky rice pudding is a great recipe – gluten free, dairy free, vegan and full of fibre, anti-oxidants and nurture-y goodness.  Black rice is a source of amino acids, iron, zinc, copper and according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is great for supporting and nurturing the liver and kidneys, two organs/energy centres that get very depleted during times of stress, illness or depression.  It’s great food for people with burnout or adrenal fatigue as it is warm and easy to digest.  Coconut is also good for low thyroid function and boosting slow metabolisms.

I usually make double this quantity and keep some in the fridge.  I reheat in a saucepan with a little extra water, but if you are a microwave user, I guess you could go there…

black sticky rice 2

Ingredients

1 cup of black glutinous rice (you can find this in most Asian grocery stores or good supermarkets), 2.5 cups of water, 2 tablespoons palm sugar or soft brown sugar, salt, vanilla essence, 1 cup of coconut milk/cream

Note – If you are sugar-free use Natvia, stevia or your favourite sugar substitute.

Method

Soak the rice overnight (or at least 6 hours)  in the water in a ceramic or glass dish. It’s really important to soak your rice well, so please don’t skimp on that part of the cooking process. The water will go a nice shade of purple – try not to get it on you as it will stain some fabrics. Many people suggest you discard the soaking water, rinse and start over, but then you’d lose many of the minerals and anti-oxidants that have leached from the water overnight.

Transfer to a suitable saucepan and place on the heat.  Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, and then reduce the heat to low, and cover.  Cook for a further half an hour to forty-five minutes, until the rice is soft and the mixture has thickened.  You need to play this by ear a bit, as you might need to add a little more water and cook longer. It all depends on the rice.

Add a pinch of salt and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of  coconut milk/cream, then sugar to taste. Add in a splash of vanilla essence too. I use about 2 heaped tablespoons of palm sugar, but if you prefer it sweeter, add more.  Stir occasionally over the next ten minutes until the rice is thick and pudding like. (I sometimes omit the coconut milk as a variation, which gives a nuttier flavour.)

Cool slightly and then serve in bowls with the remaining coconut milk/cream drizzled over the top.  Sliced banana or tropical fruits such as papaya or mango are also good.  In winter I may use berries.  Right now I am using a big dollop of coconut yoghurt (yoghurt made on coconut milk!) from a company called Co Yo, which is divine.

If I have made a less-sweet pudding, I will sometimes also add a sprinkle of palm sugar or a dash of maple syrup when serving.

Enjoy ♥

sticky rice 3

sticky rice pudding

 

 

Standing Under Old Trees

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“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
―~ Rachel Carson

 

This morning, after a restless night, I slept late.

Instead of sitting in meditation, Harry Dog and I went for a long rambling walk.

We said hello to the cows.

We saw the old tree that cracked in half and fell over late last night.

We saw where the echidna has been digging, and where a new bush orchid has taken root, cradled in a hollow of a big old tree.

We walked and walked.

And when we came back to the house again we were happy.

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A Quiet Wednesday Today

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“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
~ Kahlil Gibran

 

Wednesday is my day for posting about death and dying.

Today just happens to be Ben’s birthday as well.

And for us, death and dying just came right to our front door, with the recent heartbreaking and sudden loss of our dear friend, Nurse Bert, the bestest and goofiest dog we have ever known.

I have tried, but I still can’t bring myself to tell you what happened yet. It was a little like being in a war zone for those last few hours of Bert’s life. We are still running on adrenaline and not enough sleep. We’re all still bruised and traumatised and too numb. We’re all still raw and feeling too much and not numb enough.

That’s what death brings to those who remain. A deep grief and sorrow. A total disorientation. An ocean of feeling and a desperate need to be able to find a way to navigate that ocean without our flimsy crafts being tossed around and going under.

On top of all of which I am undergoing procedures to help settle this intractable antibiotic-resistant UTI, which has been making life a misery.

While enduring a heatwave.

And with a dog left behind who is mourning the loss of his brother hard, and for whom there is currently only sadness in this world. Poor Cafe Dog, our sweet Harry, needs extra cuddles and care right now.

So, today we are having a very quiet day at home. We might just retreat to the only room with air-con – the bedroom – and all have a cuddle and a cry and try to catch up on some sleep.

Thank you so much for your outpouring of love and support. It has been such a comfort to us all.

Hug your loved ones, and be kind to yourselves and each other, today and always,

Much love to you from Nicole, Ben and Harry xx

Vale, Good Sir Bertle, the most distinguished Nurse, companion and burger connoisseur.

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Nurse Bert

Honey Pepper Beef Marinade and Stirfry Recipe

pepper beef

“I just love Chinese food. My favourite dish is number 27.” ~ Clement Attlee

 

Note: Finally, the recipe I tried to post the other day! This is the one that kept uploading pictures of the beach, instead of my food pictures. How grateful I am now that this post was already written and only needed to have the pictures added, as we are still grief-stricken here at the farm, and missing our dear dog Bert so very much. I could barely think what to write this morning. Now that I’ve added these pictures we are taking Harry to the beach for a walk and then a coffee, as he is heartbroken at the loss of his brother. Thank you for all of your messages of love and support. They have been a great comfort to us. Anyway, read on. It really is a very tasty recipe…

 

This is a simple but really flavoursome dish. I’ve given quantities to serve four, but the recipe can easily be adjusted for fewer or more people.

The meat needs to be marinated for an hour minimum, but I prefer to leave it at least four or five hours for the flavour to deepen. I’ve also left the meat in the marinade for a few days, well refrigerated, and it was delicious when finally cooked.

If you want you can also use the marinade for steaks, chops and ribs. It goes equally well with beef, pork or lamb.

 

Marinade Ingredients:

2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper, 1 teaspoon of cornstarch/cornflour or arrowroot, Pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sherry or Shaoxing wine, 1 teaspoon of honey, 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Other Ingredients:

500 grams thinly sliced beef strips

For the Stirfry:

Four cups of mixed vegetables, chopped into thin slices or cut into pieces. A slug of your favourite oil for cooking. Rice to serve.

Any of the following are good: onion, red onion, asparagus, snow peas, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, capsicum (bell pepper), cabbage, carrots, egg-plant, zucchini, Chinese vegetables such as bok choi or pak choi, canned or fresh baby corn spears, bamboo shoots, water chestnut slices.

Keep fast-cooking vegetables like bok choi to one side, to cook last.

 

Method:

Combine the marinade ingredients and pour over the beef strips. Mix well. Cover and chill for at least an hour. Longer is better and will give a more tender and flavoursome result.

To cook:

Use a wok or a large frypan with high sides. Have your prepared vegetables ready and your rice done or close to done. You’ll also need a large clean bowl to hold the cooked beef strips. *Never return cooked meat to a marinade, and never put a used marinade on cooked food!

Place some oil in the pan and put it on to a high heat. You want to cook this fast and hot.

Place a handful of strip in the pan. They should sizzle. Stir them until browned, remove to a clean bowl and then repeat with the rest of the beef.

Add a little more oil to the pan and then dump in the vegetables that will take longer to cook. Stir for a few minutes over high heat until they are softening. Add in any remaining marinade. Stir well, and then add the beef back in to reheat. Stir to combine and wait til everything is piping hot. Finally, add the quick-cooking vegetables like your Asian greens to the top of the pan. Stir them through. It will only take a minute or so for them to soften down.

Remove from heat. Serve over rice. Enjoy!

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