The Turn In The Road Where My Worries Fall Away

Image from www.stopthesethings.com

“Though a lifetime of listening to the music of the world has passed, even now the tone of the rain on the roof of my home is the sweetest sound I have ever heard.” 
~  Kensi Brianne Smith

 

We’ve been up in Brisbane this past week, and it’s been full on.

I’ve had doctors’ appointments and the sorts of things to attend to that can only be done in the city.

I’ve held space for friends and clients who have suffered tragedy and tempest.

And we’ve been elder caring.

Ben’s mum is old and increasingly frail, although stubbornly independent, bless her. She’s at the age where suddenly she needs help with everything: shopping, cooking, home maintenance, paying bills – all the things she has done so competently for the entirety of her life. But we don’t mind at all. We love her, and she is family.

Still, it’s stressful, and we worry constantly about her.

Yesterday finally we packed up to drive home to the farm.

There is a place we come to, just over the border between Queensland and New South Wales, where I unfailingly begin to unwind and feel better. City and suburbia fall away and at a turn in the road the highway is suddenly blanketed by cane fields and farms with a backdrop of dusky crags.

The tension leaves my body. I sigh audibly. A sense of relief creeps over me.

Many of our friends from the Byron Shire experience the same thing; that falling away of worries as we move into the encircling arms of the ancient volcanic rim that cradles our homes.

How about you? Do you have a place in the journey home where suddenly you feel better too? I’d love to know.

Hugs and love from all of us here at the farm, Nicole xx

What To Do When That Tsunami of Suffering Hits

Image from www.emaze.com

“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.” 
~  Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 

None of us is immune.

As I have grown older, through the private worlds of others that I have accessed in my life as a psychic, and in the unfolding of my own days, I have come to understand that suffering visits us all.

For almost everyone, at some stage, there will not just be one burden too heavy to bear. No. Instead what we will have is a tsunami of suffering. One impossible thing heaped upon another.

We will find ourselves in a place where the hits come so thick and fast that we will wonder how we can go on.

My sister and I still laugh about once when I became so desperate and dogged – at a time where everything was going wrong, where my life was nothing but bad news, and where only my husband still stood beside me and him in his own world of pain – that I rang Lifeline, an anonymous phone counselling service, hoping to find a glimmer of light in the darkest of times.

The counsellor asked me what was wrong, and I began to list things off.

She became quieter and quieter. Finally she stopped me.

That’s too many things, she said. I’m sorry. I’m only trained to help you with one problem. I’m completely overwhelmed. It’s just too much. I’m sorry.

After which I spent an hour counselling and reassuring her, before getting off the phone to make myself a cup of tea and reflect ruefully on the extreme emotional isolation I had found myself in, and to marvel that even in that place I had still managed to find a way to laugh at myself and my situation.

Image from www.chaivan.com

I have survived a tsunami of suffering more than once, my friends. So I feel well qualified to offer a perspective. Coping skills have become one of my magical powers, not that I ever imagined I would be in a place to have that kind of knowledge. I’m glad to be able to share what I know in the hopes that it may ease your own suffering, or your sense of isolation.

A tsunami is catastrophic, and sometimes the way things break in you, or in your life, they can never be put back together the same way ever again.

But I have learned one thing well. Humans have incredible resilience. We have a great capacity to move through suffering, and to find ourselves eventually back on shore again. That shore may be completely different to the place we started. It will become familiar in time. You may even grow to like it better than the ‘before’ place.

It’s seldom graceful when we’re in the maelstrom. We just have to survive it any way we can, and with as much kindness and compassion for ourselves and those around us as we can muster.

Here’s what I know to be true:

  1. It helps to have someone to talk to. Someone who won’t judge. Someone who can listen and hold space while you unburden all the things, the tsunami of things, that are going wrong in your life. If there’s no-one you trust go outside and speak to the trees, talk with your pet, or your dead gran. Your Angels, Ancestors, Guides or God, if that works for you. Talk to your own wise self, or write it all down in your journal. There’s ALWAYS someone who’ll listen, and who’ll hold that tender space of care and love for you. It just might not be in the place you’d hope or expect it to be. (Like friends, partner or family. Be okay with that, so that it doesn’t add more pain to your burden.)
  2. Set short goals. Get through the next breath. The next minute. The next hour. Til sundown. Til sunrise. Tiny increments can get us through the most impossible pain.
  3. Breathe. Just breathe. In and out. In and out. Mindfully slowing your panic and bringing your awareness always back to your breath and then into your body or out into the world. Let your breath calm you.
  4. Ask for help.
  5. Don’t hide stuff, about your situation or relationship or whatever else is happening. It is what it is. When we hide things or make them out to be less than what they are we create shame, and make it impossible to stay open and to be able to accept help.
  6. Get creative. Know that you can survive stripped down, stripped bare, and that it is possible to make yourself and your life over from the ground up.
  7. Drugs, alcohol, emotional eating and self-harm don’t fix anything, and ultimately add more to both your burden and the distance you’ll have to travel back to yourself when this is all over. Try music instead, or binge-watching a box set of DVDs where the characters can become friends. Books are also great medicine. Can’t focus to read? Try an audio book or podcast. Knitting, art and crafts are also good. Sometimes you’ll look back and have no idea what you did with your time. That’s okay too.
  8. Meditation and time in nature heal more than you can know. Go try them and begin to experience their magic for yourself.
  9. People will often go all judgey, hard-arsed and holier-than-thou about the need for extreme self-care when your life has gone pear-shaped. They’ll be spruiking green smoothies, whole foods and superfoods. If you can manage this, great. But if you’re broke, miserable, exhausted and barely coping my advice to you is this. Eat something. Remember to drink water. Don’t overdo the caffeine. Or the sugar. It only makes you feel worse in the end. But if it’s what’s getting you through, do whatever you need to do, honey. Get some sleep. Try to make healthy choices, but know that toast can be an emergency food group.
  10. Find a support group, a counsellor or a caring practitioner who will listen, and who can guide you back to solid ground. That might not even be until after the worst has passed.
  11. Do the best you can. Be okay with days where you don’t cope, or barely cope. Some days will be better, some will be worse. That’s how it goes.
  12. Everything changes. Everything. Bad times end. Life may be different afterwards, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to know joy, happiness or safety again. Life returns to us in increments. Somehow, we find a way forward.

Some extra advice:

  • Walk away from people who tell you ‘everything happens for a reason’ or ‘you just need to work on yourself more’ or ‘God only ever gives you what you can handle’ or that ‘your outer world is only a reflection of your inner beliefs’. You don’t need that shit. You’ve got enough on your plate.
  • If people don’t understand, let it be. Sometimes the only people who will truly get it are others who have been in that same hard space. Some people will never understand. It’s likely that some of those people will be friends and family.
  • Your dark night of the soul, no matter how painful, has the power to be transformational. The circumstances of our suffering can steal so much away, but you can find a gift if you look for it. That gift could be resilience, compassion, wisdom, caring, courage, a stronger sense of self, a new view of yourself and the world, a deeper connection to humanity or an understanding of what really matters to you.

Sending you so much love, and holding you in my prayers and meditations. You’ll find a way. You’ll get through this. Nicole <3 xoxo

Image by SeaquestDS

Just For Today, Choose Kindness

“Be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible.”

“When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.”

~ Both quotes from The Dalai Lama

I have a little challenge for you today. It’s a kind of soul medicine, and although it can be a little difficult if you’re out of practice, the more you move into the energy of this challenge the more you will find that it was always your soul’s default position. Think of this challenge as a way to restore your factory settings!

Ready?

Just for today, choose kindness.

Choose to smile from your heart.

Hold back any harsh thoughts, words or criticisms, and find a way to be gentle in your dealings with self and others.

Let kindness be both your journey and your destination.

Just for today, choose kindness.

Let kindness colour the way you see the world.

Put away judgement, and seek out things that can swell your heart with gratitude.

Look for the good in people, the beauty in your surroundings, the blessings at your feet.

Appreciate the simple things, and if you can, share those simple things with others.

A caring word, a gentle touch, a nod of support – none of these things will cost you a penny, but to someone they might be priceless gifts.

When we choose kindness, we ease the way for ourselves and others.  We become an agent for flow and abundance.  Our attitude affirms the goodness and connection inherent in this experience we call life.

We may become an Earthly Angel for someone for whom the Universe intends support or encouragement. God and good can only work THROUGH us. Why not be an agent for that good? Why not be choose to be part of a deliberate energy of love and positivity?

Whatever we choose to think and believe, whatever actions we offer up to the world, our energies come back to us, multiplied.

Trust that the kindness we offer today will find its way back to us when we most need it.

Through the act of living from our hearts, we are transformed, becoming magnetic to even more good-will and positive energy.

Just for today, choose kindness.

Let the energy of love transform your life.  Let the energy of love transform our world.

Just for today, choose kindness.

Today, in someone’s darkness, you can be the Light. ♥

Sending all my love to you, Nicole xoxo

How To Ask For A Sign

The Eye of God – Helix Nebula from www.skyimagelab.com

“The Universe sets out little signposts for us along the way, to confirm that we’re on the right path.” 
~  Michelle Maisto

 

This week’s energies are supportive of connection, communication, signs, breakthroughs and synchronicities (you can read more about that here).

But how do you ask for a sign?

I recommend that you ask only once, and then satisfy yourself with the answer as it appears to you.

Here are some things that you can try:

Shuffle your oracle or tarot cards, offer up a small prayer that whatever you do be for your Highest Good, and then shuffle the deck again. As you’re shuffling, ask your question . Say it out loud or hold it as a thought in your head. Either will work.

Choose one card. How you choose is up to you. Split the deck. Fan them out. Top or bottom. Dive right in. There is no right or wrong.  Then really look at the card. Don’t use the book or the ‘proper’ meaning. We are being intuitive here, people! What stands out for you in the picture? What thoughts and ideas do the images provoke? What is the answer that comes to you? Trust that. Don’t ask again.

Ask for your Guide to appear as an animal or some other living thing, some sort of motif that you will associate with them and with their presence.

Image from www.printtuftandfold.wordpress.com

Ask to see a specific image or thing, as acknowledgement of a question, or in answer to it.  Perhaps you are driving and you ask to see a red Kombi van if the answer is yes.  Or you ask to see a particular type of bird or something else you’ll recognise as that sign…

Image from www.justmeblog.com

Ask, and then expect an answer.  Perhaps the answer will be a message on a  billboard, a line from a book, a voice on the radio, the words in a song.  The message will stand out for you somehow, and have a special meaning just for you.

Image from www.joke7x24.deals.lv

Angels are often associated with white feathers.  Guides are often associated with other coloured or patterned feathers.  I have found feathers during some of the most difficult times in my life, and have felt reassured by them showing up for me.

Image from www.angelreach.com

When I sense my Great Aunt’s presence I smell roses.  When my Grandmother is near, I smell or even see gardenias.  A friend smells tobacco smoke when her father is with her.  Sometimes loved ones will create a breeze where there was none, stop or start a clock, or move something.  Whatever they do will make sense to you, based on your relationship with them.

Image from www.allexperts.com

Sometimes God creates magnificent signs, for no reason other than to help us remember the love and miracles in our world…

Rainbow image by Ookami Kouu

And sometimes it’s well-meaning friends who help us know what’s in store for us on the road in life…

AP Photo – Image by Chris Nakashima_Brown

When the road ahead is uncertain, when you need to know you’re supported, when you are looking for answers – it’s okay to ask for a sign.  But do it once, and trust what you get!

♥ And here’s MY sign for you today (Okay, maybe there’s 3…):

Image from weheartit.com

Image from candyprincess4 at deviantart.com

Image from favim.com

Small Steps and A Pep Talk For Hard Days

“Small steps may appear unimpressive, but don’t be deceived. They are the means by which perspectives are subtly altered, mountains are gradually scaled, and lives are drastically changed.” 
~  Richelle E. Goodrich

 

As most of you know, I am recovering from illness right now.

I’ve just finished two months of bed rest and am slowly easing myself back into life again. Luckily I’ve found my sweet spot. About three hours of work a day right now is all I can manage. Three hours gives me enough left in the tank for a walk on the beach, for cooking healthy meals, for meaningful connection with my loved ones and for self-care.

Any more than three hours and exhaustion creeps in. If I overdo it and go crazy at my desk I am useless for the next two or three days. Pacing myself is essential. And it is for you too, my friends.

The first six months of this year have been intense. They have required so much from us as we unstick ourselves from the mud, face what needs to be faced, heal what needs to be healed, and attend to all the things that have been holding us back. Because that’s what growth is all about. Sometimes we have to clean up the mess first before we can really start on new things on earnest. The only way you can do that is to put one foot in front of the other.

On January 1 this year I chose a tarot card as guidance for the year ahead. The card was Prince of Disks. The wisdom of this card is all about how taking small steps matters, even though small steps may seem decidedly unsexy and unimpressive when viewed in isolation. But of course, over time small steps add up to big shifts forward. (You can read more about my forecast for 2017 here. )

The energies of the second half of this year are much less intense, much more expansive and creative and allowing. But the small steps rule still applies.

You may feel like you’ve done nothing this year. Perhaps in relation to your bigger goals, dreams and projects that’s true. I can guarantee you though that you’ve been working anyway. Clearing the mess. Dealing with life’s dramas. Sorting out the priorities life has put in front of you. So don’t despair and don’t give up. Use July as your fresh start. Start over. Begin your plans again. Pick up whatever you had to put down when it all got too much. Keep making small steps. Small steps are all you will ever need. (more on July energies here)

As to pacing yourself?

If your life is so crazy that you have no time for yourself, if you are exhausted all the time, if you are resentful of any more demands being made of you – even by loved ones, then it’s time to pace yourself. Work out your sweet spot and stick to what you can manage. It’s always a diminishing return anyway once you move past happily productive and into exhaustion.

If there’s no way to slow down then seriously consider getting off that particular merry-go-round. Life is too short, and you are too precious to work yourself into an early grave for no good reason.

Above all, lovelies, be gentle with yourselves. You’re recovering from a great intensity too. Kindness and self care are magical medicines for care-worn souls.

Much love to you from my little sanctuary here at the farm, Nicole <3 xoxo

Stones, Crystals and Meditation Magic

“The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind.” ~ Caroline Myss

 

I have long been a meditator. In fact it has been a daily practice for me since adolescence. Even with my recent bout of ill-health I haven’t missed a day. It’s as much a part of my life as sleeping or breathing.

As I was walking along the beach on Monday morning I came upon a particular rock. It’s just a stone. But it holds the energies of the ocean and the earth. It is an anchoring stone. And it comes from Byron Bay, which is a place of great healing and transformation. As I held it in my hand I knew that I would meditate with it, and that this stone would hold those energies in a way that could be transferred to someone else.

Which gave me an idea…

I have decided to dedicate a meditation each day of the month to a chosen stone and a crystal companion. The stone becomes the Anchoring Stone, which helps us to stay grounded, clear and calm, connecting into our bodies, and to the earth and nature. The crystal becomes the Connection Stone, enabling us to connect into our intuition, Higher Self, Guides, Ancestors and the Divine.

I will use the energies of the month to support me as I meditate with intention, infusing the stones with that energy.

Here are the stones I will work with every day in July:

The energies and intention I will infuse into the Byron Bay Beach Rock will be that the holder comes to know and understand their body and how to honour and take care of it to give lasting health and wellbeing. This knowledge will also contribute to a state of inner calm and of self-care.

The energies and intention I shall infuse into the Tasmanian Quartz Crystal will be a deep connection to the user’s ancestral line, intuition, Guides, Angels, the Divine – facilitating a stronger understanding of the user’s individual talents and gifts, and those that have been passed down through their ancestral lineage. All of this will help to give clarity of life path.

My team will devise a new competition each month to enable someone from our Cauldrons and Cupcakes community to win the stones as well as a meditation recorded just for them.

All of the love and energy and intention that I pour into these stones daily will then be available for the user in their own meditation. It’s also okay if you’ve never meditated before. I’ll send you instructions!

I’m so glad that this idea found me, so that the right stones can find you.

We’ll post more details soon.

Hugs and love, Nicole ❤ xoxo

10 Simple Hacks For Creating More ‘Me’ Time

“In truth I suspect that merely slowing down is not a very satisfying answer. What I need has less to do with my pace of life than my peace of life. At any speed, I crave a deep and lasting inner peace. And if it’s solace I’m after, I don’t need to pace myself like a turtle, change jobs or set up house on a quiet island. It is usually frenetic living, not high energy, that robs my peace of mind.”
~ Steve Goodier

 

Time for ourselves is not some airy-fairy feel good concept. Time for ourselves is as necessary as breathing. It helps us to stay tuned into to who we are and what’s important to us. Time for ourselves recharges our batteries. It fills us with nurture and new ideas. It helps soothe and heal us.

Often it isn’t that we don’t have time, it’s that we’ve become a very low priority in our own lives.

Here are ten simple hacks to reclaim some of your precious time just for you:

1. Take fifteen minutes at the beginning or end of a grocery shopping trip to have a cup of coffee and flick through a magazine at a cafe. I have girlfriends who have become speed shoppers, racing through their chores to get lovely long cafe time as their reward.

2. Sign up for a class one night a week. Not to give yourself yet one more thing to do, but to escape for a while and spend time on something you’d enjoy learning such as dancing, mosaic making, chainsaw ice-sculpture or Italian cooking. Often when we’re home we devolve into house-keeping duties or mindless screen time. Giving ourselves an outing can be refreshing and it invests time in ourselves and our development.

3. Get up half an hour earlier. Spend that time journalling, meditating, busting a few yoga moves, pulling an oracle or tarot card, or planning your day. Enjoy a cuppa, take a big breath and then let the day begin AFTER you’ve had some precious time to yourself. Not sure how to start? Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way has great instructions for Morning Pages. Why not begin there!

4. Turn off the TV tonight. Sit down and write a story. Or a poem. Or a song. Stories fire up our imagination, help us heal the past, and let us dream the future. If you enjoy the process, come back and write some more one night each week. Writing not your thing? Go take a long soak in the tub!

5. Delete or minimise your social media profiles and screen time. Use some of your time saved to go for a walk. You could ramble around the neighbourhood, drive to a park or beach, or wander through the city. You can walk in the morning, evening or even in your lunch break. Breathe. Look. Listen. And feel how your whole soul begins to unwind…

6. Delegate a chore you don’t enjoy.  It could be cleaning, gardening or shopping. You could do it once for a break, or make it a regular thing. Pay someone if you have to, use an online service or use a barter system. Give yourself that saved time. Use your few hours alone to see that movie no-one else wants to see, to go to the Gallery, or to wander through the Farmers’ Markets or the shops you love.

7. Go to bed early with a book. Books are like magical carpets that take you to other places and times.

8. Delete the games off your phones and screens.They might seem relaxing, but in truth they are a huge time suck, and don’t contribute to lowered stress levels or heightened personal satisfaction. Don’t believe me? Commit to a month without them and you’ll see what I mean.

9. Meal Plan and Batch Cook Use one day to plan and prep all the meals for the coming week. Cook large batches of food, such as soups, pasta bakes, bolognese and even vegetable and salad prep for later in the week. Or use a meal provider who can bring pre-prepared meals to your door each week. If you’re up for it, combine doing the laundry and general house-keeping chores with your cooking day to get your home ship-shape before the week ahead. This saves so much time each week! How to use the time saved? Start or recommence a craft or project. Maybe you loved embroidery as a child. Or scrapbooking. Maybe you’ve been thinking about putting a vegetable garden in the back yard, or researching the family tree. Take some time to put your materials together, and then spend a little time each week devoted to this craft or project. Let it become a kind of good medicine in your life.

10. Say NO to something you don’t want to do, and then let the time you would have spent with others be yours alone. How often have you found yourself out with work colleagues or friends, wishing instead that you were home on the couch, watching your favourite show and eating soup and toast in your pyjamas? Your time really is precious. Start saying NO when it feels like duty or hard work, and use that time on something you’d prefer to do!

Your life is precious. Don’t let it slip by without filling some of it with what you love.
You deserve to be a priority in your own life! Holding you in my thoughts, prayers and meditations,

Nicole <3 xoxo