Travelling With Bukowski

“One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.”
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I always travel with a book. Sometimes several.

But this trip I decided to load e-books on my kindle, as well as a few audio books, and bring just a journal instead, to save space.

It worked for a while.

And then suddenly it didn’t.

 

In a bookshop in Manila I found the English Language section. They stocked a broad and eclectic range, and the books were mostly cheap paperbacks with impossibly thin pages and thin covers and several of every copy, impenetrable in their plastic wrapping.

I excavated a thin poetry book that was hidden behind new editions of recent best-sellers. The protective cover was gone; the small book was so well read that the cover was creased almost in two and every page was soiled and marked. Like all of the travellers before me I stopped and dipped between its pages for a moment. The world stood still as words fell around me like rain.

I dug around the shelves some more and then I found it. A volume of Charles Bukowski’s poetry. The cover was soft with wear. It was well read and loved already. It felt good in my hand, like I belonged to it, and it to me. I couldn’t bring myself to open it. I just held it tight, and stood in front of the shelves a little longer, pretending that I might choose something else. Wondering if I could take it home.

I couldn’t see for tears.

Once, long ago, I took a journey to another far-away place and forgot to take a book with me. I was living in the Kimberley then. The remote Australian outback. A terrible place to be without a book.

Not long after I arrived a group of American tourists camped at the station. It was their last adventure before they caught a plane to Darwin and then home. On the morning of their departure they dumped whatever they didn’t need, to lighten their luggage.

Later that morning I watched a cleaner empty the trash from the men’s toilet. Among the papers and bottles and debris I saw a book fly into the bin. Before I could stop myself I ran from the office and snatched it up. I didn’t even stop to read the cover. It was a book, and I was a junky starved of words.

I wiped it clean with a corner of my shirt and carried it home triumphant.

This same book.

For days back in that wilderness place I couldn’t even open it. I just read the cover over and over. The title said ‘You Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense – Charles Bukowski.’

I felt like Bukowski was talking to me. I knew and he knew.

And as I chose and read a single poem, rationing them to every other day, I came to know that poets exist to sing breath back into our bodies when we can no longer breathe for ourselves.

I lost that precious book when we moved from the Kimberley. But now we have found each other again.

I read one randomly selected poem aloud each day, to entertain Ben and to nurture myself. It’s like travelling with an old friend.

It’s like coming home.

 

Mala Beads – How To Be Calm Anywhere!

“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.”
~ Pema Chödrön

 

 

Sometimes I find myself in stressful situations or noisy places where I want to calm myself, soothe anxiety or practice mindfulness, and where my normal meditation techniques aren’t effective or appropriate.

Take travel for example. Travel can mean crowded airports, uncertain schedules, crazy traffic, and jet lag to name a few common stressors. It’s not always possible to find a quiet corner, or to sit down, close my eyes and zone out.

When I travel I always wear a mala beads around my neck, or as a bracelet. It looks like fashion, but it is very functional fashion. I can discretely slip my mala off and then work the beads between my fingers.

This technique has worked miracles for me as I have sat stuck in an airport with a flight delay, or in an airplane during heavy turbulence, or in a hotel room where I can’t sleep.

As I roll each mala bead between my thumb and first finger I have a few simple options for my meditation. Here are my top four:

  1. For each bead I can consciously breathe in and then out, after which I move to the next bead and repeat. This is brilliant as a sleep aid. Sometimes I breathe in light and exhale grey – and I see the grey as fatigue, illness or worry leaving my body. Gradually the light fills me up and I come back to calm again. If you suffer from panic attacks this is great for you!
  2. For each bead I can pray for someone like this; ‘Imogen, I pray for you. I intend for you flow, health, grace, love and miracles. (or I might hold an intention for a specific healing outcome, which I name by saying ‘I intend for you ________’) Bless you.’ Then I hold their face in my mind’s eye as I breathe in and out, consciously sending love and energy to them.
  3. For each bead I can repeat a simple affirmation. One of my favourites, and the one that has been the most transformative for me over time is: ‘I love and approve of myself.’ If I am super anxious I affirm: ‘I am watched over and cradled in love. I am safe and all l is well.’
  4. For each bead I hold the face of a loved one, friend or client in my mind. Silently I say ‘I love you. I wish you well. Bless you.’ And then I move onto the next bead, choose a person and repeat the process.

I finish every round of my mala (from the marker bead or tassel, around the mala and back to the beginning) by saying ‘And it is so. Thank you, thank you, thank you.’

Many of you may already have a mala that you wear as a decorative item. Some of them are so pretty! But I promise you, the real value is in using them as a focus tool for a pathway to calm in even the most stressful situations.

Sending so much love your way, Nicole ❤ xoxo

 

Here’s a little video of my silently praying my mala yesterday while I waited for my shuttle ride to take me to the airport:

 

Letting Myself Cry…

“The cure for anything is salt water. Sweat, tears, or the ocean.”
~ Isak Dinesen

 

It’s been building up for a while.

I do my best to manage it. I meditate twice daily. I ground myself. I sit in awareness and go gently when I need to.

But it’s never enough…

 

All the things I feel.

All the things I know.

All the things I see.

All the things I feel you hiding.

All the pain I feel inside you.

All the things of yours that I feel in me as I connect with you, hug you, work with you. Recent things, old things, things from childhood. Things sometimes from before even that.

All the injustices and terrible things that I see in the world or in some of my work where I must live with that knowledge, and the fact that I can’t change it.

All the times I can’t keep someone safe.

All the times my dreams become a continuation of the truth and suffering of others so that I might take some of that burden from you, or so that I can share that information with those who are empowered to act.

All the weight of all the things and all the feels and all that raw life.

 

Sometimes I find myself moving more and more slowly. Getting heavier and heavier in my body and my spirit. It comes upon me and I know that I can only hold it back for so long.

It always ends in tears.

But, after I have cried I feel better. Then I will take a walk, and then a swim in the ocean or a long shower.

Things go back to manageable again. The weight is lifted from me.

I have learned that it is okay to cry. In fact, sometimes it’s the only thing that truly helps.

How about you? What do you do to manage the weight of the world?

I am refreshed this morning, and sending so much love to you as I sit in meditation,

Nicole ❤ xoxo

 

 

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

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

Taking Time To Tune In

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“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”
~ Gautama Buddha

 

I’m late to blogging this morning.

Why?

As I do every morning, when I woke up I tuned in to myself – to see how I felt, to feel what I needed.

And what I needed was more sleep. So, ignoring my brain, which was telling me ‘hurry up, get up, meditate, blog, write…’ I listened to my body, and I rolled over and went back to sleep.

This year my Power Word is HEAL. So, this practice of being aware of my body has become even more important. I can’t just blunder through the day ignoring how I truly feel, or what I might need in order to bring myself back to balance.

So, I tune in to myself regularly – at least three or four times a day starting with when I first wake. I take a few calming breaths, and bring my mindfulness to myself. How am I feeling? What’s happening for me? Is there anything I need? Is there anything I need to know?

This self-mindfulness has been such a useful tool for me over the years, as I work to get to truly know, understand and care for myself. It promotes intuition and self-love. It helps you to truly know yourself.

How about you? Do you take time to tune in to yourself? Do you take time to give your body and your soul what they need?

Maybe it’s time.

Sending oodles of love your way,

Nicole ❤ xx

 

The Energies of February – 2017

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“If nothing else in this long and short life, let me be true to my conscience, to the dignity of my own heart. Let me act in a way that says, I have honored my spirit as truly as I have honored others. Let me stand tall and rooted as a mountain in the face of a quaking world.”
~ Jennifer DeLucy

 

Hello, Lovelies :)

Suddenly, here we are at February. After the fresh hopes and the new beginnings offered by January and the dawning of 2017, some of you may now be feeling a little less optimistic, a little less enthusiastic, a little more overwhelmed.

Or a lot.

But take heart. There is a groundswell of energy in February that speaks of a return to alignment and integrity, and a need for the values and principles of your heart to be reflected in the life you live. Breathe out fear and breathe in love. Anchor love and light in yourself and in your corner of the world. Radiate love and calm to those around you. And most importantly – live true to yourself and your values this month. Stand in your integrity. Speak up for what you believe in. Act from love and compassion. That’s what’s most needed in our lives and in the world right now.

Cards for the Month:

I’ve chosen two cards for February for you: one from the Osho Zen Tarot Deck, and one from Colette Baron-Reid’s Wisdom of the Oracle. Please note I don’t use these cards in the conventional way, but rather as a stimulus for channelled information.

Here is what I have received from each card:

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“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”
~ Suzy Kassem

February brings a counter-balance to the more exuberant energies of January. In February we’re asked to turn inwards, and to tune in to our own wants and needs. Find quiet time for reflection this month. Get some periods of time on your own, even if it’s just an hour. Walking, meditating, time in nature, quiet nights at home – these are all great activities for February.

This is an important month for staying true to yourself and your vision and goals, despite what other people might say or advise. No matter your own doubts in your abilities. Look for mentors and friends who will support you and lift you up. Sign up to study and self-enrichment work.

February whispers words of encouragement in your ear. It’s time to back yourself and your plans. It’s time to honour your truth and to be yourself, with no apologies. Work on your future. Commit to your ideas and decisions. Stay strong and trust yourself! Nurture that garden and plant more seeds.

It’s also a fabulous month for developing more intuition and psychic ability. This takes quiet time and the ability to slow down and pay attention to the world around you, and the feelings within your own body. Meditation will make everything better in February!

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The second card I’ve chosen is Orphaned. The picture captures so well the devastating loneliness that comes when we try to change or disguise ourselves to fit in or gain approval, and even after all of that soul denial we find ourselves (or aspects of ourselves) unaccepted and unloved.

orphaned

“The thought of being whoever I want is a terrifying thing, because I have only ever been who everyone has wanted me to be.”
~ Dianna Hardy

 

In February, decide that it is best to be yourself and to be loved for who you are.

Get counselling to help you overcome the wounds and pains of past or existing relationship.

Make your emotional well-being a priority. If you are in friendships, workplaces or love relationships where you have to keep yourself small or hide major aspects of yourself in order to satisfy others, or where the situation goes against your values and beliefs, consider leaving.

Life is too short to be unhappy in an unfulfilling situation. Better to give yourself the chance to be loved and appreciated for who you are by starting over somewhere else.

The truth is that you are beautiful, you are valuable, you are worthy.

You are lovable, and you have the right to emotional fulfillment and to be able to freely express your thoughts, ideas and beliefs by being yourself.

Someone will love you. Someone will resonate with who you are. There will be a workplace where you don’t have to suffer bullying. There is no need to change or to hide yourself any longer. And that love must start with you – loving and valuing yourself enough to decide that you will no longer accept second-rate relationships and situations where you are not respected or valued.

 

Best crystals this month?

Ametrine and White Howlite.

Ametrine is a rare stone that combines amethyst and citrine crystals. It promotes self-awareness, clarity and spiritual connection and gets you back in flow with your Higher Self.

White Howlite creates a sense of deep calm and peace, and helps you find answers and direction during dreams or meditation.

 

Essential oils to support your journey?

Each of the following oils will work beautifully on their own for you this month, but they also make a delicious combination for diffusing. The essential oils you will find helpful in February are Rosemary, Lavender, Cedarwood, and Bergamot. Rosemary helps us to make good decisions and to problem-solve, Lavender keeps us in flow and relaxed, Cedarwood is grounding and supportive – especially when you feel anxious or overwhelmed, and Bergamot gifts us optimism and a sense of gratitude for our lives and the world around us. To diffuse add 2 or three drops of each oil to your room or personal diffuser. You can find the oils here.

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Need some extra encouragement, support or inspiration for your year ahead?

Want a system and support to help you make 2017 a great year for you? In life or in business? Check out my Year of ME Planner – 2017 and community. It has everything you need! And you’ll be among friends. We’d love to welcome you in, and share this journey together.

I have a number of options for you, and they are all in my SHOP:

Digital download of my Planner. Just download, print and you’re good to go.

Digital Download of my Planner AND a digital download of my Business Planning Pack – an extra document to use in 2017 to help you plan your year in business in conjunction with your life planning.

Membership of my Year of ME Community – 12 months of membership to a private facebook group, as well as a year-long online course that will guide you through the year. Lots of lovely bonuses, webinars, meditations and more. Plus my community is the most kind, supportive and helpful space. You’ll fit right in!

Combo Membership for my Year of ME Community and year-long online course, and my YOM-Preneur Community and year-long online course. Not everyone is into business, but if you are, or you want to be, this is the deal for you. 12 months of planner guidance and support for life and business, no matter what stage of business you might be in. Plus you’ll be able to hang out with other intuitive and heart-centred entrepreneurs and business-oriented people.

There are monthly subscriptions for each of the communities too.

Go to my shop here or click on the SHOP tab at the top of this page.

I’d tell you more, but honestly, it’s all in the descriptions in my shop when you click on the various icons and offers. Yay!!!

Come join us. We’re already creating magic for our year and making breakthroughs for ourselves and each other. I can’t wait to hang out with you.

Lots of love, Nicole❤ xoxo

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