Write Your Will, Tell Someone Your Wishes!

“Another way to be prepared is to think negatively. Yes, I’m a great optimist. but, when trying to make a decision, I often think of the worst-case scenario. I call it ‘the eaten by wolves factor.’ If I do something, what’s the most terrible thing that could happen? Would I be eaten by wolves? One thing that makes it possible to be an optimist, is if you have a contingency plan for when all hell breaks loose. There are a lot of things I don’t worry about because I have a plan in place if they do.” 
Randy Pausch

Hi, Lovelies,

this is a short and possibly sombre post, but also a necessary one.

It’s about Wills and about the fact that I want to make sure you have one.

In this last week I’ve had four clients rushed to hospital after sudden accidents or illness, and another four diagnosed with terminal cancer.

All of them have young children, pets, possessions. Of the eight, six are single parents.

Two of these single parents are in critical condition and unable to communicate. None of the eight of them have a will, or have talked with anyone about what their wishes might be if something like this was to occur.

Because, of course, we seldom think about these kinds of things when everything is going along normally.

Now the families and friends of these severely injured and incapacitated souls are scrambling to put things in place, but there is nothing to guide them.

What do these people want for their children in the event of their death?

What did they want for themselves when faced with major medical decisions?

I know it’s a chore to get organised for something like this. It forces us to think about things that all of us would prefer to ignore. But once it is done you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that your wishes can be known and that you won’t be leaving further stress and mess for the very loved ones you’d want to protect.

Love and hugs, Nicole  xoxo

PS – Want some questions to guide you in thinking about these things?
Try this blog post:
Conversations about Dying – We Need To Have Them

An ordinary night of magic!

“The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

We’re in the city right now, and last night something quite wonderful happened. Our neighbour joined Ben and I and we walked a few blocks down the road in the mild winter air to our local Japanese restaurant.

After a casual and delicious dinner we strolled home again.

That’s it. That’s all that happened.

No biggy, right?

Except that it was. When you live with chronic illness it’s amazing how small your world can become. For the first time in a long while I went out at night. I walked to a destination and home again. And had the energy to do all of that and still feel good about it.

I hardly ever go out at night, and so to combine dinner, friends and walking feels like some small kind of very tasty miracle.

Hooray for feeling better, and for life!
Hugs and love to you, Nicole  xoxo

Chunky Choc-Chip Oat Cookies – Easy Recipe!

“Baking cookies is comforting, and cookies are the sweetest little bit of comfort food. They are very bite-sized and personal.” ~Sandra Lee

 

School holidays are almost here, and this is a great recipe for kids in the kitchen. They are tasty, easy and use simple ingredients.

We love these chunky cookies here at the farm – they go well with a cuppa, a tall glass of milk, or a bowl of ice-cream. They are robust enough to hold their shape if they are bouncing around in a tin in the back of the ute while we’re out mustering and fancy enough to please the neighbours when they drop in for a chat and a cup of tea.

The biscuits will store in an airtight tin for one week but never last that long around here. The cookie dough can also be frozen in a log and used at a later date.

This recipe bakes up perfectly well with gluten-free flour if you need that, and is versatile enough that you can substitute raisins, nuts, cornflakes or dried fruit for the choc-chips if preferred. I have sometimes substituted muesli for both the oats and choc-chips if that was all I had to hand.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Ingredients:

  • 250 grams of softened butter
  • 3 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup raw sugar (or ordinary sugar if that is all you have)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 and 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup of choc chips (I like to use a couple of different types) or a 200-gram block of chocolate broken into chunks

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to moderately slow (160 degrees Celsius or 325 Fahrenheit)
  2. Line two trays/cookie sheets with baking paper.
  3. Beat butter, condensed milk and sugar together until pale and creamy. I use an electric mixer for this and it takes a few minutes.
  4. Dump remaining ingredients in bowl and stir to combine. You can do this on low speed in the mixer or use a wooden spoon. 
  5. Use a dessert spoon to scoop up mixture and roll into balls. Place balls on tray with a little space between them because they will spread when they cook. Press down to flatten the balls slightly with your fingers.
  6. Bake for fifteen minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Remove for oven and cool on trays for five minutes then transfer to a wire rack until they are completely cool. 

Serve to your friends and family, or eat them all on your own with Netflix for company!

PS – Pop Up Shop and June Workshops:
If you’re looking for some extra support for your spiritual journey check out my upcoming Pop Up Shop, Channelling Night and One Day Workshops in Brisbane 29 June to 1 July.

The Pop Up Shop runs over Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Workshops are over Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday June 30 I’ll be teaching Foundation Spiritual Practices (the things I used to develop my own psychic and intuitive skills, self-awareness and compassion), and on Sunday July 1 I’ll teach Meditation and Mala Making (this second workshop is brilliant if you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, stuck or suffering from anxiety or depression). No matter what level you’re at I’ll have something for you on my program. More details here!

All details are on my EVENTS tab at the top of my blog post or here at this link.

A Reminder About The Energies of 2018

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” 
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I was talking to one of my students yesterday, who told me she was giving up on a project. ‘I’ve pushed and pushed and pushed’ she said, ‘and it’s going nowhere. I’m killing myself for this project, and I’d rather be home digging in the garden or looking after my kids. I’ll wait for the next idea, but right now I’m too tired to even think.’

After which she told me that she felt like a failure.

I reminded her that her actions were absolutely aligned with 2018’s energies, and that she was making the right choice. I thought you might need a reminder about these energies too.

The Sun is our guiding card for 2018. It’s a heart-centred year. A year for connection and inclusion. It’s a fine year for all forms of creativity, fertility and innovation. A great year for healing old hurts, mending fences and rebuilding relationships. It’s also a year where you’ll clearly see where to walk away and put your energies to situations and relationships that are more suitable for you, and where to end situations and relationships that are no longer working.

The Sun shows us that this year we’re supported to spend time in acts of creativity and innovation. Ideas will flow. Things will come together. Making money, making art, connecting in love, original ideas and projects – all of these things will become easier – but we can’t push to make them happen. Better to get the framework down or explore the ideas this year, better to get things set up so 2019 won’t be a standing start. This isn’t a year for making huge forward progress in business – it’s a year for opening and closing doors, for innovating and exploring, for healing and for recovery.

2018 is also a year for socialising, for celebrating and for connecting with family and friends. Relationships – with yourself, with others, with your work – that’s what matters this year.

The energies of 2018 are strong and flow to us as vitality, vision and enthusiasm. We will gravitate towards teamwork, mutual decisions and being part of something bigger. There will be an urge within us to heal rifts and to co-operate in solving problems. It’s also a fabulous year for physical and emotional healing.

If there are problems to address or healing to be done this will take priority over everything else. Go back and read that again. In fact, let me repeat it: If there are problems to address or healing to be done this will take priority over everything else. 

This is a year for groundwork, repair and restoration, for beginnings and foundations. In 2018 we’re encouraged to live with a bigger vision for ourselves and the planet. This year supports all kinds of innovative and creative work, and is a time where many useful new ideas and projects will be birthed into the world.

The Sun’s energy is strongly aligned with our Solar Plexus Chakra – our centre of Self. Our solar plexus is the beautiful bright yellow chakra that sits around the navel, and this chakra is all about our identity and sense of self, our individuality and self-sovereignty. It’s time to be more true to ourselves. We need to shine our Light in the world by being who we came here to be.

After years on a path of struggle and feeling alone in the world, 2018 opens out onto a kinder energy where we can finally begin to feel like we belong or create a world where we can. But we might have work to do here in knowing ourselves and finding our voice and direction.

Don’t waste your year on hard work and striving unless that is absolutely the thing that lights you up, and even then make sure there is ample time to smell the roses.

Most importantly, rest when you can. 2019 will be one of those years that rockets us along. So rest, repair, relax and get ready in 2018 – this is a quieter, more relationship-focused year for a reason. Don’t beat yourself up if your life has been more about people than ‘progress’. That’s what this year encompasses.

Biggest supportive hugs to you, Nicole ❤ xx

That Day We Always Knew Was Coming…

“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.” 
Robert Frost

I’m feeling achy and sad inside today. Late on Monday afternoon, we sent Ben’s elderly mum to hospital. She’s in her nineties and has always been stubbornly independent. And she’s been able to stay at home on her own with help which is just the way she wanted it.

But she’s been in increasing pain from a degenerated hip. Her vision is failing. She’s moved into dementia. Bit by bit we’ve watched as she’s stopped driving, stopped shopping, stopped cooking. We’ve all worried over her, and what to do for her, and what might happen when she moved into that place of no longer coping.

Now, over the past few days she’s not been eating, not drinking water, and all she’s done is cry from pain no matter what we’ve done or with what home doctors have prescribed. So off she went in the back of an ambulance – with a small bag packed with nighties, a hairbrush and toothbrush, a dressing gown, her house keys.

We met with hospital staff yesterday and we realised we’d reached that time we’d always known was coming. She won’t be able to go home to her own home. The hospital will do their best to manage her pain, and to find the best options for her. But when she leaves hospital it will be to go into care.

So last night after we left her in her hospital bed, Ben and I went over to her house to take the perishables from the fridge, water the pot plants and put out the bins for her.

We didn’t think we’d cry, but of course we did. It’s hard to believe that she left in her pyjamas with that tiny bag, and now she won’t be coming back to her home and all the memories and everything she loves.

The only thing that matters to all of us is that she is safe, well cared-for and most importantly that she is not in pain. So she’s in the right place, and this is the right time, but oh, I didn’t think it would be so terribly hard, so terribly sad, or that we would be this emotional.

Maybe it’s better like this. No big dramas, no long-winded goodbyes. No big scenes about putting her into a place she said she’d rather die than have to end up in. She’s happy to stay in hospital or ‘medical places’ until they can get her pain under control. It was a blessing to say goodbye to her yesterday and see her face a little less drawn, and watch her burrow down under the covers and go to sleep in clean sheets, a hot meal in her tummy and kind nurses checking in on her.

Still, we’re struggling with it. Still, we’re wishing there was another way.

Love cracks you open, doesn’t it? But isn’t it fiercely, beautifully worth it to feel it all so deeply.

Biggest hugs to you, my lovelies, from your slightly broken-hearted friend,

Nicole ❤ xx

 

Oh Rufous! Poor sore paw!

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” 
Will Rogers

Poor Rufous had an accident on Saturday. While out mustering the cattle in cold, wet and muddy conditions he ripped a toenail almost off his front foot and cut it badly.

We only noticed when he started licking his foot later, as he was warming up in front of the fireplace. So it was off to the vet who had to operate to tidy his foot back up again.

Oh dear, what a dopey pup came home to us on Saturday night. Full of drugs and anaesthetic and too wobbly to walk Ben had to carry him into his bed.

His bandage stayed on for all of Sunday. And then suddenly it was off!

I resorted to a sock taped onto it to keep it clean.

But that didn’t last long either. We didn’t want him to lick it and infect the wound so now we have resorted to a bucket on his head. Poor Rufie!

Poor Harry is hiding from Rufous because Rufie keeps bashing his big brother with the bucket. Ouch! Our shins know it too…

If there was a more miserable dog than Rufous right now I wouldn’t believe it. But I’m sure he’ll be back to his bright-eyed and happy self again in a few more days. Meanwhile, we’ll give him and Harry extra pats and cuddles,

Hugs to you all, Nicole ❤ xx

 

Trapped by Dog!

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” 
Edith Sitwell

Winter arrived overnight at our farm. Brrrr! So cold this morning.

And this morning after my meditation I popped back into bed to warm up and a small dog jumped up on the bed and snuggled down right on top of my legs. He was warm so I left him there and went back to sleep. But when I woke up and was ready to get out of bed he refused to move. ‘Too cold, Mum,’ he protested, grizzling at me for disturbing him. Too cold even though he is dressed in his winter coat, and should be toasty warm. Poor Rufous isn’t much of a tough farm dog. He’s a cuddle sook!

I managed to ease my legs out from under him and he stayed put. He’d still be there now except for Ben yelling the magic word…

Breakfast!

In a flurry of fur young Rufous was at the back door, ready for the happiest part of the day – food.

So I’m late blogging today because of puppies, comfort and life.

Now for me a day of acupuncture and self-care, friends sitting around the fireplace writing with me over cups of tea, and cauldrons of soup on the stove. I’m still recovering from this wretched flu but I’m making progress back to being well thankfully. I’m sure puppy cuddles have helped immensely.

Wishing you a day of cosiness too! Much love, Nicole ❤ xoxo

Are You Using The Hive Mind Yet?

“Hive Mind – a collective consciousness, analogous to the behavior of social insects, in which a group of people become aware of their commonality and think and act as a community, sharing their knowledge, thoughts, and resources” ~ dictionary.com

“Twitter in particular has often been termed a “hive mind” that connects users to draw on the help of a larger group, such as getting suggestions for where to eat in an unfamiliar city.” ~ Ben Zimmer

We’re at the dawn of a new energetic era – a time of co-operation, collaboration, community and connection. And we’ve just left an energetic era that was all about hoarding knowledge as power and of the rise of the independent and disconnected individual.

What that means for most of us who were born prior to 2012 is that we’re lousy at asking for help, and we’ve grown up expecting to solve our own problems and to suffer silently in the doing of that.

I can feel you nodding your heads in agreement. Empaths, intuitives and sensitive souls especially – we’re not good at asking for ourselves, we’re only good at helping others.

Which brings me to the reason I’m writing this post.

It’s no longer necessary for us to have all the answers. It’s time to throw ourselves open to the hive mind. It’s time to start asking for help. This era asks that of us – if we are to evolve and grow.

Trust that someone within your family, workplace, social network or in the wider community will hold the solution to your problem, or as a group they will work out something more elegant and suited to your needs than anything you could come up with on your own.

I have a dear friend whose husband has just been diagnosed with cancer this week. They live in a rural community with their young children, but her husband will need to come to the city for treatment. She told me she’d love to come with him for his first appointments and chemo sessions, but she needs to be home for her children. But she doesn’t. She lives within a community. She has friends and family, and a wider group of people who care. If she throws her problem over to them someone or several of the group will come up with a solution for her. She doesn’t have to do this alone. And I know if someone else in her community was in her position she would naturally be one of the first people to offer them help or to rally a group to support them.

Please, lovelies, stop struggling on your own and ask for help. Then accept that help. Contribute your own energy to the hive mind, but also use it yourself.

I’m so excited about the possibilities of this new era and how it can help all of us move to a place of more kindness, compassion, community and connection. And it starts with us asking and being open to help and new ideas, and us sharing our own wisdom and knowledge.

Breathe a sigh of relief. It feels good not to have to struggle on our own. It feels good to be able to reach out to others for help and to help others too. Not every burden is ours to carry alone.

Much love to you, Nicole   xx

 

Me, Flu and You!

 

“There are in nature neither rewards nor punishments — there are consequences.” 
Robert G. Ingersoll

You might have noticed I’ve dropped off the face of the Earth these past few weeks.

There’s a reason for that.

I’ve just come face-to-face with a very nasty strain of influenza.

For most people flu is a mild illness that causes sore throat, runny nose, fever and chills which last several days. But for people like me who are immuno-compromised and for other high-risk categories such as the very young, the elderly and people suffering from chronic illness or underlying health conditions such as asthma and diabetes, influenza can be a very different illness.

If you’ve only recently arrived at my blog you might not know that I suffer from late-stage lyme disease, multi-organ and system compromise, and ongoing heart issues among other things. I’ve been to hell and back with my health and more than once in the past few decades the dark bird of death has sat companionably on my shoulder.

Still, I’m so much better now. These past few months I’ve been the strongest and most vital I have been in years. My improved health is the result of a great team, a regime, ongoing management and many, many hours of my life. Most of that hard work is invisible to the world. Instead what I hear is how great I look these days. Thanks. I’m working on it! 35 years worth of working on it, and counting…

When you don’t live in the world of chronic illness you might not realise that even when we look and feel well we usually have ongoing issues we are managing and our underlying immune systems may be weak. If our immune systems are in fact stronger than they have been it still only takes a few bad nights of limited sleep, of stress or of us overdoing our physical energetic limits for us to end up in a place where it is so much easier for us to succumb to infections. Sometimes we succumb anyway, even when we are healthy, because our immunity is just not as strong as other members of the community.

So that’s where Influenza A H3N2 (also known as Aussie Flu) and I collided a few weeks ago.

I’m hypervigilant when it comes to germs. I never touch my face, especially when we’re out. I wash my hands well, and always before eating. If I’m out I’ll use a hand sanitiser before eating and after using a shopping cart or touching any surfaces. On planes and in confined spaces I’ll wear a bamboo fabric mask impregnated with anti-bacterial and anti-microbial essential oils. I avoid people who are ill, and will avoid crowds and places that might put me at a higher risk of infection. I’ve managed to travel overseas, go to festivals and events and to holiday well several times, all without becoming ill and even as those around me have been sick – which I put down to me being vigilant and also having a great medical team caring for me from week to week.

So how did I get sick this time?

A client came to my home while she was recovering from having been very unwell. She didn’t disclose this to me and as she greeted me she coughed directly into my face. She was less than thirty centimetres away from me and her spittle covered my face and went into my eyes. She laughed, a little embarrassed, and wiped at my face with her hands. ‘Sorry, Love,’ she said, ‘just getting over the flu.’

My heart sank. But I tried to be hopeful that nothing would eventuate.

Less than twenty-four hours later I developed a sore throat. My glands came up in my neck, groin and armpits. Within a few hours I had a raging fever and could barely stand. I cancelled the rest of my week and put myself to bed, hoping that rest and an aggressive regime of herbs and Vitamin C might limit the damage and have me up again in a few days.

None of that helped. Overnight I deteriorated in a way that really scared me. I went from high fevers to chills and back to fevers again, was so weak I couldn’t sit upright, my throat inflamed and swollen so it felt like swallowing razor blades, my entire body ached, and I had a stabbing headache bad enough that I lost vision in my left eye. Eventually I could barely breathe, and my heart went into tachycardia. Add in chest pain and vomiting. Yep, awful!

I stayed like that for days, alternating between sleep and delirium. My doctors and cardiologist checked me out and decided I was better managed at home to avoid the risk of pneumonia and advised me to only come back to the hospital if my heart rate went to a certain level and stayed there over an extended time, or if my chest pain or breathing difficulties became too severe.

The last fortnight has been scary and hard, especially with all of the chest pain and arrhythmias. If I am honest I’ve also struggled psychologically with being so ill again after having felt on top of the world just a few weeks ago.

I’m through the worst of it now. A year ago this infection may have killed me (and yes, every day I give thanks for having such awesome doctors in my life, and my amazing local GP-acupuncturist and team whom I’m convinced are my secret weapon in the return to vitality from Lyme – thanks Dr Adam and Jodi!).

My symptoms are slowly easing, although my heart is still misbehaving. I currently look like I went one too many rounds in the boxing ring with a hefty opponent. And I’m earth-shatteringly exhausted. I have no energy for anything at all.

That’s how I know I’m still unwell. All I want to do is sleep. And that’s how I’ll know when I am better. I’ll be itching to get up and do something!

Meanwhile I have made a promise to Ben, my staff and my doctors that I will respect the flu and keep resting. I will not come back to full-on life too quickly. I will not overdo it and set myself back.

So, that’s where I’ve been. You know it’s never good news when I go quiet…

Think you might have the flu? Stay home and in bed if you can. Rest and keep up your fluid intake. Please, if you’re unwell spare a thought for others whose immune systems might not be as robust as yours. Practice good hand hygiene, cover your mouth when you cough, cover your nose when you sneeze, and don’t leave used tissues lying around. If you know someone who is pregnant, elderly, very young or who has a health issue avoid them while you’re unwell.  Seek medical advice or go to hospital if you spike and sustain a high fever, have trouble breathing or become breathless, if you have chest pain or severe abdominal pain, if you become dizzy or confused or if you have sudden severe vomiting. Not sick? Think about getting the flu vaccination, especially if you are in a high-risk category.

Thanks to everyone who has sent messages and checked up on me. I’m so grateful for your love and support. I promise I’ll be back on deck just as soon as I have my doctors’ blessings and enough energy to share with all of you as well as having enough for myself. Another week or two and I’m sure I’ll be just fine!

Biggest hugs and love, Nicole xx

No Blog Because…

“Daily dawns another day;
I must up, to make my way.
Though I dress and drink and eat,
Move my fingers and my feet,
Learn a little, here and there,
Weep and laugh and sweat and swear,
Hear a song, or watch a stage,
Leave some words upon a page,
Claim a foe, or hail a friend-
Bed awaits me at the end.” 
Dorothy Parker

I’d be writing a decent blog post this morning but for one important fact.

Ben had a missed call on his phone from last night. A transport company telling us that our new bed will be delivered at 7am this morning.

Which is awesome except that our old bed is in the spot where the new bed needs to go, and it has a mountain of stuff stored under it, it needs to be pulled apart and then everything vacuumed and the walls washed down. And we only have an hour.

Wish us luck.

Also…

NEW BED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

See you tomorrow, after a good night’s sleep.

Nicole  xx