Gumboot Adventure and a Lyme Update


“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.” 
~ Edward Abbey

*Note: I recommend reading all the way to the end of this post. Past the pictures even. Oh yes, I do.

People are always asking how I am and I almost always say ‘fine, thanks’.

Truth is, I have advanced late-stage Lyme disease, and as with any chronic degenerative illness I have a catalogue of woes so to actually tell you how I am might take hours. Boring. I’m over it long ago. So ‘fine’ or ‘okay’ mostly does the job. I manage. Many days are great, and I am working, living and making the most of what I can. Happy, happy. I don’t dwell on my health or lack thereof.

Mostly.

I’ll level with you, though. The last few days have been rough.

I’m miserable right now.

I picked up a cough while visiting Ben’s mum in the nursing home. After four weeks it has steadily become worse and I can’t shake it. Because of that, my UTI flared up. I’ve been peeing five times a night and my bladder is agonisingly sore. I have been feeling myself slowing getting more run down no matter how good my self-care and health care has been.

So I started on new Chinese herbs two days ago for my latest infections. Great news – they’re working! Less great news? They are also killing Lyme Bugs so I am herxing like crazy as the Lyme dies and releases toxins into my already overloaded body. My eyes are red and streaming and only one is working, only one side of my face is mobile and responsive, my skin is on fire, I’m photophobic, I have stabby pains and night sweats and swollen glands and bone aches and head aches and nerve spasms and tender teeth and numb fingers and toes and neurological incontinence (I wee my pants for no reason!) and generally more misery than I remembered was possible. Yay? But fighting bugs, so yay!!!!! Now we’re working on getting the dosage correct so that I can manage the chest and UTI infections without going mad from herxing. Please don’t worry. I’m in good hands. (And yes, I have cried, screamed and whimpered often this past few days because I’d forgotten how truly awful herxing can be.)

I’m smiling here, honest! It’s just that only one side of my mouth lifts up right now…

In the midst of all of this misery I needed to go open a gate at the farm for Ben. I got out of bed, left my pyjama top on, threw on some shorts and my gumboots and slogged down to the Tractor Shed paddock.

Oh. It was so beautiful there in the misty cold afternoon. The ground was soft and green and lush. The trees shone with a vibrant light, and the birds sang. It felt good to be out of bed and outdoors.

When my short adventure was over I hastened back to a hot shower, fresh pyjamas and more rest.

It was worth it to have that little gumboot adventure.

I’m wishing you little adventures too. No matter how shitty life gets, a little tiny adventure, a small moment fully lived, a simple pleasure fully and mindfully experienced – that’s what makes it all more manageable. I rate my coping skills as high. And that’s one of the reasons why!

Biggest love and hugs from this tired and battered Lyme Warrior. I’ll be back at my best soon, I’m sure. Meanwhile, I’m happy to be herxy. (Well, mostly! xx)

PSS – Thanks if you scrolled down this far. Just a reminder that I am massively sleep deprived and in pain right now. So if you:

  1. suggest that positive thinking might be beneficial or a cure-all,
  2. offer to hook me up with your miracle-inducing network marketing product, or
  3. remind me that I somehow manifested all of this as a learning experience,
  4. or that this is karmic

then I can’t be held responsible for my actions. Need more help with this because you’re itching to do one of the above? Read this first.

I was horrified the first time it happened…

“Most fears of rejection rest on the desire for approval from other people. Don’t base your self-esteem on their opinions.”
~ Harvey Mackay

I remember, years ago, when I first started channelling.

It was excruciating.

My logical mind was stuck in judgement, cynicism, scepticism and disbelief. My soulful self trusted anyway and urged me on. I was conflicted, confused and stuck, with no-one to show me the way or help me.

And then my sister stepped forward.

She used her scientific curiosity and encouraged me to do the same. With her beside me I stepped more and more into the person I am today. I worked from a trance channel space, with my sister or trusted friends sitting with me, asking questions, guiding the sessions and recording them for me or taking notes.

At first I channelled Guides and Spiritual Beings. Their messages were helpful and wise. We found evidence of things that proved that I wasn’t making it all up. That helped me to not give up. I worked on my craft and became more and more competent in what I was doing. It was fascinating. I began to feel good about my abilities.

And then the awful day came.

I was with my sister and some Aboriginal friends; Vynette, Leanna, and Liz. We meditated together and then I settled into the trance space. But instead of channelling one of my Guides I channelled this squeaky-voiced, childlike being.

She told us her name was Sokli, and that she was what we humans would call a fairy.

My friends asked her many questions, to which she happily responded. Sokli was funny and earnest and talkative.

The session ended and everyone was abuzz.

Everyone except me.

I was horrified. I had just channelled a fairy. What if someone found out? How would anyone take me seriously ever again? I didn’t know anyone who channelled fairies. All the spiritual and psychic folk channelled dead people or Ascended Masters and Master Guides and Very Important Energies With Wise Sharings For Humanity.

Perhaps it was a fluke, I convinced myself. But at the very next session she turned up again. And again. And again.

Gradually we began to know her well. That was over twenty-five years ago, and Sokli has now become a dear friend and companion. She’s still funny and wise, and all of my students and clients who have met her have been entranced by her eagerness to help, her specific and personalised wisdoms about health, food, crystals, animals and plants. Sokli is generous and caring, and she has a beautiful innocence and straightforward way about her.

I’m embarrassed that I was so awkward about all of this emerging spiritual and psychic phenomena back then, and about people finding out that I believed in fairies. I still worried so much about how I would appear to others, and about my credibility.

Now I feel blessed to have Sokli as one of my crew.

Humans from all corners of the earth have long believed in spirit beings who came from the earth herself, and who could – at times – walk between worlds or dimensions. Not Gods. Not Angels. Not ETs. Beings different to ourselves who are intrinsically tied to nature and the planet. There are many names for them. Many cultural beliefs. Our Ancient Tribes have always believed.

Children believe in them.

But as adults in the modern Western world, we are taught that this is childish. After twenty-five years of experience, I beg to differ.

Come hang out with me and Sokli in Brisbane on June 22 (Details here) and find out for yourself.

And don’t worry if you live too far away to make it. After the event we’ll create a special online package to share the magic with you, no matter where you live!

I’m Stepping Away From Work For A Few Days

“It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things.” 
~ Lemony Snicket

Hi, Lovelies.

Just letting you know that I am stepping away from my blog and my work for a few days and will be back again next Monday.

Yesterday morning we lost a loved one and so I am taking some time out to be with family. It’s one of those times where we need to sit and be with each other and talk about things and drink tea and laugh and cry and re-adjust.

Life is all about these cycles of love and life and loss, and I need to take time to honour this changing season in our lives.

Ben and I thank you for all your love and support,

Nicole ❤ xx

Why Being ‘Nice’ Can Be Poisonous To Your Soul


“Share your weaknesses. Share your hard moments. Share your real side. It’ll either scare away every fake person in your life or it will inspire them to finally let go of that mirage called “perfection,” which will open the doors to the most important relationships you’ll ever be a part of.” 
~ Dan Pearce

Lovelies, today I want to share my perspective on ‘making nice’ with you.

Kindness is a loving balm, understanding is a mental tonic, compassion grows our hearts, love is food for the soul, but niceness? Far too often niceness is a poison administered to ourselves by our own hand.

There is a trend (and I recognise it because I once was in that same place!) where people beginning to become spiritually aware try to live from a place of unconditional love. That’s a beautiful thing, but too often what gets practised is not actually unconditional love but ‘niceness’.

Many people consider niceness to be a virtue; a sign of living from heart, and acting from love. I’m not referring to kindness, or good manners, or amiability. I’m talking here about pleasing others, not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings, and being agreeable and amenable, even if it comes at a high cost to yourself.

Speaking our truth honours us, and it teaches us honest and direct communication that honours and respects others. Can we come from a place of unconditional love and still speak our truth? Absolutely! Because the premise of unconditional love is that we also love ourselves.

Authenticity requires us to live with honesty – not with silencing ourselves or suppressing our true thoughts and emotions.

Niceness is not about unconditional love – it is about giving up honesty in order to avoid disapproval, confrontation, rejection, ridicule or embarrassment. It elevates the happiness and well-being of others above your own. It is based on falseness, and by its nature, niceness prevents honesty and authenticity. When you come from niceness you teach others to devalue you, and disrespect you. You do not set clear boundaries.

Niceness does not come from a heart-centred life. It grows out of fear and a lack of self-worth. It is a behaviour that goes counter to our intuitive wisdom, and to those gut-based mechanisms that keep us safe.  We tell people what they want to hear, we do and say things to keep others happy or to keep the peace. We act in a way that pleases others but that robs us of a little (or a big bit!) of ourselves.

There is always a way to tell the difference between being nice and being kind.  Kindness comes from a place of being centred, and it empowers us.  It strengthens us, as it strengthens others. We can act with generosity or compassion and there is no cost to us, or it is a cost we willingly bear.  We give without expecting anything in return, for the sake of uplifting others.

Niceness always leaves you with an aftertaste – you know you have’t spoken truthfully; you feel that twang of inauthentic energy, that twinge of discomfort, or you even get that sense of being taken for granted or taken for a ride.

Niceness diminishes us, even when it strengthens others. We bite our tongue in order to say the flattering thing, we do the act with a little flame of resentment in our heart. And sometimes it starts out as kindness – but our kindness becomes expected, or disrepected – we are taken advantage of but we are unable to speak up about that and voice our own feelings. So we act nice instead.

When we choose niceness it poisons us.  It leads to depression, anxiety, shame, emotional distress, guilt, anger and despair.   Life-long patterns of niceness leave us open to exploitation and invite difficult, damaging and dangerous relationships into our lives.

We end up doing things we don’t want to do – we can become an entirely different person to who we are on the inside. We can lose ourselves so completely that we have no idea any more what makes us happy, what our preferences are, what we want in life…

Taken to extremes, through living a life of niceness we can cease to exist. Instead, we become a support role in someone else’s life. We become Cinderella, at home scrubbing the floors while her stepsisters are out having fun!

Are you too nice?

Maybe it’s time to start honouring your own truth. Love starts with the self, and healthy self-esteem can only be built by standing up for yourself, giving your feelings a voice, and attending to your own needs.  You can do that and still be polite.  You can do that and still be kind.  You can do that and still be likeable, lovable and accepted.  Don’t keep drinking that from that poisonous niceness bottle!

And if your acts of self-respect and kindness aren’t taken well by others? Maybe it’s time to  get some space, maybe it’s time to stop giving, maybe it’s time to move on… If you have to be ‘nice’ in order for your life to work, the price will always be too high.

You might be surprised. As you begin voicing your honest thoughts, you give others permission to do the same. Being authentic can create great change. It invites miracles. And this week supports that kind of energy, so be brave and embrace your truth then live from that space and watch the magic begin to happen in your life. Choose love. Choose kindness. And above all, be true to yourself. It’s worth it! 

Much love, Nicole ❤ xx

Image from www.simplereminders.com

Good Boy Rufous

“Rules of Food Sneaking #73: If you do it real fast most people will never know.” ~ Rufous the Dog

Hello, Peoples,

I am Rufous. And it is true – I am a bit of a nibbler. Most things can be edible if you chew on them enough.

Like Mum’s slippers.

I have eaten three pairs now. And they were delicious. I usually tried to sneak one off into the paddock where I could dissect it at leisure, or I’d stash one under the bed and chew quietly on it there.

But then there were no more slippers, and Mum started wearing socks instead and then it was Summer.

Now it is almost Mother’s Day and Dad bought Mum new slippers. They are lovely and fluffy and they will be such a surprise. I have already nibbled off the tags. I’m sure she will appreciate that. I am such a good boy.

Harry Dog and me are sending all our loves to you for Mum’s Day, to every single people, because people need to feel loved and everyone does Mum jobs sometimes, even if it is just for themselves.

And don’t forget, if you get yourself or your Mum or a Mum friend good snacks for Mother’s Day, that dogs always appreciate a bit of a taste of that good snack!

Lots of happiness to you, from Rufous the Dog xoxo

I can’t write this morning because my heart is broken

“Grief is not as heavy as guilt, but it takes more away from you.” ~Veronica Roth

For hours I’ve sat, empty.

Hollow.

Unable to sleep. Not even able to meditate or pray.

A friend’s twelve-year-old daughter died last night. They turned off her life support. I sat with her and her family and supported them through that awful night, and then when I could do no more I came home.

This little girl didn’t die from cancer, some terrible illness, an accident…

She died because she had been relentlessly bullied and cyber-bullied at the boarding school where her family had thought she was happy and safe. She died because she’d tried to take her own life and she did enough damage that her parents had to finish what she began.

She was twelve. Small as a bird. She’d loved horses and books and playing the violin and baking cupcakes.

Her soul is free now. She has returned to love. We found that space of love together with her last night, and the room was peaceful afterwards, and calm.

But all I can think about this morning was how tiny her body was in that large bed, and how her mother was white with grief and her father broke in front of me and I had no words to make sense of this. For them, or for me.

Rufous – Rescue Dog, At Your Service

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” 
~
Maya Angelou

Our beautiful young red cattle dog, Rufous, has found a new calling.

He’s certainly at home on our farm doing his chores and rounding up the cows. But he’s also discovered a wonderful hidden talent – he’s become a hit at the aged care facility where one of our family members lives. The home is for women with moderate to advanced dementia, and it has become his favourite destination.

Rufous is a gentle boy. He’s only just turned two, so you think he’d still have a puppy-brain (and if you watched him run around like a demented pixie with his dog brother Harry here at our farm you’d KNOW he is still just a pup) but when he is in the presence of these frail elderly women he suddenly becomes attentive, caring, responsible and wise.

He seems to know when someone needs extra love and attention. In his presence, the women smile and laugh. Some of them talk to him when they are silent for everyone else. He stands so still for them to pat him or hug him clumsily, and always seeks out the shy ones who stand back and would otherwise not get a turn to say hello.

This little rescue dog has paid the favour forwards.

I’m so grateful he came into our lives.

Lots of love to you from all of us, Nicole ❤ xx



Slipping Away

“It is best as one grows older to strip oneself of possessions, to shed oneself downward like a tree, to be almost wholly earth before one dies.” 
~ Sylvia Townsend Warner

One of our loved ones is elderly and in care. She has dementia and numerous health problems, but until recently she has always alternated between being determined to go home to her own home or being happy to be where she is, within the walls of a place that looks after her and helps her feel safe and connected to others.

Suddenly that’s shifted. Yesterday she told us she no longer wants to be here. She is tired of living, she said. So very tired. She’s had enough. She’s miserable and is it okay that she just wants to go?

She’s lost all interest in food. She’s struggling to keep up with conversations that were okay for her even a week ago. In every way we can see her withdrawing from life.

She’s easing away from us, and as much as it breaks my heart I am also relieved for her. There’s no more fight in her. No more strength. She’s down to her last meagre reserves. Of course it’s okay if she wants to go. It’s her life, and she’ll know when she’s ready. My prayer now is that she really does just slip away.

Sending you all so much love, and my wishes for peace in your life and peace in your heart,

Nicole ❤ xx

Telling Beautiful Lies


“There is a way of being wrong which is also sometimes necessarily right.” 
~ Edward Abbey

Ah, lovelies, I’m so tired just now.

We’ve been travelling endlessly back and forward between our farm and Brisbane the last two years as one of our elderly family members has become more and more incapacitated. Advancing dementia, mobility issues, deteriorating hearing and sight. We tried to keep her in her home as long as we could by sharing her care among family members, and then one day she went into hospital and the staff told us she couldn’t go home. We needed to find somewhere she could be looked after 24/7. When she went into care it was bittersweet – we cried that we had failed her but it was also such a relief to have that burden of her care lifted from us. It took weeks for her to settle in and then suddenly she was happy again and that new place became home.

Foolishly we thought life would go back to normal a little more. And then she fell.

Since then it has been an endless round of visits to her in the aged home or to be beside her bed on hospital stays where we try to visit daily to ensure that she is eating, and is comfortable and is not frightened or lonely.

Her mind is slipping. She asks us the same few questions over and over. The stories of her youth, once clear and well remembered, are merging into each other. She was a seamstress when she was young. Had loved dancing. Was courted by a young American soldier during the war, but married a local boy who played football with her brothers. We don’t correct her any more when she gets the details wrong. It just upsets her, and us. So we agree with what she says.

Even more than that we actively participate in the space she is in. In recent hospital visits she became distressed, aggressive, distrustful. All she wanted to do was go home. To the home. To her friends, she kept telling us. We could only calm her by telling her she would be released soon. Maybe tomorrow, we would say.

When she was delusional and told us she had been walking around (when she was actually lying in a hospital bed rigged up to countless machines and devices) we asked questions about where she went and what she did. Her mind created elaborate stories to explain what was happening and who these strangers were in her life. In the stories were tiny shreds of truth. We went along with it all if it seemed that it helped her to feel safe and at peace.

When the nurse came on his rounds, the same one who she said had been sent to torture her earlier in the day (she had thrown things at him, and at his fellow nurses, and threatened to call the police if they didn’t leave her alone), I introduced him as my friend – as someone new – and said he was the best and most caring nurse in the hospital. Suddenly she became polite and compliant and sweet with him. Every lie I spoke was worth it. For her and for us all. It broke my heart to see how trusting she was in what I told her. But it helped and she went to sleep calm again and comforted.

Last night she was back in hospital, less than a week after she was last discharged. For a new problem. She was in a lovely emotional space, calm and happy. The conversations we had were lucid and engaged. But she wanted to go home. Not to the nursing home, but her old home. It soothed her when we told her it was all ready for her, that it would be there when she was ready to be discharged. Even her doctor played along. Yes, she could go home soon. He was attentive and patient and repeated himself over and over with kindness and care.

Such beautiful lies. After the doctor left we talked about taking her shopping to buy a new dress or to help me choose one. We talked about Sunday roast lunches at her house and the whole family coming to visit. We talked about her independence when she gets out of the hospital. And none of it is true. And all of it made her smile and helped her settle down and go to sleep.

Such beautiful lies. And we will keep telling them until she goes to her final home, and all the loved ones who are waiting for her. It comforts her, and it comforts us, and that is all that matters.

Holding Hands Because It Matters


“Caregiving often calls us to lean into love we didn’t know possible.” ~ Tia Walker

We have an elderly family member in hospital right now. It’s a place she has visited frequently these past few months after her the first major fall. She is old and frail and her health is failing. Things keep going wrong. And so she finds herself alone – a tiny body in a big bed in a big empty room, far from the friendships and care of her usual environment.

She has dementia. Everything is more confusing, more confronting in this space. Each time we visit she is surly to start with. Emotional. Sometimes there are tears. Sometimes there are sharp words. We don’t take it personally. It’s just the time of day. Her mood is always worse at nightfall and in the evenings, but that’s just part of this awful disease.

We’ve learned to ignore those displays of hostility and to keep being loving and kind. We reassure her, and sit close by her, and we hold her hand. We repeat the same stories over and over, and answer the same questions over and over, and somewhere in that space she moves from distress or anger to laughter and a warm, open discussion of life and happy memories from the past.

I have learned that there is nothing like human touch to calm someone who seems otherwise unsoothable. I have learned to take lotion to rub into her hands and face, her arms and legs. To brush her hair. And always, always to hold her hand.

I have learned that she may not eat because the food is too hard to see, or she doesn’t know what it is or how to open it, or it’s too hard to cut up, or she can’t get the drinking straw or juice cup to her mouth. So an uneaten meal may not mean she’s not hungry but that she simply needs help to eat. I have learned to feed her like you’d feed a child. She opens her mouth like a little bird and I pop morsels of food in, and she smiles at me and makes me promise not to tell people I am feeding her when she could really do it herself. We pretend that is true and I keep feeding her until the food is gone or she is satisfied.

Every visit becomes a blessing. Something that soothes and restores something in me as much as it calms and reassures something in her. Once upon a time she was a woman who held herself apart. I am grateful that this illness has allowed me the chance to become close to her, and for us to find a way to say things that might not have ever otherwise been said.

Sending much love to you, especially all of the carers and those who are looking after elders, Nicole ❤ xx