Navigating Christmas Without A Loved One


“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” 
Anne Lamott

Christmas is not always an easy time. There are many of us for whom Christmas brings stark reminders of families broken, loved ones lost, and empty chairs at our tables.

If you are navigating Christmas this year while also grieving loss or going through great struggle I want to reach out to you. In the midst of the barrage of happy Christmas movies, fairytale endings and Hallmark Moments I want you to know that I am sorry for your pain, and the hardship this time of year can bring. Please also know you’re not alone. There are many of us whose hearts hurt at Christmas, even as we celebrate, because of loss. If your grief is raw and new it’s also okay to put things on hold, to do things differently, or to let the anniversary days like Christmas slide by unacknowledged until you are ready to face them again.

I’d like to share something I do at Christmas that may be useful for you too. I have found it helpful and healing to make a private little Christmas Altar each year. This way I remember the dead, the absent, the lost. An altar is simply a small dedicated spiritual space that is meaningful to you in some way.

On my altar I place fresh flowers, a candle and some favourite crystals. Things that bring me comfort, and a sense of sacred. Then I place photos or objects that represent a loved one who will not be at my table. That way I can still have them near me, and I can flow love to them and have them be part of my life over the festive season.

The beautiful big owl in the photo above was given to me one Christmas by my friend Angela. She passed away a few years ago. It will be central to my display.

I’ll place a tiny wooden boat for my brother, and a ceramic pelican for my dad. A sparkly stone for my sister and roses for my mum and all of the women in her family who have shaped and grown and loved me. My family all live far from me. But now they are here on my altar even if they cannot be here in person.

I’ll add a photo of Ben’s parents from when they were young, and pictures of my grandparents too. I have cupcake-shaped candles for my darling Kate, who passed away too soon in 2010 ( I went back to her facebook page last night and was lost in there for an hour reading her old posts and laughing at what a dag she was and crying cos sometimes I still miss her more than breathing), and Julie who passed away in 2014. My Grandparents, all now passed, are here in photographs too and I will place a glass of sherry, Christmas Cake and some gingernut biscuits out because these are all the things they would have loved to eat, and later I will eat some and think of them. On Christmas Day I will play The Twelve Days of Christmas by the Ray Conniff Singers, because my Pa used to play that for us every year, and shed a few happy-sad tears.

It’s not the same as having them at my table, but it’s the next best thing. People coming to my house will think that I have simply gathered flowers and candles and photographs and a few ornaments together, but for me it is something healing and emotionally significant that helps me to feel the reassuring weight of my loved ones around me.

Perhaps making your own Christmas Altar will help you this Christmas too.

Sending so much love your way, Nicole ❤ xx

Panettone Heaven – Our Trip to The New Farm Deli


“If your mother cooks Italian food, why should you go to a restaurant?”
~ Martin Scorsese

Tradition has always been important to me. Maybe it’s because I’m a Virgo. Or perhaps I have Royal Blue in my Aura. Or maybe it was the way I was brought up. I’m not sure.

One of my favourite traditions when I moved from the bush to New Farm in Brisbane, back in the 1990s, was to visit the New Farm Deli. A family owned and run delicatessen it had first come onto my horizon because my Italian-food loving grandparents Marga and Ceddie would take me there as a child, to source the many wonderful ingredients my grandmother would cook with. Suddenly I lived just blocks away, and it had incredible coffee and food and shelves and cabinets full of marvels that just weren’t available anywhere else in Brisbane.

When I was growing up, Christmas was always a family thing. A coming together of grandparents and cousins and groaning tables full of food, and always a card table to some other small table where the excess kids were sat. It was also a full-on cooking saga of epic proportion.

As I grew up it was me who became the cook. Often I would spend almost my entire Christmas Day in the kitchen, prepping, cooking, serving and then cleaning up. I didn’t mind. It was my idea of heaven, to make and serve food to the people I loved. Most of antipasto came from the New Farm Deli. It has become a new tradition for me.

Now I am grown, old even, married with no kids, and with our families greatly diminished in numbers and scattered to the winds. That really ended my previous family Christmas traditions, and so we started a new one – Orphans Christmas – where we invite other lonely people to share a meal and some company. With supplies from the deli, of course!

My husband’s Mum comes from a proud Italian heritage, and because of her (and my own maternal grandmother’s love of all things Italian) I was introduced to Panettone, an Italian sweet bread loaf a little like a cake – fluffy and risen and studded with candied and dried fruits or amazing fillings of sweet custard or chocolate chips. The New Farm Deli was where we would buy them and over time I learned the many ways of serving or cooking with them – although my favourite still remains eating a slice fresh with a good coffee or a glass of sherry or prosecco.

You can start a new tradition at any time! Ours now is to have Panettone, a freshly squeezed orange juice or glass of champagne for breakfast, followed by good coffee and perhaps one more slice… We also save our very best Panettone for New Year’s Day, and eat it on the verandah with our friend Carly who stays with us at that time of year. We make coffee, eat Panettone and pull cards for the year ahead. Glorious! Panettone will also make the basis of our Christmas Lunch Dessert this year, but I’ll blog that recipe and a few others next week.

Vince Anello and his staff have added a fine selection of Panettone over the years. I defy you to find a better selection in Brisbane, or perhaps Australia. If you live in or close to Brisbane why not go visit, grab a coffee or a meal at the cafe and then wander the deli, choosing your Panettone and a basket full of other delights for yourself or as gifts. It’s a lovely tradition and a delicious one!
Hugs and love, Nicole ❤ xx

PS. If you want to start another new tradition for yourself why not grab one of my YOM Planners to help you live a more mindful, grateful and connected life in 2019, or get my Meditation Mala and bonus online course so you can start a tradition of regular meditation for yourself. It’s all here in my shop.

Bon Voyage!

“Every person needs to take one day away.  A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future.  Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence.  Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.  Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.” 
~ Maya Angelou

 

We’re off on an adventure this morning.

Ben and I are taking a short vacation.

While we’re away our dogs and farm are being looked after by a trusted friend, and our business is being looked after by my fantastic team. So our plan is to spend an entire week off-grid. No computers, no phones, no social media. Just us, some friends and the wide blue ocean. Oh, and 45 bands from the 1980s and a couple of thousand people. LOL. Just a quiet week at sea! (You can check out our holiday here at Rock The Boat 2018)

I’ll be back before you know it, and meantime I have a lovely oracle card challenge planned for you. And then it will be November and #GeShiDoMo (Get Sh*t Done Month) time.

Not long after it will be our Pop-Up shop, Christmas Party and Channelling night, weekend workshops and Planner launch.

After which we’ll cruise on to the end of 2018 with a full calendar of psychic readings and intuitive coaching sessions.

I’m waving goodbye as I head out the door for this much-needed break. See you very soon,

Lots of love, Nicole ❤ xoxo

There’s a Problem With Your Mother – My latest psychic experience

“The phrase ‘Love one another’ is so wise. By loving one another, we invest in each other and in ourselves. Perhaps someday, when we need someone to care for us, it may not come from the person we expect, but from the person we least expect. It may be our sons or daughter-in-laws, our neighbors, friends, cousins, stepchildren, or stepparents whose love for us has assigned them to the honorable, yet dangerous position of caregiver.” 
Peggi Speers

 

I woke up this morning at 2.10am. I know it was 2.10am because I looked at my watch, bleary-eyed and thinking it was way too early to be waking up yet.

As I rolled over in the dark, ready to go back to sleep, I thought of Steve. Steve’s a client of mine. I haven’t seen him for maybe five years. I saw his wife maybe two years before that. Why was I suddenly thinking of Steve?

In my mind’s eye I saw an elderly woman lying on a bathroom floor, frightened and frail and unable to stand. She must be Steve’s mum, I decided. Now what would I do?

I hauled myself out of bed and came into my office, where a staff member has recently returned a large box of my paperwork. There were two huge manilla folders filled with client profile sheets, none of them in order, and I knew Steve’s details would be in there somewhere. I flicked on a light and sat down to go through the hundreds of pages. It took me ten minutes but eventually I had his number. I called it, and it rang and rang before finally going to message bank. I left a message to call me back immediately.

But as soon as I put the phone down I knew I’d need to try again. So I called back. Me calling a man I’ve met twice, at 2.30am on a Saturday morning. Steve picked up on the second ring.

‘Oh, you’re that Nicole,’ he grunted. And then he swore at me.

I get it. It was the middle of the night, and I’d just woken him from a deep sleep.

‘Steve, I’m sorry, but this is an emergency. Your mum has had a fall, and she needs help. Can you go check on her?’

‘Mum’s dead,’ Steve said. And then he swore at me again and hung up.

For a moment I didn’t know what to do. The image of the old lady came to me again. She was crying and distressed. I rang Steve back.

As he swore at me I kept talking, describing the tiles on the bathroom floor, and the layout of the room.

He stopped swearing. ‘That’s Karen’s mum’, he said. ‘Sh*t! Why didn’t you say so?’

‘What do you call your mother-in-law?’ I asked.

‘Mum,’ he said, and then he went quiet for a moment. ‘Sorry, Nicole. Look, she lives the next suburb over. I’d better get round there.  I’ll call you back, okay?’ And then he hung up.

I couldn’t go back to sleep. I got up and meditated, put a load of washing on, and waited.

At 5.30am Steve called back from the hospital. His elderly mother-in-law, Beverly, had slipped in her bathroom and fallen over, breaking her hip and her wrist. She’d been on the floor for almost two days. She was in surgery now and Steve was waiting to see her when she came out and was allocated a room.

Then Steve told me that he and Karen were undergoing a trial separation. Karen’s overseas on a holiday so no-one’s been checking on Bev. Steve hadn’t seen Bev since he and his wife split up late last year. And he’s only been talking to Karen and his adult kids via text message.

While he’d sat on the bathroom floor beside Bev, waiting for the ambulance, he’d promised her that he would talk to his wife. Karen still loved him, Bev had said. They all still loved him. So Steve rang Karen and they talked for an hour. He still loves her too. They want to find a way to work things out.

Steve rang off, promising to update me on Bev’s progress and wanting to book a session for himself and his wife, who is going to catch the first available flight home today.

I made myself a pot of tea. It’s going to be a long day and I haven’t had much sleep. But Bev is taken care of and Steve and Karen are talking again and there is hope where there was none. So, all in all, it’s been a good start to my weekend!

Look after each other, and yourself. Much love, Nicole ❤ xx

Guided Meditation and Activities to connect you to your Heart Wisdom

 “Don’t love to be loved in return. Love for the sake of loving.” 

~ Connor Chalfant

 

Our heart, and Heart Chakra, is both a receiver and a transmitter for love and wisdom. The more we open our heart by giving, the more we can connect into receiving. This positive flow of loving energy allows us to live from our hearts as intuitive, connected and compassionate human beings.

Activity:

Our hearts love to love. Here are some suggestions for expressing that energy in the world this week:

  • Play with your pets, or go feed ducks in the local park. Animals are wonderfully intuitive, loving and giving.

  • Make a connection that expands your own heart. Read to a child, or even to an adult.

  • Catch up with friends for a coffee, a meal or a movie.

  • Play tennis with a friend, or go to a yoga class together. Do anything athletic that involves someone else, some encouragement, some sharing and some laughing.

  • Visit or call an elderly relative or a family member who’ll be glad to see you!

  • Spend an hour giving random but sincere compliments to strangers. Tell the waitress you like her earrings or the supermarket attendant that you’re grateful for the skilful way he packs your bag so your bread doesn’t get squashed. Smile.

  • Leave a kind and supportive message on a pillow, tucked into a pocket, or posted on a blog.

  • Volunteer, and care for others in some way. Humans love to give, and to help, and to be united in the energy of that caring.

  • Plan a party or a special event to bring together people that you love, even if that event doesn’t take happen straight away.

  • Join a retreat, workshop or holiday tour and meet new friends. Be open to connecting with others.

Journalling:

Meet your heart on the page. Take a minute or two to calm yourself, by closing your eyes and breathing deeply. Focus on your heart, and build that energy within you. Visualise the colour green. (If you wish, work with the energy of the meditation below before you begin!) When you are ready start writing, starting with the words,

“The thing my wise heart really needs my conscious mind to know is…”

Meditation:

This six-minute meditation will help you tap into your heart’s own intuition and wise guidance, opening you up to deeper and deeper levels of spiritual connection.


Sending love from my heart to yours,

Nicole  xx

Fun With Friends!

“Fun is one of the most important – and underrated – ingredients in any successful venture. If you’re not having fun, then it’s probably time to call it quits and try something else.” ~ Richard Branson

 

Hi Lovelies,

I’m in Adelaide right now, which is cold and wintery and wonderful. Thanks so much to everyone who came out to my channelling event on Monday night. I love being able to hug people and put a name to the face of friends I have only known online.

This week I have a balance of work and fun, and I’m lucky to have one of my favourite families taking me around the sights and to delicious eateries and magical places.

Yesterday included private appointments in the morning followed by bookshops, pop-up crab spaghetti restaurants (no – that platter in the pic was not all for me!), ice-cream and lots of laughter, hugs and sharing. After dinner I had an early night back at my hotel room with meditation, a hot shower and then a long sleep beneath clean sheets.

July is a month that focuses on relationships, heart connection and soul nurture, and I’m certainly getting plenty of that right now! I hope you’re managing to find some connection time too.
Much love to you, Nicole ❤ xx

    

 

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