My Top Tips For Managing Overwhelm

“That’s your solution? Have a cookie?’ Astrid asked. ‘No, my solution is to run down to the beach and hide out until this is all over,’ Sam said. ‘But a cookie never hurts.” 
~ Michael Grant

Goodness, lovelies, my inbox is FULL of messages from those of you who are majorly stuck in overwhelm right now. It’s a space I am well acquainted with, and as much as I would like to say that with maturity has come the capacity to not succumb, the truth is that I sometimes still move into overwhelm too. So I figure it’s not whether you’ll ever find yourself in overwhelm but when!

Here are my top ten tips for managing myself when I get into overwhelm. I hope you find them useful too.

1.Check my energy levels. Am I exhausted? Dehydrated? Are my blood sugar levels low? Can it be as simple as that? Yes! Sometimes what I need is to chug some water, eat a decent meal and have a good long sleep. Things usually look more manageable after that.

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

2. Go for a walk in nature. Walking clears the head, oxygenates the body and helps ground me back into my self.

3. Take a break. Sometimes I just need to step back from my desk or project and disengage for a while. This refreshes and renews me, and is often enough to help me find my flow again.

4. Clutter really contributes to my sense of overwhelm. When things get on top of me I clean my desk, clean my house, put a load of washing on, clean out the fridge, take out the trash, vacuum, diffuse a favourite essential oil. As things move from visual chaos back to calm it helps me find the peace within myself too. Plus it is giving me a much-needed break from my workload or emotional burden and I get the benefit of satisfaction for having cleaned up after myself.

5. I take an hour or two and write down EVERYTHING that needs doing. Even the act of writing it down helps pull it back into some kind of manageable shape for me. It’s always better when I have gotten it out of my head and onto a list.

6. I pick one small thing from my to-do list. I do that thing and I don’t start a new thing until this first thing is done. There is a lot of satisfaction to be gained from actually completing something.

7. I chunk big scary goals or projects down into bite-sized tasks. Then I do those tasks one after another. Anywhere I can I delegate whatever is possible to delegate so I am working on the things that only I can do.

8. I make sure I have time for me to do things that fill me up and make my heart sing. Sunday is always a day off and planning day and I don’t compromise that for anything. Working madly 24/7 will only burn me out and create resistance and resentment.

9. Talk with a mentor, coach or friend. Someone who has walked the road ahead of me can often give me a new perspective and some handy tips. Why reinvent the wheel?

Photo by Farrel Nobel on Unsplash

10. Believe that I WILL get it done, and manage my expectation so that I am not unrealistic about getting a gazillion things done in one day!

Photo by Katrina on Unsplash

I’m cheering you on. Lots of love, Nicole ❤ xx

How To Be Strong


“If you feel lost, disappointed, hesitant, or weak, return to yourself, to who you are, here and now and when you get there, you will discover yourself, like a lotus flower in full bloom, even in a muddy pond, beautiful and strong.” 
~ Masaru Emoto

Someone asked me yesterday how I came to be so strong. And how they could be stronger in facing their own challenges.

I thought deeply on this, and then I made you this list. I hope it helps.

  1. Let your children fail, be disappointed and be let down. At the same time love them, and help them understand that the Universe does not revolve around them, and that good manners and kindness are important always, and especially so when you are losing while someone else is winning. (Thanks, Mum and Dad ❤)
  2. Breathe and be in the moment. In the moment you can get through the next second. In the moment you are larger and stronger and more hyper-aware, and life can actually be beautiful even as it devastates.
  3. Maintain relationships. Have a friend to phone, or a neighbour with whom you can drink tea. Many times my sister has been my lifeline. Online friendships have made the difference when I had no energy for face-to-face.
  4. Cry. And then keep going.
  5. Sleep. And then keep going.
  6. Make a serious motivational music mix for those soul emergencies. PLAY IT LOUD.
  7. Find your faith. That might be God, or nature, or love. It might be the unconditional love of a dog. It might be the stillness of meditation. Visit and sit in that space of faith often.
  8. Meditation. I do it daily. Even a few minutes help.
  9. Have gratitude for the small details of life. A good cup of tea, laughing, the smell of salt on the breeze, clean sheets, the shape of a cloud, sunshine or rain.
  10. Life’s adversity gifts you the opportunity to know yourself better, and to choose how you will behave and think – even when you have little or no control over your situation or the eventual outcome. Step back from yourself, observe and learn. You’ll be amazed at how much strength, grace and courage was always inside you waiting for you to need it.
  11. Make art, follow your dreams, and do them in the moments when you have some energy. When there is no energy for anything then dwell in your imagination with those dreams. Don’t put them down just because you are broken. We are all broken. Broken people can still live well and get stuff done.
  12. Live. While there is breath in your lungs and a beating heart in your body stay curious, keep trying, stay open, and live.

You’ve got this. Go surprise yourself. I know you can, and it’s a glorious moment when you realise that you can live happily even when broken, wounded, dying or less than whole.

All my love, Nicole ❤ xx

You can still matter, make art, make a difference – even if you’re sick, broken or dying.

“She made broken look beautiful
and strong look invincible.
She walked with the Universe
on her shoulders and made it
look like a pair of wings.” 

~ Ariana Dancu

Lovelies, I have something important to tell you and I need you to hear it and take the truth of it right down inside you so that it can illuminate those dark places you fear may engulf you.

Stop waiting to be fixed. Stop waiting to be well. Stop waiting to be partnered or thinner or less anxious or more whole. Stop waiting to be better somehow. Stop believing all the gurus who tell you THEIR lives are harmonious, perfect, healthy, wealthy, ever happy and without any kind of angst, ill or drama.

Life is messy and hard and wonderful and short. So short.

Do you think you don’t have the right or the energy to pursue a dream or make a difference because of what’s going on in your life right now or what you’re still struggling to deal with from the past?

I call bullshit on that.

What matters most is that you express what’s in you, that you share what is yours to share, that – to the best of your ability – you strive to live while you’re alive and keep making, creating, sharing, teaching, helping, healing, loving.

What matters least is that you are ill, tired, droopy, depressed, failed at something, just hanging on, disabled, incontinent, divorcing, childless, overweight or terminal. What did that ever have to do with your soul and how it came here to express itself?

Don’t let your current or previous circumstances define you. Choose to be defined on your own terms. Choose to be enough, just as you are, and get busy doing whatever it is you’ve been holding back on. Rest if you must, but don’t give up. The world is waiting for what you have to offer.

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite Leunig poems, which I love for the gentle truth of it:

All my love, Nicole ❤ xx

The Fairy and the Bandicoot

“Sensitive people care when the world doesn’t because we understand waiting to be rescued and no one shows up. We have rescued ourselves, so many times that we have become self taught in the art of compassion for those forgotten.” 
~ Shannon L. Alder


I planned to sleep in a little this morning. After my four am meditation I crept back under the covers and nestled in, intending at least another two hours sleep.

I woke suddenly. Hurry up, she’s DROWNING! yelled a little voice in my ear. Sokli, my fairy friend, was insistent.

Disoriented and a little confused I got out of bed. I’d been asleep for twenty minutes. Everyone else was sleeping still on this cool, grey Saturday morning.

Come on, come ON! urged Sokli.

The next minute I was hurrying up to our swimming pool, which is in the middle of the paddock that is our farm’s back yard. I opened the gate and let myself in and there she was, swimming feebly around the edge of the pool. A bandicoot.

I used the net to scoop her out, and then placed her gently on the grass. She shook herself like a dog, tiny beads of water flying everywhere, and then she pressed her nose to my bare foot as if it say thank you, and darted off under the fence.

Sokli often wakes me up to help an animal, or a person we know who’s in trouble. She’s become a dear friend and companion and we work well together as a team. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that as an adult I would be talking to a fairy, or that I would channel her wisdoms to share with my students and workshop groups. I never thought it possible that fairies existed until I met her. I mean, really, I’m psychic, I talk to fairies, I have Lyme disease – as my sister often points out, none of these things exist. Not in Australia, anyway (especially the Lyme disease bit!).

Still, the bandicoot is safe and now I’m wide awake. I’ll make a cup of tea and go sit on the verandah for a while til everyone wakes up. It brings to mind one of my favourite quotes from Alice in Wonderland.

Wishing you the strength to believe in impossible things too,
lots of love, Nicole ❤ xx

Tune In To Your Body This Month!

“If we are creating ourselves all the time, then it is never too late to begin creating the bodies we want instead of the ones we mistakenly assume we are stuck with.” 
~ Deepak Chopra

Hello, Lovelies!

Have you felt a shift this month, especially in regard to your health and wellbeing?

The students who attended my recent Connect to Your Calling Retreat certainly have. And so have I. Before Retreat I asked them to give up coffee, alcohol, sugar and red meat for the week before our time together and then during the event itself. Now they are home and most of them have found that the taste for coffee and several other things just hasn’t returned.

But it’s not just them. The energies around us now really support you reconnecting with your body’s own wisdom. If you tune in to your body it will clearly show you what it wants more of, and what it wants less of.

Pay attention. Has your regular morning latte been tasting less yummy? Have you been craving fruit or vegetables? Do you have a sudden urge for early nights or yoga or a walk around the block? Maybe you don’t feel like eating breakfast, or you are suddenly starving at breakfast but aren’t hungry at dinner. Honour that!

Where are your preferences changing?

Where are your rhythms changing?

Your body knows what it wants and if you listen to those gentle urges and signs it will reward you with more balance, energy, health and flow.

I’m really curious to hear if you have noticed a shift around your awareness in regard to diet, exercise, sleep or other factors that impact your wellbeing. Let me know in the comments below.

Lots of love, Nicole ❤ xx

The Sweet Smell of Night


“‎Pleasure is wild and sweet. She likes purple flowers. She loves the sun and the wind and the night sky. She carries a silver bowl full of liquid moonlight. She has a cat named Midnight with stars on his paws. Many people mistrust Pleasure, and even more misunderstand her. For a long time I could barely stand to be in …the same room with her…” 
~ J. Ruth Gendler

I couldn’t sleep last night.

It was hot, and I was feverish. I tossed and turned for a while and then left my bed and crept outside to the back verandah.

The house was silent, and the night was deep. There was barely a hint of cool, and not a lick of moisture to be had. But that night air was sweet with the smell of summer grasses and the calm exhalations of the forest and mountain behind us.

A high overcast blanketed the stars so all there was was the darkness, me and the quiet shrill and hum of the night creatures. Eventually, even they fell silent and then the night belonged to me.

Queen of the Night by Josephine Wall

I breathed the earth in until my body grew so still and peaceful that nothing mattered anymore. I was cradled by the night, and by the earth, and by the silence.

And then I returned to bed and slept deeply until first light.

This morning I will walk along the beach with my feet in the water and my shoulders in the sun before the heat of the day scorches everything with her hot breath.

It doesn’t matter. I still have the night and her sweet comfort in every cell of my body and I am still at peace.

Wishing for you some time in nature this weekend too,

All my love, Nicole ❤ xx

Doorway to the Stars by Josephine Wall

Advice for Emerging Sensitive and Psychic Souls


“May you always find your intuitive voice and may the language of your intuition sing.” 
~
 Jodi Livon

Hello, Lovelies!
If you’re sensitive energetically then you are bound to be sensitive in other areas of your life.  This is especially true if you are going through a process of spiritual or psychic awakening. At a time of awakening, energies and abilities that have been dormant within you begin to assert themselves in your life.  This can be quite a turbulent and confusing time.

With the year’s current astrological events many sensitive souls are going though a period of spiritual or psychic awakening.

The following tips will help you to adjust to these emerging energies and gifts over the weeks and months ahead:

  • Rest.  When you’re growing and changing, rest is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.
  • Avoid crowded places such as shopping centres and football games when you are feeling particularly sensitive or energetically vulnerable.
  • Avoid difficult relationships and people who drain, upset or unbalance you.  Limit contact with the crazy-makers in your life.
  • If fluorescent and other artificial light sources bother you counteract them by spending time in daylight or moonlight.
  • Eat well.  Favour organic foods, with an emphasis on fresh, local produce, with plenty of leafy green vegetables and root vegetables, rice, pulses and yoghurt. Avoid processed food and sugar. Some people may need to avoid meat at this time.  Others may need meat to ground them.  Listen to your body.  If you’re especially sensitive avoid wheat as well.
  • Avoid alcohol, drugs and stimulants. Really be honest with yourself about substances like coffee and how they may affect you. Cut down or avoid if necessary.
  • Take a good powdered magnesium supplement.  Your muscles and nervous system use magnesium to relax and the body burns it like rocket fuel when you are engaging in energy work and psychic activity.
  • Drink plenty of fresh, clean water.
  • Use yoga, qi gung or tai chi to ground you and move energy through your body.
  • Spend time in nature.
  • Spend time on your own, exploring the things that interest you.
  • Spend time journalling and in self-exploration using tools such as crystals or cards if that feels right for you.
  • Avoid chemicals in your cleaning and personal care products. Avoid places that have a strong artificial or chemical energy.
  • Use natural and alternate therapies to help clear and support your body.
  • Meditate.
  • Pray, and talk with God.
  • Explore vibrational therapies such as essential oils, bush or bach flower essences, crystals, music, colour and aromatherapy.
  • Trust, look for support and know that things do get easier over time.

I’m holding you in my daily prayers and meditations, and wishing you well as you reconnect with your own natural intuitive gifts.
Love and Light, Nicole ❤ xx

PS – Looking for more support?

I’ve bundled together four powerful guided downloadable meditations and created a companion workbook to support you as you work with these celestial energies. The Stardust Connection Meditation Bundle will help you to connect with and explore Earth Energies, Ancestor Energies, your Solar Plexus energies and personal power, and the Stardust Energies. There is over an hour’s worth of Guided Meditations and a 38-page workbook. The workbook holds specific instructions for using the four guided meditations, as well as journalling activities and reflection/awareness exercises.

The material in the Stardust Connection Meditation Bundle can be used at any time over the next four years, and beyond. My intention with this bundle is to help you become confident in your direction, your intuition, and your contribution to the unfolding history of the world and humanity. To access the bundle or to learn more about it go to my store or click on this link.

Searching for a Place to Belong?

Need a tribe who will accept, support and understand you? I have just the place. My YOM community. Buy one of my YOM 2019 Planners – digital version or hard copy and I will gift you a month’s membership to our community as well as access to our online members’ only courses. Or simply jump right in with one of our membership packages. You’ll be welcomed with open arms. All the details are in the links and at my store.

Monday Oracle – 14 January 2019


“ None of us knows what might happen even the next minute, yet still we go forward. Because we trust. Because we have Faith. ” 
~ Paulo Coelho, Brida

Hello, Lovelies!

This year as I present our #MondayOracle I am dividing the year into Quarters, to correspond with all of us in the community who are using my YOM Planner. Each quarter of 2019 has different energetic themes, so I will choose an oracle or tarot deck that best supports those themes. For our First Quarter, which is all about developing your focus, alignment and direction I will be using the Peace Oracle by Toni Carmine Salerno and Leela J. Williams.

January is a month for planning, and for becoming clear about what matters to you. It’s a month for prioritising, honouring your heart and putting routines and acts of self-care into place for the year ahead. Keep that in mind as we look at the gifts of inspiration which the card Trust brings us.

Trust encourages us to get out of our head and back into our body this week. When we live only in our head we can neglect our physical and emotional wellbeing. We can lose connection to our body’s natural wisdom and make choices that are not healthy or supportive. When we live only from our head we do not hear our body’s constant quiet conversation with us – we stop recognising when we are truly hungry or tired or in need of emotional support. We numb ourselves and stuff ourselves and alienate ourselves from this body that is the housing for our soul.

Have you been over-thinking, over-working and living off adrenaline and stress? Trust comes to your aid this week. Her energies support us reconnecting with our bodies, helping us to move to a place of acceptance of ourselves as we are right now, even if we hold an intention of changing from the way we are today.

This week we’re reminded that our body has its own wisdom. When we tune in to that we can begin to reset our natural patterns and preferences. Our body will gravitate towards the food, movements and habits that will nourish and heal it if only we take time to get out of our head and then pay attention to our inner motivators and instincts.

It’s a great week to see health professionals, to get a medical or dental check-up, to start a healthier food or exercise plan, or to detox and embrace a less-stressed life.

Look to schedule regular self-care, beauty and massage sessions, and put healthy routines in place that support your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

Supportive crystals this week?

Green Jade (pictured) works with your Heart Chakra to bring balance and integration of Body, Mind and Spirit. It is positive and nurturing, strengthening self-worth. Citrine supports your Solar Plexus Chakra and sense of identity. It is a stone of abundance, clearing blocks of low self-worth and creating flow. Ruby Zoisite is a stone of transformation, helping you to be empowered in your life. It elevates your confidence and authority, and improves fertility, imagination and innovation. Green Aventurine supports you to be playful, joyful and optimistic about life. 

Helpful essential oils?

Magnolia essential oil helps you to reconnect to your body, and promotes self-acceptance and positive body image. Its fruity, floral aroma is calming and nurturing. Use it on the soles of your feet, and to your pulse points at wrist, neck and over heart like a perfume.

Palmarosa stabilises your emotions and rejuvenates you when you are feeling tired or emotionally battered and bruised. Its gentle nature will help recenter you when you’ve lost your way. Add a few drops to your bath with a little Magnolia or Lavender for a peaceful soak.

Lemongrass helps with being open to change and for pattern-breaking.  It’s a beautiful oil to diffuse to promote fresh and positive mental perspectives.

I’m passionate about essential oils and their capacity to support our wellness journey and our spiritual and emotional wellbeing. If you’d like to know more or want to source the oils I recommend and trust visit this site or contact me at channelnc@gmail.com

Extra Support For Your Year
I have limited hard copies of my beautiful YOM 2019 Planner left. If you purchase one, or one of the Planner packs (that also have new year direction readings, meditation malas or crystals with them) I’ll gift you a month’s free access to my community and membership site (and a chance to win a year’s free membership!) so you can experience my work, and be well supported to start your year.

You can access the Planner and Planner Packs here in our store or read more about them here.

Go gently this week, and honour your body, which makes possible all that you do and all that you are.

Lots of love, Nicole ❤ xoxo

PS: Monday’s oracle card, ‘Trust’, is from the Peace Oracle. I use any cards shown as a prompt for channelled messages and my own own intuitive wisdom, so my take is sometimes quite different to the meaning found in a book. 

Learn To Meditate With A Mala!


“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” ~ Amit Ray

Meditation has been my anchor since I was a young girl. It’s my daily go-to, to unwind, to calm my mind, to manage my anxieties, to reduce my stress, to deepen my spiritual connection, to know myself. Over the years meditation has also helped me navigate chronic illness and acute pain. I can’t think of a better way to bring myself back to calm.

I use a range of techniques when I meditate. Just like I have clothes in my wardrobe and I can select what I wear based on how I feel, I can also choose a meditation method, and one of the most accessible and easy meditation methods is using a string of beads called a Mala.

A Mala is a string of 108 beads. They are sometimes known as prayer beads, buddha beads or rosary beads.  Maybe you wear one as jewellery – they’ve become very popular lately, and it seems that every second person has one wrapped around their wrist or hung about their neck. But do you really know how to use one?

(In a hurry to get your Mala and Online Course? Go Here!)
Buy the Mala And Online Course

This is the Mala you will receive – 108 beads plus the Guru and Blessing Bead, all hand-knotted on black cotton and finished with a black cotton tassel.

When I am tired, stressed or overthinking using a mala in meditation gives my fingers something to do and occupies that busy part of my brain so that I can gently come back to a place of calm and peace. I hold each bead in my fingers one by one, and slowly travel each of the 108 beads. I might use my breath, a prayer, a mantra, a visualisation, or something more shamanic. And it transforms me. It soothes me. It heals and reconnects me.

I can’t recommend using a Mala highly enough, especially if you are the type of person who usually struggles with meditation, or who has never been able to do it in a way that has been helpful for you.

Even holding or wearing my Mala brings me peace.

If I am preparing to mentor students or run a retreat I will create a meditation Mala specifically for my group, with each bead representing a student. I chose a different style of bead for each person, one that will be immediately recognisable to my touch. When my fingers find that bead in meditation I can tune in to my student, assess how they are going, and send them healing, energy and direction. When the course is complete I will pull the Mala apart and send my students their personal bead for them to wear or as a talisman and keepsake.

And now I can help you to use a Mala too.

You can learn more about it and order it here in my Store.
Buy the Mala And Online Course

Would you like to buy your Mala knowing that it has been lovingly crafted in a fair-trade environment rather than some sweat-shop or underhanded place where the only motive is maximising profit? Would you prefer to buy and wear your Mala knowing that every bead has been blessed with love, and that the finished Mala has been blessed twice – once in a holy ceremony at a Hindu Temple in India and once in a crystal grid with prayers, meditation and my Tibetan Singing Bowl on my farm here in Byron Bay, Australia?

Would you like to buy your Mala knowing that you’ll be taught how to meditate with it and care for it so that it can do more than just adorn your neck or wrist?

I’ve had my very own meditation Mala designed and made. It feels incredibly soothing to hold or wear. I’ve also created a comprehensive five-day online course that teaches you all about the components of your Mala – what the beads and crystals mean – as well as three specific meditation techniques to help you use your Mala in meaningful ways. This is no light-weight course. I will teach you the things you would learn if you came to a workshop or retreat with me, including hands-on healing and 

This Mala will be a beautiful gift for you, or for someone you love who would benefit from learning meditation. The introductory price for this is just $95 AUD plus postage for both the hand-crafted Mala and the 5 day online course because it’s so important to me that you are supported in your life and on your spiritual journey.
All my love, Nicole ❤ xx

You can learn more about it and order it here in my Store.
Buy the Mala And Online Course

Are You The One In Four? A Letter To A Judgemental Friend

“I suppose sooner or later in the life of everyone comes a moment of trial. We all of us have our particular devil who rides us and torments us, and we must give battle in the end.”  Daphne Du Maurier

*Long read ahead. Go grab a cuppa.

Someone, a friend (or maybe not), send me a long and well-meaning (or maybe not) message yesterday asking why I so publicly explained my current health situation in my latest blog post, including mentioning that I suffer from incontinence AND had posted less than flattering images of myself that made me look ‘sick and drained and old’. Apparently, you shouldn’t talk about ‘body failure’ so openly. They suggested that it was ‘harming my image and the potential for me to build my business.’ Finally, they added that my life was  ’embarrassing and overly drama-filled, and maybe I should keep those details to myself’. In the midst of all their advice, they neglected to ask me how I was.

I was going to write them a long message back but instead, I’m going to reply here by way of a recent experience:

Dear YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE BUT I WON’T PUBLICALLY NAME YOU!

The other morning Ben and I needed to visit an office supplies store, but when we arrived at our destination the store had moved. It was only a few blocks away, and to navigate to the new address was straightforward, but for some strange reason as we exited the carpark Ben ducked down a side street and suddenly we were travelling down a rabbit warren of narrow suburban lanes instead of using the main roads.

‘Why are we going this way?’ I asked. ‘This is a dumb way.’

‘I dunno. Felt like it I guess,’ said Ben.

Who was I to argue? I haven’t been able to drive for months. Ben could drive there any route he chose.

When we slowed to take a corner I glanced up a street that ran off the one we were on. My vision is limited right now but of my mouth tumbled the words ‘Stop the car’.

‘Why?’ asked Ben, pulling to a halt.

I pointed. ‘There’. And even though I couldn’t see more than a blur I knew it was someone in trouble. That’s one of the gifts of being psychic.

Ben reversed and we drove fifty metres down another street. There on the sloping front lawn a middle-aged woman was lying awkwardly, half across her driveway, with the bulk of her body angled down the slope and her legs bent uphill behind her. Her handbag and car keys were strewn across the ground.

Ben put the window down and asked calmly, ‘Are you okay?’

‘I’m a bit stuck,’ the lady responded as she waved one arm in a feeble attempt to right herself.

We jumped out of the car and hurried over. As I gathered her fallen things Ben helped her to a sitting position and then we both helped her to her feet. Since my fiftieth birthday in 2017 I now feel every single emotion other people are holding within them as viscerally as if those emotions were mine. This woman’s story unfolded within my own body – this was the first major fall the woman had experienced and she had been lying on the ground for some time, alone and unable to reach her phone or to get herself back up again. It was terrifying for her, and worse, it had suddenly made real the truth of her health situation and diminishing capacities. I could feel the shame and embarrassment in her, as well as the shock.

The woman told us she had Parkinson’s. She was dazed and shaking but kept insisting she was fine and asked to be helped to her car. It was only when Ben let go of her and I saw his hands were covered in blood that we managed to convince her to go back inside her home and look after herself. She’d taken off quite a bit of skin, and her scrapes and bumps looked like they would become painful bruises later. She wouldn’t let us call anyone, and she was embarrassed and upset. I totally understood. The thing she’d been dreading had happened. She’d fallen, and been left stuck and helpless. Once upon a time if that had been me I would have waved everyone off as fast as I could too!

Chronic and terminal illnesses eventually lead us down paths we may never have imagined taking. But as a species we are resilient. We adapt. Life is about making the best of what we’ve got.

Have you ever been in that place, Dear ____________? That place of wanting to hold on to something that is no longer true for you? That place of wanting to not draw attention to yourself, of not wanting to admit a situation or a problem or something else that you perceive would make you somehow diminished in the eyes of others? It’s so human. It just swells my heart with compassion and pricks tears in my eyes.

There is one thing chronic illness has taught me. We’re all fragile. Poor health, accidents, illness and misfortune can strike any of us, at any time, at any age. Statistics show that one in four adults has some form of disability, physical or mental illness or chronic pain that limits our ability to function and cope with the activities of daily life.

One in four.

One in four of us suffers from diabetes or cancer or anxiety or pain or depression or incontinence or irritable bowel or restricted movement or chronic fatigue or OCD or chronic insomnia or some weird genetic thing or bullying or abuse or an occupational injury or… the list is endless. If it’s not us it’s someone we know. Maybe you’re not the sufferer but you live with that person. Care for that person.

Right now I am that one in four. Why should I hide that? It’s not all of me but it is part of me. And I refuse to hide that because if I do it means I am endorsing a world that says we should only show ourselves if we are perfect or at least ‘unoffensive’ to others.

And what does it say about you if you think that people like me should only show the ‘better aspects’ of our lives? Are you saying that I am not worthy to be out in the world if I wear a diaper or need a cane or someone to cut up my food or drive me places?

One in four, Dear _________________. One in four.

One day, that could so easily be you. Or your partner. Or your child.

This is what I believe – we need to embrace the truth of where we are at, without shame, embarrassment or apology. The ‘Instagram Life’ is a lie, and it puts ridiculous pressure on us to be something that so few people are or are with any kind of consistency; young, rich, thin, shredded, beautiful, stylish, completely together, popular, loved by a wide and ‘normal’ circle of family and friends, well travelled, eating amazing meals at fabulous places and healthy and well-balanced inside and out – with never a hint of adversity.

As to the fact that my life is at times ‘overly drama-filled’, my darling friend Carly-Jay Metcalfe who lives with Cystic Fibrosis responded with her own hard-won insights on my Facebook page, and I’ll include her post here in full:

Can I just say that as a person with a terminal illness, I don’t think people who are unaffected by chronic or terminal conditions can understand that with each step forward, it’s usually four steps back. It’s unrelenting and just because you say you’re on the road to recovery, does not mean you’re necessarily ‘better’. I’m glad you’re being gentle on yourself, Nic. I just wish everyone’s expectations were a little more realistic.

When I think of Carly-Jay I don’t think Cystic Fibrosis. I think poet, writer, aunt to my dogs, hilarious, soulful friend. When I think of myself I don’t think illness, I think of all the dreams that reside in my heart. We are not our illnesses or our frailties. We can live and thrive despite any of that. And we never need be defined or diminished by them. Does illness impact our lives and sometimes the lives of others? Sure. It’s just how it is.

What matters is who a person is on a soul level. Bodies age, fade, fail. But our souls are an eternal brightness. So, who are you in your heart? Who are you in the way you act in the world? Who you are as you live by your values? What are your dreams? Your relationships? Your interests? Your knowledge? Where can your passion take you?

Dear ____________ , I guarantee you that our world is held up and held together by people who are limping along in life doing the best that they can, sharing their ideas and gifts and love and care even though they face their own personal adversities.

I’ve been sharing my vulnerabilities since I first started blogging, and that’s the way I shall continue.

I hope no hardship ever befalls you but statistically, things are not on your side. ‘Life is suffering’ is what the Buddha said, and from my experience that will be true for everyone at some stage. That won’t mean you have failed. It will mean that you are human. If your road gets hard I’ll hold your hand as we navigate the bumpy bits together. To think that we need to be alone in our adversity is a myth perpetrated by people like you. Let’s end that way of thinking. It serves no-one.

Much love, Nicole  xx