The restorative power of deep rest

A primitive type of jellyfish called Cassiopea, which goes to sleep nightly, is seen on the floor of their tank at Caltech in Pasadena, California, U.S. in this image released on September 20, 2017. Courtesy Caltech/Handout via REUTERS

“It’s in the morning, for most of us. It’s that time, those few seconds when we’re coming out of sleep but we’re not really awake yet. For those few seconds we’re something more primitive than what we are about to become. We have just slept the sleep of our most distant ancestors, and something of them and their world still clings to us. For those few moments we are unformed, uncivilized. We are not the people we know as ourselves, but creatures more in tune with a tree than a keyboard. We are untitled, unnamed, natural, suspended between was and will be, the tadpole before the frog, the worm before the butterfly. We are for a few brief moments, anything and everything we could be. And then…and then — ah — we open our eyes and the day is before us and … we become ourselves.” 
Jerry Spinelli

 

Don’t you just love the image of the sleeping jellyfish? It’s the sort of whimsical possibility my mind constantly entertained when I was a child, although I never imagined that they might sleep upside down!

I was lying on my acupuncturist’s treatment table yesterday as he felt my pulse and tut-tutted in his mad professor way at the energies within my body, the colour and texture of my tongue and his many other diagnostic tools. He knew it. I know it. The past couple of weeks of family illnesses and drama have exhausted me.

Hmmm, he said. Deep rest. That’s what you need. Deep rest, and rice and beans and sprouts. Warm foods. Warm liquids. No stimulants. No spices. Deep rest. Sleep.

I know he’s right. A good deep rest now and I’ll be back to normal. For me, deep rest is not just sleeping. It’s also quiet time. Time pulled back from the needs and demands of others. Time stepped back from work and busy-ness.

The alternative? I’ve been down that path, and I know you have too. In fact, I know some of you are walking it right now. That’s the path of pushing. We’re tired but we keep getting up. We’re exhausted but we fill ourselves with caffeine or sugar or both, and we force ourselves to keep on going. We bribe ourselves, pep-talk ourselves, bully ourselves and trash-talk ourselves to get our bodies upright and responsive. We push, push, push. And then we break.

All the while we think that we are okay to keep going. We’re not. We’re barely in our bodies. We’re drunk on lack of sleep. Our innovation and enthusiasm, our ability to bounce back, to laugh it off, to create with joy – all of that is missing.

It can be found again through deep rest.

That’s what I’m doing right now, and will be for the next few days. I’m doing a disservice to myself and to you if I don’t.

Today I’m asking you if you’re okay. Do you need to rest? Do you need to step back for a moment? We can’t help others sustainably nor keep on creating if we are not looking after ourselves first. The energies of 2018 do not support push in any form. If you’re pushing, it won’t be working. Look for another way. Your best solution is most likely to be taking a break, refreshing yourself, and then starting again.

Gentle hugs and much love, Nicole  xx

 

How to Check In with Yourself Each Morning

“Morning is wonderful. Its only drawback is that it comes at such an inconvenient time of day.” 
~  Glen Cook

After yesterday’s post where I talked about the importance of self-care and of knowing and honouring your priorities in life this year I had a flood of messages from people asking me how to actually do this. Fair call, so today’s post is designed to help you navigate a little closer to knowing yourself. Just follow the directions below:

  1. When you first wake up, lie quietly in bed with your eyes still closed. Feel into your body with your awareness. Are you ready to open your eyes and spring out of bed with a smile on your face and maximum energy levels? Are you wishing you could roll over and go back to sleep because your energy levels are so low?  Be aware of your energy, and of any aches or pains. Have you woken up with worries on your mind? Be honest with yourself. Score yourself on a level of 1 to 10 with 1 being completely wrecked and 10 being amazingly well and wonderful.
  2. Based on the score you just gave yourself spend a moment and think about the kind of physical and emotional support you’ll need today. Does your body need to eat better and have more hydration? Do you need an easier day? Or are you feeling ready to handle anything? On low-energy days don’t push yourself. On high-energy days look for areas where you can challenge yourself a little more or tackle a bigger project or task. (*Note: If you suffer from chronic illness, chronic fatigue, or other debilitating situations this is a super-critical step in self-awareness to make sure you don’t push yourself too hard – which always results in more setbacks, pain and distress!)
  3. Stretch, and count your blessings. Find at least three small things to be immediately grateful for in your life. Do your best to get yourself into a positive (or more positive than before) headspace.
  4. Think about what really matters to you – it might be your partner or family, your pets, your health, a project you are passionate about, something you want to experience or achieve in the world. These are the things that you’ll think about on your deathbed and wish you’d spent more time on. Muster some gratitude for these things in your life too.
  5. You can do this next bit while you’re still in bed, or over a cuppa at a place that’s  comfortable for you. What worries are in your head? What needs to get done today? Write it all down. Starting the day with a list instead of this all rattling round in your head helps you to stay clear and to better prioritize. 
  6. Take a deep breath and look back over your list. Are the people you love and the things that matter to you represented there? Tune in to your body again. On a scale of 1 to 10 how is your emotional battery? (At a 1 you are at your most fragile and are not coping – at 10 you could take on the world and you feel strong and unbreakable) Now tune in to your physical battery on a scale of 1 to 10 with a score of 1 being completely wrecked and 10 being amazingly well and wonderful. Has your score changed from when you first woke up, now that you’re upright and moving into the day ahead?
  7. Think about your true priorities first. How can you find time for them today, or schedule some in very soon? Include health and self-care in this.
  8. Now think about your worries and to-do list. Based on your assessment of yourself physically and emotionally, what can you really get done today? What are the tasks that will alleviate your stress if you get them done, what are your pressing priorities, what can be delegated and what can be left to roll into tomorrow if necessary? Where might you need help?
  9. Take a couple of calming breaths, and remind yourself that you’ve got this. All you need to do is honour your energy and your priorities. Self-awareness makes everything easier.
  10. Find a few quiet windows during the day, close your eyes and do a quick tune-in to your emotional and physical energy levels again. Use your breath to bring you back to a place of calm. Reconnect to or adjust your priorities and focus for the rest of the day. Practice kindness with yourself as you endeavour to live with more honesty and awareness of your own energy and needs.

Being able to check in with myself and then manage myself better has made a huge positive difference to how I cope in the world, and it has also helped me to put my focus on what really matters to me. I hope this simple technique helps you too.

Biggest love and hugs, Nicole  xx

Demon Banishing And Custard Buns In Hong Kong!

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” ~ Anonymous

I’m in Hong Kong right now, for the first part of the surprise holiday Ben bought me for my ‘Congratulations on turning fifty and thank you for not dying’ present.

We’re having a fantastic time. Every day is crammed with the wonderful, the unusual and a little of the outright bizarre. I’m in heaven!

Yesterday we met our lovely friend Amanda Cook, who is an expat currently living here in Hong Kong. Amanda is a herbalist, wellness coach and an excellent tour guide! (Find out more about Amanda here)

First we lunched at Dim Dim Sum, a brilliant little hole-in-the-wall dumpling cafe that is renowned for its delicious and innovative food. We drank tea and caught up on all the news in each other’s worlds over many many kinds of Dim Sum, and some of the cutest yummiest custard buns (shaped like little pigs) that I’ve ever eaten.

Then we went for a stroll through streets of fresh food markets. I loved the rich variety and freshness of the food and saw all kinds of things that were new to me.

Finally, under a gloomy overpass we came across some Villain Hitters. Villain Hitters are older women who practice an age-old Cantonese tradition of banishing demons and outcasting bad spirits and other energies that cause harm to you. It can also draw good and helpful energies and people to you as the bad ones are displaced.

Why not? I thought. So I paid my money and wrote the name of the demons I wanted banished on a paper package that the Villain Hitter handed me. She then had me sit opposite her beside her makeshift shrine. She said some prayers and I did too, and then she took small effigies (pieces of paper with human shapes on them)  to represent my demons and hit them vigorously with a shoe until they began to fall apart. The she screwed up the paper scraps and placed them in the mouth of a paper tiger, which was set alight and burned.

My Villain Hitter then cleaned my aura with a piece of paper on which were written prayers and invocations. It felt surprisingly good. The paper was then burned too.

Finally we made an offering, some more prayers and we were finished. Of course I then hugged my wonderful Villain Hitter for a job well done.

The Villains I wanted banished? Bad bacteria, ill health and lyme disease in my body.

Let’s hope they’ve all gone, banished by her shoe and her mighty intentions that I prosper and do well.

I’ve also been making a little gift for you for Christmas. Stay tuned. I’ll post it Christmas Day. Remember too that we are in a period known as The Lull right now, which will last until 16 January. It’s a time for resting, recharging, connecting with our friends and family, and having fun. Wherever you have the opportunity simplify, slow down, and take time for what matters most to you.

Sending heaps of love your way, Nicole ❤ xx

 

Why We Vaccinate

 “In 1736 I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the small-pox, taken in the common way. I long regretted bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it; my example showing that the regret may be the same either way, and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen.” — Benjamin Franklin

 

We live on a beautiful rural property in Byron Bay, which we farm organically. We don’t use chemicals, artificial fertilisers or pesticides. To support the health of our herds and crops we use natural mineral fertilisers, biodynamics and good farm management. We also supplement our stock with minerals and molasses, and we vaccinate.

People are often surprised that we vaccinate, and that I am the chief officer of those vaccinations. But we live in the Northern Rivers – a lush country with high rainfall and summer temperatures, and every year when the season’s conditions are right ( dry winter followed by lashings of rain, summer storms, high heat and abundant new grass growth) we have an upsurge of a spore-forming bacteria in the soil called Clostridium chauvoei. It causes a condition called Black Leg, which kills healthy young cattle in a number of hours. By the time the condition is detected, if at all, there is little that can be done to save the animal. There are livestock deaths every year on farms around us. All of which can be prevented by vaccination.

Why do I know this?

Previously we farmed organically on a property in Queensland – a very different kind of holding with open forests and hard grasses. I hadn’t even heard of Blackleg, because our farm just didn’t have the conditions for it to be a problem. We vaccinated there too, but for different illnesses, including Tick Fever (Babesiosis – a co-infection that many human Lyme suffers have, including myself. Blood tests revealed this in me, along with a number of other bacterial infections that are also tick and biting insect borne and that are accepted to be present in many other mammals including cattle, although of course not humans! I’d love to show you the Fact Sheet on Borreliosis in cattle put out by the Department of Primary Industries in Australia. It was widely available for many years until the Lyme controversy started to heat up here, after which it was suddenly withdrawn. Sorry, I digress…)

When we trucked the best of our herd to our new farm we had a summer just like the one we are entering into now – lush, wet and hot. And within a month we lost six young animals over just a few days to this disease I’d never heard of. They were the healthiest and best animals we had, and that good health and good genetics did not protect them. We found them dead in the paddocks, after having seem them healthy and strong the day before. We called in the vet, and the vet introduced us to Blackleg and explained how and why it had occurred and what we could do to minimise the chance of it happening again. We’d vaccinated those cattle too, but not for this illness. I was beside myself that it could have been prevented and that I hadn’t researched this better.

So now as part of our herd health we vaccinate. Our dogs are vaccinated too, especially for the highly contagious Parvovirus which is rampant in the Northern Rivers and which kills too many puppies and dogs here in Byron Bay every year.

I thought about whether to post this, as vaccination has become such a polarising and controversial subject. Here in Byron Bay we have one of the lowest rates of human vaccination in Australia. I think the ongoing debate about the number, frequency and manufacture of vaccines for children is important. But I also know that vaccines save lives.

While we keep farming I’ll keep practicing land care, soil health, biodiversity, organic practices and I’ll vaccinate.

Take care of yourself, and each other,

Much love, Nicole  xx

Introducing #GeSHiDoMo – November’s answer to finishing 2017 strong!

“A clear vision, backed by definite plans, gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power.”
~ Brian Tracy, The Gift of Self-Confidence

 

November is nearly here, and Christmas is just around the next corner. When you think back to January this year and all the plans you had, how are you placed as we move to close out 2017? Feeling positive and well satisfied, productive but burned out, or do you have a stack of unfinished jobs left to do? If you’d like to finish 2017 strong, or repair from burnout, I have just the solution for you.

Join us for #GeShiDoMo!

#GeShiDoMo stands for ‘Get Shit Done Month’. I have turned November into 30 days of focused and fun effort, all following a structure that helps you to truly get things done.

You might have One Big Thing, or a mass of smaller and unrelated things. You may actually need to stop DOING and take time for yourself and your wellbeing instead. #GeShiDoMo caters to several models of action – and one of them will suit your situation. It doesn’t matter what you want to get done – what matters is that you do it!

The #GeShiDoMo program is now live, and you can access it via my Shop. To join #GeshiDoMo costs just $22 Australian dollars (that’s about $17 USD). This gets you a solid month of activities, support and fun. No matter where you are you can join us because the program is all run online via our own private Facebook Group.

Join Me Up to #GeShiDoMo!

#GeSHiDoMo Goals

What will you get when you join #GeSHiDoMo?

  • A #GeSHiDoMo Planner workbook to download. This Planner will help you to create your goals and tasks to complete in November. You get a proper system for organising and completing these tasks, so you can finally Get Shit Done.
  • #GeSHiDoMo Bingo Sheets – sounds crazy, I know, but wait til you see them. Suddenly getting organised has become fun!
  • #GeSHiDoMo Daily Checklist – in case Bingo isn’t your thing, or if you prefer to micro-manage.
  • Access to our exclusive Facebook Page and Community, where this month of madness will unfold. It will be a place where you can share your progress and support each other.
  • Introductory and Weekly videos to help you start strong and keep going.
  • Facebook Live Events where Nicole will coach you, share wisdoms and answer questions. We will be able to share progress and encourage each other.
  • Daily motivational tips.
  • Heaps of very cool competitions.
  • Super-Ninja fabulous prizes!!!
  • An Awesome Certificate of Completion if you get Get Your Shit Done by November 30.

You can use the next few days to work through the #GeShiDoMo Planner, ready for your own personal launch on November 1. The Facebook Group is open now, and our program of events begins on October 27.

Want to join us?

It’s going to be so much fun!

And please – don’t worry if you are not raring to go. Throughout my life I have managed to Get Shit Done from bed or in my pyjamas, suffering major illness, and with almost no energy. I have designed #GeSHiDoMo so that you can still kick goals even if you are not at match fitness. In fact, #GeSHiDoMo is perfectly suited to people who are already too busy, too tired, too overwhelmed, and too unwell.

Let’s make November a month of accomplishment and a time for putting your own needs first. Imagine how you’ll feel on December 1 if you actually got some of your major To-Do list done!!! Click on the link below to go to my shop. Then follow the instructions on the #GeSHiDoMo image.

Sign me up! Let’s #GeSHiDoMo

See you in the Facebook Group. Lots of Love, Nicole <3 xx

#GeShiDoMo

Crying Over Sushi

Me, driving!

“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?” 
~  Erin Hanson

 

Yesterday was quite a remarkable day for me. In the morning I drove to the other side of town for a meeting with an illustrator who’s joining my team. We’ll be working on a few projects together, including a tarot deck, oracle cards and a fairy book. Squeeeeeeee!!!

From there I drove to a supplier to pick up a few things. Then I was STARVING and also quite urgently needing to pee, so I drove a little further to a shopping mall at Carindale where I was able to use the rest rooms and then eat some lunch.

Lunch was slightly delayed though. As I wandered the huge mall, trying to orient myself and find a lunch spot I saw a woman coming towards me, crying and in obvious distress. She stopped me to ask me where the bathrooms were, and as I touched her arm to ask if she was okay information and images flooded through me. She had just been told that her Nana had died. A lady who had brought her up, and been a steadying influence for a dysfunctional family.

“I’m so sorry about your Nana,” I said to her without thinking. “She loved you very much.”

The woman lifted her head in panic and stared at me. “How do you know that?”

“I’m psychic,” I said. “Sometimes I just know things.”

The woman began crying harder so I led her over to a bench and we sat down together.

I sat and waited as she cried. She needed someone with her, and I knew it was wrong to try and comfort her; she needed to feel her feelings.

Finally she calmed and asked me about a necklace I was wearing. It’s my meditation mala I made for my recent Temple of Light retreat. I explained that each crystal represented a student, and that the final few crystals represented my family, my community and the world. I then took my mala off and showed her how I used it to meditate and pray for them all twice a day.

“Could you pray for my Nana?” she asked me.

So I held her hands and we sat in the middle of Carindale with our heads bowed and our eyes closed and I prayed aloud for her grandmother, and for this woman and her family, and I asked for her Ancestors and Angels to gather around them and watch over them all.

After which we talked about death and souls and love, and how souls and love are eternal. Finally comforted and okay the woman thanked me. We hugged and then went our own ways. I’d never even learned her name or given mine.

A few minutes later I was sitting in a little corner of a sushi restaurant, watching the plates come towards me in an endless stream of yumminess. Now I began to cry. Not over the events with the distressed woman – anyone who knows me will tell you that my daily life inevitably looks like that. I’m here to be of service. My door is always open and my light is always on. Somehow, people find me when they need me. No, I wasn’t crying about that. I was crying about freedom.

I was sitting on my own in a sushi restaurant. I had driven myself from one side of town to the other, I’d merged with other cars on the freeway, I’d negotiated traffic, I’d parked the car, done hill-starts in a manual car on a steep road, visited places of business, enjoyed a fruitful design meeting about projects I had shelved several times due to poor health, and now I was in a fancy shopping mall buying myself lunch. After which I would drive myself home. ALL ON MY OWN after ten years of relying on Ben to drive me almost everywhere, and for the past five years of having been almost a complete prisoner to illness that had stopped me driving.

I was free. And it felt like a miracle.

After lunch I drove myself home and immediately rang my sister to share the adventures of my morning. Later that afternoon I drove to my elderly mother-in-law’s to drop off some groceries, make her dinner and keep her company. It was a very full day indeed.

Wow.

That’s all I have for yesterday… Wow. I got my life back. After years of suffering all kinds of horrors due to Lyme disease I am finally well enough to reclaim my independence.

Wow.

Thanks for sticking by me as I’ve walked this long road. I’m not done yet, but I’m well on my way. I think that deserves a few tears at a sushi train!

Sending the biggest love and hugs your way, Nicole  xoxo

PS –  if you want to join me for the last retreat of the year you can find out more here: Soul Sanctuary – Working With Crystals. But it’s almost full, so please act quickly. I won’t be running this particular retreat again any time soon, so this is your one chance for this one, and it’s going to be AMAZING!

Meditation mala and a happy driver!

 

 

Turquoise – A Great Stone For Healers and Empaths

“A turquoise given by a loving hand carries with it happiness and good fortune.” ~ Arabic proverb

 

Last week I made a simple turquoise and rose quartz necklace for a friend, and it has been charging up in one of my amethyst caves ever since. I’ll give it to her today – a gift to thank her for all her help as my acupuncturist’s assistant. Her caring and skill have helped me through some difficult days.

I chose turquoise because it is such a supportive stone for healers and empaths. I also added a small rose quartz for love and nurture – replenishing the energy that is so lovingly given out to others. Turquoise is a wonderful crystal. It shields the wearer energetically, and helps to process and let go of emotions that are generated or picked up during work with others. It is very protective of the heart chakra, and clears grief, guilt and trauma.

The emotions of grief, guilt and trauma can move deep into the body. They sit in our throats, our lungs, our hearts, our bellies. It can be our own feelings, or the energies we shift form other people and then take on as our own. Unexpressed, these trapped emotions weaken our immune function, and our digestion. They affect our physical organs, making them more prone to illness and, over time, dis-ease.

Holding grief, guilt and trauma within our bodies is a place that many intuitive, empathic and deeply caring people find ourselves. To love and to care is also to expose ourselves to hurt and to loss. Loving and caring deeply is risky, because when you live in that open-hearted state, love goes hand in hand with suffering. Still, I would advocate that you love anyway. That you care anyway.

One of your greatest gifts is that you care. One of your greatest gifts is that you can live heart-opened. Don’t change that. Just learn to manage it better.

Turquoise, worn on the centre line of the body, is a beautiful crystal for supporting healers in all modalities. Maybe you’d benefit from wearing one too!

Lots of love to you, Nicole xoxo