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

A Message To Your Stompy Cranky Self-Sabotaging Inner Five-Year-Old!

“Sometimes defiance is all we have.” 
Stan Grant

Hello,
Today I don’t want to talk to you, dear friend. I want to talk to that stompy cranky five-year-old who dwells defiantly inside you. I want to talk to that inner child of yours because I can see you two are having problems.

You want to do yoga, but your inner five-year-old wants to binge on Netflix and pizza. You want to work on your project, but your inner five-year-old would rather line up all your shoes in order of colour and style. You have a deadline and suddenly your inner five-year-old is sooooo sleepy that you can’t concentrate. Oh, wait! Your pal just called and invited you to the movies. Your inner five-year-old who was too tired to work is suddenly raring to go and ready for a big night out.

The grown-up you is blaming yourself for all of this self-sabotage. I can hear how meanly you’re talking to yourself, blaming yourself, being down on yourself.

And no-one’s listening to that inner child at all.

Why would your inner child go off the rails and make you do the opposite of all the things you know are good for you or that need to be done even if they are no fun?

That is why I want to talk to your inner five-year-old-child directly.

Here goes…

Hello, Little Friend. I’m sorry that you’re feeling so trapped, so bored, so not listened to. I understand that you are tired of being told what to do all the time. I’m sorry that your life feels like an endless to-do list of chores that leave no room for fun or friends or goofing off or being tired when you’re tired instead of having to keep being busy.

No wonder you’re sabotaging everything your Big Self is trying to do!

But can you do me a favour? Why not try and be friends? Why not let your Big Self do yoga, and then let the Little You have a frozen nice-cream cone afterwards? Why not help your Big You do this month’s bookwork and then settle down on the couch together with Netflix?

And maybe, when your Big You feels a little relieved, or less guilty, or more tidy or more organised or more healthy – because you’ve helped them to take a step towards what they think will help them – maybe after that you can both talk about including more of the things that Little You knows are good for your soul too.

Maybe after a good yoga session you can help your Big You face the fact that the job she’s doing is crushing her soul, or that her partner is mean and will never treat her well. I know you have a lot of wisdom inside you, Little Friend, because you see things as they really are, not as the Big You wants them to be, or fears them to be.

I also know that you understand what makes the Big You light up, what excites her and makes her happy, what makes her soul sing, and what direction her feet want to take her in.

All this foot-stompy cranky self-sabotaging behaviour is making both of you miserable. It’s time to kiss and make up, be best friends again and help each other out.

Your poor Big Self thinks it’s all her fault – that she is lazy and lacking in will-power and commitment and self-discipline. She doesn’t understand that wise Little You is having this temper tantrum because no-one is listening to what you have to say. Imagine how much happier and empowered you will be when you begin working as a team again.

Hugs to you both, Little Friend and Big Friend. You’ve got this. I can’t wait to see what comes next for you!
All my love, Nicole  xx

Image from embracingjoy.com

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

That Day We Always Knew Was Coming…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nicole ❤ xx

 

Energies of June – 2018

 

“Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.” 
~ Gloria Steinem

Hello, Lovelies :)

Take a deep breath, schedule some downtime, and welcome the energies of June. June is a quieter month that invites us to spend time with loved ones, time on ourselves and our wellbeing, and time resting, recharging and doing what we love.

Cards for the Month:

I’ve chosen two cards for June for you: one from Colette Baron-Reid’s Wisdom Of The Oracle  and one from Steven Farmer’s Earth Magic Oracle. Please note I don’t use these cards in a conventional way, but rather as a stimulus for channeled information.

Here is what I have received from each card:

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”
~ Maya Angelou

June calls us to shift our energy inwards again. It’s a time for rest, healing and working on our own projects. It’s a time for cosying up with the people we care about, for nights in and quiet weekends at home or in the company of our dearest friends, while saying no to anything or anyone that takes us away from our highest priorities.

You might find that this is a lower energy month for you. That’s okay. It’s a month for regrouping, for gentle fun and connection, for extreme self-care and nurturing yourself and those you love.

The second card I’ve chosen is Full Moon. 

“Whatever it takes to finish things, finish. You will learn more from a glorious failure than you ever will from something you never finished.” 
Neil Gaiman

This month is an incredibly productive time for bringing a singular focus to getting something done. You might not have time for other people’s dramas but you’ll find energy for your own projects and passions. It’s all a matter of clear priorities and healthy boundaries.

June also shows us where we need to hand tasks or responsibilities to others. We cannot do everything ourselves, or be all things to all people. June supports us engaging help, finding staff or team members, and asking others to step up and contribute so that our situation is fairer and more collaborative.
It’s a time for visions, dreams and spiritual connection, and for honouring our soul wisdom. Magic can happen this month, if only we make a little time to listen and to connect.

Best crystals this month?

Smoky Quartz  and Labradorite

Smoky Quartz keeps us grounded and gifts us inner strength and the ability to
listen deeply.

Labradorite. encourages self-care, supports empathy and intuition, and is a gentle and reassuring stone for developing psychic ability.

Essential oils to support your journey?

Young Living’s Joy and Envision essential oil blends are my picks for June. Joy opens our hearts and tunes us in to our own inner wisdom as well as Universal Guidance and Support. It is uplifting, comforting and empowering. Dab a drop of either oil on your Crown Chakra, back of neck, wrists and the soles of your feet, inhale directly or add to your diffuser. Envision helps us to see the possibilities for ourselves and our life. It brings inspiration, intuition, insight and clear vision. Rub a drop together in your hands, breathe in deeply and then wipe your hands in a circular extending movement through your aura. Finish with a drop on your Crown Chakra, Heart and inner wrists.

Want to make your own blend? Each of the following oils will work beautifully on their own for you this month, but they’ll also make a delicious combination for diffusing. Frankincense for spiritual and intuitive connection and restoration of faith. Geranium for stress reduction and emotional balance, and for evoking a sense of peace and goodwill. Orange for optimism and happiness. Pine for being grounded and centred in ourselves as we open to our highest potential. To diffuse add 2 or three drops of each oil to your room or personal diffuser. You can find the oils here.

Image from juicingforhealth.com


Wishing you a love-filled, satisfying and wonder-full June.

Lots of love, Nicole❤ xoxo

Revisiting Our Guiding Card for 2018

“Be the celebrators, celebrate! Already there is too much—the flowers have bloomed, the birds are singing, the sun is there in the sky—celebrate it! You are breathing and you are alive and you have consciousness, celebrate it!” 
~  Osho

 

As May comes to a close I thought it time to revisit the guiding energies for 2018. This year The Sun is our guiding card and her message is a powerful and wise one.

This year is about connection and inclusion. It’s a fine year for all forms of creativity, fertility and innovation. 2018 is heart-focused. Relationships – with yourself, with others, with your work – that’s what matters this year.It’s a great year for healing old hurts, mending fences and rebuilding relationships. It’s also a year where you’re clearly see where to walk away and put your energies to situations and relationships that are more suitable for you.

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 as we work on healing our old hurts, fears and limiting beliefs.
It’s also a year for socialising, for celebrating and for connecting with family and friends.

The Sun’s energy is strongly aligned with our Solar Plexus Chakra – our centre of Self. Our solar plexus is the 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. This might have made the beginning of 2018 difficult for you, as you began to feel into the truth of who you are and to see where the life you are currently living may not have been aligned with your innermost truth and values. Shift and realignment can be uncomfortable while we are in that readjustment period – while we’re facing how far we’ve moved away from our true north – and making changes to our behaviours, beliefs, relationships and circumstances.

It’s a time for making things and creating art. For finding a life path that fills us with gratitude, for celebration and for strong growth in our families and businesses. It’s about belonging to or creating a tribe of our own. A time for enjoying ourselves and this gift that is our lives. A time for moving forward together.

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. First thought, we might need to break free of the old. That’s okay. The pain of that change will be worth it.

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. It’s a year where we need to slow down, reflect and find ways to have meaningful engagement with ourselves and the world around us.

At its heart 2018 is a soul-centred and abundant year. It holds a very fresh, nurturing and inspiring energy. It’s a year of possibility, creativity, connectedness, communication, collaboration and community. It’s a time where love can blossom, and relationships can thrive. The families we are born into or create for ourselves, our friendships, our work and community connections – all of these will have a greater importance for us this year.

So, as we come into June which is a month for reflection, soul work, for rest and healing and cosy-ing up with the people we love, it’s worth looking back on what we have already decided, overcome or acted upon this year, and celebrating our milestones, however large or small they may be.

You might also find this simple meditation helpful:

Eating The Sun 

Holding you in my meditations and my heart. Thanks for sharing the journey with me, dear friends, Much love,

Nicole ❤ xoxo

 

Are You Using The Hive Mind Yet?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much love to you, Nicole   xx

 

Being Okay With Where You Are

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” 
Lao Tzu

I’m still recovering from the flu, and gee, it’s taking muuuuuuch longer than I would have liked. On top of that I managed to pick up a vomiting bug because of my dodgy immune system, so that has meant a couple of useless days just as I was picking up again.

I have to be honest. Yesterday morning after a horrid night I was quite despairing. You know; tears of frustration, being totally over it, and yes – being down on myself too. I wanted to be writing. I wanted to be back at work. I wanted to be doing so many other things. I wanted hair free of knots!!! (Try lying in bed through fevers and misery for a month and see what that does to your hair – I know some of you completely get this because things like illness and depression are not friends to long locks…)

And oh the guilt I began to feel that here I was in bed. Again.

I didn’t stop myself feeling any of those things.

That never helps.

This is my truth. I’m getting better slowly. I’m frustrated. I had a less-than-great couple of days. It was okay to be in a bit of a hole.

It’s helpful to be able to be honest about where you are and how you feel. I had a cry on the phone to my sister. I had a cry with Ben. I had a cry with the dogs. After which I slept and slept and slept.

This morning I am doing better. In a week or so I’ll be back to doing all the things I had wanted to do. Meanwhile, I am where I am and it is what it is.

I realised a few years ago that I had bought into this crazy belief that I needed to be 100% on 100% of the time. Because of that belief I pushed myself relentlessly. No matter what my truth was. This perfection thing is all around us – on social media, in magazines and on television and in movies. It’s the expectation at schools and universities and in our workplaces. We’re not meant to have down days, sad days, sick days, ugly days.

Except that we all do.

We all do.

So my lovelies, the next time you have a down day or a sick day, the next day you feel like crawling back under the covers and not facing the day, extend yourself some compassion and know that it’s normal to not be 100% on your game every single day. Only robots and Stepford Wives do that. Everything else you see providing evidence to the contrary is a carefully curated lie. Please don’t buy into that!

A model’s self portrait in the style of the Stepford Wives by Christine McConnell

No matter what your current reality there is no point fighting it. It is what it is. Fighting against your truth is disempowering. You beat yourself up, lower your vibration and end up feeling even worse than you did before. It keeps you in the hole longer.

Accepting where you are at, honestly and without judgement, creates shift.

Don’t like where you are at? Accept that truth. Sometimes that’s all you need to do to create movement in a new direction and a lightening up of your mood and situation.

Don’t want to keep living this current version of yourself? Decide to change it. That’s not fighting it, that’s empowering yourself to move in a different direction. Wanting to change and then deciding to change still honours where you currently are and that’s so important for self-love and self-acceptance. Affirm to yourself I am where I am but I can change. 

No matter our current situation and how difficult things are we still have choices. We change emotionally, intellectually, spiritually or physically. That knowledge can be a life-raft, and it can open doors to new possibilities.

Self-acceptance is, in itself, a powerful force for change and for creating flow.

Sending you love and hugs, and holding you in my meditations, Nicole  xx

Keeping It Real For You

“A good selfie is when you successfully capture the feeling of that very moment!” 
Anamika Mishra

 

Yesterday I ventured out into the world for the first time in weeks. This flu has really laid me low, and I’m still far from well but yesterday Ben, Cafe Dog and I went out to check the mail at our post box, to food shop for his mum and to grab a quick coffee.

Harry Dog was thrilled to finally leave the house too. Me? I was not quite with it, but grateful to be dressed and upright.

Makeup and hair styling? All too hard. I was clean, I smelled okay, and I’d swapped pyjamas for going-out clothes. As far as I’m concerned that’s a win!

We were out for less than an hour, by which time I was completely exhausted, but it was worth it to feel like part of the human race again.

I know. I can hear you saying it. I’m damaging my personal brand with these awful selfies. First it was thigh gap, and now real and unadulterated images of me feeling crappy and fluey and still quite horrid (and still with bad hair, wrinkles and oldness).

Oh well.

I’m really a bit over all of these images and stories in my social media feed about how to lose weight, look younger, have bigger boobs, fewer wrinkles, smaller thighs (or thigh gap!) or whiter teeth, and all of those images of perfectly happy people having perfectly wonderful lives.

Does your life look like that?

Mine doesn’t. And sweethearts it is absolutely fine if yours doesn’t either.

Today I want you to embrace yourself just as you are. Give yourself a hug or a virtual high-five from me if you’ve turned up for life today – no matter how hard things are right now. Give yourself an elephant stamp if you managed some personal hygiene. Have a gold star if you accomplished something on your list. Kind to yourself or others? Seriously – you deserve a medal! That’s the world I want to live in. I want a world filled with people who are honest and vulnerable and real – who show up courageously when life is hard, who reach out to others when they have the strength to do so, and who ask for help when they are struggling to manage on their own.

Let’s be kind to all those people with perfectly curated social media lives too. Because I can guarantee you that behind those images will be the same kinds of health dramas, money problems, relationship issues, depression, anxiety and ‘stuff’ that all the rest of us experience. They were just careful to edit those bits out before they put their life on display.

That’s one gift that chronic illness has given me – I’ve realised what matters, and it certainly isn’t about living my life to impress other people.

Lovelies, let’s agree to just keep being ourselves and to support others to be themselves too. Doesn’t that take off an enormous amount of pressure? Without that pressure we’ve freed up untold energy to put to much more constructive uses. Hooray for that. Hooray for real.

Biggest hugs to you from my personal-brand trashing self, Nicole xx

 

 

My Latest Obscenities…

“Whenever you speak the truth, someone will be offended.” 
Laurence Overmire

Yesterday I posted about having the flu (no fun!) and with that post I included pictures of myself showing me as I am right now – sick with the flu!

Thanks to everyone who sent me messages of love, care and support. I’m so grateful for the wave of positive energy and blessings you sent my way. Right now I’m being very well cared for, including by Nurse Rufous who has taken the reigns from Nurse Bert.

Inevitably though I had a few comments yesterday suggesting that these pictures were a bad idea. I also had a message from an entrepreneurial friend who suggested that the pics might ‘harm my brand’. Apparently the photos are less than flattering, and in the one where I am asleep I not only look sick but ‘old and wrinkled with bad hair.’

Yep, it’s true.

People, I recently turned fifty. I have chronic late-stage lyme. I also have the flu. I’ve been REALLY ill. I look trashed because I am. And I’m not going to apologise for that. Old and wrinkly with bad hair? I own it. Luckily it’s only a picture because I probably smelled bad too! Looking stylish and well-groomed when I’m acutely sick doesn’t even rate on my priority list. (Please note that this is different to being chronically sick, where you feel exhausted, in pain or suffer ongoing problems on a daily basis and in that space making an effort with your appearance can actually help you feel better about yourself. Also, many of us suffer invisible illnesses – meaning that you CAN’T SEE the problem – so you might wrongly attribute someone looking good with being well, which is often an incorrect assumption.)

I also received a message from a young entrepreneur who is just starting out in business. She reached out to me (think SPAM) from a forum for entrepreneurs where I happen to be a member.

Her message? To be prepared for a ‘stunningly sexy summer’ she has a great invitation-only program to maximise our thigh gap. To be selected we had to send a photo of our existing thigh gap (image could be up to two years old as long as it was indicative of our current thigh gap situation) so she could determine what level of program we’d need to be on. There was nothing to be ashamed of, her message assured me. I needed to be brave and send in that photo! Then all we had to do was pay our money, follow her thigh gap program and self-worth would be ours. Also, men dig thigh gaps.

I was feeling a little pernickety yesterday at being told how much my life would change if only I could be disciplined enough to have a decent thigh gap (yes, thigh gap is a thing!). I honestly have more important things to think about, like my health, living by my values, looking after the planet, being kind, writing, supporting my community, living each day as well as I can. Still, I dutifully sent in the only photo I could find of my thigh gap. (Did I mention pernickety?)

Within twenty minutes my inbox exploded. Message after message rolled in. This young entrepreneur was outraged. I was horribly offensive. Sick even. What did I think I was doing, sending her such a disgraceful photo? I disgusted her.

‘Also, is that a WEE thing????? That is SO inappropriate. SOOOOO OFFENSIVE. WTF Nicole?????’, she shouted at me in big stabby caps. ‘WTF???? YOU’RE DESPICABLE AND OBSCENE!!!’

Wee thing? You bet! Here’s my thigh gap after my second emergency surgery to repair a tear in my bladder post-hysterectomy back in September 2016. That tube is my catheter. The yellow stuff is indeed wee (or urine if we are being specific).

The wee’s a good colour. You might also note that there is a healthy amount of thigh gap going on there. So I’m pretty happy with this photo.

Even though it’s offensive.

So, to anyone I have offended with my oldness, my bad hair, my wrinkles and unflattering selfies, my posts about health issues or with my highly offensive thigh gap with catheter…

I’m not sorry!

This is my life, and I’m grateful for it. I won’t hide the ugly and hard bits from you ever. Why should I be ashamed of being human? Why should I feel or be treated as ‘less than’ if I am not young and svelte and in perfect health with an extreme sports yoga-body, perfect hair and total hipsterness?

There’s an unsubscribe button here on my blog, and you can always unfollow or unfriend me if you’re finding this through social media. Because from here on in I am sure there will be more bad hair days and wrinkles and who knows what else, and I’ll blog about it all.

Much love, Nicole xx

 

Me, Flu and You!

 

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

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

There’s a reason for that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So how did I get sick this time?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Biggest hugs and love, Nicole xx