Things to be thankful for…

“Take time daily to reflect on how much you have. It may not be all that you want but remember someone somewhere is dreaming to have what you have.” ~Germany Kent

This morning I’m counting my Blessings. Such a simple thing to do, and it always makes me feel richer. I like to count them off on my fingers – a tangible act, and a way of really anchoring their truth in my life. Blessings to me are always the simple things in life, and often the things we take for granted.  Even on the worst of days we can find something to be grateful for.  Counting blessings gets my attention OFF the things I don’t want, and back on the things I do. It’s an instant mood lifter that keeps things in perspective for me. It never takes much to find something that’s a blessing.

Today I am grateful for:

1. The sound of wind in the trees as I go to sleep, and birdsong as I wake up.

2. The warmth of the fire, and the sweet smell of woodsmoke in the cold morning air. (I’m also grateful for my husband, who chops the wood and loads the wheelbarrow, and stokes the fire for me!)

3. Chai tea, enough for two, sipped from big bowls, with just a dusting of cinnamon.

4. My Meyer Lemon tree, and its abundance of luscious fruit. And the fresh Lemon Curd I can spread on my morning toast!

5. Farmers’ Markets, and the dedication of our local growers to grow or make the best seasonal fresh produce.

6. My Kindle, and being able to snuggle under the doona on a lazy morning, sipping chai and reading books.

7. My dogs, Rufous and Harry, for their love and companionship.

8. Writing. It is my greatest love, and the thing that wakes me up in the middle of the night, brimful of ideas.

9. Red Jasper which grounds and nurtures, and feels wonderful to have tucked up within my aura.

10. Trees. My little farmhouse is cradled by hundred-year-old trees who whisper their secrets, one to another, and add an incredible energy to this place and to me.

How about you? What do you have to be thankful for today? Go on – count them off on your fingers!

Wishing you many Blessings, Nicole  xx

How To Drink In Colour – A Walking Meditation Technique for Soul Healing

“Let me, O let me bathe my soul in colours; let me swallow the sunset and drink the rainbow.” 
Khalil Gibran

Have you ever had a rough day? Silly question. Of course you have. Like you, I have my occasional difficult patch, that place in my life where emotionally (and sometimes physically) I am stretched thin. Sometimes it’s from psychic work, sometimes the dramas of life – it never really matters how I get there, once I am there the only thing to do is nurture.

But what do you do when you feel that terrible gnawing emptiness, exhaustion, or deep emotional pain? When you are so drained that you are out of ideas for how to make yourself feel better…

I recommend a walk.

On this walk I want you to do three things:

Breathe.

Let the rhythm of your steps begin to calm your mind, just like a moving meditation.

Drink in colour.
How do you drink in colour? Let your eyes drift to the things around you. Your soul will guide you towards colours that are soothing, healing, restoring, harmonising. Your chakras and your aura will become more energised. The colours you bring into your awareness will bring gifts to soothe and uplift you.

You’ll arrive home feeling calmer. You’ll find that eventually, or much sooner, answers and ideas start to flow.

Walking and drinking in colour is free. But the rewards are high. Often the best healing tools are right at our doorstep.

I’ve included some photos from around my farm for anyone who can’t get out on a walk of their own. Let the energies and colour reach you and energise you as if you were walking with me.

Much love to you, Nicole ❤ xx

Why Kindness And Goodness Matters

“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.” 
Roy T. Bennett

Life can be a difficult ride, and each of us at times will know pain, trouble, loneliness and struggle. That’s why it is so important for us to practice love and kindness.

But when we are going through our own difficulties, when we are tired or feeling taken for granted, we might wonder what’s the point? What’s the point of being kind? What’s the point of continuing to be caring, helpful, polite?

Have you noticed that emotional states are contagious? Hang around an angry person long enough and some of that will rub off on you. The same goes for depression. Uncaring acts beget more. Selfishness breeds isolation, disrespect, contempt and ugliness.

Just as negative emotions have a negative impact, choosing to stay focused on love, gratitude, positive values and caring will have a positive impact on our lives.

Our emotional state and our thoughts travel out from us like ripples on a pond. They radiate energy that affects everything and everyone around us. Eventually, some of that energy will be reflected back to us, perhaps weaker, perhaps greatly magnified…

What sort of world do you choose for yourself?

Loving others, living from your heart, choosing kindness, and performing acts of service and devotion that may well go unacknowledged or unappreciated are paths that can truly lead us to a better future, influencing and supporting the positive unfolding of history in ways we may not ever know or understand in our lifetime.

No matter what your emotional starting ground, when you uplift others, you also uplift yourself. When you share your heart, it doesn’t decrease your love – it expands your love, and your capacity to give and receive love.

Our Universe is built upon unseen acts of courage, goodness, faith, optimism, service and great love.

Whether you subscribe to a particular religion or not, whether you believe in God, karma, Universal Law or death and taxes – know that by your own actions, your choices, your values, sacrifices and personal character you contribute to the future unfolding of our planet.

Invisible acts of love and uplifting others might not provide us with an immediate reward – but through these acts we are gifted something far more precious – they give us the power to positively shape destiny, and to better shape ourselves in the process.

When in doubt about how to act, be guided by the wisdom of the Dalai Lama:

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.
Dalai Lama

Sending love your way, Nicole ❤ xx

The Lady And The Poet

“Once, poets were magicians. Poets were strong, stronger than warriors or kings — stronger than old hapless gods. And they will be strong once again.” 
Greg Bear

I’m in Adelaide for a conference this weekend. The event began with welcome drinks at our hotel last night, but I was feeling tired and poorly and wanted soup, so I snuck out the main doors thirty minutes before our event began, hoping to find something more comforting than alcohol and strangers. It was my birthday on Thursday, and I’ve spent the last few days reflecting on my life and sitting in meditation and prayer as I asked for clarity about my road ahead. I wanted to prolong this soulful space just a little longer, so I honoured that need and heeded my intuition by heading out into the night.

As I wandered up the city street a man called to me. He was sitting on a small ledge outside a closed shop, rugged up against the cold. In his hands was an upturned empty cap, immediately marking him as some kind of busker or beggar.

‘Can I offer you a poem?’ he said.

I apologised and explained that I was in need of soup. But I promised him I would stop on the way back. As I walked off I saw his look of resignation, and I knew he’d been told such things many times before by people who hadn’t come back.

A block further along I found an excellent soup and dumpling house, ate a bowl of steaming oily broth with wontons and bok choy floating in the silky liquid, and then made my way back out into the busy Friday night streets.

I stopped in front of the poet, who was stooped and huddled on his seat. ‘I’m ready for that poem,’ I told him.

He sat up straighter. ‘This one is about the drought,’ he said, ‘and a message of hope and rain for our farmers.’ After which he launched into his poem.

He spoke eloquently, dramatically. It was a performance filled with emotion and delivered with care. I have long been a lover of poetry, and this one moved me deeply. It took me to the heart of my country. Within the words I also felt a strong message of hope for my own life – the symbolism a gift threaded with a secret meaning I was sure was just for me.

When the poem ended I stood for a moment, still wrapped in the imagery and sentiment wrought by his words. Then I reached for some coins.

‘Did you write that yourself?’ I asked as I fumbled in my handbag.

‘Yes’.

As I zipped open my purse I saw smaller notes, a handful of coins and tucked away right at the back my ’emergency hundred’ – a green crisp $100 note that I carry in case I am ever in need of a larger sum of money at short notice.

I thought about my capacity to earn money, and how much my work is valued in the world. And I thought about the poet, sitting on a cold city street, hoping to trade his words for coins.

It seemed inequitable. The poet had shared something original and good. Something that had given me insights and meaning and unexpected value. I reached for my emergency hundred and handed it to the poet.

He gazed at the note in his hands, then up to me, and then back to the note.

A tear came to his eye.

He tried to give it back to me. ‘Haven’t you got something smaller?’ he said. “I don’t mind if you give me something smaller.’

‘It’s fine,’ I said. ‘Please. Take it. I want you to know that I value your work. I value the gift of the poem you gave me tonight. It would mean a lot to me for you to accept my gift in return.’

He nodded, his eyes downcast. Silent.

Finally, he looked up.

‘What’s your name?’ I asked.

‘Justin,’ he said. ‘And you, you’re a true lady. Thank you, my lady.’

I walked away with a full heart.

Rain Princess by Leonid Afremov

Recharge You and Your Chakras in Five Minutes!

“Are you managing your energy well and using it for things that matter? Do you stop to recharge before you push yourself to critically low levels? Unplug to recharge.” 
Susan C. Young

Chakras are energetic gateways or portals. Each has its own colour, and governs different areas and emotions within the body. I have meditated on each of the following images, and programmed each picture to energise, open, balance and heal your chakras.

How to use today’s blog:

  1. Slowly scroll down the page, gazing at each picture in turn.
  2. Notice which picture (or pictures) is more vibrant and attractive to you.
  3. Go back to that image (images) and spend a little longer.  Draw that colour deep into your body.  See if any words, impressions, emotions or images come up for you. You might even want to use that as the beginning of a journalling activity. These colours will feed and energise your chakras and are great indicators of what chakras are already flowing and working well or in the process of opening and healing.
  4. Also pay attention to any pictures that seem very flat and energetically unappealing. Note what chakra that picture relates to.  Once again see if any words, impressions, emotions or images come up for you. This flat energy will correspond to chakras that are blocked, stagnant or stuck.  Send them some white light and a little extra love.
  5. Run your eyes over the images again.  See if there is any change.  Eventually you’ll find that all of the pictures have an equal brightness as you come back into balance.

Base Chakra: Foundation, survival, security, safety, energy, money, grounding, physicality

Image of erupting volcano from styleofeye.com

Sacral Chakra: Creativity, well-being, sexuality, emotional expression, abundance, pleasure

Orange Flower by kamussen at deviantart.com

Solar Plexus Chakra: Self esteem, individuality, self-worth, self confidence, personal authority, I am

Yellow Marigolds image from jpegwallpapers.com

Heart Chakra: Love for self and others, inner peace, joy, giving and receiving

This gorgeous image from animalspot.net

Throat Chakra: Speaking your truth, asking for what you need, all forms of communication

This image from funxite.com

Third Eye Chakra: Imagination, intuition, vision, wisdom, innovation, decision making, spiritual connection 

Image from indianinthemachine.wordpress.com

Crown Chakra: Divine Connection, spirituality, bliss, purity, consciousness, unity, BEing

I’d love to know how this activity felt for you – so please feel free to share any of your experiences by leaving a comment below.  Much love to you, and all of my intentions, blessings and well-wishes for you to feel energised, balanced and harmonised.

Lots of love, Nicole  xx

Flower of Life – from jyoshita.com

How To Be A Traveller In Your Own Hometown.

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” – Jack Kerouac

 

Hello, Lovelies,

This week’s energies support all kinds of travel, adventure and fun. Which is great if you happen to be on holidays or have plenty of free time up your sleeve to whisk yourself away at short notice. But what if you don’t? Try these solutions instead.

Happy Adventuring!

Lots of love, Nicole ❤ xx

1. Drive a new route to work, or anywhere else you normally travel in a routine way. This gives you the chance to see new things, and to stimulate your mind.

2. Eat out somewhere new. Try a cuisine that’s new to you. Try an ethnic place, or a tiny hole-in-the-wall Mom and Pop place, or that brewhouse or pizza place you’ve been meaning to try for ages but never got around to.

3. Be a tourist in your hometown. Go do the things you’d do if you were showing international visitors around. I bet you haven’t been to some of those attractions or destinations in a very long time, if at all. Trip Advisor can be your best friend here.

4. Wander around the city, or a shopping mall you haven’t been to before. Give yourself time to stroll, and to enjoy everything you see.

5. Visit a Farmers Market or a Food Hall. Buy something new and interesting to cook for dinner.

6. Tune your car radio to another station, or shake up your usual music mix. Sing a little. Dance if you feel inclined.

7. Go on a train trip, bus trip or ferry ride. It doesn’t matter where you go. Use the time to look around and see new things. Disembark and go for a stroll. Hop back on and go home again.

8. Check out what free exhibitions and concerts are on in your hometown. Museums, art galleries, public libraries and universities often have the coolest free stuff. Go visit one!

9. Pack a picnic lunch and go to the local park. Invite some friends. Take a frisbee, a football, or some music. Hang out, laugh and enjoy yourself.

10. Have a themed meal at home. Choose a cuisine or a destination anywhere in the world. Invite a few friends or family. Choose some food and music. Ask everyone to bring a plate if that’s easier. Add an extra something for yourself and your guests in the way of entertainment. Maybe everyone needs to dress ‘Tropical’ or ‘Italian’. Maybe it’s charades or a singalong. Or a crazy boardgame. Have fun with it. Party!

 

Celebrating Life, Lungs and Second Chances!

“If you’re reading this…
Congratulations, you’re alive.
If that’s not something to smile about,
then I don’t know what is.” 
Chad Sugg

A little while ago I received an invitation in my email. It’s for a party this weekend to celebrate something extraordinary. Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of my dear friend Carly-Jay Metcalfe‘s double lung transplant. Carly has Cystic Fibrosis. At the time of her transplant things were dire and she’d been given just a week to live. Suddenly she was gifted life again through organ donation.

So this weekend we’re celebrating her Transplanniversary with a quiet little gig for family and friends. Of course we will all be thinking about Carly’s donor and her family too, because while we are celebrating Carly’s life we are all aware that one family lost their loved one and donated organs which enabled our gorgeous girl to be saved.

Carly-Jay, or Carls as we call her in our household (Aunty Carls to our dogs – she is Godmother to Rufous!) is one of my dearest friends for so many reasons. She loves books and writing and good coffee and mugs of tea as much as I do. She has a wicked sense of humour and one of the biggest hearts I know. And she and I are both in the second-chance-at-life club and the socially unreliable club. Illness often means we break dates with one another. It’s just how it is.

That’s me on the left: almost blind, drug-bloated and rocking an eye patch and dark glasses after I lost 70% of my vision in one eye and 90% in the other as a result of life-saving medications for an acute hospital-acquired superbug bladder infection – the same infection that recurred and nearly killed me last year. Carly insisted on taking me out for breakfast AND cut up my food for me, put my coffee cup in my hand and was my human seeing-eye-dog. We were practising me being blind because it was predicted I would stay that way. Carls kept me entertained with rollicking descriptions of everyone around us and hardly bumped me into any furniture at all. What a treasure she is! (And yes, I eventually got most of my vision back, luckily!)

Carly having blood taken from her foot, because we both belong to the crappy over-used veins club!

Carls and I live with chronic and progressive degenerative illnesses (hers is Cystic Fibrosis and mine is Late Stage Lyme Disease with Lyme Carditis). We share the same kind of normal – living with often unseen aspects of disability (not that we think of ourselves as disabled – more ‘unabled’ when poor health puts limits on us) that impact us and our families. Modern and alternative medicine keep us alive, upright and functioning, but sh*t still keeps going pear-shaped for us, and our health is a very up-and-down road. Carls isn’t just a friend. She has been my live-in nurse and helper on more than one occasion after I have come home from hospital, or have struggled with treatment for one thing or another. I’ve been her cheer squad when it’s all been a bit horrendous for her too.

It’s good to have someone to talk to who gets what I am going through, and who can share a laugh with me over such awesome topics as incontinence, fatigue and crappy veins. That’s what friends are for, right?

I’m so looking forward to Carly’s party on the weekend. (I have a few catering surprises for her too, in honour of another friend we lost suddenly to illness some years ago, but stay tuned for those as they need to stay secret for now!) One of the most powerful things Carly’s taught me is to rock your scars and own your wounds, and both of us subscribe to the philosophy of celebrating the everyday, and laughing, no matter how bad things get. So we’ll be doing lots of laughing and celebrating come Saturday. With snacks. And loved ones. She’s still here. I’m still here. That’s worth celebrating!

Life is beautiful, and every breath is a gift. For all of us.
Sending all my love to you, Nicole   xx

PS: Just a little reminder. When you die you won’t need your organs anymore, but someone else might. Please consider becoming an organ donor and have that chat with your family and friends.

My beautiful friend, Carly!

One last cup of tea before Retreat!

“There are two things we should always be 1. raw and 2. ready. When you are raw, you are always ready and when you are ready you usually realize that you are raw. Waiting for perfection is not an answer, one cannot say “I will be ready when I am perfect” because then you will never be ready, rather one must say “I am raw and I am ready just like this right now, how and who I am.” 
C. JoyBell C.

Today marks the start of our Advanced Channelling and Sacred Geometry Residential Retreat.

The ute is packed with box upon box of crystals, oracle cards, student bags, essential oils, art materials, journals, singing bowls and other goodies.

Two more loads of boxes stand ready to be ferried to our venue too.

The fire is blazing, it’s a frosty morning, my meditation is finished and I’m sitting here in the quiet, two sleepy dogs at my feet, drinking tea and savouring a last few moments of slow before 6 intense days of work.

I’m excited. I’m a little bit nervous, like I always am before a big event. My head is still full of all the other bits of life outside the retreat too. There is plenty going on for our family right now. Plenty going on with work. With the farm. With some of my students and clients. And that won’t stop just because we are going into lock-down at Retreat.

But as I sip my tea I also know that it will all be fine. That this will be a week of breakthroughs. That magic will happen.

We have a new moon and a partial solar eclipse to work with. We’re supported right now to make deep connection, to let go of the old, to get clarity about new directions and who we are growing to become.

Over the next few days I’ll share some simple exercises here so you can take advantage of these energies too, even though you can’t be with us this time.

Okay, time to stoke the fire, make a little breakfast and then pack my own bags. (I’m notorious for turning up at retreat without undies or pyjamas or any of the other things you need outside working hours because I’ve been so focused on everyone else!)

Meanwhile the black cockatoos are circling overhead, calling to me. I KNOW this Retreat is going to be huge!

Hugs and love, Nicole ❤ xx

Image from www.teatravellerssocietea.com

 

Hay, Hay, Hay – it’s a drought!

“Without water, life would just be rock.” 
Anthony T. Hincks

 

It’s been a strange winter. I can count the number of really cold days on my fingers. Mostly it has been as warm as spring, and sometimes warm as summer. No-one jokes about global warming anymore. It’s here, and the evidence is all around us.

In 2015, in response to rising baseline temperatures at our farm we pulled out an entire heritage citrus orchard that could no longer tolerate the increased UV radiation and heat that has become the new normal in Byron Shire. We’ve slowly replanted with native food trees and tropical varieties of traditional fruit trees. But it’s all a glorious experiment.

The plants on our farm this winter don’t seem to know what to do – some are flowering, some dropped a few leaves, some have leaves dropping and new leaves growing and flowers trying to bud all at once. Birds have nested early or haven’t started yet. Some of our trees have produced two fruiting cycles instead of one, and both of them out of season. Nature can’t seem to settle into any kind of normal rhythm.

The deep frosts that were once a normal part of our winter have become occasional, and not enough to kill the weeds, ticks and other pests that would normally be decimated and controlled by a period of intense cold. Lyme and other tick-borne diseases are rampant, affecting humans and animals alike. It’s worrying. Meanwhile the rising ocean temperatures mean that sea creatures like the Irukandji jellyfish with its deadly sting – once known only in tropical waters – are slowly drifting south and may end up here within a few years too.

Our farm a few months ago, when there was abundant rain and feed.

Around us the neighbours’ farms are already flogged. Winter is our hardest season – dry and cold enough that the grass grows slowly if at all. Feed for livestock always runs low in our district by winter’s end.

Here at our organic farm we have paddocks locked off and we cell graze, rotating our herd through each paddock one by one to give the pasture time to rest and for the grasses to set seed and rejuvenate and the native wildlife to have their habitat too. Looking after our soil and the grasses, plants and animals that create biodiversity and habit is important to us. We still have feed, and we maintain a smaller herd than we could carry for the size of the land, but we don’t want to use the paddocks that are closed off for rejuvenation. When you graze everything down to nothing it can take years to regain that natural biodiversity of species. We’re fortunate to still have that luxury of pasture management. Many farmers have not a blade of grass left and have been feeding out for months or even years.

Looking after our herd is important. They will be used by other farmers to restock their own land and to breed from. These are good bloodlines that we carefully nurtured over years and preserved at great effort during that last big drought.

We’re worried about the summer ahead. Already we have a bushfire plan, and we’re thinking about what we can do to keep our farm green, well watered and fire hazards to a minimum. We’re thinking about how we can help the trees, the bees and native wildlife. We’re planning for hardship if our district ends up going back into drought as much of the rest of Australia already has.

Yesterday we bought a truckload of hay from a farmer we know an hour south of us. They’ll be delivered later this week but we hauled one bale home with us straight away to feed out to our girls – big round bales of dried bluegrass that can nourish the cows and spring calves if rain doesn’t come soon. Our plan is to still try and keep some of our pasture locked off until summer to protect that seedbank and nurture the revegetation we’ve worked so hard to create.

The hay might end up being mulch for our orchard and vegetable gardens too. Everything suffers in a drought. Having endured eight straight years of severe drought back on our old farm we are keen to be prepared, and if necessary to rethink everything. We can’t do another stint like that again.

We’re doing our best to strategise, to think ahead, to plant and grow food that works with the prevailing conditions. Here’s hoping we get at least some of these adaptations right. We also bought hay yesterday to gift to struggling farmers and do our bit to help keep them on their farms. We’ve been in their shoes, and we know how soul-crushing it can be and how isolated and desperate you can come to feel.

Meanwhile here’s a little happy news – our latest addition, a baby male calf that a friend’s son has named Li’l Onion (Eli’s four and thinks of impossibly crazy names for things!).

Sending much love your way, Nicole ❤ xx

PS – Australian farmers are doing it tough right now. Whether they are growing crops, managing dairy herds or raising livestock many of them are struggling from prolonged drought and extreme weather events – and their struggle is relentless. If you’d like to help here are some ways that you can:

Drought Angels

Aussie Helpers

Lions Need for Feed

Salvation Army

 

 

 

 

10 Simple Everyday Actions To Help The Planet

“The future depends on what you do today.” 
Mahatma Gandhi

 

I know, I know. Sometimes it seems positively overwhelming, the state of our Planet – how big the mess is and how small we can feel as just one person.

But as one person we CAN make a difference.

Here are ten simple everyday actions you can take that will add up over time and help create lasting change:

  1. Give single use takeaway containers a miss. Drink your coffee from a keepcup or other washable and reusable container OR have it at the cafe from a proper cup.
  2. Use your own water bottle, and refill it yourself. Stop buying single-use plastic bottles of water.
  3. Have a shorter shower. This saves water and electricity.
  4. Walk or ride your bike instead of jumping in a car for short trips. This is also great for your health. (And maintain your bike or car with good tyre pressure and mechanicals to help conserve fuel.)
  5. Carry a small portable shopping bag in your handbag or satchel. Use it instead of single-use bags when you make a purchase. These little bags make great gifts too!
  6. Say no to plastic drinking straws when you order a cold beverage. Ask your local cafes and bars to stop using them too.
  7. Stop using party balloons and cheap plastic decorations. Use paper, flowers and other natural things that can decompose when you are done. Reuse existing decorations and take care of them well.
  8. Think about the gifts you buy. Stop choosing things that have no purpose or that will be quickly thrown away. Support local artisans, bakers and farmers. Wrap with paper and string or cloth and fabric ribbon.
  9. Consider wearing clothes again if they are not dirty and only wash when you have a full load.
  10. Turn off lights and appliances when you are not using them.

With everything you do think about how you can reduce, re-use, re-purpose or recycle.

All of our collective efforts can make a difference!

What are your favourite ways to help the planet? Share them in the comments below.
Lots of love, Nicole ❤ xx

Image from zazzle.com