“Don’t ever stop believing in your own transformation. It is still happening even on days you may not realize it or feel like it.” ~ Lalah Delia
April is a great month for leadership, for team work and for finding new people to be on your team. So if you’ve been looking to find the right builder, baker, dentist, wedding planner, personal assistant, dog walker – whatever your need is – April has supportive energy for you.
There’s a flipside to that though, my friends.
And that flipside is this: Someone might be seeking YOU.
YOU might be the solution to someone else’s current problem. So make sure you put yourself out there, apply for jobs, ask if you can help, share your gifts and talents, launch your own material, keep your eye out for new opportunities.
“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn
the next time you want to scream the next time you want to cry the next time you feel all alone the next time the pain is unbearable the next time life is squeezing you so hard it hurts the next time you have no idea what to say, what to do, what to feel the next time you are ready to give up
take a breath
there is space within that breath there is room to move time to think and the way you tap into that is to slow down and take a conscious breath and let that breath be your entire focus
take another if you need it
feel it calm you and return you to your centre let the energy of your breath gather all your scattered pieces back together let it gather your strength
while there is breath in your body there is power to overcome, to go on, to find your way
“If you feel lost, disappointed, hesitant, or weak, return to yourself, to who you are, here and now and when you get there, you will discover yourself, like a lotus flower in full bloom, even in a muddy pond, beautiful and strong.” ~ Masaru Emoto
Someone asked me yesterday how I came to be so strong. And how they could be stronger in facing their own challenges.
I thought deeply on this, and then I made you this list. I hope it helps.
Let your children fail, be disappointed and be let down. At the same time love them, and help them understand that the Universe does not revolve around them, and that good manners and kindness are important always, and especially so when you are losing while someone else is winning. (Thanks, Mum and Dad ❤)
Breathe and be in the moment. In the moment you can get through the next second. In the moment you are larger and stronger and more hyper-aware, and life can actually be beautiful even as it devastates.
Maintain relationships. Have a friend to phone, or a neighbour with whom you can drink tea. Many times my sister has been my lifeline. Online friendships have made the difference when I had no energy for face-to-face.
Cry. And then keep going.
Sleep. And then keep going.
Make a serious motivational music mix for those soul emergencies. PLAY IT LOUD.
Find your faith. That might be God, or nature, or love. It might be the unconditional love of a dog. It might be the stillness of meditation. Visit and sit in that space of faith often.
Meditation. I do it daily. Even a few minutes help.
Have gratitude for the small details of life. A good cup of tea, laughing, the smell of salt on the breeze, clean sheets, the shape of a cloud, sunshine or rain.
Life’s adversity gifts you the opportunity to know yourself better, and to choose how you will behave and think – even when you have little or no control over your situation or the eventual outcome. Step back from yourself, observe and learn. You’ll be amazed at how much strength, grace and courage was always inside you waiting for you to need it.
Make art, follow your dreams, and do them in the moments when you have some energy. When there is no energy for anything then dwell in your imagination with those dreams. Don’t put them down just because you are broken. We are all broken. Broken people can still live well and get stuff done.
Live. While there is breath in your lungs and a beating heart in your body stay curious, keep trying, stay open, and live.
You’ve got this. Go surprise yourself. I know you can, and it’s a glorious moment when you realise that you can live happily even when broken, wounded, dying or less than whole.
“She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible. She walked with the Universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings.” ~ Ariana Dancu
Lovelies, I have something important to tell you and I need you to hear it and take the truth of it right down inside you so that it can illuminate those dark places you fear may engulf you.
Stop waiting to be fixed. Stop waiting to be well. Stop waiting to be partnered or thinner or less anxious or more whole. Stop waiting to be better somehow. Stop believing all the gurus who tell you THEIR lives are harmonious, perfect, healthy, wealthy, ever happy and without any kind of angst, ill or drama.
Life is messy and hard and wonderful and short. So short.
Do you think you don’t have the right or the energy to pursue a dream or make a difference because of what’s going on in your life right now or what you’re still struggling to deal with from the past?
I call bullshit on that.
What matters most is that you express what’s in you, that you share what is yours to share, that – to the best of your ability – you strive to live while you’re alive and keep making, creating, sharing, teaching, helping, healing, loving.
What matters least is that you are ill, tired, droopy, depressed, failed at something, just hanging on, disabled, incontinent, divorcing, childless, overweight or terminal. What did that ever have to do with your soul and how it came here to express itself?
Don’t let your current or previous circumstances define you. Choose to be defined on your own terms. Choose to be enough, just as you are, and get busy doing whatever it is you’ve been holding back on. Rest if you must, but don’t give up. The world is waiting for what you have to offer.
I’ll leave you with one of my favourite Leunig poems, which I love for the gentle truth of it:
“The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind.” ~ Caroline Myss
Feeling tired, flat or a bit lost? That’s okay – I have some tips to help you manage that.
Or perhaps it’s worse than a little fatigue. Maybe you feel utterly smashed by life right now. My advice is still going to be the same. There are three steps to follow.
Find some quiet time. Here are some of my favourite ways to do that:
Take a long country drive somewhere, or sit on your commute with some headphones on.
Go for a walk or a run or a bike ride or a swim
Try some yoga or stretching
Make a cup of tea and sit on the balcony, or on a comfy sofa
Find a quiet cafe and grab your favourite brew and sit in a quiet corner.
Hang out in a library
Close the bedroom door and light some incense or diffuse some essential oils
Take a long shower or bath
Get up early, while everyone is asleep and you can have the house to yourself
Water the garden
Sit on a swing and then… swing!
Take an early mark from work
Go find a lookout with a view – views help put everything in perspective
2. Allow yourself to relax. Slow your breathing or, if you are exercising, get it into a steady rhythm. Let the tension unwind from your muscles and consciously relax yourself. Really feel yourself soften and calm. This might take a while if you’re stressed. That’s okay. Take as long as you need.
3. Feel into what you need most right now in order to refill your empty tanks and boost your energy levels, resilience and inner peace. Trust that you already hold that wisdom inside you. Ask yourself the question, ‘What do I most need to come back into balance know right now?’ Explore it via your imagination, in meditation or through journalling or writing. Let clarity come to you in the form of ideas, thoughts, images and feelings. You may also want to pull an oracle or tarot card to give you further inspiration.
Commit to using this wisdom to gently transform your life.
Thinking of you and sending much love, Nicole ❤️ xx
“Being connected to everything has disconnected us from ourselves and the preciousness of this present moment.” ~ L.M. Browning
I had a wonderful day yesterday, although apparently I should have been in melt-down. 😊 Facebook was down for most of the day for many business users, or at least most of the functionality was, and the same went for Instagram and WhatsApp.
I should have been stressed. My blog post didn’t cross-post to Facebook. My Instagram post didn’t load. My team and I couldn’t post or comment. Messenger went kind of crazy too.
Apparently this is a disaster!!!
Instead, I took myself for a walk through the laneways of Adelaide and stopped for good chai. I talked to people, read the paper, and made notes in my journal. Later a girlfriend came to pick me up for lunch and deliver me to my conference venue and we talked, shopped and hung out.
It was lovely.
I worked on a new deck of oracle cards and a book about card reading spreads that we are creating for you.
My phone wasn’t constantly pinging me with messages and updates. My crazy inboxes couldn’t load anything else into themselves. Instead I had static and quiet.
I’d forgotten how much I love that unplugged space.
It’s also made me more determined to create more of that in my life.
How about you? Do you get enough unplugged time?
There’s a whole world beyond our screens. And as much as I am grateful for having the world in my pocket and connectivity at my fingertips I find the here-and-now most satisfying too.
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” ~ Corrie Ten Boom
Good Morning, Lovelies!
If you read my post yesterday you’ll know that this week supports us in efforts to get unstuck in our lives. I’m sure most of you already know I have a love affair with journal writing. In fact, I can’t even begin to wonder how many millions of words I’ve clocked up longhand over the years. Using writing time to help me move past a place of stuckness is a useful process that I’ve resorted to often in my journalling life. The technique was created by me deciding to define a problem in order to better manage it or determine a realistic scale on which to freak out….
In all my years of journalling around stuckness, I’ve never ended up at the freaking out stage – instead, I’ve always found a way to keep calm, to carry on, and to dig myself out of the hole. I guess that’s why I keep using this technique. Read on to find out more.
Take out your journal and get comfortable.
You may be able to do this whole process in thirty minutes or less. Or it may take much longer.
If you’re stuck, it doesn’t matter. When you’re stuck there is no momentum.
When you begin to journal your stuckness it’s amazing how you begin to wiggle free from feeling trapped.
Defining the nature of your stuckness, and what it might mean for you
What is the nature of the stuckness? Is it an action you need to take, a problem you need to solve or a decision that needs to be made? (Sometimes a stuckness may involve two or even all three of these elements – if that’s the case, write about each of these aspects, in the order you think they would need to be taken.) Write as much as you need to to really define this situation. If you don’t have all the answers create a list of things you need to research or investigate.
Okay – here’s the scary bit. You need to ask yourself ‘What is the worst thing that can happen here?” Seriously. Go into as much detail as you can. Write until you’ve exhausted all of the possibilities. Really go to town and dump all your fears and worries onto the page. Once we’ve named them, we can much better deal with them. And it stops our minds racing off creating worst-case scenarios later on when we’d be better employed working towards solutions!
How do you feel about that?
Journals are places to download our feelings. Who can thing clearly with a head full of guff? Write down all those swirling emotions inside you that come up in relation to this place of stuckness. It clears the air. It calms things down. It calms YOU down. It can be a great relief to finally acknowledge how you truly feel about the thing you’re stuck with/on/in. Sometimes, we begin to find solutions right here in our feelings. Maybe we’re scared to succeed. Maybe we’re frightened of responsibility. Maybe we feel we have to do the thing to please someone else. Maybe we said yes when we wanted to say no. Whatever it is, journalling our feelings is the beginning of unravelling this mess!
Okay – the hard part’s done. Once we’ve identified the issue and how we feel about it, we have begun to move from stuckness to clarity. Use any or all of these questions and prompts to keep moving you forward:
From what you’ve written have you already reached a decision, conclusion or clarity that can get you out of stuckness? If so, write down your findings, and then chart a plan of action. Plans are great. They give us something solid to work from. If you like creating lists, then go for it!
If you’re still not sure what to do next, explore these options on the page. Use the prompts to help you develop lists and strategies:
Is there an expert, resource, course or friend who could help us by giving us the guidance, support and techniques/skills we need to get unstuck? (For example, if you’re writing a book and having problems with the plot you could do a workshop, read a how-to book, or join a writing group.)
Can we hand the whole thing over to someone else to do or finish? ( Say you’ve been procrastinating over seven years of unfinished taxes – can you give everything to a book-keeper, or phone an accountant and ask their advice about what to do next? Can you pay your Mum or your best friend who loves paperwork, or the person from the advertisement in the paper?)
Can we start at a different corner of the mess? Often we keep approaching an issue in the same way, and from the same angle. Obviously when we don’t get anywhere we end up stuck. Is there another way you could approach this? Brainstorm as many alternatives as you can, writing them all down. When you’ve generated your list then you can choose a new approach and get started. (For example, you need to get your house ready for sale, and it’s overwhelming you. Instead of starting on a big job, tidy out your kitchen drawers, go through the linen cupboard, build momentum on the easy things or the small things. Soon you’ll be powering through the problem areas. If you’re writing a book set in medieval England and you love the idea but it’s just not working can you make it sci-fi, or fantasy fiction?)
Instead of choosing Option A or Option B can we choose Option F, Q or Z? How many times has it come down to what we think is an extremely limited choice? We paint ourselves into a corner thinking we need to choose between A and B when actually we could have chosen both, none, or something else. Brainstorm some crazy alternatives to your current stuckness. Somewhere in that list will be the seeds of what will grow into your solution. (For example, you are living in a share house and you don’t like one of the new housemates. You obsess about how to get them to leave. You agonise about how you will cope if they stay. Well, could YOU move out? Could you go house-sitting, get a job or go back to study that supplies accommodation, use this as the push to move interstate or overseas, move in with friends or your folks for a while so you can save money to get a place of your own? Could you sell up and go back-packing around Europe for a year, or buy a campervan and hit the road?)
And the craziest part of all of this – could you choose to give up on the stuckness, bin the whole thing and move onto something else? Could you finally let this idea/ situation/issue die a good death so that you can start over on something new? (Maybe it’s time to put that half-finished manuscript in a bottom drawer and write something new. Or end the relationship and enjoying being single for a while. Go back to study and change your career direction rather than stay stuck in a dead-end job.)
When we write out our problems, our brain is encouraged to find a solution. We let the Universe know that we are done with being stuck and that our intention is to get moving again. And more than once, when I’ve begun this process, a solution has come out of nowhere. That’s the Law of Attraction in action! Think positive. Trust in good outcomes!
“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” ~ Confucious
An old school friend of mine passed away. Over the years we’ve lost others; to suicide, accident, misadventure and illness. But this is the first of my friends who has passed due the cumulative stresses of aging.
I’ve been looking at photos of us all from when we were at school and university, from when we were young and fearless and life was in front of us as an endless rolling wave of possibilities. I can see that this is one of the blessings of youth – to be eager-eyed and unbowed by life experiences. I see that in my friends’ children now and I’m awed by that energy.
But there is a blessing to being older too. And that’s the blessing of wisdom.
If I could teleport back through time here are the things I wish my wise older self could have said to us all back then, back when we were still at school and contemplating the lives we might lead:
Don’t choose a career to please your parents or impress your school or anyone else. Don’t be pressured into making study and career choices that hold no joy except the promise of a prestigious occupation or a big paycheck.
It’s okay if you don’t know what you want to do when you leave school. Education is important, and those basics of literacy and numeracy will never go out of style. Get an education for the experience of it, and to broaden you, but know that your life may take you far from your starting point, and that’s fine too.
Travel while you’re young. Take a gap year. Take off after you graduate. Take off before there is a mortgage or a partner or the kind of job you won’t be able to leave for more than a week or two at a time.
Don’t do drugs. Not the injectable kind, or the snort up your nose kind, or the magical pill kind. And don’t ever see drugs or alcohol as an escape or a solution. If you need an escape change your life or get some counselling. If you’re depending on drugs or alcohol but you are telling yourself there is no problem – there’s a problem. And don’t drive under the influence of anything, ever!
Don’t stay in a relationship with someone you don’t love, and don’t get married just because everyone else is. Don’t feel pressured, ever, to marry, have kids, or do things you don’t feel ready for. Most importantly don’t do any of these things just to make someone else happy. The cost will be too high.
Have an interest that has nothing to do with your career. Maybe something you enjoy now. Don’t put it down and forget about it when you leave school because you aren’t ever going to set the world on fire or be the next greatest thing with the musical instrument you play, or the sport you enjoy or the craft you do on weekends. Cultivate that as a life-long interest and you’ll be going a long way towards gifting yourself strong mental health.
Learn to cook. Seriously. Just some basics. And learn to clean the house, to manage your finances and other basic adulting skills. This is the stuff that is the background of life, and being able to do these things will give you confidence and freedom.
Have a bucket list. They aren’t just for old people. If you’ve always wanted to surf Indonesia, trek the Himalayas, wander through India or drink espresso in Italy then hold those plans in your mind and work towards them. Keep adding to that bucket list so there is always something to look forward to, even as you tick things off. Don’t leave it till retirement. By then you may be incapable of the things you could have enjoyed more fully when you were younger.
Relationships take work. And there is nothing like a relationship that has weathered the highs and lows of your life to bring you comfort and stability. Put effort into the important ones. Work through your problems and get help if it’s needed. Sometimes we need to learn how to communicate or to break old patterns so that we can move on, together.
Once you have a job or career don’t let it take over your life. Same with family and relationships. Save some time that’s just for you. No time for yourself will breed exhaustion and resentment and is a recipe for burnout and breakdown. Everyone needs time to themselves to recharge and to indulge interests that others might not share.
Look after your health. It’s so easy to take it for granted when you’re young but looking after yourself is a kind of insurance policy that your older self will one day thank you for.
Do what’s in your heart. Even if it won’t make you money. Even if everyone else thinks you’re mad. Don’t die with the dream still in you. It’s never too late to start, but don’t leave it too long, okay?
“Caregiving often calls us to lean into love we didn’t know possible.” ~ Tia Walker
We have an elderly family member in hospital right now. It’s a place she has visited frequently these past few months after her the first major fall. She is old and frail and her health is failing. Things keep going wrong. And so she finds herself alone – a tiny body in a big bed in a big empty room, far from the friendships and care of her usual environment.
She has dementia. Everything is more confusing, more confronting in this space. Each time we visit she is surly to start with. Emotional. Sometimes there are tears. Sometimes there are sharp words. We don’t take it personally. It’s just the time of day. Her mood is always worse at nightfall and in the evenings, but that’s just part of this awful disease.
We’ve learned to ignore those displays of hostility and to keep being loving and kind. We reassure her, and sit close by her, and we hold her hand. We repeat the same stories over and over, and answer the same questions over and over, and somewhere in that space she moves from distress or anger to laughter and a warm, open discussion of life and happy memories from the past.
I have learned that there is nothing like human touch to calm someone who seems otherwise unsoothable. I have learned to take lotion to rub into her hands and face, her arms and legs. To brush her hair. And always, always to hold her hand.
I have learned that she may not eat because the food is too hard to see, or she doesn’t know what it is or how to open it, or it’s too hard to cut up, or she can’t get the drinking straw or juice cup to her mouth. So an uneaten meal may not mean she’s not hungry but that she simply needs help to eat. I have learned to feed her like you’d feed a child. She opens her mouth like a little bird and I pop morsels of food in, and she smiles at me and makes me promise not to tell people I am feeding her when she could really do it herself. We pretend that is true and I keep feeding her until the food is gone or she is satisfied.
Every visit becomes a blessing. Something that soothes and restores something in me as much as it calms and reassures something in her. Once upon a time she was a woman who held herself apart. I am grateful that this illness has allowed me the chance to become close to her, and for us to find a way to say things that might not have ever otherwise been said.
Sending much love to you, especially all of the carers and those who are looking after elders, Nicole ❤ xx
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” ~ Elie Wiesel
I have a challenge for you, dear readers – I want you to embrace your Inner Activist.
If you seek a more spiritual life, or a more balanced or mindful one then it is not enough just to practice self-care, meditate, eat healthy, do yoga or pray and think that’s all you need to do. As someone who is moving to a more conscious way of being it is also important to use your voice and your actions in order to create to a better world.
Follow your passions, contribute your energy, act!
What do you care about? Bigger things like global warming, plastic use reduction, clean energy, racism, gun control, equality for all, safe food, clean water and air, social justice, access to education, health care, families, elder care, human rights, animal rights, saving wild spaces and species? Smaller things like protecting an old tree from property developers, saving your local library, recording oral histories from elderly community members, teaching migrants to read and write, stopping a local beach from eroding, cleaning up your local waterways, petitioning for public toilets to be installed at the park near you, getting disabled or pram-friendly access for public transport, making drinking fountains available in the inner city. People like you have changed the world, because they cared and because they dared to become involved.
There is no time to stand by and wait for someone else to fix things. We need to stand up for the things that we value and speak out against the injustices, inequalities and issues that go against our values.
Your voice matters. Contributing to the conversations and actions that can change the world matters. Please don’t think that someone else will fix things. Don’t count on governments, politicians, big business and global organisations. Real change always comes from grass-roots movements, from many people adding their individual energy to create momentum and progress and measurable outcomes.
Many of us were brought up to believe that it is rude to speak up, to make waves, to make others uncomfortable or to rock the boat. We’ve been taught that it’s better not to get involved, not to make ourselves a target, not to ruffle feathers. And that’s how injustice and inequalities flourish. Indifference and lack of action are actually a silent condoning of the things you fail to speak up about or act upon. Of course, I advocate personal safety always! But if it’s safe to speak up then do so.
Define what activism means for you. For some people it is speaking out, literally. Joining rallies and protests or blockades or affirmative action groups. For some people it’s writing letters or sharing blog posts or social media. For some people it’s becoming involved with a local group whose values match your own and adding your energy to their existing work. For some people it’s starting their own local group or action. Or maybe you’ll be a solo activist – picking up trash and putting it in the bin, planting trees, reusing and recycling, finding meaningful ways to put your beliefs into action. Every dollar you spend has a voice too, in the energy company you choose or the food you buy. Let your dollars be more aligned with your values.
Can’t find the courage yet to use your voice? That’s okay. Support a person or group whose voice you believe in. Follow them on social media. Give financial or other support if you can. There are already so many good people in the world doing great work. The more you look and realise that’s true the more hopeful you’ll become.
Being an activist is simply being a good citizen of the world – one who cares about the community around us and the planet that sustains us. We are the change that the world needs. It’s us! No-one else is coming to save us or our planet. The power is already in you. I urge you to use it, just as Greta Thunberg, a 16 year-old Swedish climate change activist is doing: