A Very Quiet Anniversary

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“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”
~ Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

 

It was our seventeenth wedding anniversary yesterday.

And our day looked like this.

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And this. (That’s a boat made of ginger, filled with moxa – a total OMG treatment – wow!!! I’ll blog about that another day!)

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After which I retired to bed and slept for the rest of the day.

But that’s okay.

Sometimes that’s what love looks like.

I’m working hard with my awesome team at beating this enduring antibiotic-resistant superbug that has been causing so much havoc. It’s working. I’m improving. But it’s been quite the battle. And my regime is intensive just now.

We rescheduled yesterday’s wedding anniversary. Just like we rescheduled Ben’s birthday. And mine last year (which happened the day after major surgery and which ranks as the number one worst birthday of my life!). Hopefully, if my health keeps improving, we’ll be heading to Vietnam and then the Philippines in three weeks. We’ll celebrate everything there.

Meanwhile, I am feeling brighter this morning so Ben and Cafe Dog and I are off to town in search of a tasty breakfast.

Love to you all, Nicole ❤ xx

Unexpected Gifts – Nurse Bert!

Kerry Warnholtz

The talented Kerry Warnholtz, on a recent photo and video shoot at our farm.

“Acts of Kindness:
A random act of kindness, no matter how small, can make a tremendous impact on someone else’s life.”
~ Roy T. Bennett

 

It’s been a hard few weeks, with the loss of our precious dog Bert.

It’s also been rough because I am still fighting the antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection that I picked up in hospital last year. It’s manifested as a persistent urinary tract infection that has made my life quite miserable. Right now I’m on aggressive treatment, which is working, but which also involves regular IV therapy, acupuncture and lots of herbs and essential oils.

So you can imagine that I have been feeling a little glum…

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Ben and Harry and I have been greatly buoyed by all of your kind comments and love, and the outpouring of stories you’ve shared with us of your own pets and loved ones.

Thank you. ❤

It has made a tough time more bearable.

I also received two other gifts on Wednesday which have overwhelmed us with their kindness.

The first was a little book, made by my thoughtful friend Monique Sinclaire. Inside were a collection of pictures of Bert which she must have found online. In an act of deep synchronicity the photo at the beginning and end of the book were the same ones I chose for the beginning and end of Wednesday’s blog about Bert’s passing. Thank you, Monique. We’ll treasure this!

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The other was a short video, made by the ever-kind Kerry Warnholtz. Kerry is an incredibly gifted and heart-centered photographer and videographer. Last year Kerry spent a week at our farm and one of my retreats to shoot footage for a short documentary for me. The aim of the documentary was to capture the work and care we put into preparing for and running our retreats.

I’ll show you the results soon. It’s wonderful!

Of course Kerry shot oodles of footage. Of everything. And somewhere in all of that she had the sweetest piece of video, of Ben, me and Nurse Bert, in the back yard at the end of the day, as we all enjoyed a cup of tea and the leftover treats from our photo shoot. (A big shout out to Jessie and Andrew from Home Amongst The Green, whose delicious treats feature on the plate that Bert can’t take his eyes off!)

It was such a glorious and unexpected wonder, to look at our beautiful boy once more, being his irrepressible food-oriented self. Watch his eyes, which tell you quite repeatedly that he would like a treat please!

Thank you, Kerry. It made us laugh and cry, and all of that is good medicine.

If you’re ever looking for someone to capture the heart and soul of your family or business in images, look no further than Kerry. I can’t recommend her highly enough. You can find her at Truth Seeker Images Multimedia.

And here he is, Nurse Bert, one more time…

Calling All Lightworkers – Breathe in Pain, Breathe out Peace

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“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
― Martin Luther King Jr

 

Have you been feeling unsettled or agitated? Have you felt overwhelmed with world events or climactic ones? Are there problems closer to home causing you distress?

At times it is easy to feel small and insignificant – unable to help when all we feel in our hearts is an urge to try. Whether it is pain and illness in our family, or troubles within the environment or the wider world, we can often feel powerless to do anything meaningful.

But there is something we can do. Meditate!

Right now, one of the most helpful things that you can do as a Lightworker is to anchor love, light and positive intent in the world.

Tonglen is Tibetan for ‘giving and receiving’ and it is a beautiful and simple meditation practice than anyone can do, with no experience.  What matters is your intent.

Sit or lie quietly, and close your eyes. I like to sit with my spine straight, and my hands together in my lap, thumb tips pressed lightly together. If I’m lying in bed, I lie on my back with my hands crossed together over my heart. Try to sit if you can, but for those of you unwell or unable to do so, a prone meditation practice will still work.

Start by imagining someone who you want to help. It might be a friend with depression.  You breathe in the heaviness of their energy and suffering and breathe out joy and peace, or whatever other energy you feel would bring them comfort.

All you ever have to do is ‘breathe in’ the condition, emotion or suffering of another, making room for healing and comfort within them.  Then ‘breathe out’ positive energy, love and light to fill the space you have created.

The suffering of others is also our own suffering, so this meditation can help us as we endeavour to help others.  If you are in pain, breathe in your own pain and also the pain of everyone who is suffering from your affliction.  Breathe out relief to everyone, in whatever form feels most right to you.

Do not worry that the things you breathe in will become a part of you, further weighing you down. As you breathe in suffering it is transmuted back into light, and it dissipates harmlessly.

Sometimes you may not even have a word for what you are breathing it – it will simply be a feeling, a weightiness, a blackness or even a void.  Breathe out hope, lightness, joy and well-being.  Breathe out ease.

At times when we don’t know what else to do, this suffices. As you bring peace to others, you bring it also to yourself.  It is a very soothing and calming practice.  You don’t need to belong to any particular religion, or follow any particular spiritual philosophy.  This simple practice merely acknowledges that we are all human, all connected, and all the same – no matter who we are, or where we come from.

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama says of Tonglen:

“Whether this meditation really helps others or not, it gives me peace of mind. Then I can be more effective, and the benefit is immense.”

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In addition to meditation, here are some simple additional things you might like to try:

  • Treat yourself kindly and with care. Get enough sleep, eat well, and find things to be grateful for in your daily life.
  • Reach out to others with a spirit of friendship and compassion.
  • Spend time in nature, resting and reinvigorating your soul.
  • Don’t contribute to gossip, hurtful or negative talk, or sharing negative views or images on social media.
  • Spend time with your loved ones, and enjoy the company of your family and friends. Laugh together, and make good memories.
  • Read uplifting and nourishing books – both fiction and non-fiction.
  • Grow food or flowers.
  • Use your shopping dollars to support products, services and enterprises who contribute positively and responsibly to the environment and community.
  • Speak kindly to yourself and others.
  • Choose to remain positive and optimistic about the future. Anchor that energy of hope. Be inspirational to those around you.
  • Live life lovingly and to the best of your ability.
  • Follow your own joy. Create, dream, travel, start the project or business you’ve been thinking about for so long, connect, be yourself, learn something new, teach something you know, be the change.
  • Know that your life matters, your ideas matter, you matter!

Together, we can make a difference. Together, we might just change the world.

Sending so much love to you.

Thanks for sharing the journey with me!

Nicole ❤ xoxo

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A Quiet Wednesday Today

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“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
~ Kahlil Gibran

 

Wednesday is my day for posting about death and dying.

Today just happens to be Ben’s birthday as well.

And for us, death and dying just came right to our front door, with the recent heartbreaking and sudden loss of our dear friend, Nurse Bert, the bestest and goofiest dog we have ever known.

I have tried, but I still can’t bring myself to tell you what happened yet. It was a little like being in a war zone for those last few hours of Bert’s life. We are still running on adrenaline and not enough sleep. We’re all still bruised and traumatised and too numb. We’re all still raw and feeling too much and not numb enough.

That’s what death brings to those who remain. A deep grief and sorrow. A total disorientation. An ocean of feeling and a desperate need to be able to find a way to navigate that ocean without our flimsy crafts being tossed around and going under.

On top of all of which I am undergoing procedures to help settle this intractable antibiotic-resistant UTI, which has been making life a misery.

While enduring a heatwave.

And with a dog left behind who is mourning the loss of his brother hard, and for whom there is currently only sadness in this world. Poor Cafe Dog, our sweet Harry, needs extra cuddles and care right now.

So, today we are having a very quiet day at home. We might just retreat to the only room with air-con – the bedroom – and all have a cuddle and a cry and try to catch up on some sleep.

Thank you so much for your outpouring of love and support. It has been such a comfort to us all.

Hug your loved ones, and be kind to yourselves and each other, today and always,

Much love to you from Nicole, Ben and Harry xx

Vale, Good Sir Bertle, the most distinguished Nurse, companion and burger connoisseur.

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Nurse Bert

Love Looks Like This

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“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.”
~ William Martin, The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents

 

Yesterday was the beginning of a long round of medical appointments for me.

After a discouraging doctor’s visit filled with news I would have preferred not to hear, my darling husband took me to Yum Cha – one of my favourite cheer-me-up places.

It’s also a place where no-one cares if you spill food everywhere and generally make a mess. A handy thing when you can’t see well.

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But the highlight of the meal was not the food. It was the way that Ben took my hand and without saying anything was able to give me comfort and reassurance just through his touch.

After a fortifying meal and good tea, a few laughs and that deep sense of support, I was able to face the world again.

That’s what love looks like.

Ordinary wonderful magic.

How blessed I am to have someone to love me and to hold my hand through life’s ups and downs.

Wishing for you a touch of that kind of magic too!  ❤ Nicole xx

yum cha love

Day 5 – Oracle Card Challenge

“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.” ~ Richard Bach

Friendships and Family

Today’s cards will help give you insight into your relationships with the key people in your lives.

Here’s what you need to do:

Take your crystal, and complete this short guided meditation:

Hold your stone in your cupped hands, close your eyes, and slow your breathing. Bring white light into your body until you feel peaceful and calm. Then bring white light into the crystal too. Allow yourself to connect to the stone. You may feel it tingle, or visualise a colour in your mind’s eye. When you are ready, open your eyes. Keep your stone near you, and hold it when you write.

 

Before you shuffle your cards, choose up to five important relationships you’d like to ask about. These people can be friends, family members or work colleagues.

Now shuffle your cards, while picturing the first person in your mind and asking the question to yourself ‘What do I most need to know about this relationship?’

When you have shuffled the cards and they feel ‘done’, select one card using the method that feels right for you.

Place the card face up in front of you.

Clear your mind by closing your eyes and taking one deep breath in and then out. Open your eyes again. Take a minute and look at the picture.

What stands out for you today? Is it an image or a colour? Is it a number or a word? What are your first impressions? What thoughts come into your mind?

Write these down in your journal.

Now let’s go a little deeper. Think about this person. What feelings or words does this card evoke in your mind when you think about the card and its images in relation to the question ‘What do I most need to know about this relationship?’ Take five minutes and write some stream-of-consciousness thoughts down. Don’t censor or judge them. Trust the process. Draw a second card for clarification if you need to.

Do this process for each person you want to ask about.

Finally, read back over what you have written.

Stay open to synchronicities happening around these people in your life,

Nicole xx

Day 4 – Oracle Card Challenge

“When you concentrate your energy purposely on the future possibility that you aspire to realize, your energy is passed on to it and makes it attracted to you with a force stronger than the one you directed towards it.”
~ Stephen Richards

 

My Primary Love Relationship

This question will mean different things to different people, so work this according to your circumstances. You may be in a relationship, and if so, use that relationship as the subject of your enquiry. You may be single and wanting to be in a relationship. You may be exiting or thinking about exiting a relationship. Your primary love relationship may be with God, or with yourself as a happily single person. The dearest person in your life may not be a romantic partner but a family member, friend or even an animal companion. Get clear first about your Primary Love Relationship situation and then continue with today’s exercise.

Here’s what you need to do:

Take your crystal, and complete this short guided meditation:

Hold your stone in your cupped hands, close your eyes, and slow your breathing. Bring white light into your body until you feel peaceful and calm. Then bring white light into the crystal too. Allow yourself to connect to the stone. You may feel it tingle, or visualise a colour in your mind’s eye. When you are ready, open your eyes. Keep your stone near you, and hold it when you write.

 

 

Now shuffle your cards, while silently asking the question to yourself ‘What do I most need to know about my primary love relationship?’

When you have shuffled the cards and they feel ‘done’, select one card using the method that feels right for you.

Place the card face up in front of you.

Clear your mind by closing your eyes and taking one deep breath in and then out. Open your eyes again. Take a minute and look at the picture.

What stands out for you today? Is it an image or a colour? Is it a number or a word? What are your first impressions? What thoughts come into your mind?

Write these down in your journal.

Now let’s go a little deeper. What feelings or words does this card evoke in your mind when you think about the card and its images in relation to the question ‘What do I most need to know about my primary love relationship?’ Take five minutes and write some stream-of-consciousness thoughts down. Don’t censor or judge them. Trust the process. Draw a second card for clarification if you need to.

Finally, read back over what you have written.

Hold some love energy in your heart today. Bless xx