To All The School Children Who Have Gone On Strike For Climate Change Action

https://www.facebook.com/StrikeClimate

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead

Thank you for striking.

Thank you for lifting up your voices.

Thank you for fighting for what you believe in. Thank you for fighting for our future.

Don’t give up. Keep going. Know that you CAN make a difference and you will.

Much love, Nicole – and so many other adults who are taking heart, courage and direction from your efforts and who support you in what you are doing! ❤

Holding Hands Because It Matters


“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

Embrace Your Inner Activist

Photo: Cindy Trinh, Activists of New York, activistnyc.tumblr.com


“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:


Biggest hugs and love, Nicole ❤ xx

Valentine Chocolate Oracle for Manifesting Love!

You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.
~ Dr. Seuss

Valentine’s Day has a wonderful sentiment – that we should celebrate love and lovers, that we should name the emotions that often sit silent in our heart.

But why have just one day for the celebration of love?  Why not live with that sense of appreciation and joy every day! And of course it’s not just for the young, for couples, and for romantic love.  Love is an emotion that is available to us all.

Today’s blog gives you a mini-reading about love, in many different forms. It’s not a fortune-telling exercise for finding a soul mate, instead it’s about letting more love into your life. All you need to do is scroll through the pictures of my Valentine Chocolates, and choose the one that appeals to you most. Then go further down the page to read the meaning for the chocolate treat you have chosen.

♥♥♥ Love, love, love to you, Nicole xoxo ♥♥♥

Today’s Chocolate Selection:

1. ♥ Kaleidoscope of Colour

2. ♥ Sprinkle of Magic

3. ♥ Everything’s Rosy

4. ♥ Elegant Luxury

5. ♥ Set The Mood

6. ♥ Wholesome Simplicity

7. ♥ Pure Soulfood

8. ♥ My Sweet Treat

♥ The Love Message and Gift of each Chocolate♥

Each Valentine Chocolate has a message for you. I have also selected a crystal to best support the message and energies of your chocolate choice.  You could wear or hold this crystal, pop it in your pocket, under your pillow or beside your bed. The Power Word is a word to remind yourself of the quality you most need and that you are strongly attracting right now.  You can turn it into your own personal mantra by saying “I choose ___________ ” (insert your Power Word). Your Magical Healing Environment is a place or activity you’ll find supportive and healing.

♥ 1. Kaleidoscope of Colour – Celebrating the joys of life! Life is about living – not just existing! It’s time to enjoy life’s everyday offerings a little more. Take yourself out to a movie or an art exhibition. Meet a friend for coffee. Go to a concert. Visit someplace near home that you haven’t been before. Go shopping somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit and just appreciate all the choices available to you. Pack a picnic and go visit a favourite outdoor place or picnic on the lounge-room floor of a loved one’s space!  *If you’re in a relationship, or happy on your own, spend your time exploring the world outside your front door. Change up your routines. Find the pleasure in life again! If you’re single think of joining an interest or dinner group – it’s time to put yourself out into the world.  ♥ Best Crystal – Green Aventurine  ♥ Power Word – Enjoyment  ♥ Magical Healing Environment – Anywhere that reminds you of the blessings and opportunities in your life.  Wandering through the city or your favourite mall, an art gallery or favourite cafe, a florist shop or a beautiful garden.

♥ 2. Sprinkle of Magic – Treating yourself well and living your best life. It’s time to value yourself more. You might need a mini-make-over – a new hairstyle, a manicure, a new perfume or cologne, some new clothes that truly suit you and make you look and feel good. It might be time to sort your health out, join that yoga group, and throw out all the junk food. Or maybe it’s time to enrol in that study you’ve always dreamed about. This is your one beautiful life – not some dress rehearsal. You won’t get a chance to do this life over, so make every moment count. *If you’re in a relationship, refresh the energies with some together time and appreciation. Maybe plan a holiday together, or take yourselves out for a special dinner. If you’re happily single, think about your dreams and goals and make one of them a priority. Make sure your life is rich with meaning and satisfaction. If you’re looking for love, aim high. No renovators delights for you. If love doesn’t elevate you and make you feel safe, warm and cherished it’s not worth settling for. ♥ Best Crystal – Citrine  ♥ Power Word – Self-worth ♥ Magical Healing Environment – Anywhere that makes you feel good about yourself. This could be a day spa, a session with a personal stylist, time with your wise and loving Nana, a yoga class or a bookshop. It might be sitting in a lecture theatre or kayaking around the bay.

♥ 3. Everything’s Rosy – Adventures in Sensuality.  It’s time to bring pleasure and sensuality back into your life. Explore tastes and textures, indulge all of your senses, make time for massages, lovemaking, dancing and beautiful food. Buy yourself some gorgeous underwear, perfume or body lotion. Let yourself come alive again. *For couples, find ways to bring magic and pleasure back into your relationship. For happily singles, nurture and nourish your senses.  If you’re looking for love, embrace your sensual side. Think about what pleasure means to you, and get comfortable with it!  ♥ Best Crystal – Garnet  ♥ Power Word –Feel  ♥ Magical Healing Environment – anything that reconnects you to your senses.  Bubble baths, clean sheets, music, dancing, lying in dappled sunlight on soft green grass, ocean swims, perfume and cologne, warm embraces, patisseries and chocolate shops.

♥ 4. Elegant Luxury – Levelling Up In Love and Life. Life is too short to settle for second best. In your job, in your relationships, in your living environment. It’s time to let your life level up. Don’t stay in situations or relationships where you are not happy and fulfilled. Don’t stay friends with people (or family!) who put you down or treat you badly. Value yourself!  *For couples, talk about your future and where your life is headed. Get help if your relationship is in trouble – whether that is counselling to stay together or to exit the relationship. Happily singles – be discerning about your life and reward yourself with things that matter deeply to you.  For those of you seeking love, set your sights high and know that this is the year you can make your romantic dreams come true. ♥ Best Crystal – Tiger Eye  ♥ Power Word – My Highest Potential  ♥ Magical Healing Environment – Change.  Change can be a force for good. Plan out your future, a future that you’ll love. Spend time thinking about what positive changes you can make in your life and know that the Universe is supporting you to do so.

♥ 5. Set The Mood – Love of Knowledge.  Knowledge and learning can be a beautiful thing. Getting to know yourself, getting to know each other, learning about something new, or taking existing knowledge deeper. Classes, courses, books, travel, study – or you out in the world teaching and sharing your own wisdom. This isn’t superficial learning. This is knowledge that transforms and enriches you. *Couples, go travelling together or learn something as a team. Happily singles, indulge in whatever learning takes your fancy, or spend time in conversation with someone you’d like to know better. If you’re single, follow your interests and be brave enough to go deeper with them. Don’t be surprised if love aligns itself to this new you. ♥ Best Crystal – Fluorite ♥ Power Word – Wisdom ♥ Magical Healing Environment – Time for yourself and your interests. Read books, join a course, attend a lecture, go travelling, make space to think deeply and to soak up knowledge.

♥ 6. Wholesome Simplicity – Choose Creativity and Playfulness.  Love expresses itself often through creativity. What do you love to do? Or a better question, what did you ‘used to love to do’? Re-acquaint yourself with lost loves, be that art, craft, music, foods, hobbies, places or activities. Make room for a creative project in your life, or at least rub shoulders with creative spaces for a while. *For couples, find a common creative interest and go do that thing together. For happily singles make room in your life for something that gives you creative joy. For those of you looking for love, join a group or class that supports a creative interest. And watch out for pregnancies – the ultimate form of creativity! ♥ Best Crystal – Any form of Jasper  ♥ Power Word – Explore  ♥ Magical Healing Environment – Anywhere that gets you in that creative mood. Hardware stores, book stores, craft supply shops, kitchen stores, the library, or wherever you can make, create and play.

♥ 7. Pure Soulfood – True Heart Connection.  It’s time to feed your Soul. Who makes your heart sing? Open your heart and connect with them. Spend time with the important people in your life.  It might be your partner, a best friend, a family member or a pet. We sometimes take the love of others for granted.  What can you do to let another know that you value and appreciate them? Don’t forget quality time for yourself too! *If you’re in a relationship, honour and celebrate your togetherness. If you’re happily single, dwell on the things you like about yourself. If you’re looking for love, get clear about what your values are, and what you’re looking for in a partner. Know that you deserve someone who will love you well and just as you are. ♥ Best Crystal – Rose Quartz  ♥ Power Word –Relating ♥ Magical Healing Environment – Togetherness, wherever that works best for you.  Cuddles, time together over a meal or a coffee, phone calls, a movie, spending time doing something you used to do together but don’t get time for anymore. Time communing with a favourite place or hobby.

♥ 8. My Sweet Treat – Stand Up For What You Believe In.  When we sit in our hearts we know what matters. It’s time to stand up for what matters. Maybe you need to start sharing your message or your work. Perhaps it’s time to become an activist or to join a local community group who are working to make one corner of the world a better place. If you chose this oracle the Universe wants you to know that what you care about matters, and that it’s time to give that thing your energy and care. *For couples, have the conversation about what matters to you. Support each other to pursue that thing. For happily singles, go make a stand or start towards that dream of yours. For those of you looking for love, you may well find it on the front line of a protest or at that charity dinner. Go follow your heart and the universe will take care of the rest! ♥ Best Crystal – Carnelian  ♥ Power Word – Empowerment  ♥ Magical Healing Environment – Anywhere that fires your passion and lets you know that your presence matters. Political groups, activist groups, protest groups, organisations or movements for social good, environmental groups, writers groups, support groups, or you on your own, toiling away at your dream!

Want to make the most of your year in 2019?

I have limited hard copies of my beautiful YOM 2019 Planner left. And plenty of copies of the digital version. If you purchase one, or one of the Planner packs (that also have new year direction readings, meditation malas or crystals with them) I’ll gift you a month’s free access to my community and membership site (and a chance to win a year’s free membership!) so you can experience my work, and be well supported in the year ahead. Membership to my online group, courses and YOM community – by subscription or a yearly fee – is also available

You can access the Membership, Planner and Planner Packs here in our store or read more about them here.

Guided Meditation Bundle

I’ve bundled together four powerful guided downloadable meditations and created a companion workbook to support you in your spiritual journey. The Stardust Connection Meditation Bundle will help you to connect with and explore Earth Energies, Ancestor Energies, your Solar Plexus energies and personal power, and the Stardust Energies. There is over an hour’s worth of Guided Meditations and a 38-page workbook. The workbook holds specific instructions for using the four guided meditations, as well as journalling activities and reflection/awareness exercises.

The material in the Stardust Connection Meditation Bundle can be used at any time over the next four years, and beyond. My intention with this bundle is to help you become confident in your direction, your intuition, and your contribution to the unfolding history of the world and humanity. To access the bundle or to learn more about it go to my store or click on this link.

Craft A Visionary Talisman

This online course will help you to select a guiding card for the year ahead, or for a specific project, and then create and activate a Visionary Talisman to anchor helpful energies and qualities to guide and support you in your daily life. It’s practical shamanism, and you’ll learn a range of skills to support you on your spiritual journey. (Of course, if you’re a member of the YOM community you have access to this course for free!) For more information click here or go to my store.

Wishing you a transformative and uplifting week of action. Aim high, give it your best shot, and no matter what you do, be true to YOU!

Lots of love, Nicole  xx

Do you prefer Tarot or Oracle Cards?


“The tarot is an outer oracle of which the inner oracle is the source” 
~ Philippe St Genoux

I’m interested to know if you use Tarot cards or an Oracle deck, and if you have a preference for one over the other?

Is there a reason you would choose to use Oracle Cards rather than a Tarot deck? Why?

I’d be thrilled if you could help me out with research for a future project by letting me know your thoughts in the comments below, on my Facebook page, or by emailing Chelsi at chelsi@cauldronsandcupcakes.com

Which one do you prefer? Tarot Cards or Oracle Cards?

Please choose one as your answer

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We would like to let you know that we’re working on a new project to help support your spiritual journey and we need your input so that we create something unique and best suited to your needs

Much love to you, Nicole ❤ xx

Simple Christmas Baking and Treat Recipes

“Christmas is a tonic for our souls. It moves us to think of others rather than of ourselves. It directs our thoughts to giving.” B.C. Forbes

 

It’s less than a month until Christmas, but there is still plenty of time to whip up a tasty treat or two to share with friends, to gift, or to make your own Christmas a little more yummy.

One of the things I love about food as a gift at Christmas is that it is something almost everyone appreciates, and it is a consumable so it won’t add to the growing mountain of plastic waste, pointless gag gifts and credit card debt.

When you share your gifts think about using wrapping and packaging that won’t cost the earth. Go find an old tin or some pretty old china at the Thrift Store, or wash and reuse glass jars with a circle of bright fabric or paper tied over the lid to make it festive. Cardboard, paper, ribbon, string, fabirc, waxed cotton and flowers from the garden all make great packaging and decoration too.

Here are some of my favorourite Christmas cooking ideas. All of them are easy, quick and well-tested by at least one of my Christmas Elves (Ben, Rufous, Cafe Dog, the neighbours or the staff of the Bangalow Post Office!) and me. Just click on the link to go to the recipe.

Macadamia Shortbread Recipe

 

Easy Fruit Cake Rum Balls

 

Festive Fudge Recipe

 

Heavenly Chocolate Brownies

 

Gluten-Free No Bake Yummy Slice

 

Last-Minute Christmas Cake Recipe

Five Minute Fudge

 

Easy Peach and Vanilla Jam Recipe

 

Prize-Winning Coconut Ice

 

Green Goji Bliss Balls (Healthy but AMAZINGLY GOOD!)

Much love, Nicole  xx

 

 

There’s a Problem With Your Mother – My latest psychic experience

“The phrase ‘Love one another’ is so wise. By loving one another, we invest in each other and in ourselves. Perhaps someday, when we need someone to care for us, it may not come from the person we expect, but from the person we least expect. It may be our sons or daughter-in-laws, our neighbors, friends, cousins, stepchildren, or stepparents whose love for us has assigned them to the honorable, yet dangerous position of caregiver.” 
Peggi Speers

 

I woke up this morning at 2.10am. I know it was 2.10am because I looked at my watch, bleary-eyed and thinking it was way too early to be waking up yet.

As I rolled over in the dark, ready to go back to sleep, I thought of Steve. Steve’s a client of mine. I haven’t seen him for maybe five years. I saw his wife maybe two years before that. Why was I suddenly thinking of Steve?

In my mind’s eye I saw an elderly woman lying on a bathroom floor, frightened and frail and unable to stand. She must be Steve’s mum, I decided. Now what would I do?

I hauled myself out of bed and came into my office, where a staff member has recently returned a large box of my paperwork. There were two huge manilla folders filled with client profile sheets, none of them in order, and I knew Steve’s details would be in there somewhere. I flicked on a light and sat down to go through the hundreds of pages. It took me ten minutes but eventually I had his number. I called it, and it rang and rang before finally going to message bank. I left a message to call me back immediately.

But as soon as I put the phone down I knew I’d need to try again. So I called back. Me calling a man I’ve met twice, at 2.30am on a Saturday morning. Steve picked up on the second ring.

‘Oh, you’re that Nicole,’ he grunted. And then he swore at me.

I get it. It was the middle of the night, and I’d just woken him from a deep sleep.

‘Steve, I’m sorry, but this is an emergency. Your mum has had a fall, and she needs help. Can you go check on her?’

‘Mum’s dead,’ Steve said. And then he swore at me again and hung up.

For a moment I didn’t know what to do. The image of the old lady came to me again. She was crying and distressed. I rang Steve back.

As he swore at me I kept talking, describing the tiles on the bathroom floor, and the layout of the room.

He stopped swearing. ‘That’s Karen’s mum’, he said. ‘Sh*t! Why didn’t you say so?’

‘What do you call your mother-in-law?’ I asked.

‘Mum,’ he said, and then he went quiet for a moment. ‘Sorry, Nicole. Look, she lives the next suburb over. I’d better get round there.  I’ll call you back, okay?’ And then he hung up.

I couldn’t go back to sleep. I got up and meditated, put a load of washing on, and waited.

At 5.30am Steve called back from the hospital. His elderly mother-in-law, Beverly, had slipped in her bathroom and fallen over, breaking her hip and her wrist. She’d been on the floor for almost two days. She was in surgery now and Steve was waiting to see her when she came out and was allocated a room.

Then Steve told me that he and Karen were undergoing a trial separation. Karen’s overseas on a holiday so no-one’s been checking on Bev. Steve hadn’t seen Bev since he and his wife split up late last year. And he’s only been talking to Karen and his adult kids via text message.

While he’d sat on the bathroom floor beside Bev, waiting for the ambulance, he’d promised her that he would talk to his wife. Karen still loved him, Bev had said. They all still loved him. So Steve rang Karen and they talked for an hour. He still loves her too. They want to find a way to work things out.

Steve rang off, promising to update me on Bev’s progress and wanting to book a session for himself and his wife, who is going to catch the first available flight home today.

I made myself a pot of tea. It’s going to be a long day and I haven’t had much sleep. But Bev is taken care of and Steve and Karen are talking again and there is hope where there was none. So, all in all, it’s been a good start to my weekend!

Look after each other, and yourself. Much love, Nicole ❤ xx

Small Acts Of Kindness – We Need More Of Them!

Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
~ Mark Twain

 

Small acts of kindness ease our burdens. They remind us that we are loved and that there is still hope and goodness in the world.

Don’t ever underestimate the gift of small acts of kindness.  A simple phone call, a cuppa and a chat, a bunch of flowers from your garden, a casserole or a pot of soup, the loan of some books or DVDs – all of these simple gestures can make a vast difference in the life of someone who is busy coping with whatever life has just thrown them.

Anyone who has suffered from depression, ongoing family or relationship issues, the prolonged care of a loved one with a chronic or terminal illness, or who has suffered a loss or setback in life will tell you that support is often strong to start off with, but fades away, or worse – people begin to tell them to ‘think positive’, to ‘look on the bright side’, to ‘snap out of it’, ‘get over it’, ‘move on’ or equally unhelpful sentiments.

Some situations in life are over in an instant but leave a lasting impact.  Some situations take a very long time to resolve. And we all manage grief and loss in our own way.  (Side note –  It’s actually okay to let people who are in the midst of misery express grief, be sad, feel flat or lost, and be anything but the life of the party.)

So how do we help when difficulties are drawn out for our friends and loved ones?  Think about the times in your own life when things have been hard. What made a difference to you?  Firstly, don’t judge your friends and loved ones, and don’t feel you have to fix anything or take responsibility for changing them or their situation.

Ask them how they’re going.  Ask them what they need.  Sometimes we need to talk things through, sometimes we need to talk about ANYTHING other than what’s really happening, sometimes we want to be left alone. And our needs might change from moment to moment, hour to hour.

The best advice here is to stay in contact, and then ask the simple questions:

‘How are you?’ or ‘Are you okay?’

‘Is there anything I can do to help?’

If you can see an obvious need, don’t be afraid to ask and then step in.  Or if it’s appropriate, just go ahead and do it – hose the garden, mow the lawn, bake the cake, mind the kids, take the washing off the line, bundle up a care parcel.

Sometimes all that’s needed is a hug or a kind word.

When I was ill recently, a dear friend brought me homemade chicken soup, and another loaned me a book. It was the difference between me eating something healthy and going without, and I had soul food in the form of something new to read. Heaven.

Yesterday, after a difficult day, I went to my front door and found a posy of flowers and a tender note filled with love and encouragement. It brightened my spirits immeasurably. Friends texted me to check in on me. I felt loved, affirmed and connected.

It’s these small acts of thoughtfulness, these simple gestures of kindness that ease the way for us when life’s road gets hard.

How can you be a friend today?

Much love, 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