Washing Away 2014!

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“…the great floodgates of the wonder-world swung open…”
~ Herman Melville, Moby-Dick


The early hours of 2015 brought the most fantastical storm to our little farm. As I sat with my tarot cards at midnight, doing my traditional reading for the year ahead, the sky lit up with enormous bolts of blue-white fire, and the thunderclaps overhead were so loud and close that it sounded for all the world as if a great battle was raging.

And then the rain came.

Torrential rain.

For hours.

By the time I crept off to bed there was a roar from the gully which becomes a creek when it floods. I could hear the water racing past, and still more rain kept coming.

We woke to blue skies. The first day of 2015 was clear and bright. Our farm is bordered by a creek on one side, and a river on the other. After all that rain we went for an early morning walk with the dogs and checked the creek crossing. As expected, we were flooded in.

On the way back to the house I stopped and glanced down to the river flats. That’s them you can see in the picture at the top of the page. If you look closely you’ll notice a small patch of brown water. Well, it looks small in the photo.

The river was in full flood – the biggest one we’d seen in years!

This is what our river normally looks like. Shallow enough in some places that we can walk across to our neighbour’s farm if we feel like a visit and a cup of tea! (Note tin of homemade biscuits ready for sharing with that cuppa!)

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Usually you can’t see the river from our house, which is perched much higher up the hill. The river banks are steep and hide the water until you are standing right at the edge.

But yesterday the river looked like this.

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It was a swirling mass of mud and timber, fast-moving and noisy. We were humbled by its size, and the volume of water that was speeding past us. That big tree out in the middle is where the bank usually is. The smaller greenery out in the water nearer to the front of the pic is actually the tops of trees! My photograph doesn’t really do the scale of this flood justice!

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Because of the storm we’ve had no power, and no internet. I’ve posted this by hiking up into the orchard with my laptop and mobile phone.

Not that I’ve minded the quiet. It’s given me time to truly sit and ponder my year ahead. I’m quietly excited about 2015. How about you?

Things should be back to normal in the next day or so, but in the meantime I shall enjoy the many faces of nature, and the grand entrance of this new year!

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Small and Nasty = Bartonella


The little poets sing of little things:
Hope, cheer, and faith, 
small queens and puppet kings;
Lovers who kissed and then were made as one,
And modest flowers waving in the sun.

The mighty poets write in blood and tears
And agony that, flame-like, bites and sears.
They reach their mad blind hands into the night,
To plumb abysses dead to human sight;
To drag from gulfs where lunacy lies curled,
Mad, monstrous nightmare shapes to blast the world.

~ Robert E. Howard


I spent some time with my Lyme Doctor yesterday. I’ve not been travelling well on my current meds. In fact, since mid December I have been spiralling further and further into an abyss.

You might not know to look at me. I look better. For morale purposes I make an effort to wear a little lipstick, keep my hair soft and clean, and I choose lovely perfumes that smell of flowers and grass. I’ve had some sun on my skin, and my sister took me shopping for some pretty clothes.

Most days I don’t look too bad.

Until you get inside my skin.

After my retreat, when I went back on my meds, things went downhill.

I suffered a seizure during herxing just before Christmas. A seizure that threw me out of bed and left me tangled face down on the floor, unable to move until my husband found me half an hour later.

I cut the meds right back but still my symptoms piled up, which is distressing after having felt so much better just a month before.

My fatigue has become so bad that I usually get one or two good hours in the morning. Some days it’s all I can do to move from bed to chair. I keep waiting for it to get better, but so far it hasn’t. Bed is my happy place.

The soles of my feet are on fire, and they feel as if someone has beaten them with a truncheon. The tendons in my calves and ankles are so stiff that I can only hobble until I have warmed up sufficiently to gain some kind of normal movement. This has nothing to do with ambient temperature – here in Australia we’re in the middle of a heatwave. Of course I have chills some of the time, so I’m coping with the heat better than you’d expect…

Nerve pain keeps me awake at night, and has swollen my forearms.

Strange red scratch marks have blemished my skin.

My major joints have the sort of anguishing pain normally reserved for divers with the bends.

Arthritis has returned and the strength in my hands has gone. When we went for breakfast last week, my dear friend Carly had to cut up my food so I could eat it.

My vision has deteriorated. I have constant fevers and night sweats. Brain fog. My glands are swollen, I can’t sleep, and weird things are happening to my ears – which are hot, cold, burning, and giving me a range of hearing issues as well as pain and pressure.

My chest pain has returned, as well as shortness of breath.

I’m anxious, agitated, exhausted and despairing. The pain is only just bearable. It’s taking all of my skills as a meditator and optimist to keep myself afloat right now.

In short, I’m not having fun.

But my doctor is thrilled. From my new list of symptoms he is positive he can diagnose a big flare up of Bartonella in my mix of tick-borne diseases.

So I have a raft of new drugs to go with the ones that are already making me feel so awful. We’re going to hit this hard. And I’m totally okay with that. I’m ready for my big break-through!!!

On New Year’s Day I wrote about the energies of 2014, and the different types of year we might be facing. It’s dawned on me that I am facing the first kind of year:

1. Re-Cycling. We have not learned what we needed – travelling through life asleep, unaware or ignorant. Or perhaps we just weren’t ready to make that change. This year we can learn very fast – choosing to face the lessons head on, or cycle back to the very beginning of our pattern or our story and start the whole learning cycle over with the new cycle then lasting many years. It can be a pattern-breaking year, and a major turning point or a bend in an endless loop. The choice is yours.

That’s the thing about these Lyme-like diseases. You have one good chance to sort it all out and make a clean recovery.

This is my chance. I can’t be faffing about looking after everyone else at the expense of myself. I can’t keep putting on that brave face and struggling forward when all I want to do is collapse in a heap. 2014 is my year for looking these pathogenic monsters square in the eye, not backing down, and then hitting them with all I’ve got.

I’ve given the best years of my life to this illness. I can’t keep doing that. I want my life back. I need to live without rationing spoons, without planning and living within massive limits, and without playing nice when I feel like screaming.

So I will keep fighting this thing with everything at my disposal. Drugs, herbs, science, food as medicine, meditation, rest, nature, alternative therapies, prayer and good-old-fashioned stubbornness. There is no way I am giving in to this. Recovery is my biggest priority right now. It has to be. I don’t have the strength to keep doing this dance endlessly.

Meanwhile I keep reminding myself something I know to be true: My life is already blessed. It’s worth fighting for. Imagine how it will look when I am well!


2014 – Guidance for the Year Ahead

“Was it you or I who stumbled first? It does not matter. The one of us who finds the strength to get up first, must help the other.” 
~ Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration


Happy New Year and welcome to the energies of 2014!  It’s a glorious new year, birthed with the energy of a New Moon in Capricorn, which is also a SuperMoon. The Moon brings her own energies to the dawn of this year, and colours the entire year ahead.

I have one tarot deck that I use only for the first day of the new year.  For over 20 years I have worked with this deck as a touchstone to set the themes of my year ahead so that I might live with greater awareness and understanding.  I don’t use the cards as a predictive tool – rather I use it for reflection, and to seek guidance about qualities, actions and perspectives that might benefit me over the next twelve months.

Just after midnight I asked for one card for you – to give YOU guidance over the year ahead.  This is my personal interpretation of that card for you.  I have combined the qualities of this card with the energies of tonight’s SuperMoon.

Take what resonates as truth for you, and discard the rest.

STRENGTH/LUST – Insights for 2014


In 2013 our focus was on change and understanding our personal power. A time to tidy up the old energies from 2012, and to begin planning and dreaming a new and better world for ourselves and the planet. For many it has been quite the rollercoaster.

2014 will fall differently for each of us, depending on our stage of the journey. I urge you to think carefully about where you wish to position yourself this year – you are not without choice, but in order to make that choice you must come from a place of awareness.

Take a moment now, breathe deeply and sit in your heart. Then ask yourself which one of the following three paths most resonates for you. You can also use this information to help understand where others are at in this next year. Know that wherever we are is where we need to be – there is no right or wrong.

The Three Major Life Paths in 2014:

1. Re-Cycling. We have not learned what we needed – travelling through life asleep, unaware or ignorant. Or perhaps we just weren’t ready to make that change. This year we can learn very fast – choosing to face the lessons head on, or cycle back to the very beginning of our pattern or our story and start the whole learning cycle over with the new cycle then lasting many years. It can be a pattern-breaking year, and a major turning point or a bend in an endless loop. The choice is yours.

2. Reprieve. For many of you who have worked hard, focused on self-awareness and self-growth and who’ve done the homework, 2014 is about rest, consolidation and recovery. You get a chance this year to slow down and catch your breath. You’ll draw to you the right helpers and healers, life’s flow will be gentle and supportive and at year’s end you’ll still be able to look back and realise how far you have travelled in 2014. It’s a year for easing rather than fighting, and for allowing yourself that precious recuperation time.

3. Rocketing On Ahead. For some of you, life will pull out all the stops this year. Because of the set-up and foundation work you’ve already done toiling away in previous years, this year will propel you forward in many aspects of your life where you have felt previously stuck, unrecognised or thwarted. You may also feel overwhelmed at times this year as the pace will not always be of your choosing, and you’ll need to simply hang on and go for the ride. At year’s end you’ll be far, far from where you now stand. It’s a big year, with lots of work ahead, and you’ll need to embark on a regular regime of self-care and support to ensure that the year’s growth is sustainable.

Monopoly Cat Token by David Miller

Monopoly Cat Token by David Miller

2014 is a consolidation year – a year to anchor our dreams, to chart progress and to make lasting change that is supported by our core values and innermost desires. It is a year where we can be rational and logical, while still being supported by a heightened perceptiveness and intuition.

What matters most in 2014 is that we stay grounded in our own strengths, and honest with ourselves about what we really want. It will no longer be enough to live to please others, or to make our life a quest for external acknowledgement and approval. 2014 requires us to be authentic and to live from our hearts, in a way that reflects our passion and interests.

In 2014 we can draw on and cultivate tremendous self-discipline and inner strength. It is a year to make the changes we’ve been dreaming about – the ones we know we will benefit from – even if doing them may initially be harder than staying where we’ve been, safe in our comfort zone. Whatever we can do to support ourselves in being whole and integrated will enable us to make profound progress this year. We must honour our own needs. We must do all we can to come from a place of balance and wholesomeness. The following quote sums up this energy nicely:

“Lust comes from the root lustre. We cannot be in our lustre and radiance if we are not also in our strength. People who exhibit strength also exhibit an inherent lustre or radiance. Strength and lustre are two qualities that are often inseparable.” ~ Angeles Arrien

2014 is a year for overcoming our fears and doubts, and for investing in ourselves – our dreams, our talents, our gifts. It is a year for putting ourselves first, although not in a greedy or selfish way. It is a year where we are advised to become clear, and to live with focus and passion.

It is a year for championing our abilities and our needs, and owning our own strengths and individuality. It is a year for polishing ourselves and our skills, all the better for us to shine our light in the world.

2014 requires us to have a creative vision, and to honour the life force within us. We are being called to make changes, to heal and grow, to become bigger somehow.

It’s a time for us to drop the masks, end the games and be brave enough to stand open and honest. It’s a time for us to be strong, even in our vulnerabilities. There is great beauty in that vulnerability. Great humanity. Great strength.

This is a year, that if lived well and mindfully, shall deeply define us for the rest of our days.

This is a year, that if lived without mindfulness, shall deeply define us for the rest of our days.

We have a choice. Do not be afraid of your own power. Be brave, and make this a year of blossoming and becoming. Imagine how different the rest of your life could look, if you chose to make 2014 a year of heart-centered and values-oriented living.

If you’d like more information on living a heart-centered year, click here.

I’m wishing you an aware and positive 2014, that makes you glad to be alive.

Bless ♥ Nicole xx


Getting Ready for 2014 – Will you join me?

Image from HDW

Image from HDW

“New Year’s eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights.”

~ Hamilton Wright Mabie


Just one more sleep until New Year’s Eve. Australia is one of the first countries to see in the New Year, and Byron Bay does know how to throw a party!  But come New Year’s Eve you won’t find me out partying. Instead I’ll be home at my farm, enjoying a quiet dinner with friends and then some journalling and reflection time before I sit down in meditation to welcome in the energies of 2014.

There is such a shift of energies for 2014. Perhaps you can already feel it. The last gasp of 2012 and its buffer year 2013 are falling away.

There’s a change in the air.

Would you like to add some deliberate intention to the birth of 2014? On New Year’s Eve I have a simple fire ceremony. I’d love for you to join with me, adding your energy and presence to my own. I promise it will be an easy thing for you to do.

Each year I offer up a wish for myself, and a wish for the world.  I write each of them on separate pieces of paper, and the messages I write then hold some of the shape of my meditation.  Before midnight I will burn each wish, letting the energy of my hopes and prayers be carried up into the atmosphere in the heat and smoke of the fire. I will then retire and meditate upon the wishes (intentions) I have created.

It’s a powerful practice. And you can be a part of it too. There’s time to think about what you want. And then when you’re ready simply add your wish for yourself and your wish for the world as a comment at the bottom of this post.

Do it just like this: My wish for myself is……  My wish for the world is…..


If you’d like more privacy you can send me a message on facebook , or email me at cauldronsandcupcakes@gmail.com

I’ll print out your wishes, and add them to my own. The only person who will see them is me (and the Universe, of course…).  I’ll honour your intentions in my meditations, and I’ll burn your messages in my New Year’s Eve fire. I’ll also hold this space for a full 24 hours, so that those of you in different time zones won’t miss out.

Together, our collective good thoughts, wishes and intentions shall help shape a 2014 that begins with love, well wishes and positive energy.  What can be better than that?

Love and Blessings to you, ♥ Nicole xx

Image from techblogstop

Image from techblogstop

How to Have a Heart-Centred Year

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“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” 
~ Gautama Buddha

I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre


I’m betting you’ve never had a year where you made yourself – your wants and needs – front and centre to the Universe.

A recurrent theme among my current retreat participants is that each year, no matter what their initial intentions, time slips away and they find themselves (once again…) putting everyone else and everyone else’s dreams and goals before themselves.

But how can this serve us?

I believe it can’t.

I’m not talking about selfishness, self-centredness and egoism. I’m talking about choosing to be good to yourself, to make room for your interests and goals, to speak up for yourself, to meet your needs, and not just feed yourself from the scraps of life after everyone else has dined.

So, if you’re game, I’m going to ask you to do something radical. I’m going to ask you to make a commitment to yourself. Not any old kind of commitment, like the promises we constantly make with ourselves about exercising more or eating less chocolate, which get broken at the first uphill.

I’m asking you to make a sacred promise. This is metanoia – a sacred and unbreakable promise you make with yourself. The kind of promise where our life can radically change, as we turn away from the shadows and put our faces to the light. It’s a promise we commit to not breaking.

You chose when you will start. It can be any day beginning from today until January 1, 2014. And the duration is for the entirety of 2014.


All of us here at my retreat took this commitment yesterday. We made the sacred commitment to live our lives in a different way, by putting ourselves first. By loving ourselves and treating ourselves well – with kindness and respect.

For some it was the hardest promise they have made, after a lifetime of self-neglect, low self-esteem and unworthiness issues.

But I know it is a promise that shall turn their lives around.

Will you join us? 2014 is almost here. This IS the year where everything can be different for you.

heart flower

Commitment Ceremony

Choose a crystal or stone that resonates for you, and that gives you comfort to hold. Find a clear patch of ground, outside, and stand barefoot with your face upturned towards the sun. Close your eyes, and centre yourself. (How to do that here)

Feel into your heart. And then in your own way, and in your own words offer up your promise to the Universe – a promise that you will love yourself and put yourself first in 2014. A promise that you will take care of yourself, respect yourself and meet your own needs. A promise that you will live from your heart, with integrity and awareness.

It might be one of the hardest things you ever do. I also promise that it will be among the best! Much love to you, ♥ Nicole xx