Are you taking care of you?

 “Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort.” 
~ Deborah Day

 

Many of my friends are healers. They come from widely different schools and philosophies of healing – general medical practitioners, environmental medicine specialists, acupuncturists, naturopaths, herbalists, body workers, nutritionalists and all manner of other modalities. Over the past twenty years all of them have observed one thing; the number of people suffering long-term chronic illness, digestive issues, stress-related health issues and fatigue has soared. Not only that, many of the simple treatments that once worked so well for bringing people back into balance no longer are as effective.

Why?

There are many external factors – more exposure to pollutants and chemicals, little exercise, poorer diet, less sunshine.

But even when these things are addressed many people are slow to heal. I, and many of my learned practitioner friends, believe at least part of this is to do with the state of mind we are in.

There have been numerous studies done which show that when a person is relaxed the surface tension of their skin changes. Their blood pressure lowers, their heart slows, the chemicals responsible for sleep, blood sugar and hormonal balance rise and stabilise. In a place of relaxation people become more creative, more connected, happier, more adept at innovative thinking and problem solving. In a place of relaxation our bodies find it far easier to heal. It is impossible to think a negative thought when you are in a deeply relaxed state.

What does negative thinking have to do with my health?

Go ahead. Think of something that really makes you mad. Or powerless. Feel the changes take place in your body. You will feel heavier, there will be a sense of tension in your face and body. You may have a surge of adrenalin or a sudden draining away of energy. Your heart speeds up, you may feel clammy and hot, agitated or ill. This is not your imagination – this is your body’s autonomic response to your thoughts. This is a natural reaction to perceived stress within your body. Worry, stress, fear, panic, over-thinking; this is what is stopping you from healing.

Over time, this sort of thinking has a destructive impact on the body. It exhausts our adrenals. It puts pressure on our thyroid and other parts of our endocrine system. Our liver becomes stressed and congested and can’t function as well as it used to as it deals with the flood of naturally occurring chemicals WE have created in our body through the stress response.

In this place of adrenal depletion we can become addicted to caffeine, energy drinks, sugar and carbs to keep us functioning.

The blood is always in our extremities as we ready ourselves to fight or flee (the stress response once again) so our digestion slows and becomes impaired. Even if we gain weight we may still be massively malnourished, and our body may struggle to absorb supplements, herbs and better food.

We may resort to anti-depressants or sleeping pills. We may self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Or we may just go through life exhausted, sick and not coping but needing to get up and get on with it each day.

Our sleep becomes affected, and that avenue of healing becomes further reduced. No matter who we see, or what we try nothing seems to work. Or it doesn’t work for long.

Sound familiar?

If you are living with stress and anxiety, if there is something or someone in your life, orfrom your past, that causes you to feel unsafe, inadequate, fearful, anxious, angry, resentful, or shamed… then it’s going to be an uphill battle to become well and stay well.

Positive emotions impact your health positively. Negative emotions impact your life negatively.

The longer a negative emotion is the ugly background wallpaper in your life, the more you get accustomed to it, but don’t be fooled. It will still be affecting you. And not in a good way.

Let me repeat an important point. It is impossible to experience a negative emotion when you are in a relaxed state.

What this means for your health is simple. When you are relaxed, your body can know healing. When you are relaxed your body can do what it needs to do to put itself back into balance, and to put you back into flow, connection and clarity.

So, by all means find yourself a skilled healer, a physician, or a team to put your body back together. But remember you also need to do your part. You need to take care of the housekeeping of your mind.

Do things that relax you. Practice meditation, yoga or tai chi. Listen to music. Go for walks in nature.Take the dog! Make time for YOU in your life. Do the things that give you peace. Find people, places and activities that nourish, validate and support you.

Let go of what no longer serves you in your life.

And if you need to, seek a counsellor, psychologist, psychiatrist – someone trained in helping you undo what has bound you up in knots.

I know this to be true: When your mind can know peace, your body can know healing – or at the very least an improvement in pain levels and quality of life.

Honour your body, work with your mind, and live from your heart. Your body has an infinite wisdom, and that wisdom is free to reign when we are in a place of relaxation and ease. Do all you can to find or create that peaceful place within you. Healing can then be a natural flow-on effect of that energy.

Here are some guided meditations that may help you:

Nicole Cody’s Bee Breath Meditation
Nicole Cody’s Meditation for Inner Peace
Nicole Cody’s Guided Meditation for Reducing Stress
Guided Meditation to reduce pain and promote healing

Sending much love your way, Nicole ❤ xx

When is it okay to break a promise?

Image from blog.chasebrammer.com

I take giving my word very seriously. Promises made are never made lightly, and since childhood I have rarely needed to break one.

But I’m going to break one now. This isn’t information I’d normally share, but I have given so much thought to this that I felt my musings might be helpful to someone else in a similar situation…

A while ago I blogged about knowing when to let go.  Today I realise that for me, with one relationship, it’s time. Why now?  Because where I find myself is not what I signed up for.  Let me explain why I’m walking away.

Image from timshome.com

When I came to your aid you were drowning. Drowning and calling my name. I jumped into that seething river, (as any reasonable person who could swim might), held up your head, and with all my might I edged us back towards the shore.  As you stopped panicking, as we moved to shallower water and your feet touched bottom, you quit struggling and began to help yourself.  Finally we got to shore. You thought that was the end.  I knew it was only the beginning, and I pledged to stay.

We moved further up the bank, away from the danger. Others came to help.  You were safe. And after a while I quit holding my breath and trusted you.

But you keep throwing yourself back in that damned river.

And you expect that I will keep jumping in after you.

So far I have.  Every single time. And each time you’re sorry.

And then you do it again…

It has worn me out. I can’t keep doing this. I can’t uphold a promise when you won’t value it yourself.

To keep jumping in after you puts ME in danger. As much as I have a responsibility to you, I also have one to myself.

Image from safetybanners.com

So I will stay here on the bank. You know where to find me.  I can help you from here. And we’ve been in that river enough times now that YOU know how to navigate the hazards and get back to shore.

I’m not giving up on you. I’m still loving you.  But it’s time to love yourself.  That’s one thing I can’t do with you, and I sure can’t do for you.

Image from kcgraphics.tumblr.com

If you give up on yourself I’ll feel so sad for you. But it won’t make me save you at my own expense. I’ve learned to love myself more than that. I pray one day you learn that too. ♥

Image from loversinvain.blogspot.com

Hey Sister, You Okay?

Image from holmsteen.dk

I was looking forward to Saturday. In the last few weeks I’ve supported a friend through the end stages of terminal cancer, holding her hand til she passed, ridden the roller coaster of supporting an addict in recovery, and juggled my daily work and writing. Saturday was this wonderful window of calm in front of me like a soft pillow to lay my weary head.

Nothing went to plan for me. My do-nothing day of leisure and self-replenishment which I had so looked forward to became about helping others through various crises and melt-downs.  It’s okay.  The Universe obviously cleared my calender so I’d be available for the people who needed me most.  But it was an emotionally draining day, capping a difficult few weeks, and it left me wrung out.

I was driving through the inner city late yesterday when the traffic suddenly slowed.  Cars tooted their horns.  People yelled and gestured. I though there must have been a dog on the road.

The traffic slowed to a stop.  I couldn’t see what was happening, so I said a quiet prayer, asking that the animal be okay and be guided back to safety.  Finally the cars began moving again, swerving around something in the middle of the road.  Some stopped to hurl abuse as they drove past. I craned my neck, trying to see what was obstructing our way.

Imagine my horror and disbelief when I saw an elderly aboriginal woman in the middle of the road.  She was just sitting there, a shopping bag beside her on the ground, one shoe off, grazed knees.  I pulled my car over to the side as soon as I could find a park and raced back to check on her.

“Hey, Sister,” she croaked at me as I got closer. “Can you see me? All the rest of your mob think I’m invisible.”

“Hey, Sister,” I called to her.  “I see you. You okay?”

She swung her head towards me, squinting in the sun, but said nothing.  I waited for a car to pass and crossed over to her.

“Hi, I’m Nicole.  Are you okay?  Do you need some help?”

She nodded her head yes.

I helped her up, and over to the footpath. She was unsteady on her feet and I wondered if I should call an ambulance.

“Sorry, love. I’m real sorry.”  She leaned heavily on my arm.  “I just live along here. Too late eating lunch and my strength’s gone. I came over all dizzy. I’ve got sugar,” she said weakly.

“You’re diabetic?” I asked as we walked up some steps to a small flat.

“Yes.”

I got her inside, and she asked me to make her a sandwich, while she ate some jellybeans.  Then her neighbour popped in and said she would make her friend a cup of tea and stay with her until she came ‘right’ again.

Before I left I asked if there was anyone I could call, or if she wanted me to take her to the doctor.

The old aboriginal lady patted my hand. “I’m alright now I’m home. You know, you’re a true nice girl,” she said.  “Brought up proper. Your mother and grandmother, you do them proud. Here….”  Reaching over to a box she pulled something out. “This is for you.”

She opened a small drawstring bag and put the contents in my hand, one by one.

A bag full of treasures

“This shell, it’s from up my country.”

She placed it on my palm, and tiny grains of sand stuck to my fingers.  I wanted to hold it to my nose and smell the sea.  Suddenly I was homesick for my little farm at Byron Bay with a physical ache.

“Got this stone from the river.  See how nice and smooth it is.” It was a piece of clear quartz, tumbled milky, and still luminous. I felt such comfort, and thought of Angels.

This one,” she held up a twisted grey rock, “I got this one off the beach. It reminds me of a baby wrapped up tight in his blanket, trying to talk to you. Feels real nice in your hand.”

“This one – it’s coral.  Looks like an alien head with them two eyes.” She chuckled. “Friendly fella for watching over you.”

“And this last one, he’s a fossil crab, real old from the old times.  Good for protecting your soft heart.”

I left with brimming eyes, embarrassed by her kindness.

And I never asked her name.

Today I’m holding these precious treasures in my hands and feeling humbled and awed. I wonder if she knew how much these things would mean to me, or what they symbolise after so hard a day, so hard a week.

Hey Sister, you okay?

I feel like it was HER watching out for ME.

Rainbow Dreaming. Rainbow Tribe. We are One. ♥

Wild Dogs and a little Philosophy

My morning meditation was interrupted by a sound no farmer ever wants to hear; the barking of wild dogs. It was still dark, and I could hear them close on the ridge behind me – quite a large pack in the paddock where my cows and their young calves are grazing.

Not long after, the dogs began a blood-curdling baying and howling. I gave up any idea of meditating, and sent love and protection to my animals instead. We have had wild dog problems in our shire for a few years now.  The dogs have maimed or killed much of our local wildlife, many farm animals and pets, and have also attacked humans.

When the dawn crept up, and the baying stopped I glimpsed seven dogs running along my front paddock in the rain, one limping, bleeding, lagging behind. These aren’t dingoes, Australia’s native wild dog, these are domestic dogs that have been dumped or perhaps run away from home.

One still had a tatty blue collar on. As much as my gut clenched, I felt enormous compassion for these animals as I looked at my own two dogs, curled up on the rug at my feet, patiently waiting for their breakfast. I wondered if my neighbours would be out with their guns this morning, and if any of the dogs would be shot, as so many of the wild dogs before them have.

As I made my morning pot of tea I pondered the plight of these wild dogs, and it led me back to thinking about people.

These dogs have fallen through the cracks. Dumped because their owners changed their mind, or couldn’t afford to feed them, or were neglectful and uncaring, irresponsible, or just didn’t understand what being a pet owner actually entails.

Dogs need a safe place to live, with food and care.  They need to feel part of a pack.  They need rules and structure. They will get by on the most rudimentary of surroundings and food as long as they have that love, guidance and bond.

The wild dogs in our shire have no one to care for them and no safe place to go.  In fact some of them are now so savage that it would be impossible to rehabilitate them.  They are traumatised and aggressive. Here are Labradors and Ridgebacks and Spaniels and Terriers, here are cross-bred dogs of all sizes and descriptions, and they are out in the wild, banding together to make their own pack, and it’s so much Lord of the Flies

They are running on survival instincts, there is no-one to give them safety or teach them manners and social rules and conventions.  They will never rise to what they could be. They steal to eat, they destroy out of boredom and anger, they turn on each other and us. And for that they are condemned.

It’s the same for people.

We all need to feel safe.  We need shelter and kindness and somewhere we can belong. We all need to learn the basics of looking after ourselves, getting along with others, having respect for the world around us, and learning our society’s fundamental values and rules. With security, guidance and love, even if our surroundings are rudimentary, and our meals basic, we can rise to find our best. We can grow and evolve in positive ways.

Not everyone gets the childhood they need to help them thrive.  But humans, like dogs, are resourceful and resilient.  We find ways to survive.

And thankfully there are good people in the world who step in to be the mentor, the teacher, the guide, the helping hand, the provider of safety for those who fall through the cracks.

But there are many, many wild dogs, and many, many lost children. There may be some among you who’ve grown to adulthood and look like they cope, look like they fit in a little.  And some will be openly wild dogs, snarling at the hands that come near.

Offer them all kindness, offer them all compassion, and if you are called to it, perhaps you may find a way to do more.

I hear the crack of a rifle echoing round our hills.  I hug my own dogs, and shed a quiet tear.

Sometimes Your Only Job is to Ask for Help

Image from lingualift.com

Problems are not the problem; coping is the problem. ~ Virginia Satir

I have a friend going through a tough time right now. For her everything seems to be going wrong. There are substance abuse issues, and she thought by cleaning up and getting that out of the picture, somehow everything would be fixed.  But the addictions only masked pain, hidden traumas, and a deep inability to cope with problems from the past.

We all have our strengths, and we all have our breaking points.  What cripples me might be a walk in the park for you. Still, comparing ourselves to others never helps.

When you have gotten to a place in your life where something isn’t working, where nothing is working, where you feel backed into a corner, helpless, weak, angry, resentful, disempowered or worse – when your self esteem is through the floor and you just can’t think straight anymore…

YOUR ONLY JOB IS TO ASK FOR HELP

IF you could have fixed it, if you’d known what to do, you would have done it.  The pain you’re in is because you DON’T know how to help yourself.

That’s okay.

YOUR ONLY JOB IS TO ASK FOR HELP

There are so many wonderful people in the world who have trained specifically to help you with your problem. They may have even been in your shoes.

When you’re this far down, and you are just not coping, there is someone out there who will know what to do.  Reach out you hand.  Ask.

Whether it will be a quick fix, or something that takes time to sort out, you don’t need to know what the answer is, you only need to know that someone else will. Whatever you are going through, someone else has walked that road before you.  And one of them will have a map to get you out of there. In fact, it’s probably their calling.

One day, it might be yours.