This is How The Universe Works…

“There are no ordinary moments. There is always something going on.” ~  Peaceful Warrior

“Everything around us is made up of energy. To attract positive things in your life, start by giving off positive energy.” ~ Celestine Chua

A few days ago, as I sat at my desk early, early, early in the morning, looking at my brilliant new idea I want to launch, looking at all of my hopes and dreams for this and next year, looking at the mountain of work I have between now and Christmas, I felt, for a moment, exhausted. And a little uncertain.

I’d felt so guided to move in this direction. The work had flowed so smoothly. I was on fire in a way I haven’t been on fire for years. And yet…

And yet in the midst of all of this I’d ended up in hospital and then on bed rest – right when I was meant to be getting my magical new idea finished.

I’d nursed my friend in her dying weeks, and willingly put all work aside to do that.

My glorious projects, already on tight time lines, now seemed more than a little crazy.

So here I was, early in the morning, looking at my endless to-do list, still having occasional little heart pains, wondering if maybe this time, I’d been misguided.

I asked Rollo, one of my Guides, whether I was on the right path. I had a need for some kind of validation or direction. I would have been really grateful if he’d just said yes or no. Followed by telling me what to do.

Instead he said this. “You’ll get your answers today. In the same way you help others, others will help you. Trust the Universe.” (He’s big on this Trust the Universe stuff!)

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So, I trusted. With a little flame of excitement in my belly, Ben and I took off to our favourite city cafe to have some breakfast. With Harry the Cafe Dog, of course.

I hadn’t been sitting at our regular table on the sidewalk very long, when a smiling gentleman at the table behind me said, “Excuse me, but are you spiritual?”

I smiled too. It was a strange thing to say, but I knew exactly what he meant. I hadn’t seen this man before, but he seemed like a local. We ended up having a lovely discussion while Ben was inside ordering our coffees. After which the conversation continued in sociable dribs and drabs.

After breakfast, while I was waiting for Ben to buy a box of chocolates for a neighbour, the smiling gentleman passed me a box of oracle cards.

“Go on,” he said. ” Have a look. They’re new. I think you’ll like them.”

‘Really?’ I was thinking, but also ‘how cool! This is the sort of stuff I’m always doing for other people…’

So, I took the cards from their box, (Colette Baron-Reid’s Wisdom of the Oracle) shuffled and gave myself a three card reading about my year ahead and these crazy projects, being completely open to whatever the Universe might tell me.

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“Read the messages in the little book,” the smiling man said. “They’re so accurate.”

So I did. Each message built on the one before, and all of the news was good. Believe in myself and my dreams and my community and keep going. This was it. All green lights. I snapped a quick photo with my phone so I would remember the cards and their messages.

I was about to put the cards back, when the man said, “Go on, do one more, one card just to top it off. Just to complete the magic.”

So I did, and got this.

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I read the little book. The message was perfect.

The man and I chatted a bit more, exchanged names and contact details, and then to my surprise the smiling man we now knew as Chris gifted my husband and I two free movie passes.

It was the most magical of mornings. Thank you, Chris!

To top it off, after a busy day of clients, I then needed to go see a friend about my magical idea. I was exhausted, but it was important that I go, so that this idea can be birthed in the world. It’s a timeline thing. A deadline thing. You know how it is. My friend is a graphic designer, and I met her at her home that evening.

I discussing something else my friend gave me a piece of advice that sorted out a problem I’d been struggling with for over a year. Just like that, all the pieces of my puzzle came together. Thanks, Bek!

Rollo was right. I trusted, and my answers came in the coolest and most delightful way possible.

So, how about you? Where do you need a little help or guidance? All you need to do is put it out there, and trust!

Crying in car parks

“Let your tears come.  Let them water your soul.”  ~ Eileen Mayhew

Over the last twenty-five years I’ve done my share of crying in car parks.  Not just any car parks.  I do have my standards. The car parks I shed tears in have always had a theme.  I’ve cried in hospital car parks, pathology car parks, specialist medical centre car parks, diagnostic imaging car parks and in the stark impersonality of inner city parking garages close to where my doctors’ rooms might be.

I’m always careful to make it all the way back to my car, and be safely alone inside, doors closed and windows up, before I start to cry.  Sometimes I’ve barely made it, but I am proud to say I’ve never yet lost it in a doctor’s office.

Why all the tears?

I’ve had twenty five years of illness, countless different diagnoses, all of them bad, or worse – indifferent. And almost always, I’ve been told there was little that could be done.

It actually got to the point where I stopped trying to get to the bottom of whatever the problem was, because it always seemed there was something new going wrong. Embarrassing to explain to others.  Melodramatic.  I even began to question whether it was all in my head.

It didn’t help that many people, doctors included, didn’t take me seriously. I became intensely wary of discussing my health, and eventually I ignored most of my problems, or found ways to manage, minimise, hide or work around them.  In fact, I had to be nearly crippled from the pain of a heart attack before I even took serious notice the last time something major went wrong. Any normal person would have done something hours before.  But me, I was waiting for it to pass, evaluating it against previous pains and issues, hating to draw attention to myself or to inconvenience anyone. Wondering if it really was as bad as it felt. It wasn’t.  It was worse. And months later I had another one that only showed up in blood tests afterwards. Still I talked it down, shrugged it away, notched it up on the board with all the other health dramas and then went back to living.

There have been hospitals since then.  And doctors. And lots of other helpful healers of all descriptions. Just as there have been for over two decades. But that’s a story best left for another day.

I have become a master of gratitude and making much of the little things that give life texture and meaning.  As my life has shrunk smaller and smaller, I have let the detail become richer so I didn’t feel like I was missing out.  I have found clever ways to cope, to make the best of things, and to not dwell on all that has slowly eroded from my life. I’ve also clawed my way back from the abyss countless times. For that I am proud. No matter what has happened, I have not yet been defeated. I’ve always found a way to stagger back to my feet and keep going.

I tell myself things are great. And I can’t complain about my life.  There is so much good here, such a rich canvas of blessings. But always, at the back of my mind, is this terrifying understanding that there is something seriously wrong, and that over time things are getting slowly worse, rather than slowly better.

Today I sat in yet another city car park and I cried. This time I cried for a whole new reason. These were tears of relief.  Tears of exhausted, soul-weary gratitude.  Today I got a diagnosis.

Today, for the first time in a very long time, I felt validated. And I felt the smallest flicker of hope.

So tonight I shall pack my bags and my husband will drive me home to our farm. Tomorrow I will sit in the sunshine and sip tea while I contemplate my future. I do intend to have one, and tonight it actually looks possible.

When I’m ready I’ll share it all with you, but for now, just let me draw breathe.

Thanks for listening.  Nicole ♥ xx

Doing Nothing is Productive!

Image from wallpapers-biz.co.cc

Are you one of those people who needs to be productive?

I certainly am. Not from any external pressure –  I just LIKE getting stuff done, and I always have several projects on the go, a big fat to-do list, as well as a schedule that stretches out towards the horizon.  Life, and its possibilities, lights my fire!

But there is nothing like a good dose of burn-out to help you realise that less is more, and a dose of near-death really does help you to clarify your priorities.

Where one upon a time I worked endlessly, I now work in bursts, and then have some time out that is totally unscheduled.

Before my big cycles of crash and burn, repair, go full tilt, crash and burn, repair, go full tilt, crash and burn – okay, you get my drift – my life looked like this:

Image from freeicons.eu

I was a busy little robot working harder and harder, doing more and more, and somehow expecting that I could just carry on that way forever.

I actually thought that if I worked harder and harder I would achieve more and more, ad infinitum.  But of course you end up working with the Law of Diminishing Returns.  More does not make more.  More becomes less.

More work means less sleep. Less fun.  Less clarity.  Less inspiration.  Less connection.  Less well-being. Less healing capacity.  Less opportunity to be spontaneous. Less flexibility.  Less ability to cope with the unexpected. Less true creativity. Less chance of seeing new possibilities, meeting new people and expanding in new directions.

When you keep trying to fit more and more in, something will inevitably break, and that something might be you.

I know this, because I’ve been there.  More than once.  And most of it has been self-inflicted.

I’ve had to ask myself the big questions in life.

I am okay with diminished output if it means better quality of life, and a longer life. I mean, realistically, how much can you get done here if you’re dead? And in the end, does any of that stuff on your to-do list really matter?

So now my life looks much more like this:

Image by Lecsmile – Photobucket.com

I have periods of deep rest, relaxation and doing totally NOTHING.  And then I have periods of doing things, being active, connecting, learning and being crazy-mad infatuated with taking up all life has to offer!

Truth is, I’m more productive than I ever was, in the areas that matter to me.

I hadn’t expected that.

Oh my goodness I wish I’d know this important little nugget of wisdom years ago.

Less is more.

Image from msugradwellness.wordpress.com

That’s right.

Doing nothing is good for you.

If you don’t know how to do nothing, here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Naps.  Napping is awesome!
  • Curl up on the couch with a magazine.
  • Go to bed early or sleep in.  Sleep all day if you feel like it.
  • When something frees up in your schedule, don’t fill that spot with another task or expectation.  Let yourself luxuriate in that new spare time.
  • Dawdle. Potter along on a nice slow walk, amble through a park or shopping mall.
  • Go to the movies.
  • Read a book.
  • Nap.  Did I say that already?  Oh well.  Have another one!
  • Lose yourself in a book.
  • Hang out at the library.
  • Go for a surf.
  • Get a massage.
  • Take a bath.
  • Quit something so you can free up your schedule!
  • Say no to things you don’t want to do.
  • Have an early night and bunk down with some tasty treats and a good DVD.
  • Go on holidays.
  • Have a phone free, computer-free day.
  • Stay home and do… nothing! No housework, no odd jobs. Do what makes you happy. Maybe some craft, or cooking, or just hang out.
  • Spend time with the ones you love.
  • Sit in a coffee shop and read the weekend papers while having a long breakfast or an extended brunch/lunch.
  • Go window shopping, just to pass the time and fill yourself up with images, ideas and dreams.
  • Sunbake.
  • Sit by the ocean or the river.
  • Perch on top of a mountain.
  • Fluff around, not getting anything much done, but not minding that either.  Some people call this procrastination – I call it exploring my desk or kitchen drawers to see what’s really in there…
  • Spend time with the family pet – these guys really have relaxation down to an art!

Magic happens when we give ourselves down-time. And a magical life is definitely one worth living. You never know what might happen if you just create a little space in your day…

Image from The Fox and The Child, Hopscotch films, 2009