“Hygge is a quality of presence and an experience of togetherness. It is a feeling of being warm, safe, comforted and sheltered. Hygge is an experience of selfhood and communion with people and places that anchors and affirms us, gives us courage and consolation. To hygge is to invite intimacy and connection. It’s a feeling of engagement and relatedness, of belonging to the moment and to each other. Hygge is a sense of abundance and contentment. Hygge is about being not having.” ~ Louisa Thomsen Brits
Ben and I are going away for a week. As you read this we’ll already be on the plane.
A friend is at the farm taking care of our dogs and cows and vegetable garden. My team are looking after my emails and the phones and the work stuff.
Ben and me? We’re looking after each other. It’s been a tough year. The illness, decline and death of his mother. The loss of a dear friend. The support of another going through a terrible time. Drought. Illness.
We’re tired. We need a break, before one of us breaks.
I’ll still be meditating. And I’ll still blog. Because those things are as ingrained in me as cleaning my teeth. I can’t not do them. But everything else can wait.
Be kind to yourself this week while these energies make all of us empaths more sensitive than usual.
“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” ~ Brené Brown
‘Oh, Nicole!’ That’s how the email started.
‘Darling friend, I’m so sorry to hear you are still battling Lyme disease. I hope you’re on the mend soon. Just wanted to give you some advice. What you write stays on the internet forever unless you decide to remove it, and even then it may be too late. So why on earth did you write about having incontinence? Nic, pull it down as soon as you can. That kind of stuff is so damaging for your image, and if you ever get a publishing deal you’ll regret this kind of over-sharing. Trust me.’
Over-sharing? I don’t think so. Damaging? Some people will judge me, for sure. But they are not my people. You, dear readers, are my people.
Here’s what I know about my tribe, and about life in general.
Shit happens. Terrible, awful things can happen to good people for no reason. Life-changing accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. Wear and tear, illness and calamity can render the most sound of bodies and minds suddenly limpy, broken or cobbled together with tape, string, tears, stubbornness and fervent prayers. Many illnesses and incapacities are invisible. People live with all kinds of pains, traumas and problems that most people around them will never even guess at.
Right now I am suffering from neurological incontinence. Inflammation in my brain and nerves makes a signal go haywire and sends a message to my bladder instructing it to void. Which it does with no permission from me. One minute I have a full bladder, the next minute my bladder is emptying wherever I happen to be and no matter what I am wearing, doing or what my plans might be. It’s happened to me dozens of times over the years since I first began treatment for Lyme, and my solution is adult diapers. Which mostly work, and sometimes don’t.
People can suffer from neurological incontinence as a side effect of MS, advanced Lyme disease, brain or spinal cord injury, brain lesions, degenerative brain diseases, or the long term effects of radiation or cancer treatment, alcoholism or diabetes. It affects men and women, children through to people in old age. It affects me.
One day it may affect you or someone you love.
Few of us get a free pass through life with no adverse side-effects! My dear friend Carly-Jay and I often have a laugh over the bits of our bodies or bodily functions that fail us. We belong to a club of people who live well despite how our bodies sometimes misfunction or misbehave. We call that club the Unreliable Club and I’m sure some of you are already card-carrying members. (Maybe we need t-shirts!)
When I was first diagnosed with neurological incontinence (which comes and goes in me – I last had an attack a few years ago!) I looked everywhere for information and found almost none. It’s something no-one talks about.
So, I’m talking about it here. It’s not the end of the world. It can be managed. And it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
It’s just wee. Everyone does it. Every single day. It’s a normal part of life, and for some people it’s a part of life that doesn’t work well for any number of reasons. If more people talked openly about this kind of thing we’d realise just how prevalent these kinds of issues are AND THEY ARE NOTHING FOR WHICH YOU NEED EVER FEEL SHAME.
Urinary incontinence affects up to 13% of Australian men and up to 37% of Australian women (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report, 2006).
65% of women and 30% of men sitting in a GP waiting room report some type of urinary incontinence, yet only 31% of these people report having sought help from a health professional (Byles & Chiarelli, 2003: Help seeking for urinary incontinence: a survey of those attending GP waiting rooms, Australian and New Zealand Continence Journal).
70% of people with urinary leakage do not seek advice and treatment for their problem (Millard, 1998: The prevalence of urinary incontinence in Australia, Australian and New Zealand Continence Journal).
An Australian study found that over a three month period, 50% of women aged 45-59 years of age experienced some degree of mild, moderate or severe urinary incontinence (Millard, 1998: The prevalence of urinary incontinence in Australia, Australian and New Zealand Continence Journal).
The prevalence of urge incontinence, which is strongly associated with prostate disease, is fairly low in younger males and increases to 30% for those aged 70-84 and 50% for those 85 years and over (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report, 2006).
It’s wee. It’s not working in a very controlled manner in me just now. That’s okay. I have bigger stuff to think about. This is just small stuff, not worth sweating over.
If you feel the need to unfollow me, unfriend me or avoid me because of my bladder control issues and embarrassing habit of oversharing then go right ahead. I’ll still be here for you when life gets bumpy. And then I’ll remind you that you can still live the dream while rocking adult diapers and I won’t love you any less for it. Instead, I’ll be cheering you on!
“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.” ~ Albert Einstein
Do you want to write a book*, create a course, build an author or brand platform and generate content or blog posts? (*Non-fiction books will work well, you could even be working on a fiction project and author platform but this is NOT the course if you are looking for guidance to write the world’s next great literary novel!)
This Bootcamp is designed to get you out of stuckness or apathy and into action.
Who doesn’t love a Bootcamp! Unlike courses that drag out, this one is delivered over two punchy weekends that will get you working, creating and completing so that you can have real results by the end of our time together.
The entire course will be recorded, so if you can’t make a live session you can catch up in your own time – but as much as possible we recommend working along with us over the allocated times so that you actually GET THE WORK DONE!
I’ll be working right alongside you as I create a book and course of my own, and I’ll be showing you the inside workings of my own processes, as well as sharing information I have paid other mentors tens of thousands of dollars to learn from the best!
You’ll also get worksheets, a done-for-you book template, and the opportunity to ask questions about your own specific project.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a clear idea yet. Part of the preparation process will help you to choose an idea and find the right title/name/subject matter too!
This course will suit you if you want to start or revitalise a blog and generate blog posts and articles, and build an author platform. It will also work for you if you want to write a book to promote your work or to sell as a solution for your target audience and their problems. We’ll also be looking at how to turn your ideas and content into online courses and other offers, such as coaching or sessions with you – or other things that support the growth of your business and/or brand.
Once you have your course or book outline and your blog themes and ideas, we will look at what is needed to market your work, to build your audience, and to improve the flow of traffic to your website or blog. I’ll help you with copywriting, social media support and the structure of your marketing tools.
The format of the bootcamp is that I will give you information via live or pre-recorded webinars and videos that have an accompanying workbook. Once you’ve watched the video you have homework to complete before the next video begins. If you keep up with the work by the end of this bootcamp you’ll have a clear outline and be on your way to having written your book, course, or blogs, and you’ll have a clear marketing strategy to reach your audience, build traffic and a database of names, and a process for getting sales and followers.
The course runs over the following dates (all times are Brisbane, Australia):
1. Saturday 1 September – one hour at 10am to get you started on your preparation work. This is where I’ll show you how to figure out what you can write about, teach or create. The call will be recorded if you can’t make it, and so you can watch it back at your leisure as many times as you want. We’ll also be doing a repeat of this live prep call on Sunday 16th September at 11am if you didn’t make the first call and have questions (or if you are someone who leaves your prep til the last minute!)
2. Friday 21 September – 7.30pm – 60 minutes of preparation to write your book or course outline (or blog themes) and a Q and A session.
3. Saturday 22 September – You’ll be creating your outlines using self-paced instructional videos throughout the day – work through these at your leisure. We’ll kick off with a live webinar to explain the activities for the day at 8am.
4. Sunday 23 September – we’ll have three live webinars at 10am, 12pm and 4pm. Today we’ll be focusing on crafting your offer, and why you need more than one offer. This means I’ll be showing you how to sell without selling or being pushy. If you are writing blogs we’ll also be talking about how to monetise them and why you need to!
5. Saturday October 13 – We’ll have three live webinars today at 9am, 12pm and 4pm. These will be focusing on building your marketing skills and helping you to develop a marketing strategy for your book, course, blogs or other offers. Today we’ll look at finding your voice, social media, SEO, and Traffic Generation.
6. Sunday October 14 – We’ll have three live webinars again today. Our focus for the last day of bootcamp is building out your offers, using hashtags, simple emails, posts and challenges to generate excitement, and when to use PR to build your buzz and get you additional exposure.
Once you purchase your ticket you’ll be emailed a link to join the course.
“The Universe sets out little signposts for us along the way, to confirm that we’re on the right path.”
~ Michelle Maisto
This week’s energies are supportive of connection, communication, signs, breakthroughs and synchronicities (you can read more about that here).
But how do you ask for a sign?
I recommend that you ask only once, and then satisfy yourself with the answer as it appears to you.
Here are some things that you can try:
Shuffle your oracle or tarot cards, offer up a small prayer that whatever you do be for your Highest Good, and then shuffle the deck again. As you’re shuffling, ask your question . Say it out loud or hold it as a thought in your head. Either will work.
Choose one card. How you choose is up to you. Split the deck. Fan them out. Top or bottom. Dive right in. There is no right or wrong. Then really look at the card. Don’t use the book or the ‘proper’ meaning. We are being intuitive here, people! What stands out for you in the picture? What thoughts and ideas do the images provoke? What is the answer that comes to you? Trust that. Don’t ask again.
Ask for your Guide to appear as an animal or some other living thing, some sort of motif that you will associate with them and with their presence.
Image from www.printtuftandfold.wordpress.com
Ask to see a specific image or thing, as acknowledgement of a question, or in answer to it. Perhaps you are driving and you ask to see a red Kombi van if the answer is yes. Or you ask to see a particular type of bird or something else you’ll recognise as that sign…
Image from www.justmeblog.com
Ask, and then expect an answer. Perhaps the answer will be a message on a billboard, a line from a book, a voice on the radio, the words in a song. The message will stand out for you somehow, and have a special meaning just for you.
Image from www.joke7x24.deals.lv
Angels are often associated with white feathers. Guides are often associated with other coloured or patterned feathers. I have found feathers during some of the most difficult times in my life, and have felt reassured by them showing up for me.
Image from www.angelreach.com
When I sense my Great Aunt’s presence I smell roses. When my Grandmother is near, I smell or even see gardenias. A friend smells tobacco smoke when her father is with her. Sometimes loved ones will create a breeze where there was none, stop or start a clock, or move something. Whatever they do will make sense to you, based on your relationship with them.
Image from www.allexperts.com
Sometimes God creates magnificent signs, for no reason other than to help us remember the love and miracles in our world…
Rainbow image by Ookami Kouu
And sometimes it’s well-meaning friends who help us know what’s in store for us on the road in life…
AP Photo – Image by Chris Nakashima_Brown
When the road ahead is uncertain, when you need to know you’re supported, when you are looking for answers – it’s okay to ask for a sign. But do it once, and trust what you get!
♥ And here’s MY sign for you today (Okay, maybe there’s 3…):
“Use the wings of the flying Universe,
Dream with open eyes;
See in darkness.”
~ Dejan Stojanovic
Somehow in the past few days we have reached a new magical number.
Three million views.
It’s a long way from when I started this blog, thinking no-one would ever read it, and being ecstatic when my daily readership hit two figures. (Eleven. I got eleven readers in one day!!!)
So, I just wanted to say thank you.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for the gift of friendship. Thanks for the beautiful community that you have helped to create. Thanks for sharing the journey with me, and for being with me through the good times and life’s challenges too.
You’re the reason I get up every morning and keep writing.
You’re in my daily thoughts, my prayers and my meditations as I think about how best to serve you, to help you, to share with you.
You’ve become family, and I’m so very grateful to have you in my life.
Sending you the very biggest hugs and love,
and a celebratory cupcake with magical healing powers too. Cos cupcakes!
“An airplane crossed the sky, and she imagined its interior-people packed in rows like eggs in a carton, the chemical smell of the toilets, pretzels in foil pouches, cans hiss-popping open, black oval of night sky embedded in the rattling walls. How strange that something so drab, so confined, so stifling with sour exhalations and the fumes of indifferent machinery might be mistaken for a star.”
~ Maggie Shipstead, Seating Arrangements
As you read this I will most likely still be on a plane, winging my way back to Australia.
My phone is crammed full of photos. My bags are crammed full of all manner of oddities, as well as a pile of dirty laundry and the one or two items that you pack and then inevitably never use.
My mind, though full of new experiences, is actually delightfully calm and peaceful. I feel emptied out and renewed by this trip away. And more than ready to be home again.
I doubt I’ll blog on Friday morning. Sorry, but I’m hoping to still be curled up in my own bed, asleep at the farm. I hear it’s a cold winter at home. So don’t be surprised to know that it is most likely that two dogs will have snuck up onto the big bed during the night and be squeezed in beside Ben and I. Which is perfectly fine by me. I may have missed them just the teensiest bit.
As much as I have enjoyed my break away, I have also missed you too! I’m looking forward to getting back into my regular blogging routine just as soon as I have a little sleep under my belt, and have settled in again.
“Travel brings power and love back into your life.”
Just one more sleep and we’ll be on our way. Our first proper holiday in four years!
A friend is staying home at our farm, looking after Nurse Bert and Cafe Dog. Our bags are almost packed, and this time tomorrow we’ll be enjoying a last good coffee before we head out to the airport.
We’ll start with a few days in Bangkok to break the journey and give me a chance to rest and indulge in a few massages, lots of sleep and some delicious food. Then on to Rome where we’ll base ourselves for a few days before joining a cruise around the Mediterranean.
It’s not just a holiday though. I’m revisiting some places I’ve been before and exploring new ones as I put together an itinerary for a Sacred Journey Tour I want to run in 2018 – visiting sacred sites, temples and places of energetic significance. A tour with lots of meditation and spiritual work, as well as yummy food, sightseeing and adventures.
The cruise starts and finishes in Rome, after which we’ll fly back to Thailand for 6 days. There I’ll be sourcing some crystals, beads and silver for other projects I’m working on, and visiting some potential publishers for the hard copies of the Year of ME Planner 2017 that we’re currently designing.
So it will be a lovely mix of rest and work, new ideas and time to soak up the energies and magic of Asia and Europe. I’ve packed my little writing laptop, a kindle full of books, some oracle cards and a favourite crystal, my Planner and a selection of clothes. There’s even room left in my suitcase for whatever treasures I might find while we’re gone.
I’ll be blogging sporadically during my trip, and posting to facebook and instagram when I can. (you can find me on instagram as Cauldrons and Cupcakes and here on facebook) But I am also on holidays, so please don’t expect a daily commentary. I’ve cleverly uploaded a few pre-written posts to be published automatically while I’m away too, just so that you don’t feel neglected. Because I love you all, and I want you to have things to go on with while I am off adventuring.
I promise to enjoy myself doubly much, and to toast your good health and good fortune whenever I get the opportunity!
“Sometimes the most scenic roads in life are the detours you didn’t mean to take.”
~ Angela N. Blount, Once Upon an Ever After
When I first started blogging, on December 11, 2011, I didn’t expect that anyone would read what I might post.
Cauldrons and Cupcakes was an experiment. An online journal in the true sense of the phrase ‘web log’. I’ve kept a journal since I was a small girl, and it seemed a natural extension to then create one using technology rather than a book and pencil.
Every day that I write a new entry, I sit in meditation for a moment, and then in prayer, and then I hold my community in my heart and ask ‘What do my readers most need to know right now? How can I best support them?’ Those simple questions have led to all manner of posts, some of which have taken me by surprise as much it might you.
My blog has evolved into this crazy kind of living memoir. My farm and my doggy family and my cows and my psychicness (LOL – awesome english, Nic!), my philosophy, the inside of my head and all those heapingly tender vulnerabilities, a snippet of my metaphysical and self-development teachings, simple recipes and my journey with lyme disease.
It’s a strange combination, I know. But it’s how I roll. My life is made up of the very ordinary, the ordinary made magical through love and gratitude, and the other kind of ordinary – the things that are commonplace for me as a psychic and channel.
As we edge towards the magical two million views mark, my sister has been constantly asking me if I’m going to have a party to celebrate (I love you, Simone!). And I think I will. A proper one, with cupcakes and gumboot dancing and pots of tea in the garden.
Of course there will also be presents. I’ve decided to put together a little gift pack that represents the themes of my blog. Won’t that be a crazy, joyful combo! And then, of course, I shall give that gift pack away to someone here in my beautiful community, to say Thank You for your love and support. More details on that in the next few days. 🙂
In the meantime, I’d love your feedback. Is there anything you’d like me to write about? Anything you’d like more of? Anything you’re just dying to know?
Because I’m here for you.
Thank you for being part of my life. Thank you for supporting me and my funny little blog.
Nicole <3 xoxo
My first ever selfie, taken in the garden. Later that day I learned to look up at my arm at the phone as I snapped the shot. LOL. My biggest secret? Under that glam coat I am wearing my pyjamas!