Chronic Illness? This is a Spiritual Retreat for you!

“The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud — the obstacles of life and its suffering. … The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life. … Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one. ” 
Goldie Hawn

I have a beautiful residential retreat coming up, from March 6 to 11 in Byron Bay, Australia. It’s a gentle retreat, a restorative retreat, whose focus is to help you develop and commit to a regular spiritual practice that nourishes, sustains and grows you.

When I think about this retreat, and the practices I will teach you, my heart swells with love and gratitude. These are the techniques I used on my own soul journey, as I moved from resistance into connection, from self-loathing to self-love, from fear into deep peace. These techniques are ones I still use daily, or often. They are what helped me to become more fully who I truly am, rather than who I thought people wanted me to be, or how I thought I ‘should’ be. Quite frankly, these practices have become the foundation of my spiritual and psychic life, and the reason I have been able to cope with suffering, pain and trauma. They are also the practices that have enhanced my gratitude, compassion and inner wisdom.

As many of you will know, I have suffered from serious illness and the limitations that creates for most of my adult life. In fact it was this chronic illness that first created the space for me to explore my own spirituality, intuitive and psychic abilities so much more deeply.

All of the techniques I will teach on this retreat, and the journey I shall guide you through, came to me when I was at my most unwell. Suffering and illness is often the doorway for profound spiritual awakening. I’m sure there are many of you who will resonate with that as the truth of your own journey too.

I’ve had inquiries from people with chronic fatigue and other debilitating illness, wanting to come to our next retreat but worrying if they are suitable or if they will cope. If that’s you let me reassure you… you’ll find a place to fit in and belong here in my Tribe.

Our Awakening to Spirituality Retreat is gentle. You’ll be supported to find your own rhythm for connection and inner journeying. There will be enough time to get from your room to the Hall and to the Dining Room. There is plenty of rest time and quiet time scheduled each day. Our days will be filled with meditation, reflection and simple spiritual practices, creative activities, good company, laughter, love and transformation. There will be friends to lean on, and we can find accommodation for you that is quiet and allows you additional solitude, or find a suitable roomie to give you company if that’s what you’re yearning for.

Our catering is geared for people with food intolerances, allergies and issues. Honestly, it won’t be a drama – we can work it all out. And you won’t be a burden to us, because this is how I’ve lived my life, and how I’ve often had to run these retreats as I have faced health issues myself. I understand pain. I understand fatigue. I understand anxiety and medication routines and incontinence and mobility issues and stupid dietary requirements that usually mean I have to lug my own food everywhere. I understand no one else understanding. I understand the emotional pain and isolation that illness can bring. I also understand end of life spaces. I’ve lived all of these things. I’ve created my retreats for my own needs, which are also yours. My retreats always have able-bodied people alongside people like me who have major health issues. And the health issues in the end are never a big thing. They are just something we manage so that we can focus on the real work – soul work.

Having a health issue is not a prohibitive factor for this event. In fact, it might be the perfect time for you to join us in a safe and non-judgmental atmosphere.

Your journey is my journey. Often when we are living with long-term illness, no answers to our health problems, a chronic or a terminal condition, we think that there will no longer be a place for us in the world. There is a place for you in mine.

I can show you spiritual practices that will help you to find your centre again, manage your pain, and give your life meaning and connection. I KNOW that when you begin to incorporate this soul-journey work and spiritual space in your own life that life will regain shape and satisfaction for you, no matter what your situation, or the nature of the days ahead of you.

If you need to talk further with us, please reach out. We are here for you. Our best email is nicolecodyinfo@gmail.com and Dana, my wonderful PA, can send you information and start the ball rolling to have you join us.

Able-bodied and completely well people are, of course, always welcome and invited too! My work is for you all, on a soul level, regardless of the skin you are in.

You can read more about the Awakening to Spirituality retreat here and here.

Love and gentle hugs, Nicole  xx

Only Someone Who Has Chronic Pain or Illness Knows…

“Illness is the night side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.”
~ Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor

 

I’ve been unwell since my teens.

There have been so many diagnoses. (I won’t list them all here, although perhaps I should.)

I’ve pursued so many kinds of treatments. (Really. In over thirty years of continuous concerted effort I’ve done more kinds of diets, therapies, herbals, treatments, drugs and totally-out-there-hokey-but-I’m-doing-it-because-desperate regimes than I care to mention. Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth. And I’m still here. So some of it must have worked.)

There have been times where I have only been able to see myself through the prism of loss.

But that’s soul-destroying. It makes you die while you are still alive. And I want to live. So mostly I choose to view my life by framing it up around what I can do, rather than what I can’t.

I have read deeply and widely, in order to get an inside angle on my health. I have come to understand my body better. I have become a master at hiding or managing disability and at creating a life that works on my terms. Mostly.

Some days a pain comes. Or some other symptom. After which I spend hours backtracking and investigating. Was it because of something I ate? A chemical? Lack of sleep? A million other possibilities? Did I do this to myself or make things worse? I’ve lost days to this kind of hypervigilance. It never helps, although it can gift me a temporary illusion of control.

I have a long, long list every single day – of pains and problems and freakish symptoms which it long ago became too boring to mention, even to myself. Mostly it is background noise in my life. I live with pain. I live with the kind of things that would have other folk rushing off to the doctor. After a lifetime of discussing them with doctors and having no resolution these kinds of things become your new normal, and then, eventually, just part of your life.

Mostly, just like other people with chronic or terminal illnesses, I have continued to look quite unremarkable on the outside. Maybe just a bit tired sometimes, or a bit puffy or drawn or pale.

Image from www.wallls.ru

Image from www.wallls.ru

These days I’m actually doing much better. Especially after two solid years of horrendous antibiotic therapy for Lyme. After major surgery last year ( and then the superbug I acquired) and an avalanche of new drugs (and some old favourites) and then Chinese herbs, essential oils, modified diet (again!) and intravenous vitamin C.

I feel like I’ve turned a corner. I can function better, I have more energy than I’ve had in years. Life is opening out a little more for me. People comment on how well I look.

Although that better is comparative.

I still can’t drive. My vision is still impaired. I still need early nights and nana naps to get through the day. I have a horrible startle reflex. When I’m tired. I lose words. I sound like. A badly. Edited film. With pauses and breaks in. All the wrong places. Because. Brain not working properly.

I’m still immuno-compromised. (And please, will you quit rolling your eyes and commenting about how it always seems to be one thing after another with me? Yes, that’s true. Because I am immuno-compromised after so many decades of illness. The bugs that barely register with you or that inconvenience you for a few days still have the power to take me down, or even out. Don’t visit me when you’re sick. Wash your hands more. Practice good hygiene. Rant over.) Incontinence issues? Yep. Not quite nailed the superbug? Yep. Foods that send me spiralling into misery? Yep. Exhaustion? Yep. Pain that wakes me up and keeps me up? Yep. No libido? Yep. Tendon stiffness that sees me hobble when I get out of bed, or up off a chair after sitting for a while? Yep. Pay for increased activity levels with increased night-time pain and exhaustion the next day? Yep.

Yep.

Still, I have coping strategies, and meditation, and healing foods and emergency triage treatments. I have a wonderful local GP and acupuncturist. I have an incredible husband who is my full-time carer (although I hate to think of it like that, it’s the truth.) I have a beautiful group of friends and an online community who lift me up every day.

My life is good. It’s precious and wonderful and I am grateful for every breath.

Mostly.

I am one of millions just like me. People living with or despite conditions and illness. We’re doing our best. For some of us that’s actually pretty messy and awful at times. Most of which you won’t ever see. Some of us can’t get help. Some of us aren’t believed. Some of us don’t have the financial resources or the energy or education or support to even try to get past what ails us. Some of us will fail, decline, die despite help and treatment. Some of us have trajectories that are all downhill.

So, what can you do?

If you’re one of the millions, try to find some small thing each day to focus gratitude upon. Look at what you can do. That’s a big ask at times, but I’ve come to realise that what we focus on magnifies. I’d rather focus on the pleasure of savoring a cup of tea than on the fact I can’t see the bloody thing clearly anymore. When I focus on what still works and what’s still good, peace comes to me. You can heal or endure when you’re peaceful, more than you ever can when you are stressed or angry. (I know this from experience, but I won’t say ‘trust me’ – it’s better if you experience this yourself too, so that you can own it as truth in your body rather than just a concept in your mind.)

If you’re not one of the millions yet, know that it’s entirely possible that one day you might be.

If you’re not one of the millions, please stop pandering that New Age drivel to us about how this is all a beautiful learning experience, or that our souls chose this, or that we somehow created it, or perpetuated it. Or how we can turn this into a wonderful soul-growth opportunity. Or that God only gives us what we can handle. Don’t hang that judge-y guilt-trip on us. It’s not helpful and it’s not kind. Especially when we are having a bad day, which, incidentally, may be invisible to you. If you are one of the millions, stop hanging that guilt-trip on yourself.

Know that if a vegan, paleo, superfoods, raw diet, prayerful contemplation, soul-searching, vibration lifting, better exercise routine, detox or no-negative-thoughts regime actually worked for everyone there would be no more cancer or depression or chronic illness, or genetic abnormality or disorder already.

Don’t hang judgement on us when the network-marketing-product, special diet, cleanse-in-a-box, worked-for-your-neighbour or someone-you-read-about-online cure, doesn’t work so well with us. Or when we just don’t want to try one of those things. Again. For whatever reason.

Don’t tell us we’re heroes or warriors. We’re only dealing with the hand we’ve been dealt. Don’t tell us that you don’t know how you’d ever cope or that we’re incredible the way we are coping. Some days we don’t cope. Don’t perpetuate the myth of the incredible brave-warrior-ill-person. It’s just one more pressure we don’t need.

Please don’t treat us like we’re invisible. Please keep including us and inviting us. Even when we’re unreliable, or can only attend for a short while or not in the way you (or we) would prefer.

Unless you’re going to be mean or judge-y. In which case it’s actually better if we’re invisible.

Let’s not hide illness and disability anymore. Let’s bring it out into the open where it belongs, instead of shaming ourselves and each other around our perceived frailties and failings.

Every single one of us will know illness or injury or critical failure of something we had previously taken for granted at some stage in our lives.

Let’s treat this with kindness. Kindness isn’t a cure, but it’s a very helpful medicine.

Holding you in my prayers and meditations,

Nicole <3 xoxo

Pay Attention to the Messages You Get!

Microscopy of the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi -

Microscopy of the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi – www.rosenkilde.com

“There is nothing so strong or safe in an emergency of life as the simple truth.”
~ Charles Dickens

Sometimes, I wish I’d had more faith in myself as I was starting out.

One of the things I always teach my students is the importance of trusting and paying attention to the messages they receive when working with their psychic skills, even as beginners, and to ask for clarification when they don’t understand.

Hmmm…

One of my clients recently sent me this email:

I was wondering if you could address something on your blog which I’m following and has been so inspirational as I get well from chronic ill health, which you said I would finally figure out. I worked it out with your very accurate diagnosis. My question is ‘how come you have been able to be so precise and accurate and spot on with my life and health diagnosis yet it has taken you so long to get your diagnosis for yourself?’ Am quite new to your world and blog over the last year and have just found that an interesting phenomenon which I don’t understand.

Yes, well… that’s a good point.

And the truth is, I DID get some really good information on my health, way back in 1997. My health had been problematic for some time, and I had already been to countless doctors and alternative medical practitioners with no real results. My sister, who is very pragmatic and scientific, said to me, ‘Why don’t we ask your Guides?’

So, I did a trance channeling session with Rollo, one of my Guides, while my sister asked questions.

What did I bring through?

My poor health was a result of spirochetes.

And how could I fix this problem?

Sulfur.

Yep. In 1997 I actually diagnosed myself with spirochetes, and my diligent sister (the one who kept the tick that bit me) wrote it all down. The channeled information supports the lyme and other co-infections I have now been officially diagnosed with in 2013.

Image from tumblr

Image from tumblr

Back in 1997 I had no idea what spirochetes were.  My sister had to explain it to me. It didn’t sound very serious. I mean, it wasn’t some nasty disease, or cancer or some other terrible thing. At least I didn’t think so…

And doctors and naturopaths kept telling me there was nothing really wrong – even as my health and mental cognition continued to slide.

Back in 1997 I did not even think of using sulfur-based drugs.  I did not do any real research.  Instead I started eating sulfur-rich foods, and in desperation I even ate the raw sulfur that we bought in bulk as a supplement for our organic cattle herd. It did seem to help a little.

I didn’t go to a doctor.  I mean, what would I say? ‘Hey, I channeled some information through and apparently I have spirochetes.  You need to prescribe me a truck-load of sulfur-based meds.’

Who could I tell? Who would believe me?

And why didn’t I see the problem in myself? Of course, I can see YOUR aura, and work effectively as a medical intuitive for YOU. I just can’t see my own aura or what’s going on in my own body. (Guess what? With psychic gifts that’s how it usually works!)

The psychic gifts I have are for me to use in service to YOU. My Guides did try to help me, and they were very specific and accurate in their information.  But I didn’t trust it enough to really investigate and truly understand what they were trying to tell me. I didn’t ask enough questions.

So, roll on sixteen years, and the massive spirochete load that nearly killed me is being treated with truckloads of sulfur-based drugs. And the treatment is working. The synchronicity in how it’s all come together is quite another story. Suffice to say I feel watched over, and very blessed.

I wish I’d paid attention to myself all those years ago.  But I guess we all have to learn the hard way to trust ourselves, and to back our intuition and insights.

There’s one good thing that comes out of all of this though.  In fact, two!

1) I conclusively validated my own channeled information.

2) Perhaps my story will encourage you to trust yourself a little earlier, or at least to ask more questions.

Be well, and know that you are in my thoughts, prayers and meditations, ♥ Nicole xoxo

20120808-221904

We All Have Days Like That…

Image from www.sodahead.com

Image from www.sodahead.com

“I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little – if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny. And it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.” ~ Coco Chanel

Ah, it’s inevitable, isn’t it?

The one day you leave the house, looking like a fright but convincing yourself that it won’t matter, is the one day you bump into everyone you know.

Now that we are no longer flooded in and life has returned to normal, I really did need to pop into town and pick up a script for some new medication I’m on. These meds are rather fearsome, and have been making me just as sick as the problem I’m trying to sort out.  Think vomiting, diahrrea and misery. And a whole lot of other unhappy-making things we won’t go into here…

I felt so ill I wondered if I could get out of my pyjamas.  But I made a supreme effort and managed a clean t-shirt and shorts.  I gave up on my hair, which was knotty and wild, and soap and water was my supreme effort for my face.  No make-up, although I did think to use a squirt of perfume. LOL

Don’t worry, Nicole, I said to myself.  You’ll just be in and out.  No-one will even see you. In and out I chanted as I drove from the farm into our little hamlet we importantly call a town.  Just five minutes.

Of course I parked MILES from the chemist. And as I walked up the street TWELVE people stopped me to say hello.  Thank God for the perfume, cos most of them wanted to hug me. Dropped in my script and had to wait so I decided to go to the Post Office.  Outside I ran into someone else who said, ‘Gee Nicole, you’re taking casual to new levels’ followed by ‘you look like you’re coming down off meth!’ I should have laughed, or thought of something witty but all I wanted to do was burst into tears.

Furtively I ducked into the alcove where the mail boxes are.  And wondrously my box was stuffed full of letters and little cards claiming that I had a package. When I went inside to claim them I ran into an old friend from the CWA (Country Women’s Association) and had to have the obligatory update on EVERYONE, followed by a hug, but bless her she didn’t notice what a fright I looked.

At the counter, receiving my mountain of mail and recognising the senders, I burst into tears. I felt suddenly and completely wrapped up in love and well-being.

We all had a good laugh at my emotional reaction, but a kind laugh, and I left with armfuls of stuff, picked up my drugs and managed to get back to the car hiding behind my packages.

Let me share with you the magic that was my yesterday…

2013-02-04 14.59.54

Inside the most gorgeous of hat boxes was a home for fairies and their treasures. The love and attention to detail still reduces me to happy tears.

2013-02-04 15.02.42

A diary, hand-covered in pretty pink and green fabric, for my heart healing, and with a note admonishing me not to work so hard.

2013-02-04 15.02.03Delicious home-made soaps for me and Ben, and for my dogs!

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Notes of love, encouragement and support…

2013-02-04 15.04.18A book to uplift me.

2013-02-04 15.02.16And the most exciting, wonderful and happy-making card from my blogging friend Daisy in New York.  After the floods and me being so sick we’ve had to cancel our holiday which would have taken us there, so to receive a card of the New York Skyline means I can put it beside my bed and visit it in my imagination for now, instead. (Promise I’ll get there one day, Daisy!)

2013-02-04 15.04.47

We’ve all had one of those days. One of those days that reminds you of the caring nature of people, a day that swells your heart with gratitude for your friends, that proves how fortunate and blessed you are, just when you might have been feeling otherwise.

Life has a wonderful way of shining a light into our darkest hours.

Right now I’m beaming out some of the love and gratitude to you.  Bless ♥ 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

 

♥ Meditation for reducing inflammation and promoting healing within your body

Maidenhair fern from my garden - the delicate leaves remind me of the branching nerves and capillaries in our bodies, and green is always so anti-inflammatory, don't you think?

I am a great believer in the body’s wisdom and capacity to heal itself. Today’s blog is a guided healing meditation for you to assist in removing inflammation in your body, protecting nerves and circulation to the brain, heart, organs and limbs, promoting healthy immune response and improving digestive function so that the body is well oxygenated and well nourished. The mind is a powerful thing, and our thought and intent are as potent as any medicine.

Inflammation within the body is a corrosive force that wreaks havoc on our nerves, joints, arteries and veins. It is created through stress, and through diets high in sugar, acid and processed foods. It is exacerbated by lack of sleep, lack of sunlight, lack of or too much exercise, dehydration, smoking and exposure to toxins. Inflammation within the body leads to other problems over time, such as weakened immune systems, auto-immune diseases, diabetes, hormonal imbalances, chronic fatigue, adrenal burnout, arthritis and cancer. It is like rust that eats away at our pipes and structural supports.

Image from abstractinfluence.com

Simple ways to reduce inflammation in your body include:

  • supporting your liver, and detoxing where necessary
  • removing foods that create inflammation
  • eating a diet rich in fresh vegetables
  • drinking more water
  • cutting out sugar, caffeine and artificial sweeteners
  • getting plenty of rest
  • spending time in the sun
  • reducing stress
  • meditating
  • using exercise that promotes flow, such as yoga or tai chi
  • eating healthy fats and avoiding trans-fats
  • doing things that make you happy and that relax you

Guided Meditation

I’ve recorded the following meditation to help guide you through a process of reducing inflammation and promoting healing within your body.  It’s around 15 minutes long and all you need to do is close your eyes, and follow my words. (I get a bit choked up near the beginning, so forgive the momentary catch in my voice…)

Nicole Cody’s Guided Meditation for Healing Inflammation and Dis-Ease

Be well. ♥ Know that you are loved, and that healing is always possible. ♥

Image from healinghands.net