Grown-Ups Get To Choose!

“We are always told that anyone over the age of eighteen should know what they are doing. The fact is, they don’t.” 
~ Rae Earl

One of the most important lessons I ever learned in life came from a trip to the corner store at the end of the street.

I was cooking dinner and realised I had run out of potatoes. Ben walked with me for the company and busied himself at the front counter while I rifled through the potato bin. He bought himself a bag of mixed lollies (candies), all counted out into a striped paper bag.

I paid for my two potatoes and then reached out for a sweet. ‘Hey,’ said Ben pulling the packet out of reach. ‘These are mine. If you want some, get your own!’ He was joking, but it made me realise something.

Lollies? I never bought lollies. I hadn’t bought a bag of sweets like that since I was a kid and my pa would give me fifty cents to buy some in the holidays. ‘Okay, I will!’ I said defiantly. It was wonderful to choose them, and on the way home I felt like a kid as I let myself eat a couple right before dinner – something my mum would never have allowed. By the time we got in the front door Ben’s bag was empty. I told him off for ruining his dinner.

‘Nic,’ he said, ‘I’m a grown-up. I can do what I want. I would have eaten them all before dinner or after dinner, but I ate them now because I felt like them and they were delicious. That’s the thing about being an adult. You get to choose.’

It might sound weird but that was a revelation for me. I’d grown up in a strict household, and I carried that strictness and all of those rules into my own independent life. But now there was no-one to tell me what to do. I could do what I wanted. I was an adult. I didn’t even have to eat my dinner if I didn’t want to. I could just eat my bag of lollies.

That freedom of being able to eat breakfast cereal for dinner, to not make your bed or to stay in pyjamas all day can be an awesome thing. But so often we only use that freedom adulthood bestows upon us to make childish or insignificant choices. The rest of the time we let life happen to us, or we make a choice once and think we can no longer make another. These July energies support change and I want you to understand that as an adult there are many other things you can use this superpower of choice on.

You can choose to give up smoking. You can choose to get a better job. You can choose to stay and work on a marriage with problems. You can choose to leave a bad relationship. You can choose to sell everything up and travel the world. If you’re stuck, if you’re unhappy, if something’s not working YOU CAN CHOOSE SOMETHING ELSE INSTEAD.

What will you choose in July?

Much love, Nicole xx

PS – Need some help with your choices?

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Choose Your Perspective And Get Happier!

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.” 
~ Alphonse Karr

 

Someone commented recently on how lucky I was to have such an awesome life, and that having my life would make anyone happy. This was a person who had only just met me, and knew nothing of my chronic illness or any of the other complexities of my life. I tend to agree that I have an awesome life, despite some of my current circumstances. But I have also come to know that happiness is a choice.

The fact is that I AM happy most of the time, and more and more my life is beginning to be shaped in pleasing ways. But there are still many things in my life that are challenging, and sometimes downright devastating, be it my own health issues, deaths of friends, family or livestock and family illness and decline. None of us are immune to pain and suffering and I certainly have my share.

I came to a realisation years ago that I could either focus on the good things or focus on the bad. Focusing on the good helps you to feel better. Feeling better helps you climb out of the hole. When you feel good you are magnetic to more good. When you feel bad and ooze that vibration of misery and gloom, more of that stuff seems to come your way.

So, understanding that happiness is a choice, a discipline as much as a philosophy, has helped me to heal, to heal relationships, and to attract more love and friendship into my life. I’m not saying it’s easy to choose happiness, but it’s ALWAYS better than the alternative.

 

Activity:

Make a little time for some self-reflection. Take your journal, and over the next few weeks carefully and honestly answer the following questions?

  • Who supports me in my life?
  • What have I always been good at?
  • What activities or things make me feel good about myself?
  • How often do I experience these?
  • Does my home environment reflect who I am?
  • Does my work environment reflect who I am?
  • How can I make small changes to help my surroundings mirror the inner me?
  • Who erodes my sense of self? How do they do this? What can I do about it?
  • What six small things can I do right now, in this next week, to reflect my inner worth and personality?
  • What ten things have I always wanted to do, and that will be beneficial to my Soul and Sense of Self, but that I have not done yet?

Now use these answers to start making some changes. Thinking is always useful, but DOING is what makes the difference! Choose to focus on the positive and lift yourself up. I promise it makes a difference.

Much love to you, Nicole ❤  xx

I should be grumpy this morning…

Image from lalal

Image from The Bump

“The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.”Henry Ward Beecher

I should be grumpy this morning.

Really, really grumpy.

I have now completed my third drug-free week from my lyme treatment, letting my liver have a break. At first I was so grateful to not have to put fistfuls of pills into myself. The drugs themselves are a nightmare, and I was celebrating not taking them. My body sighed with relief and my toxicity levels dropped. For a moment I felt marginally better.

But then some of the old symptoms I haven’t experienced for months flared up. Bartonella pains, babesia night sweats, lyme brain, chest pain. No fun at all. And it has become steadily worse. Worse enough that I’m looking forward to starting those horrible drugs again next week.

Each night now I endure pain, and insomnia. Last night was especially uncomfortable, and I didn’t get much sleep at all.

I should be so grumpy.

But last night I lay awake and listened to the sound of rain on our city roof. I peered into the bright screen of my iPad, loaded the weather radar and watched great clouds of rain dumping their load over the farm, imagining how the parched land would be sighing in relief.

I lay in the dark, hours later, and listened to the soft regular breathing of my husband, newly home from hospital. I reached my fingers out to him in the darkness and settled my hand on his chest.

Finally, after endless hours of misery I fell into a restless sleep.

I was dragged up from a disturbing dream by a persistent tugging on my arm.

Cafe Dog (known to some as Harry!) had my arm in his mouth and was trying to pull me out of bed. He let go, nudged my face and licked me. Then he bounded to the door.

Everyone was already up. It’s a glorious day. The air is fresh and clean from all the rain. The sunshine is dazzling. All my loved ones are happy.

So, I should be grumpy, but I’m not. Life is blessing me right now, and I’m not going to miss a moment. I can nap later, but right now morning calls, and Cafe Dog is keen for us to go to our favourite Brisbane haunt for an early breakfast, some writing and a little socialising.

No matter what is going on right now that is outside of my control, I can choose how I feel in each moment.

I choose love.

I choose happiness.

I choose gratitude.

How about you?

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5 Random Things That Make Me Happy

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“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
~ J.R.R. Tolkien

 

1. Little details of loveliness that show people care. Fresh flowers on a cafe table…

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2. Singing along to my favourite songs in the car!

Image from Ake Hige, Flickr

Image from Ake Hige, Flickr

3. Being lost in a book…

Image from bz55

Image from bz55

4.  Seeing shapes in clouds!

and this… (sorry, I couldn’t resist!)

5. Cooking my Nana’s pikelets. I always feel her magic in the kitchen, and that makes me smile. It also makes the food taste good.

Nana's famous pikelet recipe

Nana’s famous pikelet recipe

PS: Pikelets are also coveted by dogs. Dogs make me happy too!

Bert, sneakily eyeing off the pikelets

Bert, sneakily eyeing off the pikelets

Wherever you are, I’m wishing you some sparkles of happiness and joy today.

What little things make you happy?

Much love to you, and a big hug too, ♥ 🙂 Nicole xx

 

 

Chronically ill and Happy!

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“The individual who says it is not possible should move out of the way of those doing it.”
~ Tricia Cunningham

 

I’m not happy because I have a chronic illness – I’m happy because I still love my life! It’s possible, and in fact I think it’s necessary, to find happiness when life has dealt you a crappy hand. Let me explain…

Those of you who have been following my journey know that I’ve experienced poor health, interspersed with periods of being desperately ill, for my entire adult life. At least I finally have a diagnosis now – late stage lyme disease and a range of other bacterial co-infections that have invaded my brain, bones and organs. Having this undiagnosed illness for over 30 years has been a major challenge, physically and emotionally. And the path to healing for me is a long road too – two and a half to three years of a savage drug regime, coupled with other wholistic modalities, herbs and diet.

Chronic illness and disability is different to your average bout of being unwell, no matter how serious that short duration illness might be. By its very nature chronic illness means that the wallpaper of your life is incapacity, pain and limitation.

I call it wallpaper for a reason. When illness is a one-time short duration event it takes over your life, cuts you down at the knees and takes all your energy and focus until you are well enough to move on.

When you live with illness all the time, or a disability, it becomes like wallpaper. You truly learn not to notice it so much, or you find inventive ways to live with it. You adapt, even if that means shrinking your world down. And if that illness persists for a long period of time, one of the best coping strategies in the world is to keep living as normally as you can DESPITE that illness. Of course, your ‘normal’ may also need to be very different to the ‘normal’ of a healthy person.

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One of the great gifts that has come out of my own illness is an ability to be grateful for the smallest things in life, and to put my focus on them. In that way I can find happiness and satisfaction even on the worst of days. On my best days, life is gloriously normal, and I revel in that normality. I appreciate the sorts of days that healthy folk take for granted.

People with chronic illness or disability can still have a life. We can still have interests and friendships, we can still go on outings or holidays, we can still create things, we can still laugh. In fact we must do these things, or what is left to us?

And that also gives me a great gift to share with you. I’ve found a way to be happy, engaged with life, and to keep working towards my dreams, even with illness and limitation. Oh sure, I have my moments. Days where I can’t get out of bed, days where I am wracked with pain or afflictions that prevent me from doing anything much at all. But there are enough days where I can focus on something positive and good that my life, on balance, is still a source of deep satisfaction to me.

What’s my secret? Gratitude, meditation, learning to appreciate a slower and simpler life, finding joy in a cup of tea, sunshine on my face, a beautiful flower, a well-written book, chats with a friend or a cuddle with my dogs.

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We all experience ups and downs in life. It’s how we deal with those challenges that defines us.

If you’re experiencing physical or emotional challenges, I urge you to find some small positive details where you can muster gratitude, even if only for a moment. These bright points in a dark place can be life-saving, and even life-changing.

If you know someone with a disability or chronic illness, support them in their quest to enjoy life the best they can. I include being old, being a carer, and being a parent of very young children in this category as well.

Everyone copes better when we are included in the fabric of society. Everyone copes better when they have some sun on their face, a friend, an interest, an outing.

Everyone deserves to find happiness.

Corfu Wild Flowers, a bunch

You might find these posts useful too:

On illness and being unreliable

Inviting Stillness…

Real friendship

Finding moments for yourself

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