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

Lessons on Waiting and Being Delayed

Image from ASCRS Eyeworld

Image from ASCRS Eyeworld

“How did it get so late so soon?” 
~ Dr. Seuss

“If we can just let go and trust that things will work out they way they’re supposed to, without trying to control the outcome, then we can begin to enjoy the moment more fully. The joy of the freedom it brings becomes more pleasurable than the experience itself.”
~ Goldie Hawn

I spent a lot of time waiting in doctors’ rooms yesterday. In fact, over the last thirty years I’ve spent an enormous amount of time waiting. Waiting for doctors, waiting for tests, waiting for results, waiting for second opinions.

In the beginning waiting used to frustrate me. Doctors always seem to run late. There’s inevitably a big queue at the pathologist’s early in the morning when you’re on fasting bloods. Simple procedures often take far more time than you’d expected. Have you noticed that?

Back when I lived a very measured and time-poor life, scheduled down to the last-minute, this kind of waiting nearly drove me crazy. Why couldn’t these people be more efficient?

I’ll tell you why.

People and bodies are complex by design, and things don’t always run to plan.

Yesterday I was up early to be one of the first through the door for blood tests at 6am…

My first doctors meeting is at 9am and I have a string of appointments after that, all scheduled a few hours apart. I plan to get quite a lot done during the ‘in-between’ appointments time.

After breakfast I arrive at the surgery early to fill in paperwork. And then I wait. So early in the day I’m not expecting much of a delay. It’s a busy practice with several doctors, and the waiting room is already full.

One by one each person’s name is called. New people arrive. Others come and go. 9am rolls by, then 9.15 then 9.30. I still haven’t been called. After a while a woman sits near me, and she and I stay sitting as more names are called. I’ve been waiting over an hour now, and the woman beside me half that time. She begins looking pointedly at her watch, sighing and making it apparent that she’s not happy. I keep reading my book.

After an hour the woman loses it. “What’s the delay?” she shouts angrily. “My appointment was an hour ago.” She lets it rip at the receptionist. Still yelling abuse she storms out of the practice as an elderly couple emerge from a consulting room, red-eyed and obviously upset. They look lost as they stand at the front desk.

A minute later my doctor calls my name.

He’s reserved today, not his usual self. “Sorry about the delay,” he says. He seems quite sad.

I can’t help myself. “Are you okay?” I ask, placing my hand on his arm.

My lovely doctor is taken aback. Tears prick his eyes. “Yes,” he says in the softest of voices. “Yes, I’m fine.” With great professionalism he brings the focus back to me, the weight of whatever happened earlier sitting heavy in the air between us.

Things go well for me, and I’m out the door in under fifteen minutes.

Luckily I’d made my medical appointments with plenty of time in between them. I can deal with the delay with a little juggling. I cancel some plans. And my day works out just fine. Better than fine in fact. For some reason we end up getting ‘rock-star’ car parks right out front everywhere else we go. The day slides by so smoothly. Nothing at all is a hassle. It’s like being late early in the day somehow saves us all this time later on.

Last night as I sat in meditation I thought of that elderly couple, and said a little prayer for them, and for my doctors, nurses and all those who work in the health care industries. It’s a big job, at times a very hard and thankless job. People and bodies are complex by design. Things don’t always go to plan.

I spent a lot of time waiting yesterday because someone needed more of my doctor’s time. And whenever you need more time it’s not a good thing. Positive news is always fast. The other kind usually takes longer.

How could I mind someone needing more time? How can a doctor or other medical professional possibly determine in advance who might need that extra attention?

I have been on the other side of this too. A few years ago a young technician was performing an ultrasound on my abdomen. She took forever, and went from being chatty to very, very quiet. Eventually she left me there, and after a fraught ten minutes brought back a colleague. They both huddled over the screen and then the senior technician repeated my procedure. Neither would tell me what was going on. My fifteen minute procedure took ninety minutes, interspersed with phone calls back to my doctor. I was the person emerging into a waiting room of cranky patients being held up because of me.

I have been given my share of bad news. I have cried in car parks or sat stunned and silent afterwards in coffee shops near medical specialists’ rooms. I have been the reason for everyone else being delayed and inconvenienced.

Yesterday I was thankful that it was not me needing more time. And I was also grateful that others could have the time they needed.

It might not be a doctor’s surgery.You might end up waiting in the office of a counsellor, a tax accountant, a veterinarian, a dentist, a skin cancer specialist. The thing is, you’ll be waiting because someone needed more time.

If that was you, if you needed more time, you’d want the person helping you to care enough to be very present for you. To do all that they could to explain and work on your problems. You’d want to feel supported. You wouldn’t want to be just a number being churned through the mill.

So, if you find yourself waiting, know that it might be inconvenient, but it’s not the worst of things. It shows that whomever you’re waiting for cares about doing their job well. They care about looking after their clients or patients. And that means they’ll extend that same care to you.

Go well in the world today. I’m thinking of you and sending love.

Nicole xx

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On illness and being unreliable…

“I’m a very loyal and unreliable friend.” ~ Bono

One of the issues you need to deal with when you or a family member lives with chronic illness is your unreliability factor.

When I speak of chronic illness, I am talking about any condition that lasts for more than a few weeks, that doesn’t conform to a normal healing arc, or a condition that cycles into more active or less active phases.  The condition could be a physical affliction, a mental illness or a combination of these.  For whatever reason the presence of this thing in your life means that there is always a possibility that your plans, no matter what your intentions, may go awry.

Depression makes it impossible for you to get out the front door, irritable bowel means you don’t dare go to that intimate dinner party with the people you don’t know very well, a sudden infection or a flare up for you, your partner or your child and you’re back at the doctors, back on medication, back in bed…

Sick child - image from www.bloggingdad.com

Sick child – image from www.bloggingdad.com

Too often over the years, mine has been the empty chair at the dining table, the empty bed at the retreat, the face missing from the ‘family event’ photograph.

I don’t enjoy letting people down, or being unreliable, so over time I have accepted fewer invitations and my world has shrunk small.  Talk to anyone with a long term health issue and as much as they may seize the day, they often don’t know until they wake up whether the day will be a good one or not – so they become champions of winging it and making the best of those times when they feel strong, positive and with some charge in their battery.

One thing I have come to understand is that you need to have a few friends or family who know what’s going on, who are on your side, and who can cope with last minute invitations or cancellations.

Yesterday I was running on not much sleep, and it was in fact not the greatest of days.  But I had promised to meet a friend for breakfast. She has her health issues too. She understands.  We often text each other at the very last minute to cancel a meet-up, but we do everything we can to get there. We’ve also connected at very short notice, because both of us feel up to it, and why waste a moment?

I’ve caught up with Carly when she’s had an IV line hanging out of her neck, when I’ve been on my way to or home from hospital, and when both of us have felt very much less than glamorous.

Illness has taught me something important.  Friendship is more important that looking fantastic as you head out the front door. Connection is worth more than self doubt. And laughing and being with people you care about, and who care about you, is the very best of medicine.

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Today, both of us are heading back to doctors to have scans and more medical appointments.  Both of us have heads full of wondering what’s going on ‘inside’.

And both of us are unreliable. Not because we want to be.  Not because we are casual about commitment, or how much we care about you.

We are unreliable because our bodies run their own agendas, and we really have no idea how things might look from day to day.

We’ve learned that the cost of ‘making the effort’ to engage can sometimes be too high, and we’ll keep paying for days…

If you’re in the Unreliable Club, I’m sending you lots of love, and I want to remind you that it’s worth trying to make that connection, but that the bottom line is you ALWAYS need to honour your body, and your intuition around situations and relationships.

If you are friends or family of someone with a chronic health issue, I ask that you keep loving them, keep reaching out, and do your best to make sure they don’t end up alone and socially isolated.

One of the greatest tragedies of chronic illness is that so many people end up alone, with no support network. And when we have no one to care about us, and life is so hard, some people give up altogether.

Life is fragile, and we are all vulnerable. Let’s do our best to look after each other, to stay connected, and to live life the best we can with every breath.

friendship-quotes-The-sincere-friends-quotes

Stir Fried Sweet Potato, Mushroom and Broccoli Recipe

2013-04-25 18.09.05

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”  ~ Virginia Woolf

 

Food isn’t just food.  Food is also a healing tool.  A spiritual tool. A way to give love and care to self and others.

If you want to think about this recipe as just food then this is what you need to know:

This is a handy recipe – it works well for a vegan or vegetarian main course, or as a tasty side to accompany fish, chicken or meat.  It is equally good served cold as a salad, and is delicious when folded into the centre of an omelette.  The dish is also paleo compliant, as well as being dairy and gluten free.  Needless to say, I recommend you make up enough to enjoy some leftovers!

If you want to think of it as more than just food, this simple recipe provides instant grounding for those times when you feel frazzled, disconnected, stressed and not quite in your body. It works to soothe, nourish and centre your Solar Plexus, Heart and Crown Chakras. It’s anti-inflammatory, and nurturing for those of us with exhaustion issues and adrenal fatigue.

Ingredients for 2 as a main, or 4 as a side dish:

2 cups of sliced mushrooms, 2 cups of cubed golden sweet potato, 4 garlic cloves crushed or finely chopped, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, 1 teaspoon of tumeric, 2 tablespoons wheat-free Tamari Sauce, 1 cup of water, 2 cups of broccoli florets, 1 sliced red capsicum (bell pepper), 1/2 cup of raw walnuts

*Note – leave the mushrooms in thicker slices or chunks for a more satisfying texture.

Method:

Place 1/4 of the water and the coconut oil in a large heavy-bottomed frypan or pot over medium heat.  Toss in your sliced mushrooms, stir well and leave to cook for a minute until they begin to soften slightly.  Then add your cubed sweet potato and another 1/4 cup of water. Stir to combine, lower heat and cook five minutes until sweet potato is becoming soft.

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Increase heat again, add in the garlic, tumeric and tamari and stir well.  Then dump in the broccoli and another 1/4 cup of water. Stir fry for one minute, and then add the sliced capsicum. Continue to cook over high heat, stirring frequently and adding the final 1/4 cup of water if required. Add the walnuts, stir through, and remove from heat.

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Your easy meal is now ready to enjoy, and is packed full of good things to help you nourish and heal yourself. The flavours are simple and clean, and the food is easy to digest. Great for those with chronic fatigue, and for anyone recovering from illness. It grounds us, energetically soothes us and helps us to sleep better.

But if you don’t tell people any of that, they’ll just eat it ‘cos it tastes good!

Not knowing…

Image from www.colourfully.eu

Image from www.colorfully.eu

“Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worse kind of suffering.”~ Paulo Coelho

Is it better to know or not know?

It’s a question I’ve asked myself so many times that I can no longer trust the answer.

I am dancing a slow dance with something that is robbing me of my life, in pieces so tiny and inconsequential that it seems, some days, like it’s all in my imagination.

Constantly I adjust my gaze.  Shift to a new paradigm of normal. And each time my world diminishes a little bit more.

When my gaze is recentered I look for the positive, the uplifting, the beautiful.

At times, I’m Blessed with expansion. Or sometimes I force it and pay the price later. But isn’t that what life is for?  For living?

I try not to look beyond the boundaries of my shrunken world.  To do that is to long for a life I can’t have right now. Possibilities and choices left far behind.  I’ve seen what that does to people.  It fills them with bitterness and regret. It sucks the goodness out of what remains.

We, all of us, live with diminishment, doors closed, things ended, storms that come and wash it all away.

And if it wasn’t for this unknown thing, I never would have explored this rich inner world, and the worlds beyond that. I think that’s a fair trade-off.

It’s still a beautiful life. It’s still good here in my little corner, even as the storms pass over.  The trick is learning to dance in the rain, while I wait for the sun to come out again…

Day 16 – Gratitude Challenge

Image from googleimages.com

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

~ Melody Beattie

Take a moment and close your eyes.  Can you hear your heart beating?  Can you feel the blood pumping around your body, racing oxygen and nutrients to your cells? Can you feel the muscles holding your spine, neck and head in position, are you aware of your hair and fingernails growing, can you notice the millions of commands that are given each minute from that command centre that is your brain?

Your body is like a miniature Universe, with wonders far beyond your comprehension. But don’t feel disconnected from that Universe that is your body.  You have more power over it than you know.

Image from ergoorgo.com

Imagine sucking a lemon.  Go on! See yourself select a fresh lemon from a basket.  As you hold it in your hand you feel the waxy clean skin. As you cut into the fruit the fresh lemony smell fills the room.  Now in your imagination bite down on a tart quarter of the bright fruit. Imagine the astringent lemon juice flood over your tongue – sour and strong. Feel how your lips pucker, and the saliva streams into your mouth. Your eyes might even water a little.

I’ll bet as you read that your mouth actually started to water, and that you may have even swallowed or winced a little at the expectation of sourness.

You have influenced your body with your mind alone. That’s how powerful you are! Think of the implications of the thoughts you have every day and how they must consciously or unconsciously affect your body. We are never without power in our own healing journey…

Image from healthwealthwisdom.blogspot.com

One of the most healing and healthy thoughts you can gift your body is gratitude.

Counting Our Blessings and Using our Gratitude Rock

If you need a detailed reminder of our daily process, you can review it here in Day 1 of the Gratitude Challenge.

  1. List five Blessings in your journal, explaining why you are grateful for each one.
  2. Count your Blessings off on your fingers, summoning positive emotion and saying Thank You from your heart for each one.
  3. Think of an area where you would like to improve your health and wellbeing.  Take  a piece of paper and write Thank you for the Gift of  _____________  in my life.  Imagine that you already have this gift of health.  Really feel that positive energy in your heart.  Now place your healing request under your Gratitude Rock.
  4. Tonight before you go to sleep, hold your Gratitude Rock and affirm I am richly Blessed. I have an Abundance of Good in my life. Visualise one thing you have been grateful for today. Swell that positive energy up in your heart like a beautiful golden light, and give a heart-felt Thank You, Thank You, Thank You to the Universe, then imagine a tiny shower of golden light travelling from your heart into your Gratitude Rock.
  5. Still holding your Gratitude Rock, bless your fellow travellers on this Gratitude Journey by sending them golden light, and saying Thank you.  I Bless You.  I intend for you Love, Miracles and Abundance. Know that as you are saying this for them, they are also saying this for you. Feel that connection and gratitude and know that there is real love and support for you here. Place your rock back beside your bed, and go to sleep, cocooned in this good energy.

If all you do today is these five steps, know that is enough.

For those of you who’d like an additional challenge, here it is!

Flood Your Body with Light

Today I’ve created a short guided meditation for you, to facilitate your own body’s natural healing process.  All you have to do is listen.  Allow about ten minutes for you to get settled, to listen to the meditation, and then to rest in that gentle healing energy a while afterwards.

Nicole Cody’s Guided Meditation for Healing with Light

Know that the capacity to heal is within you.  Find ways to be grateful for your body today, and grateful for the knowledge that you DO have power in your own healing journey.  Bless ♥ xx

♥ 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

The Magic of an Epsom Salts Bath

One of my favourite things is soaking in an Epsom Salts bath after a long day of psychic work. It works to soothe me on all levels – body, mind and spirit.

Because the magnesium from the Epsom Salts is absorbed directly through your skin it allows even people who find it hard taking magnesium orally to be able to top themselves up with this magical mineral.

Magnesium is an important element within our body.  It is used by our nervous system, and also by our muscles.  When we do psychic or metaphysical work we also burn up lots of magnesium. Magnesium is a co-factor in over 300 enzymatic actions in the human body, such as co-factoring with calcium to build and sustain healthy bones. It gives us energy, prevents muscle cramps and pains, calms us and helps us sleep.

How do you know if you might be magnesium deficient?  There’s a list of common symptoms here.

How to make your own Epsom Salts Bath:

Firstly, you’ll need a bathtub!  If you don’t have one then a big bucket to soak your feet in is the next best thing. The ingredients I list are for a bathtub, so reduce them accordingly if you are using a bucket.

Fill your bath with water that is tolerably hot (it needs to be able to flush your skin slightly pink) without burning you.  You need the water hot so that your pores open and because it aids osmosis.

Now add two heaped cups of Epsom Salts to your bath and stir to dissolve. Spend at least ten minutes having a good soak!

Extras – for that Deluxe Bath Experience

You can also add some essential oils to your bath to enhance the experience.  Use a few drops of Lavender at the end of the day if you want to relax – this is a great sleep enhancer.

3 drops of Rose Geranium, 3 drops of Bergamot and one drop of Vetiver will reduce stress and help rebalance hormones.

2 drops Rosemary, 3 drops Basil and 3 drops of Lemon will perk you up, enhance your mental clarity and memory, and boost your immune system.

Epsom Salts baths also detoxify the body, and work wonders on your aura – that energetic bubble our physical bodies reside within.  Epsom Salt baths clear our auras and strengthen them.

I often put a few tumbled crystals in my bath too – favourites are smoky quartz for clearing negativity and low vibrations from my aura, rose quartz for love and nurture, and amethyst for enhancing spiritual connection.  I often throw in a carnelian too, as it is a great physical healer and energy booster.

Enjoy!  ♥ ♥ ♥

The Broken Robot Repair Shop

There is an alarming trend I’m seeing, of broken people wanting to be fixed so that they can keep doing the things that broke them.

I call it Broken Robot Syndrome – people so busy, so stretched, so weighed down by debt and responsibility and complexity that they are deep in fatigue, immersed in exhaustion, and no longer capable of recognising that they have become robots.

Does any of the following definition apply to you?

Definition of ROBOT (from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

  1. a : a machine that looks like a human being and performs various complex acts (as walking or talking) of a human being; also : a similar but fictional machine whose lack of capacity for human emotions is often emphasized    b : an efficient insensitive person who functions automatically
  2. : a device that automatically performs complicated often repetitive tasks
  3. : a mechanism guided by automatic controls

Lack of sleep exhausts us. Having a too-busy schedule with no down time, play time or rest time fatigues us. The combination of the two breaks us.

There are warning signs of being in that robotic place:

  • Lack of libido.  Libido is about joy of life, not just sexual drive. But the two go hand in hand.
  • Creative and original thought dries up. We struggle to be innovative and to come up with fresh ideas.  At worst we think through a fog.
  • Health decline. Vague symptoms of weariness, sleep issues, digestive issues, aches and pains that gradually build into definable illnesses and burnout.
  • Inability to make even simple decisions. Suddenly a menu with 50 choices and a need to pick something satisfying becomes an event capable of reducing you to tears because you no longer recognise what you want, let alone what you need.
  • Everything is scheduled. Everything.
  • Tired all the time, and doing the usual things – coffee, sugar, pick-me-ups, naturopath, gym, diet, counselling – make not a jot of difference.
  • Overwhelm, depression and negativity are regular companions.

So, what to do?

First of all, understand that fixing a broken robot so that they can keep functioning as a robot is really not a suitable solution for a human.

Here are some tools from the Robot Repair First Aid Kit that might work for you:

  1. Get more sleep.  Go to bed earlier.  Create days where you can have sleep-in catch ups, or lie in bed all day reading, resting and relaxing.
  2. Simplify. Cut back on your activities, responsibilities and involvements, and make sure that the kids don’t get caught up in the vicious cycle of over-achievement and over-commitment either.
  3. Get help for the things that are stressing you. When we go to bed worried and wake up worried, and are kept up nights by worry then something has to give. If your worries involve money see what you can do to cut down the debt mountain – speak to your lending organisations or the places you owe and get an easier ‘hardship’ repayment scheme. Sell something. Downsize. Simplify. Put your hand up and ask for help. Make sure that your household are all committed to the same plan.
  4. If your worries involve relationships, get some time on your own, even if this is just a cup of coffee at the local cafe. Use that time to think about where you are, how you got there, and what your next move is. Staying in a relationship that is unloving, unsupportive, or where there are serious issues can be enough to bring any sane person to their knees. Find a good counsellor to help you work through your options. If you’re a carer, find a support group.  If you already know what you need to do, then act.  Staying and not doing or saying anything, hoping for change, has seldom proved to be a winning strategy. Only action brings change.
  5. Ask yourself the big question, “Does this relationship/job/choice/decision honour me?” Maybe it’s time to change jobs, move house, stop studying, start studying, have the conversation…
  6. Know that wherever you’ve ended up, it can change.  There is a road ahead of you to lead you back to yourself and to a place of content and security.

Here are some things to help Robots turn back into humans:

  • Time with friends
  • Time alone
  • Time in nature – walking, surfing, cloud busting, playing with pets in the backyard, gardening
  • Time for yourself and your own interests
  • Sleep
  • Relaxation time with NO expectations, goals or objectives
  • Music
  • Making art
  • Good food and good company
  • Emotional connection
  • Hugs
  • Spiritual connection, meditation, prayer or other practices that help you connect to your inner wisdom and to a Higher power.
  • Movement – not going to the gym because you have to – walking in the rain because it’s fun, dancing in the lounge room in your pyjamas because you love the music, playing with the kids or the dogs in some silly run-around game that makes everybody laugh

Life is short.  Life is precious.  When you become a Robot you miss everything good. Don’t fix yourself up to keep doing the thing that broke you. Allow 2012 to be the year where you create real, lasting and positive change.  Bless xx

 

How to nurture your Mind

We spend a lot of time in our minds. Being able to think, problem solve and create is a wonderful gift, and it’s an area we can strengthen by giving our minds a little positive attention.  It’s also good for our mental health, boosting our ability to work through depression, anxiety and overwhelm.

Our minds are plastic – they change, heal and grow. I know this because after a bacterial infection in my own brain and heart muscle (mycoplasma fermentans) left me with serious damage, I have regained cognitive function, balance (still can’t wear high heels but I no longer fall over for no reason), the ability to plan and work with numbers, and to write – all things that went seriously screwy in me for a while there. Hooray for neuroplasticity.

Look after your mind.  It’s a precious and miraculous thing, and it can serve us well our whole life if we nurture it.  Here are some ideas to help you do that:                    (image by africa)

  1. Stop multi-tasking.  Do one thing at a time. Devote your entire awareness to that one task.  When it is finished, move on to the next one.  This builds concentration and focus skills.
  2. Create a master list book – a place where you can keep all of your tasks and points to action.  Date new entries, and cross them off when the task is completed.  Having a book with all of those lists in one place helps you manage stress and your time. It also builds trust in yourself and your ability to complete tasks.  Once again, complete a task before moving to a new one.  If the task is big, break it down into smaller chunks and write those into your list book.
  3. Daydream.  Give yourself permission to go wandering around in your imagination.  Visualise different possibilities and outcomes for yourself.
  4. Read books and vary what you read. Try biographies of people who inspire you, travel books, novels, cook books, self-help, new writers, classics, children’s and young adult and everything in between.  Ask for recommendations from friends, librarians and book sellers.  Read outside where you’d normally choose. (image by graur codrin)
  5. Take a class to learn something new. Choose things that are far from what you do every day.  If you’re an accountant try jewellery making or Japanese cooking, if you’re a masseuse learn a language or numerology.  Find things that challenge you – if it’s hard and stretches you a little that’s a good thing.  Brains need to be used, or they rust!
  6. Journal. Journalling gives you an avenue for clearing out what troubles you, for dreaming and creating, for aspiring and designing. It’s a great form of therapy and self-work. 
  7. Exercise – oxygenates the brain, and improves balance, hand-eye co-ordination and circulation.
  8. Practice gratitude. Keep a positive mental attitude and count your blessings.
  9. Crosswords, Sudoko, Jigsaws, Logic Games and other puzzles. All these things make you think! Look for things where you can scale up your ability over time by moving from beginner to more advanced levels.
  10. Meditate – it creates space in your brain, and de-clutters your mind.
  11. Play card and board games that require you to think and strategise.  Tactics, forward thinking, analysis and logic are all developed when we play games against others. (image from Flickr by Domiriel)
  12. Eat a diet rich in essential fatty acids, protein and fresh fruit and vegetables. Take a vitamin supplement that includes a strong level of B group vitamins, as well as C and E. Drink plenty of water.
  13. Engage in stimulating conversation and strong social networks.  This can be through a club, social outings with friends, or even the internet.  Where you can, meet face-to-face.  Physical connection with other humans is a basic requirement for well-being. 
  14. Peaceful pastimes such as yoga, gardening, art, or playing a musical instrument.  These put us into the same brain waves as meditation, allowing us to be relaxed and focused at the same time.
  15. Stop smoking, stay hydrated, wear a hat in the sun and don’t overheat, lose weight to cut risk factors for high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Be safety-conscious. Wear a seatbelt in the car, and a bike helmet when cycling, skating or carting.  Don’t speed, drink and drive or text and drive.  Be careful at heights.  Use a helmet when playing cricket, baseball or other contact sports. Strokes and head trauma rob us of mental function and most of these situations are preventable.
Here’s some inspiration for trying something new.  This is Suzi Blu and I totally heart her and her wonderful art journals.
Sending you all Love, Light and Blessings, Nicole xx