Shiny Unicorn Attack (Cos It Had To Happen…)

“Never laugh at live dragons.” ~ J R R Tolkien

So, I’m standing in a health food store yesterday, waiting while someone finds a product I’d ordered.

I’m miserable. My eyes are streaming and one is gummed closed. My face is blotchy and puffy. I have a UTI and a chest infection and I am herxing badly from Lyme die-off. I’m wearing an adult diaper under my jeans. I am wheezing and coughing. I’m in pain. I look like death. I feel like death. I’m sleep deprived. It’s not my best day. (see yesterday’s blog for the full update)

I’m so uncomfortable. To distract myself while they find my stuff I go for a wander through the aisles. I could use some new lip balm. A sales assistant sidles up beside me and asks me how I am. ‘Awesome,’ I respond.

She looks at me and I smile.

‘Ok,’ I add. ‘Not awesome, but I’m doing okay. Thanks for asking.’

And then she does it. She hits me with the big New Age Shiny Unicorn.

‘Your problem? It’s a mental thing,’ she says. ‘You created it and you’re in charge. Just use some positive affirmations and you can turn it all around. You’ll be feeling better in no time.’ She attempts to lead me towards a helpful display of positive thinking books and Louise Hay affirmation cards.

I had to seriously reign in my violent thoughts.

‘Actually,’ I say, ‘it’s not a mental thing. I’m in pain. A lot of pain. I’m quite unwell. I’m happy, and I have a great life and a lot of gratitude and a good attitude, but I also have pain. No amount of positive affirmations are going to fix that right now.’

She tries again, beaming at me. ‘Oh, come on. You won’t know if you don’t try! You’re a master manifestor who is just doing it wrong. What else is possible? How could you create a happier day?’

I’m sure I’ve wet my pants. I think I can feel urine trickling into my shoe. My skin feels like insects are biting me. I excuse myself and go back to the front counter.

After I’ve paid for my supplements I have a quiet word with the manager about her overly-cheerful staff member and explain the conversation I’ve just endured. The manager has the good grace to look horrified and we agree that some staff training might be appropriate.

Rant over. If you don’t know what the problem is here then refer to this blog post.

Hugs and love, cranky Nicole who is actually still mostly happy and with a good attitude xx

You can still matter, make art, make a difference – even if you’re sick, broken or dying.

“She made broken look beautiful
and strong look invincible.
She walked with the Universe
on her shoulders and made it
look like a pair of wings.” 

~ Ariana Dancu

Lovelies, I have something important to tell you and I need you to hear it and take the truth of it right down inside you so that it can illuminate those dark places you fear may engulf you.

Stop waiting to be fixed. Stop waiting to be well. Stop waiting to be partnered or thinner or less anxious or more whole. Stop waiting to be better somehow. Stop believing all the gurus who tell you THEIR lives are harmonious, perfect, healthy, wealthy, ever happy and without any kind of angst, ill or drama.

Life is messy and hard and wonderful and short. So short.

Do you think you don’t have the right or the energy to pursue a dream or make a difference because of what’s going on in your life right now or what you’re still struggling to deal with from the past?

I call bullshit on that.

What matters most is that you express what’s in you, that you share what is yours to share, that – to the best of your ability – you strive to live while you’re alive and keep making, creating, sharing, teaching, helping, healing, loving.

What matters least is that you are ill, tired, droopy, depressed, failed at something, just hanging on, disabled, incontinent, divorcing, childless, overweight or terminal. What did that ever have to do with your soul and how it came here to express itself?

Don’t let your current or previous circumstances define you. Choose to be defined on your own terms. Choose to be enough, just as you are, and get busy doing whatever it is you’ve been holding back on. Rest if you must, but don’t give up. The world is waiting for what you have to offer.

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite Leunig poems, which I love for the gentle truth of it:

All my love, Nicole ❤ xx

Start Again In June!

Image from consciouslifestylemag.com

“Today is the perfect day for a fresh start. Stop delaying, stop making excuses, stop putting it off. Now. Today is the perfect moment. You can change things, you can try. Don’t give up.” 
Akiroq Brost

I had so many messages yesterday from readers and students and clients all asking me if they could start their year over again now it is June.

Well, of course, they can!

And so can you.

My lovely friends, let me reassure you. If this year hasn’t gone to plan for you it’s not too late. Start over again in June.

Start with small steps. Take one step and then another. Aim only to keep moving, no matter how slowly.

Don’t aim for perfection. Perfection will drag you down until you are stuck, exhausted and utterly unable to put one foot in front of the other or to make any useful decision.

Instead, aim to just start.

Don’t know what to do? Feel overwhelmed at the idea of committing to anything? That’s okay. Just start somewhere. Anywhere. Anything you begin and stick at will help to build momentum, and once you have momentum it will be easier to move in a new direction if that’s what you decide to do. But for now, just start. Or start over. Little step by little step.

June is a month where you can turn anything around, where you can reinvent yourself, where you can pick up the pieces and keep going. Start small, but start.

You’ve got this.

Cheering you on, Nicole ❤ xoxo

Sorry You Missed Me Yesterday…

 

“Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.” ~ Gever Tulley

I was intending to blog yesterday, and then I couldn’t.

Early on Monday morning I was strapped into a heart monitor and holder for twenty-four hours, and while I was wired I had to stay away from my cell phone, computers and major electrical devices.

I’m okay. Please don’t worry. Over time lyme and other infections have damaged my heart, and after a recent episode of tachycardia and a few miss-beats one of my doctors thought it prudent to investigate a little further. For me that’s pretty much business as usual. There are always background things going on with my health, I just don’t focus on them or talk about them very much.

Two things I am grateful for in this ongoing saga that is my health:

  1. All of the hardship in my life has made me resilient. I know that whatever happens in life I can cope, adapt, manage, and in many cases thrive anyway.
  2. Meditation is my rock, and one of the major factors in me managing my day-to-day circumstances with grace and ease. (Mostly. Some days are still tears and bother!)

I had a lovely time offline. My Spiritual Awakening Retreat starts next Tuesday, so I put together the bags for the participants, undid my latest crystal grid in the back yard and washed the stones and allocated them for my students, assembled the materials for some of the spiritual tools we’ll make for our personal toolkits and baked up a storm in the kitchen – trialling recipes for Easter.

I’ve discovered that as long as you can manage pain (medications and meditation are great for this, or counselling and meditation if your pain is emotional) you can cope with and adapt to just about anything.

No matter what’s going on for you right now, know that you can do this. You can manage, you can cope, you can get through, you can find a way. I believe in you and in your own enduring resilience and spirit.

Sending you wind for your wings, and very big hugs, Nicole❤ xx

The restorative power of deep rest

A primitive type of jellyfish called Cassiopea, which goes to sleep nightly, is seen on the floor of their tank at Caltech in Pasadena, California, U.S. in this image released on September 20, 2017. Courtesy Caltech/Handout via REUTERS

“It’s in the morning, for most of us. It’s that time, those few seconds when we’re coming out of sleep but we’re not really awake yet. For those few seconds we’re something more primitive than what we are about to become. We have just slept the sleep of our most distant ancestors, and something of them and their world still clings to us. For those few moments we are unformed, uncivilized. We are not the people we know as ourselves, but creatures more in tune with a tree than a keyboard. We are untitled, unnamed, natural, suspended between was and will be, the tadpole before the frog, the worm before the butterfly. We are for a few brief moments, anything and everything we could be. And then…and then — ah — we open our eyes and the day is before us and … we become ourselves.” 
Jerry Spinelli

 

Don’t you just love the image of the sleeping jellyfish? It’s the sort of whimsical possibility my mind constantly entertained when I was a child, although I never imagined that they might sleep upside down!

I was lying on my acupuncturist’s treatment table yesterday as he felt my pulse and tut-tutted in his mad professor way at the energies within my body, the colour and texture of my tongue and his many other diagnostic tools. He knew it. I know it. The past couple of weeks of family illnesses and drama have exhausted me.

Hmmm, he said. Deep rest. That’s what you need. Deep rest, and rice and beans and sprouts. Warm foods. Warm liquids. No stimulants. No spices. Deep rest. Sleep.

I know he’s right. A good deep rest now and I’ll be back to normal. For me, deep rest is not just sleeping. It’s also quiet time. Time pulled back from the needs and demands of others. Time stepped back from work and busy-ness.

The alternative? I’ve been down that path, and I know you have too. In fact, I know some of you are walking it right now. That’s the path of pushing. We’re tired but we keep getting up. We’re exhausted but we fill ourselves with caffeine or sugar or both, and we force ourselves to keep on going. We bribe ourselves, pep-talk ourselves, bully ourselves and trash-talk ourselves to get our bodies upright and responsive. We push, push, push. And then we break.

All the while we think that we are okay to keep going. We’re not. We’re barely in our bodies. We’re drunk on lack of sleep. Our innovation and enthusiasm, our ability to bounce back, to laugh it off, to create with joy – all of that is missing.

It can be found again through deep rest.

That’s what I’m doing right now, and will be for the next few days. I’m doing a disservice to myself and to you if I don’t.

Today I’m asking you if you’re okay. Do you need to rest? Do you need to step back for a moment? We can’t help others sustainably nor keep on creating if we are not looking after ourselves first. The energies of 2018 do not support push in any form. If you’re pushing, it won’t be working. Look for another way. Your best solution is most likely to be taking a break, refreshing yourself, and then starting again.

Gentle hugs and much love, 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

A Very Quiet Anniversary

2016-09-04-12-10-23

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”
~ Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

 

It was our seventeenth wedding anniversary yesterday.

And our day looked like this.

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And this. (That’s a boat made of ginger, filled with moxa – a total OMG treatment – wow!!! I’ll blog about that another day!)

2017-02-02-08-57-51

After which I retired to bed and slept for the rest of the day.

But that’s okay.

Sometimes that’s what love looks like.

I’m working hard with my awesome team at beating this enduring antibiotic-resistant superbug that has been causing so much havoc. It’s working. I’m improving. But it’s been quite the battle. And my regime is intensive just now.

We rescheduled yesterday’s wedding anniversary. Just like we rescheduled Ben’s birthday. And mine last year (which happened the day after major surgery and which ranks as the number one worst birthday of my life!). Hopefully, if my health keeps improving, we’ll be heading to Vietnam and then the Philippines in three weeks. We’ll celebrate everything there.

Meanwhile, I am feeling brighter this morning so Ben and Cafe Dog and I are off to town in search of a tasty breakfast.

Love to you all, Nicole <3 xx

Let The Dying Live!

Painting by Iain Vellacott at www.inoils.com

Painting by Iain Vellacott at www.inoils.wordpress.com

“You’ve got this life and while you’ve got it, you’d better kiss like you only have one moment, try to hold someone’s hand like you will never get another chance to, look into people’s eyes like they’re the last you’ll ever see, watch someone sleeping like there’s no time left, jump if you feel like jumping, run if you feel like running, play music in your head when there is none, and eat cake like it’s the only one left in the world!”
~ C. JoyBell C.

 

This post is the next in my Wednesday series on death and dying…

Many years ago, my friend Pixie was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. It was caught late because she was breast-feeding, and doctors kept telling her she had mastitis. It was only her continued urging that led to her ultimate diagnosis. Despite using both aggressive traditional and alternative medicine the cancer continued to progress.

With her initial diagnosis and surgery came much attention from friends. But then Pixie’s illness dragged on.

And on.

Friends stopped calling. Family came much less frequently. The immediate crisis had been averted, and other folk went back to their regular lives. Some also stopped visiting or calling because they didn’t know what to say, or what to do. Chronic and terminal illness can be very lonely.

I was also seriously ill. So it was logical that Pixie and I should keep each other company. She would go to my house, or I to hers. We talked a lot about life. We talked a lot about death. Both of us had been given a poor prognosis. Both of us had experienced physicians tell us that we were dying.

Eventually I found a new doctor, and a new regime that seemed to promise better outcomes. My outlook improved. But Pixie continued to decline. Soon she needed a cane to walk. She was frail, and tired easily. She could no longer drive. Her life became an endless round of medical appointments and resting at home.

One morning she rang me. She’d had more bad news. There were no treatment options left for her. Her doctors could only suggest pain management and palliative care. Could I come over for a visit? Yes, I could. (this was back in the days when I was still driving!) Dress up in something pretty, she said. Wear a nice perfume. We are going out!

I drove to her house, and Pixie shuffled to the door to greet me. Instead of her usual dressing gown and slippers she was wearing a pink dress, pearls and flats. She had a scarf tied over her head where only patchy hair had ever regrown. Closing the house door firmly behind her she took my arm. Come on, she said. I’m taking you for coffee!

Are you drinking coffee, I asked, surprised.

I am now, she laughed. And so are you. Today we are ordering like we are living, not dying!

We ventured a short distance to a large local plant nursery that had a gift shop and a cafe attached. Taking my arm, Pixie and I walked slowly through the gardens and rows of plants for sale, and then took a seat in the little cafe. It was still so early that the staff were busy watering the plants and sweeping the paths, ready for the day ahead.

A waiter came and took our order and very quickly two excellent coffees arrived.

Pixie picked up her coffee, inhaled and smiled rapturously. I sipped mine tentatively. It was delicious. Neither of us had drunk coffee for the longest time. It wasn’t on our cure-everything-diets.

We were quiet for a moment, perusing the menus. None of it was the food we’d usually eat. The lemon tart looks amazing, Pixie said. So does the eggs benedict, I added. We got both, with extra side plates so that we could share. Pixie made sure that her lemon tart came with cream and ice-cream.

What’s the occasion, I asked, once the waiter had left with our orders.

I’m sick of dying, Pixie said. I’m still alive. I’ve been alive for ages and I’m going to be alive for a bit longer yet. Hopefully. So I’ve decided to live while I’m alive. Dying is overrated, and it isn’t any fun!

We were both quiet for a moment, sitting with the truth of that.

It is so easy for dying to sneak in and rob the colour and the pleasure from life while you’re still alive.

For the eight months before Pixie became completely bedridden and shifted into that final stage of life we continued to have little outings, or on days when Pixie wasn’t up to a car trip I’d bring the world to her via treats, flowers, conversation and news.

One of our most precious days was when I wheeled her bed out onto their patio so she would feel the dappled sunlight and smell the fresh air of the changing seasons. She could look up through the pergola and see green leaves and flowers. She could see trees. She said it made her feel connected to life in a way that she couldn’t experience from between the white walls of her room.

My dear friend taught me something very important about dying.

Even when you are dying you are still living. That time is precious. There can be so much pleasure and value in it if it is lived and savoured.

So, if you, or someone you know has a chronic or terminal illness, think about how to have more shared experiences of living. This goes for people who are aging too!

Take Pixie’s hard-earned wisdom and let it shape your life. Celebrate and live life. For yourself and for your loved ones. Let the dying live. Help them to live while they are still alive. It will enrich life for both of you.

Sending so much love your way, Nicole <3 xx

 

The Very Valid ‘Not Coping’ Style of Coping

teapot portrait

Image by Lauren O’Neill. You can view her work here: www.laurenipsum.ie/projects

“It’s funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools – friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty – and said ‘do the best you can with these, they will have to do’. And mostly, against all odds, they do.”  ~ Anne Lamott

 

Hi. Lovelies.

Gee. It’s been one of those weeks.

So, I was sitting in my lounge room yesterday morning, crying. Not blogging.

Crying because I was in agony. Crying because all I wanted to do was pee and when I did it felt like I was pissing razorblades. Crying because everything hurt. Because I was herxing from the antibiotics for my urinary tract and assorted other infections, and these same antibiotics were playing havoc with my Lyme bacterial load. Because of constipation from the pain meds. Because my stomach was so grossly bloated that none of my clothes fit. Because I’d been vomiting from pressure on my stomach from my wildly overgrown fibroids. Because I’d begun to be attacked by Gorn, after two years Gorn-free and hadn’t slept all night.

Crying because of constantly leaking urine like one of those dodgy teapots that always dribble from the spout when you pour.

Crying because it was only three more days until surgery, and instead of dreading it, now it couldn’t come soon enough.

Everything was hard. I was exhausted. Broken. Pain-wracked.

Miserable.

I’d wanted to blog but my brain was empty. I’d thought to maybe do a little work, but I could scarcely sit upright. All my plans were out the window. It was all just mess.

“I’m not coping,” I sobbed to the empty room. “Not coping!”

“NOT COPING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I screamed that one.

After which I cried some more.

As I calmed down from heaving sobs to simple snivelling, I realised something quite profound.

It wasn’t true.

I AM coping. Not very well, and certainly not with any great elegance or panache. It’s fair to say that I am just limping along right now – held together with duct tape, spit, snot, drugs, meditation, cobwebs and sighs.

Is that coping? Well, I’m still alive. I’m making it through the day. I’m hanging on. When I thought I was at the end of my rope, after a while I saw that the rope was longer.

So I stopped snivelling, wiped my face and laughed at myself. Kind laughing, mind you. The sort where I patted myself on the back comfortingly, seeing myself as an overtired and distressed child. I was flooded with compassion for myself. It’s a completely shit space I’m in, and it’s totally okay if my style of coping is a not-coping style right now.

I want to let you know that it’s okay for you too – if you sometimes find yourself in a not-coping/coping kind of a space. Life is messy and hard and unpredictable. Sometimes we ride the crest of the wave, high on life. Sometimes we are deep beneath the suck and pull of a massive tsunami.

I’m not alone, I reminded myself. I prayed to my loved ones who’ve crossed over to look out for me, and I called on all of my Guides and Angels and God to look after me and my husband and all of our family and friends. (That’s you too, of course!)

Then I went and made myself a cup of tea.

 

Later that same morning, my kind friends Bek and Lizzie popped round for an hour. They brought pre-birthday treats and balloons, and we had a sharing of troubles and laughter.

The balloons themselves had a special message for me. Yesterday would have been my beloved Nana’s 101st birthday. Not only that, each year when I was little, Pa would give me a special balloon as one of my presents. A marbled one of pinks and blues and whites, in an era where most balloons were just one colour. Nana would always have sticky bun, as well as cupcakes with pink icing for me.

My friend Lizzie brought me some of those same balloons Pa used to give me. Bek brought me cupcakes and sticky bun. Coincidence much?

cool party candles

Check out how cool those candles are. The flame is the same colour as the candle!

“If you can’t laugh when things go bad–laugh and put on a little carnival–then you’re either dead or wishing you were.”
~ Stephen King

balloons and cake

Yeah, I know. Those balloons look like weird inflatable boobs. Did I mention it’s been one of those weeks?

I was in pain and my body felt like it had been hit by a truck the entire duration of their visit. But my soul was happy. My heart was full. And after they left I lay down and slept for a few blissful hours, feeling my grandparents watching over me.

If not-coping coping is the best you can do, then that’s enough. And remember, you’re never alone. Reach out to your loved ones, to the Angels, to your friends and family.

I’m thinking of you, and sending love,

Nicole <3 xx

 

 

Today’s Sunday Planning Session And Some True Confessions

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“Live in the moment but just be mindful that you are working towards something.”
~ Eric Zaccone

 

I know, I know. It’s Sunday. And on Sundays I don’t blog, and I don’t go on the internet and I don’t do any work.

Except that on this particular Sunday I am!

I’m taking some time over a cup of tea to revisit my yearly goals, my One Big Thing and my support focus areas using my Year of ME Planner. I’m thinking about the months ahead, and the plans I had for August, and how I might need to amend them or juggle them around. Plans are what hold me together in rough seas, and right now my sea is rougher than usual.

As you might know, I am scheduled for major surgery on September 5. Seeing I’ve shared such embarrassing issues as vomiting in public places and incontinence here on my blog, I figured I might as well continue in that same spirit of disclosure! I have an old problem that was put on the back-burner a few years ago because my heart was failing and I wasn’t up to surgery at that time. Other health  issues became a bigger priority. Most people with chronic lyme disease have similar stories – they have multiple serious health issues over time, rather than just one thing…

Just a few weeks ago (well after my holiday had ended, thank goodness) I was revisited by reminders of this old problem. I suffer from fibroids, benign tumors in and around my uterus which have caused pain and heavy menstrual bleeding for most of my adult life. Three years ago my doctors chose a method of halting those symptoms while we dealt with my heart and my other ongoing issues that were of more pressing priority.

The treatment for my fibroids worked, and the problem slipped to the back of my mind. My doctors and I were hoping that menopause might slow the growths or shrink them and that we could avoid surgery. For the past few years I’ve been symptom-free.

(And before I receive an avalanche of helpful advice about natural cures for fibroids… I have been doing them all for thirty years, and none of them have worked. I’ve also had surgery three times previously. Believe me, I have never wanted to get to this point, and have done everything in my power to reverse this. All those other methods have failed. All of them.)

From my latest scans it is apparent that I now have nearly thirty of these fibroids, including one that is 15cm x 4 cm, and a 20cm x 30cm new growth that is enlarging rapidly, and which has become involved with some of my other organs and internal structures.It will be long and complicated surgery to remove and repair all of these things. The growths in my belly are causing me a lot of pain and discomfort and a small amount of worry.

There. Now you know what’s going on with me.

Anyway, life goes on. It’s Sunday, and Sunday is my planning day. So I am planning. I hope you are, too!

I pulled this week’s oracle card for some guidance, and I thought I’d share it with you so you could see my process. No, I don’t use the little book’s meaning for the card. I let the card speak to my intuition instead.

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I love this card. It’s optimistic. It’s hopeful and positive. Here’s the fox, sitting on the egg of all her hopes and dreams and potential. It makes me feel like she is guarding those dreams carefully. That resonates for me. I was drawn to her soft, vulnerable underbelly and her complete dedication to her task. She gives me a sense of strength and direction.

She is also gazing intently through her telescope. A telescope brings certain things into clear focus. What things do I need to focus on right now? Into the future?

The telescope was the key image for me this week. Narrowing my focus. Bringing things into clear perspective. Keeping my eye on the destination and not being distracted by all the bombs going off around me.

Miss Fox is being watched by the moon, and by her unseen loved ones. She feels protected and very loved.

The word OBSERVER reminds me not to get caught up in my head or my emotions. Detachment is a useful skill.

The numbers 4 and 9 are also significant for me this week, although often I pay them no attention at all. 4 speaks to consistent work and steady effort. It’s a number of organisation and systems and attending to plans. 9 is for the completion of cycles. I am taking that as my personal good omen! Both of these numbers give me direction and a lift in my spirits.

I may not be able to barrel forward at my usual rate of knots this week, or in the coming months. That doesn’t matter. I can let slide whatever isn’t important. I can ask for help. I can delegate. I can do what I CAN do, and I will keep my eye on the prize.

Okay, time for me to finish my planning session. How about you? What’s ahead for you in this new week? Where would you benefit from putting your focus between now and the end of this year?

Thank you too, for all of your messages of love and support. It has really buoyed me up.

See you tomorrow.

Big love and hugs, Nicole xx