In case of trauma, Melbourne Breakfast…

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” 
Douglas Adams

 

I’ve had a busy few days since Friday, the day of our anniversary Vomageddon. I worked all Saturday in Brisbane doing psychic readings and coaching, which was wonderful and then expected that on Sunday I would rest, write and have a quiet day.

Then on Saturday night I had a call from a long-time client. Her 42-year-old husband, injured in a motorbike accident two weeks before, had collapsed at home and been found unconscious on Thursday. He’d had a massive bleed in his brain and there was absolutely nothing that could be done for him. His medical team were going to turn off his life support system and she asked me if I come and sit at the hospital with her on Sunday morning before that was done. They have three young children together. What a gut-wrenching situation. So I held her hand and we meditated and prayed together, and I did what I could to provide her with comfort and guidance, and it was an emotionally shattering day for all of us.

The past two days I’ve been at another hospital supporting my own family while one of them has undergone major surgery followed by complications and more surgery.

I’ll be there again at the hospital today, and for the next few days too.

Everything else can wait. Everyone else can wait. What matters now is us, each other, and being together.

But right now on this early morning, I’m sitting at home in the city with Ben, the dogs at my feet, drinking Melbourne Breakfast tea by the mugful and soaking up the calm and quiet before another hectic day.

My Nana always said that a cup of tea made everything much better, and I do believe she was right.

2018 is a year of relationships and focusing on what matters. It’s a year for family, love, friendship, creativity, happiness and a slower pace of life. I’m really taking that to heart. How about you? Are you giving enough time to the people and activities that you love? Life is short and precious. Make sure that the choices you make help to minimise any regret over time wasted on the wrong priorities.

Biggest love and hugs to you, Nicole xx

Don’t Isolate Yourself When the Going’s Hard

“No person, trying to take responsibility for her or his identity, should have to be so alone. There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep, and still be counted as warriors.”
~ Adrienne Rich

 

I’ve noticed a worrying phenomena lately. People are going to great lengths to make their life look incredible for social media, while behind the scenes they suffer alone and unsupported.

What happened that suddenly we can only talk up the good stuff, instead of living truthfully in the world?

As our extended family structures break down, and we become more and more remote from our neighbours and communities, we become more emotionally isolated.

We stop inviting people through the door. We stop sharing the small everyday details of our lives. Instead, we carefully curate our instagram images and facebook feeds.

There is a power to living vulnerably and being able to be open about our feelings and our lives.

Of course I advise using your intuition and discretion. Not everyone is a safe pair of hands. But with so many people stressed and overwhelmed by life, with rates of anxiety and depression and chronic illness escalating, with many of us caring for children with special needs, or single parenting or caring for elderly or ill loved ones, all of us need that extra boost that caring human connection can bring.

Image by Black-Avenger on www.deviantart.com

Image by Black-Avenger on www.deviantart.com

It can give us a powerful injection of hope or resilience to find that someone else has experienced our situation or feeling. We become less isolated. Our problem becomes more a condition of life than some shameful thing to be hidden away behind the posts of artfully photographed meals or ‘effortlessly gorgeous’ glamour outfits.

My Nana always used to tell me that a problem shared is a problem halved. As a young girl that never made much sense to me, but I can see the wisdom in it now, and I agree with that wisdom entirely.

Sometimes we genuinely do need to pull back to recalibrate our sense of centre, but please don’t isolate yourself entirely. Find ways to reach out, to ask for help, to sit in the company of others, to be able to share or smile or laugh or cry with people who welcome you into their space and allow you the freedom to feel (rather than hide) your emotions.

If you know someone who is going through a rough patch, reach out to them. Let them know that they’re not alone. Ask them if they’re okay.

We’re all in this together, and no-one’s getting out alive. Let’s all practice kindness for self and for our fellow journeymakers and make life’s journey better and more real and supported for everyone.

Sending so much love your way,

Nicole <3 xx

You’re Stronger Than You Think

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
~ Lao Tzu

I remember once, ten or so years ago, sitting in the carpark of a hospital. At the time my husband was working overseas, run ragged by the company who’d hired him. I was estranged from most of my family. The rest were living overseas or frail and in poor health. Our farm was in drought, and I was driving an hour from my city house each morning to feed out hay and check water before coming home again to start my day. My corporate deadlines were crazy. Life was crazy. But I couldn’t stop. There was no-one else. And I had bills to pay.

I was at the hospital that day because apart from being brutally tired all of the time I had problems with my speech. I was forgetting words. I could not read numbers. I woke with night sweats. Strange rashes came and went. My limbs tremored. When holding things my hands would sometimes forget to open, or open by themselves at the most inopportune times. I knew that there was something gravely wrong with me.

I sat in my car in the carpark of the Wesley Hospital, crying. I had just been to yet another doctor, hoping to finally have a diagnosis.

Instead, this esteemed diagnostician had said this:

“Well, there is definitely something wrong with you. I can see that it’s serious. But I have no idea what it is. Neither do my colleagues. You don’t tick enough of any of the boxes on the same page. It happens like this sometimes. We see something and we don’t know what it is. But you seem to be managing. People often cope with more than they think they can. So work within your limits. Seek help for symptoms you can’t manage. We can help with some things. You don’t need to live in pain. There are aids you can access to help with daily tasks. Be grateful for your life and try to find beauty in it. Don’t push beyond your limits and understand that even as your life gets smaller it can still be a good life.”

I was so angry and defeated in that moment. I held it together until I got to the car, but then the tears started and I couldn’t stop them.

Eventually I was howling.

Finally the woman who operated the toll gate came over and brought me a box of tissues. She offered to make me a cup of tea. She patted me on the shoulder. “I’m sorry, love,” she said. “Life can be a bitch, sometimes.”

My tears dried up. We laughed at that. “Yes, it can,” I said. I sat in her funny little toll booth and we drank sweet milky tea from the little plastic cups that stack on top of the old-fashioned kind of thermos flask. Eventually I drove home.

I was mad at that doctor for a very long time. I had really hoped that he would fix me. Or at least tell me what was wrong and give me some kind of pill, some kind of diet, some kind of hope. I didn’t want a smaller life. I wanted my old life back.

Instead, my life shrank smaller and smaller still. I’d look back on that day and see how strong and vibrant and capable I actually was back then. Back when I thought things were bad. Back before things became so much worse.

Funny, huh?

Even staying mad, as time went on I came to see that the doctor had given me something precious. He’d given me practical advice rather than empty promises. Mourning my old life stopped me from appreciating what was right in front of me. It stopped me loving myself. It stopped the flow of grace.

Life, at times, gets hard for all of us. All of us shall know limitation, or have loved ones whose worlds shrink. On any day our world might go pear-shaped.

Time has proven that doctor right. It’s amazing how quickly you adjust to a new set of circumstances. It never helps to fight your limitations because usually you only hurt yourself. Being in the moment, graciously (or pouting, angry and unhappy) still has sweetness. Life can get smaller and smaller and still be worth waking up for. Most importantly, being in the here-and-now, no matter how painful, is where you are empowered.

We can cope with so much. It’s only when we are tested that we find that out just how strong and wise and funny and awesome we really are.

Know that today I am holding you in my heart and sending you love. You’re stronger than you know. And life is breathtakingly beautiful, even the crappy bits.

When you see life as a glorious adventure, everything that happens to you becomes valuable.

Nicole <3 xx

PS: That doesn’t mean you won’t occasionally find yourself muttering ‘Well, this bit really sucks…’

Image from emilysquotes.com

Image from emilysquotes.com

How to Connect with Unexpressed Grief and Emotional Pain

Image from weheartit.com

Image from weheartit.com

“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.”
~ Sigmund Freud

 

It’s never healthy to swallow our grief, to stuff down our pain, to ignore our heartache.

And I also know that sometimes you just can’t fall afford to fall apart in the moment. You might be a care-giver. Or there’s no-one else to support you. You have to get to work on time. You got the bad news on a bus. There’s so much going on and it’s just one hit after another. You need to pick up the kids or keep going until you get through your final exams. One of those things. All of those things.

I understand.

But honey, it’s not healthy to bottle all that stuff up. Eventually those feelings need to be felt.

I have a prescription that works well, and it can be taken at a time that’s convenient to you.

Give yourself a decent length of time. It might be a night. It might be a weekend. It might be a week. You’ll know what feels right.

Get yourself ready by making sure that you’ll be on your own at home. Find some DVDs that you KNOW tap into your emotions and help you to truly feel and to cry. They will allow you to find a way back to your own repressed feelings through the journeys and stories of others.

Have some tissues on hand. Some food. Clean sheets, pyjamas, things that will comfort and nurture you.

Then sit on the couch and watch those movies.

Play the soundtracks that reduce you to tears.

Cry. Wail. Howl. Sob. Blubber like a baby. Scream with grief and rage. Storm around the house in despair and futility. Cry some more.

Get it all out.

Then sleep.

Go again.

Do this until you’re done.

You’ll know it because you’ll feel an easing. Sunshine will begin to pour into that space that’s been cramped and dark and musty. You’ll feel lighter somehow. You’ll come to a space of peace.

Feelings need to be felt.

Maybe it’s time to feel yours.

I’m holding that space for your healing.

All my love, Nicole xx

Image from tumblr

Image from tumblr