How to Find The Silver Lining To The Storm Clouds In Your Life


“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful. “ ~ Buddha

This week’s energies support leaning in to our emotions. Writing is a powerful tool for self-discovery, healing and expansion.  In fact, it’s one of my favourite things to do. Today I’m sharing some journal starters for exploring things I have considered to be negative in my life, in order that I might mine that situation or relationship to find the positives and gifts within it.  I’ve found this activity to be a great comfort over the years, and it has enabled me at times to radically shift my perspective to one which is much more positive.

Let’s be clear about this before we start. I am not saying that every terrible situation in your life, and every awful thing that has happened is a gift, or is a blessing. That kind of reductionist New Age thinking is the kind of thing I call b*llshit on regularly. No, I am saying that one of the best coping strategies for these kinds of situations is to find something positive in the struggle and suffering we have endured. Ways that we have grown, or changed or evolved. The kindness of strangers. Some other unexpected small gift.

The one thing that is non-negotiable in this exercise is that you MUST look for a positive – that silver lining on the thundercloud in your life.

One of the things that still stands out for me is the day I heard that a dear friend of Ben’s and mine had been badly injured in a parachuting accident (from which he later died). It marked the beginning of a series of terrible and unforeseen events in our life.  But it also gave me an insight that left me better able to cope with what lay ahead.

What happened on that day remains one of my most precious memories.  Ben and I were in shock, but I had organised for my grandmothers to come for lunch, and I needed to pick one of them up from across town. Life still went on, and the lunch had been planned and looked forward to for months. It was the middle of an Australian summer,  a heatwave no less, and the weekend before Christmas.  I pulled into the madness of a suburban shopping centre to buy cream before I collected Nana.

As I stepped out of the car I was almost bowled over by two things, the heat and my grief. The world slowed right down.  I remember thinking that John must be dying. I stood beside my car as if I was suspended in time. Around me shoppers rushed on in the Christmas chaos, ignorant of the fact that this dear man was taking his last breaths. How could the world keep turning, I wondered.  Why didn’t it look any different?

I felt suddenly connected to an unseen group of people around Brisbane, around the world, who were similarly out of the flow of time, locked into grief or despair or helplessness or loss.  I became acutely aware of the heat, the smell of the melting tar beneath my feet and the gum-leaves on the nearby trees.  Green parrots squawked and fought above my head, and tiny clusters of blossom fell at my feet, like some strange sort of summer snow.  I was struck by the intense beauty of the moment, and of how everyone around me was oblivious to it.  I heard my own heart beating in my chest, was aware of every breath, and felt as if I was seeing the world with new eyes. I became overwhelmed with a sense of how precious and fragile and miraculous our existence is, and my despair was replaced with an avalanche of gratitude.

The intensity and gratitude of that moment has never left me.  It became the silver lining to an awful time on my life.

Here are my journal starters.  Use one, any or all of them to get you into writing flow, and to help you focus on the silver lining rather than the cloud.

On relationships that failed:

  • One good thing about (insert person’s name) that I am still grateful for is…
  • If I hadn’t met (insert person’s name) I never would have…
  • One positive thing I learned about myself from that relationship is…
  • One thing I won’t ever do again is…
  • The best thing about this relationship ending is that…

On death, loss and sorrow:

  • One of the happiest memories of (insert person’s name) that I cherish is…
  • (Insert person’s name) taught me…
  • Because of (insert person’s name) I have learned…
  • One thing I will always carry with me in my heart is…
  • We always laughed about…
  • One crazy thing that always reminds me of (insert person’s name) is…
  • One way I can honour their memory is to…
  • One way I can make the most of my own life is…

On making mistakes:

  • The thing I learned from all of this is…
  • If I hadn’t stuffed up I never would have been able to…
  • The one thing this has clarified for me is…
  • One person who’s been really great in all of this is…
  • The thing I’ll do differently next time is…
  • At least I’ve realised…

On diminishment (you being somehow made smaller or less able)  and disappointment:

  • I may not be able to (insert the diminishment) but I can still…
  • I still have the power to…
  • For now I can focus my energies on…
  • This gives me more time to…
  • For now this door is closed to me.  Other doors that are open include…
  • If I’m being made to stop, or slow down, at least I can use this change of pace to…

On people who’ve treated you badly:

  • Because of you, I’ve decided to never…
  • You’ve made me realise that I am better than that because…
  • You’ve shown me how NOT to be in the world.  I’ve learned that…
  • Because you couldn’t give me (love, respect, attention, guidance, honesty, kindness – insert whatever was missing in your relationship) I’ve discovered and grown this great strength in me.  I learned to be the thing you could not do for me.  I have become…
  • The good thing to come out of all of this is…
  • I deserve more because…
  • I believe that the right way to treat people is to…

Summaries:

  • From the hard times in my life I’ve learned that…
  • My greatest personal strengths are…
  • I’m proud of myself that…
  • I’m amazed that I have been able to…
  • One of the best things to come from all of this is…
  • The way I can now help others is…

I hope you can find some comfort too, in these simple activities that can help you reframe suffering on your terms. Holding you, as ever, in my prayers and meditations,

Nicole ❤ xx

Navigating Christmas Without A Loved One


“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” 
Anne Lamott

Christmas is not always an easy time. There are many of us for whom Christmas brings stark reminders of families broken, loved ones lost, and empty chairs at our tables.

If you are navigating Christmas this year while also grieving loss or going through great struggle I want to reach out to you. In the midst of the barrage of happy Christmas movies, fairytale endings and Hallmark Moments I want you to know that I am sorry for your pain, and the hardship this time of year can bring. Please also know you’re not alone. There are many of us whose hearts hurt at Christmas, even as we celebrate, because of loss. If your grief is raw and new it’s also okay to put things on hold, to do things differently, or to let the anniversary days like Christmas slide by unacknowledged until you are ready to face them again.

I’d like to share something I do at Christmas that may be useful for you too. I have found it helpful and healing to make a private little Christmas Altar each year. This way I remember the dead, the absent, the lost. An altar is simply a small dedicated spiritual space that is meaningful to you in some way.

On my altar I place fresh flowers, a candle and some favourite crystals. Things that bring me comfort, and a sense of sacred. Then I place photos or objects that represent a loved one who will not be at my table. That way I can still have them near me, and I can flow love to them and have them be part of my life over the festive season.

The beautiful big owl in the photo above was given to me one Christmas by my friend Angela. She passed away a few years ago. It will be central to my display.

I’ll place a tiny wooden boat for my brother, and a ceramic pelican for my dad. A sparkly stone for my sister and roses for my mum and all of the women in her family who have shaped and grown and loved me. My family all live far from me. But now they are here on my altar even if they cannot be here in person.

I’ll add a photo of Ben’s parents from when they were young, and pictures of my grandparents too. I have cupcake-shaped candles for my darling Kate, who passed away too soon in 2010 ( I went back to her facebook page last night and was lost in there for an hour reading her old posts and laughing at what a dag she was and crying cos sometimes I still miss her more than breathing), and Julie who passed away in 2014. My Grandparents, all now passed, are here in photographs too and I will place a glass of sherry, Christmas Cake and some gingernut biscuits out because these are all the things they would have loved to eat, and later I will eat some and think of them. On Christmas Day I will play The Twelve Days of Christmas by the Ray Conniff Singers, because my Pa used to play that for us every year, and shed a few happy-sad tears.

It’s not the same as having them at my table, but it’s the next best thing. People coming to my house will think that I have simply gathered flowers and candles and photographs and a few ornaments together, but for me it is something healing and emotionally significant that helps me to feel the reassuring weight of my loved ones around me.

Perhaps making your own Christmas Altar will help you this Christmas too.

Sending so much love your way, Nicole ❤ xx

Guided Meditation for Managing and Reducing Stress

“You have to just relax, calm down, take a deep breath and try to see how you can make things work rather than complain about how they’re wrong.” ~ Tom Welling

 

There’s so much change around us right now.

Some of us are overwhelmed with loss and grief and endings.

Some of us are overwhelmed with opportunity and don’t know which direction to pursue.

Most of us have too much on our plates, overflowing to-do lists and simply not enough time in the day to get to everything we need to do.

Deep Breath by Tomas A

Deep Breath by Tomas A

Stress reduces our ability to cope and to be resilient.

Sometimes we need to take a deep breath and slow down for a moment.

You know what I’m talking about…

Disappointments. Things that don’t go to plan. Endings we weren’t expecting. Futures that don’t conform to what we’d been led to believe. Judgments against us. Misunderstandings. Our body misbehaving or breaking. Hopes and dreams that end up in tatters at our feet. Grand ideas that tank. Injustices. Broken promises. Wrongs.

Sometimes life just knocks the wind out of our sails.

Or that’s how it feels…

One thing I’ve learned about life’s hard knocks is that although we may get winded, if we can just take a good deep breath, then pause and take another, we often find things aren’t as bad as they first appeared.

Sometimes, of course, it really is that bad. No matter. Breathing helps. Taking a good deep breath centers you; it calms you down, puts you back in your body, and helps clear your head. Then you can better see your way forward.

We are, all of us, stronger than we know. And it’s usually not until we’re really tested by life that we ever find this out.

Tree of Life by Sharon Cummings

Tree of Life by Sharon Cummings

I have recorded a twenty minute Guided Meditation for helping you to deal with stress and overwhelm. It uses breathing and visualisation to help reduce tension in your body so that you come to a place of calm and better flow of thoughts, feelings and energy.

All you need to do is make sure that you won’t be disturbed, and then sit or lie quietly and follow along with the sound of my voice.

Nicole Cody’s Guided Meditation for Reducing Stress

In endings and difficulties are always the seeds of a new beginning. I’m intending support, healing, connection, guidance, positive flow and direction for you.

Keep breathing. Trust in good outcomes.

All my love, Nicole ❤ xx

 

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

Me and That Owl

Clothes line owl

“Turn your wounds into wisdom.” 
Oprah Winfrey

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” 
Socrates

 

Last Monday, in my Doctor’s rooms, I received the best kind of news. Although I am still unwell, I have definitely turned the corner in my struggle against Lyme disease. I am no longer dying. I am healing. My life is once again unfurling a sense of possibility.

On Tuesday we came home from the city to our little farm. That night I stood in my backyard and communed with an Owl. An hour earlier my computer had locked me out, and my other one had powered down, unable to be recharged. I couldn’t blog. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t work. I couldn’t be all ‘business as usual’. I managed to get one last message to you. I’m taking time out, I said. In my head were visions of relaxing, laughing, sleeping, a little crying, and complete replenishment.

This is what really happened…

As I stood outside with the Owl, I felt as if somewhere upstairs God, or at least someone with a plan, slammed shut another door in my life, leaving me standing in an empty corridor.

Behind me were all the doors I could have taken, and all the doors I thought I should have taken.

Behind me were all the doors that will never open for me again.

For a moment I felt peace. Relief flooded over me. Not dying. Healing.

And then, and I must be honest here, I was consumed by panic. I looked behind me at all those closed doors.

Oh, I knew that wasn’t the best of plans. But I couldn’t help myself. Even if I hadn’t turned I could feel them. The weight of them. The sound and space of them.

What should I do? Where should I go? Was it too late? Could I rush back down that corridor into the dark and salvage a few things?

How was I meant to do this next bit? What was my life meant to look like?

I couldn’t see any open doors in front of me.

Image from Frontview

Image from Frontview

The Owl on my clothesline hooted, getting my attention and pulling me out of the maze of my mind.

What should I do? I asked her.

Breathe, said the Owl.

It was good advice. I stood barefoot on the lawn under the moon, letting air fill my lungs and then empty. Over and over again. Eventually I calmed.

The Owl was still there.

What shall I do now? I asked.

Sleep, said the Owl.

Tearily I put myself to bed.

On Wednesday morning I was bright-eyed with excitement. My new life! All the things I might do.

I made a cup of tea. I sat at my desk.

I unravelled.

All of the doors that were closed…

I shed a few tears.

I became angry. I shouted at the walls. At the bigness of the sky, and at the stupid smallness of me.

I pulled myself together.

I busied myself tidying things and making lists. These are the old ways I have fallen back on time and again to soothe myself into that sense of control, although I know it is an illusion. I am fine, I told myself. I am coping. Better than fine. Better!

That night the Owl was there again.

I stood outside with soft rain falling, misting my hair and skin with its gentle caress.

Owl, I pleaded, I don’t know what to do.

Rest, said the Owl.

I put myself back to bed.

On Thursday I breathed out. I mean really, really just let it all go. I felt myself break into a thousand pieces.

They glinted and shone up at me from the floor. It was not frightening. It was simply real. It was what it was.

I knew then, that I had actually been broken for the longest time, but my sheer stubbornness and momentum had prevented those crazy shattered shards of me from falling to the floor. I had only looked intact. That too, was an illusion.

I am not coping, I said to my husband. I am not coping, I said to the Owl.

I know, they said. Rest, they said.

I woke on Friday. Still broken. But knowing that too was an illusion. How could I be broken, surrounded by tiny glistening shards as I was, when part of me was still so solid and whole?

Awareness came. Just like all of the characters in my favourite books, my life hasn’t gone to plan. I have been tested and challenged. I have faced torment, loss and pain. So many of my dreams have been thwarted. There is still a long road ahead of me as I move back towards wellness. But the beauty is that the story of my life isn’t finished yet.

My dear friend, Kim, helped me to put things in perspective;

“All those things you missed… I know they seem real to you, but you have done other things that some of us can’t dream of. I’m reminded of Odin, who gave up one eye so he could “see” and know the mysteries of life. So he has crap depth perception but he can see things nobody else can.”

I am okay, and this is just how my life is, I told myself. And it was true. I was gentle with myself about the grief and sadness still within me. Life touches us all with some suffering. I felt the truth of my friend’s words, and acknowledged my psychic experiences so few others get to share. I laughed at myself a little, for the crazy ambitious plans I’d held for so long, for when I was ‘well’.

Those plans exhausted me just to think about them. I let them slither through my fingers and fall to the floor. I watched those plans streak off to find others to help them with their becoming.

The Owl was sitting in a branch of the old teak tree outside my window, eating her breakfast, as I sat at my desk, sipping a cup of tea.

What do you think? I asked Mistress Owl. This time I was comfortably empty. There was no neediness left inside.

Write, she said. Write.

Write what you know.

Oh, I thought. All the things? That’s a bit provocative. How might people react?

But all the while I was thinking yes, yes, I can write what I know. Who cares how people might react. I shall write. It’s something I can do while I’m healing. It’s a way to contribute.

Even more than that, as I sat with my decision, and this gentle new direction, I found a place of understanding within me. The things that I might write? I wish someone had written that book that for me. To hold something like that in my hand, at the times where I was breaking, reforming, emerging, well, it would have been an enormous comfort.

Beautifully brave Hermione Granger, with her head always in a book. Image from 100 Classics

Beautifully brave Hermione Granger, with her head always in a book. Image from 100 Classics

And then my lovely friend Sally sent me this:

“Yet, I get to tell my truth. I get to seek meaning and realization. I get to live fully, wildly, imperfectly. That’s why I’m alive. And all I actually have to offer as a writer, is my version of life. Every single thing that has happened to me is mine.” ~ Ann Lamott

To help others make sense of their journey, through the sharing of mine. That’s something I am well qualified to do. There has to have been a reason for all of this. My job now is to reflect deeply upon that, and to turn my wounds to wisdom.

Last night there were three Owls. Teach, they said. Share. Help the others.

Mistress Owl is there in the tree outside my window again this morning. We went flying together last night, the Owls and I, and I had a vision of what comes next. There are no doors involved at all. We’d risen way beyond doors to a clear, open space. And it was beautiful.

Bless xx

Image from the Matinee

Image from The Matinee

Sad Unicorns OR Is your New-Age Thinking Positively Unhelpful?

Sad Unicorn by theGREENER on flickr

Sad Unicorn by theGREENER on flickr

“Great heroes need great sorrows and burdens, or half their greatness goes unnoticed. It is all part of the fairy tale.” 
~ Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn

“People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that’s bullshit. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they’re afraid to feel? Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they’re wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It’s all in how you carry it. That’s what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you’re letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain.” ~ Jim Morrison, The Doors

*Warning – The following post is not all puppies, rainbows and unicorns…

1uni

If you are a regular reader of my blog you’ll know I’m all for cultivating an optimistic outlook, for practicing gratitude, kindness and counting blessings. I also believe that thoughts are things, and that what we focus on and attach strong emotion to tends to manifest in our lives. Positive thinking and self-love bring many benefits.

So what I’m going to say next might sound like a contradiction, or even come as a shock…

I think that some of this Positive-Thinking Law-of-Attraction stuff is getting dangerously out of hand!

Emotions just are. They are human and useful, and part of the scenery as we journey through life.  No point in being too attached to them – they change all the time, based on how much sleep we’ve had, our current health and relationship status and a myriad of other factors.  Emotions are mostly transient, but haven’t you noticed that there is a big push lately for us to be enlightened enough to somehow stay happy and calm and in a permanent space of unconditional love, which we then beam out from us to others to help them feel happy, calm and loved too?

This same train of thought suggests that all those ‘lesser’ emotions, those ‘negative’ ones, are there merely for us to transcend, and it is a sign of our awareness (and for some, spiritual superiority!) to no longer entertain negative thoughts or emotions in any situation.

'Angel Melodies' by Josephine Wall

‘Angel Melodies’ by Josephine Wall

I disagree! It is NORMAL as a human to experience anger, pain, sadness, depression, guilt, shame, fear and regret at different times.  It is APPROPRIATE to feel these emotions in response to certain situations. I also believe that it is unrealistic in these circumstances to expect ourselves to easily and readily ‘snap out of it’ and be all Love and Light.

There is also a New-Age belief that by feeling negative emotions or thinking negative thoughts we are then creating further negative energy in our lives.

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You’re thinking people, so I’ll ask you to draw your own conclusions about the following scenarios:

A beautiful young woman rang me yesterday, utterly distraught.  She has a four-year-old son, and an eight-month-old daughter, whom she is still breast feeding.  Both children were conceived through IVF, and shortly after she became pregnant with her daughter, this woman’s husband of ten years left her, and began a new relationship.

She and everyone else had thought it was a happy marriage. It was a complete shock. One day he was beside her and the next he was gone. Her husband had tied up most of his assets in protected structures, and there was no money available.  A protracted battle was entered into. The man has told his ex-wife that he wants nothing to do with her or their children (he has never seen his daughter, and has had no contact with his son since he walked out) and he says he will let the courts decide what minimum he has to pay toward their upkeep. The young mum ended up moving back in with her parents as she had no income of her own, her health was poor and she was completely devastated by the unexpected end of her marriage.

Of course this has been a stressful time for this young woman.  Her husband deserted her, she went through a difficult pregnancy entirely without him, and she was anxious about the future of her little family. On top of that she had ongoing problems with a hot, sore breast during pregnancy and, later, severe mastitis.  No matter what she tried it just didn’t get any better, and she consulted several nurses and doctors.  Finally one of them sent her for some tests.  She was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer, so advanced that there are no treatment options available.  All they can do is provide palliative care. She has weeks left.

And here’s the saddest part.  In a desperate attempt to prolong her life this woman went to a respected doctor who is also an alternative medicine practitioner. One of the first things the doctor said, upon taking this woman’s recent medical and life history, was that the young woman’s anger and negative emotions towards her husband had most probably caused her cancer.

Really?

Can it be as simplistic as that? And if so, why isn’t everyone else going through great life upheaval and trauma suddenly manifesting life-terminating cancer for themselves?

So here I have this traumatised young mum sobbing into the phone, wracked with guilt that her recent pain, anger and depression have manifested a cancer that will now deprive her children of their mother.  Over and over she said to me, “I’m so sorry. I just don’t know how to fix it. I truly didn’t mean to do this.”

She wanted me to help her have a sparkly-clean mind, filled with love and rainbows and unicorns and hope.

Somehow, if she could get a mind like that, miraculously she would heal…

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Another friend has long suffered with serious depression.  It was brought about after an incident that would change anyone’s life; the death of her younger sister and brother in a car accident (not her fault! – they were slammed by a drunk driver at nine o’clock in the morning just outside their school) when she was a newly licensed driver. It left her with a legacy of physical pain and disfigurement too.  She has battled to get out of the hole, and truly it has been less than helpful when well-meaning friends and even health practitioners kept telling her to ‘get over it’, and that her happiness is a choice.

Their words implied that she was to blame for the place she was in, and she was left even more guilt-ridden and shamed over her inability to get unstuck. Truly, she was trying, but at that time she didn’t have the tools she needed to start turning things around. Every time she posted positive affirmations around the house, or repeated them endlessly, she felt more and more of a failure, as she measured the disparity between her current situation and where the affirmations told her she could be. Positive thinking made her feel even less worthy and deserving of help, change and even life itself.

This beautifully illustrated journey through depression from one of my favourite blogs, Hyperbole and a Half, explains this place so well:

Adventures in Depression

Eventually my friend found her way back to a place of balance. She is a counsellor, working with others, and her life has meaning again for her. There’s even laughter and happiness.  Sure, she still has hard days but we all do.  That’s life.

Life is a crucible that forges us through fire, and it is our trials and troubles which often truly enable us to grow and transform, more meaningfully and more lastingly, than any amount of positive thinking.

It belittles us, and it cheapens the human journey, to use trite phrases about positive thinking in the face of real struggle.  Life is wonderful, and at times heartbreakingly sad, hard and just plain awful. Sometimes we are helpless and powerless in the face of our own pain, or the suffering of another.

The magnificence is in finding something within us that enables us to keep going, even if we bumble and fumble and drag ourselves along, until we get from that place of darkness back into the light, forever changed.

Every decent book I ever read had a hero or heroine who faced disaster, betrayal and every other form of hardship. The way they travelled that difficult road is why we stuck around – so that we could be inspired, cheer them along, learn from them and eventually watch them grow into the sorts of people we desire to become ourselves.

There is a place for positive thinking, and for wanting to manifest our future by aligning ourselves with a vision of abundance that makes us feel good, and excited about what’s yet to unfold.

But there is also a place for experiencing the fullness of emotions created by being in the now. And sometimes that now will be paved with pain rather than rainbows.

The rainbows come later, after the rain. After you’ve ridden out the storm.

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Just this moment…

2012-10-18 18.12.35

“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.” ~ Groucho Marx

It started with a twinge. Just a twinge. So insignificant I might have missed it, if not for the telltale flutter, like a moth caught under my ribcage.

I stopped in the middle of the empty moon-bleached sand and put my hand to my chest.  Hello heart, I said, is there a problem? But like a shell held against my ear, all I heard in response was the gentle sigh and chuff of the ocean.

It changed the end of my holiday, and my days since. Back and forth to doctors, hospitals, specialists.  Endless opinions and possible courses of action – none of them especially palatable.

I’m good with it, whatever happens. I have become a master of managing overwhelm. In fact yesterday I was able to look at a bright-eyed doctor, flushed with the excitement of my case, and whom had just enthusiastically declared me (not me as a person, me as a collective assortment of organs and symptoms) fascinating, and NOT slap his face or take offence. Instead I felt like an old, wise Nana, smiling indulgently at a child who’s been given a challenging puzzle and who is boasting about how easy it will be.

My heart’s misbehaving. But it’s still beating, and I’m still here. (Did you hear that Universe? I’m making a declarative statement!)

No-one knows what the future looks like. All each of us can do is live in this precious moment.

Someone asked me recently what to do about the feeling of time speeding up and life slipping by. While I don’t recommend a life-threatening illness, I do know that living with your attention on what’s happening RIGHT NOW gives time a lustre and a depth that cannot be had while your mind is back in the past, or racing into the future.

Life is beautiful. Life is precious. And all we ever truly have is this moment. Don’t waste it – breathe in, satiate your body with the sights, sounds and smells of the essence of your current reality. Live it, before it slips too quickly through your fingertips. Life lived this way can never be ordinary. YOU will never just be ordinary.

Trust me on this one – the magic is in the Moment – starting right NOW…

thai-lotus-flower

What to do when you’re forced to let go…

When you decide to let go, it empowers YOU. When we make the choice to let go, we change the dynamics of our lives, and by default, the lives of those around us.

So what happens if you are at the receiving end of letting go? We’ve all been there. Someone dies. We’re fired from our job. Our lover, partner, spouse ends our relationship.  A friend closes the door and says they don’t want us in their lives any more.  A family member stops speaking to us.

Our ability to respond, to change, to control, to continue, to hope…   it’s all taken away from us. We end up, we are sure, on the wrong side of the door. There’s no key. No one answers our knocks. Or worse, they shout for us to go away.

Whenever that happens we experience a kind of death. Whether it is a person who has passed over, or the end of something in our lives, there are phases we will go through.  Knowing that there are phases helps.  Then we can understand our emotions as a process.

The grief cycle looks like this:

In the aftermath of loss

Let yourself feel and honour what comes up for you. Be kind to yourself, and tolerant of your emotions.  Give yourself space to grieve and to heal.  Find support. Do what you can to nurture and uplift yourself. (abundant suggestions for self-nurture here) There is no denying that there will be pain. Loss is never fun. It’s not the season for that.

This sort of letting go, after the abrupt severance from the other end of the connection, is often harder at first than being the one who let go. At the point of consciously letting go, the other person has pulled back from you already.They knew what was coming.  It was their choice, and theirs alone, no matter how painful. You, at the receiving end, are gifted with  the frayed remains of something, the shock of the disconnect, the awful feeling of being DISEMPOWERED.

But wait.

We could get caught up in this sorry business here, but the longer we hold to it, the more we stay stuck in it.

Life changes.  Seasons come and go. Friendships, relationships, times in our lives – they all come to an end.  No one ever knows when a loved one will pass from our lives. The only thing we can know for certain is that change is inevitable, and that at some stage we will all die.

Allow yourself to grieve, and as you begin to emerge from grief, look for ways to continue living, ways to reconnect with family or community, ways to rediscover hope and gratitude. Know that when a loved one dies they are not lost to us, and that their love is enduring. I have seen so much of this in my work as a psychic, and it gives me incredible comfort.

And if your relationship has come to an end? If the job no longer wants you?

No matter how committed you were, no matter how much you gave, or loved, or tried…  it was no longer a good energetic fit.

Something had changed for the other person or party.  Maybe slowly, over a long time.  Maybe suddenly.  But with that knowledge, and that recognition of the lack of energetic fit, they drew back. One day they just woke up in bed with the wrong person and knew they couldn’t keep doing it  – and that person was you!

That’s so much of what the energies of 2012 are all about.  Change, dealing with change, creating change, growth. This year, especially, we will be compelled to change. The things that have no value, no integrity, no further use for us will be broken down.  Things that are unbalanced will need to come back into flow.

So if someone has closed the door on you? It means you are no longer an energetic match. One of you has changed enough that you no longer fit together. It leaves the ‘door-closer’ free to find a better match, or to stay unchanged if you are the one who is growing and evolving. Not everyone will embrace change and that’s okay.

More importantly, when a relationship ends, it leaves YOU free to connect to something that better honours you. Sometimes what feels terrible at the time turns out to be a Blessing in your life. The Universe has wisdom beyond anything we can ever understand.

So many times I have heard the story of a marriage ending, and then the person meets their life partner and soul mate. They continue to grow and evolve in ways that are healthy and positive.  They finally know contentment.

Publisher after publisher reject a novel.  Suddenly someone takes it up and it becomes a best seller. (This is reassuringly common!)

The job ends and the person takes a career change. Unexpected doors open, new directions unfold. Life opens out again. Life becomes more authentically matched to the talents and gifts of that person.

You get rejected from the University course you had your heart set on, go travelling and find a new love, a new direction, a new passion you didn’t know was in you.  You go from the misery of not ever being a Lawyer to the joy of being a Horticulturalist or a Pediatric Nurse where you KNOW it’s where you’re meant to be.

Life’s road has twists and turns.  Sometimes your companion on the road of life leaves. For a time you may need to walk solo.  But it’s a busy road.  Other walkers will be along.  Sometimes you will meet back up with the person you walked with before, and find your have both changed, both grown, and are able to come back together. Sometimes you’ll meet that person and they will be happily walking with a new companion, you’ll be walking with a new companion and you’ll breathe a sigh of relief that they are no longer in your lives. Often you’ll only discover and connect with your authentic self, and find your true direction, when you’ve walked a mile or two on your own.

We act as unknowing Angels in each other’s lives, helping each other find a path more suited to us. Sometimes we close the door.  Sometimes it is closed on us.  Life forks out in new directions.

The only thing you need to do is keep moving.  At some stage you need to pick yourself up from the floor, dust yourself off, and continue on the journey.  Who knows what adventure is around the corner?  Who knows what qualities you will find within yourself, what values you will come to hold dear? Who knows what companion might join you next?

There is a wisdom and a synchronicity within the Universe. We are loved and supported and guided at every turn. There is a season and a reason for everything, although this can be hard to see until we have walked further along the path and get to a place where we look back over our shoulder and finally understand.

Wishing you strength, courage and good cheer for the journey. Bless ♥ xx