Find Your Grit

“I learned a lesson I’d never forget. The lesson was that, when you have setbacks and failures, you can’t overreact to them.”
~ Angela Duckworth

I’m off to the doctor today. And tomorrow. And Monday. And more after that.

Many different specialists, all with their own opinions.

I know I’m not going to like some of what I hear.

Lyme doctors. Urologists. Immunologists. Opthamologists. Gynecologists.

So, why am I telling you this?

Because, you might not be facing medical challenges but your situation may be similar to mine. You might be living a total crapfest right now. Maybe yours is bad news. Poor results. No support. No money. Failure. Experts telling you it can’t be done. Well-meaning friends and family giving you sympathy and telling you to become resigned to your circumstances.

Don’t believe them.

Dig hard til you find your own truth. Your own strength. Your own answers. Know that it is never over until you reach the end.

Keep walking your road, or find a new road. Rest if you must. But most importantly, hold a vision of what you want in your heart and use your grit to push your way through to a better outcome.

How do you find your grit? Dig your toes in. Push against your circumstances. Keep pushing. Even as you cry and sigh and wonder what the heck you’re doing. Keep looking for answers. For better ways. For alternatives. For new perspectives. Trust that help will come.

Don’t give up on yourself.

Don’t give up on your dreams.

Don’t take it personally if not a single person stands shoulder to shoulder with you right now.

Just keep going.

Because most often that’s how miracles happen. That’s how dreams come true. That’s how everything transforms. That’s how you find the strength to change what can be changed and the grace to accept what will be.

I believe in you. I know that grit and strength is in you. Dig deeper. You’ll find it. And it will transform you when you do.

Sending you so much love and encouragement, Nicole

Goth Boots and New Beginnings

Image from UniSexShoeStore

Image from UniSexShoeStore

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibres connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibres, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”
~ Herman Melville

 

Have you ever found yourself in the right place at just the right time, even though it didn’t mean much to you in the moment?

A few weeks ago my husband needed to go into Lismore ( a small country town about half an hour’s drive away) to get some farm tools and supplies. Problem was, on my new medications I was really unwell, and Ben was worried about leaving me at home alone for so long on my own. Solution? I went with him.

We only had a few chores left when we stopped at a favourite bakery so Ben could get some lunch. I ordered a pot of peppermint tea, and we sat outside at a little table. My husband then left me there with my tea, and the friendly staff supervising me, while he walked a few stores up to get a tractor part.

While I sipped my tea a mother and daughter came and sat at the table beside me, and then the mum went inside to place their order.

I smiled at the daughter and said hello, and she glared ferociously at me.

I will admit to this – I was very unwell that day, and she scared me a little at that moment. I wondered if I should have smiled after all.

The young woman was dressed as a Goth. She had multiple piercings, a severe blue-black bob, a white powdered face with heavy black eye makeup and artful black and grey lips. Her clothes were dark, with lots of layered jewellery and dark images. She was plump, awkward and uncomfortable in her skin. Even with her confronting glare and the hostility she radiated, I found her quite beautiful. It was a beauty of which she was totally unaware.

Amidst the tradies, farmers and office workers the young woman looked completely out of place, and everyone stared at her. Judged her. She spent most of her time with her head down, using her long hair as a shield between her and the world.

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It was the lips that did it. They were so carefully drawn. When she turned her head away I stole another glance. Her entire ensemble down to her scary platform boots with the big spikes, was thoughtfully chosen and stylish. So much care had gone into that outfit.

She snarled a smart retort at a spotty youth who made a rude comment to her, and suddenly I was reminded of my dog Bert, who sports a big spiked red collar and who acts and looks so tough when we are out in public to hide his complete terror of the world, but who is a complete pussycat underneath that tough exterior.

I realised that the young woman’s snarl and glare were her defense mechanisms. This Goth Girl was the most stylish person I had seen in Lismore all day. I could see the fragility under the fierce make-up, the piercings, the boots more suited to a Klingon warrior.

Disney Goths Image from Hellee Titch

Disney Goths Image from Hellee Titch

I couldn’t help but listen as she talked over lunch with her mum. She was well spoken, funny and thoughtful. But I could also feel how tentative she was. How nervous and unsure. My heart melted. The more I thought about it, the more I felt that she just needed some encouragement. My intuition was that she had been very brave in coming here for lunch, although I had no idea why. In my sick and miserable state I certainly wasn’t in work mode, and didn’t even think to try.

I felt compelled to say something to this girl. But I had no idea how to do that. And I was feeling so fragile myself. I wasn’t up for any kind of upset or confrontation.

As they were getting into their car I knew it was my last chance. I hobbled over and tapped on her window. The glass slid down and she jutted her jaw at me, scowling.

“Excuse me,” I said, feeling a bit stupid but determined to say something. “I just had to tell you that I think you’d win the award for the most stylishly dressed person in Lismore today. You really rock that look.” I meant it sincerely, and I smiled at her again, and walked back to my table, heart thumping in my chest. The girl reminded me of someone, but in my addled state I just couldn’t think who.

A few minutes later Ben returned. We drove to the other side of town, made a few more stops and then finally went to Bunnings, where Ben left me in the car while he went inside to get the last things on his list.

A tentative knock on my window startled me as I sat there, half-asleep. It was the mother from the bakery. I rolled down my window. The woman couldn’t believe that she’d run into me in the Bunnings carpark. She couldn’t stop thanking me. Her daughter’s name was Lisa, and apparently my comment to Lisa had been just what she’d needed to hear.

The mother’s face became fraught with worry. After enduring ongoing bullying at a college in the city, Lisa had suffered a complete breakdown. That very day the mother had picked up Lisa from a mental health unit, where she’d been a residential patient for some months.

Lisa’s counsellor had told the mother that it was probably time for her daughter to change her image to something less confronting. It was the one thing Lisa had not been prepared to do in her ongoing support sessions. In defiance of the advice, Lisa had carefully and bravely made herself up in her usual choice of fashion for her entry back into the world.

My comment had apparently made Lisa’s day, and helped her to feel more confident about herself and her style.

Image from Pinterest

Image from Pinterest

What had Lisa been studying? I asked.

Beauty and hairdressing, the mum said. We talked for a few minutes more and exchanged telephone numbers.

I didn’t give the incident much more thought until I was speaking with a client last week. She runs a successful city hairdressing salon, and she’d been having trouble finding a suitable apprentice. Bingo. She was the one I’d been trying to think of when I’d met Lisa. My client is heavily tattooed, favours a Goth look herself, and is one of the most intelligent and sweet-natured women I know. I told her about Lisa, the young woman I’d met outside the bakery. A few phone calls were made. Magic happened. One talented young woman has now been taken under the wing of an equally talented mentor. Wins all round.

There is a synchronicity and magic in this Universe, and it often finds a way to work through us, so that we become a part of that flow of goodness.

I very much trust in that. Don’t you?

 

Sometimes You Have to Be The Warrior

Image from Tattoo Pins

Image from Tattoo Pins

“Whatever you are physically…male or female, strong or weak, ill or healthy–all those things matter less than what your heart contains. If you have the soul of a warrior, you are a warrior. All those other things, they are the glass that contains the lamp, but you are the light inside.” 
Cassandra ClareClockwork Angel

 

2014 is a BIG pattern breaking year for some people. For those of you who identify with what I’m talking about it will be a year hallmarked by various difficult endings and beginnings, and at times an avalanche of seemingly insurmountable problems.

This is not a year where you can sit passively and let it all roll by you or let life carry you along. Sometimes you have to prepare yourself and then get into the thick of things.

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for being in flow, and going where the river takes you. That energy can be a beautiful thing.

Image from Sporting Life

Image from Sporting Life

But what if your ride on the river is not quite so peaceful right now?

Sometimes you end up with rocks or rapids in front of you, and you really DO need to take action to get out of their way.

Sometimes the river has so little water that you need to pick up your boat or drag it until there’s enough water to carry you.

Image from Trout Shadows

Image from Trout Shadows

Sometimes you get spat out in some swampy, marshy spot where the water eddies and stagnates. Nothing to do but paddle or drag until you get back to clean water again.

Image from Weekend Notes

Image from Weekend Notes

Sometimes pirates want to hurt you, steal your ship or your cargo, or blackmail you!

assassins-creed-pirates

Image from Assassins Creed

You know what I’m saying? You might be ready to embrace the mindset of being open to life without confrontation or struggle, but where your boat is now will require much effort to get you back to that place of calm water or bright flow.

And that, my dear, needs the spirit of a warrior.

Please don’t tell me that it’s not ‘spiritual’ or ‘enlightened’ to draw on that fight inside you. Why do you think it is there?

Sometimes you have to connect with your Inner Warrior self. A warrior’s instinct and drive is to not quit – to use everything at their disposal to overcome obstacles. Warriors are not distinguished by their muscles – they are distinguished by their heart.

That’s the energy you need to draw on right now.

It doesn’t matter if you’re facing a health crisis, a failing marriage, a financial downslide or some legal battle. It doesn’t matter if it’s business or personal. What matters is that you value yourself and what you believe in enough to stand up for yourself and the people or ideals that are important to you.

Don’t assume that it will come to worst case scenarios. Do not panic or sell yourself short. Don’t let your dreams become vapid things that no longer fire your belly.

This is not the time to shrink smaller. You can’t afford the luxury of a victim mentality. Get a bigger goal, a bigger picture. How can you grow stronger? How can you negotiate so it works for you? How can you play to your strengths? How can you get more money? Who can support or guide you? Where can you seek help? If you’re totally on your own is there a book that can motivate or inspire you, or a piece of music? Don’t be afraid to call on your Angels, Guides, Ancestors – use whatever is at your disposal.

This might be a year where you need to work smarter, this might be a year where it comes to a fight, but it can still be a fantastic year. Aren’t you ready to break those patterns?

Spend a bit of time, get a plan together, canvas a range of options and some good advice and go from there. Decide that nothing will beat you this year!!!

Pattern breaking is hard work, but so worthwhile. Imagine how grand life will be, how much you will have grown, when this is all long behind you.

Hang in there. Be smart. Be classy. Outgun them all with your intelligence, spirit and passion. That’s what the Warrior does. This year, claim that bold energy inside you. It’s time. And it will be worth it!
Much love to you, Nicole xx

MarianneWilliamsom-Quote

A Little Bag of Comfort!

Image from ZingTravel

Image from ZingTravel

“There’s a sorrow and pain in everyone’s life, but every now and then there’s a ray of light that melts the loneliness in your heart and brings comfort like hot soup and a soft bed.” 
~ Hubert Selby Jr., Requiem for a Dream

Right now I’m pushing through an aggressive round of drugs and herbs to treat my Lyme disease and various co-infections. Oh goodness yesterday was tough. In fact my misery had started late in the afternoon of the previous day, from which time everything deteriorated.

At first I meditated. Then I tried to distract myself with a thoughtful gift from a friend who had packed me a little bag full of prompts, sounds and smells to take me on a journey through France, all from the comfort of my bed.

Eventually though, my physical pain and discomfort became too much for those kinds of imagination games. My very bones ached, my head throbbed as if it might explode, my skin burned, it felt like a million monsters were scratching and biting at me. Nothing I did seemed to reduce my suffering. How was I going to cope with weeks more of this same horror?

I needed some help.

Reaching over the side of my bed I groped around in my ‘Lucky Dips’ bag, and pulled out the first one my fingers found.

Here’s the little Love Letter I chose for myself. Perhaps it will have a message for you too…

My Lucky Dip Bag #1. All of the items inside were chosen randomly and placed in bags ready for when I might need them. Because of the way I put these packages together I have no idea what the contents will be.

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Lucky Dip #1 contents:

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An Oracle Card from Doreen Virtue’s Goddess Guidance Deck:

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A random note of encouragement from me:

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A Kimberley Amethyst I picked up many years ago in the company of my Aboriginal Aunties:

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I hugged that rock to me all day and used it as a focus point while I meditated.

‘It will all be worth it’, I reminded myself.

‘My prayers have been heard and are being answered.’

I slept with the crystal under my pillow. I slept! This morning I woke up feeling a little better. Less pain. More optimism. 5 weeks, 3 days to go…

Whatever challenges you’re facing right now, I’m encouraging you to keep going. It will be worth it! You’re in my thoughts, prayers and meditations.

Much love to you, Nicole xx

What Are You Waiting For?

2013-11-24 09.12.07

“TIME: Today Is My Everything” 
~ Richie Norton

 

Sometimes it’s good to rest, to step back and take time out, to think on things for a while…

But eventually, you’re going to need to take action.

Not much gets done on its own.

What one thing can you do this week that will make things better for you, brighter for you, that can get you on track with something important to you?

It might be one small action, repeated daily.

It could be a decision.

It might be one phone call, one email, one conversation.

Or it might be a journeying out into the world to find what you’re looking for.

Life is precious, and sometimes the only way we get out of the place we’re in is by our own actions.

Today I’m wishing you strength, clarity and courage. I’m also intending for you persistence.

This is your life. You’ve got things to do and places to be. What are you waiting for?

Let’s go!

Taking a Dose of my Own Medicine

Lyme Medicine – Image by getty/altrendo images

“Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.”
~ Lord Byron

It’s ironic that the day after posting about my progress yesterday I found myself back in herxing land. Herxing is a side effect of the lyme bacteria inside me dying off and releasing their toxins as a parting gift.

I haven’t felt this dreadful for a while.

I remind myself that this fever, these aching ears, these swollen glands and runny lopsided eyes, these weird pains and sleeplessness are all good. It’s another sign of progress, even if it doesn’t look very sexy or feel very awesome.

That’s the way it is when we’re committed to something for the long haul. It doesn’t matter what it is; making a marriage work, raising kids, running a business, writing a book, sticking to a fitness program, completing a PhD. There’s going to be down swings. Nothing is all puppy dogs and roses and magical unicorns.

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Most things worth having or achieving in life require require work. And sometimes that work will have us down in the pit – shabby, exhausted, cranky and NOT HAVING FUN, but still plodding on, or gritting our teeth and just getting through any way we can.

Who hasn’t been sore after a big session at the gym? Who wasn’t exhausted when their kids were newborns or teething? Who didn’t feel resentful when the weekend rolled around and you were stuck at your desk working or studying while everyone else was out having fun? Who hasn’t argued with someone they love dearly? Who didn’t freak out when they left the security of a job or a relationship to start out on their own?

When we commit to something and stick with it, we build this muscle called resilience. As we ride out the bumps, and push ourselves through the tough bits we change and grow. We build character and inner strength. We learn to depend on ourselves, and we find out what we’re made of.

Of course it helps to stay motivated, and to remind yourself of why you’re doing this thing. And it also helps to remind yourself how far you’ve come.

Remember: Remind yourself it will be worth it!

Today I am reading back over my progress, and reassuring myself that days like this are becoming fewer, and my goal is on a horizon I can actually see now, rather than some mythic far-off land which may or may not exist. I’m schlurping up a spoonful of tough-it-out and another of things-are-actually-measurably-better. I’m already feeling better than I did yesterday!

And I’m sending all my love to those of you who are down in the trenches. Take heart. You can do this thing! All power to you. ♥  Nicole xx

PS – I wish I could buy my medicine here…

Happy Pills -mCoolest Lolly Shop ever. Barcelona, Spain. Image by Scott Andseren

Happy Pills – Coolest Lolly Shop ever. Barcelona, Spain. Image by Scott Anderson

Why do you keep running from the thing you want?

Image from www.divinebodyandstyles.net

Image from www.divinebodyandstyles.net

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”  

~ Henry David Thoreau

 

 

It’s a simple enough question. And today I’m asking you. Why? Why do you keep running in the opposite direction to the thing you want?

If I could I would sit you down here, under the tree at my farm, or on the veranda. I would make you a cup of tea. And then I would tell you this:

Point 1 – None of this matters. Our life is here and gone in the blink of an eye. The things that seem so vitally important to us will be rendered into nothingness and dust by the processes of time. So, in the face of that, have courage. Who cares if your idea is crazy? Who cares what others might think of you? One day no-one will remember anyway…

Image by violscraper at flickr

Image by violscraper at flickr

Point 2 – I know I just said it doesn’t matter, but the truth is it matters to you. If it didn’t matter you wouldn’t be all tied up in knots over it. And the whole point of you living YOUR life is to take hold of the things that matter and shape them into a meaningful existence for yourself, one where you can look back and think ‘I did that’. Doing what matters to you makes for a satisfying life. So you need this thing; not for anyone else, not to impress, not to win prizes or have your name in lights – you need this thing to define you, to fulfill you, to forge you into the person you came here to become.

Image from www.theneckercube.blogspot.com.au

Image from www.theneckercube.blogspot.com.au

I know it’s scary. But there is something worse than the fear that keeps you running in the opposite direction. The scariest thing is getting to the end of your life without ever having tried, and then running out of time.

Maybe this thing is so important to you (in fact the most meaningful thing in your life – perhaps your very life essence… ) that you fear attempting it. If you hold this thing out in front of you it remains a possibility, but if you try it and fail the dream is gone. And then what will have meaning in your life?

Have you no faith? The Universe never whispers in our ear, our heart never holds a deep desire, unless we have within us the potential to realise that dream.

Don’t talk yourself out of it without ever having tried.

quote-life-shrinks-or-expands-in-proportion-to-one-s-courage-anais-nin-136058

I’ve heard all the excuses.

You fear that you will be successful and then everyone will want something from you and you will lose your freedom, or be under enormous pressure to keep succeeding. If this is you, refer back to Point 1.

You believe that you’re not worthy. You believe that success belongs to others. Or maybe you’re punishing yourself by not striving for this thing.  Perhaps you’re thinking too much about others and not enough about yourself. Refer back to Point 1.

Enough already.  Refer to Point 2.

You know this thing you want is always in the back of your mind, and often in your daily thoughts.  It comes to you in quiet moments, and pops into your consciousness when you least expect it.  Busily you turn away, stuff it down, talk yourself out of it, step around it and come up with another validation for why you’re not doing it, can’t do it, and so on…

All this energy you’re using to run away would be better spent in doing the thing.

All you need to do is start.  No grand gestures, no wild positioning statements, no colossal expectations.

Stop running. Take a breath. Find a place to make a modest beginning, and just start. You don’t even need to look this thing square in the eye. That will come, in time. For now, know that turning to face your dream and engaging with some small part of it is all you ever have to do.

You are here for a reason.  In your heart-of-hearts you know that reason by name. And this world will be the poorer if you never take your place in the sun.

You’re the only one here who can do it. That’s why it’s calling your name.

Stop running.

It’s time to embrace the dream and become who you came here to be.