What Happens When Someone Believes In You

“You may be the only person left who believes in you, but it’s enough. It takes just one star to pierce a universe of darkness. Never give up.”
~ Richelle E. Goodrich

 

Memoir is a funny thing for taking you walking into places you would rather not remember. I was thinking, last night, of a time when I had all but given up on myself.

1987.

I was so young then. Barely just begun at University. In a body that was falling apart. In a life that was falling apart. An over-achiever who was failing at everything. And in that terrible place of not being believed when I said that something was wrong.

For something was wrong. Very wrong.

For months I woke bathed in sweat and wrestled fevers through the day. My joints ached and swelled. My heart thumped in my chest and missed a beat or two whenever it felt like it.

The music I’d been been able to read since I was a small child became a spaghetti tangle on the page. I lost my ability to remember information or to place things into a logical sequence of events. Numbers became meaningless.

I forgot where I lived, and the names of people whom I’d known for years.

I fell down in the street, my legs giving way beneath me for no reason.

My legs jigged and danced in bed at night, no matter how I tried to keep them still.

And there was pain. So much pain. Ice-picks being buried in my head. Nerve pain roaring behind my left eye and rendering me sightless from that orb for days on end. Cramping pain. Dull pain. Electrical pain. Sharp pain. It moved all round my body, making a liar of me. No-one has pain like that. Except that I did.

Then there were the rashes that came and went. Exhaustion so overwhelming that it was all I could do some days to lift my head from the pillow. Infection after infection.

So much of my life became blurred. Slowly I was losing myself. That much I knew.

Our family doctor told me that I had women’s troubles, and prescribed valium.

A second doctor suggested anti-depressants, and theorised that I didn’t have the heart for serious study. Why not become a shop assistant or a secretary instead? Or surely I had a nice boyfriend I could marry? Motherhood was very satisfying, I was told, even though modern girls thought they knew better.

When I continued to question my diagnoses, and to ask for my doctors to be more investigative I was referred to a psychiatrist.

Who sent me to a neurologist, just to be thorough. Where I promptly spiked a fever and collapsed. So the neurologist sent me to his friend, Doctor Richard Kemp, the Head of Infectious Diseases at the same hospital.

Doctor Richard Kemp was a man who listened. He was a man who cared. He took the time to conduct all manner of investigation over several weeks. Finally he concluded that I was suffering from an infection. His tests could not isolate it, but he was sure. It was like AIDS without the HIV he told me.

Doctor Kemp also told me, regretfully, that he was unable to treat me because he had no definitive diagnosis.

After which he said something remarkable. I believe you, he said. You know your body better than anybody else, and you know that something is wrong. I know that too. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Hold to your guns. Don’t give up. One day you will be proven right.

In my darkest days I have held on to that the way a drowning man would cling to a lifeline. To have someone believe in you and encourage you is a powerful thing.

Life-changing, actually. Because after that I began to fight, and since then I have never turned my back on me.

Fast forward to 2013 where I received a definitive diagnosis that proved Dr Kemp correct. I have lyme disease. It is an insidious infection that has rampaged through thirty years of my existence, and that – prior to my diagnosis – had almost killed me as I sat in cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure, with a brain full of lesions and almost every major system in my body broken.

 

A big part of the reason I have endured is the encouragement I received from that kind doctor. I am still here. Still here, and now finally, because of treatment I am getting better day by day.

 

Who can you reach out to and support? Who can you encourage?

A few words, honestly stated, may mean more than you can ever know to someone who could use a self-belief boost. Destinies can be changed. Futures can be created. Lives can be saved.

 

And for those of you who are struggling? Please, don’t give up on yourself. You just never know when that breakthrough or answer or guiding light will come.

Holding you in my meditations and prayers, Nicole <3 xx

 

I Will Not Be That Cranky Old Judgemental Lady!

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Recently I blogged a list of ten things you probably didn’t know about me. To refresh your memory, here is number nine again:

My first entrepreneurial exercise was a stall selling lemonade and flowers out the front of our suburban home in Brisbane. I was eight and I got the idea from a Nancy Drew book (Nancy was a fictitious child sleuth in the USA, and my personal hero for a number of years!). We were never paid pocket-money as children, so it seemed like a good idea. I picked flowers from the garden and tied them into pretty bunches, mixed lemon juice, sugar and water into a big jug, wrote some signs and then sat there all day waiting to make a sale. Late in the afternoon the elderly neighbour from across the road came out her front door and crossed the street to my stall. I sat up expectantly. ‘Silly girl. Pack that up and go inside,’ she said. ‘We don’t do things like this in Australia.’ That night I prayed with all my might that I would wake up in America the next day. Obviously, that particular prayer was never answered.

Yesterday my husband and I drove into Bangalow from our little farm, so that we could buy a few supplies now that we are home again after our time away.

Our farm is at the bottom of a very long dead-end gravel road, and on that road there are only eight houses. As we drove up the road two kids jumped up from a seated position on the grass in the afternoon sun and began brandishing oranges at us. It was an odd thing to do, and we’ve driven right past them before I worked out what it was all about.

“I think they’re having some kind of roadside stall,” I said to Ben. “We’d better stop on the way home and buy some of whatever they’ve got.  I like to support budding entrepreneurs.”

A big goofy grin broke out all over my face. The likelihood of there being any customers for the boys’ stall was practically zip. But here they were, enterprising and hopeful. How could I not stop?

After we picked up what we needed in town we headed home, and sure enough the boys were still sitting there. But now they had dragged out a bench and table, and there were three of them.

Of course we pulled over.

The enterprising brothers and a visiting friend had picked fruit from their backyard trees – oranges, limes, grapefruit and mandarins (clementines). These are actually pretty hard-sell items in our neck of the woods. Everyone around here has groaningly full citrus trees right now, including us.

They’d also made some artworks to sell – felt-pen pictures on the backs of printed pages they had recycled.

I bought 12 fruit for $3 and secured a lovely artwork for a forty cent donation – plus I got to shake hands with the artist (who blushed madly but couldn’t stop smiling!).

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Back at home I put the fruit in my bowl, and secured my new art to the fridge door with magnets. There is no way I will ever become a cranky judgemental old lady like the one who tried to crush my own lemonade stand dreams.

Long live the entrepreneurial spirit!

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A message from the Universe

Image by Mandy Lynne

Image by Mandy Lynne

“But listen to me. For one moment
quit being sad. Hear blessings
dropping their blossoms
around you.” 
~ Rumi

As I was sitting in meditation this morning, thinking about you and how I could best be of service today, I realised that there was something you needed to hear right now. So let me bring these messages to you, direct from the Universe. You’ll know which part of the message is for you. It’s the one that stands out, the one that moves you, the one that answers the question on your lips.

You are enough.

Small Red Rose - Image from Wikipedia Commons

Small Red Rose – Image from Wikipedia Commons

Someone will want what you have. Be brave and put yourself out there.

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Your ideas are needed in the world. Speak up.

Girl with raised hand - Image from B2C

Girl with raised hand – Image from B2C

You deserve a loving, faithful and nurturing relationship.

Cats Embrace by Sara Lynne Paige

Cats Embrace by Sara Lynn Paige

From small beginnings great things can grow. Get started. Have faith in your vision.

Reese Matthews beginning a grand Lego project

Reese Matthews beginning a grand Lego project

So much love is pouring forth from the Heavens for you. Call on your Guides, your Angels, Your Ancestors. They are here for you. They are helping you. Expect signs and messages.

Have faith! This idea will work.

Light Bulb Moment - Image from Emagister

Light Bulb Moment – Image from Emagister

Help is on its way.

Ironman - Image by Everett

Ironman – Image by Everett

Keep going, you’re making good decisions and you’re on the right track.

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Trust. There’s a soul just waiting to come through.

Baby - Image by Anne Geddes

Baby – Image by Anne Geddes

You’re closer than you think. The end’s in sight!

Ducklings - Image from Cheezburger

Ducklings – Image from Cheezburger

It will be worth it.

Image from Freelance Folder

Image from Freelance Folder

Know that you’re not alone.

You’re in my daily thoughts, prayers and meditations, and I’m wishing you well.

Nicole xoxo

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

Do what you have to do

NotUsed-wantSomething

Sometimes what we need to do doesn’t feel good. Or it feels unfamiliar, all wrong, and way out of our comfort zone. It can often involve not just effort, but sacrifice.  While everyone else is taking things easy, while everyone else is having fun, you have work to be done.

To learn, to grow, to create the change, to forge our own opportunities – we’re going to have to do things differently.  You came here to make a difference.  You came here to follow the whisperings of your heart. You’re braver than you know.  And stronger.  So, my friend, today don’t just do what feels good.  Do what you have to do. Have courage.  Believe in yourself, and even if you don’t yet, do it anyway! I promise it will be worth it.

If I’m on my Path, why is it so rocky?

RockyPath

“Life wasn’t meant to be easy, my child, but take courage: it can be delightful!” ~ George Bernard Shaw

I received an email from a student recently, who has just started working as a healer in a new clinic. It’s been her dream for many years, and she’s good at what she does. Here’s an except of what she sent me:

I start in my new clinic today, but I’ve had a challenging night last night and my bowels are misbehaving. I don’t know if it’s fear, if perhaps I got this all wrong and the universe is telling me so by putting so many obstacles in my way, or if it’s testing my resolve to do this work. But I thought if you were on your path, things would flow. Terribly confused. I wonder if you might consider a blog on this subject.

I love that she was brave enough to share her fear and insecurity, rather than pretending everything was fine while inwardly imploding! Especially because what she expressed is so common, and many of us have felt this way at times.

There are actually a number of issues within that one little paragraph, so I’ll deal with them separately.

1. WE place big expectations on ourselves. We’ve become a society where winning is everything, where the grand gesture and the overnight success are held up as examples of normal. Some of the anxiety my student is feeling is because she has created an image in her head of what success looks like, and that is generating fear and doubt about whether she will now live up to that preconception.

I have great faith in my student.  I believe that in time her healing practice will exceed the the image in her head.  But on Day 1 of her opening her practice it’s unlikely.

What needs to be celebrated here is that she is opening the doors, that she has furthered her dream with action, that she was brave enough to put herself out there. It’s a beautiful thing that she is giving life to what is in her heart. And this is one little step in a massive continuum. It would be sad indeed if she  judged the potential of her new business by the first few days, or even the first few months…

2. Sh*t happens, and inevitably in life some things don’t go our way. Don’t feel special.  It happens to everyone. Life is challenging. Sometimes extremely so. It is unrealistic to expect that everything will turn out smoothly and be problem-free every time. Don’t take it so personally.

People with a spiritual outlook on life will often try and interpret and understand what’s going on. If things aren’t happening in a streamlined, efficient and easy manner it could be because “The Universe is trying to tell me I’m on the wrong path” or the flipside of that, “It’s a test to see if I am committed enough”. While I do believe that there can be a Higher Wisdom involved at times where it all comes together, or where it all falls apart, we are often so busy interpreting the signs that we lose faith and momentum. Don’t disempower yourself – you are a soul with free will and a bright mind.  Don’t be afraid to make decisions, and to figure it out for yourself.

All of the people I know who’ve enjoyed success have had their fair share of failures, rejections, disasters, narrowly avoided catastrophes and slow starts. The thing that sets them aside from other, less successful, people is that they gritted their teeth, held onto their dream and kept plugging away, long after others had quit. The journey changed them, the journey grew them, and from the journey they BECAME the person they needed to be in order to have that success.

3.  When we step outside our comfort zone it’s uncomfortable! Who isn’t a little scared and nervous when they try something new?  In fact I know seasoned performers who still get nauseous before they go on stage. The funny thing about stretching ourselves is that eventually we become comfortable in the expanded space, and then we’ll look to try something new and repeat the process all over again.

4.  We all have to serve our apprenticeship. Even people with natural talents need to hone and polish those gifts with experience.  And the only way we get experience is to do this thing that terrifies us. Why does it terrify us? Because we care so much about it.  If we didn’t care, it wouldn’t matter! You learned to walk by getting up, tottering around and falling down. Same same with any new thing, be that writing a novel, opening a healing practice or mastering the perfect sponge cake. Embrace that state of learning – it’s a powerful and wonderful state to live within.

Image from wikimedia

Image from wikimedia

The path to your dream might be rocky, and it might be steep.

But I promise you the view from the top of the mountain, or even part way up, will be magnificent. And the journey – that’s the best part of all.  It’s why we’re here, and why we keep coming back.

I honour all of you who are bravely embracing your dreams.  Baby steps, my friends, and sometimes giant leaps. Hard bits and easy bits… If it’s in your heart don’t give up on it.  I have so much faith in you. Be gentle with yourself, and remember to celebrate the journey.

Bless ♥ xx

The Value of Encouraging Other People

Image source unknown...

Image source unknown…

“The purpose of life is not to be happy – but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all.”  ~ Leo Rosten

Life can be so very trying at times. We can find ourselves alone, we might fall on hard times, lose our health, endure great physical or emotional pain, make decisions we regret, suffer loss or be faced with a mountain of other problems.

But today I don’t want to talk about your problems. I want to share with you a personal philosophy that has helped me through the darkest of days. It’s no fix for whatever you’re facing and yet it can often illuminate answers and bring light into your own darkness.  That philosophy is to practice kindness and to encourage others.

When we take our focus off our own hurt or emptiness, and find a way to serve others, something profound happens. Our life is vested with a deeper meaning.  Our suffering becomes less significant, or more tolerable. And we find something outside ourselves that helps us to understand that we matter, that in some way we can have a part in the wider world, even if it is not the role we had envisioned for ourselves. Our vibration is lifted. Our soul finds a way to free itself from this cage of pain.

Conversely, if we engage in bitterness, cruelty, criticism and tearing people down these actions seem to magnify our pain and unhappiness. Our vibration is lowered. We attract more suffering and become enmeshed with our problems.

There are many ways that we can encourage others; a kind word, a smile, a thoughtful comment, a hug or a pat on the arm, acknowledging someone’s efforts, being enthusiastic about their successes and kind about their failures.  You could try praise, gratitude, a short email, a card in the mail, a hug, a softly whispered ‘Don’t give up, I have faith in you,” a rowdy “Come on, you can do it!”

Give someone the gift of your interest.  Listen to them, and care about what they say and how they say it.  Encourage them to share and to open up to you.  Be someone they can trust and confide in.

Lend a hand. Offers of help can go a long way when someone is struggling with their own problems. Specific advice and ideas that are supported by your own wisdom and experience can be very useful when someone is just starting out.

Affirm positive actions and attitudes. It means so much when others notice and validate our efforts.

Speak well of people. Introduce and connect people to each other.  Build friendships, and help create communities.

To be productive, to lift up others, to practice kindness, to encourage – these things matter, and they are a magical balm to life’s greatest pains, and for the most weary of souls.

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You might find these posts useful too:

Will you do something for me today?

The gift of small kindnesses

Today, choose kindness

How you can change the world

Helping-Others-Quotes-No-one-is-useless-in-this-world-who-lightens-the-burdens-of-another.

By definition, a ‘Hero’ does not have it easy…

Ken and Barbie, one of life’s perfect couples. Image from barbie-game.com

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”
Christopher Reeve

Think about it.

You read a book. In it, the hero has a cruisey ride. From the moment of their auspicious birth everything they touch magically works.  They are incredibly popular. All their family and friends are kind and loyal.  Oh – and smart and beautiful too.  Even if the hero has to endure some sort of obstacle (which is unlikely), it’s so easily overcome that they never even mess up their hair.  They have plenty of money, plenty of food, plenty of really cool stuff, success in every direction, and life just works out for them. It’s all so easy.

Seriously, who would read that?

That’s no hero. That’s just a plastic-fantastic fantasy.

Image from blogomatic3000.com

The real heroes in life are ordinary people. People just like you.

They’re the people who keep going when life gets hard.

They hang on, even when they can’t count on a single friend.

They keep going, even when everything around them is falling apart.

They put their game face on. They grit their teeth.

And they might be terrified.  They might be filled with doubt. Their pockets empty, their belly empty, and no-one riding in to save them.

Their dream might be so far off…

The future might look so uncertain…

The chance of things turning out well might be so slim…

They might have fallen so many times that they wonder if they can get back up.

But they look life in the eye. They hold up their head even when their cheeks are glazed with tears.

And they keep on going.

That’s a true hero.

That’s the story we want to read.

Image from quotespicture.org

And the truth is, we never know how incredible we are, how strong we are, what we are truly made of – until we try.

We don’t need to wait for a superhero to save us.  We need to be our own hero.

Image from bitsofwisdom.org

 

 

Each day you’re writing the pages of the book of your life. By definition, a hero does not have it easy. That’s actually okay.  A life of overcoming challenges, and growing into someone wiser, kinder, better than we were before?  By definition, that’s the kind of book we all want to read.

 

 

 

Fall down seven times, stand up eight…

Australian Soldier at Gallipoli WWI. Image from awm.gov.au

This post is dedicated to the members of our Defence Forces, Emergency Services and their families, past and present, and to everyone who is facing hardship, no matter it’s nature.

There is something that many people don’t know about courage. Something most people don’t know about strength, and resilience…

We usually only find these qualities in ourselves when we’re already on our knees.

There is no need for it when things are going well. When we are in flow and life is good, the gifts at our core are hidden from view.

So you won’t know you have it in you until the day you need it.

Image from thumbpress.com

Life is never all smoothing sailing.  The good times don’t prepare us for the bad.

But I promise you, when it gets hard, if you dig deep you’ll find that there is a place inside you you didn’t know was there.  A place of courage and grace and steely determination.  A place of valour and a drive to stand up and keep going, even when you don’t know how, even when you don’t know if standing back up is actually possible yet.

But you can’t win at life when you’re on your knees. You can’t win if you give up. Victory might be around the next corner.  Or the next.

The Japanese proverb, Fall down seven times, stand up eight... speaks to the heart of this.

Image by mgl23 at tumblr

You can be your own hero.

The choices you make today determine who you will be tomorrow.

Trust that it’s within you.

Pick yourself up.  Keep going.  Grow…

Image by Serena from weheartit.com