Just For Today, Choose Kindness

“Be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible.”

“When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.”

~ Both quotes from The Dalai Lama

I have a little challenge for you today. It’s a kind of soul medicine, and although it can be a little difficult if you’re out of practice, the more you move into the energy of this challenge the more you will find that it was always your soul’s default position. Think of this challenge as a way to restore your factory settings!

Ready?

Just for today, choose kindness.

Choose to smile from your heart.

Hold back any harsh thoughts, words or criticisms, and find a way to be gentle in your dealings with self and others.

Let kindness be both your journey and your destination.

Just for today, choose kindness.

Let kindness colour the way you see the world.

Put away judgement, and seek out things that can swell your heart with gratitude.

Look for the good in people, the beauty in your surroundings, the blessings at your feet.

Appreciate the simple things, and if you can, share those simple things with others.

A caring word, a gentle touch, a nod of support – none of these things will cost you a penny, but to someone they might be priceless gifts.

When we choose kindness, we ease the way for ourselves and others.  We become an agent for flow and abundance.  Our attitude affirms the goodness and connection inherent in this experience we call life.

We may become an Earthly Angel for someone for whom the Universe intends support or encouragement. God and good can only work THROUGH us. Why not be an agent for that good? Why not be choose to be part of a deliberate energy of love and positivity?

Whatever we choose to think and believe, whatever actions we offer up to the world, our energies come back to us, multiplied.

Trust that the kindness we offer today will find its way back to us when we most need it.

Through the act of living from our hearts, we are transformed, becoming magnetic to even more good-will and positive energy.

Just for today, choose kindness.

Let the energy of love transform your life.  Let the energy of love transform our world.

Just for today, choose kindness.

Today, in someone’s darkness, you can be the Light. ♥

Sending all my love to you, Nicole xoxo

What Divine Intervention Looks Like

“I don’t want to live in the kind of world where we don’t look out for each other. Not just the people that are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand. I can’t change the way anybody else thinks, or what they choose to do, but I can do my bit.”
~ Charles de Lint

*All names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.

Yesterday, in the middle of the night, I received a facebook message. How did I know that? My phone dinged. I’d forgotten to turn off the ringer,and I’d forgotten to take it downstairs to put on the charger as I usually do each night. So as I turned it to silent I glanced at the message.

It was a reader of my blog. Alan – a 36-year-old man in Canada. A man in trouble. He has schizophrenia, induced from illness after travel vaccines many years ago. His illness has become uncontrollable. He has miserable side-effects from his medication. Alan was thinking about committing suicide. In fact, he was ready to take an overdose, and just wanted to reach out to me first.

As I texted with him on my phone I opened my iPad and brought up messenger. Another blog reader I know lives in Canada. I’ve never met her, but we’ve exchanged many messages. Susan is a mental health nurse. I thought maybe she could help.

I asked Alan for his address. Susan coincidentally lives in the same city. As I kept chatting to Alan via text and then Skype my friend made a call. She has two male colleagues, also mental health nurses, who live literally a block away from the man who had reached out to me. As I kept skyping, they went over to Alan’s apartment.

They knocked on his door and I told Alan that some friends were there to help him.

My involvement then ended.

I’ve heard this morning that they were able to get Alan to come to their workplace, where he was assessed by a new doctor. His previous doctor had not reviewed Alan’s meds in over ten years. The new doctor believes that the medication was unsuitable and was compounding Alan’s problems.

Alan is now in care, being assessed and getting help to come back to a place of balance. Thank goodness for my friend, Susan and her caring colleagues! Alan sent me a message this morning to thank me, and to tell me that he feels hopeful for the first time in many years. He has been offered a place in a support program.

What are the odds that a virtual stranger could contact someone on the opposite side of the world, and receive help from around the corner?

I’d call that an everyday miracle, wouldn’t you?

 

Darling, she’s not okay

Image by Chrys Campos - flickr

Image by Chrys Campos – flickr

“Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant with the weak and the wrong. Sometime in your life you will have been all of these.” 
~ Dr. Robert H. Goddard 1882-1945

Yesterday I went down to the local shopping mall nice and early. I needed to get bloods done, fill some prescriptions and pick up a few things. I’d planned to go the day before but circumstances intervened so here I was, trying to get my errands done before I started work.

All the stores I needed were already open, although most of the centre was still shut. While I waited for my scripts I treated myself to a breakfast  of coffee and a toasted sandwich in celebration of finishing the last of my current Lyme drugs. I sat at a table outside a cafe, in the middle of the mall, watching the centre slowly come to life. The lady at the opposite table looked up and smiled and then turned back to her ipad and latte. It felt good to be up and about and getting things done.

My solitary meal made me think of my precious Nana, who passed away on the 16th of November last year. Joycey would often order the exact same coffee and toastie and enjoy a little break in her day when doing her shopping. We September Girls have similar tastes.

Image by Kiki Diamant

Image by Kiki Diamant

As I was sipping my coffee I heard Nana’s voice loud and clear, “Darling, she’s not okay.”

I looked up, startled.

“Go see if she needs some help,” Nana’s voice urged kindly.

Right in front of me was a frail elderly woman limping and struggling with a shopping trolley. Her arm and face were badly bruised and I wondered if she had fallen recently.

“Excuse me,” I asked, “are you okay?”

Looking at me, confused, she placed a hand on her chest. “Are you speaking to me?” she asked weakly.

“Yes,” I said, standing up and walking the few steps over to her. “Are you okay? Do you need some help?”

Her hand clutched at her top and her eyes filled with tears. She nodded her head and began crying.

I took her by the arm and sat her down at my table, and moved the shopping trolley over beside us. I asked if she would like some water, and fetched a glass, and then  ordered her a pot of tea.

When she had finished crying, I asked her again, “Are you okay?”

“You know,” the old woman said, “I prayed yesterday and again this morning. I prayed for help but I didn’t know who to turn to. There’s only my son and me.”

As she sipped her tea she told me her story. Maud (not her real name) is eighty-three and lives in a unit not far from the shops. Her sixty-year-old son has recently been released from prison. He’s the only family Maud has, and he has no-one and nothing after many years in detention. Since his release he has been drinking heavily, and has begun assaulting her. Maud was afraid to say anything in case he was locked up again, but now she feels like a prisoner in her own home and her son is becoming more and more aggressive and unstable.

Portrait de Femmes by Linda Vachon at Flickr

Portrait de Femmes by Linda Vachon at Flickr

As Maud related her situation I too sent up a silent prayer, asking for help. I wasn’t sure what to do next or how best to deal with her situation.

But it was all okay. The woman at the next table came over. “I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help overhearing,” she said. “I’m an off-duty policewoman, and I can help you with this.” After getting some details and reassuring Maud, the police woman excused herself, stepped away and made a few calls from her mobile phone.

What a kind and good woman. Within half an hour she had organised for an ambulance to attend to Maud, and for Maud’s son, who had broken his parole arrangements, to be taken back into custody.

I rang the hospital late yesterday and found out that Maud has a fractured cheekbone. She is resting well and I have promised to visit her. Over and over again she thanked me, and all I could think of was how little I’d really done. I’d simply asked an elderly woman, who was obviously struggling, if she was okay. And it had come at the prompting of my own beautiful Nana – the first time I have heard her voice in spirit.

It’s such a simple question: Are you okay?

It’s also a question that binds us together, weaving a thread of humanity and kindness through all of our lives so that we may be supported and know that we are not alone.

Last night I lay in bed and thought about the events surrounding Maud. I had shifted my day around to accommodate an emergency reading the day before, which is why I ended up at the shops so early yesterday. A policewoman sat opposite me. Maud stopped her trolley directly in front of both of us. I heard my Nana’s voice, which caused me to speak to Maud and ask if she was okay. Maud got the help she needed.

How can I not believe that there is more to life than this? That our prayers are heard? That love keeps living and giving, even when our loved ones have passed…

Image by littl3fairy

Image by littl3fairy

Progress! All the little things that add up…

Image from zpply

Image from zpply

“Progress, however, of the best kind, is comparatively slow. Great results cannot be achieved at once; and we must be satisfied to advance in life as we walk, step by step.” ~ Samuel Smiles

Are you one of those impatient types? You know what I’m talking about. You start the diet Monday and expect to have a visible transformation by the end of the week. You begin a wealth creation program and a month later you’re disappointed to learn you’re only a little better off than you were at the start. You make changes and then wonder if this new thing is worth sticking with when there isn’t an obvious result yet.

I know I’m stating the obvious here, but MOST CHANGE TAKES TIME.

Sometimes the increments of change are so minute that from hour to hour, day to day, week to week, it just doesn’t look like all that much is happening.

And sadly, because of that, too many of us give up. We stop following the diet, going to the gym, putting words on the page or whatever else it was that was supposedly plodding us towards our goals.

Because who ever wants to just plod?

But here’s the thing. If you keep plodding along, eventually when you look back over your shoulder you’ll realise you’ve travelled quite a distance from where you first started out.

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Here’s my latest milestones in my recovery from Lyme Disease. It’s given me so much encouragement to grasp that I AM making progress, even if I still feel tired, unwell and quite wretched very often.

  • Almost no chest pain. I have been acutely aware of my heart since my first heart attack in 2009, because I could feel it under my ribs and it hurt! I couldn’t hunch my shoulders, turn over in bed some nights or lie on my side because of how much pain it caused. In the last few months the pain has largely abated.
  • I can walk up hills. Slowly, but I can!
  • I can climb stairs.
  • I can handle hot weather better. My body is thermo-regulating and my heart is behaving. I don’t need oxygen.
  • I can put numbers into order, and file my bank statements. This has eluded me for years, since my last really bad lapse in 2002 which threatened to put me into a nursing home, so bad had my cognitive decline become.
  • I can do simple sums in my head.
  • I don’t feel like I am about to die.
  • I no longer feel like someone is digging a pitchfork into my head and twisting it viciously to get my attention.
  • I can bend over without passing out.
  • I can stand up quickly without passing out.
  • I can balance on one leg.
  • I can shut my eyes and not fall over.
  • I am physically stronger.
  • My vocabulary has increased.
  • I can prioritize and make lists.
  • My memory has improved.

Sure there’s heaps of stuff that could still work better in me. I acknowledge I have a long way to go. But when I think of where I was two years ago my improvement is actually quite astounding.

How about you? Are you making changes and sticking with them? Can you identify any tiny milestones? Sometimes when we’re looking at where we are now, we lose sight of how far we’ve already come.

I really want to encourage you not to give up. Even if from day to day it appears pointless. Even if it seems that what you’re doing is insignificant.

Most of my gorgeous clients who are ‘overnight successes’ slaved away unrecognised and unrewarded for years.

All that plodding and not giving up will get you where you want to go. And I promise the view will be magnificent. Hang in there! Much love, ♥ Nicole xx

longfellow-quote2

Everyday Blessings

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“Sometimes it happens that you become one, in some rare moment. Watch the ocean, the tremendous wildness of it–and suddenly you forget your split, your schizophrenia; you relax. Or, moving in the Himalayas, seeing the virgin snow on the Himalayan peaks, suddenly a coolness surrounds you and you need not be false because there is no other human being to be false to. You fall together. Or, listening to beautiful music, you fall together. Whenever, in whatsoever situation, you become one, a peace, a happiness, a bliss, surrounds you, arises in you. You feel fulfilled. There is no need to wait for these moments–these moments can become your natural life. These extraordinary moments can become ordinary moments – that is the whole effort of Zen. You can live an extraordinary life in a very ordinary life: cutting wood, chopping wood, carrying water from the well, you can be tremendously at ease with yourself. Cleaning the floor, cooking food, washing the clothes, you can be perfectly at ease–because the whole question is of you doing your action totally, enjoying, delighting in it.”

Osho Dang Dang Doko Dang Chapter 3

I love this card from the Osho Zen Tarot deck. It has a powerful message, which fits perfectly with how I’m feeling right now.  We live in a beautiful, magical, wondrous world, although we so often take this world for granted.

It also illustrates the benefit of making each day a meditation- of giving our full attention to whatever task we are performing, no matter how mundane. There is still beauty and wonder to be had in the most ordinary of moments.

Today, why not make a list of some of your most mundane and ordinary Blessings.  There is no need to wait for something extraordinary to happen to us.

There is a great magic in the ordinary once we open our eyes.

Here’s my list, a task made much easier after our recent days without power while we are flooded in here at our farm.  I look forward to hearing about your lists too…

1. Electric Light.  The magic of flicking a switch and having your world illuminated is pretty cool. Plus you can stay up past sunset much more easily without bumping into furniture.  Also makes night reading a breeze!

2. Washing machine.  Pop the dirty clothes in, press a button and they come out clean a little while later.  No beating sheets on rocks in streams, no mangles and hand wringers. It’s a five minute job. And as an added bonus, the smell of clean clothes, fresh from the line after hanging in the sunshine.

3.  Refrigerator.  It keeps my drinks cold, my food fresh, and stops bugs getting in my condiments. It is also a thing of wonder to stand in front of when you are experiencing an enschnackelation attack and have no idea what you feel like eating. The little light comes on and all your choices are laid out before you, shelf by shelf.

4.  Hot showers.  Soul soothing, and excellent for washing away the grime of the day. Oh the blessings of internal plumbing and hot water are immeasurable!

5.  The internet. Blog, facebook, emails and being able to stay in touch around the world or google anything I please, whenever I so desire. Site I missed most during our blackout? BOM – the weather radar site from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology! Hands down winner. Who doesn’t want to know where their extreme weather event is coming from, what it looks like, and just what to expect?

6.  Computer.  A magical box that holds the entire contents of my brain, the rough drafts of all my books, the pictures that tell the story of my life, and then some…

7.  Toaster.  Bread goes in. Toast comes out. ‘Mazing!

8.  Juicer.  Turns mountains of fruit and vegetables into tasty, health-giving beverages.

9.  Mobile Phone.  Charge it up, carry it around, and you have the world in your pocket, plus a handy camera!

10.  Coffee machines. Whether it’s a stovetop espresso maker or a full-blown barrista’s coffee shop dream, seriously these should be considered a wonder of the modern world.

And my personal favourite through these long electricity-free days?  The humble battery-powered transistor radio.  Special mention to ABC Radio for superlative coverage of unfolding local events and all sorts of other listening pleasures.

radio