This Dawning Day

“Veil after veil of thin dusky gauze is lifted, and by degrees the forms and colours of things are restored to them, and we watch the dawn remaking the world in its antique pattern.”
~ Oscar Wilde


I woke earlier than usual today. 3am. The night air was cold, the comforter pulled right up to my chin, warm and snug around me. Outside it was raining. Cities are so different to farms. I could hear the occasional faint slick of tyres on wet roads, the sounding of a train’s horn and then the click and clatter of the rails, the muffled roar of a jet engine as another plane lifted off and headed for far away.

In the dark beside me was Ben’s rhythmic breathing. My ankles were pinned by the weight of Nurse Bert’s heavy head. Harry Dog stirred, crept up from the foot of the bed, and then nestled in behind my back. Too early by far to get up yet, but not to meditate. I eased myself up into a sitting position, reached for my mala and began.

An hour later it was still dark. Still raining. Around me everyone slumbered peacefully in the pre-dawn quiet.

I would have liked to creep down beneath the covers and go back to sleep, but my mind filled with busy-ness. I knew there would be no more sleep today. Instead I slid out of bed as quietly as possible and shuffled for the door.

I’m always so stiff in the morning.

As my feet made tiny halting movements in the dark, more sliding than stepping, I suddenly knew my grandmother’s body as my own. This is the way she would walk, old and frail but stubbornly independent. There are not many mornings I haven’t shuffled in the past twenty years. Most times I move freely once I warm up. But sometimes I hobble all day.

On the way to the bathroom I do my daily check. Glands up. Morning fever. Throat not sore this morning. Good. Pain? I note all the places. I rate them on a scale of one to ten. I rank my fatigue. My level of alertness. Can I form thoughts? Is my memory there or gone?

When I hit the light switch I wait to see if my vision stays blurry or whether the world around me becomes clear.

Not clear.

I still have limited vision from my left eye. It’s been three weeks now, this latest stretch. A lyme thing. To be one-eyed means that the world around me softens and shifts to two-dimensional. I have no accurate way to judge depth or distance. You’ll know if I have an eye thing. I’m always covered in bruises from where I misjudged the edges of my world. Thank goodness Ben drives me where I need to go, and helps me cross the road or navigate obstacles.

I have a host of coping strategies, and once I get out of my mind and my body and into my plans and dreams I am just fine. Life rolls on. I have found so many ways to thrive and keep going despite current circumstances. Overall, my health has been steadily trending in the right direction. I remind myself of this. Much, much better. I am much, much better.

It’s still raining. Still cold.

Harry Dog has snuck downstairs now to keep me company at my computer. I cradle a mug of ginger tea to warm my hands and my insides, and he curls around my feet and goes back to sleep, one ear cocked for any possible sign that it might be Cafe Time.

I’m on edge today, as much as I am trying not to be. I am off to the hospital this morning for scans. An old problem. One that sat in the back seat with a band-aid solution as my doctors and I worked on more serious issues – like heart failure and multi-organ failure, all of which are now sorted. Health problems are always triaged. I understand that. But this one has caused me no grief for a few years. I’d almost forgotten it was there.

I admit it. I’ve had a crisis of faith these past few days. To enjoy an overseas vacation, to feel health and energy and strength in your body, to feel almost normal, and then…

…and then to have increasing pain, increasing fatigue, a sudden recurrence of old problems. For these problems to escalate and then keep escalating. For your doctors to be suddenly concerned and taking urgent action – more scans, more bloods, more tests, more scans.

Well, it’s taken me a while to get myself back on solid ground again. For me to drag myself off the floor and be ready for whatever comes next.

I’m up now. I’m ready. Or I tell myself that anyway as I sip my ginger tea.

It is ironic, I think, that at the moment when it all goes to shit for me (again!) the pipe in our city house bursts, the rooms flood, things become a soggy stinking mess requiring immediate action. And it has been a glorious distraction. Thank goodness. Maybe that was perfect timing after all. Symbolic too, of everything needing a major clean-up, re-install and renovation.

I’m okay, and I’ll be okay.

That’s a well-used mantra in my house. It works. Trust me.

I’d better dress now. Fasting bloods for me at 6.30am, and then Cafe Time for me, Harry and Ben, while Bert gets a little more shut-eye, all snuggled up on our bed.

Today will pass by in the blink of an eye and tonight I’ll be meditating again, waking in my own warm bed again tomorrow and reaching for my mala beads. I’m okay and I’ll be okay.

Much love to you all.

Nicole xx

An Update from Nicole

“Life can be like a roller coaster with its ups and downs. What matters is whether you are keeping your eyes open or closed during the ride and who is next to you.”
~ Ana Ortega


Hi, Lovely Friends.

You may have noticed I’ve been absent for a few days. I’ll be honest in saying that these past few days have been one crazy roller coaster ride.

Usually after retreat we bring everything home to the farm, dump it in piles to sort through and pack away later and I collapse for a few days to rest and come back into a normal operating schedule. Usually it would be nap time and cafe time and outings with my boys time. This retreat conclusion didn’t go like that.

Just before retreat ended we had notifications from recent medical tests that required us to be urgently back in Brisbane for appointments early on Friday, and then again on Monday. So we dumped everything in the shed, packed some to bring back to the city, tumbled into bed for a few hours sleep and then got up in the dark in the early hours of Friday morning for another long drive.

No rest for me. Just mad rushing around.

To add to the craziness and drama, a pipe broke in our city house while I was on retreat. The upstairs toilet overflowed – soaking the carpets and then cascading through the ceiling and down the walls into the kitchen below. Neighbours turned off the water to the house and friend did a mop up of the water on the floors and benches as best she could. Ben raced back to inspect the damage, a plumber came and repaired the pipe, and an insurance assessor came and set up big industrial fans and dryers, which are still roaring away. Ben assured me it wasn’t too bad…

But all of the food in the cupboards has been soaked. All my cookbooks are ruined. The oven, the toaster, the kettle, the pots and pans and more besides were filled with a rank brown liquid that stinks to high heaven. Somehow the men missed that, and back then, when it first happened, I’m sure it didn’t smell!

So in the middle of doctors appointments we are scrubbing and sorting and doing our best to clean up. Doors are swollen shut, things have buckled and deformed and it sounds like we are living in a wind tunnel.

But anyway, here we are.


It’s a mad ride sometimes, isn’t it?

I’ll be back to blogging, answering emails and updating the Year of ME activities in the next few days, as things settle down. Sorry, but all I can do right now is ride this mad roller coaster.

Thank goodness for meditation, and for moments standing barefoot in the garden.

This morning I am SO having a coffee!!!!

Hugs and love to you,

Nicole xx

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Day 5 – Oracle Card Challenge

“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.” ~ Richard Bach

Friendships and Family

Today’s cards will help give you insight into your relationships with the key people in your lives.

Here’s what you need to do:

Take your crystal, and complete this short guided meditation:

Hold your stone in your cupped hands, close your eyes, and slow your breathing. Bring white light into your body until you feel peaceful and calm. Then bring white light into the crystal too. Allow yourself to connect to the stone. You may feel it tingle, or visualise a colour in your mind’s eye. When you are ready, open your eyes. Keep your stone near you, and hold it when you write.


Before you shuffle your cards, choose up to five important relationships you’d like to ask about. These people can be friends, family members or work colleagues.

Now shuffle your cards, while picturing the first person in your mind and asking the question to yourself ‘What do I most need to know about this relationship?’

When you have shuffled the cards and they feel ‘done’, select one card using the method that feels right for you.

Place the card face up in front of you.

Clear your mind by closing your eyes and taking one deep breath in and then out. Open your eyes again. Take a minute and look at the picture.

What stands out for you today? Is it an image or a colour? Is it a number or a word? What are your first impressions? What thoughts come into your mind?

Write these down in your journal.

Now let’s go a little deeper. Think about this person. What feelings or words does this card evoke in your mind when you think about the card and its images in relation to the question ‘What do I most need to know about this relationship?’ Take five minutes and write some stream-of-consciousness thoughts down. Don’t censor or judge them. Trust the process. Draw a second card for clarification if you need to.

Do this process for each person you want to ask about.

Finally, read back over what you have written.

Stay open to synchronicities happening around these people in your life,

Nicole xx

Ready For Going Home!

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“Mr. Fred shook hands with her, said he was glad to see her, drew out a wet Coke from the machine, wiped it on his apron, and gave it to her.
This is one good thing about life that never changes, she thought. As long as he lived, as long as she returned, Mr. Fred would be here with his…simple welcome. What was that? Alice? Brer Rabbit? It was Mole. Mole, when he returned from some long journey, desperately tired, had found the familiar waiting for him with its simple welcome.”
~ Harper Lee, Go Set a Watchman


Nurse Bert and Cafe Dog have pronounced Ben well enough to travel. He is still sore after his knee surgery, but getting better every day.

Truth is, we’re all missing our farm…

We’re longing for wide blue skies, the smell of the rich earth and the fragrant trees, the gentle movements of the cows as they wander through our paddocks, the birdsong and the spaciousness and the chance to earth again.

We miss the beach and our early morning swims followed by good coffee and breakfast. We miss our friends. We miss afternoon naps with a good book, and digging things out of the garden.

We miss farmers markets and Sunday markets and stores and cafes where organic produce is normal rather than a novelty.

So today I’ll pack us up and drive us home.

Home for Christmas!

What a beautiful thing.❤

Who Would You Invite To Dinner?

“You can’t forget how important coming together is, whether it be a mom and a son, a dad and a daughter, whether the family be ten people, or twenty people, or a million people. Dinnertime is the perfect time for that. Dinnertime is the perfect time when you can sit down, you can offer thanks to your kids for making you laugh, or to your parents for supporting you, or to a god for looking out for you, or to whomever you want. You can just close your eyes and open them again and realize that you have the opportunity everyday to change your life, or change someone else’s. Dinnertime is a great time to think about that.

~ Dillon, age 22
From Dinnertimes: Stories of American Life, 1912 to 2012”


We’re stuck in the city just now, waiting for Ben’s knee to be sufficiently recovered from surgery for him to sit in the car for a few hours while we drive home to our farm.

One of the beautiful things in our marriage is that we talk about anything and everything. We have never yet run out of conversation.

So, Ben asked me last night, ‘If you could invite six people to Christmas Dinner, who would they be?’

‘Anyone at all?’ I asked him.

Yep. I could invite anyone at all. My mind went crazy. A table full of interesting and intelligent conversation? Wow. Who to ask? The new Pope. I’d love to have him to dinner. Patrick Stewart? Make it so. Sting? Remind him to bring his guitar, or a lute. Elizabeth Gilbert. She’d be fun. Cate Blanchett too. I was searching for a third woman to balance up the numbers, but really wanting to ask Joss Whedon while tossing up Joan Jett or Dame Judi Dench. Then I had a thought. I asked Ben if my dinner guests had to be living.

‘Pretty hard to have a conversation if they’re dead’, Ben said, ‘but sure, if you want.’

Suddenly everything changed.

If I could invite anyone? Anyone at all?

It would be my darling grandparents. Nana and Pa. Marga and Ceddie. As a grown woman now, there is so much I want to ask them. So much we never got to say. Ben’s dad. Bill passed away before I met his son. I’ve always wanted to cook for him, and to hear his stories. My Great Aunt Gwen, who died when I was still at high school. She was a remarkable woman, and she has had such a formative influence on me. I’d love the chance to share one good meal with her, adult to adult.

That’s who I’d want. Not famous strangers. Loved ones. Family. One last chance to have a glorious conversation, to ask them all the things we never talked about, to tell them how much they mean to me, how much I love them. To thank them with my hugs and my words and my food.

Who would you ask, if you could?

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A Special Christmas Altar for Healing and Remembrance

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“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.”
~ Rose Kennedy

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”
~ Thomas Campbell


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.

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.

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The beautiful big owl in the photo above was given to me last Christmas by my friend Angela, who passed away in this year. It will be central to my display.

There is a tiny wooden boat for my brother, and a book for my dad. A sparkly stone for my sister and a gardenia 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.


My Coral Bird, given to my grandmother Marga, that came back to me this year. Various other little things that have meaning for me or my husband.


Cupcake candles for my darling Kate, who passed away a few years ago, 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, 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.

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

Sending so much love your way, Nicole❤ xx




It’s Okay to Keep Changing – and How to Cope with People Who Don’t Recognise That

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“If people refuse to look at you in a new light and they can only see you for what you were, only see you for the mistakes you’ve made, if they don’t realize that you are not your mistakes, then they have to go.”
~ Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free


I received another message this week that I thought was best answered on my blog.

Lilly writes:

“Hello beautiful. Just wanted to ask some advice. I’m feeling really flat and down and sad this past week. My issues are based in trust and loyalty around family. I am trying to take a holistic approach to life and health in general , have been trying as hard as I can to do and be my best. My ” family ” is still full of doubt , spite and criticism of me and my abilities as a mum and person. My heart is bruised and my soul is weary. Can you offer any advice at all please ? Crystals to work with, books to read, certain meditations, angels to pray to, advice on how to react or not reactionary. ? Anything ?? I know your very busy and have a lot on your own plate but I’m sitting here feeling so lost and down and I don’t know who else to ask. Any advice at all would be deeply appreciated.”


First of all, Lilly, here’s a big hug (((HUG))). It’s hard when we’re doing our best and consciously making better choices to lift ourselves up and to live by our own values, and then to get pulled down by the people we had hoped would support us. You can always call on your Angels and Guides. Just talk to them out loud, or in your head, and ask for their help and support. Loved ones who’ve passed over can also bring us comfort. Some people talk to God. GO with what feels right to you.

Lilly, this is a hard one, and I’m going to consider it from several angles. Please know that I am no longer writing just about you, but about so many people just like you, and some who are not.


When You Really Did Do Some Things To Harm Trust:

If there was a time when you made mistakes or poor choices, or were immature or had a bad attitude or an addiction, then it’s likely that you hurt the people closest to you. It’s painful for family and friends to watch someone they love be in that space, and it’s painful to be on the receiving end of their bad behaviour, lies, addiction or attitude. When you’ve been continually hurt by someone you become wary of being hurt again. It is hard to trust someone who has put you through that, especially if they have promised or pleaded that they have changed, only to then fall back into those behaviours, or to manipulate your sympathies to their own ends.

In that kind of situation where you’ve hurt others, you will have to earn that trust back. You may want to apologise and let those people speak their hurts to you, so that they too can feel heard. And then you need to let your changed life and your actions speak for themselves. I have seen many brave people work the AA Twelve Step program or similar, and go back to people they had harmed – to explain and to apologise and to offer restitution. Sometimes it helped heal the relationship. Sometimes it just enabled the person who’d broken the trust to make peace with themselves that they had done the best that they could to put things right. Family counselling can help. Or a good counsellor or support group can help you to forgive yourself, understand what happened and move on.

If you’re the one who has been on the receiving end of that harmed trust, it is perfectly fine to look for evidence of change through a person’s actions and day-to-day life, rather than simply accepting what they tell you. The old saying about talk being cheap is true when you have been let down many times before. I wrote a post about that here called Listen With Your Eyes



When A Loved One Did Things That Harmed Trust:

Sometimes people we love lie. Or cheat. Or take sides. Or play favourites. Or are insensitive or mean. Maybe they have an addiction issue. Perhaps they have experienced abuse or trauma themselves. Or maybe they just made bad choices. People make mistakes. Sometimes, if everyone is willing to work on it, we can put broken back together. It usually takes time,  commitment, and the facilitation of a good therapist. I’ve known people who have forged better, more honest relationships after times of great hardship.

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BUT sometimes our loved one is a bully, a violent addict, a narcissist, a sociopath. Sometimes they are so broken or their behaviours so entrenched that all you will get is more of the same abuse every time you front on up to that relationship. Wanting or needing a person to change doesn’t make them change, no matter how hard you make changes to yourself, or try to handle the relationship differently.

In that situation, hard as it may be, you might need to cut your losses or put a lot of space into the relationship. Don’t put yourself into abuse ‘because it’s Christmas’ or ‘because they’re still my family’. Find a good therapist or counsellor for yourself. Work on you. Get a support network. If you’re an adult you have choices. You don’t need to continue to suffer that kind of behaviour. As a parent you don’t need to expose your child to that kind of behaviour.


When You’ve Changed and People Can’t Understand That:

We all grow and change over time. Some of us slowly. Some of us fast. If you’ve travelled extensively, and your family and friends haven’t. If you went to war. If you lost your partner to cancer. If you experienced trauma or chronic illness or some kind of ecstatic spiritual transformation…

Shared experiences are one of the things that unite us. If our loved ones haven’t got that same frame of reference you lose ground and connection. It can be easy to become distant. It isn’t that they don’t love you. It’s just that they don’t understand.

So, don’t expect them to. There will be other people who know what you are going through. Find them, and use them for mutual support and sharing. Or hold your experience close and sacred.

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Reconnect with family and friends by exploring the things you DO share in common. Old memories, family traditions, people and places that mean something that links you to each other.

We can still be loved, and be part of a family or group, and yet not be fully known or seen or understood. Truth is, sometimes we can even be a mystery to ourselves…


When You’ve Changed For The Better and People Can’t Accept That:

Sometimes we grow, and the people around us can’t cope with the fact that we are different. Sometimes we’ve done our best to fit in but we can’t keep pretending. Sometimes we reach a point where we can’t tolerate a situation or relationship because it doesn’t align with our ethics and values, or we will no longer tolerate victimisation, bullying, abuse or unhealthy behaviours. Sometimes we become better, wiser, stronger, more educated, or in other ways different to how we were. We outgrow lovers, friends, and even families.

In certain circumstances we can choose to hide or minimise that change for short periods of time in order to maintain relationships or family harmony. But if you are put down for your transformation, if you are rejected or victimised because of your choices, if you experience abuse – verbal, emotional or otherwise, then it’s time to leave that relationship behind, and to create relationships with people who value you. Value yourself first. Value yourself enough to walk away from those who belittle and diminish you.

Above all, Lilly, It’s important that you value and love yourself. That you make healthy choices for yourself and for your children. That you allow yourself to be valued by others and that you stand up for yourself, protect yourself, and keep yourself and your children out of situations that are abusive and toxic.

Create the life you want for yourself through mindful choices and actions. Grieve the loss of the way things could have been, but don’t dwell on it. Be the person and mum that is you evolving as your best self. Know that in doing that you’ll attract to you the sorts of people who will fit better with who you are and who you are becoming.

Sending so much love your way, Nicole xoxo

Extra Coping Tools

You might find these posts helpful too:

How to get through the hard stuff

How to deal with toxic people

Crystals for highly sensitive people

Free Guided Meditation for the Solar Plexus Chakra

Guided Meditation for Emotional Healing

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