Recharge You and Your Chakras in Five Minutes!

“Are you managing your energy well and using it for things that matter? Do you stop to recharge before you push yourself to critically low levels? Unplug to recharge.” 
Susan C. Young

Chakras are energetic gateways or portals. Each has its own colour, and governs different areas and emotions within the body. I have meditated on each of the following images, and programmed each picture to energise, open, balance and heal your chakras.

How to use today’s blog:

  1. Slowly scroll down the page, gazing at each picture in turn.
  2. Notice which picture (or pictures) is more vibrant and attractive to you.
  3. Go back to that image (images) and spend a little longer.  Draw that colour deep into your body.  See if any words, impressions, emotions or images come up for you. You might even want to use that as the beginning of a journalling activity. These colours will feed and energise your chakras and are great indicators of what chakras are already flowing and working well or in the process of opening and healing.
  4. Also pay attention to any pictures that seem very flat and energetically unappealing. Note what chakra that picture relates to.  Once again see if any words, impressions, emotions or images come up for you. This flat energy will correspond to chakras that are blocked, stagnant or stuck.  Send them some white light and a little extra love.
  5. Run your eyes over the images again.  See if there is any change.  Eventually you’ll find that all of the pictures have an equal brightness as you come back into balance.

Base Chakra: Foundation, survival, security, safety, energy, money, grounding, physicality

Image of erupting volcano from styleofeye.com

Sacral Chakra: Creativity, well-being, sexuality, emotional expression, abundance, pleasure

Orange Flower by kamussen at deviantart.com

Solar Plexus Chakra: Self esteem, individuality, self-worth, self confidence, personal authority, I am

Yellow Marigolds image from jpegwallpapers.com

Heart Chakra: Love for self and others, inner peace, joy, giving and receiving

This gorgeous image from animalspot.net

Throat Chakra: Speaking your truth, asking for what you need, all forms of communication

This image from funxite.com

Third Eye Chakra: Imagination, intuition, vision, wisdom, innovation, decision making, spiritual connection 

Image from indianinthemachine.wordpress.com

Crown Chakra: Divine Connection, spirituality, bliss, purity, consciousness, unity, BEing

I’d love to know how this activity felt for you – so please feel free to share any of your experiences by leaving a comment below.  Much love to you, and all of my intentions, blessings and well-wishes for you to feel energised, balanced and harmonised.

Lots of love, Nicole  xx

Flower of Life – from jyoshita.com

Are you taking care of you?

 “Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort.” 
~ Deborah Day

 

Many of my friends are healers. They come from widely different schools and philosophies of healing – general medical practitioners, environmental medicine specialists, acupuncturists, naturopaths, herbalists, body workers, nutritionalists and all manner of other modalities. Over the past twenty years all of them have observed one thing; the number of people suffering long-term chronic illness, digestive issues, stress-related health issues and fatigue has soared. Not only that, many of the simple treatments that once worked so well for bringing people back into balance no longer are as effective.

Why?

There are many external factors – more exposure to pollutants and chemicals, little exercise, poorer diet, less sunshine.

But even when these things are addressed many people are slow to heal. I, and many of my learned practitioner friends, believe at least part of this is to do with the state of mind we are in.

There have been numerous studies done which show that when a person is relaxed the surface tension of their skin changes. Their blood pressure lowers, their heart slows, the chemicals responsible for sleep, blood sugar and hormonal balance rise and stabilise. In a place of relaxation people become more creative, more connected, happier, more adept at innovative thinking and problem solving. In a place of relaxation our bodies find it far easier to heal. It is impossible to think a negative thought when you are in a deeply relaxed state.

What does negative thinking have to do with my health?

Go ahead. Think of something that really makes you mad. Or powerless. Feel the changes take place in your body. You will feel heavier, there will be a sense of tension in your face and body. You may have a surge of adrenalin or a sudden draining away of energy. Your heart speeds up, you may feel clammy and hot, agitated or ill. This is not your imagination – this is your body’s autonomic response to your thoughts. This is a natural reaction to perceived stress within your body. Worry, stress, fear, panic, over-thinking; this is what is stopping you from healing.

Over time, this sort of thinking has a destructive impact on the body. It exhausts our adrenals. It puts pressure on our thyroid and other parts of our endocrine system. Our liver becomes stressed and congested and can’t function as well as it used to as it deals with the flood of naturally occurring chemicals WE have created in our body through the stress response.

In this place of adrenal depletion we can become addicted to caffeine, energy drinks, sugar and carbs to keep us functioning.

The blood is always in our extremities as we ready ourselves to fight or flee (the stress response once again) so our digestion slows and becomes impaired. Even if we gain weight we may still be massively malnourished, and our body may struggle to absorb supplements, herbs and better food.

We may resort to anti-depressants or sleeping pills. We may self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Or we may just go through life exhausted, sick and not coping but needing to get up and get on with it each day.

Our sleep becomes affected, and that avenue of healing becomes further reduced. No matter who we see, or what we try nothing seems to work. Or it doesn’t work for long.

Sound familiar?

If you are living with stress and anxiety, if there is something or someone in your life, orfrom your past, that causes you to feel unsafe, inadequate, fearful, anxious, angry, resentful, or shamed… then it’s going to be an uphill battle to become well and stay well.

Positive emotions impact your health positively. Negative emotions impact your life negatively.

The longer a negative emotion is the ugly background wallpaper in your life, the more you get accustomed to it, but don’t be fooled. It will still be affecting you. And not in a good way.

Let me repeat an important point. It is impossible to experience a negative emotion when you are in a relaxed state.

What this means for your health is simple. When you are relaxed, your body can know healing. When you are relaxed your body can do what it needs to do to put itself back into balance, and to put you back into flow, connection and clarity.

So, by all means find yourself a skilled healer, a physician, or a team to put your body back together. But remember you also need to do your part. You need to take care of the housekeeping of your mind.

Do things that relax you. Practice meditation, yoga or tai chi. Listen to music. Go for walks in nature.Take the dog! Make time for YOU in your life. Do the things that give you peace. Find people, places and activities that nourish, validate and support you.

Let go of what no longer serves you in your life.

And if you need to, seek a counsellor, psychologist, psychiatrist – someone trained in helping you undo what has bound you up in knots.

I know this to be true: When your mind can know peace, your body can know healing – or at the very least an improvement in pain levels and quality of life.

Honour your body, work with your mind, and live from your heart. Your body has an infinite wisdom, and that wisdom is free to reign when we are in a place of relaxation and ease. Do all you can to find or create that peaceful place within you. Healing can then be a natural flow-on effect of that energy.

Here are some guided meditations that may help you:

Nicole Cody’s Bee Breath Meditation
Nicole Cody’s Meditation for Inner Peace
Nicole Cody’s Guided Meditation for Reducing Stress
Guided Meditation to reduce pain and promote healing

Sending much love your way, Nicole ❤ xx

Me, Flu and You!

 

“There are in nature neither rewards nor punishments — there are consequences.” 
Robert G. Ingersoll

You might have noticed I’ve dropped off the face of the Earth these past few weeks.

There’s a reason for that.

I’ve just come face-to-face with a very nasty strain of influenza.

For most people flu is a mild illness that causes sore throat, runny nose, fever and chills which last several days. But for people like me who are immuno-compromised and for other high-risk categories such as the very young, the elderly and people suffering from chronic illness or underlying health conditions such as asthma and diabetes, influenza can be a very different illness.

If you’ve only recently arrived at my blog you might not know that I suffer from late-stage lyme disease, multi-organ and system compromise, and ongoing heart issues among other things. I’ve been to hell and back with my health and more than once in the past few decades the dark bird of death has sat companionably on my shoulder.

Still, I’m so much better now. These past few months I’ve been the strongest and most vital I have been in years. My improved health is the result of a great team, a regime, ongoing management and many, many hours of my life. Most of that hard work is invisible to the world. Instead what I hear is how great I look these days. Thanks. I’m working on it! 35 years worth of working on it, and counting…

When you don’t live in the world of chronic illness you might not realise that even when we look and feel well we usually have ongoing issues we are managing and our underlying immune systems may be weak. If our immune systems are in fact stronger than they have been it still only takes a few bad nights of limited sleep, of stress or of us overdoing our physical energetic limits for us to end up in a place where it is so much easier for us to succumb to infections. Sometimes we succumb anyway, even when we are healthy, because our immunity is just not as strong as other members of the community.

So that’s where Influenza A H3N2 (also known as Aussie Flu) and I collided a few weeks ago.

I’m hypervigilant when it comes to germs. I never touch my face, especially when we’re out. I wash my hands well, and always before eating. If I’m out I’ll use a hand sanitiser before eating and after using a shopping cart or touching any surfaces. On planes and in confined spaces I’ll wear a bamboo fabric mask impregnated with anti-bacterial and anti-microbial essential oils. I avoid people who are ill, and will avoid crowds and places that might put me at a higher risk of infection. I’ve managed to travel overseas, go to festivals and events and to holiday well several times, all without becoming ill and even as those around me have been sick – which I put down to me being vigilant and also having a great medical team caring for me from week to week.

So how did I get sick this time?

A client came to my home while she was recovering from having been very unwell. She didn’t disclose this to me and as she greeted me she coughed directly into my face. She was less than thirty centimetres away from me and her spittle covered my face and went into my eyes. She laughed, a little embarrassed, and wiped at my face with her hands. ‘Sorry, Love,’ she said, ‘just getting over the flu.’

My heart sank. But I tried to be hopeful that nothing would eventuate.

Less than twenty-four hours later I developed a sore throat. My glands came up in my neck, groin and armpits. Within a few hours I had a raging fever and could barely stand. I cancelled the rest of my week and put myself to bed, hoping that rest and an aggressive regime of herbs and Vitamin C might limit the damage and have me up again in a few days.

None of that helped. Overnight I deteriorated in a way that really scared me. I went from high fevers to chills and back to fevers again, was so weak I couldn’t sit upright, my throat inflamed and swollen so it felt like swallowing razor blades, my entire body ached, and I had a stabbing headache bad enough that I lost vision in my left eye. Eventually I could barely breathe, and my heart went into tachycardia. Add in chest pain and vomiting. Yep, awful!

I stayed like that for days, alternating between sleep and delirium. My doctors and cardiologist checked me out and decided I was better managed at home to avoid the risk of pneumonia and advised me to only come back to the hospital if my heart rate went to a certain level and stayed there over an extended time, or if my chest pain or breathing difficulties became too severe.

The last fortnight has been scary and hard, especially with all of the chest pain and arrhythmias. If I am honest I’ve also struggled psychologically with being so ill again after having felt on top of the world just a few weeks ago.

I’m through the worst of it now. A year ago this infection may have killed me (and yes, every day I give thanks for having such awesome doctors in my life, and my amazing local GP-acupuncturist and team whom I’m convinced are my secret weapon in the return to vitality from Lyme – thanks Dr Adam and Jodi!).

My symptoms are slowly easing, although my heart is still misbehaving. I currently look like I went one too many rounds in the boxing ring with a hefty opponent. And I’m earth-shatteringly exhausted. I have no energy for anything at all.

That’s how I know I’m still unwell. All I want to do is sleep. And that’s how I’ll know when I am better. I’ll be itching to get up and do something!

Meanwhile I have made a promise to Ben, my staff and my doctors that I will respect the flu and keep resting. I will not come back to full-on life too quickly. I will not overdo it and set myself back.

So, that’s where I’ve been. You know it’s never good news when I go quiet…

Think you might have the flu? Stay home and in bed if you can. Rest and keep up your fluid intake. Please, if you’re unwell spare a thought for others whose immune systems might not be as robust as yours. Practice good hand hygiene, cover your mouth when you cough, cover your nose when you sneeze, and don’t leave used tissues lying around. If you know someone who is pregnant, elderly, very young or who has a health issue avoid them while you’re unwell.  Seek medical advice or go to hospital if you spike and sustain a high fever, have trouble breathing or become breathless, if you have chest pain or severe abdominal pain, if you become dizzy or confused or if you have sudden severe vomiting. Not sick? Think about getting the flu vaccination, especially if you are in a high-risk category.

Thanks to everyone who has sent messages and checked up on me. I’m so grateful for your love and support. I promise I’ll be back on deck just as soon as I have my doctors’ blessings and enough energy to share with all of you as well as having enough for myself. Another week or two and I’m sure I’ll be just fine!

Biggest hugs and love, Nicole xx

The Energies of May – 2018

“Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.” 
~ Gloria Steinem

Hello, Lovelies :)

Take a deep breath, schedule some downtime, and welcome the energies of May. May is a month that empowers you to take the long view of your goals, and to make decisions and take actions that support those goals. We see that it is pointless to put ourselves under endless pressure. May supports sustainable action, and working towards our goals and dreams bit by bit, step by step.

Cards for the Month:

I’ve chosen two cards for May for you: one from Colette Baron-Reid’s The Enchanted Map and one from Steven Farmer’s Earth Magic Oracle. Please note I don’t use these cards in a conventional way, but rather as a stimulus for channeled information.

Here is what I have received from each card:

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”
~ Maya Angelou

May opens us up to bigger possibilities. We begin to see how we can build our dream, and who might help us. It’s also a month where we become comfortable with taking the long view on life. No more crash diets or mad deadlines. We understand that building a better life is done one day at a time, and that some of our goals and dreams might take months or even years to come to fruition. That’s okay. It takes the pressure off and allows us to settle into sustainable routines and rhythms. Will it matter if it takes years to earn a qualification, or if our new business starts slowly? Or if it takes time to renovate, lose the weight or rehabilitate an injury. No. What matters is working towards something that we are emotionally invested in and which will move us to a more fulfilling place than where we currently find ourselves. 

It’s a month that supports promotions, career and relationship advancement and bold moves in new directions. Trying new things helps to expand our world. Think travel, whether that’s just around the corner or to the other end of the globe. Think experimenting with new looks, new foods or new hobbies.

 

The second card I’ve chosen is Wolf. 

“Once a month, for one evening, we are free to wear our natural skins. We are on the outside as we are internally.”
~D.R. Hedge, The Geri Rogue

It’s a fabulous month for revitalising our bodies and improving our diet. Get moving again with stretches, yoga, hiking in nature or dance.

May encourages leadership,  and supports us with strong gut instinct and intuition for making the best decisions for ourselves, our families, our businesses and our futures.

Best crystals this month?

Amethyst and Orange Calcite

Amethyst helps us to tune in to all forms of spiritual guidance and to make a sound, wise decisions.

Orange Calcite connects us into inspiration and creativity, helping us to express ourselves and live from our innermost nature, our talents and abilities.

Essential oils to support your journey?

Young Living’s Believe blend is my choice for May. Containing Ylang-Ylang, Idaho Blasalm Fir, Frankincense, Geranium, Idaho Blue Spruce, Coriander, and Bergamot it has a fresh, uplifting aroma and I find it very grounding and centering. I love this oil for helping me get into a space of self-belief, empowerment and flow. And gee it gets the creative juices flowing! When I am planning my life, visualising my future or working on a project that is important to me Believe is my go-to oil. Usage: A drop over your heart and on your wrists as a perfume and/or on crown of head, back of neck and behind ears work well. So does diffusing the oil. It’s instantly grounding and connecting, and it brings a sense of peace, certainty and confidence.

Want to make your own blend? Each of the following oils will work beautifully on their own but they’ll also make a great combination for diffusing. Bergamot is uplifting, busts stress and helps us overcome self-doubt. Frankincense elevates our mood and promotes spiritual connection and intuition, Ylang-Ylang opens our hearts and minds,  and it helps us to feel deserving and open to abundance, Spruce is a deeply spiritual oil – holding the wisdom of the forest it links our lefts and right brain bringing balance, calm and centering.  To diffuse add 2 or three drops of each oil to your room or personal diffuser. You can find the oils here.

Image from juicingforhealth.com


Wishing you a love-filled, satisfying and wonder-full May.

Lots of love, Nicole❤ xoxo

Image from ba-baamail.com

 

10 Ways To Be Kind to Yourself

There are days I drop words of comfort on myself like falling leaves and remember that it is enough to be taken care of by myself.  ~ Brian Andreas

Mostly when we think of kindness, we think of how we can act towards others. But today I want to focus on another equally important type of kindness – that which we extend to ourselves.

Too often we forget ourselves in the hurry and bustle of the year, and many sensitive souls get so busy looking after others that they forget to look after themselves at all.

Why not let 2018 be your year of aware self-care?

Here are ten simple acts of kindness you can give as gifts to yourself:

1.  Eat well – a simple, nourishing home-cooked meal eaten slowly and with appreciation – to replenish your body and comfort your soul. If there’s no time for cooking, have some healthy take-out options already thought through so that you don’t succumb to junk. (Pictured below is my Easy Kale and Orange Salad with Miso Dressing)

2.  Say no when you’re too tired.  No-one can run on adrenalin forever.  Honour your feelings and your own needs. Listen to your heart. Let yourself rest.  Replenish those batteries.  * Good advice here:  Are you too nice? 

3. Indulge in some self-maintenance.  Get your hair cut, have a massage, update your wardrobe or make that appointment with the doctor or dentist. For more info try 8 Ingredients for Better Health

4. Move your body! We were designed to move, and exercise is good for the body, mind and spirit. Choose an activity or sport that you enjoy, or simply go for a walk.

5.  Read a book.  Self-help, romance, educational, escapism, fantasy or non-fiction.  Reading is a wonderful way to take some time for yourself, to relax or to give yourself a mental stretching session.

6.  Make time for the things that you enjoy.  Indulge your hobbies, and connect with like-minded people who share your interests.

7.  Spend some real time with people (and creatures) you love!  Friends, family, pets – everyone who loves us and who makes us feel good about ourselves.  Social isolation is an insidious thing – facebook and texting can’t make up for that special energy of meeting up face to face for love, hugs, and laughs.

8.  Spend a little time dreaming…  Dreams aren’t just for kids.  Everybody needs a dream.  Try this great journalling activity: Writing Yourself into a Brighter Future

9.  Hang out in nature.  Spend the day or a week! Feel the sun at your back, the wind in your hair, the rain on your skin. Let nature fill you up and get you grounded again. Read more here: The Healing Power of Nature

10.  Ask for help.  Sometimes we just can’t do it on our own.  And sometimes we just don’t know what to do or where to start. On the days when we’re wrung out and hanging on by our fingernails, there will be someone out there who cares and is in a place where they can extend that guidance and support to you.  Asking for help is one of the greatest acts of kindness we can give ourselves. There’s more on this here: Sometimes your only job is to ask for help

You are worthy, beautiful, and you deserve love and kindness. Most of all, you need it from yourself.  The way we treat ourselves sets the tone in the wider Universe for how we expect to be treated. And our expectations have a way of manifesting…  Choose kindness!

Bless.

Much love, Nicole ♥ xx

Apprehension

Image by SeveIV at www.seveiv.deviantart.com

Image ‘Train Tracks’ by SeveIV at www.seveiv.deviantart.com

“You should have seen this coming,’ they said. I did see it coming. I saw it coming the way you see a train coming when you’re tied to the tracks.”
~ Margaret Andrews

 

I’ve been awake since I don’t know when.

No, that’s not true.

2.36am.

I lay awake in the dark for a long while, willing myself to turn over and go back to sleep. But I was wide awake.

 

I thought about the doctor I will see today. I’ve seen him several times over the past twenty or so years. I thought about him sleeping, and hoped that he was sleeping well and deeply, untroubled by anything.

I wondered if he realised how many of his patients lay awake at night, apprehensive and counting the hours until their appointment. Then I hoped he never thought about it at all. How difficult it would be to labour under such thoughts.

My mind wouldn’t stop. I couldn’t steer it off topic for more than a few minutes. Slowly, dawn approached. My appointment is still hours away. No more sleep for me.

I got up early. I meditated. I sat down to write this blog.

Still, my thoughts are a jumble of worries.

 

Pointless, really.

I will see my doctor. I will get my test results. We will chart a path. I will walk the path.

The part of me that is the wise and coping part tells me I am okay, and that I’ll be okay.

The worried part of me snaps back, “Shut up!”

Which makes me laugh. Eventually.

I am okay, and I will be okay.

Worry never solved anything, nor made time pass more easily.

I’ll have a cup of tea instead. I’ll tidy something. I’ll wait for Ben and Cafe Dog to wake up so that we can have a lovely distracting outing.

And even so, I’ll keep on quietly worrying.

Nx

 

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.

Life.

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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10 Easy Steps For Self Care During Troubled Times

“They called her witch because she knew how to heal herself.”
~ Te’ V. Smith

 

It’s simple enough to be well-intentioned and kind to yourself when life is going smoothly. Or if you are on holidays. Or in a really good head space.

But when we are hard up against it – when we have crushing deadlines, or horrible dramas, or the people around us are treating us badly, when we’re ill, depressed or in pain – that’s the time where we most need good self-care, and it is usually the time where we are least inclined to give it to ourselves.

After years of illness, and in my line of work (as a psychic and a support for many people going through their own hardships) where there is no ‘off-switch’, I’ve learned the hard way that self-care is essential. Always. Fortunately I’ve also discovered that it isn’t such a difficult ask of ourselves, and that a little self-awareness and kindness towards ourselves goes a long way towards keeping us resilient and coping in the most troubled of times.

Here are my top ten tips for getting yourself through whatever you might be facing right now:

1. Drink enough water. When we are well hydrated our body is less acidic, we can flush toxins and stress hormones from our system better, we sleep more deeply and our brains work more clearly.

2. Have a shower, wash your hair and put on some clean clothes. For an additional touch of self-love use a perfume, scented moisturiser, aftershave or essential oil whose fragrance lifts your spirits or reminds you of someone you love. If washing your hair is just too hard, pull it back neatly, plait it, or tuck it under a scarf or cap. When I was at my most ill, I’d make myself bathe and put clean pyjamas on. It helped. A lot. And it was always worth the effort, even when I was exhausted. Clean sheets can do wonders for the soul too!

3. Find five minutes for meditation. Meditation calms and centres us, and helps us find our way back to ourselves, our soul and to Spirit. Try any of these simple techniques: Easy Five Minute Meditation, Three Minute Essential Oil Meditation, Taking Energy From Trees, Eating The Sun Meditation.

4. Dance. To one uplifting song. Sing along, and let your body move to the beat. Dance in your lounge room. Dance in the car. Of if you’re confined to bed, sway, tap your hands, draw that music deep into your body and belt out the lyrics.

5. Have a plan, and then work the plan. Choose a time when you can sit down for ten minutes with a cup of tea or a cold drink and your diary. Think of something you want to get done and then break it down into steps and assign those steps to the coming days, weeks or months. Allow more time than you need – because in troubled times we need to allow ourselves extra flexibility. No need to give yourself more pressure when you’re already under the pump. Plans enacted help us to take control back in our lives, and give us something to work towards. It’s okay if your plan is for completing something small. Every time we act instead of procrastinate something strengthens within  us.

6. Go for a walk in nature. Can’t walk? Then try to simply earth yourself instead. If you’re confined to bed or unable to get outside sit by an open window or door. Use your eyes and ears. Use your skin. Let your mind wander outside even if your body can’t.

Image from funnystack.com

Image from funnystack.com

7. Eat something healthy that will nurture and strengthen your body. Choose foods that you know support you. Food gives us energy and helps our bodies work  better. Eating irregular meals and junk food slows us down and makes us feel worse instead of better. Sometimes poor food choices are all we will have. Don’t beat yourself up and don’t sit in guilt. Eating is better than not eating. Decide to make a better choice or plan to bring healthy food tomorrow.

8. Hugs and the company of friends can be healing. In hard times we often feel that the only way to cope is to withdraw. But in that space of social isolation life becomes even more difficult. While it is important to take time to be on your own, you need emotional support too. You can get this from online groups, phone calls, coffee or meal dates, craft dates, pets, good friends and supportive family. Reaching out to others can make a world of difference when life is filled with difficulty.

Image from atozlibrary.com

Image from atozlibrary.com

9. Learn something new, or escape for a time into another world. A book, a movie, a newspaper, a short course. A trip to a new part of town. Stay curious. When we’re in something for the long haul we create emotional space and better coping capacity for ourselves by having something new or interesting to think about that takes us away from our troubles.

10. Get enough sleep. Sleep is a healing balm that restores the best parts of us. Shut yourself away for an early night, or spend the weekend in bed catching up on your rest. An epsom salts bath, some lavender essential oil or a relaxing herbal tea at night will all help get you into that restful space.

Lyme and Making Plans

“She had learned the lesson of renunciation and was as familiar with the wreck of each day’s wishes as with the diurnal setting of the sun.” 
~ Thomas Hardy, The Mayor of Casterbridge

“Success is when everything that goes wrong, fits in your plan.” 
~ Gary Rudz

 

When I was diagnosed, finally, with Lyme disease, back in January 2013, we did a lot of shuffling of plans. A much-looked-forward-to holiday was called off. I cancelled workshops and retreats. My clever PA began adding a footnote to each appointment she made for me, letting people know that I was being treated for Lyme and that I may need to reschedule their session at short notice, depending upon my health on the day.

I’ve had to do a lot of that anyway, in my adult life. Cancel things. Say no. Pull out at the last minute. Always because of unreliable health. Too often that has made me the unreliable friend, family member, or neighbour. The only area I have managed to be mostly reliable has been work. But doing that has meant creating a business where I can work from home, part-time, and where everything else suffers so that I can get that work done.

Sure I’ve gone ahead sometimes and done the thing, but too often afterwards I’ve paid the price. An afternoon of socialising might mean three days of crippling exhaustion. A few hours of gardening could leave me flat out for the rest of the week.

“Gee Nicole,” a friend said once, frustrated at my lack of energy, “we all get tired.” Yes, we do. But Lyme tired is something else. Lyme tired is truly chronic fatigue. Lyme tired is neurological fatigue, as well as physical. It’s the kind of tired where after just a few hours work I am in bed by seven and asleep by ten past. And that’s on a good day. 🙂 Lyme tired is the kind of tired where I can struggle with basic daily living – like showering and dressing, holding a conversation, preparing a meal or attending to the simplest kinds of housework. The kind of tired where my arm stops working, or my eye starts twitching, or my brain goes on strike.

My exhaustion is an ocean, under the influence of some great unseen force. Sometimes it recedes, leaving a gleaming bright shore of possibility. I get stretches where I can do so much more, and I settle in to that as my new normal. But then the tide comes back, and I find myself with a smaller and smaller window of available time where my brain works, or my body works and I can get things done.

To be honest, I’d hoped that this far into my Lyme treatment, an aggressive protocol of drugs and herbs, that I would have been back to much more glorious planning again by now. That I would be saying ‘yes’ more often, and ‘no’ much less.

But as I’ve travelled this road I’ve come to realise that there’s still so far to go. I might be in this hazy half-life place for a while yet.

So, I’ve gotten smarter.

Now I make plans EXPECTING to be tired. I create my business around what I can do on a bad day, or an average week, rather than what I might be able to do if I had a sudden upsurge in energy or was miraculously well again. I plan socialising around my best times (mornings), or for early nights.

I am planning my whole future around having a flat battery.

It’s not pessimistic. I fully intend to get back to well. Or as well as it is possible to be, for me. But oh how it takes the pressure off, knowing that I am catering for low energy, or sudden patches of incapacity.

Anyway, my heart is on the way to being completely normal, and I have my brain back. There is no longer an imminent threat of dying. I can write and think and dream again. And I’ve always been able to do psychic work – no matter how ill I’ve been. That’s a gift that comes through me, and it’s never influenced by my health. In fact, it has often been the thing which has energised me and kept me going during my darker days. So, planning is possible. As long as my plans make space for down-time, disaster and the unexpected.

I even changed my whole business model, so that I can run an ever-expanding enterprise from bed, on a few average health days a week. Imagine how much lovely free time that will give me as I move back towards well. Imagine how much writing I will be able to get done. How much living. That’s exciting for me!

Maybe you don’t have lyme, or some other kind of incapacitating situation in your life, but I can guarantee you that making plans based on reduced energy and reduced input isn’t a bad thing. Instead it’s a plan for life that makes room for life. It’s about designing a life where there is space for you to grow, to heal, to love, to change your mind, to move in new directions, to spend the afternoon napping, or with your lover, or catching a series of perfect waves.

I’m all for planning. Planning moves us purposefully in a direction of our choosing. It enables us to be effective with the use of our time and resources. It helps us to actively design our lives.

But I am also for living honestly, and being realistic about what’s on our plates. I am also for being kind to ourselves. I am all for making room to breathe rather than heaping responsibility, duty and endless tasks upon us.

What kind of plans have you made in your life?

Have you crammed so much in that there is no room for downtime, rest or fun?

Lyme has proved to be a wise teacher for me. I hope that by sharing my story, it also helps you to be kinder to yourself, to be more trusting of the process of life, to focus on your most important priorities and still leave space.

All sorts of miracles and wonderments can happen when we leave enough space for them. It’s not up to us to have to fill in all the blanks. Where would be the magic in that?

Much love to you, Nicole xx

Life-is-a-miracle