Home, away from Home

dogs

“I don’t care if we have our house, or a cliff ledge, or a cardboard box. Home is wherever we all are, together,”
~ James Patterson

It hasn’t been the same, without Ben at home – while we’ve here, in the city, waiting for him to be well enough to leave hospital.

We’re not used to city life anymore. I’m realising how much time I spend in my garden back at the farm. How much I rely on my vegetable patch and my pots of herbs. How conditioned I am to having access to fresh produce at the roadside stalls and farmers markets. In Brisbane the vegetables I buy are already old. There is nowhere to compost my scraps. No cows waiting at the fence for the tops of the beetroot, or a frilly edge of lettuce or cabbage leaf. It feels quite disconnected.

The dogs have slouched around during the day, sleeping fretfully or standing by the door, gazing out over the street, waiting for Ben to return, waiting for us to all climb into the truck and head back to the farm. They are yearning to get home to the paddocks, to run wild down on the flats, to swim in the river and dams, to have the wind in their hair and the sun on their back. So am I. We’re all so homesick.

bert misery

At night the dogs have been on high alert, keeping me safe from cars going down the street, possums on the roof, pedestrians and neighbourhood cats. Of course, with all of the G20 helicopters roaring around the Brisbane rooftops at all hours of the night, the stimulation level has been insane. All night Harry and Bert tense and bark and worry, protecting me from threat. It’s exhausting for them, after which they mostly sleep during the day. Me? I’m so sleep-deprived I feel like a new mother.

But today Ben is home, and the feeling we all have is relief. To all be together, no matter where we are, is enough.

We need to stay in the city a little longer, close to hospitals while Ben completes his recovery. That’s okay. We’ll nap and catch up on some rest.

It will all be fine. Home is here, in our hearts.

Harry sums it up well for all of us…

We just can’t stop smiling!

smiles

We All Have Days Like That…

Image from www.sodahead.com

Image from www.sodahead.com

“I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little – if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny. And it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.” ~ Coco Chanel

Ah, it’s inevitable, isn’t it?

The one day you leave the house, looking like a fright but convincing yourself that it won’t matter, is the one day you bump into everyone you know.

Now that we are no longer flooded in and life has returned to normal, I really did need to pop into town and pick up a script for some new medication I’m on. These meds are rather fearsome, and have been making me just as sick as the problem I’m trying to sort out.  Think vomiting, diahrrea and misery. And a whole lot of other unhappy-making things we won’t go into here…

I felt so ill I wondered if I could get out of my pyjamas.  But I made a supreme effort and managed a clean t-shirt and shorts.  I gave up on my hair, which was knotty and wild, and soap and water was my supreme effort for my face.  No make-up, although I did think to use a squirt of perfume. LOL

Don’t worry, Nicole, I said to myself.  You’ll just be in and out.  No-one will even see you. In and out I chanted as I drove from the farm into our little hamlet we importantly call a town.  Just five minutes.

Of course I parked MILES from the chemist. And as I walked up the street TWELVE people stopped me to say hello.  Thank God for the perfume, cos most of them wanted to hug me. Dropped in my script and had to wait so I decided to go to the Post Office.  Outside I ran into someone else who said, ‘Gee Nicole, you’re taking casual to new levels’ followed by ‘you look like you’re coming down off meth!’ I should have laughed, or thought of something witty but all I wanted to do was burst into tears.

Furtively I ducked into the alcove where the mail boxes are.  And wondrously my box was stuffed full of letters and little cards claiming that I had a package. When I went inside to claim them I ran into an old friend from the CWA (Country Women’s Association) and had to have the obligatory update on EVERYONE, followed by a hug, but bless her she didn’t notice what a fright I looked.

At the counter, receiving my mountain of mail and recognising the senders, I burst into tears. I felt suddenly and completely wrapped up in love and well-being.

We all had a good laugh at my emotional reaction, but a kind laugh, and I left with armfuls of stuff, picked up my drugs and managed to get back to the car hiding behind my packages.

Let me share with you the magic that was my yesterday…

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Inside the most gorgeous of hat boxes was a home for fairies and their treasures. The love and attention to detail still reduces me to happy tears.

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A diary, hand-covered in pretty pink and green fabric, for my heart healing, and with a note admonishing me not to work so hard.

2013-02-04 15.02.03Delicious home-made soaps for me and Ben, and for my dogs!

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Notes of love, encouragement and support…

2013-02-04 15.04.18A book to uplift me.

2013-02-04 15.02.16And the most exciting, wonderful and happy-making card from my blogging friend Daisy in New York.  After the floods and me being so sick we’ve had to cancel our holiday which would have taken us there, so to receive a card of the New York Skyline means I can put it beside my bed and visit it in my imagination for now, instead. (Promise I’ll get there one day, Daisy!)

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We’ve all had one of those days. One of those days that reminds you of the caring nature of people, a day that swells your heart with gratitude for your friends, that proves how fortunate and blessed you are, just when you might have been feeling otherwise.

Life has a wonderful way of shining a light into our darkest hours.

Right now I’m beaming out some of the love and gratitude to you.  Bless ♥ xx

I could have been blogging…

but my brain doesn’t work right.

So instead of blogging I’ve been meditating…

dog-meditation

napping…

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eating my own body weight in greenery…

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consuming medicinal concoctions that taste, let’s just say, questionable…

Out_Of_My_Face

talking to Upstairs…

1271803992F3UWxlFnapping some more…

2013-01-10 12.13.36and generally just lazing about.

Thanks for your kind thoughts and healing energies. They mean so much to me. You’re all in my thoughts, meditations and prayers, even though I may be a little quiet here right now. I’m looking forward to being back on deck again soon.  Much love to you, Nicole ♥ xx

The Excitement of Going Home

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“Home is where the heart is.” ~ JOSEPH C. NEAL

I’m going home today – home to my own little farm. After too much time in the big city, with bags barely unpacked from my Thailand adventure, I am finally going home.

Somehow, when I wasn’t paying attention, Summer arrived. Somehow Christmas snuck up. I’ve been in a daze. I feel like I’ve been suspended in time. Too much time sandwiched between mint green walls giving one more vial of blood, or in air-conditioned rooms with views over streets and carparks.

I could feel my creativity, my connection, my inspiration shrinking until I worried I might lose my way back to them. But it’s okay now. I’m almost home.

Image from wishstudio.com

Image from wishstudio.com

Today I’ll get grass between my toes. Tonight I’ll have the soft sands of Byron’s beaches underfoot. Or it will storm and I shall be ankle deep in a fast-flowing creek.

I don’t care. I’m going home.

I’m so sorry my blogging has been haphazard these past few weeks. Life has been unexpectedly chaotic, and I’ve been unaccountably exhausted.

But soon I will be home, with my Muse whispering sweet somethings in my ear. Did you know that this day, a year ago, I created my wordpress account. And tomorrow shall be the One Year Anniversary of Cauldrons and Cupcakes.  I might have to throw a party.  Yes, that sounds like a plan.  A party with good snacks. Of course you’re all invited! Much love to you, Nicole ♥ xx

Image from photodune.net

Image from photodune.net

Just this moment…

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“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.” ~ Groucho Marx

It started with a twinge. Just a twinge. So insignificant I might have missed it, if not for the telltale flutter, like a moth caught under my ribcage.

I stopped in the middle of the empty moon-bleached sand and put my hand to my chest.  Hello heart, I said, is there a problem? But like a shell held against my ear, all I heard in response was the gentle sigh and chuff of the ocean.

It changed the end of my holiday, and my days since. Back and forth to doctors, hospitals, specialists.  Endless opinions and possible courses of action – none of them especially palatable.

I’m good with it, whatever happens. I have become a master of managing overwhelm. In fact yesterday I was able to look at a bright-eyed doctor, flushed with the excitement of my case, and whom had just enthusiastically declared me (not me as a person, me as a collective assortment of organs and symptoms) fascinating, and NOT slap his face or take offence. Instead I felt like an old, wise Nana, smiling indulgently at a child who’s been given a challenging puzzle and who is boasting about how easy it will be.

My heart’s misbehaving. But it’s still beating, and I’m still here. (Did you hear that Universe? I’m making a declarative statement!)

No-one knows what the future looks like. All each of us can do is live in this precious moment.

Someone asked me recently what to do about the feeling of time speeding up and life slipping by. While I don’t recommend a life-threatening illness, I do know that living with your attention on what’s happening RIGHT NOW gives time a lustre and a depth that cannot be had while your mind is back in the past, or racing into the future.

Life is beautiful. Life is precious. And all we ever truly have is this moment. Don’t waste it – breathe in, satiate your body with the sights, sounds and smells of the essence of your current reality. Live it, before it slips too quickly through your fingertips. Life lived this way can never be ordinary. YOU will never just be ordinary.

Trust me on this one – the magic is in the Moment – starting right NOW…

thai-lotus-flower

Embracing the Small Things – an Antidote to Despair

Like you, I’ve known hard days. For a while I even had a run of days that piled up into years.  Poor health, awful health, nearly deadness, and then the fallout of the mess that is created from a person incapable of functioning. It doesn’t matter what the reason for the non-functioning is – what matters is that place you are in where you can’t seem to drag yourself out of misery.

So what to do when you find yourself in that dark place?

I found one thing that worked for me, and I absolutely believe it will work for you. It’s so simple that it may sound trite.  But there is a power to this act that can transform lives.

Embrace the Small Things

Shift your focus from everything that isn’t working in your life, and find the tiny details that are. Most of these will be present in your life, and accessible, no matter what your circumstances. They are always here, just waiting to be appreciated.

The slant of sunlight through a window and how that makes rainbows dance on the carpet. A fragrant cup of Earl Grey tea first thing on a cold morning. Good coffee. The smell of rain on hot concrete.  The rustle of wind in the tree tops. A smile. Birds supping nectar in the garden. Soft pillows.  Clean sheets. Music that reminds you of wonderful memories, people and places.  Favourite childhood books. Kindness. Ducks in the rain on our dam.

Each day I still choose to embrace the small pleasures and details of life. This simple act of living mindfully gives my existence a richness that was lacking for many years, and gives me resilience to cope better with life’s turbulent waters.

Thich Nhat Hanh explains the act of mindfulness very well.