A Little Nicole Update

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“People who want a cure, provided they can have it without pain, are like those who favour progress, provided they can have it without change.”
~ Anthony de Mello

 

So, here I am, still in hospital.

There have been a few little bumps in the road, including a massive resurgence of lyme symptoms and herxing, post-operation, as I was filled with what seemed like enough antibiotics and other drugs to treat an entire small pox-ridden and hurting country. My poor body has endured a bit of a rough ride. I’m bruised and bloated and scarred and bandaged. Wings of my hair have literally gone white overnight. It’s oddly fascinating.

As well as my four-hour surgery, I have needed to deal with unexpected bladder problems and surgery, lyme-induced loss of vision in my left eye, loss of balance, light sensitivity, bone and nerve pain, raging insomnia and terrible constipation and nausea from my pain meds.

And still, my doctors are pleased with my progress and I am healing well.

Between the pain, the constant intrusion of nurses doing observations, and the insomnia, that’s a lot of time awake. That’s a lot of time unable to be filled with television or books or iPad games or writing thanks to my dodgy eye. (I am writing this with a 200% screen magnification and one eye resolutely screwed closed. It’s taken me about fifteen spurts of energy and then rests to get all of this written; not my usual efficiency – but these are unusual circumstances.)

What can you do when you are in pain and unable to use external distractions? When you want to be able to work on your book but you can’t see to read the words?

I can happily report that I have spent most of the past eight days back in the Kimberley, with my Aboriginal Aunties. Using my imagination and memories as a portal I have returned again and again to the places and people so dear to me, and that form the backbone of my memoir.

I have sat with the late night silence and the loneliness, and spun them into a ladder to elevate me beyond my pain.

I have practiced deep listening.

I have meditated, and I have prayed.

I’ve also time-travelled back into myself. The hours between eleven pm and four am seem well-suited to reflection and analysis of my life. I’ve dug deep into places I had long covered over. What did I really feel? Why did I really make one choice over another? What emotions were in my body? Where was my head? I’ve strung the answers like beads on a mala, knowing that as I hold each one when I am able to come back to my writing I will remember, and that this new understanding will better inform my work. I’ve come to a more honest place. A kinder place. There has been much forgiveness this past week, of myself and others. My stay in hospital has gifted me clarity, and a way forward, finally, to be able to finish this book of mine, and get it ready to send out into the world.

The other thing I have done is gather life stories and vignettes; stories about the nurses and their lives, stories from cleaners and room service tray attendants, from the other patients who are limping slow laps of the ward as they push their drip stands or lug their wound drainage bags and catheter bags, tales from ward orderlies and the lady who brings the morning newspapers. People are endlessly fascinating to me, and their shared stories remind me that we are so alike in our differing journeys and struggles.

For we all face struggles. That is the nature of life. If it’s not one thing, it’s something else.

Even so, it’s a beautiful journey, life. I’m very grateful for mine.

Things will be back to normal, little by little, here on the blog and in my everyday world. I’m okay with things needing to be slow. Slow is all I can do for now.

I’ll swing by here again just as soon as I’m able.

Hugs and love, Nicole ❤ xx

 

 

Talking to Dragons

“Always speak politely to an enraged dragon.”
~ Steven Brust, Jhereg

 

It’s after 3am. An odd time to be posting a blog. Still. I’m wide awake.

I might as well stay up now so that I can do my morning meditate soon, as is my daily practice.

It’s been one of those nights. The kind of night I’ve not had for a while. I guess Lyme wanted to remind me…

So I’ve lain awake all night, staring at the ceiling, roaming the house, trying whatever remedies I have to tame this pain beast. My body aches. Electricity arches down my limbs, and stabs behind my eyes. It feels as if someone has lodged an ice-pick in my skull and is twisting it violently. Random pain assails me. But it’s okay. I am becoming quite skilled as a Lyme Dragon Whisperer.

I’ve not quite got the dosage right on my latest drugs and herbs yet. Which include, of course, the dreaded Drug Number Four. Once again it’s giving me grief, and yet I know that the pain is bacteria dying, so I’m celebrating even as I want to scream. (I won’t though – too dramatic and it will wake Ben and the dogs!)

I’m hoping to slip back to bed after my meditation. I’m hoping that the meditation will take enough of an edge off, and combined with my massive exhaustion I’ll just fall right asleep.

Fingers crossed, hey?

Meanwhile I’m going to fly the night sky, and send you all some healing. I might as well be useful for something. Anyway, when I’m in that meditation place I am free of my body and its limitations. The pain is gone. It gives delicious respite.

Okay. I’m ready now.

I’ll see you in your dreams. Know that you are loved. xoxo

Image by Mike Rae

Image by Mike Rae

Wide Awake for a Reason

Image from HitFM Radio.com

Image from HitFM Radio.com

“Night gathers, and now my watch begins.” ~ George R.R. Martin

 

If you read my post yesterday you’ll know I didn’t get much sleep the night before. So last night I put myself to sleep at eight, all ready for an early night and a decent catch-up.

Of course, things didn’t go to plan. Just after midnight I woke up. I mean WIDE AWAKE. The sort of being awake where I know I might as well get out of bed. The sort of awake which I always recognise as a precursor to psychic work. I crept downstairs, careful not to wake my husband or the sleeping puppies.

First, I meditated, and sent love and healing energy out into the world. I explain that process well here, in one of my previous blog posts.

But even after all of that night-flying I didn’t feel done.

I cranked up the computer, and sat down to write. No, that didn’t feel right either. I opened up facebook.

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And there, there were the reasons I was still wide awake.

  • A dear friend and client needing to chat about her own spiritual emergence. I’ve been holding that space for her for a while and I’m thrilled that she is finally stepping into her Light.
  • A lady on the other side of the world, reaching out to me in desperation over her teenage daughter with a severe eating disorder. We managed to convince her daughter it was time to go to hospital and into a special ward for her management and recovery.
  • A client who was emotionally distraught and suicidal. I talked her through and to a better place, made sure she had some support, and I’ll check in on her again tomorrow.

Situation normal, here at Camp Cody. I certainly can’t complain about life being dull. I’m winding down now, at four am. I’ll go meditate some more, and then hop back into bed and grab another hour or so of shuteye before Cafe Dog wakes me for a morning walk, a good coffee and the weekend papers with Ben.

At least my blog is written and all I shall have to do as I tumble out the door is press PUBLISH.

Today, God willing, I shall get some sleep! 🙂 I’m not complaining though. I feel blessed to do what I do. Please, don’t ever doubt that you are loved, and that you matter.

I’ll send you some extra love and energy in this next meditation! Bless xx

Image from Diario Animales

Image from Diario Animales

The Perils of 2AM Thinking

Image from Star Medical

Image from Star Medical

“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength – carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” 
~ Corrie ten Boom

 

Have you ever stayed up all night stewing about something?

Or woken up in the middle of the night, beset with worry?

Ah, sweetkins! I’m here to tell you that the thoughts and ideas you have at two o’clock in the morning – especially the ones where you decide radical action – are not among your finest cognitive moments.

Image from The EvoLLution

Image from The EvoLLution

Trust me on this. After a bout of 2am thinking don’t write that letter. Don’t send that email. Don’t stay up for the rest of the night and then madly wreak destruction in your life once morning breaks.

Instead I counsel you to keep a notebook by the bed. Get it all on paper. Or iPad or phone. Perhaps there is a nugget of truth here, embedded in the muck. Perhaps the genesis of something which will, later, become more.

But what you need most right now is rest and a clear head.

There’s a reason why they call it the cold hard light of day. You may need time to re-evaluate your nocturnal genius.

Image from Vgames

Image from Vgames

When you are rested, review those notes from your middle-of-the-night brainstorming session. Is it more storm than brain? Be totally honest about what you see.

Maybe you can let the whole thing go. Maybe it doesn’t even make sense to you anymore. But maybe it really is time to leave the job/relationship/sharehouse/country, or say what you feel. Give it another day, after a good night’s sleep has elapsed. Let yourself be sure. Then draft that email if you must. With some solid restful hours elapsed between you and that 2am place you now have a couple of things working in your favour.

A rational mind and timing.

Sometimes we realise that our 2am thoughts were the result of hormones, too much wine, fatigue, or a serious lack of holidays. No harm done. We festered, but we never popped.

Sometimes we see that nugget of truth, and know it for what it is. Now we have the luxury of planning and strategising. We will find a new job FIRST and then tell the boss what we really think of them before our glorious resignation. We will seek counselling or legal advice and work out the best way for us to exit our relationship in a way that minimises harm to us and others rather than storming out the door with just the shirt on our backs. We make timing work for us!

We will check our facts BEFORE we react to the gossip that kept us up all night, sick with worry or roiled with anger.

We will realise that someone else already invented that thing we dreamed up, AND did a better job, and anyway, why did we want to make that thing in the first place? Oh yeah: alcohol, too little sleep, I hate my job, sugar rush and too many Marvel comics.

Let there always be a decent amount of clear-headed time between 2am and any actions you take or decisions you make.

Most importantly, if you find yourself in a 2am frenzy, or down a deep dark 2am hole, remind yourself that this will pass. That what you need most right now is some sleep. Write down what’s bothering you, and promise yourself that you’ll devote some time to it tomorrow, or the day after, when you’re fresh.

Our most difficult situations require our best thinking, not our most limited.

And nine times out of ten, it will be brighter in the morning.

Image from Quote Frenzy

Image from Quote Frenzy

A Boat Called Insomnia

Tattered Sails by Joe Bonita

Tattered Sails by Joe Bonita

“But Pooh couldn’t sleep. The more he tried to sleep the more he couldn’t. He tried counting Sheep, which is sometimes a good way of getting to sleep, and, as that was no good, he tried counting Heffalumps. And that was worse. Because every Heffalump that he counted was making straight for a pot of Pooh’s honey, and eating it all. For some minutes he lay there miserably, but when the five hundred and eighty-seventh Heffalump was licking its jaws, and saying to itself, “Very good honey this, I don’t know when I’ve tasted better,” Pooh could bear it no longer.” 
― A.A. MilneWinnie-the-Pooh

 

Insomnia is a boat that travels a vast ocean.

The motor of this boat has broken.

The sails are torn to tatters by some long-ago storm that everyone only vaguely remembers.

The boat itself is enormous and seemingly deserted, but once you have walked her decks a while you realise that some of your friends are stuck aboard too, although you may never meet in these rusty corridors.

Insomnia is a boat that makes you rage inside from futility.

But when the rage abates you find that there is something beautiful about the haunted emptiness, the quiet solitude, and the stopping of all movement which leaves you stranded in the company of your good self.

Insomnia is a place for soul poetry and cups of tea, a journey to acceptance of whatever is, and, eventually, at some point beyond this horizon, shipwreck on the shore of dreams.

My Sweet Poison

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“Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark. If we truly knew all the answers in advance as to the meaning of life and the nature of God and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity; it would just be… a prudent insurance policy.” 
~ Elizabeth Gilbert

“Faith is about doing. You are how you act, not just how you believe.” 
~ Mitch Albom

 

What is there to say if we cannot be honest with each other?

Let me show you something.

Saturday morning. Sitting in a Byron Bay cafe, unbidden tears rolling down my cheeks.  I was there with my ever-patient and supportive husband Ben, who had managed to rouse me from my coma-like state long enough to get me out of pyjamas and into some street clothes that still somehow resembled pyjamas.

So there I was. Weak latte at one elbow, a pile of unread weekend newspapers at the other. Harry the cafe dog lying on my feet, while I drew strength and grounding from his reassuring presence.

These new drugs I am on are a nightmare. I count every day that I must take them. Two weeks, four days to go.

They are my sweet poison. I can literally FEEL them working from just after they enter my body. For the first two weeks I experienced massive body pain, insomnia and complete exhaustion. My brain was numb. I was numb. Couldn’t read. Couldn’t think. Couldn’t connect to anything during the day. Couldn’t sleep at night, when all of that disconnect would dissolve and leave me stuck in this misbehaving body.

I was so not like my usual self. Empty headed. No ideas, no ability to converse or articulate my needs. I would get one good hour, sometimes less, each morning between when I struggled out of bed and when I began the regime of drugs and herbs that are making me well. Thank god for that one sane-making hour. Then it was back to the place of disconnect.

At least in that space of disconnect I was feeling the pain, but often from a distance, during daylight hours anyway. Anyone who has taken Valium or other such drugs will know what I am talking about. If the house had been burning down my thought process would have looked something like this:

‘Oh, look. Flames.’ Observes them licking across the bedroom ceiling. Observes them set the curtains alight. ‘Boy, it’s really taking hold.’ Turns over in bed and readjusts the pillows.

At night my bed was burning, and I was still in it. But this time I knew it, and I couldn’t make it stop…

Image from Sodahead

Image from Sodahead

So after the trauma of no sleep and endless pain Thursday and Friday brought me two straight days and nights of sleep. Sweet sleep. Sleep with rich lucid dreams.

One good thing, though. My brain is waking up and kicking into gear although I don’t yet recognise the landscape.

I wake long enough to drink some water, take some tablets, go to the toilet. All in a shuffling half-awake space, like a turtle breaking the surface for a sip of air before returning to the depths and those crazy seem-real dreams.

It was in one of those cresting moments of wakefulness on Saturday morning when Ben magically transported me down to Byron.

Sitting there at an outdoor table with my coffee, music in the background, soft rain falling and friends stopping to say hello, I was overwhelmed with sensation almost too much to bear.

The muted sunlight seemed too bright. The background music so loud. Conversations washed over the top of me and I struggled to catch those shining bright words one by one in my clumsy fists. By the time I had captured enough and threaded them into some sort of meaningful order the friends were on their way, their questions unanswered, their faces kind and perplexed. Sorry, I want to shout after them.

But already I was forgetting what for.

On Saturday morning I sipped my latte, holding it carefully in both hands as a child would do. I am shaky and weak, and my spatial awareness is awry. I find it challenging to get food or drink neatly to my mouth. I hope no-one I know saw me as I put my breakfast toast in my nostril and fed coffee to my chin.

At meal’s end I insisted on paying, shuffling into the cafe to hand over my money. My balance is poorer than I remember and I lurched forward like a drunk. This was not one of my better plans. Cafe Friends who we met through our mutual dogs, looked up in alarm as they watched me surf on wobbly legs to the counter. They do not know I am ill. I am aware that I am walking like a Thunderbird puppet right now – all jerky clumsiness and startle reflexes. It’s not just my friends who were staring that day.

They whispered to themselves, shocked, and although I would have liked to go over and have a quick chat, assure them I’m okay, that this is just a bad patch on the way to being well, I knew it was too much to explain and anyway, there were so many steps between me and them.

Home again, to pyjama land. But not to sleep. Not yet. Someone had shoved a pitchfork in my skull and they were twisting it for all they’re worth. The pain? Exquisite.

I slept away the rest of Saturday and much of Sunday.

So how is my Monday? If I were a pirate I would make pain walk the plank and feed it into the grasping maw of a giant shark.

Meditation is the only thing that gives my waking hours real relief. Sleep is better. Sleep is pain-free, and my dreams entertain me better than any book or movie. I like to think that while I am sleeping I am also healing. That glorious battles are being fought in my name and that good work is being done. That these wretched bacteria inside me are dying in droves and my cells are bringing out the dead as the meat wagons travel through my veins.

Image from MOCpages

Image from MOCpages

I wish I could feel normal. I would like to be baking something. I would like to be walking my farm or going for a swim, or working on a book. But sleep is clawing at me, and I can feel myself turning to sand beneath those insistent fingers. Am I even awake? Was Saturday’s breakfast real or just a dream?

Please, when I finally wake properly from this, let me have morphed back into myself. Meanwhile, I’ll keep taking my sweet poison. I’m planning to kill all these bacteria before they kill me. It’s the best plan I’ve got, and anyway, I’m winning.

It really is true. That which does not kill me makes me stronger.

So my question to you is this: What medicine do you need right now? Even if it doesn’t taste good, if it’s what you need, chug-a-lug babe! This is our year of making things better.

Bottle of Poison by Julie-Chantal

Bottle of Poison by Julie-Chantal