The Healing Medicine of Kindness – Monday Oracle 29 May 2017

“So long as we love we serve; so long as we are loved by others, I would almost say that we are indispensable; and no man is useless while he has a friend.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson

 

Hello, Lovelies!

Here’s the oracle card I have chosen this Monday, and my take on the energetic outlook for the week ahead. I use any oracle or tarot cards shown as a prompt for channelled messages and my own intuitive wisdom, so my take is sometimes quite different to the meaning found in a book. ‘Service’ is from the Chakra Wisdom Oracle Deck by Tori Hartman.

If you read my forecast for May, you’ll remember that May brings beautiful heart-nurturing energies, helping you to move towards love, forgiveness, inner peace and emotional freedom.

So, what gifts does Service bring for you this week?

Service is not about helping others from a place of duty or obligation. This week, Service reminds us that when we are kind and thoughtful with others we create opportunities for healing, growth and positive change within others and also in ourselves.

Service encourages us to live from love this week. To be kind rather than needing to be right. To forgive. To help. To share. To encourage. To support. To see. To hear.

This is an energy we can flow outward from ourselves to others.

But it is also an energy we can flow inwards to ourselves.

Go back and read that last sentence again.

In fact, it’s so important that I’ll repeat it: Service is also an energy we can flow inwards towards ourselves.

We can be kind with ourselves rather than judgemental. We can forgive ourselves. We can help ourselves. We can give to ourselves. We can encourage ourselves. We can support ourselves. We can truly see and hear ourselves. That’s a powerful gift, and a powerful place from which to create true growth and change.

This is a week for selfless giving, for creating better stories for ourselves and for asking for help – especially from our Ancestors and ‘upstairs’ crew (God, Guides, Angels and so on).

So much can come from an act of kindness or encouragement. Why not try it and see for yourself!

 

Supportive crystals this week?

Rhodonite is great for supporting us to follow our hearts. Green Chrysoprase opens our heart and helps with emotional healing and self acceptance. Amazonite gifts us courage to speak the truth and to act from truth.  Turquoise encourages empathy, compassion and kindness.

Helpful essential oils?

Young Living’s Abundance essential oil blend, or a combination (or singly!) of any of Orange, Geranium, Frankincense and Myrrh. Abundance opens us to the flow of life, helping us to act from a place of love, trust and benevolence. Just rub a drop together in the palms of your hands and then breathe in and wipe through your aura.  Dab a few drops on your wrists or over your heart – its warm, spicy aroma makes it a great perfume or cologne. A few drops in the bath are wonderful too. You may want to dilute with a drop or two of a base oil such a sweet almond or coconut before applying directly to the skin.  It’s my oil of choice in my diffuser this week. You can find all the oils here.

Holding you, as always, in my thoughts, prayers and meditations, and intending for a you a life of abundance and joy, where you are no longer limited by your doubts.

All my love,

Nicole ❤ xx

Join Our Book Reading Challenge – May 2017

“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
~ Ernest Hemingway

Do you love to read?

In January a group of us embarked on the inaugural Cauldrons and Cupcakes Reading Challenge.

Already we have read some fine books, and learned about new reading possibilities from our friends who have posted their own recommendations. My personal reading list is now long enough to get me through until next year, and it was a wonderful resource when it came to loading up on e-books and audio books before I went on holidays.

For those of you who are just joining us now let me explain the Challenge to you. It’s pretty easy!

It involves four simple steps:

  1. Read or otherwise consume a book each month. You might borrow a book from the library, or buy one. It might be gifted to you, or it might have been waiting for you in some pile beside the bed since who knows when… Or it could be an e-book, or an audio book. It can be any kind of book at all. A novel, a romance, crime, children’s or young adult’s, a non-fiction book like a memoir or a cookbook or a travel book. It could be a graphic novel. Or even a textbook.
  2. Post the name of the book you are currently reading here on the blog or over on our Cauldrons and Cupcakes Facebook or Instagram page. Feel free to suggest another book that you have already read and enjoyed. That way you’ll be adding to a list of books that we can all dip into and choose from. I love finding new reading recommendations!
  3. Download the Reading Challenge Bingo Sheet. Each month write the name of the book you have read in the corresponding square. If you read two books in one month it’s fine to allocate one to another month. Or add the extra book to your existing month. Then add a small amount of money to a jar for each book you read. It could be as little as ten cents per book. Here’s the Bingo Sheet for you to download – just click on this link: Book Reading Challenge Bingo Sheet Then start filling it in when you’ve read your first book.book-reading-challenge-bingo-sheet
  4. In December I am going to ask you to use the money you have saved to buy and donate a book to a charity for a Christmas gift OR donate the money to a literacy project or similar. (Even if you only saved ten cents each month $1 will buy you a decent second-hand book just about anywhere.) It will feel great to help someone else to experience the pleasure and comfort that reading brings. The world needs more readers. If you want to team up for this challenge that’s a great idea too!

For those of you who are already participating, I can’t wait to hear about your book recommendations! Pop them in the comments below.

But if you haven’t joined us yet, it’s not too late. And I’d love you to get your friends involved too, so please feel free to share this post far and wide.

On the first Saturday of every month, I’ll post an update here on the blog, and ask you what you are reading and if you have any recommendations to share.

All year we will practice kindness to ourselves by reading.

At year’s end we will pass some of that kindness on to someone else.

Do you want to join me?

Go ahead and write your name below, or pop over to Facebook and join me there.

Happy Reading!

Lots of love, Nicole ❤  xx

kindbook

Join Our Book Reading Challenge – April 2017

“A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.”
~ Neil Gaiman

Do you love to read?

In January a group of us embarked on the inaugural Cauldrons and Cupcakes Reading Challenge.

Already we have read some fine books, and learned about new reading possibilities from our friends who have posted their own recommendations. My personal reading list is now long enough to get me through until next year, and it was a wonderful resource when it came to loading up on e-books and audio books before I went on holidays.

For those of you who are just joining us now let me explain the Challenge to you. It’s pretty easy!

It involves four simple steps:

  1. Read or otherwise consume a book each month. You might borrow a book from the library, or buy one. It might be gifted to you, or it might have been waiting for you in some pile beside the bed since who knows when… Or it could be an e-book, or an audio book. It can be any kind of book at all. A novel, a romance, crime, children’s or young adult’s, a non-fiction book like a memoir or a cookbook or a travel book. It could be a graphic novel. Or even a textbook.
  2. Post the name of the book you are currently reading here on the blog or over on our Cauldrons and Cupcakes Facebook or Instagram page. Feel free to suggest another book that you have already read and enjoyed. That way you’ll be adding to a list of books that we can all dip into and choose from. I love finding new reading recommendations!
  3. Download the Reading Challenge Bingo Sheet. Each month write the name of the book you have read in the corresponding square. If you read two books in one month it’s fine to allocate one to another month. Or add the extra book to your existing month. Then add a small amount of money to a jar for each book you read. It could be as little as ten cents per book. Here’s the Bingo Sheet for you to download – just click on this link: Book Reading Challenge Bingo Sheet Then start filling it in when you’ve read your first book.book-reading-challenge-bingo-sheet
  4. In December I am going to ask you to use the money you have saved to buy and donate a book to a charity for a Christmas gift OR donate the money to a literacy project or similar. (Even if you only saved ten cents each month $1 will buy you a decent second-hand book just about anywhere.) It will feel great to help someone else to experience the pleasure and comfort that reading brings. The world needs more readers. If you want to team up for this challenge that’s a great idea too!

For those of you who are already participating, I can’t wait to hear about your book recommendations! Pop them in the comments below.

But if you haven’t joined us yet, it’s not too late. And I’d love you to get your friends involved too, so please feel free to share this post far and wide.

On the first Saturday of every month (unless that coincides with the first day of the month, where I post my energetic forecast for the month ahead – in which case, like this month it’s the second Saturday) I’ll post an update here on the blog, and ask you what you are reading and if you have any recommendations to share.

All year we will practice kindness to ourselves by reading.

At year’s end we will pass some of that kindness on to someone else.

Do you want to join me?

Go ahead and write your name below, or pop over to Facebook and join me there.

Happy Reading!

Lots of love, Nicole ❤  xx

kindbook

Join Our Book Reading Challenge – March 2017

“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”
~ Mark Twain

Do you love to read?

In January a group of us embarked on the inaugural Cauldrons and Cupcakes Reading Challenge.

Already we have read some fine books, and learned about new reading possibilities from our friends who have posted their own recommendations. My personal reading list is now long enough to get me through until next year, and it was a wonderful resource when it came to loading up on e-books and audio books before I came on holidays.

For those of you who are just joining us now let me explain the Challenge to you. It’s pretty easy!

It involves four simple steps:

  1. Read or otherwise consume a book each month. You might borrow a book from the library, or buy one. It might be gifted to you, or it might have been waiting for you in some pile beside the bed since who knows when… Or it could be an e-book, or an audio book. It can be any kind of book at all. A novel, a romance, crime, children’s or young adult’s, a non-fiction book like a memoir or a cookbook or a travel book. It could be a graphic novel. Or even a textbook.
  2. Post the name of the book you are currently reading here on the blog or over on our Cauldrons and Cupcakes Facebook or Instagram page. Feel free to suggest another book that you have already read and enjoyed. That way you’ll be adding to a list of books that we can all dip into and choose from. I love finding new reading recommendations!
  3. Download the Reading Challenge Bingo Sheet. Each month write the name of the book you have read in the corresponding square. If you read two books in one month it’s fine to allocate one to another month. Or add the extra book to your existing month. Then add a small amount of money to a jar for each book you read. It could be as little as ten cents per book. Here’s the Bingo Sheet for you to download – just click on this link: Book Reading Challenge Bingo Sheet Then start filling it in when you’ve read your first book.book-reading-challenge-bingo-sheet
  4. In December I am going to ask you to use the money you have saved to buy and donate a book to a charity for a Christmas gift OR donate the money to a literacy project or similar. (Even if you only saved ten cents each month $1 will buy you a decent second-hand book just about anywhere.) It will feel great to help someone else to experience the pleasure and comfort that reading brings. The world needs more readers. If you want to team up for this challenge that’s a great idea too!

For those of you who are already participating, I can’t wait to hear about your book recommendations! Pop them in the comments below.

But if you haven’t joined us yet, it’s not too late. And I’d love you to get your friends involved too, so please feel free to share this post far and wide.

On the first Saturday of every month I’ll post an update here on the blog, and ask you what you are reading and if you have any recommendations to share.

All year we will practice kindness to ourselves by reading.

At year’s end we will pass some of that kindness on to someone else.

Do you want to join me?

Go ahead and write your name below, or pop over to Facebook and join me there.

Happy Reading!

Lots of love, Nicole ❤  xx

kindbook

Only Someone Who Has Chronic Pain or Illness Knows…

“Illness is the night side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.”
~ Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor

 

I’ve been unwell since my teens.

There have been so many diagnoses. (I won’t list them all here, although perhaps I should.)

I’ve pursued so many kinds of treatments. (Really. In over thirty years of continuous concerted effort I’ve done more kinds of diets, therapies, herbals, treatments, drugs and totally-out-there-hokey-but-I’m-doing-it-because-desperate regimes than I care to mention. Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth. And I’m still here. So some of it must have worked.)

There have been times where I have only been able to see myself through the prism of loss.

But that’s soul-destroying. It makes you die while you are still alive. And I want to live. So mostly I choose to view my life by framing it up around what I can do, rather than what I can’t.

I have read deeply and widely, in order to get an inside angle on my health. I have come to understand my body better. I have become a master at hiding or managing disability and at creating a life that works on my terms. Mostly.

Some days a pain comes. Or some other symptom. After which I spend hours backtracking and investigating. Was it because of something I ate? A chemical? Lack of sleep? A million other possibilities? Did I do this to myself or make things worse? I’ve lost days to this kind of hypervigilance. It never helps, although it can gift me a temporary illusion of control.

I have a long, long list every single day – of pains and problems and freakish symptoms which it long ago became too boring to mention, even to myself. Mostly it is background noise in my life. I live with pain. I live with the kind of things that would have other folk rushing off to the doctor. After a lifetime of discussing them with doctors and having no resolution these kinds of things become your new normal, and then, eventually, just part of your life.

Mostly, just like other people with chronic or terminal illnesses, I have continued to look quite unremarkable on the outside. Maybe just a bit tired sometimes, or a bit puffy or drawn or pale.

Image from www.wallls.ru

Image from www.wallls.ru

These days I’m actually doing much better. Especially after two solid years of horrendous antibiotic therapy for Lyme. After major surgery last year ( and then the superbug I acquired) and an avalanche of new drugs (and some old favourites) and then Chinese herbs, essential oils, modified diet (again!) and intravenous vitamin C.

I feel like I’ve turned a corner. I can function better, I have more energy than I’ve had in years. Life is opening out a little more for me. People comment on how well I look.

Although that better is comparative.

I still can’t drive. My vision is still impaired. I still need early nights and nana naps to get through the day. I have a horrible startle reflex. When I’m tired. I lose words. I sound like. A badly. Edited film. With pauses and breaks in. All the wrong places. Because. Brain not working properly.

I’m still immuno-compromised. (And please, will you quit rolling your eyes and commenting about how it always seems to be one thing after another with me? Yes, that’s true. Because I am immuno-compromised after so many decades of illness. The bugs that barely register with you or that inconvenience you for a few days still have the power to take me down, or even out. Don’t visit me when you’re sick. Wash your hands more. Practice good hygiene. Rant over.) Incontinence issues? Yep. Not quite nailed the superbug? Yep. Foods that send me spiralling into misery? Yep. Exhaustion? Yep. Pain that wakes me up and keeps me up? Yep. No libido? Yep. Tendon stiffness that sees me hobble when I get out of bed, or up off a chair after sitting for a while? Yep. Pay for increased activity levels with increased night-time pain and exhaustion the next day? Yep.

Yep.

Still, I have coping strategies, and meditation, and healing foods and emergency triage treatments. I have a wonderful local GP and acupuncturist. I have an incredible husband who is my full-time carer (although I hate to think of it like that, it’s the truth.) I have a beautiful group of friends and an online community who lift me up every day.

My life is good. It’s precious and wonderful and I am grateful for every breath.

Mostly.

I am one of millions just like me. People living with or despite conditions and illness. We’re doing our best. For some of us that’s actually pretty messy and awful at times. Most of which you won’t ever see. Some of us can’t get help. Some of us aren’t believed. Some of us don’t have the financial resources or the energy or education or support to even try to get past what ails us. Some of us will fail, decline, die despite help and treatment. Some of us have trajectories that are all downhill.

So, what can you do?

If you’re one of the millions, try to find some small thing each day to focus gratitude upon. Look at what you can do. That’s a big ask at times, but I’ve come to realise that what we focus on magnifies. I’d rather focus on the pleasure of savoring a cup of tea than on the fact I can’t see the bloody thing clearly anymore. When I focus on what still works and what’s still good, peace comes to me. You can heal or endure when you’re peaceful, more than you ever can when you are stressed or angry. (I know this from experience, but I won’t say ‘trust me’ – it’s better if you experience this yourself too, so that you can own it as truth in your body rather than just a concept in your mind.)

If you’re not one of the millions yet, know that it’s entirely possible that one day you might be.

If you’re not one of the millions, please stop pandering that New Age drivel to us about how this is all a beautiful learning experience, or that our souls chose this, or that we somehow created it, or perpetuated it. Or how we can turn this into a wonderful soul-growth opportunity. Or that God only gives us what we can handle. Don’t hang that judge-y guilt-trip on us. It’s not helpful and it’s not kind. Especially when we are having a bad day, which, incidentally, may be invisible to you. If you are one of the millions, stop hanging that guilt-trip on yourself.

Know that if a vegan, paleo, superfoods, raw diet, prayerful contemplation, soul-searching, vibration lifting, better exercise routine, detox or no-negative-thoughts regime actually worked for everyone there would be no more cancer or depression or chronic illness, or genetic abnormality or disorder already.

Don’t hang judgement on us when the network-marketing-product, special diet, cleanse-in-a-box, worked-for-your-neighbour or someone-you-read-about-online cure, doesn’t work so well with us. Or when we just don’t want to try one of those things. Again. For whatever reason.

Don’t tell us we’re heroes or warriors. We’re only dealing with the hand we’ve been dealt. Don’t tell us that you don’t know how you’d ever cope or that we’re incredible the way we are coping. Some days we don’t cope. Don’t perpetuate the myth of the incredible brave-warrior-ill-person. It’s just one more pressure we don’t need.

Please don’t treat us like we’re invisible. Please keep including us and inviting us. Even when we’re unreliable, or can only attend for a short while or not in the way you (or we) would prefer.

Unless you’re going to be mean or judge-y. In which case it’s actually better if we’re invisible.

Let’s not hide illness and disability anymore. Let’s bring it out into the open where it belongs, instead of shaming ourselves and each other around our perceived frailties and failings.

Every single one of us will know illness or injury or critical failure of something we had previously taken for granted at some stage in our lives.

Let’s treat this with kindness. Kindness isn’t a cure, but it’s a very helpful medicine.

Holding you in my prayers and meditations,

Nicole ❤ xoxo

Join Our Book Reading Challenge – February 2017

book-reading-challenge-pink

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
~ Stephen King

 

Do you love to read?

In January a group of us embarked on the inaugural Cauldrons and Cupcakes Reading Challenge.

Let me explain the Challenge to you. It’s pretty easy!

 

It involves four simple steps:

  1. Read or otherwise consume a book each month. You might borrow a book from the library, or buy one. It might be gifted to you, or it might have been waiting for you in some pile beside the bed since who knows when… Or it could be an e-book, or an audio book. It can be any kind of book at all. A novel, a romance, crime, children’s or young adult’s, a non-fiction book like a memoir or a cookbook or a travel book. It could be a graphic novel. Or even a textbook.
  2. Post the name of the book you are currently reading here on the blog or over on our Cauldrons and Cupcakes Facebook or Instagram page. Feel free to suggest another book that you have already read and enjoyed. That way you’ll be adding to a list of books that we can all dip into and choose from. I love finding new reading recommendations!
  3. Download the Reading Challenge Bingo Sheet. Each month write the name of the book you have read in the corresponding square. If you read two books in one month it’s fine to allocate one to another month. Or add the extra book to your existing month. Then add a small amount of money to a jar for each book you read. It could be as little as ten cents per book. Here’s the Bingo Sheet for you to download – just click on this link: Book Reading Challenge Bingo Sheet Then start filling it in when you’ve read your first book.book-reading-challenge-bingo-sheet
  4. In December I am going to ask you to use the money you have saved to buy and donate a book to a charity for a Christmas gift OR donate the money to a literacy project or similar. (Even if you only saved ten cents each month $1 will buy you a decent second-hand book just about anywhere.) It will feel great to help someone else to experience the pleasure and comfort that reading brings. The world needs more readers. If you want to team up for this challenge that’s a great idea too!

For those of you who are already participating, I can’t wait to hear about your book recommendations! Pop them in the comments below.

But if you haven’t joined us yet, it’s not too late. And I’d love you to get your friends involved too, so please feel free to share this post far and wide.

On the first Saturday of every month I’ll post an update here on the blog, and ask you what you are reading and if you have any recommendations to share.

All year we will practice kindness to ourselves by reading.

At year’s end we will pass some of that kindness on to someone else.

Do you want to join me?

Go ahead and write your name below, or pop over to Facebook and join me there.

Happy Reading!

Lots of love, Nicole ❤  xx

kindbook

Unexpected Gifts – Nurse Bert!

Kerry Warnholtz

The talented Kerry Warnholtz, on a recent photo and video shoot at our farm.

“Acts of Kindness:
A random act of kindness, no matter how small, can make a tremendous impact on someone else’s life.”
~ Roy T. Bennett

 

It’s been a hard few weeks, with the loss of our precious dog Bert.

It’s also been rough because I am still fighting the antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection that I picked up in hospital last year. It’s manifested as a persistent urinary tract infection that has made my life quite miserable. Right now I’m on aggressive treatment, which is working, but which also involves regular IV therapy, acupuncture and lots of herbs and essential oils.

So you can imagine that I have been feeling a little glum…

2017-01-17-08-12-34

Ben and Harry and I have been greatly buoyed by all of your kind comments and love, and the outpouring of stories you’ve shared with us of your own pets and loved ones.

Thank you. ❤

It has made a tough time more bearable.

I also received two other gifts on Wednesday which have overwhelmed us with their kindness.

The first was a little book, made by my thoughtful friend Monique Sinclaire. Inside were a collection of pictures of Bert which she must have found online. In an act of deep synchronicity the photo at the beginning and end of the book were the same ones I chose for the beginning and end of Wednesday’s blog about Bert’s passing. Thank you, Monique. We’ll treasure this!

2017-01-27-05-51-09

The other was a short video, made by the ever-kind Kerry Warnholtz. Kerry is an incredibly gifted and heart-centered photographer and videographer. Last year Kerry spent a week at our farm and one of my retreats to shoot footage for a short documentary for me. The aim of the documentary was to capture the work and care we put into preparing for and running our retreats.

I’ll show you the results soon. It’s wonderful!

Of course Kerry shot oodles of footage. Of everything. And somewhere in all of that she had the sweetest piece of video, of Ben, me and Nurse Bert, in the back yard at the end of the day, as we all enjoyed a cup of tea and the leftover treats from our photo shoot. (A big shout out to Jessie and Andrew from Home Amongst The Green, whose delicious treats feature on the plate that Bert can’t take his eyes off!)

It was such a glorious and unexpected wonder, to look at our beautiful boy once more, being his irrepressible food-oriented self. Watch his eyes, which tell you quite repeatedly that he would like a treat please!

Thank you, Kerry. It made us laugh and cry, and all of that is good medicine.

If you’re ever looking for someone to capture the heart and soul of your family or business in images, look no further than Kerry. I can’t recommend her highly enough. You can find her at Truth Seeker Images Multimedia.

And here he is, Nurse Bert, one more time…