Stormbirds

Image from www.soundslikenoise.com

Image of a male Eastern Koel, also known as a stormbird, from www.soundslikenoise.com

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
~ Leo Buscaglia

 

I heard a stormbird yesterday, just after dawn.

It’s so early in the season for stormbirds that I thought perhaps I was mistaken.

When I made my morning cup of tea, there he was, just outside. He raised his head in song. Rain began to fall and he valiantly continued his cry. I admired his dedication as the rest of the garden fell silent. Taking my mug of tea I crept back to the warmth of my bed and then fell asleep.

 

Mid-afternoon I woke and the stormbird was still calling mournfully from the teak tree outside my kitchen window, just where the garden turns to forest.

He sounded so, so sad.

I watched him from my kitchen sink as I washed my cup. His breast was thrust out determinedly. His dark feathers drooped a little with the misting rain. The weather was cold and miserable but he kept on calling. Occasionally he would go quiet, ruffle his feathers and shake himself, cock his head to one side and sit listening. When the sound went out of him and he sat in silence he seemed smaller somehow. More fragile.

When he began to call again he was tentative at first, as if he didn’t trust his own voice. Little by little he grew louder.

Eventually, he stopped completely. He cocked his head. Every part of him was intent on the listening. His eyes gleamed red. There was power in him. There was purpose.

I listened too.

And then I heard it. An answer.

Off he flew toward the sound.

My own heart swelled with love.

Image of a female Eastern Koel from www.birdingfriends.blogspot.com.au

Image of a female Eastern Koel from www.birdingfriends.blogspot.com.au

 

 

Listening to the Universe

Night Sky by Eric Hines

Night Sky by Eric Hines

“Most of the things we need to be most fully alive never come in busyness. They grow in rest.”
~ Mark Buchanan

 

I sometimes joke with my students that my oracle and tarot decks are all broken, because the cards I pull from them for myself so often have one message.

Rest.

Of course today I expected something different.

And I got this:

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I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t groan and roll my eyes…

I so wanted it to be a different message.

But I also know it’s the message I need.

 

There’s a difference between hearing and listening. When you hear, you have a momentary engagement, which quickly passes without making much of an impression. When you listen, you take the message on board and pay attention.

I’ve learned that when you ask the Universe, the message keeps coming up until you finally listen and apply the wisdom being presented to you.

I’m ready for a new card. But that won’t happen until I’m rested. Time for me to listen.

How about you? Do you ever get the same card, or the same theme, over and over?

What do you do when that happens?

Much love to you from Snooze Central.

Nicole <3 xx

 

Listening as a Healing Tool

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“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”
~ Mary Oliver

 

Unexpectedly, yesterday afternoon, I felt a sadness descend upon me.

At first I tried to ignore it.

Then, to laugh it off.

I immersed myself in busy-ness.

But it didn’t go away. Instead it settled on my bones like a numbing fog.

Until I could barely think or move or breathe.

I couldn’t think why. I couldn’t shift it at all. I was burdened with this great weight.

Finally, not knowing what else to do, I climbed the hill behind my little farm house and sat down in the thick plush grass of the old orchard. The hill continued on behind me, and I felt safe with it at my back. The sun shone above me. And as I sat I remembered my old Aboriginal Aunty, and what she said to me once, when I was experiencing a similar kind of sadness, brought on by homesickness and worry.

Just go outside, she said. Go sit down, and listen a lil bit.

Listen to what? I asked.

Just listen. All dem answers come when you just listen. Go on, go now. Sit. Be quiet. Open your eyes. Open your ears. Be alive with listening.

An Aboriginal woman sits by rock carvings in Western Australia. Photograph: Medford Taylor/Getty

An Aboriginal woman sits by rock carvings in Western Australia. Photograph: Medford Taylor/Getty

Be alive with listening. Isn’t that the most beautiful thing you’ve ever heard? Such wisdom in those words.

Yesterday, remembering that, I sat quietly, with nature all around me.

I listened.

I waited.

I trusted…

I heard the grass finches chirping and peeping and flitting from place to place. I heard the birr of their wings. I heard the rush of air as a flock of fat pigeons flew overhead.

I heard my husband down on the flats by the river, driving the tractor that tows the spike aerator. I smelled the good clean scent of dirt and grass.

I filled my ears and there was more and more to hear. Bugs and beetles and birdsong and cows. A distant call from a renegade rooster.

I heard the sleepiness of Sunday afternoon. I heard Harry and Bert playing dog wars in the back yard. I heard the rustle and creak of the heavy boughs of the Sydney gums as the wind shifted and the salty afternoon air blew in from the bay.

The afternoon shadows grew longer, and still I sat.

The sun warmed my skin. The breeze tangled my hair. The grass tickled my calves.

I heard my heart beating. I felt its pulse strong and steady in my throat. In my ears. In my hands.

As I listened something inside me grew larger –  a vast lake of silence – and I found myself rowing out into the middle of that lake in the small boat of my mind. There I bobbed, every breath a ripple taking me closer and closer to what it was that was troubling me so.

Image from macwallhd.com

Image from macwallhd.com

I remembered, then.

Being with my friend Angela as she died. Holding her hand, whispering comforts, and watching the flickering artery in her neck through translucent skin that was stretched too thin over her bones.

At first you could see the beat was steady but weak.

As the afternoon and then the night dragged on that flickering pulse became weaker. The beat more irregular. Her breathing too. I waited to see if each breath might be the last. If that flickering pulse would slow to a stop. But I was busy then, holding space for Angela, helping ease her into that place of transition. Being the support crew for her and her loved ones. I sang to her, I whispered, I anointed her with oils, I helped her to die. It was all for her. There was no space for me to feel my feelings. Not then. I was busy holding that space of peace and love and oneness.

Yesterday, in the sun with the hill at my back I remembered my own pain, and tears ran down my face. I tapped into a grief and a rage so strong it felt as if I were the one who couldn’t breathe, couldn’t flow, couldn’t find my peace.

It all came flooding out and I let myself cry until there were no more tears.

 

Then I listened some more.

I felt the earth cradling my bones. I felt the breeze caress my cheek. I heard the throb and drum of my own strong heart. I heard the trees breathing. I heard the earth sighing. I heard the world turning.

The first stars came out as the sun sank behind the curve of the horizon. My little farm house lit up with a soft glow from the kitchen light. I could see Ben come up from the river paddock and call the dogs home. He glanced up and saw me sitting in the grass and pulled the door to, happy just to know where I was.

I remembered how peaceful Angela was, after my work with her. How I helped her find that place of sanctuary.

I heard the truth of that place being whispered back to me by the earth, the sky, the trees, the stars. I heard the truth of everything being perfect in each moment. I felt the peace in my own heart. I felt it sink into my bones, until I was light with the weightlessness.

I came back down to my little farmhouse, cooked an omelette, took a shower, and crawled into bed. The windows were flung wide. I was still listening, and the earth and the moon and the stars and the sky kept whispering their comforts to me. I fell asleep to their song.

“The earth has music for those who listen.”
~ George Santayana

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Sometimes You Don’t Need Solutions, You Just Need To Be Heard

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
~  Leo Buscaglia

 

Ben and I met a close girlfriend for coffee yesterday. We’re each going through quite a lot with our families right now. We have family members confronting serious illness, and our friend has elderly parents in poor health – her Dad’s had a series of strokes and is in care, and her mum’s across town in another hospital after a hip replacement failure and major surgery to repair it.

Life is like this sometimes. It all happens at once. Big things, small things, out-of-the-blue things all raining down upon us.

Our friend cried as she told us of her dad’s worsening dementia and how heart-breaking it is for her to see him in this place of loss and confusion. I cried a little too as we updated her on our family, and on some of the other heart-breaking issues I’m helping a few of my clients through.

None of us had answers for each other and we didn’t even try. What mattered was that we could talk about our feelings, we could be honest about all the things raining down upon us, and the things we’d stuffed up as well as the things we’d handled well.

i-LOVE-coffee-coffee

We didn’t just talk about the hard stuff. We laughed a lot. We reminisced. We held space together as friends. We held each other’s hands. We sat in silence when silence was called for.

Sometimes that’s all we need. Just a safe space where we feel heard – where we can unbottle all of the things we’ve held inside.

If you have a friend or family member going through a tough time right now, don’t feel that you need to have a solution for them. One of the most precious gifts you can give them is time, friendship and a non-judgemental space where they can talk about what they are going through.

Know that they may also prefer to talk about every other thing than their cancer, their husband’s depression, or the terrible thing that happened/is happening.

Life will give all of us hardship or difficulty at one turn or another. Friendship, a shoulder to cry one, someone to make you laugh, someone to remind you that you are not your illness, someone who truly listens – that’s what helps us to get through the hard bits.

Wishing you smooth sailing or good friends today.

Know that you are ever in my thoughts and prayers,

Much love, Nicole <3 xoxo

Image from quote addicts

Image from quote addicts

 

The Gifts of Silence

Colours of Silence - Image from www.betterphotography.in

Colours of Silence – Image from Silent Shiva

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers,  grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.” ~ Mother Teresa

Silence gifts us time to think.

Silence gifts us room to grow.

kirill-platonkin-silence-is-important

Silence gifts us space to heal.

Silence restores us to ourselves.

Image from www.keithpp.wordpress.com

Image from www.keithpp.wordpress.com

Silence allows the deepest of rests.

Silence encourages inner connection.

Silence is a space waiting to be filled with emotion, ideas and inspiration.

Silence is a place of wisdom and great energy, once we learn to open to its beauty.

Silence is the language of the Divine.