Grown-Ups Get To Choose!

“We are always told that anyone over the age of eighteen should know what they are doing. The fact is, they don’t.” 
~ Rae Earl

One of the most important lessons I ever learned in life came from a trip to the corner store at the end of the street.

I was cooking dinner and realised I had run out of potatoes. Ben walked with me for the company and busied himself at the front counter while I rifled through the potato bin. He bought himself a bag of mixed lollies (candies), all counted out into a striped paper bag.

I paid for my two potatoes and then reached out for a sweet. ‘Hey,’ said Ben pulling the packet out of reach. ‘These are mine. If you want some, get your own!’ He was joking, but it made me realise something.

Lollies? I never bought lollies. I hadn’t bought a bag of sweets like that since I was a kid and my pa would give me fifty cents to buy some in the holidays. ‘Okay, I will!’ I said defiantly. It was wonderful to choose them, and on the way home I felt like a kid as I let myself eat a couple right before dinner – something my mum would never have allowed. By the time we got in the front door Ben’s bag was empty. I told him off for ruining his dinner.

‘Nic,’ he said, ‘I’m a grown-up. I can do what I want. I would have eaten them all before dinner or after dinner, but I ate them now because I felt like them and they were delicious. That’s the thing about being an adult. You get to choose.’

It might sound weird but that was a revelation for me. I’d grown up in a strict household, and I carried that strictness and all of those rules into my own independent life. But now there was no-one to tell me what to do. I could do what I wanted. I was an adult. I didn’t even have to eat my dinner if I didn’t want to. I could just eat my bag of lollies.

That freedom of being able to eat breakfast cereal for dinner, to not make your bed or to stay in pyjamas all day can be an awesome thing. But so often we only use that freedom adulthood bestows upon us to make childish or insignificant choices. The rest of the time we let life happen to us, or we make a choice once and think we can no longer make another. These July energies support change and I want you to understand that as an adult there are many other things you can use this superpower of choice on.

You can choose to give up smoking. You can choose to get a better job. You can choose to stay and work on a marriage with problems. You can choose to leave a bad relationship. You can choose to sell everything up and travel the world. If you’re stuck, if you’re unhappy, if something’s not working YOU CAN CHOOSE SOMETHING ELSE INSTEAD.

What will you choose in July?

Much love, Nicole xx

PS – Need some help with your choices?

My new self-paced Journey of Transformation online course teaches you how to use your intuition and oracle or tarot cards to gain insight and guidance for life’s troubles or to get clear on your future direction. I show you how to do a ten-card spread and how to interpret each card to answer questions that will give you insights and clear guidance for your life. This versatile spread can be used for yourself and others and is a favourite of mine when I’m looking for more than just a superficial answer to a current challenge.

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Why I Know The Universe Supports My New Friday Scheme

pool

“These are the days that must happen to you.”
~ Walt Whitman

 

I decided recently, as part of my yearly Year of ME Planning Summit, to make Fridays ‘Ben and Nicole Days’.

I already have ‘Unplugged Sundays’. I started that last year, and it has been one of the best things I’ve ever done.

This year ‘Ben and Nicole Friday’ has been added into the mix. Ben’s always helping me out, or bending his days to fit around me. Fridays are now about me doing that with and for him. It’s a day where I will spend the day with my husband, doing whatever he needs me to do, or whatever we decide on collectively. This will help us to get some writing projects done, and some collaborative schemes. It gives us time for tidying and sorting and doing tax and working on our businesses and finance.

So, how did our very first ‘Ben and Nicole Friday’ go?

Well, we started with bloodtests for me. Lots and lots of bloodtests. Not so exciting. But necessary. After that the day was all uphill.

There was a trip to town. Coffee and croissants. Swims. Writing time. Naps in the air-conditioning because HEATWAVE just now in Australia!

Then the neighbours came round for a late afternoon swim in the pool.

Which turned into drinks and dinner.

And then this.

cah

I’m liking Fridays already. 😀

How about you? Are you making sure you’ve got time for what matters this year?

Lots of love, Nicole xx

 

Things I Have Discovered While Travelling

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“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colours. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”
~ Terry Pratchett

 

Hello, Lovelies!

I am more than halfway through my holiday, and this morning I have found a little café in Corfu, Greece, so that I can send a few emails and upload a bog post or two.

These are my top ten realisations thus far, while travelling:

  1. You take yourself wherever you go. Whatever is at the core of you – your worries, your habits, your dreams, your beliefs – they come with you.
  2. When you are in a strange land, the things that are an unconscious part of your everyday landscape back at home can suddenly become illuminated in ways that help you to truly see and understand yourself better.
  3. I travel with family, and with ghosts. Even when they are not here with me. I walk into an antiquarian bookstore and suddenly think of my father. I stroll past a florist’s window and know how much my mother would delight in the artistry and the fragrance. I drink a glass of wine with lunch and remember my grandparents, none of whom are still alive. I drink to their memory and their good health anyway. I see a busker in the street and think of my friend Kate, and how she would have loved that. We have a little conversation in my head, and I know that up there is heaven she is smiling down and appreciating the sights and the sounds as much as me.
  4. People all smile and laugh in the same language.
  5. You’ll see more on foot than you’ll ever see from the window of a car or bus.
  6. If the locals eat there, you should too!
  7. Travelling is a kind of dream state, where quiet and forgotten parts of you can come alive again, and new aspects of yourself can be birthed or discovered.
  8. Life is a gigantic wheel of birth and adventure and love and suffering and death and everything in between. Whether it happened 2000 years ago or last week, life has a drama to it, but only in the moment. Eventually, everything is rendered into dust.
  9. If you need wherever you go to be like home and taste like home and behave like home, you should have stayed at home!
  10. Travelling cracks your heart and your mind open, so that you can never be the same again.

When are you planning your next adventure?

Lots of love to you, Nicole xx

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Time With Julie, Crafting Dying Her Way

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.” 
~ L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl

 

Perhaps you read my post a few days ago, about my friend Julie who has been given a diagnosis of mere weeks to live due to end-stage inoperable ovarian cancer. No-one knows if she’ll have three months, less, or longer, but we do know that her remaining time is short. Precious, short and non-renewable.

We’ve talked a lot in the past few days. A lot! And in that time on the crazy roller-coaster ride of shock, denial, anger, grief and acceptance some big decisions have been made.

Truth is, Julie really is dying. This is the end game for her. There will be no miracle cure or last-minute reprieve. She understands that, and always the pragmatist, she’s been working out how she wants these weeks to look for her and her family. It is not chasing some possible cure in some remote part of the world, or filling herself with pills, tonics or juice fasts. Julie wants to spend her last weeks with the people she loves, to live life doing things that give her pleasure and that fill her up with love and gratitude, and to die a good death. One that is peaceful and without pain or trauma.

Day One after her diagnosis we began to get some care options in place and attended to all the legal stuff. Her mum, an ex-nurse who will be Julie’s primary carer, has spoken with the oncologist about what to expect, and contacted a local hospice for help and guidance, including the equipment and medications needed for home care. Julie will spend her last days back at the family property outside Brisbane, surrounded by nature, family and friends. There are still good places to go for coffee, and for tasty meals to be had if she feels like an outing. But there is also the comfort of familiar surroundings. Julie was clear – no hospitals.

She’s taken sick leave from work, checked all her insurances and contacted all the appropriate people. She spoke with her husband and then updated her will, and nominated a medical Power of Attorney. We’ve found some good counsellors for the family to help with this time of transition.

We’ve spoken to people about spiritual care for Julie and her family for this final part of her journey here on earth.

All of these things help Julie to have a sense of peace and control at a time when so many things are being stripped away from her.

Day Two we went shopping; for stationery, scrapbooking supplies, a decent photo printer and some journals.

Why? Julie has two little girls, aged three and six. Daughters she adores. Daughters she will never get to see grow up. Another of my friends lost her own mum when she was five, has many unanswered questions because of that loss, and has had many times when she’s wished for advice or support from the mum she never really knew.

Image from Dr Momma

Image from Dr Momma

Julie wants her loved ones to feel her love, support, guidance and encouragement – even if she cannot be here in person to give it.

So we’ve made a plan:

  • Scrapbooks for each girl, to celebrate their time together, and for Julie to leave messages of love and support. Julie’s mum and sister love to scrapbook, and they have promised to help with this task, pouring all of their love into these albums
  • Letters from Julie to be given to the girls and her other significant loved ones for important milestones in their lives
  • Video messages for some of those same milestones (and believe me we brainstormed many possibilities, including the hard and sad parts of life as well as the usual celebrations) She’s recorded the first few already.
  • A journal that documents Julie’s life, from her own childhood to the present day. This is a project just for Julie, to do in her quiet hours and until she can no longer write entries for herself. This is a place where she can glue pictures, talk about who is in the photo, what they were doing, and what that meant for her. A place that records Julie the way Julie knows herself and her interior world – as a person, not just as a mother, or a wife.

Day Three and Julie and her family began a whole weekend together, sleeping in, watching DVDs, baking cupcakes and reading stories. No work, no deadlines, no emails to answer or calls to return, no papers to write. Instead there will be lots of cuddles, snuggles and love. Some time to think about a bucket list. Some time to cocoon from the world for a while.

For now her pain and fatigue are manageable, and she can still live independently and with quality of life. We’ll reassess as things change.

Help is there for Julie and her family as they walk this part of the journey together. So much of it will simply unfold as it needs to. And of course, Julie has her plan of things to leave behind for those she loves. This is so important to her, it’s her last and most important project – and I know it will help with closure for her too.

In the next few weeks Julie also wants to take one last shopping trip, for a few special items for her loved ones.

She wants wine, cheese and chocolate with her best girlfriends – soon, while she still feels like getting dressed up and going out.

She’s got a romantic weekend getaway booked with her husband for next weekend.

She is going to plan her own funeral, with help from her husband, daughters, mum and good friends. She wants to go to that life celebration in person. She says it seems pointless to miss her own, best party.

My friend does not know how many good days she has left, but she wants to make the most of her time on this earth.

That’s a good lesson for all of us, don’t you think?

Image from Words on Images

Image from Words on Images

Blog Hijack!

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“All his life he tried to be a good person. Many times, however, he failed.
For after all, he was only human. He wasn’t a dog.” 
~ Charles M. Schulz

 

This is Bert. Me and my brother Harry have taken over this blog.

Writing is dumb. Especially on a very lovely morning of rain and mud and things to do.

We have kidnapped Mum to go play outside in her gumboots and raincoat instead of blogging.

There will be stick throwing and chasing.

There are cows to visit.

We may go for a swim in the river to wash off all the mud.

Then there will be breakfast.

And a nap. With lots of cuddles.

Normal blogging will resume tomorrow.

That is all.