The Week Ahead – Oracle Reading for Monday 16 January

Grief

“Grief does not change you… It reveals you.”
~ John Green

Hello, dear friends!

I apologise that today’s post is late in coming. In fact I was unsure if I would even be able to write it at all. But here it is.

Here’s the oracle card I have chosen this Monday, and my take on the energetic outlook for the week ahead.

‘Grief’ is from the Chakra Wisdom Oracle Deck by Tori Hartman.

On Saturday morning I chose this card for the week ahead. I thought I might get organised and write my weekly post early, before my unplugged Sunday, and so that I might spend Monday morning (today) working on my almost-finished memoir.

When I pulled this card, I did a double-take. Oh, I thought, looking closely at the picture. It’s a heart-broken girl holding her dead dog. I can’t post that! So, I put the card down, and I moved onto another project and then some client readings and suddenly it was Saturday afternoon, and I forgot all about that card, and I went for a swim on that hot afternoon, with Ben my husband, and with Harry and Bert our dogs.

Well, some of you already know what happened next. Bert collapsed without warning. The next minute we were racing him to a vet. And then racing him from our country home back to a big veterinary hospital in the city. Our beloved dog Bert died at 4am on Sunday. We are all heartbroken. Yesterday was just a wash of tears.

And then this morning I remembered the card, and wept anew.

But, that’s enough of me. I need to talk about this card, and how it relates to you.

Grief is actually a beautiful card. An important card. I’m sure some of you are feeling these energies right now. These energies of grief and loss and tragedy and yearning and heartache and regret and disappointment and emptiness, right as the year began fresh. What an awful energy, you might think, to strike right when we need to be  hopeful and optimistic and to enjoy our fresh start.

It’s okay. The Grief card has a powerful message for you this week.

This is what grief reminds you: Grief is just love with nowhere to go.

That’s as it should be when you first lose something. Until you learn how to keep loving without it.

If you let grief keep rebounding inside you with no expression and no flow, eventually it can lead to frustration, anger, and then to depression.

All of that love, if you don’t eventually give it form again with something else, all of that love held as grief will weigh you down, and prevent you from living truly and fully in your life.

So, feel into the energy of grief this week, for in it are the seeds of so much locked-up positive emotion, so many gifts, so much power to propel you forward again.

This might be grief around relationships, choices, changing circumstances, mistakes, outcomes, all manner of loss…

Where have you got energy locked up in grief? Where is there energy trapped in your life with nowhere to go? How can you untangle that and repurpose it and give it somewhere to flow again?

How can you take all of this love with nowhere to go, and channel it into something new and good?

You might be surprised at the breakthroughs you have this week!

Supportive crystals this week? Rose Quartz, Chrysocolla, Green Aventurine and Citrine. Helpful essential oils? Young Living’s Inner Child essential oil blend, or  a combination (or singly!) of any of orange, jasmine, rosemary and geranium.

Feelings are a part of our lives for a reason. They help us to understand ourselves and the world around us, and they light the path for us, if we can be brave enough to follow where they lead.

Holding you, as always, in my thoughts, prayers and meditations.  All my love,

Nicole ❤ xx

 

 

A Short Blog Series on Death and Dying

“I’ve been making a list of the things they don’t teach you at school. They don’t teach you how to love somebody. They don’t teach you how to be famous. They don’t teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. They don’t teach you what to say to someone who’s dying. They don’t teach you anything worth knowing.”
~ Neil Gaiman, The Sandman

 

As a society I don’t think we do death very well. It’s not talked about. We try to pretend that it doesn’t happen, and often, sadly, we try to keep it all behind closed doors – either for ourselves or for a loved one.

I’m no stranger to dying, and I’ve come to know death from a number of perspectives. I’ve had my own prognoses of numbered days several times in the past twenty years. From heart issues to life-threatening infections and multi-organ failure, death and I have looked each other in the eye. I have held the knowledge and the feeling of dying within me as I have struggled to keep living.

I’m still here. But that dark bird still sits on my shoulder, and I have learned to travel with that extra weight and the gifts of perspective that this brings. Among my friends are others who have dark birds of their own. We share a special language without words, because we know – we live with this extra awareness, and we have watched others go before us and leave this world. Once the dark bird has visited you, everything changes.

raven, crow, dying, death

The Common Raven, by George Hodan. Image from www.almanac.com

I’ve come to know dying from having been at the deathbed of over thirty people now, as they’ve made their transition from this life. I’ve talked about death with them as their days diminished from endless to numbered. As they’ve grappled with the news of their impending demise and the knowledge that time has almost run out. I’ve cried with them. And laughed. I’ve talked of living, even as they are dying, and helped them to make plans about the things that mattered most.

As their final hours have arrived I’ve held their hand and stroked their hair and anointed them with oils. I’ve whispered in their ear, and cradled them in my arms and helped them to no longer be afraid. I’ve created a safe space for them and for their loved ones who were with them for this last past of the journey. I’ve witnessed as their last breath left their lungs, as their heart stopped beating, as they moved from life to death, and then beyond.

I’ve helped to plan or even officiate over funerals and memorials. I’ve celebrated the passing of many a loved one, with all of those who were left behind.

death and dying, forest light

Forest Light – Image by Rayma Devins.  Image from www.desktopnexus.com

The final perspective I have on death is as a psychic. I have watched what happens to a person’s soul and to their energies as they begin the journey of transition. I have witnessed death and spoken to souls in the moments, minutes and hours after their physical end. I have communicated with souls who have long passed from our world. I have connected with the dying via dreams. One precious soul even showed me his passing by sharing those last hours of life and those first moments of death and beyond with me as I supported him via meditation. I have learned so much about the enduring nature of our souls after death, and the power of love to transcend dimensions and boundaries of time and place.

angels in clouds

Image from www.nastej.ru

Right now I have a number of friends and clients who are facing the imminent passing of an elderly parent, or a terminally ill child or life partner. There are a couple of friends and clients who have been given their own recent diagnosis of a life-ending condition.

This is the territory of my daily life – providing support in these situations. It’s endless, because it is part of the cycle of life. People who know me well understand that I am always walking with death, and in service to that transitioning, although I may not mention it to those still firmly in the flow of life.

So, in response to a number of recent questions about death and dying, I’ve decided to write a short series of blog posts to help these friends and clients, and any of you who are (or will one day be) in this situation so that you can provide support to your own loved ones, and feel comforted in understanding that the end of life can become a beautiful space, after which the soul simply moves to a different state of existence – and yes, continues to exist. If you are one of those friends with a dark bird on your shoulder we can talk about how to live even as you are dying, and what things you may want to consider, of both a practical and a spiritual nature.

I’ll begin next Wednesday. But before that, if you have any questions that you’d like me to answer in this series, please contact me by leaving a comment below, or emailing them to cauldronsandcupcakes@gmail.com

I would be honoured to help in any way possible.

As always, I am holding you in my thoughts, prayers and meditations, 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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Saturday Night Lights

Image from chestersre.com

Image from chestersre.com

“There is no night life in Spain. They stay up late but they get up late. That is not night life. That is delaying the day. Night life is when you get up with a hangover in the morning. Night life is when everybody says what the hell and you do not remember who paid the bill. Night life goes round and round and you look at the wall to make it stop. Night life comes out of a bottle and goes into a jar. If you think how much are the drinks it is not night life.”

~ Ernest Hemingway, 88 Poems

 

I had a small adventure last night.

I drove ten minutes to a girlfriend’s apartment in town and then we took a short stroll to a charming Lebanese restaurant around the corner for an early dinner.

Do you know how many years it has been since I have ventured out at night on my own?

I forget sometimes how much Lyme disease has diminished my life. I’ve learned to live happily within a very small box. So small in fact, that I have become quite distanced and disconnected from things I once took for granted. I counted it. Twelve years. Twelve years since I have been out at night like this on my own to meet a friend for dinner.

Mind you, I didn’t think about that as I drove to my friend’s place. I was too busy concentrating on getting driving right. On listening to the twangy voice on my iPhone navigating me through the streets I once knew by heart. On hoping that parking would be easy and that my brain would work well enough to position the car without disgracing myself. Ben usually drives unless I’m having a very good day. I have not driven a car alone at night for some time. It makes me anxious as a learner.

When I socialise it is usually over breakfast, while I am fresh and have some energy. It’s coffee outings at early-morning cafes, if I am going out at all. By day’s end I am in my pyjamas, I eat early, meditate and retire.

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So last night?

It was still an early night by most people’s standards. I met my friend at six. By nine-thirty my night was over, and I drove homewards through Brisbane’s city streets and Fortitude Valley. I was a time-traveller sitting in the safe bubble of my car, my hands clenched tight to the steering wheel. Outside, my usual daytime vista was rendered unrecognisable. Bright lights obscured familiar landmarks. It was as if the world was on a strange tilt.

The restaurants I know only by early morning passings had been transformed from upturned chairs and empty windows to cosy places full of animated people. Queues of rowdy folk milled at traffic lights and outside bars and nightclubs.

Even my own suburban street was unrecognisable in the dark. I never knew one of the neighbours had fairy lights wound through the trees of their front yard just a few houses down from my own. Everything took on a shimmer of unreality.

It stirred memories in me of my younger days, and I was unexpectedly sideswiped by an intense grief. Where had my life gone? All those years between youth and now?

I already knew the answer. I have been at home in my pyjamas, while the world dined, strolled, drank, laughed, partied, romanced.

In my head I’ve been planning holidays for when I am well again. I am finally moving in that direction, so I have given myself permission not to just dream but to plan.

Helpful people keep offering me their kind and well-meaning suggestions. Most of them revolve around meditation retreats, detox places, quiet and solitude and nature.

Screw that.

Don’t get me wrong. I love meditation, my farm, tranquility, nature. But that’s been my life for over twenty years. And sometimes it has felt more like a prison than an oasis.

When I can rouse just a little more energy in these bones, then give me life. Give me people and culture and music and wine. Give me galleries and parties and cocktails. Give me noise and crowds and the thrill of the night.

Let me grab my husband by the hand, dive right in and immerse myself in those bright city lights.

Give me some night life.

I never knew until last night, just how much I’ve missed the throbbing heart of a city, and the part of myself that was once at home there.

Brita-Photography-_-no-one-looks-back-on-their-life-and-remembers-the-night-they-had-plenty-of-sleep1

Excuse me, are you the Witch?

Image from Mattsko

Image from Mattsko

“Perhaps I am the only person who, asked whether she were a witch or not, could truthfully say, “I do not know. I do know some very strange things have happened to me, or through me. – Lady Alice Rowhedge” 
Norah LoftsBless This House

 

Last year the little girl from down the road at our city house knocked on my front door. The family had not lived in the street long, and I hadn’t met her or her siblings, although I had waved to them on occasion.

I could tell she was nervous.

“Excuse me,” she asked very shyly, “are you the Witch?”

Before I could say anything she pulled a fifty cent coin out of her pocket which she placed on the doormat at my feet.

“Can you turn my brother into a toad or a rat or something? Not forever, but just enough so he’ll stop pulling the heads off my dolls?”

We never got to finish the conversation because her brother and his friends turned up out the front on their scooters and she took off down the road, giggling like anything.

Image from TiaraKim

Image from TiaraKim

A few weeks ago she again made the nerve-wracking journey to my front door.

She’s taller this year, and gap-toothed. On that particular day her toenails were the most shocking shade of orange, with bright pink glitter. But her eyes were sad.

“I’m sorry to bother you,” she said, not quite able to look at my face. “I know you’re probably very busy…”

“It’s no problem. I have time right now. Can I help you?” I tried to use my kindest smile.

“I don’t have much money.” Her words came out in a rush and she thrust a ziplocked bag at me with a five dollar note and some coins in it.

When I didn’t take it, she looked up, her face screwed up in something between desperation and defiance. “I can get more!”

“Why would you need to give me money?” I asked her gently.

“My granny is dying. I thought you could do a spell for me.”

Oh my. Her words just stole my breath away.

As she stared at me her eyes filled with tears and her bottom lip began to tremble.

“You love her very much, don’t you?” I said.

The little girl nodded, tears spilling down her face.

“And I know that she loves you…”

As we spoke the little girl’s mother pulled her car up in front of our driveway. “Hurry up, Veronica. We need to get going!”

“Just a moment,” I called to the mother. “You’re going up to the hospital?” I said to Veronica, quietly so that her mum couldn’t hear. She nodded, yes. I stepped closer. “Honey, it’s your granny’s time to go. You make sure you get to hold her hand and whisper in her ear. Don’t be afraid. Tell her how much you love her and tell her it’s okay for her leave now. Ask her to watch over you and come visit you sometime. I know she will. Okay?”

“Okay,” she sniffed. “Thank you.”

And she scooted off to the car, leaving me wishing that I did have some kind of magical spell to take away the pain of little girls.

This afternoon I saw her again. She waved, and left her brother and his friends to come and stand at my fence.

Veronica’s face grew pinched, and she looked around to see if anyone was listening before she blurted out, “She smells like soap. That’s how I know she’s there. Granny, I mean.”

She ran over to the other children, not looking back, and I went inside to make a cup of tea. Maybe I gave her the right magic after all.

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Thoughts on Mother’s Day

image from www.weheartit.com

image from www.weheartit.com

“There are three musts that hold us back: I must do well. You must treat me well. And the world must be easy.”~ Albert Ellis

 

It’s Mother’s Day in Australia today. It’s a day when so many families will get together with their Mothers, give heartfelt gifts of appreciation, share meals and practice love and gratitude. Love and gratitude is a beautiful thing. Togetherness and belonging is the foundation of so much that is good in our society.

No doubt there will be a flood of feel-good sentiment in our media, and on facebook and twitter. But this Mother’s Day I want to acknowledge a different reality.

Today’s also a hard day for many people. I want my post to stand for you.  I want you to have a space to put your feelings. I want you to know that you are heard.

This is a post for all of the children, some long grown, whose Mothers failed to love them, protect them and nurture them.  Not everyone had a happy shiny family.  Not everyone has the love and support of a wise and kind Mother, as a child or as an adult.

This is a post for all of the women who gave up their children, who lost them to accident or illness, who had them torn away by war or foul play or relationship breakdown. Today, some Mothers will know great pain, as their mothering goes wasted, as their arms stay empty of a child to hug.

This is a post for the women whose wombs could never bear fruit. The women who know the pain of infertility, of miscarriage and of stillbirth. The women, whom through circumstance, have not become Mothers. Or who are unacknowledged in their identify as a Mother because there is no surviving child for others to see.  The women who wonder, each Mother’s Day, how their life might have been different…

This is a post for the children who have lost their Mothers early, or who have never known them, and for those abandoned or deserted by their Mothers.

This image from www.favim.com

This image from www.favim.com

This is a post for all of you who loved your Mothers and Grandmothers, and who won’t have them at your table this year. Perhaps they are ill, or passed on. Perhaps distance separates you, or misunderstanding. Perhaps they are living in the shady halls of memory where they no longer recognise you, or the love you have for them, or they for you.

This is a post for the blended families, for the difficulties of mothering children who are not your own, and who may not accept you.  This is for those of you whose Father chose someone other than your Mother, and where you still feel the pain of the loss of that sense of family and of all you had held dear. This is a post for the children who became second best or didn’t rate at all, once the family structure shifted.

This is for the Mothers whose children will be in your ex-partner’s home, and with that side of the family today, while you sit at home alone. Perhaps for you a phone call.  But no hugs. No day of sharing. Not this year.

This is for the Mothers who are not accepted, loved or acknowledged by their Mother-In-Laws. For the families who know friction and tension, but who still make an effort to keep up relationships and appearances.

This is for all of the Grandmothers who don’t see their grandchildren because of relationship breakdowns or sheer distance and the life choices of their own children.

This post acknowledges all of the women so busy working, or looking after the children of other people, that they never had the time or the privilege to be the Mother they would have liked to have been for their own children.

This is for all the Mothers who made mistakes that they regret, who made bad choices, or who wish now that they had done things differently.

This is for the single Mothers, who long for support and company and someone to share the load, but who are doing the best they can.

This is for the Mothers who do not like their children, and the children who do not like their Mothers.

Life can be a strange, hard and sometimes cruel journey. Mothering and the love of a Mother is not a given and it is certainly not a right.

But we all need love, and at times we all need to be Mothered. This Mother’s Day, you can start by being kind to yourself. By recognising that we receive Mothering energy from many, and give it ourselves, although it may not be to our own children. By letting it be okay that today might be bittersweet, or downright difficult. Life is not a Disney Movie.

This Mother’s Day it’s okay to feel pain, to cry and to wish things could be different.

This Mother’s Day, above all else, I want you to know that I see you, I honour you, and I am sending you love. I’m thinking of you today.  Bless ♥ xoxo

Life, blurred.

Typewriter as metaphor for Lyme by Nicole Cody

“I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.” ~ Jack Kerouac

Sometimes, life gets smudged around the edges and my crisp lines fuzzle into fluffy lumps of something but I haven’t got the word for it.

No words is hard for a writer. Or when you forget the shape of things or what her name was. When you cry in your breakfast toast for longing. Wishing the words were perfect in your mouth and your mind was like a railway track, clicketty-clack, that knew where it was going.

Yesterday, or some other time, I wrote and I wrote. Because it all came back.

But now the drugs have bitten hard, and my Lyme is sending poison tendrils out that muddle my brain and leave me stranded.

Image from tumblr

Image from tumblr

It’s like dementia sneaks up and steals your soul, who watches you through a clouded glass, trying to call loud enough for you to hear the magic code which will unlock the words trapped in that other part.

So I will dream awake, and hope the tide leaves me on a better shore, one where words and ideas hang from the trees sweet as fruit and just as luscious.

Here it’s all bitter and lonely-making.  Here I am someone less, and I can’t remember what more tastes like.

Image from tumblr

Image from tumblr