Saying No to Conditional Love


“You can be the most beautiful person in the world and everybody sees light and rainbows when they look at you, but if you yourself don’t know it, all of that doesn’t even matter. Every second that you spend on doubting your worth, every moment that you use to criticize yourself; is a second of your life wasted, is a moment of your life thrown away. It’s not like you have forever, so don’t waste any of your seconds, don’t throw even one of your moments away.” 
~ C. JoyBell C.

*Warning: Swear alert. Swears ahead.

I did something quite out of character for me yesterday.

There is someone who has been an important relationship in my life for a long time. You know the kind of relationships you just expect to endure, and to stay strong and connected. This person knew me, loved me, and was proud of me back when I was well and riding the crest of a wave of successes in my personal and business life.

The life I like to think of as my ‘former’ life. The one pre-illness. The one pre-psychic awakening.

The life I live now embarrasses the hell out of this other person. It has made things uncomfortable and awkward between us, without any kind of touchstone where we can easily connect, no matter how hard I try.

But in truth, we’ve been grown apart for a very long time, and so much of my championing and nursing along of the relationship comes from a sense of duty as much as from a place of love.

We speak intermittently. It’s been months now. I do my best to keep them in the loop of my life, so they were aware that I have been unwell. That I’m still unwell. When they called my home yesterday, Ben answered the phone because I was outside with my head in the toilet, violently ill from my lyme meds. He let the person know that I’d be a few minutes. He was politely honest about my situation.

Still, in keeping with the way this relationship has headed, the person did not ask after Ben, or me, or the farm. They talked instead of their latest achievements, and the achievements of others in their family.

When I was finally able to take the phone, this person did not ask after my health, not even in the polite way we all do where we don’t really need to hear the answer but we do want to observe social graces.

They just wanted to know what was happening with my career. Was I published yet? Why was everything taking so long? What was the hold up?

All I could do was stumble around saying that these last two years hadn’t been my finest (for those of you who don’t know, I was dying from unresponsive congestive heart failure, and then received a diagnosis of lyme disease where the treatment is saving my life but in the process making me endure the seven circles of hell) as this person insistently reminded me of who I used to be, and what I used to do. The life I had no choice but to walk away from.

For a moment I felt like one of life’s greatest losers. The shame was overwhelming. I felt so small.

Image from Midlife Rebel

Image from Midlife Rebel

I’ve been raised to be polite. But something happened yesterday. I got angry. And in that space of anger I also felt a need to put a stop to this.

“Fuck off!” I said gruffly. And then I hung up.

I shocked even myself.

But now, with some time and space between me and the big ‘hang up’, I’m feeling better about things. Cleaner.

Truth is, I still love them.

And I see the insecurity in THEM. The need for me, as part of their life, to be someone who others will judge well, and so judge this person well too.

But allowing them to heap shit upon me is not an act of self-love. Perhaps you remember that back at the end of 2013 I ran a retreat where all of us made a sacred vow – to love and treat ourselves well in 2014, to put ourselves and our needs front and centre in our lives rather than always playing second fiddle to everyone else.

I’m living that vow, and it is radically changing my world. In the best of ways.

It really is okay to say NO to conditional love. I hope that in sharing this experience, you can embrace that truth too.

Much love to you, Nicole xx

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Making a Flower Mandala

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“Each person’s life is like a mandala- a vast, limitless circle. We stand in the center of our own circle, and everything we see, hear and think forms the mandala of our life.” ~ Pema Chodron


I spent this past weekend resting, healing, reconnecting and weaning myself back onto my Lyme drugs. It has been a long time since I have gifted myself so much freedom to be in a space of deliberate contemplation and connection. But in honouring my Sacred Promise for 2014 it felt right to do so, and I know that I shall spend much more of my time in this space over the coming year.

As an act of meditation and offering I made a flower mandala in my back yard. Most simply explained, a mandala is a circle that represents wholeness, symbolising our relationship to the world around us and the one-ness, sacred nature and infinite connection of all things.

At the heart of my mandala I placed a large natural quartz crystal that I found many years ago in the dirt where a site was being levelled for a house to be built. I used the quartz crystal as a palace to represent and contain all of us – myself, the women who came on retreat with me, my writing sisters, my students and clients, family and friends, and all of you I have connected with through my work, my blog and my life.

This quartz anchors my intention that 2014 shall be a year where each of us is held in a place of love and nurture, allowing our highest possibilities and qualities to shine forth. It holds both a prayer and a blessing.

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The flowers and leaves that surround the crystal were all placed as an act of devotion and offering.

The purple flowers honour our spiritual nature, intuition, Divine Grace and connection to our own souls.

The red flowers symbolise physical strength, living with passion and being energised and well.

The pink flowers are for love. Love of self, and loving heart-centred relationships with others.

The green leaves are circles within circles – representing the many intersecting and discrete worlds we live in, our connection to nature, our psychic ability and our many dreams for ourselves and others.

The white and yellow flowers (frangipanis) are for wisdom, continued learning and unfolding, purity and clarity. They are also for laughter and joy.

I offer my mandala up to you, with my heart-felt love and best wishes.

As you can see, it is also a mandala appreciated by fairies and dogs.

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That’s Harry’s nose in the top right hand corner…2013-12-15 19.07.25

2013-12-15 19.10.12After all, what’s an act of devotion and love without a few laughs and a little fun as well?

Thinking of you and sending much love, Nicole xx

PS – I have SO missed cooking. Expect some yummy recipes over the next few days!


Living my Sacred Promise

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“You protect your being when you love yourself better. That’s the secret.”
~ Isabelle Adjani

It’s the final day of Retreat, and I’m profoundly grateful that my body has held up for the duration. Just at dinner last night my Lymey eye began to pulse and pain, and I ended up running our after-dinner channelling session wearing my trusty pirate eye patch. It has been the only misbehaving my body has done in seven days. I’ll be back on all my Lyme drugs by the day’s end but I’ve enjoyed the respite, the opportunity to feel almost normal and to live for a week without fistfuls of tablets and their not-so-splendid side effects.

I’m tired this morning. Everything’s a little bit sore. So I’m taking things slowly. But it’s all okay. We’re up to that lovely good-bye bit of final messages, praying the meditation malas we made on retreat, sharing and caring, deeply connecting and remembering ourselves, our space and our sacred sisterhood. What a beautiful week of growth, support and nurture it has been.

And tomorrow I shall give myself the day off from blogging so that I can sleep in as long as I like. In fact, I may end up taking the entire weekend for some down-time, nap time and recovery time. I’d like to be truly present with my husband, be present with my dogs and sit quietly at the farm, or at the beach. I’m looking forward to the weekend papers and a good coffee at one of our favourite cafes. And did I say sleep yet?

I made a sacred promise – to love myself and treat myself well in 2014, starting now. So I am. How about you?

Big hugs, kisses and love, Nicole  ♥ ♥ ♥


How to Have a Heart-Centred Year

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“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” 
~ Gautama Buddha

I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre


I’m betting you’ve never had a year where you made yourself – your wants and needs – front and centre to the Universe.

A recurrent theme among my current retreat participants is that each year, no matter what their initial intentions, time slips away and they find themselves (once again…) putting everyone else and everyone else’s dreams and goals before themselves.

But how can this serve us?

I believe it can’t.

I’m not talking about selfishness, self-centredness and egoism. I’m talking about choosing to be good to yourself, to make room for your interests and goals, to speak up for yourself, to meet your needs, and not just feed yourself from the scraps of life after everyone else has dined.

So, if you’re game, I’m going to ask you to do something radical. I’m going to ask you to make a commitment to yourself. Not any old kind of commitment, like the promises we constantly make with ourselves about exercising more or eating less chocolate, which get broken at the first uphill.

I’m asking you to make a sacred promise. This is metanoia – a sacred and unbreakable promise you make with yourself. The kind of promise where our life can radically change, as we turn away from the shadows and put our faces to the light. It’s a promise we commit to not breaking.

You chose when you will start. It can be any day beginning from today until January 1, 2014. And the duration is for the entirety of 2014.


All of us here at my retreat took this commitment yesterday. We made the sacred commitment to live our lives in a different way, by putting ourselves first. By loving ourselves and treating ourselves well – with kindness and respect.

For some it was the hardest promise they have made, after a lifetime of self-neglect, low self-esteem and unworthiness issues.

But I know it is a promise that shall turn their lives around.

Will you join us? 2014 is almost here. This IS the year where everything can be different for you.

heart flower

Commitment Ceremony

Choose a crystal or stone that resonates for you, and that gives you comfort to hold. Find a clear patch of ground, outside, and stand barefoot with your face upturned towards the sun. Close your eyes, and centre yourself. (How to do that here)

Feel into your heart. And then in your own way, and in your own words offer up your promise to the Universe – a promise that you will love yourself and put yourself first in 2014. A promise that you will take care of yourself, respect yourself and meet your own needs. A promise that you will live from your heart, with integrity and awareness.

It might be one of the hardest things you ever do. I also promise that it will be among the best! Much love to you, ♥ Nicole xx