Being Okay With Where You Are

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” 
Lao Tzu

I’m still recovering from the flu, and gee, it’s taking muuuuuuch longer than I would have liked. On top of that I managed to pick up a vomiting bug because of my dodgy immune system, so that has meant a couple of useless days just as I was picking up again.

I have to be honest. Yesterday morning after a horrid night I was quite despairing. You know; tears of frustration, being totally over it, and yes – being down on myself too. I wanted to be writing. I wanted to be back at work. I wanted to be doing so many other things. I wanted hair free of knots!!! (Try lying in bed through fevers and misery for a month and see what that does to your hair – I know some of you completely get this because things like illness and depression are not friends to long locks…)

And oh the guilt I began to feel that here I was in bed. Again.

I didn’t stop myself feeling any of those things.

That never helps.

This is my truth. I’m getting better slowly. I’m frustrated. I had a less-than-great couple of days. It was okay to be in a bit of a hole.

It’s helpful to be able to be honest about where you are and how you feel. I had a cry on the phone to my sister. I had a cry with Ben. I had a cry with the dogs. After which I slept and slept and slept.

This morning I am doing better. In a week or so I’ll be back to doing all the things I had wanted to do. Meanwhile, I am where I am and it is what it is.

I realised a few years ago that I had bought into this crazy belief that I needed to be 100% on 100% of the time. Because of that belief I pushed myself relentlessly. No matter what my truth was. This perfection thing is all around us – on social media, in magazines and on television and in movies. It’s the expectation at schools and universities and in our workplaces. We’re not meant to have down days, sad days, sick days, ugly days.

Except that we all do.

We all do.

So my lovelies, the next time you have a down day or a sick day, the next day you feel like crawling back under the covers and not facing the day, extend yourself some compassion and know that it’s normal to not be 100% on your game every single day. Only robots and Stepford Wives do that. Everything else you see providing evidence to the contrary is a carefully curated lie. Please don’t buy into that!

A model’s self portrait in the style of the Stepford Wives by Christine McConnell

No matter what your current reality there is no point fighting it. It is what it is. Fighting against your truth is disempowering. You beat yourself up, lower your vibration and end up feeling even worse than you did before. It keeps you in the hole longer.

Accepting where you are at, honestly and without judgement, creates shift.

Don’t like where you are at? Accept that truth. Sometimes that’s all you need to do to create movement in a new direction and a lightening up of your mood and situation.

Don’t want to keep living this current version of yourself? Decide to change it. That’s not fighting it, that’s empowering yourself to move in a different direction. Wanting to change and then deciding to change still honours where you currently are and that’s so important for self-love and self-acceptance. Affirm to yourself I am where I am but I can change. 

No matter our current situation and how difficult things are we still have choices. We change emotionally, intellectually, spiritually or physically. That knowledge can be a life-raft, and it can open doors to new possibilities.

Self-acceptance is, in itself, a powerful force for change and for creating flow.

Sending you love and hugs, and holding you in my meditations, Nicole  xx

That 2am Place – A Lesson In Mindfulness for Insomniacs

“It was that sort of sleep in which you wake every hour and think to yourself that you have not been sleeping at all; you can remember dreams that are like reflections, daytime thinking slightly warped.” 
Kim Stanley Robinson

I’m still in the grip of this flu. Not only that, I’m stuck in the city so that I can be close to a hospital while my heart continues to misbehave.

Here I am again, awake at 2am (which is when I am writing this – I’ll schedule it to post all by itself so I can sneak back to bed later and hopefully finally get some more sleep). Each night I’m in bed early, and I’ll fall asleep easily. But then my heart wakes me up, sometime between 11pm and 2am, pounding and crashing and racing in my chest. I’ll sit up in bed, distressed, catch my breath and cough a little and then quieten myself and try to bring my heart back to a normal pace using meditation and my breath. I’ll have a nice big glass of water with magnesium too, which sometimes helps. Still, it’s a bother.

Once upon a time, years and years ago, I used to panic at stuff like this. I was an amateur back then and worried excessively about every creak groan, pain and weird symptom. Now this kind of stuff is background noise mostly, and I have a raft of management techniques I use while I wait to see what my body will do and if I will need medical attention or whether it will settle on its own. One of my favourite techniques is mindfulness.

Mindfulness has become a soothing companion for me over the years. I use it three ways. I thought that by sharing this you might be able to add it in to your coping skills toolkit too. This technique works for pain, anxiety and many other kinds of problems.

  1. I become mindful of my body. Sitting or lying quietly I bring my attention to my breath. Then I take a tour, starting at the top of my head and working all the way to the tips of my toes. At each part of my body I draw my focus inwards and observe. How does my body feel? Any pain? Hot or cold? Any sensations or things I need to be aware of? Can I use my awareness to bring control, assistance and calm to my body? I’ve found that this simple act often dials down my pain, calms my heart and breathing, and lets me work through and out the other side of whatever is going on. Thinking about pain generally is very different to feeling into it specifically. When you connect with your pain through mindfulness and being in the moment everything becomes much more manageable.
  2. I become mindful of what’s going on outside my body. Always I bring my attention back to my breath first. Then I reach outside myself with my senses. What noises can I hear? How far can I hear when I reach beyond myself? Where does that awareness take me? Is there a breeze or any other kind of weather I can detect? What animals or people can I hear? If I can see the sky I pay particular attention to that. I let myself dissolve into the world around me, so that I am at the centre and life surrounds me. (This is a brilliant technique for developing your psychic senses too!) If my eyes are open, what can I see? What can I feel? Can I feel the texture of the sheets, or the cool of the night? This brings me a sense of reconnection and belonging. I see that I am more than just my body.
  3. I become mindful of my thoughts and emotions. By now, having spent time in mindfulness of my body and surroundings I am usually calmer. I sit or lie quietly and bring my focus to my breath. Then I stay quiet and open, waiting to see what arises for me. I tune in to any thoughts or emotions – not grabbing at them but letting them float up into my awareness. When I recognise a thought or emotion I sit with it, to see what it means for me. I do this with love and compassion for myself. Often this simple act of witnessing will dispel worry and uncrowd my overactive mind. This, in turn, soothes my physical body and often enables me to return to sleep.

Once I am calm again and things have settled I might go back to bed, or stay up for a little longer and write, or perhaps stand at the window or sit on a chair and watch the slumbering world for a while.

There’s a gorgeous moon tonight, a streaky golden sky, and the air is warm and slightly salty. It feels like there will be early morning fog here in Brisbane. It’s May and I am wearing only a thin cotton nightdress. My feet are bare. It’s almost winter, but it could be a summer night.

As I stand on our balcony I see a lone black and white cat walking down the centre of our street, placing her paws very deliberately, looking warily as she patrols. A possum and her baby are creeping along the power lines and there are fruit bats crying noisily and flapping all about the fig tree across the way. A rescue helicopter flies high overhead enroute to hospital and I send them love, light and my prayers for their journey. Meanwhile, the street sleeps on…

Hopefully soon so will I.

Sending much love to you, Nicole ❤ xx

 

How to do a walking meditation

“When you look at the sun during your walking meditation, the mindfulness of the body helps you to see that the sun is in you; without the sun there is no life at all and suddenly you get in touch with the sun in a different way.” 
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Do you have trouble trying to meditate? There is a powerful meditation practice you could try that involves movement. It’s one of my favourites – walking meditation.

Go outdoors. Stand still and have an awareness of your body.  If you like, clasp your hands in front of or behind your body. Lift your right foot, noticing the weight of your leg and how your balance adjusts. Think to yourself ‘right’ as your foot touches the ground.  As your left leg lifts up notice the change in balance.  Feel the movement as your foot leaves the ground and as it reconnects with the earth.  Think ‘left’.  As you become more advanced you may wish to choose other words such as ‘peace’ and ‘love’ or ‘wellness’ and ‘abundance’.

Walk slowly and mindfully for ten minutes, being aware of each deliberate step, and of the world around you. Be aware of the ground beneath your feet. Be aware of the changes in your body’s balance and of how you feel.  To finish the meditation stop, stand still and take a minute or two in that place, gently breathing and being aware of your body in stillness.

Moving meditation will also help you to be calmer and more attentive in seated meditation.  Enjoy!

 

Here’s a great example of a walking meditation:

It’s The Weekend. I Have A Project For You!

“I live to enjoy life by the littlest things, feeling the grass between my toes, breathing fresh air, watching the wind sway the trees, enjoying the company of loved ones, a deep conversation, getting lost in a good book, going for a walk in nature, watching my kids grow up. Just the feeling itself of being alive, the absolute amazing fact that we are here right now, breathing, thinking, doing.” 
Marigold Wellington

2018 is a year that supports spending time on what matters – family, friendship, fun, and the priorities and projects dear to our hearts. It’s year to be creative, to kick back and enjoy ourselves, to slow down a little.

But all of this behaviour can be so very hard to embrace when we have been used to work, work, work, stress, stress, stress, busy, busy, busy.

So this weekend I have a project for you, even if you do have work scheduled! See how many of these you can tick off your list by Sunday night:

  1. Sitting with a cuppa or your favourite beverage and taking ten minutes to enjoy every sip and the peacefulness that comes with stopping for a while.
  2. Time in nature – a walk outside to look at the sky counts too!
  3. A relaxing shower or soak in the bath where you take time to enjoy the experience of the water and how it soothes you.
  4. Time with a beloved person or pet where you put everything else aside and just be there for them and with them. Phone calls and video calls count too!
  5. A fragrant treat – scent is a fast-track to happy memories, and to a place that is innovative and creative and upbeat within us. How can you connect to that? Maybe it’s a few drops of essential oil, or your favourite perfume or cologne, a fragrant soap or body lotion, a bunch of flowers, the scent of baking or a good coffee, the ocean or clean clothes fresh from the line still smelling of sunshine.
  6. A nourishing meal, eaten slowly and savoured, as you feel how it is doing you and your body good.
  7. A nap, a rest, or some quiet time to refresh you and recharge your batteries. I find books to be a wonderful downtime tool when I can’t get my mind quiet. Music is good for that too.
  8. Social time – this could be a drink or meal with friends or family, time at the movies or a shopping mall or anywhere you like to hang out with other people. Don’t know anyone? Smile or say hello to people anyway.
  9. Time on a project that is important to you. Even ten minutes counts. Just make them quality minutes by putting away your phone and other distractions.
  10. Some time where you do nothing at all, or anything you want and don’t feel guilty about that being wasted time.

Life is precious, sweet and over all too soon – especially if we have lived our entire lives busy and distracted. Slow down this weekend and make some little pockets of time for you and time for what truly matters.

Biggest love and hugs, Nicole xoxo

Monday Oracle – 15 January 2018

 “Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind. – Henry James

 

Hello, Lovelies!

January is a month for easing ourselves into the energies of 2018, for resting and recharging, for planning and dreaming and for tuning in to what can support us in the year ahead.

Keep that in mind as we look at the gifts of awareness which the oracle card Little Red Cap brings us.

This week (from January 17) the energies of 2018 finally kick in. Little Red Cap reminds us that we get to choose where we put our focus this year, and that this is a great week for all forms of planning and committing to your goals and dreams.

Did you start this new year full of hope and ready for change, and then it all started to come unstuck in the past few days? As 2017 comes to an end we are getting ripples of old patterns of thought and behaviour coming up for us to recognise so that we can choose differently as we step into 2018.

If you’ve started a new diet for 2018 and already sabotaged it, found yourself back in old patterns of distressing behaviour with family members, negative self-talk or limiting thinking stop and take a deep breath. Recognise old patterns and then choose differently! Forgive yourself and move on without dwelling on mistakes and failures. Think about what it is that you want this year. Think about what you want to create or manifest or share. Choose where to put your focus – choose what lights you up or feels good to you. Put your attention on what you want, rather than on what you don’t want. Deal with issues as they arise but don’t make problems your main priority. Face yourself into the sunshine, hold onto the vision for your journey and keep moving forward. Treat yourself kindly, and treat others with that same kindness too.

Let me give you an example. Imagine you want to make a road trip, but your car has a flat tyre (yes, this is a metaphor for life!).

The old way (pre 2012) was to dwell endlessly on the need to ‘fix yourself’, finding more and more to work on as the first ‘problem’ became healed. We wouldn’t just change the tyre, we’d think about why we created the flat tyre, and what else in our past or our thoughts could have contributed to the flat tyre. We’d also look at all of the flat tyres we’d ever had before. Then we’d look at everything else that was possibly wrong and might need fixing. It was an endless cycle of ‘self-improvement’, and the road trip may well have been entirely forgotten as we worked earnestly on our ‘broken self’.

The new way (this new post-2012 era) is to think about your journey, effect any repairs quickly or get help to do so, and then get on your way. The emphasis is on where you want to go! What do you want to experience, create, manifest or share on this road trip of yours? It’s about the journey, not about the flat tyres. Little Red Cap invites you to hold a spirit of adventure and possibility in your heart this week as you look to your year ahead.

Image from eslamoda.com

Supportive crystals this week?

Selenite helps you to be kind to yourself. It will also connect you into your guides, angels and psychic ability. Fantastic for gently guiding you inwards. Red Jasper is a stone for mental, physical and emotional rejuvenation. Deeply grounding, it helps you connect to your heart and your truth and encourages clear boundaries. Lapis Lazuli is a super stone for boldly moving in new directions with insight and wisdom. If you are stressed or anxious about the past or about habits or thoughts that keep you stuck in the past Black Tourmaline is the best stone for you this week.

 

Helpful essential oils?

I’m still loving Young Living’s Envision this week. It’s an oil blend I often use in my workshops and retreats to help my students connect to inner wisdom and intuition. It helps us to see a greater possibility for ourselves. Use Envision for spiritual connection, inspiration and breakthroughs. Dab a drop on your Crown Chakra, back of neck, over your heart, wrists and the soles of your feet, inhale directly or add to your diffuser. 

Want to make your own blend? Each of the following oils will work beautifully on their own for you this week, but they’ll also make a delicious combination for diffusing. Vetiver will calm and ground us, promoting emotional balance, Lavender keeps us in flow and relaxed, Ylang Ylang opens our hearts and is supportive when we feel anxious or overwhelmed, and Bergamot brings joy, gratitude and optimism.  To diffuse add 2 or three drops of each oil to your room or personal diffuser. You can find the oils here.

 

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

All my love,

Nicole ❤ xx

PS: Monday’s oracle card, ‘Little Red Cap’, is from the Inner Child Cards – A Fairy-Tale Tarot. I use any cards shown as a prompt for channeled messages and my own own intuitive wisdom, so my take is sometimes quite different to the meaning found in a book. 

Image from contioutra.com

 

Breathe in, Breathe out…

“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” 
~  Amit Ray

 

One of my favourite stress-busters is breathing.

That may sound simple, and it is.

Anxious, worried, angry, frustrated, overwhelmed, overcome, swamped, exhausted, defeated?

Try this.

Breathe in slowly and mindfully. Close your eyes if it helps.

Hold for just a second with your lungs full. There’s a tiny point of calm there. (Try it and you’ll see for yourself.)

Breathe out slowly until your lungs are empty. Hold for just a moment. There’s that same tiny point of calm again, and a sense of being grounded back into your body. (It might be fleeting, you might need a few slow deliberate breaths but you’ll find it.

Breathe in again slowly and mindfully. Pause for a moment. Breathe out fully. Pause.

Begin again.

With each conscious breath cycle you can incrementally calm your body, relax your mind, bring your scattered energy back to whole.

It only takes a minute, but it can make a world of difference when life gets all too much.

It’s one of my favourite coping strategies, especially when life is fraught and stressful and I still need to be present and to carry on. It’s also great to calm you before sleep.

Sending so much love your way, and my intention that you find your feet on that path back to inner peace today, Nicole ❤ xx

 

Stop the Hustle! Resting and Healing Is Work Too!

 “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” ~  Rumi

 

In the northern hemisphere on August 21 we experienced a total solar eclipse. Do you remember? That momentary quietening of the sun’s energies allowed a ramping up of our intuition. The eclipse also heralded an intense period of connection and integration to support us on our soul-awakening journey which lasted until earlier this week – the morning of November 13 – when Venus joined Jupiter in our sky, creating an energy that will thunderbolt us into a place of harmony, connection and expansion that has been previously unknown to us a we move into the years ahead.

Last night we had a wonderful webinar for our Year of ME group, and my students from this year’s earlier retreats. During the webinar we discussed this energetic period that we have just been through, known as The Deepening, and the period we are now entering into, known as The Expansion.

Perhaps you have felt and been affected by these energies too? The past few months have been a time for deep inner work and vibrational shift. So much of what was no longer needed has begun to fall away within us; old energies, encodings and patterns that were suitable for the old era that ended in 2012, but that will hinder us in our quest to fully express our soul energy as we move into this new era of being. It’s also been a time of strengthening for our intuitive connections and for a natural increase in our psychic perception.

This kind of work, soul work and healing, is big energy work. It takes so much of our conscious and unconscious energy, leaving very little for us to function with in our daily lives. You may have experienced this as deep fatigue, a loss of direction and certainty, mood swings, or an exacerbation of old issues such as illness, anxiety or depression. Please don’t worry. It’s a temporary thing, and you will soon begin to feel that slow but certain shift back to clarity, wellness and energy again. For some of you that shift will be the first in this lifetime after having been in struggle and out of synch with the world around you since birth (you know, that profound awareness of never quite fitting in within your family, community or the wider world).

Image from www.polar.com

Things are changing. This new period known as The Expansion will last until March 2020. There’s plenty of time as we gently move into an expanded sense of self, with a new connection to who we are and the possibilities before us. It’s a time of recalibration as we come into alignment with our soul’s own truth and learn to live from that truth in our daily lives.

Meanwhile, don’t push. Don’t hustle. Please. It doesn’t help, and most often it harms you or slows down the shift and healing. Tune in to your body and be honest about how you feel. Tune into your soul and see how your ‘psychic shield’ energy is. You know what I mean. When you are feeling strong and well your psychic ‘shield’ energy is high. People and noises and smells and energies just won’t bother you. You’ll feel up to confrontation and for standing your ground. You’ll be positive and clear, and what other people think of you won’t bother you at all. When your physical battery is low and you are tired your psychic ‘shield’ will be lower too. You’ll find that you take on other people’s energies easily and thing that you normally won’t notice might begin to distress you immensely.

If your psychic ‘shield’ energy is low, avoid difficult people and situations. Withdraw from crowds. Decline the invitations and say no to the things you know will stretch or stress you.

If you are tired, rest. If you are confused or low in energy choose tasks that can be done from that space. No good can come from forcing yourself to be creative or innovative or entrepreneurial or energetic if that is not the truth of the energy you are in.

The more you tune into and honour the energetic levels within yourself right now, the faster you will integrate this shift, allowing healing, clarity and knowing to flood back into your body.

I know, it’s the opposite of what most people are telling you to do. I’m saying slow down while the world speeds up. But when you slow down and learn to connect into your soul energy you tap into your personal power and that compass which will guide you well in your life. And isn’t that better than racing around, bouncing off the walls with fatigue and being miserably unhappy, uncertain and sure of only that you are not good enough?

If you’re intuitive, sensitive or empathic it’s been rough going these past few months. Go gently now and let this shift become a positive turning point for you. I promise, it will be worth it.

Meanwhile, I’m holding space for you to be all that you came to this life to be.

All my love, Nicole  xx

Circles of Stones

“I live my life in growing orbits which move out over this wondrous world, I am circling around God, around ancient towers and I have been circling for a thousand years. And I still don’t know if I am an eagle or a storm or a great song.” 
~  Rainer Maria Rilke

 

Yesterday, one year ago, I was placing stones in a crystal grid under the magnolia tree in the back yard, in preparation for a retreat.

Strange then that I found myself making circles of stones again yesterday.

I made a grid to hold the stones we will use at my September meditation retreat, Temple of Light. (There are still a few places left if you’d like to join us, but be quick – it’s almost full. More details here.)

Crafting the grid  brought me to a place of deep peace. But I still felt as if something was undone within me.

Then, finally, I knew what I wanted to do.

I lost a friend this week – Justine – a woman who was a healer and a teacher, a woman full of love and light. Like a stone her loss weighed heavily within me.

Carefully I chose some crystals. I circled stones and then circled some more. I sang energy and love into them. I sang my sorrow and my grief. I laid stones to honour my friend’s journey. I made space to support her loved ones. I made space that connected my heart to hers.

This is what I know to be true…

The earth turns. The sun shines. The rain falls down. The night comes. My breath moves in and out of my body. The earth turns, the sun shines, the rain falls down, the night comes. We are born, we live a while and then we die.

I am reminded at every turn that our lives are precious gifts, loaned to us only for a while.

The best we can ever do is follow our hearts.

I’m holding space in my circle of stones for you today – that you find a path that supports you and lights you up, that you find a way to honour your own heart’s yearnings.

Thanks for sharing the journey with me. I’m glad to have you here beside me.

Nicole xoxo

 

The Owl and The Night Sky

Image by Jonathan Gewitz

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
~ Shel Silverstein

 

I was totally spent yesterday. We’ve had some personal stress in the past few weeks, some health issues, some family stuff. And of course so have my clients. I’ve been working overtime supporting them. I’ve also been supporting my students as we move towards my Beginners Channelling Retreat this weekend. It’s been an intense month.

The energies of April have brought all manner of things to our attention, things that we must face in order to move forward or to break free. For those of us doing the work, the work has been huge. (Don’t worry, May is much more gentle and it will be here soon!)

Last night I was heavy with emotion and exhaustion so I went and sat in the cold Autumn air, on a chair under a big tree.

It was quiet. The skies above me were heavy with stars.

And then the wonder happened.

A huge storm, out to sea, lit the night.

Huge vaulted clouds lit up with silent rivers of light. Sometimes white. Sometimes orange. Small displays and then an occasional grand one.

The sky would go dark. Night would go on. Then bursts of light and grandeur again. It was spectacular.

As I sat in the dark I heard a sudden whoosh of wings and a powerful owl flew down to the ground just feet in front of me. She alighted again with a small creature in her talons and flew over to the clothesline to eat her dinner.

Such wonder on an otherwise ordinary night.

That’s the thing about wonder and miracles. They are all around us, all the time, if only we have eyes to see.

I’m holding you all in my prayers and meditations as we move through these last confronting and cleansing days of April. Be open to change, my lovelies, and know that it is for the better, no matter how hard it may be.

All my love, Nicole xx

Choosing Your Emotional State

“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.” ~ Walter Anderson

 

I travelled to see a new Lyme doctor yesterday. In Australia they are getting harder and harder to come by. This one lives hours from my home, so we allocated an entire day and my husband Ben drove me. I am still not up to driving most days, and certainly not a trip of this distance.

After 2 years of intense antibiotic therapy which saved my life, I was unable to find anyone to continue my treatment, and had to stop midway through a program of therapy. Why? My first doctor was shut down, and my second stepped away from practice. My third doctor wouldn’t treat me because of the risks to their career, although they were happy to supervise me on the protocols of a previous doctor until my medications ran out. so, like at many other times in my life I was back to doing my own doctoring.My fourth doctor, the one who initially diagnosed me, still refuses to treat me because it’s ‘too controversial’ – although they will put me on a ‘wellness program’.

Since then I’ve supported myself with herbs, diet, essential oils, acupuncture and detoxing. I have a good GP who is supportive but doesn’t know anything about Lyme. I’d been doing pretty well, apart from a few hospitalisations. But now my chest pain is coming back, and some other worrying symptoms. Symptoms that recently eased when I went on a course of antibiotics for something entirely unrelated. So I know I need to be back under the care of a lyme literate doctor.

To be honest, yesterday was a difficult day. As we drove I knew that my friend Liz was above me in the sky somewhere, winging her way to Hawaii with her family. After a recent cancer prognosis Liz knows she has a very short time left on this earth. I was thinking of her, and the conflicting emotions she would be feeling as she made the journey for what might be her last holiday with her loved ones.

When I wasn’t thinking about Liz I was reviewing my thick folder of health notes. These aren’t all my notes and results. Just the ones from the last few years. The entirety of my notes fills a filing cabinet, and that isn’t even all of them. In fact, in peaks of chagrin or frustration I have thrown many away.

As I looked through my medical files, I became increasingly distressed. I’ve been seriously ill since my late teens. This illness has shaped my entire adult life. Restricted my life. Impaired my life. Almost ended my life on more than one occasion.

I looked at all of the notes from doctors and specialists and natural therapists who didn’t believe me, or put the blame on me when I didn’t respond to treatment. I looked at all of my various diagnoses and treatment plans stretching back to my late teens, when I first became very ill.  I am now nearing fifty and was only given a Lyme diagnosis in early 2013. I could fill a notebook with the diagnoses I’ve had before that.

I thought about all of the doctors whose practices have been shut down over the years for electing to help people like me who are falling through the cracks of the medical system.

I thought of the people I know who have suicided because of Lyme when they couldn’t take the pain anymore, couldn’t see a way out, were getting worse despite their best efforts, couldn’t find any support, or whose loved ones grew weary of the burden of their care. Of all of the sufferers who have never been believed or taken seriously, although they are desperately ill.

I thought of all of the lyme sufferers I know who have died from this disease, or the complications that have arisen from this disease.

I thought of how much money and time I have thrown at this, for such limited results.

And I got angry.

So here I was. Angry and nervous.

Nervous because what if this new doctor turned me away? What if they didn’t believe me?

I forgot to say fearful. I was fearful too. Because I am so much better than I have been and this chest pain is awful and I am so frightened of sliding back to where I was. Or worse.

By the time we arrived at our destination I was a churning mess, although I was trying to hold onto optimism.

The appointment itself was frustrating. The doctor wants more information. They are being very careful. Who wouldn’t, in a climate of such persecution of medicos? While they review all my recent results from the past few years, and discuss my case, I will wait. Hopefully this doctor will then take me on and I will finally have a supervised course of action.

As we drove home in a car filled with silence, I came to a profound understanding.

Most of my life I have faced hardship, especially in regard to my health. Despite that I have remained optimistic. I have made plans. I have held to a vision of a positive future. I have lived despite my disease.

This year I have so many lovely things organised. I am blessed with my husband and the love of my two crazy hounds. My little farm fills my soul with peace. I am well enough to work. I am finally well enough to travel. (Yes, I have chest pain and yes that freaks me out, but I have travelled and lived with this before and been fine, and if I croak it, it won’t matter anyway!)

So I decided yesterday that what matters most is my attitude. I just can’t afford to get bogged down in the injustice and awfulness of it all. I can’t get bogged down in my own personal history. I can’t even get bogged down in my current situation. I have to stop opening that damned folder! I need to rise above this, to turn my face towards the sun and stop looking behind me.

When I think of my plans and I sit in gratitude for my life, I can still be happy. I can still feel good inside.

That dark bird of death always sits on my shoulder. Just as she follows each one of us. But I am comfortable with her now, and she helps me to remember what is important and good in my life. Her presence is a blessing because I am reminded to live mindfully, to chose what matters and to live that. No more for me the life of an automaton. I cannot take life for granted and I won’t.

None of it matters, really. We will all die. We don’t know when. But while we are alive, we can live. And what we choose to think and focus on colours every single day.

I cannot always choose my outcomes or my circumstances, but I can choose my thinking. And that is a powerful place to be.