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


Remembering Nana…

Nana, with my Dad

My beloved Nana passed away, quietly, gently, while I was far away from home. She took her last breath peacefully on the morning of November 16. 2012.  Slipping gracefully from her body, she flew off on her fairy wings (everyone who knew Joycie knew she had fairy wings!) to join all of our loved ones who have made the journey before her.

I didn’t learn of her passing until the next day.  But I woke on the 16th with such a feeling of heavy melancholy. I couldn’t work out what was wrong with me – I just felt miserable – flat and soul weary.  Hug me, I told my husband. I’m so sad and I don’t know why.

Later that day I thought of Nana often. It was all the frangipani flowers here on Koh Samui. My grandparents spent a happy portion of their lives in Papua New Guinea, and long after they were home in Australia, Nana would always tell me that frangipani blossoms reminded her of those happy days in PNG.

At breakfast the next morning I received a text from my Dad. There were tears, but all day I felt close to my Nana as I walked around this island paradise.

I thought of her as I sipped pretty cocktails, I thought of her as I swam in the ocean, I thought of her as I napped on clean sheets under the fan.

She’d lived a full and wonderful life. She taught me more than I can say. And I like to think of her now, up in Heaven, or where ever it is we go as Souls once our time here on Earth is done. Nana will have on a stylish frock. She’ll be having tea with her Mum or Happy Hour drinks with Pa and their friends. She’ll be waving hello from her fluffy cloud, and I’ll be waving back at her, sand between my toes, a drink in my hand, and a smile on my face.

Life is magical. Nana showed me that! Bless ♥ xx

Bittersweet cupcake celebrations…

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ~ Rumi

This should be a post about birthdays and love, and it is all of those things.  But it’s also a post about love and loss, and the way grief can affect us.

The Fourth of July has long been a special day for birthdays in our household; a date shared by our niece, our beautiful old dog Charlie, and a treasured friend, Kate.

It’s a day for kisses and candles, hugs and birthday wishes. A day for cupcakes and celebration for humans and dogs alike.

This year it’s also been a sad day. My friend Kate passed away unexpectedly on 26 October, 2010. At forty she was just too young. Death snuck up and snatched her away in the form of a brain aneurysm. She’d laugh I’m sure, and say that she was one of the ones who died young, leaving a good-looking corpse.

It’s my second year celebrating the Fourth of July Birthday Cupcake Fiesta without her.

At this point I must disclose our secret Motto for Life:

I thought it would have been easier this year. I happily still ate a cupcake in her honour. I smiled at the things we’ve shared, and some of the crazy things she’s done in her life.

But I find myself missing her more than words can say, even though it hurts a little less somehow.

I’m not uncomfortable about death, and I know that all of us are here in the most temporary of ways. At first I was sad when Kate died because she would never get to do any more of the things she’d dreamed about. After a hard life things were finally working out for her, and it’s true to say that she died at a very good place in her life, but with so much more to come, that will now forever remain unfinished.

That’s how it is for all of us.  We die as works in progress.

But this year I realised something different. I’m sad for the loss of the physicality of our friendship. I can’t just get on the phone anymore.  There isn’t someone to go on driving adventures with, or to celebrate cupcake feasts, or to share those special or hard moments in life. I can’t get a hug, or a song, or a crazy dance routine to cheer me up and make me laugh til my face hurts.

I’m sure those of you who’ve lost loved ones will know what I mean.

There is something wonderful about having someone to share life’s ups and downs with, about having a person who knows you well and holds your secrets and is there for you when you need them. Many people find these relationships with lovers and soul mates, or family members, but occasionally we are also blessed to find them in the form of friends.

Kate always loved an excuse for tasty treats and a party.

So this is for her.

Happy Birthday, Kate.


And this, because Kate adored Eva Cassidy, and because time really does help us heal…


If I have one wish for you today? That you hug the ones you love, that you phone a friend and have a good old chat, that you eat a cupcake, and smile for no particular reason except that it’s good to be alive.