That first taste of Spring!

“And the Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.” 
Percy Bysshe Shelley

I wandered into the garden yesterday afternoon after sitting at my desk too long.

The sky was heavy with bruise-coloured clouds and the wind had a wintery bite.

But the orchard was filled with the fragrance of citrus blossom, and the grass was soft and green underfoot. Patches of clover thronged with the buzz of happy bees.

To my surprise, the mulberry tree had put forth the first of its fruit. Most of the berries were small and green or just tinged with red but there was one plump deep purple berry in their midst. It yielded to my touch and dropped into my hand. From there it was a very short distance to my mouth.

It was sweet and filled with sunshine and happiness. It spoke to me of the promise of renewal.

Rufous managed to find a few ripe-ish berries low down on the tree too.

Last night I went to sleep to the gentle patter of rain on the tin roof. My last thought before sleep was that I hoped the mulberry’s roots drank up all that moisture to fatten its harvest of juicy berries.

Sending blessings and love your way, Nicole ❤ xx

Things to be thankful for…

“Take time daily to reflect on how much you have. It may not be all that you want but remember someone somewhere is dreaming to have what you have.” ~Germany Kent

This morning I’m counting my Blessings. Such a simple thing to do, and it always makes me feel richer. I like to count them off on my fingers – a tangible act, and a way of really anchoring their truth in my life. Blessings to me are always the simple things in life, and often the things we take for granted.  Even on the worst of days we can find something to be grateful for.  Counting blessings gets my attention OFF the things I don’t want, and back on the things I do. It’s an instant mood lifter that keeps things in perspective for me. It never takes much to find something that’s a blessing.

Today I am grateful for:

1. The sound of wind in the trees as I go to sleep, and birdsong as I wake up.

2. The warmth of the fire, and the sweet smell of woodsmoke in the cold morning air. (I’m also grateful for my husband, who chops the wood and loads the wheelbarrow, and stokes the fire for me!)

3. Chai tea, enough for two, sipped from big bowls, with just a dusting of cinnamon.

4. My Meyer Lemon tree, and its abundance of luscious fruit. And the fresh Lemon Curd I can spread on my morning toast!

5. Farmers’ Markets, and the dedication of our local growers to grow or make the best seasonal fresh produce.

6. My Kindle, and being able to snuggle under the doona on a lazy morning, sipping chai and reading books.

7. My dogs, Rufous and Harry, for their love and companionship.

8. Writing. It is my greatest love, and the thing that wakes me up in the middle of the night, brimful of ideas.

9. Red Jasper which grounds and nurtures, and feels wonderful to have tucked up within my aura.

10. Trees. My little farmhouse is cradled by hundred-year-old trees who whisper their secrets, one to another, and add an incredible energy to this place and to me.

How about you? What do you have to be thankful for today? Go on – count them off on your fingers!

Wishing you many Blessings, Nicole  xx

How To Drink In Colour – A Walking Meditation Technique for Soul Healing

“Let me, O let me bathe my soul in colours; let me swallow the sunset and drink the rainbow.” 
Khalil Gibran

Have you ever had a rough day? Silly question. Of course you have. Like you, I have my occasional difficult patch, that place in my life where emotionally (and sometimes physically) I am stretched thin. Sometimes it’s from psychic work, sometimes the dramas of life – it never really matters how I get there, once I am there the only thing to do is nurture.

But what do you do when you feel that terrible gnawing emptiness, exhaustion, or deep emotional pain? When you are so drained that you are out of ideas for how to make yourself feel better…

I recommend a walk.

On this walk I want you to do three things:

Breathe.

Let the rhythm of your steps begin to calm your mind, just like a moving meditation.

Drink in colour.
How do you drink in colour? Let your eyes drift to the things around you. Your soul will guide you towards colours that are soothing, healing, restoring, harmonising. Your chakras and your aura will become more energised. The colours you bring into your awareness will bring gifts to soothe and uplift you.

You’ll arrive home feeling calmer. You’ll find that eventually, or much sooner, answers and ideas start to flow.

Walking and drinking in colour is free. But the rewards are high. Often the best healing tools are right at our doorstep.

I’ve included some photos from around my farm for anyone who can’t get out on a walk of their own. Let the energies and colour reach you and energise you as if you were walking with me.

Much love to you, Nicole ❤ xx

Frost On The Flats!

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.” 
J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

Brrrr!
I’m late blogging this morning because we were up early to feed out to our cows.
A big roundbale of hay, and some mixes of molasses, copra and minerals to help the mums stay strong as our cows out all of their nutrition into the milk that is feeding their calves.

My fingers are still numb. The tip of my nose is rosy with cold.

Our dogs are a damp waggy mass of smiles and boundless energy.

And all around us the ground is dusted with frost.

Now it’s time for a cup of tea and a hot shower before we head off into Byron Bay for my weekly acupuncture and tune up.

Sending massive hugs your way, Nicole ❤ xx

PS – Thanks for all your lovely messages yesterday. A cry or two, a big sleep and this morning I’m good as new.

I Thought I’d Recorded A Relaxing Meditation For You, But Then This Happened

“The world is too quiet without you nearby.” 
Lemony Snicket

I decided to record you a guided meditation yesterday.

I sat in the sun, with birdsong all around me, moved into deep relaxation, closed my eyes, and spoke into my little recorder.

Then I came back to the house and listened to the recording. It was marred by loud noises. I wasn’t sure what it was. Static maybe?

In fact I thought it might be the recorder itself.

So I tried to record three more times. But the same thing kept happening.

Then I saw this…

Problem solved.

Rufous just wanted to sit beside me while I was working.

I’ll try again tomorrow!

Much love, 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:

Understanding Intuition and Gut Instinct

“Follow your instincts. That’s where true wisdom manifests itself.”  ~ Oprah Winfrey

There is an unseen force that lives within each of us, and that connects us all.  We are energetic by nature, and that energy can guide us if only we can tune in to it.  One of the simplest ways to do this is by learning to honour our intuition.

There are many ways to do this, but today I’m going to focus on one: gut feeling.  Gut instinct or feeling is a primal response hard-wired into every human.

Gut feeling really does come from that area of your body – your abdomen.  It’s not a mind-based wisdom.  It doesn’t come from your heart.  It comes from that primal genetic material that is encoded and passed from parent to offspring.  In humans that is your original eight cells, which are located near your solar plexus. It is also the wisdom of the many bacteria and other organisms that live within the gut itself. We are not just our own consciousness. We are a whole co-creative biosystem that has evolved with an instinct to keep ourselves safe and to guard against threat.

So how do we tune in to this?  It’s easier than you think. Gut instinct does not use words or images.  Gut instinct uses emotions, and rockets along our central nervous system, which can also produce physical reactions.  It operates in 3 modes – neutral, forward and reverse. Some people call this the ‘sixth sense’. Some call it ‘intuition’.  Whatever the name, I’m sure you’ve all felt it and are familiar with it, whether you honour it or not.

In ‘forward’, we literally feel that we want to move closer to something.  We feel good about it.  We feel excited, happy and positive.  We can’t explain why, we can’t find the words for it, but we KNOW that something will work, that the person is good or honest, that this situation will be for the best, that this job/car/person/product/idea/food is the right choice.

In ‘neutral’ we feel indifference. There is no strong emotion or physical reaction either way.

In ‘reverse’ our gut is telling us to back away.  We feel unsure or uncomfortable.  The warning bells go off.  If it’s a mild response, this is where our brain often kicks in and invalidates our emotion (that can happen in ‘forward’ situations too!) by persuading our logical mind with rational thoughts and justifications.  In a strong response we may feel anxious or ill, we want to move back from this job/person/situation, we want to get to safety or a neutral space.  We can’t say why but we KNOW this won’t work well, this person can’t be trusted, something is wrong, it’s going to end badly…

This basic instinct is like a muscle – the more we use it, the stronger it becomes.  If we learn to trust it with the smaller things, eventually we’ll be able to hear and honour it with the bigger things.  This can be especially hard for people who are governed by their mind, which is why I recommend starting with small things that have no big ramifications in your life.

Here are some examples you may be familiar with:

  • Driving to work you suddenly feel like taking an alternative route.  You ignore that instinct and a minute past the turn-off you get stuck in a gridlock that makes you late. If you’d gone the other way you would have missed the traffic snarl.
  • In the supermarket you are drawn to a special: roasted chicken and a vast tub of coleslaw.  You really want to buy it, but that’s crazy.  There’s only you and that’s so much food.  You don’t buy it, and when you get home your sister and her family have arrived and that chicken and coleslaw would have been perfect…
  • You meet a guy, and your immediate reaction is one of dislike and distrust.  Everyone tells you how great he is, so you brush that initial feeling away.  Down the track your instinct is proved right when he turns out to be not-so-nice or trustworthy after all.  You kick yourself because you KNEW it all along!
If you’re a Star Wars fan you’ll know that Master Yoda, the great Jedi has much to say about the Force.  Here’s some of what he told Luke Skywalker…

“My ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us… and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this… [nudging Luke’s arm] crude matter! You must feel the Force around you. Here, between you, me, the tree, the rock… everywhere! Even between the land and the ship.”

If Luke learns to master the Force, as other Jedi have done, the Force can provide access to even higher levels of awareness and intuition.  Yoda explains, “Through the Force, things you will see. Other places. The future…the past…old friends long gone.”

Animals don’t question that Force.  And because of that they are guided in incredible ways.  They trust their instincts. This youtube clip illustrates that energy and trust.  It’s magical…

Postscript: I’m a channel, and often that connection informs my writing. It means I sometimes write about things I don’t consciously understand or remember, which I then go and google (welcome to my life!) to find out their meaning.  That’s how I found out about the eight cells.

It’s a Fairy Forest here at the farm!

“Few humans see fairies or hear their music, but many find fairy rings of dark grass, scattered with toadstools, left by their dancing feet.” 
Judy Allen

We’ve had a furious amount of rain here at the farm these past few weeks. Everything is damp and waterlogged, but green green green!

On my morning walk I marvelled at the fungi forest in our paddocks. Mushrooms of every shape and size.

The one in the picture above is the size of a dinner plate.

And these tiny delicate ones are covering the trunk of the fallen coral tree like lace.

Soon enough they’ll all be gone, so I am enjoying their magic while I can.

How about you? Can you slow down a little today, or over the weekend, and take yourself for a walk in nature? Who knows what you might find, what inspiration could come to you, or what you might learn about yourself and your feelings.

I can highly recommend walking. After our retreat I rushed straight into a busy week of medical appointments in the city and the stress of supporting family members. It was so good to come home yesterday and decompress by spending some quiet time in nature. Walking helped me come back to centre, release my stress and reprioritise what truly matters so that I don’t get caught up in external dramas. Maybe you will find that kind of peace too, if you walk long enough. If long walking’s impossible a short gentle stroll or even sitting outside in nature with a quiet and watchful eye can be enough.

Biggest hugs and love, Nicole ❤ xx

A miniature city of mushrooms

There’s almost nowhere to walk – with mushrooms everywhere under my feet

Perfect umbrellas for fairies!

Lace-like and delicate. For fairy dresses perhaps?

 

 

 

 

“On the fifth day, which was a Sunday, it rained very hard. I like it when it rains hard. It sounds like white noise everywhere, which is like silence but not empty.” 
~ Mark HaddonThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

It’s windy and raining here at retreat. During the night we had wild weather and this morning the air is charged and vibrant. There is a tang of salt on the breeze, and below us at the shore we can see the waves whipped up into a white-capped frenzy.

Every leaf is dripping water. There is a carpet of fresh leaves and bark on the ground. There’s still a hard coastal breeze this morning and an occasional gust of rain.

It’s the perfect kind of weather for meditating, journalling, doing inner work. It’s perfect for sitting in small circles with friends, drinking mugs of tea all cosy while the trees dance and bend in the breeze outside.

These kinds of days support us to feel into the spaces deep within us. And as nature goes from a backdrop to a force demanding attention we are reminded viscerally of the world we walk.

We made a large crystal grid here in the hall yesterday. You’re represented in it, and you’re in my thoughts, meditations and prayers.

I hope you find some time for a little reconnection to your inner landscape and to the world outside your door today.

Sending so much love your way, Nicole  xx

A Small But Positive Sign In The Shape Of A Snail

“Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.” 
~  Oprah Winfrey

When we holidayed with a friend and her family early this year, her small children asked me what I had done to earn pocket money when I was little.

We didn’t get pocket money when we were growing up, but sometimes we would get paid for chores, and the one chore both my mother and grandmother would pay for was snail collection. Both of them were avid gardeners, and there were always so many snails threatening their annuals, vegetables and flowers. I would wake early each morning to silvery trails along all the paths, and of course all of the soft plants and flowers would have been nibbled voraciously. I’d be sent out with an empty ice-cream bucket (the family size!) to gather snails so they could be disposed of. I’d easily fill that bucket with perhaps half an hour’s work. They were everywhere, especially if you knew where to look.

Fast forward to today, and I have barely seen a single snail in years, except for the giant rainforest snails that we sometimes see around the farm. I’ve grieved and ached for that loss, and for my role in contributing to the demise of so many creatures. Our modern garden is so different to the gardens of my childhood. Where have all the snails gone? The bees? The insects? As a child I would amuse myself for hours catching small green grasshoppers or odd-looking beetles. There was an abundance of wildlife in my own back yard. Birds, dragonflies, stick insects, praying mantis, butterflies, Christmas beetles by the battalion, moths, all kinds of grubs and crawly things. And so many bees, especially when the summer lawn was full of clover.

Forty or so years later the skies and gardens seem empty. And I hadn’t seen a snail in my garden for a decade.

Until today. A tiny snail on one of my roses. Ben pointed it out to me. ‘Look, honey’, he said. ‘A snail is eating your rose.’ ‘Good!’ I responded. ‘I’ll grow more!’ If that little snail likes roses I will make sure she has an endless supply.

I can’t tell you how happy this one little snail has made me. I am hoping to soon see more.

A garden snail – courtesy of the Breathe Easy Project

Here in our little corner of the world, at our farm and at our neighbours, we don’t use chemicals or bug spray or any kind of pesticide. I favour companion planting. If bugs destroy a certain plant I make a note of it and either don’t grow it again or I grow lots of it so we can share it with the bugs, or so they can eat it and spare the rest of my garden.

Birds like to eat snails and bugs. So do lots of other critters. They are all part of the cycle of life, and I want for that biodiversity to continue. To that end we’ve planted lots of native flowering trees that are food for birds and butterflies and possums. We’ve placed birdbaths strategically around the garden. We’ve replanted species around the denuded areas of our farm to encourage biodiversity and restorative ecology. We farm organically. We use worm farms to enrich our soil and to compost all our food scraps. We do what we can to make our home a home for all.

Perhaps that little snail is a sign that we are doing something right.

Today I’m intending for you some small positive sign that you’re moving in the right direction too. Much love, Nicole   xx