Nicole Update and a Pep Talk!


“I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.”
~ John D. Rockefeller

Hello, Lovelies!
Thanks so much for all the love and positive energy that has flowed my way the past week or so. I’ve felt it, and it has helped.

Firstly, for everyone who asked, the dogs weren’t in the car with us. Thank goodness, because they would have been squashed. The other driver has cracked vertebrae but will be okay. I am stiff and sore but getting better. Ben’s even been back to our wrecked car and retrieved all our personal effects. So that chapter of our lives is over and it’s time to think about new cars, new directions and new eras.

It has been a strange week since the accident. Useful, but strange.

I found that there is a place inside me brimful with fear and memories of prior trauma. It came very close to the surface a few days ago. After seeing the doctor we stopped at the coffee place we had originally been heading to before our car crash. I sat with my coffee in front of me and as I picked it up my hands began shaking so much I had to put the cup down.

My heart raced. My eyes filled with tears. Suddenly, every shitty awful thing that has happened in the past came rushing forward. So many. Too many.

Oh my God, I thought. I’m having a breakdown.

Ben put his big hand on my leg. You okay? he asked.

It broke the spell and I half-laughed with tears running down my face. ‘Just peachy’ I told him. ‘Really, I’m fine.’

Of course I am. I’m still here. Life goes on. Sh*t happens. I roll with it.

It made me see how I have stuffed certain emotions deep down inside me as a coping mechanism. Each time I did it consciously and mindfully so that I could keep existing in the moment – through pain or illness, horror or exhaustion. At each instant I talked to myself (often out loud) and said ‘Come on, Nicole. You can do this. You’ve got this. You’re okay.’ Always at a time when I was most definitely NOT okay.

And do you know what?

Every time I did this I truly was okay. I got through things I never thought I’d survive. I managed. Not always gracefully. Sometimes limping through with no style at all. But I kept going. I kept saying to myself, ‘I’ve got things to do. I’ll deal with this later’.

People have been saying to me lately that they don’t know how I have coped, with so difficult many things one after the other. But the truth is that when you’re deep in the middle of something you find a way through.

Am I going to sit and explore all that pain and trauma stuffed down in me? I’ve already done that on many occasions. I’ve done more self-work and reflection than anyone I know. This is what I’ve discovered. If I endlessly replay all the old hurts and traumas I get stuck there. Instead I always look to HOW I COPED and WHAT I LEARNED.

All that pain in me is actually a strength. From it arises a wild and ferocious warrior women who will carry me through any fire and emerge me out the other side. Sure, maybe battered and singed and partly broken, but still here.

When I came home from the coffee shop I sat in meditation and reached into that place of pain. I saw that beside it and equal to it was a place of calm and wisdom and compassion. That tranquil inner place in me was born of the fire. It didn’t come first, it came as a response. It came BECAUSE I had suffered.

I’m sharing this with you because you may have forgotten that you are stronger than you know. You are stronger than any obstacle, any current circumstance. You’ll get through this too.

Holding you, as ever, in my prayers and meditations, Nicole ❤ xx

Doing Nothing is Productive!

Image from wallpapers-biz.co.cc

Are you one of those people who needs to be productive?

I certainly am. Not from any external pressure –  I just LIKE getting stuff done, and I always have several projects on the go, a big fat to-do list, as well as a schedule that stretches out towards the horizon.  Life, and its possibilities, lights my fire!

But there is nothing like a good dose of burn-out to help you realise that less is more, and a dose of near-death really does help you to clarify your priorities.

Where one upon a time I worked endlessly, I now work in bursts, and then have some time out that is totally unscheduled.

Before my big cycles of crash and burn, repair, go full tilt, crash and burn, repair, go full tilt, crash and burn – okay, you get my drift – my life looked like this:

Image from freeicons.eu

I was a busy little robot working harder and harder, doing more and more, and somehow expecting that I could just carry on that way forever.

I actually thought that if I worked harder and harder I would achieve more and more, ad infinitum.  But of course you end up working with the Law of Diminishing Returns.  More does not make more.  More becomes less.

More work means less sleep. Less fun.  Less clarity.  Less inspiration.  Less connection.  Less well-being. Less healing capacity.  Less opportunity to be spontaneous. Less flexibility.  Less ability to cope with the unexpected. Less true creativity. Less chance of seeing new possibilities, meeting new people and expanding in new directions.

When you keep trying to fit more and more in, something will inevitably break, and that something might be you.

I know this, because I’ve been there.  More than once.  And most of it has been self-inflicted.

I’ve had to ask myself the big questions in life.

I am okay with diminished output if it means better quality of life, and a longer life. I mean, realistically, how much can you get done here if you’re dead? And in the end, does any of that stuff on your to-do list really matter?

So now my life looks much more like this:

Image by Lecsmile – Photobucket.com

I have periods of deep rest, relaxation and doing totally NOTHING.  And then I have periods of doing things, being active, connecting, learning and being crazy-mad infatuated with taking up all life has to offer!

Truth is, I’m more productive than I ever was, in the areas that matter to me.

I hadn’t expected that.

Oh my goodness I wish I’d know this important little nugget of wisdom years ago.

Less is more.

Image from msugradwellness.wordpress.com

That’s right.

Doing nothing is good for you.

If you don’t know how to do nothing, here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Naps.  Napping is awesome!
  • Curl up on the couch with a magazine.
  • Go to bed early or sleep in.  Sleep all day if you feel like it.
  • When something frees up in your schedule, don’t fill that spot with another task or expectation.  Let yourself luxuriate in that new spare time.
  • Dawdle. Potter along on a nice slow walk, amble through a park or shopping mall.
  • Go to the movies.
  • Read a book.
  • Nap.  Did I say that already?  Oh well.  Have another one!
  • Lose yourself in a book.
  • Hang out at the library.
  • Go for a surf.
  • Get a massage.
  • Take a bath.
  • Quit something so you can free up your schedule!
  • Say no to things you don’t want to do.
  • Have an early night and bunk down with some tasty treats and a good DVD.
  • Go on holidays.
  • Have a phone free, computer-free day.
  • Stay home and do… nothing! No housework, no odd jobs. Do what makes you happy. Maybe some craft, or cooking, or just hang out.
  • Spend time with the ones you love.
  • Sit in a coffee shop and read the weekend papers while having a long breakfast or an extended brunch/lunch.
  • Go window shopping, just to pass the time and fill yourself up with images, ideas and dreams.
  • Sunbake.
  • Sit by the ocean or the river.
  • Perch on top of a mountain.
  • Fluff around, not getting anything much done, but not minding that either.  Some people call this procrastination – I call it exploring my desk or kitchen drawers to see what’s really in there…
  • Spend time with the family pet – these guys really have relaxation down to an art!

Magic happens when we give ourselves down-time. And a magical life is definitely one worth living. You never know what might happen if you just create a little space in your day…

Image from The Fox and The Child, Hopscotch films, 2009