Road Trip Treasures!

“You can either be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It all depends on how you view your life.” 
~  Paulo Coelho

 

Late last week Ben and I slipped away from the farm for a few days.

We took a simple road trip into country New South Wales. Just to be together. Just to be on our own.

It’s been a very full year. This time twelve months ago I was preparing for major surgery. And since then there have been family health dramas, constant concern and worry for Ben’s aging mum, and then my latest near-death experience, back in May.

We were more than ready for some processing time, and a little distance between us and our problems.

We were gone for two and a half days. Not long at all. But it felt like weeks.

Here’s the secret of how we stretched time:

  1. We put our phones away and didn’t check our emails, social media or other distractions except to have a quick glance after breakfast and before dinner in case there was an emergency.
  2. We allowed ourselves early nights and plenty of rest.
  3. We kept our days simple and chose easy over ambitious.
  4. We stayed in the moment, engaged with each other and our surroundings.
  5. We held hands, we talked and deeply listened, and we held eye contact with each other and anyone we spoke to.

Those simple choices gave us the gift of replenishment. And if they worked for us I know they’ll work for you.

It was a super trip. Here’s a few of my highlights:

This is Beth, standing in front of the beautiful silk and merino wool shawls and scarves that she makes. Beth reinvented herself as an artist when she turned fifty, after attending a TAFE course in felting. She totally inspired me, and she gives awesome hugs too. (And yes, Ben bought me a gorgeous pink and coral shawl for my birthday!)

 

 

On our first night away we went for dinner at a local bowling club that does an all-you-can-eat $16 Chinese buffet on Thursday nights. It was packed with locals, all soaking up the ambiance that only plastic tablecloths, gold-painted honour boards, decorations from last Christmas and a gigantic empty dance floor can give. The food was delicious!

Book stores. You know the ones that are filled to the rafters with rare and old editions, as well as the latest reads? I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t come home with anything. I’ve now got some excellent reference books to research my next project. And I may have come away with one or two eclectic ancient cookbooks as well…

Op shops, second-hand shops, and those lucky dip kind of places where you walk through the door into a glorious clutter of wares old and new. I found some beautifully made old tablecloth and napkin sets at totally bargain prices, as well as a few little plates and bowls for serving tasty treats in. Oh, and some cake forks and a set of Japanese made 1950’s cocktail forks. And a cake tin. All of which will be put to good use here at the farm.

This glorious sewing, quilting and fabric shop fired up my imagination, and we managed to buy a packet of needles. Just the thing for me to dig all the splinters out of Ben’s hands from when he was off chainsawing and hauling timber earlier in the week.

We also enjoyed a quiet pub meal for two, sitting in an ancient dining room beside a roaring log fire on a frosty night. The table was set with real linen and a candle, and as we ate our delicious food we realised that it was the first time we’d had a romantic dinner date in Australia for over ten years!!! (My fault – my health has been crap, and I’m always in bed so early that we usually favour a breakfast outing or an early cafe meal.)

Ben’s already planning our next adventure.

How about you? Do you have a road trip planned or can you recommend one? I’d love to hear about it.

Much love from your rested and refreshed friend, Nicole xoxo

I’m Taking A Short Road Trip

“Go outside. Don’t tell anyone and don’t bring your phone. Start walking and keep walking until you no longer know the road like the palm of your hand, because we walk the same roads day in and day out, to the bus and back home and we cease to see. We walk in our sleep and teach our muscles to work without thinking and I dare you to walk where you have not yet walked and I dare you to notice. Don’t try to get anything out of it, because you won’t. Don’t try to make use of it, because you can’t. And that’s the point. Just walk, see, sit down if you like. And be. Just be, whatever you are with whatever you have, and realise that that is enough to be happy. 
There’s a whole world out there, right outside your window. You’d be a fool to miss it.” 
~  Charlotte Eriksson

 

Early next month I will celebrate my fiftieth birthday.

My husband has been bothering me for months, asking what I want to do to celebrate. And I kept avoiding his question. I didn’t think I wanted a big party, but part of me was trying to juggle the possibility, and all that ended up doing was deflating my party mood.

To further muddy the water I’ve been working on the final draft of my memoir, and combined with a year of hospitalisations, near-death experiences and lingering complications, as well as my background companion Lyme disease, the realisation of just how long I have been living with chronic illness and all that has stolen from me has been quite confronting.

Finally, after a long walk down to the river and back, I had a clear head. I am alive. That is what turning fifty is all about. I am still here, and it is up to me to fill my bucket with the things that matter to me. Fifty is no mean feat for someone who has nearly croaked it four times now. So I came up with a list of options. A birthday celebration list, and this is it:

  • A road trip with Ben, and he has to make some excellent playlists for me as a soundtrack for our adventure
  • A small but fancy and delicious High Tea with my sister and a group of my closest girlfriends
  • A weekend away writing, where all I have to think about is words on the page or going for a long walk to ponder a plot point. A place where my meals are cooked and my bed is comfortable, and I can get a cup of tea whenever I want.
  • A holiday, somewhere new, anytime in the next year, where I can sip champagne with Ben and count my many blessings
  • A raucous dinner party at home with my neighbours and Byron Bay pals, followed by a bonfire in the backyard, under the stars
  • A big meetup with Dana and all my students, YOMmers, and Cauldrons and Cupcakes peeps – with tasty treats and crystals and lots of hugs and fun
  • An early morning beach walk and meditation, with time for ritual, journaling, oracle cards and reflection time, just on my own with the big sky and my Aunties and Ancestors above me and the earth beneath my feet.

 

I brought my list to Ben. This is it, I said. I’m going to do one of these. Can you help me pick?

He read over the list, and then he smiled.

Do all of them, he said.

We’ll start with the road trip.

 

So today that’s what we’re doing. A few totally unplanned days away, wherever the road takes us, while a dear friend looks after the dogs and the farm.

Elle, I haven’t forgotten your question about God, the Universe and why stuff happens. In fact I’ve been thinking about it all week while we’ve had no phone or internet here at the farm. I’ve begun a blog post to answer it but it till needs a bit more thought. It was a big question, and it deserves a decent and considered answer. Expect one in the next few days.

Meanwhile, maybe it’s time for you to write a list of your own, my friends. Just because you can. Just because you’re alive. And that’s worth celebrating every day of the year.

Sending you all my love, some hugs and a very good virtual cuppa, Nicole xoxo

 

After Rest Comes Rejuvenation

“In a cool solitude of trees
Where leaves and birds a music spin,
Mind that was weary is at ease,
New rhythms in the soul begin.” 
~ William Kean Seymour

 

Are you taking some time for yourself this week?

As part of my be-gentle-with-myself healing process I spent the late afternoon in the garden yesterday, watching my dogs frolic, watering my vegetables and fruit trees, and inhaling the delectable fragrance of newly mown lawn.

Of course I couldn’t go anywhere without young Rufous following me. That dog is curious about everything!!!

When the air cooled and the sun began to dip behind the mountain we came inside, cooked dinner and curled up on the couch by the fire before an early night.

All that outside time made for a deep sleep!

Here are a few snaps of my soul medicine session.
Much 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

 

Feather Oracle – For Inspiration and Guidance

Image by Rachel Mitchel

Image by Rachel Mitchel

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all.”
~ Emily Dickinson

Every night at my farm a big owl alights on my clothesline. I feel very safe and loved in the presence of this owl. Often I am left a gift of a feather. I am always finding feathers at the farm. Feathers from crows and eagles, feathers from owls and black cockatoos, feathers from ducks and parrots and pigeons, magpie feathers and more. When I find one I always feel a sense of guidance. So I got to thinking that maybe you would like some guidance too.

Instructions for using today’s post

Let each image speak to you in its own way.  One of them will have wisdom just for you!

Scroll down through the following Feather images and then let yourself come back to the one you are most drawn to.

When you have chosen your Feather, scroll further down for your message. Take what resonates for you, and apply it in your life over the coming weeks.

Trust that you will be shown what you most need to know right now.

Love and Light,

Nicole ♥ xx

 

Let the Feathered Messengers Guide You…

1. White Feather

Image by Marie Andersson

2. Crow Feather

Image from Miriadna

Image from Miriadna

3. Blue and Purple Feather

This beautiful image from The Little Leaf

This beautiful image from The Little Leaf

4. Reflections Feather

Image from FreeFever

Image from FreeFever

5. Peacock Feather

Image by kurupt4000

Image by kurupt4000

6. Tawny Owl Feather

Image by Stephen Plummer

Image by Stephen Plummer

7. Parrot Feathers

Image by Ron Hines

Image by Ron Hines DVM PhD

8. Emu Feather

Emu Feather by Jennifer Colby

Emu Feather by Jennifer Colby

 

♥ The Message and Gift of each Feather ♥

Each Feather image has a message for you. I have also selected a crystal to best support the message and energies of your chosen Feather.  You could wear or hold this crystal, pop it in your pocket, under your pillow or beside your bed. (If you’d like to know more about working with crystals click here.) The Action Step is a tangible step you can take to begin incorporating this wisdom in your life.

1.  White Feather:

♥ Message – It’s time to integrate your ideas into the real world. What ideas you have. What dreams, hopes and possibilities! You have spent so much of your life dreaming and contemplating, and your inner world is rich. Now is the time to give all of this thought-form energy a tangible shape in your reality. Whatever your dream or idea might be it’s time to start making it real by bringing it into the world we live in, piece by piece. Start the project, commit to study, enact the plan, get words on the page or paint on the boards. Begin, begin, begin! The Universe is encouraging your every action.

♥ Crystal – Tiger Eye  

♥ Action Step – Spend a little time journalling this week, thinking about an idea or plan that is currently only in your head. Begin to tease it out onto the page. What might this idea look like in the real world? Where might you start? Who or what could support you? Start to give your idea some form. BE brave in your ambitions, even if the beginning will be small.

 

2.  Crow Feather:

♥ Message – Prepare for Transformation. Crow energy appears when we are going through times of great emotional and spiritual growth. You are being called to stand in your truth, to honour your inner voice, and to bravely step into the unknown. For now you might be the student. For now you might be the teacher. Know that there is something bigger at work here. Know that you signed up for this. Stop fussing around in your ego and surrender to the current that is already tugging at your ankles. Why fight it? It’s what you came here to do.

♥ Crystal – Smoky Quartz

♥ Action Step – Spend some time each day in solitude. Go to a place that helps you feel expanded and sit quietly. Wait. Wait with an energy of expectation. Turn up every day, or as often as you can. Don’t do anything. Just sit. Be patient. Use the time to relax and become calm and clear. Bring a journal with you for when you become inspired and need to write things down so that you’ll remember them.

 

3.  Blue and Purple Feather:

♥ Message – Design your life around your ideals. You never came to this life to be pedestrian, to be the same as everyone else. Your feet dance to a different drum, your heart quickens to a different song. Stop trying to conform. In small ways, let your individuality shine – even if your day job is streets away from your inner purpose and your soul’s magic. Give thought to what your values are, and do all you can to live authentically, according to what is important to you. You are driven by integrity, so give yourself permission to make your values and ideals a bigger and more visible focus in your life.

♥ Crystal – Ruby in Fuchsite 

♥ Action Step – Find ways to live a life that is meaningful to you. If you care about the environment, recycle and say no to plastic bags. If education is your soap box, volunteer at a literacy program. If art and creativity is your driving passion visit a gallery or join an art class – be a little ‘arty’ in how you present yourself to the world. LIVE by your inner compass. Let your life be a tribute to the whispers of your heart.

 

4.  Reflections Feather:

♥ Message – We succeed by standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. All of us can shine by building on the actions, knowledge and guidance of those who have succeeded where we desire to also make our mark. Right now you are a rough diamond. The talent is there. The capability is there. But you need to be polished up in order to have greater value to yourself and the world. Not value from an ego perspective – value in relation to what you can positively contribute to the world. It’s time to grow; to find mentors, coaches and teachers; to truly value your gifts and work hard to hone them into something more than you currently hold in your hands. You’re being called on to turn your great potential into reality – with the help of knowledgeable others who have gone before.

♥ Crystal – Fluorite

♥ Action Step – Learning! Read books, attend courses, find people to share their knowledge with you and to hone your existing skills. Determine to be the best you can be at this thing that is burning a hole within you. Turn that frustration into fire and channel all of that energy into success.

 

5. Peacock Feather:

♥ Message – Value yourself. Treat yourself as a rare and special soul, worthy of love, care and respect. Peacocks don’t have vanity – peacocks have a strong sense of their own identity, and a regal self respect. It’s not vain to care about your physical appearance, your diet, your health and well-being. It’s not being precious to expect others to be respectful and polite in their dealings with you. And it is essential that being treated well starts with yourself!

♥ Crystal – Moonstone

♥ Action Step – It’s time to give yourself a make-over in some aspect of your life. Maybe you need to attend to diet and exercise, maybe you need a haircut or to update your wardrobe, maybe you need friends and lovers who treat you better! It may even be that you need to stand up for yourself in business. Look inside your heart and you’ll see where you need to begin.

 

6.  Tawny Owl Feather:

♥ Message – Trust in Synchronicity and keep asking for what you need. You are well loved, and much of that love comes from realms other than the one in which we live. Know that right now you are being very strongly guided and supported, that there are signs everywhere to encourage and direct you, that the veil is thin between this world and the next. Open yourself to this love and support. Expect magic and miracles. Expect resolution of difficulties and obstacles.

♥ Crystal – Turquoise

♥ Action Step – Spend some time in nature. Spend some time on your own. Pray, journal, meditate and stay open to messengers, guidance and intuition. Use tools such as crystals, tarot and other messenger cards, runes and other divination items if it feels right. Ask once, and be guided by the answer, whatever that may be. Stay open to possibility and to acting on insights.

 

7.  Parrot Feathers:

♥ Message – Find your tribe and step out of social isolation. You know the old expression – birds of a feather flock together! You are a beautiful bird, and you need to find other ‘birds’ with similar interests and values. Don’t do this alone. Let yourself be supported, and grow by supporting others. Allow yourself to be multi-faceted. Our diversity is a beautiful thing. Maybe you’ll need a craft group,  a meditation group, a permaculture club. There is no one group that will meet every need, so fly a while with birds going in a direction you want to be travelling in and know it’s okay to stop when you need to, or to meet up with a different flock flying the other way. Embrace life and the joy of sharing and belonging!

♥ Crystal – Jasper – whichever kind you’re drawn to! 

♥ Action Step – Look in the papers. Read the community notice boards. Google. Find a group, or create a group of your own. Join a class. Go to a workshop or retreat. Travel. Expand your horizons by expanding your social circle. Allow yourself to be supported in your interests, with others who share your passion.

 

8: Emu Feather:

♥ Message – Emu feathers appear when we’re ready to forgive and let go of something significant that has been an anchor weighing us down for much of our lives. There is nothing more to be gained by holding onto this heavy thing inside you. It’s time to forgive yourself, and anyone else involved. We can never have a complete understanding of our path, or the path of others, while we remain in our body. Things take on a different significance as we let go of the emotions and find the lessons and gifts. Sometimes we don’t even need to do that. The thing has happened. Life has moved on, and we’ve been holding this heavy rock for so long that we can’t clearly remember WHY anymore. But the heavy rock drains and exhausts us, and its energy taints everything that we do and that we are. It’s time for forgiveness. Let yourself be free of this burden.

♥ Crystal – Clear or included Quartz

♥ Action Step – Write it out and burn it, have a healing, dance it out, create a meaningful ceremony, or simply offer up a prayer or words and intention that mean something to you. Involve others if it feels right, but also know that forgiveness is a personal act about freeing YOU, and does not need to involve others for it to be effective as a force within you.

My Top Five Ways To Get Some Reflection Time

Image from www.elsbro.com

Image from www.elsbro.com

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
~ Søren Kierkegaard

 

We’re sitting in a terrific month for reflection, reinvention and connection.

So how do we do that?

Here are my top five ways to find that headspace where we can explore the past and imagine the future…

 

1 – Going for a solitary walk

A long walk gives us time to move into a space of quiet receptivity. Thoughts can bubble to the surface. Insights can find us. We get quiet enough to be open. Ideas come. You can walk in nature, through city streets or around your suburb. What matters is that you’re moving, and that you’re on your own so that you don’t need to engage in conversation. (Walking the dog is fine though!)

Image from www.wallpapers-jpg.net

Image from www.wallpapers-jpg.net

 

2 – Time out for a coffee and some world watching

Find a coffee shop where you can sit on your own, with a view of the world. You might be facing a busy street, you might be at the back of the shop looking out over all the patrons, you might be perched at a window seat, or at an outdoor cafe under a tree. You could even sit in a busy shopping mall. Grab your favourite coffee (or tea) and then just sit and watch the world go by. Don’t read. Don’t talk. Just sit with the world and with your thoughts. Eventually you’ll find a meditative space that lets you think deeply. Let your mind ramble. It will go where it needs to. Pay attention to where it wanders. Explore that more. If you want, take that further with some journalling.

Image from www.vissershr.nl

Image from www.vissershr.nl

 

3 – Soak in a bath

Just you, some bubbles, and lots of lovely soak time. Let your mind wander, or just sit and soak and rest. Trust that you’ll be integrating and getting what you need from this time alone.

 

4 – Journalling, at the quiet end of the day

This could be first thing in the morning or last thing at night when the house is quiet and you have time and space just for you. Pick up your pen, and write. Dump your brain onto the page and then keep going. Let the words flow. You might be surprised where they take you.

 

5 – Journalling time with some oracle or tarot cards for further reflection

Oracle and tarot cards are a great way to reflect on life. Choose a card. Think about what it signifies for you. Explore this in your journal.

Here's my own 2017 Planner, and my 2017 gratitude stone, my 2017 crystal pack, and the oracle cards I'm going to use for the year ahead. Pretty delicious, huh?

Here’s my own 2017 Planner, and my 2017 gratitude stone, my 2017 crystal pack, and the oracle cards I’m going to use for the year ahead. Pretty delicious, huh?

My Year of ME Planner is also a great tool for tuning in! And it’s not too late to join our year-long course and community or to get some more intensive coaching with me for the year ahead. More details here and in my Shop.

Make time for yourself this week. You’re worth it!

lots of love, Nicole <3 xx

The Week Ahead – Oracle Reading for Monday 9 January

Wisdom

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
~ Aristotle

 

Hello, Lovelies!

Here’s the oracle card I have chosen this Monday, and my take on the energetic outlook for the week ahead.

‘Wisdom’ is from the Chakra Wisdom Oracle Deck by Tori Hartman.

The week ahead is so well suited to supporting us as we seek to find direction, a path to follow, or a deeper sense of who we are and why we are here.

This week, tune in. How you do that is up to you. Get quiet. Go for a walk. Spend some time journalling. Play with your oracle or tarot cards. Do some yoga. Be in your body. Be with your soul. Listen to music. Get into your heart space. Take yourself on a little adventure that reconnects you to your sense of self.

My Year of ME Planner is also a great tool for tuning in! And it’s not too late to join our year-long course and community or to get some more intensive coaching with me for the year ahead. More details here and in my Shop.

Here's my own 2017 Planner, and my 2017 gratitude stone, my 2017 crystal pack, and the oracle cards I'm going to use for the year ahead. Pretty delicious, huh?

Here’s my own 2017 Planner, and my 2017 gratitude stone, my 2017 crystal pack, and the oracle cards I’m going to use for the year ahead. Pretty delicious, huh?

This week things will become clearer. You’ll become aware of what needs to be healed or changed in your life.

Or you’ll suddenly see a way forward with these things that you were already aware of but were stuck on.

You’ll become better aware of what heals and nurtures you.

You’ll become better aware of what limits or poisons you.

Once you know that, move toward what is beneficial, and away from what is not.

Your heart will call to you. Your wise self will whisper to you. There is a place within you that always knows, and that will always guide you true.

All you need to do to work that out is tune in. Be still. And wait for the answers to come. As you slow down (even just for a few minutes each day) you begin to connect into your own intuitive wisdom, your own heart centre, your inner compass.

This week supports us to bring our lives back into balance and to do some physical and emotional spring cleaning.

It’s a great week for starting a new health regime, for cleaning up your diet, for getting your body moving again.

Get a massage.

Book in with a counsellor, a coach, a chiropractor, a therapist, your tax advisor or accountant.

What a beautiful week to help set us up in more balanced and healthy ways for 2017!

Supportive crystals this week? Citrine, Chrysocolla, Aventurine and Amethyst. Helpful essential oils? Young Living’s Clarity essential oil blend, or  a combination (or singly!) of any of basil, lemon, rosemary and geranium.

Let yourself move back to a place of hope and optimism this week. Know that you have the capacity to reinvent yourself and to follow your dreams.

Holding you, as always, in my thoughts, prayers and meditations.  All my love,

Nicole ❤ xx