This Quiet Morning

 

“Outside, there was that predawn kind of clarity, where the momentum of living has not quite captured the day. The air was not filled with conversation or thought bubbles or laughter or sidelong glances. Everyone was sleeping, all of their ideas and hopes and hidden agendas entangled in the dream world, leaving this world clear and crisp and cold as a bottle of milk in the fridge. ” 
~ Reif Larsen

It’s raining here at the farm this morning. The kind of rain that drizzles down and stops, drizzles down and stops. There is fog and low cloud, it’s cool, and more than anything I’d like to be tucked up in my bed right now.

The house is quiet except for the tap tap tap of my fingers flying across the keyboard. Except for the occasional burr and tick and hum of the kettle as it heats water for my tea. Everyone else is asleep, even the dogs. It’s that kind of a morning.

Meanwhile, I’m writing.

I remembered something important at 2am. The time Auntie told me about deep listening and how to do it with your whole body. I dreamed it first, which is how I came to remember. Suddenly I was back there in the Kimberley, out walking in the red dirt with my old Aboriginal aunties as they taught me the kinds of the things that have literally saved my life. Then I woke up with a start. Why had I forgotten to include this one incident when it was so important? I needed to get up and put it all down on the page while it was sharp and clear in my mind. So up I got and I huddled in front of the bright screen at my kitchen table, the main lights out so I wouldn’t wake anyone up.

On this early morning as dawn breaks I am still writing. Weaving this new thread into my almost finished memoir. Carefully excising less important words to put these more important ones into it.

And there is still the not-right ending that I am avoiding, hoping that some miraculous insight will come along that allows me to tidy it up in a satisfying and useful way.

I’ll stop now, and have a break.

Maybe a better ending will come to me as we buy groceries, or as I prepare the guest room for our friend who is coming to spend Easter and Bluesfest with us. Or as I make my Cadbury Creme Egg Salted Caramel Cheesecake (I know!). Or as I answer student emails and record videos for the crystal of the month for my membership group.

Or maybe I’ll just have to slog through it and hope it all comes together, word by painful word.

Anyway, enough now. I’m stepping away from the desk. I’m stretching. I’m yawning. It’s time for a shower.

Wishing you all a connected and inspired kind of day, or at least one with a  good cup of tea or coffee and a little time just for you.

All my love, Nicole  xx

Stormbirds

Image from www.soundslikenoise.com

Image of a male Eastern Koel, also known as a stormbird, from www.soundslikenoise.com

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
~ Leo Buscaglia

 

I heard a stormbird yesterday, just after dawn.

It’s so early in the season for stormbirds that I thought perhaps I was mistaken.

When I made my morning cup of tea, there he was, just outside. He raised his head in song. Rain began to fall and he valiantly continued his cry. I admired his dedication as the rest of the garden fell silent. Taking my mug of tea I crept back to the warmth of my bed and then fell asleep.

 

Mid-afternoon I woke and the stormbird was still calling mournfully from the teak tree outside my kitchen window, just where the garden turns to forest.

He sounded so, so sad.

I watched him from my kitchen sink as I washed my cup. His breast was thrust out determinedly. His dark feathers drooped a little with the misting rain. The weather was cold and miserable but he kept on calling. Occasionally he would go quiet, ruffle his feathers and shake himself, cock his head to one side and sit listening. When the sound went out of him and he sat in silence he seemed smaller somehow. More fragile.

When he began to call again he was tentative at first, as if he didn’t trust his own voice. Little by little he grew louder.

Eventually, he stopped completely. He cocked his head. Every part of him was intent on the listening. His eyes gleamed red. There was power in him. There was purpose.

I listened too.

And then I heard it. An answer.

Off he flew toward the sound.

My own heart swelled with love.

Image of a female Eastern Koel from www.birdingfriends.blogspot.com.au

Image of a female Eastern Koel from www.birdingfriends.blogspot.com.au

 

 

Being Held By The Universe

Image by Simon Beedle www.simonbeedle.com

Image by Simon Beedle www.simonbeedle.com

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”
~ Anne Frank

 

I didn’t write a post on Saturday, although I intended to.

The Universe knew better. I’d had a huge week of work in the city, both paid clients and out-of-hours emergencies that are just part and parcel of my wider life in spiritual service. There was Alan on Monday night, a man on the brink of suicide. There was Steve on Thursday night – a man on the brink of dying. Steve had been involved in a terrible accident, and he needed my help. I’d hoped to tell you about it but it’s still so raw that I find the words aren’t coming yet. Only tears.

It was a crazy busy week of drama. On top of so many other people who have been in crisis or needing help with major life issues. On top of my Planner community and my regular readings.

I thought I’d been coping okay, even under a full load. I’d honoured my feelings, and sat in my emotions and done my best not to bottle anything up. I’d been gentle with myself. Psychic work is hard. It often drains me. And my tender heart is regularly bruised by life, even as I love and celebrate the journey we all share.

That’s me below, exhausted and shiny-faced with tears after helping Steve to pass over on Thursday night. A process which left me completely shattered. My new computer, which I still can’t use properly, managed somehow to capture a screen-shot of me just after I’d hung up from skyping Steve’s wife. It was about 5am, and I’d been talking with them since just before 11pm the night before.

As I wandered around my city home on Friday morning, packing to return to the farm, all I did was cry. Walk and cry. Clean and cry. Pack and cry. The tears kept streaming down my face and I couldn’t control them. They were just a release of all of the energy I’d accumulated as I spoke to the living and those in the place we go to after death. I was also in deep fatigue after experiencing my second night in four days of zero sleep while I did unscheduled psychic work.

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I really thought I was okay, apart from the tears and the tiredness.

But when we got home to the farm on Friday afternoon I finally understood how emotionally bankrupt I was.

Mother Nature knew. The Universe knew. They whipped up an enormous thunderstorm, followed by lashing rain. After which came another storm, and more rain.

My little farmhouse was a sanctuary, surrounded by trees and cut off by flood waters.

I crept into bed at 4pm, and curled up under the sheets to the sound of thunderous rain upon the roof.  I lay facing the window, watching the play of lightning across the sky, and the trees  swaying and dancing in the wind. I felt safe and loved and deeply connected to the natural world. All night the storms raged, and I moved in and of sleep. In the morning the air was clear and the world was quiet.

Very quiet.

We’d lost phone connection and power.

I couldn’t blog or check my email or do any work at all.

‘See,’ my husband said, ‘even God thinks you need the morning off.’

So I spent my morning barefeet on the grass, sun on my face as I meditated or dozed, and by lunchtime I was completely restored to myself.

Thank goodness for my farm, and for trees and sky and rain and tempest, for birdsong and silence. Nature is medicine for my soul.

Today is my Wedding Anniversary, so I’m taking a day off to spend with Ben. The other fine medicine for my soul. We’ll walk on the beach, swim, rest, find somewhere yummy to eat a meal (and probably take Cafe Dog) and talk about life and all that good stuff.

It’s an incredible privilege to be here on this planet at this time. Even if some days do get hard for all of us. Take care of yourself today and always, and remember that nature is always there to embrace you.

Sending much love to you all. Nicole xx

Image from liftupideas.com

Image from liftupideas.com

Cafe Dog’s Bluesfest Protest!

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“One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.

“Get up, stand up, Stand up for your rights. Get up, stand up, Don’t give up the fight.”
~ Bob Marley

 

We’re attending Bluesfest over the Easter Break – five days of music, music and more music! On Thursday morning we left Cafe Dog (Harry) at home while we went out for a coffee and did some last-minute running around. Harry was not impressed, but forgave us. Then we left him home with Bert while we went off to dance in our gumboats.

Yesterday morning Harry was hopeful.  A brand new morning, a brand new coffee opportunity. 🙂  But we dashed those hopes by going to the Mullumbimby Farmers Markets, which is a dog-free zone. We chained Harry up and put him on the very comfortable day bed on the veranda, where the dogs would be out of the rain but have a view of the farm. Bert went straight to sleep but Harry was as pouty as a grounded teenager.

When we came home, Harry had staged his own protest.

He ate the bed!

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Bad Harry.

It’s still raining here, but this morning we are taking Cafe Dog into Byron Bay for a quick social fix before the festival starts.

You got to keep the masses happy!

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A Cleansing Storm

“…I don’t just wish you rain, Beloved – I wish you the beauty of storms…”
~ John Geddes, A Familiar Rain

 

I came home late yesterday afternoon to our little farm.

The heat and humidity were oppressive and you could feel that rising tension that always signals a storm.

Sure enough, after nightfall a low rumble began.

The sky, which all day had been fringed by gathering cloud, was lit from behind with a light show worthy of a festival.

Still the heat clung, and the air was soupy and thick.

The rumbling escalated, and lightning arced between the clouds, or shot bolts down deep into the ground.

We waited.

Finally the rain came.

The sky shuddered and a gentle wind blew its cooling stream across the paddocks. The earth signed with pleasure and a slow rain began to fall.

I was lulled to sleep by that hypnotic pitter-patter of rain on the tin roof, the smell of damp fresh earth sweet and heavy in the air.

This morning everything is clean and calm. The air has a hint of Autumn to it.

It is so good to fill my lungs with peace and hope and goodness.

Wishing you a beautiful, heart-connected day today <3 xoxo

roserain

Sleepy Morning

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“I like it when it rains hard. It sounds like white noise everywhere, which is like silence but not empty.”
~ Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

 

I woke to the sound of rain.

It was soft at first, a comforting patter of drops on the old iron roof.

It made me want to snuggle back under the covers, but meditation is so long a practice in me now that I eased my body up and crept quietly from the bedroom.

As I sat in the cool, dark pre-dawn of my tiny lounge, the light rain became hard.

The sound of the rain on the roof obliterated all else. It made its own kind of music, easy to get lost in.

When the sun approached the dark crescent of our world she stole the rain away.

Now the air is scented with earth and damp foliage. The sky is heavy with low cloud. And the last raindrops are being shaken from the leaves and branches. They fall in tiny tunes on the tin.

I shall make a pot of tea.

While the house slumbers I will write.

I love the quietness of these solitary beginnings. Just me, the birds, the clouds and the rain-soaked paddocks.

Up comes the sun.

Good Morning. I wish for you, and for myself, a day of deepening peace.

And to you, my friends on the other side of the world, sweet slumbers and soothing dreams.

Bless xx

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The Frog Choir

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“Then the singing enveloped me. It was furry and resonant, coming from everyone’s very heart. There was no sense of performance or judgment, only that the music was breath and food.”
~ Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith

 

It’s been a magical few days here at our little farm.

We had a relaxing and love-filled Christmas; a sunny day with ocean swims, followed by swims in the pool and lots of delicious food.

The good weather lasted another day and then rain came. Rather a lot of rain. In fact, it flooded us in, and we lost power for an afternoon and evening.

No matter, we read books, lit candles and went to sleep really early. After which we slept in really late! Oh, it was heavenly.

It’s still overcast this morning, with little scudding showers, although the creek over the causeway is back down again. All of the frogs have gone totally crazy with this constant rain, and the sudden drop in temperature. We have more green tree frogs than I’ve ever seen. They sing constantly, and the air is alive with their croaking. What’s more, they’ve spawned in every bucket, water trough, flooded pot-plant and even the swimming pool.

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It’s been a wonderful break – I disconnected from the internet, my phone, blog and emails for four glorious days. All I’ve done is rest, nap and sleep. (Yes – they are different activities!)  Just what the doctor ordered!

Stay tuned – over the next few days I’ll have some planning exercises and meditations to get your ready for an awesome 2015.

Are you ready for your best year yet? I know I surely am!

Lots of love, Nicole xx

frog

 

A Refreshing Pause

downpour

“Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.”
~ Bill Watterson, The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book

“…I don’t just wish you rain, Beloved – I wish you the beauty of storms…”
~ John Geddes, A Familiar Rain

 

I’m so glad that we went and cast seed around the paddocks, because yesterday it rained almost all day, and then into the night.

My little farmhouse felt like a houseboat, as we sat on the veranda sipping tea and looking out over the misty rain-drenched fields.

The tiny birds that live in our garden were so grateful for the rain. They hopped in and out of the bird bath, chirping merrily and calling to all of their friends.

The bird bath looked quite lonely when they all flew up into the teak to take shelter from the heavier downfall.

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You’ll see that there is washing on the clothes line. It hadn’t been quite dry the day before, so I left it out.

Yesterday morning it was still a little damp.

“Looks like rain. You’d better bring it in,” said Ben.

But that may have been tempting fate. I left it out and sure enough it began to rain about ten minutes later. I don’t mind at all. Soggy clothes and soggy paddocks? I’ll take that! The grass seed will be loving all of this life-giving water.

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We had a proper storm or two, complete with rolling thunder and bright blazes of lightning.

When the storm passed I played in the rain like a child, then came back to the house all muddy and chilled, after which I had a long lovely soak in the bath and put on clean pyjamas.

The hounds also frolicked in the rain, and came home soaked and filthy. To their delight they also got a bath and a rub down with a nice soft towel. Oh, the luxury of it all.

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Heaven was reading a book in bed after dinner, tucked up between clean sheets, and then falling asleep to the sound of gentle drubbing on the tin roof, croaking frogs and the gift of night’s fragrant cool air, rich with the scents of earth, foliage and rain. (This fat, croaky fellow came into my kitchen to say hello while I was making dinner!)

f_GreenTreeFrog

It’s good for the soul to take a step back sometimes, to slow down a little, breathe all that good air and remind ourselves what a magical planet we call home!

Wishing you a peaceful day.

Lots of love, Nicole xx

PS – Feel free to drink in all this lovely green heart chakra energy through my pictures. Nature has so many healing gifts for us

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That Strange Wise Universe

“All things entail rising and falling timing. You must be able to discern this.
~ Miyamoto Musashi

 

Sometimes things don’t go to plan.

We’ve had a lot of rain here at the farm. Lots actually. Think floods.

Last Saturday, after having been flooded in overnight, the causeway dropped and Ben decided we’d make a run for it and head to the city for a few days. I didn’t want to go. I have a workshop coming up. And other deadlines to meet. I had so much work to do, and sitting at home in the rain working on my computer in front of the fire sounded like bliss to me. Also, to be completely honest, I felt like crap. Spending a few days in my pyjamas, holed up while it bucketed down outside, sounded fine by me.

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There was only one problem. Stupid amounts of rain were predicted and I was worried about running out of Lyme drugs, and accessing a post office to send off my memoir to a competition that was about to close.

We needed to make a decision.

 

So we hastily threw a few things in bags and jumped in the car with the dogs in tow. A couple of hours later there was more heavy rain, the causeway came back up, but we were now safely on the other side. Our plan was to fill my prescriptions, finish my memoir changes and get them in the post, and come back late Sunday or early Monday morning.

In Brisbane my computer died an hour after I plugged it in. You know, the horrible blue screen of death? That one.

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Meanwhile the rain kept coming down.

I couldn’t make the computer behave!

Suddenly our quick trip looked like needing an extension.

As a result this week has not turned out to look anything like I had planned.

But…

On Sunday when I realised that I would need to buy a new computer, the one I wanted was on special – for that day only. (Which also once again validates my personal mantra Everything I want is always on special! Read more about helpful affirmations here: My Embarrassing Affirmation Confession)

Our good friend Tony, who also happens to be a computer wizard, suddenly had a work cancellation which meant he could perform CPR on my old laptop and breathe life into my new one. A process I thought should take an hour or two, but which actually took days. Who knew these things could be so complicated?

While I was in that Universe-imposed twilight zone of no emails, blogs, twitter, skype, facebook or any other form of digital communication I was able to re-read and re-edit my memoir the old-fashioned way, with pencil and paper. I finished my draft, made the changes on a borrowed computer, printed it off and sent it on its way. I’m sure I did a much better job of it with so few distractions.

What to do after that? Computer still not working, and new Lyme drugs making me feel less than one hundred percent. I napped my way through most of the next few days.

Result?

My memoir is done, I am well rested and feeling sooooo much better, and my new computer, finally, is ready for business.

Of course, the farm is still flooded in. We might get home tomorrow. Or we might not. Helpful neighbours phone us a few times a day with weather updates. No point going home if we get all the way there only to find that we can’t get over the flooded creek that leads to our front door. We’ve had almost a year’s worth of rain in the past few days, and it’s still raining! We’re safe here in the city, our cows are safe back at the farm, and there’s nothing else to be done.

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I’m okay with whatever happens. This week has worked out just fine, with no help from me.

Life’s like that, isn’t it? You can plan all you want, but often the Universe has a way of making your plans ridiculously irrelevant and replacing them with something far more magical and synchronous.

Are you holding on too tight right now? Maybe it’s time to let the Universe have a little elbow room.

Much love to you, Nicole xx

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The Sound of Rain

 

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“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 Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

 

Here at the farm it’s raining. It has been raining for two straight days, and there’s more rain coming.

That’s okay. We needed the rain. The dam was low, the earth was cracked, and the trees were yearning for a good long drink.

Yesterday we lost power all morning (hence no blog!), and the seasonal creeks began to flow and then to burst their banks.

When the rain first came, I didn’t hear it. I am finishing up the final editing tweaks on my memoir, and I was having trouble concentrating while Ben watched a (very loud) movie in another room. Solution? I downloaded a white noise app on my ipad and shoved some earbuds in my ears, hoping to block out some of the distraction. It worked a treat. I chose a variation which sounded a lot like rain on the roof. When the real stuff began falling I thought it was the app.

There’s something so soothing about the sound of rain, and I highly recommend the app if you’re looking for something to block out background noise. I found it focused my attention on my writing brilliantly. Which is fortunate, because when I finally looked up from my work we’d been flooded in!

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