Refuelling Your Soul

“The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind.” ~ Caroline Myss

Feeling tired, flat or a bit lost? That’s okay – I have some tips to help you manage that.

Or perhaps it’s worse than a little fatigue. Maybe you feel utterly smashed by life right now. My advice is still going to be the same. There are three steps to follow.

  1. Find some quiet time. Here are some of my favourite ways to do that:
  • Take a long country drive somewhere, or sit on your commute with some headphones on.
  • Go for a walk or a run or a bike ride or a swim
  • Try some yoga or stretching
  • Make a cup of tea and sit on the balcony, or on a comfy sofa
  • Find a quiet cafe and grab your favourite brew and sit in a quiet corner.
  • Hang out in a library
  • Close the bedroom door and light some incense or diffuse some essential oils
  • Take a long shower or bath
  • Get up early, while everyone is asleep and you can have the house to yourself
  • Water the garden
  • Sit on a swing and then… swing!
  • Take an early mark from work
  • Go find a lookout with a view – views help put everything in perspective

2. Allow yourself to relax. Slow your breathing or, if you are exercising, get it into a steady rhythm. Let the tension unwind from your muscles and consciously relax yourself. Really feel yourself soften and calm. This might take a while if you’re stressed. That’s okay. Take as long as you need.

3. Feel into what you need most right now in order to refill your empty tanks and boost your energy levels, resilience and inner peace. Trust that you already hold that wisdom inside you. Ask yourself the question, ‘What do I most need to come back into balance know right now?’ Explore it via your imagination, in meditation or through journalling or writing. Let clarity come to you in the form of ideas, thoughts, images and feelings. You may also want to pull an oracle or tarot card to give you further inspiration.

Commit to using this wisdom to gently transform your life.

Thinking of you and sending much love, Nicole ❤️ xx

Shhhhh….. Napping Happening here!


“Reading and naps, two of life’s greatest pleasures, go especially well together.” 
― Will Schwalbe

I love Boxing Day. I don’t cook a thing. We survive on the leftovers of the Christmas Feast. Which is no hardship, believe me. Leftovers! Such a magnificent word. I sometimes think the only reason I cook so much food for Christmas Day is for the days to follow where my fridge and pantry are laden with leftovers I don’t need to prepare.

Today I plan to nap. And read. Then nap some more.

Ben will listen to the cricket on his headphones as he drives around our house paddock on the ride-on mower.

Later we might swim, if it’s hot.

Or, probably, just nap some more.

I think this might be my favourite day of the year!

Wishing you some relaxation and self-care too today,

All my love, Nicole ❤ xx

I Have A Present For You!

Image from playbuzz.com

“Self-care is how you take your power back.”
~ Lalah Delia

Hello, Lovelies.

Are you feeling exhausted, overwhelmed or completely over it all?

Congratulations! I’ve just gifted you a Free Pass. You might want to cut this out and store it in your wallet. You may also want to share this with someone else who would benefit from it.

This is a magical ticket. It allows you to decline a usual activity or responsibility, so that you may replace it with one of your choosing. Used responsibly, this magical ticket has been found to have restorative properties for Body, Mind and Spirit.

I’m using my own ticket this afternoon. I had planned a mass of admin work; catching up on emails, phone calls and filing. But I’m tired so I’m going back to bed for a nice big sleep after lunch. When I wake up I’ll decide how to spend the rest of my day. So far I’m leaning towards a bubble bath, soup and a good book.

PS – this ticket renews itself, so tuck it away after you’ve used it. Just knowing it’s in your wallet is often enough to get you through a rough patch. And when you really need it, it will be there for you.  Enjoy! ♥ xx

Today’s expected transformation…

Image from robertlewis.net

Image from robertlewis.net

“Taking care of yourself is the most powerful way to begin to take care of others.”
~ Bryant McGill, Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life

 

Today’s the day.

Our Soul Sanctuary 2014 retreat starts this morning.

A group of hard-working and world-weary women shall walk through the front door, tired and in need of some ‘self’ time..

By this afternoon, we’ll already be chilling, relaxing, laughing, connecting, replenishing.

Hooray!

Stay tuned for updates. And remember to be kind to yourself today. Lots of love, 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

 

The Healing Power of Nature

Lake Mapourika - New Zealand

“Make your heart like a lake with a calm, still surface
and great depths of kindness.”
Lao Tzu

Sometimes, the simplest way to soothe your Soul is to spend a little time in Nature. A walk along the river, a cleansing dip in the ocean, some time sitting on the grass or playing outside with our pets.

Nature has great power to heal and restore us. All we need to do is avail ourselves of that energy by spending a little time there.

Even in the midst of a city we can usually find a spot to hear the wind rustling the leaves of the trees, or feel the sunshine on our face.

Red Geranium - Murano, Italy

Time spent in nature will fill you up, and give you peace. It will restore what is missing, and comfort what has become care-worn or broken.

Stream in my backyard

You can be on your own, but surrounded by birds and flowers and trees. Or you can bring a book, a picnic, a friend…

Crystals and Dahlias on my kitchen windowsill

Frankincense and flowers

And nature is surprisingly transportable.

You can bring part of it home with you, where it can continue to soothe and uplift you.

Potted plants, fresh flowers, incense, essential oils – all of them can help you find or create a better space.

And of course there is always the joy of the Farmers’ Markets:

Bangalow Farmers Markets

One of my favourite things about the healing power of Nature is that possibility of re-discovering our sense of wonder. And we all need a little more of that in our lives. The video below demonstrates that magic perfectly! Wishing you a wonder-full day ♥

Give yourself a Free Pass

Congratulations!  I’ve just gifted you a Free Pass.  You might want to cut this out and store it in your wallet.  You may also want to pass this one on to someone else who would benefit from it.

This is a magical ticket.  It allows you to decline a usual activity or responsibility, so that you may replace it with one of your choosing.  Used responsibly, this magical ticket has been found to have restorative properties for Body, Mind and Spirit.

I’m using my own ticket today. Although technically a day off for me, I had planned a mass of admin work; catching up on emails, phone calls and filing.  But it’s rainy and cool, and way too early.  So I’m going back to bed for a nice big sleep.  When I wake up I’ll decide how to spend the rest of my day.  So far I’m leaning towards yum cha, a movie and a good book.

PS – this ticket renews itself, so tuck it away after you’ve used it.  Just knowing it’s in your wallet is often enough to get you through a tough patch. And when you really need it, it will be there for you.  Enjoy! ♥ xx

Emotions and their impact on your health

When your mind can know peace, your body can know healing. ~ Nicole Cody

(image by Evgeni Dinev)

Many of my friends are healers. They come from widely different schools and philosophies of healing – general medical practitioners, environmental medicine specialists, acupuncturists, naturopaths, herbalists, body workers, nutritionalists and all manner of other modalities. Over the past twenty years all of them have observed one thing; the number of people suffering long-term chronic illness, digestive issues, stress-related health issues and fatigue has soared.  Not only that, many of the simple treatments that once worked so well for bringing people back into balance no longer are as effective.

Why?

There are many external factors – more exposure to pollutants and chemicals, little exercise, poorer diet, less sunshine.

But even when these things are addressed many people are slow to heal. I, and many of my learned practitioner friends, believe at least part of this is to do with the state of mind we are in.

There have been numerous studies done which show that when a person is relaxed the surface tension of their skin changes.  Their blood pressure lowers, their heart slows, the chemicals responsible for sleep, blood sugar and hormonal balance rise and stabilise. In a place of relaxation people become more creative, more connected, happier, more adept at innovative thinking and problem solving. In a place of relaxation our bodies find it far easier to heal.  It is impossible to think a negative thought when you are in a deeply relaxed state.

What does negative thinking have to do with my health?

Go ahead.  Think of something that really makes you mad.  Or powerless.  Feel the changes take place in your body.  You will feel heavier, there will be a sense of tension in your face and body. You may have a surge of adrenalin or a sudden draining away of energy. Your heart speeds up, you may feel clammy and hot, agitated or ill.  This is not your imagination – this is your body’s autonomic response to your thoughts.  This is a natural reaction to perceived stress within your body. Worry, stress, fear, panic, over-thinking; this is what is stopping you from healing.

Over time, this sort of thinking has a destructive impact on the body.  It exhausts our adrenals.  It puts pressure on our thyroid and other parts of our endocrine system.  Our liver becomes stressed and congested and can’t function as well as it used to as it deals with the flood of naturally occurring chemicals WE have created in our body through the stress response.

In this place of adrenal depletion we can become addicted to caffeine, energy drinks, sugar and carbs to keep us  functioning.

The blood is always in our extremities as we ready ourselves to fight or flee (the stress response once again) so our digestion slows and becomes impaired.  Even if we gain weight we may still be massively malnourished, and our body may struggle to absorb supplements, herbs and better food.

We may resort to anti-depressants or sleeping pills.  We may self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.  Or we may just go through life exhausted, sick and not coping but needing to get up and get on with it each day.

Our sleep becomes affected, and that avenue of healing becomes further reduced.  No matter who we see, or what we try nothing seems to work.  Or it doesn’t work for long.

Sound familiar?

If you are living with stress and anxiety, if there is something or someone in your life, or from your past, that causes you to feel unsafe, inadequate, fearful, anxious, angry,  resentful, or shamed… then it’s going to be an uphill battle to become well and stay well.

Positive emotions impact your health positively.  Negative emotions impact your life negatively.

The longer a negative emotion is the ugly background wallpaper in your life, the more you get accustomed to it, but don’t be fooled.  It will still be affecting you. And not in a good way.

Let me repeat an important point.  It is impossible to experience a negative emotion when you are in a relaxed state.  

What this means for your health is simple.  When you are relaxed, your body can know healing.  When you are relaxed your body can do what it needs to do to put itself back into balance, and to put you back into flow, connection and clarity.

So, by all means find yourself a skilled healer, a physician, or a team to put your body back together.  But remember you also need to do your part.  You need to take care of the housekeeping of your mind.

Do things that relax you.  Practice meditation, yoga or tai chi.  Listen to music.  Go for walks in nature.Take the dog!  Make time for YOU in your life. Do the things that give you peace. Find people, places and activities that nourish, validate and support you.

Let go of what no longer serves you in your life.

And if you need to, seek a counsellor, pyschologist, psychiatrist – someone trained in helping you undo what has bound you up in knots.

I know this to be true:  When your mind can know peace, your body can know healing.

This is a great meditation for relaxing that I recorded a few days ago.

Honour your body, work with your mind, and live from your heart.  Your body has an infinite wisdom, and that wisdom is free to reign when we are in a place of relaxation and ease. Do all you can to find or create that peaceful place within you. Healing can then be a natural flow-on effect of that energy.  Bless ♥ xx