Sorry You Missed Me Yesterday…

 

“Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.” ~ Gever Tulley

I was intending to blog yesterday, and then I couldn’t.

Early on Monday morning I was strapped into a heart monitor and holder for twenty-four hours, and while I was wired I had to stay away from my cell phone, computers and major electrical devices.

I’m okay. Please don’t worry. Over time lyme and other infections have damaged my heart, and after a recent episode of tachycardia and a few miss-beats one of my doctors thought it prudent to investigate a little further. For me that’s pretty much business as usual. There are always background things going on with my health, I just don’t focus on them or talk about them very much.

Two things I am grateful for in this ongoing saga that is my health:

  1. All of the hardship in my life has made me resilient. I know that whatever happens in life I can cope, adapt, manage, and in many cases thrive anyway.
  2. Meditation is my rock, and one of the major factors in me managing my day-to-day circumstances with grace and ease. (Mostly. Some days are still tears and bother!)

I had a lovely time offline. My Spiritual Awakening Retreat starts next Tuesday, so I put together the bags for the participants, undid my latest crystal grid in the back yard and washed the stones and allocated them for my students, assembled the materials for some of the spiritual tools we’ll make for our personal toolkits and baked up a storm in the kitchen – trialling recipes for Easter.

I’ve discovered that as long as you can manage pain (medications and meditation are great for this, or counselling and meditation if your pain is emotional) you can cope with and adapt to just about anything.

No matter what’s going on for you right now, know that you can do this. You can manage, you can cope, you can get through, you can find a way. I believe in you and in your own enduring resilience and spirit.

Sending you wind for your wings, and very big hugs, Nicole❤ xx

Find Your Grit

“I learned a lesson I’d never forget. The lesson was that, when you have setbacks and failures, you can’t overreact to them.”
~ Angela Duckworth

I’m off to the doctor today. And tomorrow. And Monday. And more after that.

Many different specialists, all with their own opinions.

I know I’m not going to like some of what I hear.

Lyme doctors. Urologists. Immunologists. Opthamologists. Gynecologists.

So, why am I telling you this?

Because, you might not be facing medical challenges but your situation may be similar to mine. You might be living a total crapfest right now. Maybe yours is bad news. Poor results. No support. No money. Failure. Experts telling you it can’t be done. Well-meaning friends and family giving you sympathy and telling you to become resigned to your circumstances.

Don’t believe them.

Dig hard til you find your own truth. Your own strength. Your own answers. Know that it is never over until you reach the end.

Keep walking your road, or find a new road. Rest if you must. But most importantly, hold a vision of what you want in your heart and use your grit to push your way through to a better outcome.

How do you find your grit? Dig your toes in. Push against your circumstances. Keep pushing. Even as you cry and sigh and wonder what the heck you’re doing. Keep looking for answers. For better ways. For alternatives. For new perspectives. Trust that help will come.

Don’t give up on yourself.

Don’t give up on your dreams.

Don’t take it personally if not a single person stands shoulder to shoulder with you right now.

Just keep going.

Because most often that’s how miracles happen. That’s how dreams come true. That’s how everything transforms. That’s how you find the strength to change what can be changed and the grace to accept what will be.

I believe in you. I know that grit and strength is in you. Dig deeper. You’ll find it. And it will transform you when you do.

Sending you so much love and encouragement, Nicole

Grace In Plain Sight

“Un-winged and naked, sorrow surrenders its crown to a throne called grace.”
~ Aberjhani

 

You may have noticed that I’ve been uncommonly quiet here on my blog this past few weeks.

Those of you who’ve known me for a while will also know that if I’m ever quiet it is always for good reason.

Today, I want to share some good and some not so good news with you, in an effort to explain this current spate of absence.

My surgery back in early September went well, despite unforeseen complications. Hooray! Good news. But then I developed a urinary tract infection which turned out to be a superbug. Bad news. I was given an avalanche of drugs, and finally, finally, we were able to eradicate the infection. Good news. But in the process of eradicating the bug my vision was affected. Bad news.

I am currently suffering from a condition known as ocular toxicity. Small crystals have formed in my right eye, causing vision loss and double vision. It’s a rare side effect of the drug I was taking that was necessary to beat the superbug. The effects are usually permanent.

My left eye has already been hammered by Lyme disease, so my vision from that eye is not great. With all of the drugs I’ve been taking recently my optic nerve has become inflamed again so until two days ago I couldn’t see out of that eye at all either – a situation that began before I contracted the superbug. It may also have been damaged by the drug. I won’t know for a few more days.

Scary stuff.

When you suddenly can’t see properly, everything changes.

blind faith

Blind Faith by AronBack at www.deviantart.com

I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I have sobbed myself to sleep each night and been in the darkest of spaces this last little while. It seemed so cruel to have this to deal with, after everything else that has been my latest round of health battles. As a writer, to be unable to read or put words on the page has been an agony.

Each day I wake up hoping for improvement, only to find my world a blur. I can see shapes and colour but nothing has definition. My world is two-dimensional and rather terrifying. Overnight I have become clumsy and tentative. Dependent. Smaller, somehow.

But my left eye has cleared a little in the past forty-eight hours.

From experience I know that there is room for further improvement, and already I am coping a bit better with my new situation. I now have limited vision from my left eye, and using corrective glasses and vision impairment settings on my phone and computer I have managed to gain a little more independence. I can read large font for brief periods before I get a headache and end up exhausted from the effort. I’m cheered enormously by this latest development though. I expect to be able to read and write for short periods each day and with some creative thinking I should be able to get around most of these current hurdles and adapt to the vision loss.

My ability to see energy and auras hasn’t changed at all, thank goodness. If anything, my senses have become more acute.

I also have my fingers crossed that both eyes will improve over time, and I have a great team looking into all of this with me.

So, this is a turn of events I didn’t anticipate.

It’s one that has caused me many tears, and a great deal of distress.

But ultimately, no matter what happens to us, we find a way to cope and move on. I’ll be okay. Things will improve or I will learn to cope better with what is, and meanwhile I will keep asking for help and counting my many blessings. I’ll innovate in order to create. I’ll overcome, and where I can’t I’ll do my best to sit in a state of grace with it all.

My husband put it all into perspective for me. Would I rather have dodgy eyes and be alive, or be dead with perfect eyesight?

I’m doing my best to get up and running again. Sorry that all I’ve spoken about here on my blog lately has been health updates. I hope to bring you something far more interesting very soon. Thanks for your patience, and for your support. It means the world to me.

All my love, Nicole xx

PS: How cool is this Unicorn Eye Patch! It’s on my latest wish list 🙂

eye patch

Awesome Unicorn Eye Patch from www.youtube.com

Requiem For These Passing Moments

“Every one of us is losing something precious to us. Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back again. That’s part of what it means to be alive.”
~ Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

“It all goes away. Eventually, everything goes away.”
~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

 

Sometimes, life is so exquisitely painful that I can scarcely breathe.

Is it odd then, that I find those moments compellingly beautiful too?

I’m not talking about the human me. Not the me who is down there on the floor sobbing in great ugly gulps, or stumbling endlessly through the paddocks with eyes streaming and a great big hole inside me. Or the me sitting silent, numb from shock and horror.

Not, not that me.

There is another me. An eternal me. A me filled with wisdom and kindness and so much love that if all of that soul energy were to dwell within me I would burst open and be nothing but sparks and flame.

That eternal me sat with me last night and held my hand. As I sat at my kitchen table and wrote, earphones delivering me a steady stream of musical novocaine, tears blurring the screen, the keys, the outside world, I was able to slip into that wise observer me and see how alive I was in my pain. How aware I was of the fragility of life. How humbled and overcome all at once. How connected I was with all other souls in this journey of joy and suffering.

Oh lovelies, this is such a wild and mysterious and crazy ride, this thing we call life.

We are, all of us, okay. Even when we’re not.

Holding you in my prayers and meditations,

Nicole <3 xx

 

For When It’s Hard To Be Grateful…

Start-Each-Day-Grateful-Heart

“But that was life: Nobody got a guided tour to their own theme park. You had to hop on the rides as they presented themselves, never knowing whether you would like the one you were in line for…or if the bastard was going to make you throw up your corn dog and your cotton candy all over the place.”
~ J.R. Ward

 

I’m still sick.

Each night I go to bed hoping that tomorrow I will wake, miraculously better.

Each morning I wake, still sick.

This morning it was hard to muster gratitude, as an immune-compromised person dealing with the flu. In other people this bug might last a few days. But in me it has taken hold and then ravaged me. I have chest pain that scares me. I’ve lost vision in my left eye. My body aches, and there are a million other miseries (I’ve become neurologically incontinent again, old Lyme symptoms I haven’t experienced for years have revisited…) I am exhausted and broken and this wasn’t part of my plan! But I don’t want to be cranky. I don’t want to focus on the negative, or on my fears, or how wretched I feel. That won’t serve me.

And yes, I am grateful for the birds, and the sunrise, and my amazing husband and our two caring hounds who haven’t left my side. For all of you, and your love and support. But I am also aching and hurting for all of the opportunities lost, and the position I am currently in, and my helplessness in it all.

While I thought on all of this as I lay in bed, I remembered.

I’ve been in this place so often. Of life sucking pretty hard. Of my health letting me down, or other, worse things. Magical New Age Rainbow Unicorn Thinking isn’t going to help me. It is what is, and I can’t change it.

In this hard space, there is still something to be grateful for, despite the general suckfulness of it all.

I am resilient. I am a survivor. I can be grateful for me, and my own tenacity. I can be grateful that I am still here, maybe not standing today but conscious and continuing in my own gritted-teeth way.

That’s what I want to remind you this morning. You are the miracle. Think of all you have been through. Think of everything life has thrown at you over the years.

On the days when life is mostly hard, or maybe even a completely brutal ride, remember to be grateful for yourself and your ability to get yourself through. Remind yourself that you are stronger than this. Be grateful for your resilience and your determination, your courage and your indefatigable ability to endure.

You are worth celebrating. Acknowledging your journey and your strength will light a flame in your heart to keep you going on the darkest of days.

Sending so much love your way,

Nicole xx

 

On Overcoming Obstacles

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” ~ Calvin Coolidge

 
I have always wanted to be a writer.

I wrote my first full book when I was four, complete with illustrations.

Writing was what I did. It was who I was.

But contracting Lyme Disease at sixteen changed all that. I began to lose words.

By the time I moved to the Kimberley, when I was in my mid-twenties, things were significantly worse.

I write about it here, in the draft of my memoir, based on that period in the Kimberley with my Aboriginal Aunties. At the time, my diagnosis (I’ve had many before Lyme) was relapsing and remitting multiple sclerosis.

“I stepped out of the laundry block and looked up at the sky. It was filled with beautiful streaky…

It was filled with beautiful…

You know.

Those white things.

What were they called?

For the life of me I couldn’t find the word. White was all I could come up with. I knew they weren’t called white. I knew they had a name. But that word, whatever it was, remained dangerously elusive.

Fluffy?

Bear? No, that wasn’t the right word. I sighed with exasperation. Now I couldn’t remember what bear was. But it was brown. Like a tree trunk?

A quiet horror awakened in me. As I ticked off the possible causes – lack of sleep, dehydration, low blood sugar – I knew it would be none of them. I dreaded to think that it could actually be multiple sclerosis. This dull worry exploded inside me, and a moment later my inner warning lights came on. My vocabulary had shrunk dramatically over the past several years, but I’d never lost a word before. I’d always been able to find another word that worked. If I couldn’t say beer I’d say ale or tinny or cold drink. I had good coping strategies. Even when my cognitive function hit a major low I’d managed. Point in case: I had been coping with my new lack of ability with numbers. After all I could still read words, I could still read numbers. I found a way around the problems.

This was the first time I had looked at something familiar and gone completely blank. Words, knowing how to string them together, writing them, speaking them, crafting them, had always been the one thing I could do well. Writing was my fall-back plan. My secret love. What if I lost my words? I couldn’t bear to think about what my life would look like if that happened.

All week it worsened. I never did remember that word for the white things in the sky, and couldn’t even cheat a little by looking them up in my dictionary because I didn’t have a starting point. I also noticed that things didn’t stick in my brain. After reading and re-reading a fax and still struggling to make sense of it I resorted to a list of short bullet points, summarising as I read each paragraph. The bullet points kept my thoughts in order, and jogged my memory. I was reluctant to ring my doctor back in Brisbane, worried that he’d tell me to leave the Kimberley and come home immediately, from which I’d eventually end up in an aged-care facility with all of the old people who had also lost the ability to think and do for themselves.

I became suddenly, stupidly, enormously insecure. Carefully I observed myself, keeping notes in my journal each day. My cognitive dysfunction became worse when I was tired or stressed, and my best time was from when I woke up until lunch. There was a black hole each afternoon where my brain function was massively retarded, and it picked up a little again after four in the afternoon. I rearranged my day so that my mornings were all about problem solving, writing and math. My afternoons were filing, tidying and simple tasks that didn’t need much brain power. No-one else noticed that anything was wrong. I still managed to work each day and complete my duties. However, no matter what I did, the sudden decline in my mental ability was terrifying.”

 

That terror, that dumb incapacity, that lack of ability to find the right words, to remember the plot or the characters, to hold a train of thought? Those things have plagued me my whole adult life. The last paragraph from my memoir extract? That sums up living with Lyme. That sums up three decades of my life.

Sure, I’ve still written. I’ve compensated. I’ve found ways to get words on the page. But they haven’t always flowed, and as the number of pages increased so did my confusion.

Now, after two years of hard-core drug treatment, and a host of other helpful modalities and herbs, my brain is healing. I am healing. My function is coming back.

At my writers’ boot camp this weekend, words have been pouring out of me. Good ones. Words, that when I read over them later, make me weep.

Because I have found that place again. The one that has been lost to me for thirty years. I can remember plots and characters, I can see where something needs to be edited, and I can reach into that wellspring of ideas and still find my way back from the catacombs.

That’s a handy thing.

After thirty years I have so much to say!

Your take-home on all of this?

Don’t ever give up.

Ever.

Be resilient. Be determined. Trust that you will find a way.

Holding you, and those intentions for you, in my meditations and prayers,

Nicole xx

Image from danhilbert.wordpress.com

Image from danhilbert.wordpress.com

Saturday Breakfast

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“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” 
~ Elbert Hubbard

I’ll keep this morning’s blog short because I have to dash! I’m meeting my lovely friend Carly for breakfast at one of our favourite inner-city haunts, a cafe attached to a shop full of organic produce and delectable goodies.

Of course, I still have one eye on my cell phone, waiting for a text. Carls and I are both members of the unreliable club. For various reasons, usually health, one of us might pike at the last moment. This morning I’m good to go – I can drive myself (I’m revelling in the freedom of being able to drive again!), I have no eye patch, no nausea, no migraine or other lyme-y issue. Fingers crossed Carly is travelling well today too.

Last time we met at this cafe, I could barely see, and Carly had to lead me round like a human guide dog up the stairs and between all the tables, and cut up my breakfast. Not today. Today I’m happy to be back at a place of independence and feeling good.

So hopefully we’ll catch up, drink insane amounts of tea, share the latest news, laugh a lot, cry a bit at some of the sad things going on in our lives, and leave the cafe content, buoyed up by each other’s company and ready to face the weekend.

How about you? What plans do you have? Is there any nurture and heart time planned for you?

Sending you all my love and a cup of virtual chai tea, Nicole xx

Bert, who is banned from cafes due to bad behaviour, but who insists on coming along for the ride...

Bert, who is banned from cafes due to bad behaviour, but who insists on coming along for the ride…

She’ll be Apples…

Bowl-of-apples-595x396

“Bean finds the best apple in our tree and hands it up to me. “You know what this tastes like when you first bite into it?” she asks. 
“No, what?” 
“Blue sky.” 
“You’re zoomed.” 
“You ever eat blue sky?”
“No,” I admit. 
“Try it sometime,” she says. “It’s apple-flavored.” 
~ Rodman Philbrick, The Last Book in the Universe

‘She’ll be Apples’ is an Australian expression derived from our long history of rhyming slang – Apples and Spice are nice, therefore it isn’t much of a leap to extrapolate that Apples are good – so when we want to reassure someone that things are going to turn out okay we say “She’ll be apples!”

I’m having a bit of a battle right now. This whole Lyme thing, and the meds I’m on have me down for the count. But I know it’s temporary.

So, while I am resting up, here’s some pics of home for you:

Apple tree in blossom…

2013-08-18 17.07.17Favourite things – crystals, candles, old lead farm animals and a milk maid, a tiny sleeping mermaid in a shell…

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Visits with the neighbours…

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Homemade apple crumbles in cute little blue ramekins I found at a garage sale for 20 cents each!

2013-08-07 17.41.19All I ever have to do is look around my home, or venture outside and take a few deep breaths of fresh clean air and I feel better.

Truly, life is beautiful – even in these hard bits – and I know it’s going to be worth it. Like the saying goes, she’ll be apples!

Thinking of you all as I hold my Gratitude Rock each night,

gratitude rock

Blessings and Love, ♥ Nicole xoxo