A Starting Point For Change

Running Away from Home - Photo by Laura Corebello

Running Away from Home – Photo by Laura Corebello

“She had discovered early that what we want out of life can change; that the important thing is to learn to recognize or even simply just to admit what we really want, and then to have the courage to reach for it.” 
~ Candice Proctor, Whispers of Heaven

“The question is: how bad do things have to get before you will do something about it? Where is your line in the sand?”
~ Michael Badnarik

 

Today, under this Traveller’s Moon, is a good time to get clear on our starting place for change.

Understand this. You don’t need to know yet where you are headed. You just need to know what it is you really need to leave behind.

You need to get clear about what you DON’T WANT.

This isn’t a list of dislikes. It’s not an agenda of complaints.

Today I want you to spend some time and be totally honest with yourself. Based on all of your life experiences so far, and on a foundation of your values and integrity, what is it that you just can’t do, won’t do, don’t ever want?

Your starting place for change is to simply recognise the energies and styles of relationships that you are no longer prepared to accept in your life.

Think of it as drawing a line in the sand so that the Universe knows where you are at, and so that you can use this as a measuring stick for future situations, choices and relationships.

Image from Papa's Job

Image from Papa’s Job

It might not be a very long list. That’s okay. What’s most important is that you feel it in your heart and know it to be true for you.

 

Here are some examples:

I will never accept a cheating partner again.

I can’t work in a place where I am bullied.

Working twelve hour days for someone else – that’s over!

Never spending time in nature? I can’t do that anymore.

Image by Alegri

Image by Alegri

Once you have that list, turn your back and put those things behind you.

With what you don’t want behind you, you’ll have a starting place and a clear direction forward, even if you don’t know exactly where you’re headed next.

Knowing what we don’t want is ALWAYS the starting point of working out what we DO want.

Bless ♥ Nicole xx

Image from bohemiabowmans

Image from bohemiabowmans

 

Free Guided Meditation for the Solar Plexus Chakra

“I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.” 
~ William Ernest Henley, Invictus

 

The Solar Plexus Chakra holds a gorgeous energy for us to work with, especially when we are making decisions about our lives, our direction, and what is best for us.

The Solar Plexus is the place where our sense of self-identity resides. It is the seat of our personal power. It is where our personal power, integrity and self-esteem are anchored.

Solar Plexus Chakra by Nicole Ladd, Flickr

Solar Plexus Chakra by Nicole Ladd, Flickr

When our Solar Plexus is balanced we feel calm, energised, clear and certain about who we are and where we are going in life. It instills us with confidence, vitality and purpose. We have self-control and sovereignty in our lives.

When our Solar Plexus Chakra is unbalanced and low in energy we feel ‘less than’, our self-esteem and confidence drop, we feel flat and tired, and we may be lost and confused about what is best for us and which direction to take. We make poor choices and don’t seem to care or be able to stop ourselves even though we are aware of our patterns.

When the chakra is too energised we can become stubborn, intolerant, narrow-minded, bossy and overbearing. We become workaholics who are relentlessly driven and who take no joy from life.

I’ve recorded a short guided meditation for you to help balance and work with the energy of your Solar Plexus Chakra. All you need to do is sit or lie comfortably and follow along with the sound of my voice:

Guided Meditation for the Solar Plexus Chakra:

 

Other actions that support the Solar Plexus Chakra include dancing; journal writing, 🙂 exercises which stretch and move the hips and belly; the essential oils Rosemary, Bergamot and Lavender; and the crystals Citrine, Tiger Eye, Yellow Topaz and Amber.

Much love to you! ♥ Nicole xx

Image from Michelle Alva

Image from Michelle Alva

5 Ways to Be Kind to Yourself Today

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Hammock – Image by Sodahead

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” 
~ Oscar Wilde

I’m working today, conducting some psychic appointments. There’s such a joy for me in that – both the joy of spiritual connection, and the joy of being of service.

And I’m also choosing to be extra kind to myself today. Why? Because I’m unwell still? Partly. But it’s much more than that. In fact I felt the need to blog about it because so many people tell me that they either don’t feel deserving of putting themselves as a priority in their own lives or they don’t really even know HOW to treat themselves well.

I was once notorious for NOT treating myself well. I’d drive myself into the ground, pick myself up and then do it all again.

No more.

How can I ever reach sustainable heights if I’m flying with broken wings?

Now I make a concerted effort at the start of every day, or as I go to bed the night before, to identify five things I can do that will be a kindness for myself. I look for ways to comfort, nurture, support, relax, ease my burdens or to create moments of stillness. (Pssst: Wanna know a secret? I prefer to be clear about how I’ll be kind to myself and list these things so that I actually do them. Otherwise my day might go by in a blur and I won’t have done a single thing for myself at all…)

Treating ourselves as precious and worthy sends a strong message to the Universe that we ARE precious and worthy. It helps magnetize us to relationships and opportunities that treat us with respect, with goodness and with integrity.

Treating ourselves with kindness fills up our cup, so that we can more sustainably keep giving to others. And I know how many of you are big givers, how much you support others, and how many demands you have upon your time.

Lovelies, treating yourself with kindness keeps you sane, helps you cope, and makes even the hardest days more bearable. And on the good days, your world will take on a new luminosity and grace. Things will simply flow better.

Cup of Kindness - Image by www.queenofyourownlife.com

Cup of Kindness – Image by www.queenofyourownlife.com

Treating ourselves well might feel odd at first, or even wildly wrong – especially if we have entrenched patterns of self-sabotage or low self esteem. But I promise it gets easier, and after a while it even begins to feel good.

Here’s how I’m being kind to myself today:

  1. Yoga breathing and meditation to start my morning while I burn a favourite aromatherapy oil blend.
  2. Early coffee with a friend for hugs and a catch up. (See you soon! xx)
  3. Home-made Thai pumpkin soup and salad for lunch and a half-hour sit in the sunshine doing perfectly nothing – with Bert the dog for company.
  4. An epsom salts bath with lots of lovely fairy-approved crystals at the end of my working day to ground, cleanse and relax.
  5. I’m then planning an early night, tucked up in bed with a good book (Inga Simpson’s Mr Wigg), before I head off to see my Lyme Doctor tomorrow.

How about you? How will you be kind to yourself today?

So often we have advice for our family and friends about self-nurture and the need to take care of themselves. Isn’t it about time we did the same?

Remember to talk kindly to yourself too. More gets done with love and encouragement than angry words, blame and meanness.

Bless xx

Do Not Be Friends With Mean People!

 

“It is only the great hearted who can be true friends. The mean and cowardly can never know what true friendship means.”~ Charles Kingsley

I spent some time with a little girl yesterday who is having a hard time with other girls being mean and bullying her at school.

Madeline (I changed her name here, but she’s seven and the sweetest girl you’ll meet!) is doing her best to be nice to these mean girls, and to be a friend to them. Her mum told Madeline that if she is nice long enough, eventually the girls will see what a lovely person she is and want to be her friends for real.

But the fact is this group of girls aren’t being friends back. They invite Madeline to play and then hurt her. They call her over then ignore her. They tease her and make fun of her. But they do just enough ‘playing nice’ that Madeline keeps going back, hoping that they will finally accept her and treat her with respect and kindness. To them it’s just a big game, but to Madeline it’s a defining force in her life that’s tying her up in knots and eroding her self-confidence and self-esteem.

Madeline asked what I would do.

My answer surprised her.

I said, “Stop being friends with mean people! Make friends with people who are kind and who make you smile. Friends are people you like to spend time with. If you don’t like spending time with them then it’s not a very good friendship.”

I think that’s sound advice whether you’re seven or seventy.

advice-quotes-friendship-quotes-Associate-yourself-with-people-of-good-quality-for-it-is-better-to-be-alone-than-in-bad-company.

Don’t be friends with people who are mean. It doesn’t matter whether they are classmates, work colleagues, the partners of friends, next-door-neighbours, or family. Mean people don’t respect you, your ideas, your feelings, or your possessions.

Mean people make you feel small. Mean people cause you hurt and worry, and make you feel sick in the stomach with anxiety when you have to spend time with them. Mean people make you believe you’re not good enough, or that there’s something wrong with you.

Mean people don’t know HOW to be friends. So why would you want to waste your half of a friendship on someone who can never be a friend back?

There are lots of terrific people in the world, and lots of people who could use a friend. Mean people don’t make good friends. So stop trying to win people over, or expecting them to change. If they can’t like you for who you are and treat you well, move on.

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Self Care isn’t Selfish

“Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort.” ~ Deborah Day

 

A friend of mine has finally taken time out from her crazy over-giving-to-everyone-else-but-herself life to focus on her health. She’s run herself ragged, and her poor body is suffering from years of neglect, so she’s taking a month off to go to a health retreat and get some new strategies in place to turn her situation around.

Another friend has recently quit a long-term social group where she has been the President for over fifteen years so that she can spend weekends working on her art.

A mutual acquaintance shocked me when she said of these two women, “It’s a bit self-indulgent, don’t you think?”

Excuse me?

Since when has it been okay to forgo your own health, emotional well-being and dreams, forever putting your needs on the back burner while you collapse in a heap  from being there for everyone else?

Self care isn’t a natural act for most people anymore. Too many of my friends and clients have confided to me that they feel guilty about pursuing their own interests or taking time for themselves when they have jobs, partners, families, elderly parents and social obligations.

But if we keep drawing on our own energy to support others without ever filling ourselves back up, eventually we end up empty.  We lose ourselves.  We look in the mirror and don’t know who we are any more.  We become little more than machines.

 

When we don’t make time for ourselves the end result will never be pretty.  We burn out, we break down, we stop maintaining the habits and relationships that contributed to our wellbeing, and we often end up walking away from things that were actually good for us or that we were once passionate about.  I see this so often that I call it ‘burned out practitioner syndrome’ – people who worked at what they loved so unsustainably that they came to resent their work/art/relationships and became totally disconnected from their passion and purpose.

Self care isn’t selfish.  Self care is the single most important gift you can give to yourself and the relationships around you. If you don’t know where to start, here are some simple suggestions:

10 ways to be kind to yourself

Remembering to take care of you

Are you setting yourself up for failure this week?

 

Loving myself lopsided…

“The play is done – the curtain drops,

Slow falling to the prompter’s bell;

A moment yet the actor stops,

And looks around, to say farewell.

It is an irksome word and task;

And, when he’s laughed, and had his say,

He shows, as he removes his mask,

A face that’s anything but gay.”

~ William Makepeace Thackeray

I’m having trouble with my face.

It started quite a while ago, perhaps fifteen years, and was so trifling that only my mother noticed. “Oh,” she said as I was going off to have some professional photographs taken for a work assignment. “You know you have a funny eye? You look uneven when you smile.  Don’t put that side of your face toward the camera.”

Thanks for the heads-up, Mum.  As it was, when the pictures came back she remarked that I was squinty.

It’s become worse over time, and now I know what it is.  It’s not natural ugliness or an inherited facial flaw.  I have Bell’s Palsy, courtesy of Lyme Disease attacking my cranial nerve.

When I smile, only one side of my face responds.

2013-03-14 15.52.22I tell myself it makes me look whimsical. And the upside is that one side of my face is quite free of smiley eye-wrinkles and laugh lines. Which side of my face should I put to the camera now, Ma?  The smiley side? The smooth and ageless side?

Actually, I think it’s time to face the world head on.

I’ve decided that I’m beautiful just the way I am.  If I get droopier, at least I know I’m smiling on the inside. It’s almost like a botox experiment without the botox!

If I let fashion magazines and our society’s obsession with youth and perfection define me, I’d be out with the trash. But I have something much more powerful that that – I’m grateful for my body, and I love that it has hung in here with me. I’m comfortable in my skin and I hope that in my self-acceptance I can encourage you to begin to feel the same.

Just in case you are uncertain as to my smiley status, here’s another pic, modified with the help of my index finger to get that pesky under-performing cheek into position.

2013-03-14 15.53.45I have a message for you:

Beauty begins in the heart.  Beauty is kindness and compassion in action. It’s wearing your passion and living your values. It’s being authentic and REAL. Beauty is YOU just as you are, being yourself and accepting that Self with love.

Quit judging yourself. Don’t hide from the world, wanting to be something other than who you are. Know that you are perfect in your imperfection, that your body and your life will continue to evolve and change, and all of that will be reflected on your face, but more importantly in your heart.

In the end, when we remember someone, it’s the time we spent together and the way they made us feel that is important.  So dress up in your best smile, share your love, practice kindness and do all you can to embrace your life with joy. 

I love you! Bless ♥ xx

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Ditch those Toxic Friends!

Friendship_by_rebela_wanted

“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.”

~ Wayne Dyer

A woman I’ve known since school rang me in tears yesterday, totally confused about who she is, and what she is capable of.  She’s depressed, lost and about to give up on a dream that once upon a time was the brightest star on her horizon. Something she’s really good at.  Something she used to be passionate about. Why the change? A ‘friend’ has been in her ear, and in the ear of others, talking this wonderful soul down, and instilling these deep doubts.

It’s not the first time I’ve seen this happen.  Other close friends have also battled with the pain they feel, and their sense of loyalty to the concept of friendship, when they’ve been in a relationship with a person who treats them badly.

One girlfriend, who helped another woman in their career, has had her ideas pinched and her relationship discarded when it no longer served the person she was ‘friends’ with. This person has become successful and precious, and the way she treats my friend is appalling.

Another had his tools trashed, and a substantive amount of money lost to a mate he’d been friends with since kindergarten.Not only that, the ‘friend’ did irreparable damage to this man’s business reputation with gossip and slander.

What kind of friend behaves like that?

A toxic friend.  And toxic friends aren’t really friends at all!

We’ve all had our share of unequal or downright damaging relationships, but I find that sensitive souls are at highest risk of exploitation in relationships. Sensitive souls are naturally trusting, they place a high value on loyalty and on the well-being of others, and they enjoy helping people. But they can be so busy being a friend, and a helpful friend at that, that they don’t take a moment to see if their friendship is truly reciprocated…

So what does a healthy friendship look like?

In a good friendship you may have shared interests or nothing in common, but you are interested in each other’s lives. There will be respect, trust, kindness, genuine enjoyment of each other’s company, a balance of giving and receiving, care and love, support, non-judgement, respected boundaries, laughter, tears and exchanges of wisdoms, worries, trivia and the deepest secrets of your heart. A friend is there for you, and when there are problems you can communicate and work them through. Friends lift each other up. Friends get us through the darkest hours.

There’s a chemistry to friendships, but then again so much of any healthy and happy relationship comes down to good manners and sound values. Treating people well, having consideration for their feelings and welfare, putting in effort to maintain and build on what you already have.

All friendships require work, and they take time and energy to maintain. A friend is someone to talk to, to share life with, and to be with without words too.

WiY4CC

Toxic relationships are not something anyone would willingly sign up for, so how do we end up in them?

  • we change and they don’t, or vice versa
  • their mask drops over time, and they reveal an aspect of themselves that wasn’t evident at the beginning
  • in a place of low self-worth we accept them in, grateful for their company and attention
  • we might have loyalty to them based on a shared time on our lives – ending up as friends due to circumstance; room mates, best friends at primary school, etc and it’s not actually enough to base a friendship on as we mature
  • in a dark or low place in our own lives, we attract people that mirror these unhealthy and unhappy aspects of ourselves
  • sometimes we feel like we don’t have a lot of choice – they are family members, or partners of friends and family
  • they can also be co-workers, where our relationship is based on daily connection and proximity

Here are some signs of a toxic friendship:

  • their needs are always more important than yours
  • they don’t respect significant people in your life such as your partner, children, family or other friendships
  • they steal your ideas, friends, time and money
  • they ingratiate themselves with friends and family and then erode your position with those people
  • you feel drained rather than supported
  • they lie to you, or play games
  • you begin to think that maybe it is you, and you spend a lot of time working on the relationship or ‘fixing’ things about yourself
  • they sabotage or derail your successes and otherwise stunt your growth
  • they manipulate and guilt-trip you
  • they are full of promises but never deliver, back out at the last minute, or change the rules without asking eg you organise a lunch together and they bring three friends you don’t know
  • oversteps boundaries and engages in inappropriate behaviour with yourself or others associated with you
  • borrow things and never return them, or treat your possessions with little respect eg car comes back dirty and empty after they use it, lose your stuff or loan it out to others without your permission
  • they are hot and cold with you and you never know where you stand
  • they can’t keep your confidences
  • they’re never there for you, but expect you to be there for them, day or night, 24/7
  • they speak badly about you to others
  • they use you to get something that they want, and when they have it they’re done with you
  • they put you down, or make compliments that actually are sweetly disguised insults, and if you call them on it somehow it’s actually your fault or your problem

Let’s face it, in a toxic relationship, it’s all about THEM!

It’s often harder for sensitive people in toxic relationships to end the friendship because they don’t have such clear-cut boundaries, and from a place of spiritual beliefs, empathy, love and compassion they’ll keep trying to help, keep trying to heal, and keep trying to make it better.

If you find yourself hurting and confused in a relationship where being with a person makes you feel worse rather than better, if the signs of a toxic friendship are there, then walk away. The energy you give to an unhealthy and unsatisfying friendship would be better spent on having a good relationship with yourself. Staying in toxic relationships does immense damage over time. Sensitive people can lose themselves entirely.

 

If the person is a family member, or other complicated relationship where it’s harder to walk away, minimise your time with them, stop sharing and do all you can to shield yourself from their energies.  Sometimes you even need to just sever the ties there too.

The world is full of wonderful people, and somewhere out there is a person who’ll be able to give back what you share with them – which is what true friendship is all about.

Above all, value yourself. We live in a reciprocal Universe, and the Universe gets its prompts from us about how we should be treated. If we let it be okay for others to treat us badly, the Universe will just keep delivering more of that energy to us.

EmbracingNewBeginnings

If it’s time to make some changes you’ll find these posts helpful:

Knowing When to Walk Away

Knowing When to Let Go

Speaking your Truth – Tips for the Throat Chakra

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