Loving-Kindness Meditation

loving kindness meditation

Image from www.ranibu.ru

“…eventually tides will be the only calendar you believe in…
And someone’s face, whom you love, will be as a star
Both intimate and ultimate,
And you will be heart-shaken and respectful.

And you will hear the air itself, like a beloved, whisper
Oh let me, for a while longer, enter the two
Beautiful bodies of your lungs…

Look, and look again.
This world is not just a little thrill for your eyes.

It’s more than bones.
It’s more than the delicate wrist with its personal pulse.
It’s more than the beating of a single heart.
It’s praising.
It’s giving until the giving feels like receiving.
You have a life- just imagine that!
You have this day, and maybe another, and maybe
Still another…

And I have become the child of the clouds, and of hope.
I have become the friend of the enemy, whoever that is.
I have become older and, cherishing what I have learned,
I have become younger.

And what do I risk to tell you this, which is all I know?
Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world. ”
~ Mary Oliver, Evidence: Poems

 

Today I’m sharing a simple Loving-Kindness guided meditation. Buddhists also know this as a metta meditation. Metta in buddhism means ‘friendliness’. Metta is the heart-generated warmth that reaches out and embraces others. It is also a warmth that we can direct to ourselves.

It is well documented that regular meditation helps us to reduce inflammation, anxiety and depression, to improve our immune responses, better manage pain, feel more happy and calm, and improve our overall wellbeing.

It has also been documented that recipients of the prayers and meditations of others also feel an increase in happiness and wellbeing, and an awareness of being loved.

This introductory meditation allows you to send loving kindness to yourself, and also to a loved one whom you’d like to support.

Loving Kindness meditation

Image by Wesley Hitt

I’m posting this meditation in support of a girlfriend whose mother is suffering from a profound bout of anxiety and depression. The mother has indicated that it is stressful for her to have her daughter try to help her, and for now she is pushing her daughter away. This simple loving-kindness meditation will help my friend to overcome her feelings of rejection, and to actively engage in sending energetic support to her mother.

To participate in the meditation, all you have to do is sit or lie quietly, close your eyes and follow along to the sound of my voice. The meditation takes 9 minutes, but I suggest that you leave yourself a little longer so you can come quietly and calmly back into the world at the end of the session.

Loving-Kindness Meditation:

 

I encourage you to practice this meditation often. You will find that it can make a tremendous positive difference in your life over time.

Much love to you, Nicole xx

Concluding Our Oracle Card Challenge

“The outside world can only trigger or block your experience of your true nature. Each time something beautiful takes your breath away, that’s you experiencing yourself. Each time you fall in love with someone, that’s you experiencing yourself. Each time a child’s smile gives you unspeakable joy, that’s you experiencing yourself. Your true nature is beautiful. Life is the art of rediscovering yourself, again and again, in different forms, celebrating, rejoicing, welcoming. You are beautiful. You are life itself.”
~ Vironika Tugaleva

 

Thank you so much for being part of this Oracle Card Challenge.

Now that you are familiar with using cards to help you to gain insights and direction, you can apply the methods I have shown you to work with any situation in your life where you require insight or inspiration.

 

I recommend that you use cards as a tool for clarification, rather than as an instrument of prediction. You are the force of power in your life. Within you lies the capability to steer yourself true and to make decisions and choices that are well aligned with a positive future. That future is shaped by your intentions and actions. Don’t give your power away by using cards to predict your own future, or to keep asking a question over and over until you find an answer that pleases you. All successful change comes through deliberate thought, intention and action. No matter your current circumstances, you have these things at your disposal to help bring about changes in your life.

I also recommend that you go back through your journal now, and explore each area you wrote about in more depth. Create an action plan for yourself. Decide on some priorities. Implement your plan, and watch what magic you can create in your life.

Love and hugs, Nicole ❤ xx

Day 3 – Oracle Card Challenge

“What we call our destiny is truly our character and that character can be altered. The knowledge that we are responsible for our actions and attitudes does not need to be discouraging, because it also means that we are free to change this destiny. One is not in bondage to the past, which has shaped our feelings, to race, inheritance, background. All this can be altered if we have the courage to examine how it formed us. We can alter the chemistry provided we have the courage to dissect the elements.”
~ Anaïs Nin

 

My Relationship with Myself

Our relationship with ourselves is the singular most important human relationship in our lives. How well do you know yourself? Like yourself? Trust yourself? Respect yourself?

The more we improve our relationship with ourselves, the better and more honest our other relationships will become. Remember, that all we are doing is getting a position on where we are right now. Where we are can change once we put awareness and insight to our current situation. Let’s explore this further.

 

Here’s what you need to do.

Take your crystal, and complete this short guided meditation:

Hold your stone in your cupped hands, close your eyes, and slow your breathing. Bring white light into your body until you feel peaceful and calm. Then bring white light into the crystal too. Allow yourself to connect to the stone. You may feel it tingle, or visualise a colour in your mind’s eye. When you are ready, open your eyes. Keep your stone near you, and hold it when you write.

 

Now shuffle your cards, while silently asking the question to yourself ‘What is my true relationship with myself?’

When you have shuffled the cards and they feel ‘done’, select one card using the method that feels right for you.

Place the card face up in front of you.

Clear your mind by closing your eyes and taking one deep breath in and then out. Open your eyes again. Take a minute and look at the picture.

Image from www.wowoon.com

Image from www.wowoon.com

What stands out for you today? Is it an image or a colour? Is it a number or a word? What are your first impressions? What thoughts come into your mind?

Write these down in your journal.

Now let’s go a little deeper. What feelings or words does this card evoke in your mind when you think about the card and its images in relation to the question ‘What is my true relationship with myself?’ Take five minutes and write some stream-of-consciousness thoughts down. Don’t censor or judge them. Trust the process. Draw a second card for clarification if you need to.

Finally, read back over what you have written.

This may have been a difficult task for you today. If you feel emotional, sit in meditation again at the end of your session and run white light through your body and then bring pink light into your heart.

Know that you can come back and keep working on this question over time. Congratulations! This is a big, brave step.

Lots of love, Nicole xx

It’s Okay to Keep Changing – and How to Cope with People Who Don’t Recognise That

Image from timrettig.net

Image from timrettig.net

“If people refuse to look at you in a new light and they can only see you for what you were, only see you for the mistakes you’ve made, if they don’t realize that you are not your mistakes, then they have to go.”
~ Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

 

I received another message this week that I thought was best answered on my blog.

Lilly writes:

“Hello beautiful. Just wanted to ask some advice. I’m feeling really flat and down and sad this past week. My issues are based in trust and loyalty around family. I am trying to take a holistic approach to life and health in general , have been trying as hard as I can to do and be my best. My ” family ” is still full of doubt , spite and criticism of me and my abilities as a mum and person. My heart is bruised and my soul is weary. Can you offer any advice at all please ? Crystals to work with, books to read, certain meditations, angels to pray to, advice on how to react or not reactionary. ? Anything ?? I know your very busy and have a lot on your own plate but I’m sitting here feeling so lost and down and I don’t know who else to ask. Any advice at all would be deeply appreciated.”

 

First of all, Lilly, here’s a big hug (((HUG))). It’s hard when we’re doing our best and consciously making better choices to lift ourselves up and to live by our own values, and then to get pulled down by the people we had hoped would support us. You can always call on your Angels and Guides. Just talk to them out loud, or in your head, and ask for their help and support. Loved ones who’ve passed over can also bring us comfort. Some people talk to God. GO with what feels right to you.

Lilly, this is a hard one, and I’m going to consider it from several angles. Please know that I am no longer writing just about you, but about so many people just like you, and some who are not.

 

When You Really Did Do Some Things To Harm Trust:

If there was a time when you made mistakes or poor choices, or were immature or had a bad attitude or an addiction, then it’s likely that you hurt the people closest to you. It’s painful for family and friends to watch someone they love be in that space, and it’s painful to be on the receiving end of their bad behaviour, lies, addiction or attitude. When you’ve been continually hurt by someone you become wary of being hurt again. It is hard to trust someone who has put you through that, especially if they have promised or pleaded that they have changed, only to then fall back into those behaviours, or to manipulate your sympathies to their own ends.

In that kind of situation where you’ve hurt others, you will have to earn that trust back. You may want to apologise and let those people speak their hurts to you, so that they too can feel heard. And then you need to let your changed life and your actions speak for themselves. I have seen many brave people work the AA Twelve Step program or similar, and go back to people they had harmed – to explain and to apologise and to offer restitution. Sometimes it helped heal the relationship. Sometimes it just enabled the person who’d broken the trust to make peace with themselves that they had done the best that they could to put things right. Family counselling can help. Or a good counsellor or support group can help you to forgive yourself, understand what happened and move on.

If you’re the one who has been on the receiving end of that harmed trust, it is perfectly fine to look for evidence of change through a person’s actions and day-to-day life, rather than simply accepting what they tell you. The old saying about talk being cheap is true when you have been let down many times before. I wrote a post about that here called Listen With Your Eyes

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When A Loved One Did Things That Harmed Trust:

Sometimes people we love lie. Or cheat. Or take sides. Or play favourites. Or are insensitive or mean. Maybe they have an addiction issue. Perhaps they have experienced abuse or trauma themselves. Or maybe they just made bad choices. People make mistakes. Sometimes, if everyone is willing to work on it, we can put broken back together. It usually takes time,  commitment, and the facilitation of a good therapist. I’ve known people who have forged better, more honest relationships after times of great hardship.

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BUT sometimes our loved one is a bully, a violent addict, a narcissist, a sociopath. Sometimes they are so broken or their behaviours so entrenched that all you will get is more of the same abuse every time you front on up to that relationship. Wanting or needing a person to change doesn’t make them change, no matter how hard you make changes to yourself, or try to handle the relationship differently.

In that situation, hard as it may be, you might need to cut your losses or put a lot of space into the relationship. Don’t put yourself into abuse ‘because it’s Christmas’ or ‘because they’re still my family’. Find a good therapist or counsellor for yourself. Work on you. Get a support network. If you’re an adult you have choices. You don’t need to continue to suffer that kind of behaviour. As a parent you don’t need to expose your child to that kind of behaviour.

 

When You’ve Changed and People Can’t Understand That:

We all grow and change over time. Some of us slowly. Some of us fast. If you’ve travelled extensively, and your family and friends haven’t. If you went to war. If you lost your partner to cancer. If you experienced trauma or chronic illness or some kind of ecstatic spiritual transformation…

Shared experiences are one of the things that unite us. If our loved ones haven’t got that same frame of reference you lose ground and connection. It can be easy to become distant. It isn’t that they don’t love you. It’s just that they don’t understand.

So, don’t expect them to. There will be other people who know what you are going through. Find them, and use them for mutual support and sharing. Or hold your experience close and sacred.

Image from www.alz.org

Image from www.alz.org

Reconnect with family and friends by exploring the things you DO share in common. Old memories, family traditions, people and places that mean something that links you to each other.

We can still be loved, and be part of a family or group, and yet not be fully known or seen or understood. Truth is, sometimes we can even be a mystery to ourselves…

 

When You’ve Changed For The Better and People Can’t Accept That:

Sometimes we grow, and the people around us can’t cope with the fact that we are different. Sometimes we’ve done our best to fit in but we can’t keep pretending. Sometimes we reach a point where we can’t tolerate a situation or relationship because it doesn’t align with our ethics and values, or we will no longer tolerate victimisation, bullying, abuse or unhealthy behaviours. Sometimes we become better, wiser, stronger, more educated, or in other ways different to how we were. We outgrow lovers, friends, and even families.

In certain circumstances we can choose to hide or minimise that change for short periods of time in order to maintain relationships or family harmony. But if you are put down for your transformation, if you are rejected or victimised because of your choices, if you experience abuse – verbal, emotional or otherwise, then it’s time to leave that relationship behind, and to create relationships with people who value you. Value yourself first. Value yourself enough to walk away from those who belittle and diminish you.

Above all, Lilly, It’s important that you value and love yourself. That you make healthy choices for yourself and for your children. That you allow yourself to be valued by others and that you stand up for yourself, protect yourself, and keep yourself and your children out of situations that are abusive and toxic.

Create the life you want for yourself through mindful choices and actions. Grieve the loss of the way things could have been, but don’t dwell on it. Be the person and mum that is you evolving as your best self. Know that in doing that you’ll attract to you the sorts of people who will fit better with who you are and who you are becoming.

Sending so much love your way, Nicole xoxo

Extra Coping Tools

You might find these posts helpful too:

How to get through the hard stuff

How to deal with toxic people

Crystals for highly sensitive people

Free Guided Meditation for the Solar Plexus Chakra

Guided Meditation for Emotional Healing

you-are-enough (1)

 

 

A Christmas Gift for Yourself

“You’re gorgeous, you old hag, and if I could give you just one gift ever for the rest of your life it would be this. Confidence. It would be the gift of confidence. Either that or a scented candle.”
~ David Nicholls, One Day

 

I was talking with a girlfriend yesterday. A very organised girlfriend who’s a bit of a mother figure to me. She’s had the family Christmas shopping done months ago, and everything is wrapped, waiting to go under the tree.

‘Gee,’ she said, ‘I wonder what abominations I’ll get this year…’

I asked her what she meant.

‘All I want is a good nightie. A comfortable one in soft cotton that’s nice to sleep in. I give hints all year, but the kids and grandkids always get me some horrible thing with cartoon animals, or David gets me some lacy sexy thing that appeals to him but is scratchy and synthetic and awful.’

‘Could you go with them to choose it?’ I asked.

‘No! Then it wouldn’t be a surprise.’ My friend pulled a pouty face worthy of a five-year-old.

I smiled. She is adorable at nearly sixty, and one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I know. ‘Would there be better presents for them to get you?’ I asked.

‘Yes!’ she said. ‘Books, chocolate, bath products, perfume. Any of those would be good. Even a colouring book. The complete Harry Potter series would be even better. I’ve alway wanted to read that.’

Image from twosistergethealthy.wordpress.com

Image from twosistergethealthy.wordpress.com

‘Well, tell them that’s what you want. Write a list for them even. Then go buy yourself the nightie you want and put it under the tree from Santa for you. That way everyone’s happy.’

‘But I can’t do that!’ she protested. ‘Christmas is about you being thoughtful for other people, and them being thoughtful for you.’

And therein lies the problem. Worth. Not everyone is as thoughtful or observant or organised as my friend. No-one else knows that her definition of Christmas is about other people being as thoughtful for her as she is for them. Or that thoughtfulness is a soft cotton nightie. Why can’t my friend be thoughtful for herself too?

You’re always doomed to disappointment with a set-up like that.

Christmas is not a test of love and worthiness. Don’t treat it as such. Don’t wait for others to demonstrate your worthiness based upon a framework they can’t even access.

I get that surprises are wonderful. You can get a surprise from the smallest thing. A surprise means you didn’t know what gift you’d get. Surprise! Let the gifts others give you be accepted in the spirit of surprise, gratitude and appreciation. Or good manners, if that is all you can muster, and especially if there was no thought, love or care reciprocated.

This year, if you really have your heart set on something, give it to yourself. You are worthy of the thought and consideration you give others. You are worthy enough to spend your own money on you.

My Christmas gift to myself this year is going to be prawns in white sauce served on toast with a glass of champagne. That was Ceddie and Marga’s (my grandparents on my mum’s side) favourite Christmas breakfast. I miss them heaps, especially at Christmas. My husband doesn’t like prawns. That’s okay. I’ve asked him and he wants a full-on Canadian breakfast. We have the technology to do that.

It’s okay to be kind and thoughtful to yourself, and to meet your own needs. If you don’t treat yourself like that, how will other people know to do that?

Big love and hugs, Nicole xx

10 Easy Steps For Self Care During Troubled Times

“They called her witch because she knew how to heal herself.”
~ Te’ V. Smith

 

It’s simple enough to be well-intentioned and kind to yourself when life is going smoothly. Or if you are on holidays. Or in a really good head space.

But when we are hard up against it – when we have crushing deadlines, or horrible dramas, or the people around us are treating us badly, when we’re ill, depressed or in pain – that’s the time where we most need good self-care, and it is usually the time where we are least inclined to give it to ourselves.

After years of illness, and in my line of work (as a psychic and a support for many people going through their own hardships) where there is no ‘off-switch’, I’ve learned the hard way that self-care is essential. Always. Fortunately I’ve also discovered that it isn’t such a difficult ask of ourselves, and that a little self-awareness and kindness towards ourselves goes a long way towards keeping us resilient and coping in the most troubled of times.

Here are my top ten tips for getting yourself through whatever you might be facing right now:

1. Drink enough water. When we are well hydrated our body is less acidic, we can flush toxins and stress hormones from our system better, we sleep more deeply and our brains work more clearly.

2. Have a shower, wash your hair and put on some clean clothes. For an additional touch of self-love use a perfume, scented moisturiser, aftershave or essential oil whose fragrance lifts your spirits or reminds you of someone you love. If washing your hair is just too hard, pull it back neatly, plait it, or tuck it under a scarf or cap. When I was at my most ill, I’d make myself bathe and put clean pyjamas on. It helped. A lot. And it was always worth the effort, even when I was exhausted. Clean sheets can do wonders for the soul too!

3. Find five minutes for meditation. Meditation calms and centres us, and helps us find our way back to ourselves, our soul and to Spirit. Try any of these simple techniques: Easy Five Minute Meditation, Three Minute Essential Oil Meditation, Taking Energy From Trees, Eating The Sun Meditation.

4. Dance. To one uplifting song. Sing along, and let your body move to the beat. Dance in your lounge room. Dance in the car. Of if you’re confined to bed, sway, tap your hands, draw that music deep into your body and belt out the lyrics.

5. Have a plan, and then work the plan. Choose a time when you can sit down for ten minutes with a cup of tea or a cold drink and your diary. Think of something you want to get done and then break it down into steps and assign those steps to the coming days, weeks or months. Allow more time than you need – because in troubled times we need to allow ourselves extra flexibility. No need to give yourself more pressure when you’re already under the pump. Plans enacted help us to take control back in our lives, and give us something to work towards. It’s okay if your plan is for completing something small. Every time we act instead of procrastinate something strengthens within  us.

6. Go for a walk in nature. Can’t walk? Then try to simply earth yourself instead. If you’re confined to bed or unable to get outside sit by an open window or door. Use your eyes and ears. Use your skin. Let your mind wander outside even if your body can’t.

Image from funnystack.com

Image from funnystack.com

7. Eat something healthy that will nurture and strengthen your body. Choose foods that you know support you. Food gives us energy and helps our bodies work  better. Eating irregular meals and junk food slows us down and makes us feel worse instead of better. Sometimes poor food choices are all we will have. Don’t beat yourself up and don’t sit in guilt. Eating is better than not eating. Decide to make a better choice or plan to bring healthy food tomorrow.

8. Hugs and the company of friends can be healing. In hard times we often feel that the only way to cope is to withdraw. But in that space of social isolation life becomes even more difficult. While it is important to take time to be on your own, you need emotional support too. You can get this from online groups, phone calls, coffee or meal dates, craft dates, pets, good friends and supportive family. Reaching out to others can make a world of difference when life is filled with difficulty.

Image from atozlibrary.com

Image from atozlibrary.com

9. Learn something new, or escape for a time into another world. A book, a movie, a newspaper, a short course. A trip to a new part of town. Stay curious. When we’re in something for the long haul we create emotional space and better coping capacity for ourselves by having something new or interesting to think about that takes us away from our troubles.

10. Get enough sleep. Sleep is a healing balm that restores the best parts of us. Shut yourself away for an early night, or spend the weekend in bed catching up on your rest. An epsom salts bath, some lavender essential oil or a relaxing herbal tea at night will all help get you into that restful space.

Looking Back at Me

Looking Back Through Time by Lady Victoire Deviantart.com

Looking Back Through Time by Lady Victoire Deviantart.com

“We look back on our life as a thing of broken pieces, because our mistakes and failures are always the first to strike us, and outweigh in our imagination what we have accomplished and attained.”
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Maxims and Reflections

 

It’s odd, this process of writing about yourself. Seldom do we truly take the time to look back on our lives without being caught in the emotion of the moment, or the memories.

I need to be objective now, to get my facts right as I finish the job of editing this memoir. I’m sifting through old diaries, notebooks, photographs and scraps of paper.

I held some photos in my lap today. I can’t share them with you. To do so would be to trespass the privacy of others, long gone from my life.

I have few photographs of myself. I’d always thought myself so ugly. I’ve been entirely self-conscious, and as this strange unnamed illness (that turned out to be Lyme) progressed through my late teens and early twenties I hid more and more from the lens.

But here they are, these frozen moments in time. What strikes me is that the me I see is so different to the way I’d remembered myself. There was grace there. Elegance even. My own fresh young beauty. And so much hope, still. So much hope in those eyes of mine. So much life and love and emotion.

It made me fall in love with myself. It broke me open with tenderness.

How I wish all of us could reach back through time and whisper in our own ears that we are beautiful, and precious, so that we might live more fully and be more emboldened in our choices.

Too late for the past, but not for today. As I lay down to sleep tonight I will whisper that truth. I am beautiful. I am precious. My dreams are important. It’s never too late…