The Gift of a Quiet House, Away from People

“Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.” 
~  Norton Juster

 

I’ve been struggling since my fiftieth birthday, trying to navigate the last of my psychic gifts. I’d known they were coming, but didn’t know what form they’d take. It sounds like it should be fun, doesn’t it? But it never is. It’s a shock to the system, which then requires major readjustment.

On my thirtieth birthday I woke to find I could see auras around people. I couldn’t turn it off, and it has never left me. It was just something I needed to learn to live with. On my fortieth birthday I suddenly saw auras and energy around animals, plants and places. How could I walk on the grass, or pluck an apple from the tree? It confounded and disturbed me for months. Until I became used to it.

These last gifts? There are several but one has been more unsettling than the others. When I touch someone, or stand near them and tune in, I can feel all of the emotions and energies within their body. All of that messiness and complexity – the conscious and the subconscious and the deeply buried – it all courses through me until I can scarcely breathe.

It happens when I put my hand on my dogs too. Or on a tree or a stone. But those experiences are different. Those energies calm and soothe me.

The mala for my Temple of Light Retreat. Each different bead represents one of the students on the course, or of others I am working with in meditation.

I am home at my farm again after a week of being in the city. I’m so grateful for the geographic isolation of our home here. I can’t feel our neighbours or their energy unless I consciously tune in. There’s no steady stream of feelings and images the way there has been in the city, where people are crowded all around us. Instead I have silence and peace.

What a relief after the onslaught, especially of the recent deep connections I have had with my aging mother-in-law who is in the early stages of dementia, complete with paranoia and confusion.

Last night I stayed up to meditate after Ben and the dogs turned in for the night. As they fell asleep I felt them withdraw their energy, and the house became still and quiet and clear. I sat down and lit a candle, prayed for the world and then meditated with my October crystals and my mala beads for the students on the two retreats I ran earlier this year. In the quiet space magic happened. I could hold each mala bead between my fingers and tune in to my students effortlessly. In the quiet I could feel my mind and thoughts stretch out in ripples from me. I could hear the earth breathing, and the animals sleeping, and the owls and frogs and night creatures conversing with one another. I went to bed calm and reassured. I understood that eventually I’ll adjust to these new abilities too.

When I woke this morning at 4am I returned to meditation. And when I was done I enjoyed the quiet a little longer before my husband and the dogs began to stir.

There is something restorative about a quiet evening house or early morning meditation space. Perhaps you aren’t on the same path I’m on, navigating new psychic abilities without an instruction book, but I am sure that having a little time to yourself in solitude at the close or opening of day will serve you well.

Sending so much love your way, Nicole  xoxo

PS – Want to learn to meditate and work with crystals, to make your own mala beads and to develop a strong spiritual practice for your own development? We still have a few places left on our final residential retreat for this year – Working With Crystals. You can be a complete beginner or more advanced in your abilities and practices, and this course will still suit you. Click on the link here to find out more.

Stars over Byron Bay by Dylan O’Donnell

The Importance of Solitude

“Our language has wisely sensed these two sides of man’s being alone. It has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone.” 
~  Paul TillichThe Eternal Now

 

We’re on Retreat right now, walking a path of meditation and contemplation. I promised to share some simple wisdoms and activities from retreat, so today I’d like to focus on the human need for solitude. As much as we need companionship and community, we also need alone time. This time on our own enables us to think deeply about our life, our problems and opportunities, our relationships and our work. Alone time quietens us and reduces our stress, allowing us to come back to the world refreshed. It makes room for the kind of deep listening that brings us answers and inspiration. It deepens our intuition. And it provides space for learning and healing.

Many of us in the modern world have lost touch with our need for regular periods of solitude. We have become overwhelmed by busy-ness and an avalanche of consumerism and trivial information.

Image from www.wattpad.com

One of my guides, Silith, offered this advice for helping us to come back to a place of peace and connection with her ‘Three Useful Cures for Nearly Everything’:

  1. Walking – Walking is essential to our health and well-being. Humans evolved as walkers, and walking puts us into a natural meditative state. Walking promotes healthy digestion and strong immunity, and gifts us time for thinking and integration of new ideas and change.
  2. Time in nature, alone. When we spend time in nature our body relaxes, and we are able to ground any excess of positive ions. Nature replenishes our spirit and gives us the deep quiet we need for listening to our own answers and inner guidance, as well as tuning our intuition in to any spiritual guidance or direction. This could be time in parks, natural spaces or wilderness, but it can also be time spent in your garden.
  3. Sleep. Sleep is an important time of solitude. Most of us don’t get enough of it. Turn off the wifi and all screens at bed time. Sleep in a cool and well ventilated bedroom that is dark and quiet. Have a comfortable bed and a good pillow.

 

We need to make sure we balance the busy with the quiet, for ourselves and for our children too. If you feel called to spend more time in solitude, trust that calling. We seek solitude whenever we need healing, or because we are incubating the energy to make a profound change in our lives, or are bringing new ideas and projects into being.

What can you do this week to find more time for solitude?

Sending much love your way, Nicole  xx

Travelling With Bukowski

“One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.”
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I always travel with a book. Sometimes several.

But this trip I decided to load e-books on my kindle, as well as a few audio books, and bring just a journal instead, to save space.

It worked for a while.

And then suddenly it didn’t.

 

In a bookshop in Manila I found the English Language section. They stocked a broad and eclectic range, and the books were mostly cheap paperbacks with impossibly thin pages and thin covers and several of every copy, impenetrable in their plastic wrapping.

I excavated a thin poetry book that was hidden behind new editions of recent best-sellers. The protective cover was gone; the small book was so well read that the cover was creased almost in two and every page was soiled and marked. Like all of the travellers before me I stopped and dipped between its pages for a moment. The world stood still as words fell around me like rain.

I dug around the shelves some more and then I found it. A volume of Charles Bukowski’s poetry. The cover was soft with wear. It was well read and loved already. It felt good in my hand, like I belonged to it, and it to me. I couldn’t bring myself to open it. I just held it tight, and stood in front of the shelves a little longer, pretending that I might choose something else. Wondering if I could take it home.

I couldn’t see for tears.

Once, long ago, I took a journey to another far-away place and forgot to take a book with me. I was living in the Kimberley then. The remote Australian outback. A terrible place to be without a book.

Not long after I arrived a group of American tourists camped at the station. It was their last adventure before they caught a plane to Darwin and then home. On the morning of their departure they dumped whatever they didn’t need, to lighten their luggage.

Later that morning I watched a cleaner empty the trash from the men’s toilet. Among the papers and bottles and debris I saw a book fly into the bin. Before I could stop myself I ran from the office and snatched it up. I didn’t even stop to read the cover. It was a book, and I was a junky starved of words.

I wiped it clean with a corner of my shirt and carried it home triumphant.

This same book.

For days back in that wilderness place I couldn’t even open it. I just read the cover over and over. The title said ‘You Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense – Charles Bukowski.’

I felt like Bukowski was talking to me. I knew and he knew.

And as I chose and read a single poem, rationing them to every other day, I came to know that poets exist to sing breath back into our bodies when we can no longer breathe for ourselves.

I lost that precious book when we moved from the Kimberley. But now we have found each other again.

I read one randomly selected poem aloud each day, to entertain Ben and to nurture myself. It’s like travelling with an old friend.

It’s like coming home.

 

A Gentle Morning

2012-01-12 07.38.42

“Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.”
~ Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

 

My Working with Intuition Retreat starts in just a few days, so I’m soaking up some quiet time, getting ready to enter that sacred space.

There is nothing like dawn, the ocean, clear skies and a little space to soothe the most restless of souls.

How about you? Can you find a little quiet time for your soul this week?

Thinking of you and sending much love, Nicole <3 xx

2012-01-12 07.36.48

2012-01-12 07.37.36

2012-02-10 08.03.12

Morning Rituals To Greet The Day

2012-07-16 06.07.45

“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.”
~ Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

 

It’s cold this morning. Four am meditation finished, the house still silent with sleep. Last night’s fire rendered down to ash.

I push the back door of our little farmhouse open and am hit with a blast of air metallic with frost. The night sky is lit with stars. Far away at the neighbours I hear the faint song of a rooster as he senses that sunrise is just behind the lip of the hills that surround us.

Filling my arms with the heavy weight of ironbark splits I push back through the door and kneel by the fireplace. Hands already numb with cold fumble twigs and crumpled paper on top of the bed of ash. It smoulders and catches before I can find a match. I feed the logs onto the flames and swing the door of the combustion stove shut. My hair is scented with woodsmoke now and I sit for a moment to watch the gathering dawn outside my window as the sky above the orchard turns from black to silver.

The fireplace creaks and clatters as the metal expands. Fingers of red and orange lick at the old dry timber and the fire roars to life.

I fill the kettle with water that tastes of clean earth and rain. While it heats I light a stick of incense, and hear the first sleepy stirrings of the dogs stretching and yawning themselves awake.

Outside in the silvery light a pair of wallabies graze on the grass beneath the lemon tree. Soon I hear their soft thuds as they bound down the side of the house, making for the river flats.

Today, five days after our retreat ended, it is time to come back out into the world again. Restored. Refreshed. Ready.

I pour water over tea leaves. I turn on my computer and sit at the kitchen table waiting for the tea to draw and the room to warm. Birds begin to sing their morning songs.

The dogs are awake now. They push past me and stand with their noses pressed against the door, waiting to be let outside. Their tags wag furiously and I feel their joy.

It’s a new day, bright with possibility.

Good morning! I’m sending much love to you. May you find a little solitude for yourself too today. <3 Nicole xoxo

Sleepy Morning

2014-11-25 18.34.13

“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

2012-12-12 07.15.49

Unplugging for the Super Moon

Full Moon Image - Shutterstock

Full Moon Image – Shutterstock

“Sometimes I feel like if you just watch things, just sit still and let the world exist in front of you – sometimes I swear that just for a second time freezes and the world pauses in its tilt. Just for a second. And if you somehow found a way to live in that second, then you would live forever.” 
~ Lauren Oliver, Pandemonium

 

Last night the pull of the moon was strong in my heart.

There were so many opportunities for me to be with others, and to be out in the world, but with the moon bright in the sky, and the scent of red dust and the memories of my old Aboriginal Aunties at the forefront of my mind, all I wanted to do was unplug from the world for a while, rug up and watch the night sky, and then turn in for some meditation and an early bedtime.

There is much to be said for the restorative power of the moon.

And of meditation.

And of sleep.

I’ve woken refreshed and peaceful in my skin today. Loved up and ready for the world again. And oh, how I flew the bright skies last night. Oh, how I flew…

Image from Portage News

Image from Portage News

Gentle Rain

Rain Drops

“The only noise now was the rain, pattering softly with the magnificent indifference of nature for the tangled passions of humans.” 
Sherwood Smith

 

I’ve lain awake for much of the night, listening first to a thunderstorm, and later, to the gentle sound of rain falling.

I can hear the gurgle of rain in the gutters, the soft croak of happy frogs, the far-off roar of trucks on the highway, the noise of which only ever carries on nights like these.

There is the sound of rain on the tin roof, sharp and bright. There is the muted plunks of raindrops falling on the leaves and grass.

Since early this morning there has been a new sound, the tinkling joyful sound of water running in the creek.

There is something very affirming about rain. And as the day dawns, and I make a cup of tea with water harvested from previous rainfalls I like to thing of those drops from heaven, mixing with my tea leaves, and making a magical elixir to nurture my body, mind and spirit.

Travel gently today, dear friends. Much love to you xx

2013-11-16 18.49.07

View From My Windows

2014-02-25 08.11.39

“Set wide the window. Let me drink the day.”  ~ Edith Wharton, Artemis to Actaeon and Other Verses

 

My windows are both real and figurative. The picture above is the view from my bedroom window. This view changes hour by hour, and affords me much pleasure. In the early mornings the sky is grey, before becoming silver and gold, welcoming in the day.

I can tell if it has rained or not by looking at the leaves and smelling the air. Birds constantly visit the flowers in the trees, singing and feasting and spreading their special kind of joy.

Occasionally a cow walks past on its way to water. I know this, even if I am lying down and cannot see that far, because my ever-alert ‘cow detection system’ (see image below) goes into full surveillance mode.

At night I can watch the transit of the moon as she wanders across the sky trailing stars behind her. 2014-02-24 10.13.46 There is another kind of window that is precious to me right now too. It’s the first few hours after waking.

This is my little window of ‘feel-okay’ time before I take my lyme drugs and herbs, from which I descend back into pain, confusion and suffering. It’s the time where I write, meditate, and remind myself why I am doing this. (I am doing this to kill the bugs. I am doing this to be well. And it WILL be worth it!!!)

My morning ‘window’ is the time where I can actually be present with my husband. If I have a tiny bit of zest we may even go for some kind of outing. It’s the time where my life still resembles, if only a little, normality.

Looking Out The Window by Peter Ilstead

Looking Out The Window by Peter Ilstead

There’s one last window I have come to know. It’s the one my soul looks through, watching me as I live my life. That wise part of me which knows that all of this shall pass. The part of me that is filled with love and peace.

Our lives are fragile, transitory, wondrous and beautiful things – every hurt, every hope, every moment. I’m glad for mine, even though the journey has often not been easy. The view from my windows is still magnificent.

Sending much love to you, Nicole xx

A little Solitude is good for the Soul

10-23a-006leaf2

“Language… has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone.  And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone.”  ~ Paul Johannes Tillich, The Eternal Now

 

If you’re energetically sensitive like me, then you might already understand the importance of time on your own.

Interacting with others draws energy from us. When we are speaking to others, emotionally supporting others, teaching others, healing, helping or even simply thinking about the needs of others, energy flows from us to them.

That’s okay. In fact, it can feel wonderful to give. For many of us, it’s a prime driver. We want to help, we enjoy reaching out and being here for others.

And of course we so often get energy back as we are giving. Especially with the ones we love it becomes a two-way flow.

Image from Transcendia

Image from Transcendia

Some people can actively draw energy from us too. Haven’t you ever come home from a social event, or ended a phone call feeling totally drained, and knowing that the other person went away feeling stronger and more uplifted?

Energy Vampires need to be treated with caution, or avoided, especially on the days when you feel weak, tired or unwell. You know who I mean – the people caught in their own dramas who constantly clutch at you as if they were drowning and you were their only support, people who undermine and criticise you, people who gaslight you, people who are totally self-interested, people who are always takers and never givers. Some of them may be co-workers, friends or the spouses of friends, but some of them may also be your own family members. Sometimes you may even need to end the relationship, or at least put some distance between you.

Energy-VampiresThat’s why a little regular solitude can be so refreshing.

Solitude – time happily spent on our own – recharges us, strengthens our aura and allows us time for creative and spiritual connection.

You don’t need large amounts of time if you make solitude a regular part of your day. But then again, I also recommend a big chunk of solitude every so often to help top you up and bring you back into balance when your coping mechanisms are becoming thin and worn from too much connection with others.

For many years now I have found my solitude by getting up early, while the rest of the house sleeps. When people and animals are sleeping they are disengaged from us, leaving us free to concentrate on ourselves completely.

Try this for yourself. If someone else is home, but awake (whether they are in the same room or at the opposite end of the house), the energy will feel quite different to that of them being tucked up in bed, sound asleep.

I wake at four each morning, meditate, do healing work, spend time in spiritual communion, and then I go to my desk and write. It’s my quiet time, and it anchors my entire day. Far from tiring me out to rise so early, I feel that it recharges me, and leaves me free to focus on whatever I like, without the need to be thinking of others unless I deliberately choose to do so.

As soon as one of my family wakes, I feel it, and the spell of my solitude is broken

I may then put my boots on and go for a walk around the farm. Even if the dogs come they usually race ahead, and are caught up in their own busy-ness, and by then I am ready for their company anyway.

2013-07-26 14.20.32

There are many ways to find a little solitude for yourself:

  • Stay up a little later or get up early, so that the house is yours and you can have some quiet time.
  • Take a journal or your ipad and go to a park, cafe or a library. Strangers won’t have the same energetic pull as people who know you, so you’ll still be able to enjoy some solitude even if the world around you is busy and full of life.
  • Go for a swim, a bike-ride, a run or a walk.
  • Get out into nature.

If you’re in need of a bigger break, take a day off and don’t fill it with friends and family. Let yourself be refreshed by time in your own company.

Take a holiday on your own, or check into a motel for the night. Not to feel lonely, but to feel spaciousness and that luxurious sensation of being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want. Note: this can be challenging for people who are used to making the happiness of others their constant priority but who aren’t in touch with their own needs. When faced with too much time on your own you may end up suddenly feeling lost, lonely and small, which is not the point of the exercise!

When we make time for ourselves, healing happens. Ideas occur. Creative inspiration visits. We remember what’s important and find clearer direction for ourselves, and answers for our problems.

A little solitude is a good thing. It restores you to yourself.

Wishing you some time for yourself today! Much love, ♥ Nicole xx

Image from freepeople

Image from freepeople

PS – You might also find these posts helpful:

How to deal with toxic people

Finding moments for yourself

Writing yourself into a brighter future