Is this life of mine my fault?

“If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for to the creator there is no poverty and no poor indifferent place.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Lovelies, I received a very thought-provoking question recently in regard to the quote from Rainer Maria Rilke at the top of this post, and I wanted to address it here on my blog. Like many things in life there is no simple answer, and as it is a question I have asked myself over and over again in this lifetime I wanted to share my response.

Here’s the excellent question:

Good morning,
Mine is a question Nicole that troubles me.
I always love the captions/snippets from other writers under your lovely images and this morning’s starts with ” if your daily life seems poor don’t blame it” 
My question is how does this fit with all the poor souls born into or find themselves in shocking conditions they have no control over such as absolute poverty, war, famine, abusive families?
How have they created this? How can it possibly be their fault?
These questions have troubled me because they don’t seem to fit into the positive thinking or “ask and it shall be given” brackets. Can your guides help with some clarity here ?
Thank you for your blogs, they have been part of my day for years now.
Elle xx

As many of you know my life has had its share of troubles, pain and obstacles. When I was young and idealistic I thought that this suffering was unfair. Why did I have these problems when friends of mine seemed to be floating along on a cloud of joy, love, support and happiness?

But looking into the window of the life of another never truly tells you what is going on. I have found, through life experience and in my decades of working as a psychic and mentor, that all of us have troubles and many of these are invisible to those around us.

Throughout my life, in an attempt to heal, I have also explored every possible avenue including much time spent in trying to undo, rectify or heal any wrong-doing, thought or action I may have taken that may have led to my suffering.

Goodness, how mean I have been to myself – blaming myself for my circumstances and believing that this suffering was all my fault.

War, famine, drought, accidents, random acts of violence and horror, abusive relationships, terrible illnesses. Did we sign up for these? Much of the New Age movement would have us think so. Works such as the book ‘You can heal your life’ and the philosophy of the Law of Attraction make it easy to buy into the concept that any problems or suffering in our lives are a direct result of our karma, our thoughts and our attitudes. Perhaps we even chose suffering as part of our ‘contract’ in coming here to this life.

I have seen the dramatic recent rise of shaming of people who actually need our empathy and support – people with issues as diverse as addictions, autistic children, staying in a marriage with a partner who has mental health issues, cancer, chronic illness, depression, or displacement from their country due to war. Human kindness is too often replaced by judgement from those fortunate enough to not be in the same circumstances. Rise up, they say. Change your thoughts. Juice vegetables. Go vegan. Wear a crystal. Parent better. Use less chemicals. Make different choices. Have more discipline. Heal your past lives!

(Want to read more on this theme? My Sad Unicorns post covers this ‘dangerous magical thinking’ problem in detail.)

I’ve seen mothers told that their young children’s illness is the result of past-life religious transgressions. I’ve listened as people have judged someone with cancer for having caused it by not having a clean lifestyle. Yes, it’s true that there are lifestyle factors involved with many illnesses, including cancer. But that’s not the whole picture. I’ve watched friends who are vegans, vegetarians, yoga instructors – every possible thing that you could consider the epitome of a healthy, anti-cancer chemical-free loving and natural lifestyle be struck down and taken by cancers, savagely and fast.

Dear Elle, yours is an excellent question, and this is what I believe. Life is difficult and wonderful and dangerous and fraught with risk. Things happen for which we will never find a reason. People in power make decisions that affect millions. Accidents and mistakes happen. Weather patterns change. Our genetics hands us a bad card or wild one. Illnesses occur and we don’t yet have the science to interpret and understand them fully. And none of that is our fault. If we look wider we see that this is also true for plants and animals and places. No-one and nothing is immune to suffering, desecration, destruction or death.

So what does that have to do with Rainer Maria Rilke’s quote? I think this quote is more about how we cope with life’s suffering than our thoughts as a causative agent of that suffering. I believe that there is one thing we do have control over. We can choose how we feel, how we react, what we think. In even the most difficult of lives we can find tiny windows of calm, of nurture, of beauty, and small moments of grace and gratitude. That is one of the gifts of suffering – it can promote mindfulness and with mindfulness comes an opportunity to mentally lift ourselves out of impossible pain and hardship for a short while. It gifts us resilience, and meaning and a way to endure.

I hope that helps,

Much love, Nicole xx

How To Ask For A Sign

The Eye of God – Helix Nebula from www.skyimagelab.com

“The Universe sets out little signposts for us along the way, to confirm that we’re on the right path.” 
~  Michelle Maisto

 

This week’s energies are supportive of connection, communication, signs, breakthroughs and synchronicities (you can read more about that here).

But how do you ask for a sign?

I recommend that you ask only once, and then satisfy yourself with the answer as it appears to you.

Here are some things that you can try:

Shuffle your oracle or tarot cards, offer up a small prayer that whatever you do be for your Highest Good, and then shuffle the deck again. As you’re shuffling, ask your question . Say it out loud or hold it as a thought in your head. Either will work.

Choose one card. How you choose is up to you. Split the deck. Fan them out. Top or bottom. Dive right in. There is no right or wrong.  Then really look at the card. Don’t use the book or the ‘proper’ meaning. We are being intuitive here, people! What stands out for you in the picture? What thoughts and ideas do the images provoke? What is the answer that comes to you? Trust that. Don’t ask again.

Ask for your Guide to appear as an animal or some other living thing, some sort of motif that you will associate with them and with their presence.

Image from www.printtuftandfold.wordpress.com

Ask to see a specific image or thing, as acknowledgement of a question, or in answer to it.  Perhaps you are driving and you ask to see a red Kombi van if the answer is yes.  Or you ask to see a particular type of bird or something else you’ll recognise as that sign…

Image from www.justmeblog.com

Ask, and then expect an answer.  Perhaps the answer will be a message on a  billboard, a line from a book, a voice on the radio, the words in a song.  The message will stand out for you somehow, and have a special meaning just for you.

Image from www.joke7x24.deals.lv

Angels are often associated with white feathers.  Guides are often associated with other coloured or patterned feathers.  I have found feathers during some of the most difficult times in my life, and have felt reassured by them showing up for me.

Image from www.angelreach.com

When I sense my Great Aunt’s presence I smell roses.  When my Grandmother is near, I smell or even see gardenias.  A friend smells tobacco smoke when her father is with her.  Sometimes loved ones will create a breeze where there was none, stop or start a clock, or move something.  Whatever they do will make sense to you, based on your relationship with them.

Image from www.allexperts.com

Sometimes God creates magnificent signs, for no reason other than to help us remember the love and miracles in our world…

Rainbow image by Ookami Kouu

And sometimes it’s well-meaning friends who help us know what’s in store for us on the road in life…

AP Photo – Image by Chris Nakashima_Brown

When the road ahead is uncertain, when you need to know you’re supported, when you are looking for answers – it’s okay to ask for a sign.  But do it once, and trust what you get!

♥ And here’s MY sign for you today (Okay, maybe there’s 3…):

Image from weheartit.com

Image from candyprincess4 at deviantart.com

Image from favim.com

See How Our Grid Has Grown…

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“Think about our bodies. We’re a chain of veins and organs and they’re all interconnected. If something isn’t going right in one area, the whole system can get out of whack. That’s the way I see the world. We’re all connected. I don’t see myself as this separate entity. I see things in a much larger scale. Everything I do directly affects another person, all the way down the chain. Every person I help can help another; we’re all connected. Change happens one person at a time. And I want to commit my life to seeing that through.”
~ Katie Kacvinsky

 

Am I insane?

Maybe.

But I can’t help myself.

 

I conceived this simple project. To create a crystal grid on my property, to help to provide energetic support for us as we shift from the old energy into the new. For support from our ancestors and guides as we shift old family patterns and beliefs that no longer serve us. As we pattern-break for ourselves and our loved ones. I wanted to help support us as we leave 2016, and this age-old cycle of patriarchal energy.

I created this grid to help our feet find our souls’ own songlines as we walk into the new energy. So that we can become part of this great shift of consciousness by being who we came here to be, and doing what we came here to do as we move into 2017 and this dawning new energetic era.

Each stone takes me three minutes to dedicate.

I choose one that feels right for you. I hold it in my hands, I close my eyes, and I offer up my prayer and dedication – that your family line know healing, that you release old patterns, beliefs and relationships that no longer serve you. That you gently and easily let go of anger, guilt, shame, disconnection, old hurts. I pray and intend that your family line returns to a place of love, flow and abundance. That you move into your heart-space, and reconnect with your own Soul Wisdom. I offer up my prayer that your feet find their way in 2017. That your path becomes clear. That you can more easily be yourself. That you know and express yourself truly. That you live life to your highest potential. That you are loved for who you are. That you come to know how much you are loved.

I arrange the stones I have blessed and take a photo, so I can tag the picture on social media. I want you to feel involved and connected. I want you to know that you are not alone – that you matter, and that you are supported.

Then we carry the stones down to the grid, and I place them, one by one.

After which I go back to the computer, and gather more names, and write new lists and the process begins again.

 

There are over 900 stones in the grid now. 900 people, radiating love and positive shift to so many more.

I will be adding more stones to this grid until 12pm on Tuesday 27th December, 2016. (That’s Sydney, Australia time) If you’d like to add your name, please let me know in the comments below.

If you’ve already asked there is no need to ask again. I have you.

There’s another way you can help. You can make your own grid. For details go to the Free Stuff section in my shop, and select the Ancestral Healing Grid Instructions. (And be aware that it may take an hour or so for the information to be emailed after selection of this option.) It’s easy to do, even if you’ve never done something like this before.

Know that I’m thinking of you. Know that I’m holding you in my thoughts and prayers. That I’m holding space for you and your family right now.

I might be crazy, but I think this matters.

I love you, and I wish you well,

Nicole <3 xoxo

 

*Below are just a few pictures of how this grid has grown. Please be patient if you haven’t seen your name tagged yet on my Instagram and Facebook posts. It all takes time, and there are so many names to tag! You can follow me at both places by searching for Cauldrons and Cupcakes <3

And another thought. If other middle-aged women are crazy cat ladies, I must be the crazy rock lady. I easily have 1000 stones in my grid now, and I still have plenty left to choose from…

ancestors and songlines crystal grid

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2016-12-18-12-48-43

 

Chronically ill and Happy!

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“The individual who says it is not possible should move out of the way of those doing it.”
~ Tricia Cunningham

 

I’m not happy because I have a chronic illness – I’m happy because I still love my life! It’s possible, and in fact I think it’s necessary, to find happiness when life has dealt you a crappy hand. Let me explain…

Those of you who have been following my journey know that I’ve experienced poor health, interspersed with periods of being desperately ill, for my entire adult life. At least I finally have a diagnosis now – late stage lyme disease and a range of other bacterial co-infections that have invaded my brain, bones and organs. Having this undiagnosed illness for over 30 years has been a major challenge, physically and emotionally. And the path to healing for me is a long road too – two and a half to three years of a savage drug regime, coupled with other wholistic modalities, herbs and diet.

Chronic illness and disability is different to your average bout of being unwell, no matter how serious that short duration illness might be. By its very nature chronic illness means that the wallpaper of your life is incapacity, pain and limitation.

I call it wallpaper for a reason. When illness is a one-time short duration event it takes over your life, cuts you down at the knees and takes all your energy and focus until you are well enough to move on.

When you live with illness all the time, or a disability, it becomes like wallpaper. You truly learn not to notice it so much, or you find inventive ways to live with it. You adapt, even if that means shrinking your world down. And if that illness persists for a long period of time, one of the best coping strategies in the world is to keep living as normally as you can DESPITE that illness. Of course, your ‘normal’ may also need to be very different to the ‘normal’ of a healthy person.

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One of the great gifts that has come out of my own illness is an ability to be grateful for the smallest things in life, and to put my focus on them. In that way I can find happiness and satisfaction even on the worst of days. On my best days, life is gloriously normal, and I revel in that normality. I appreciate the sorts of days that healthy folk take for granted.

People with chronic illness or disability can still have a life. We can still have interests and friendships, we can still go on outings or holidays, we can still create things, we can still laugh. In fact we must do these things, or what is left to us?

And that also gives me a great gift to share with you. I’ve found a way to be happy, engaged with life, and to keep working towards my dreams, even with illness and limitation. Oh sure, I have my moments. Days where I can’t get out of bed, days where I am wracked with pain or afflictions that prevent me from doing anything much at all. But there are enough days where I can focus on something positive and good that my life, on balance, is still a source of deep satisfaction to me.

What’s my secret? Gratitude, meditation, learning to appreciate a slower and simpler life, finding joy in a cup of tea, sunshine on my face, a beautiful flower, a well-written book, chats with a friend or a cuddle with my dogs.

worrying1

We all experience ups and downs in life. It’s how we deal with those challenges that defines us.

If you’re experiencing physical or emotional challenges, I urge you to find some small positive details where you can muster gratitude, even if only for a moment. These bright points in a dark place can be life-saving, and even life-changing.

If you know someone with a disability or chronic illness, support them in their quest to enjoy life the best they can. I include being old, being a carer, and being a parent of very young children in this category as well.

Everyone copes better when we are included in the fabric of society. Everyone copes better when they have some sun on their face, a friend, an interest, an outing.

Everyone deserves to find happiness.

Corfu Wild Flowers, a bunch

You might find these posts useful too:

On illness and being unreliable

Inviting Stillness…

Real friendship

Finding moments for yourself

How to do Tonglen Meditation – A beginner’s Guide

Day 9 – Gratitude Challenge

Thank you! Image from victoriapets.ca

“Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.” ~ Ralph Marston

No one does this journey we call life on their own.  So many people contribute to our well-being, our growth, and our happiness. Some of these people we will form close relationships with, others we may never meet in person, and some we may never even hold awareness of.

The human heart is wired to be kind, to be helpful, to be compassionate.  Look at any natural disaster and you’ll see how humans open up their hearts and do all they can to help their fellow man.

For all of us, at times, life can be challenging or even downright hard. It’s amazing how a sincere thank you, a kind word, a genuine appreciation can lift another soul up, and give them something of real value that may change their day, or even their whole life.

Then there are all of the people in our life who have taught us something, who have shared our laughter and tears, given us a break, dared us to dream and to grow…

Image from leadershipfreak.wordpress.com

And what about the people we rarely think about – those souls who are here to keep us safe, who run our cities and towns, who provide our essential services, clean our offices, mend the roads, polish the floors of our hospitals?

Each of us stands on the shoulders of so many people who have helped us.

So now let’s start our day with the activities that form the foundation of our 30 Day Gratitude Challenge:

Count Our Blessings and Use our Gratitude Rock

If you need a detailed reminder of the process, you can review it here in Day 1 of the Gratitude Challenge.

  1. List five Blessings in your journal, explaining why you are grateful for each one.
  2. Count your Blessings off on your fingers, summoning positive emotion and saying Thank You from your heart for each one.
  3. Find a picture of someone who has been helpful for you, or write their name on a piece of paper. Hold that image or name in your hands and say Thank You for all the help you have given me. I flow love and gratitude to you. Really feel that love and gratitude in your own heart. Then put the paper underneath your Gratitude Rock.
  4. Tonight before you go to sleep, hold your Gratitude Rock and affirm I am richly Blessed. I have an Abundance of Good in my life. Visualise one thing you have been grateful for today. Swell that positive energy up in your heart like a beautiful golden light, and give a heart-felt Thank You, Thank You, Thank You to the Universe, then imagine a tiny shower of golden light travelling from your heart into your Gratitude Rock.
  5. Still holding your Gratitude Rock, bless your fellow travellers on this Gratitude Journey by sending them golden light, and saying Thank you.  I Bless You.  I intend for you Love, Miracles and Abundance. Know that as you are saying this for them, they are also saying this for you. Feel that connection and gratitude and know that there is real love and support for you here. Place your rock back beside your bed, and go to sleep, cocooned in this good energy.

If all you do each day is these five steps, know that is enough.

Heart Energy by Marcia Diane

Are you ready for more of a challenge? Today we’re going to practice gratitude for the helpful people in our lives.  As we honour and give thanks for the energies of helpfulness and kindness in our lives, we attract more people who will happily support us. And it’s through that flow of co-operative energy that everything gets done in this Universe!

Helpful people are everywhere…

Some of our greatest blessings are the acts of generosity of others in our lives.  Helpful people are everywhere.  Stop for a moment today and run a slideshow of some of the helpful people from your own life.

They could be small moments, like someone letting you step ahead of them in a taxi queue, or offering you a lift in the rain. The friendly cafe worker who always gives you the biggest muffin.  The book store owner who rings to let you know they tracked down an out-of-print edition for you.

They could be bigger moments – a nurse sitting with you after their shift has finished because you’re frightened or in pain, and they couldn’t go home until you were comfortable; a teacher mentoring you towards a bigger goal when you didn’t believe in yourself, and helping you over the line.

Sometimes the help is so big it’s hard to get your head around. The relative who loans you the money when there is nowhere else to turn. The donor who gives their organs for you or someone you love.  The person who gives you the job when you and they both know there are better candidates, but you are on the bones of your arse and this is your last chance… The person who puts your name forward, and because of their actions plucks you from career obscurity and puts you on the road to success.  The arts foundation who run the mentoring program you’re selected for that changes your life.  The friend/lover/family member who never gives up on you.

As you think of them, hold love and gratitude in your heart and say Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.

Image from activerain.com

And as you go through your day today, offer genuine and heart-felt thanks to those around you for the many small acts of helpfulness that flow through our lives, usually unnoticed.  Look them in the eye and say Thank You when they hand you your mail, make your coffee, punch your bus ticket, bag your groceries, clear your plates, hold the door for you, help you with dinner.

The more we acknowledge helpful people in our lives, the more they show up and support us. The Universe, our Guides and Angels can only work through us and those around us.

Wishing you a day filled with kindness, gratitude and small miracles. May you be an Angel in someone else’s life today.  May Angels show up in yours. Bless ♥ xx

Asking for a Sign

Eye of God – NASA’s image of the Helix Nebula

Have you ever wondered if there’s anyone listening? To your prayers, your meditations, your calls for help or inspiration…

Did you know that you can ask for a sign?

This is not a technique to be misused, but rather something to be done with serious intent – an action that calls for a response, an action that calls for something tangible that you will recognise when it appears in your world.

Here are some things that you can try:

Ask for your Guide to appear as an animal or some other living thing, some sort of motif that you will associate with them and with their presence.

Image from printtuftandfold.wordpress.com

Ask to see a specific image or thing, as acknowledgement of a question, or in answer to it.  Perhaps you are driving and you ask to see a red Kombi van if the answer is yes.  Or you ask to see a particular type of bird or something else you’ll recognise as that sign…

Image from justmeblog.com

Ask, and then expect an answer.  Perhaps the answer will be a message on a  billboard, a line from a book, a voice on the radio, the words in a song.  The message will stand out for you somehow, and have a special meaning just for you.

Image from joke7x24.deals.lv

Angels are often associated with white feathers.  Guides are often associated with other coloured or patterned feathers.  I have found feathers during some of the most difficult times in my life, and have felt reassured by them showing up for me.

Image from angelreach.com

When I sense my Great Aunt’s presence I smell roses.  When my Grandmother is near, I smell or even see gardenias.  A friend smells tobacco smoke when her father is with her.  Sometimes loved ones will create a breeze where there was none, stop or start a clock, or move something.  Whatever they do will make sense to you, based on your relationship with them.

Image from en.allexperts.com

Sometimes God creates magnificent signs, for no reason other than to help us remember the love and miracles in our world…

Rainbow image by Ookami Kouu

And sometimes it’s well-meaning friends who help us know what’s in store for us on the road in life…

AP Photo – Image by Chris Nakashima_Brown

When the road ahead is uncertain, when you need to know you’re supported, when you are looking for answers – it’s okay to ask for a sign.  But do it once, and trust what you get!

♥ And here’s MY sign for you today (Okay, maybe there’s 3…):

Image from weheartit.com

Image from candyprincess4 at deviantart.com

Image from favim.com

My ‘One Lovely Blog’ Award

One of the things I’ve come to love about the blogging community is their generosity of spirit, their ability to connect us, one to another, and the crazy amount of awards that are out there for us to show our gratitude and appreciation to one another.

I’ve recently been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by the warm-hearted and kind Starr at The Misfit Baker, an awesome vegan baking blog, which I do hope you will visit!

The Rules for Award participation are:

  • Link back to the blogger who nominated you.
  • Paste the award image on your blog, anywhere.
  • Tell them 7 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 other blogs you like for this award.
  • Contact the bloggers that you have chosen to let them know that they have been nominated.
  • Resume blogging your regular posts.

So, for some more fascinating facts about me…

  1. I have collected rocks since I was old enough to pick them up.  I also have all manner of shells, feathers and interesting leaves… I just added five more to my collection a few days ago.
  2. I can make a meal out of nothing. There is almost always something in your pantry or fridge that I can turn into a tasty dinner!
  3. My current favourite crystal is Labradorite.
  4. I never realised, until very recently, just how bad I look in black.  I am in fact, a Light Spring, and wearing colours that match my energy makes me feel much happier.

    Image from colourconnection.yuku.com

  5. I can’t walk in high heels. How ever do women run in them? That’s my idea of a super-human power!  But I wouldn’t waste a super-power wish on that – I’d ask for the ability to heal with a touch.  Now that would be awesome.
  6. Owls follow me everywhere.
  7. I am a Virgo, with a Virgo Rising, and my Sun is in Virgo. Venus, Pluto, Mercury and Uranus are in Virgo too. That’s WAY too much Virgo…
And the Bloggers I am nominating for this award (in no particular order) are:
Plucky Umbrella – for gorgeous images and poetry
Spilled Cookies – for inspiration and thoughtful offerings
jmgoyder – for poignant posts and wonderful photographs of animals and nature
Our Nourishing Journey – for advice and recipes, and great support for mothering, autism allergies and anxiety
healthdemystified – for sensible, pragmatic advice to improve health and wellbeing for you and your family
allthingsboys – caring posts, wisdom and beautiful images
istopforsuffering – buddhist philosophies, kindness and lots of love
bipolarlearningcurve – for honest and uplifting musings
Eat Pray Bake – vegetarian deliciousness you can make at home!
Source of Inspiration – just like the title suggests; for all things inspiring
veggiewitch – for pure vegan awesomeness and the right kind of humour and heart
Pacific NW Author – heavenly photographs and writerly offerings
monkiss – writing, life, love, humour and a good dose of reality
Julie Hansen Intuitive – heart, insight and all things intuitively good
Things My Belly Likes – for yummy recipes, especially gluten-free!
Please visit their blogs, and thank you very much for reading mine.  Your love and support mean the world to me.
I have a few more recent awards to blog about over the next little while, which is happy news for me, as I still have so many great blogs to shout out about!  Bless ♥ xx