50 Things I’ve Learned From 50 Years of Life

“A happy birthday this evening, I sat by an open window and read till the light was gone and the book was no more than a part of the darkness.
I could easily have switched on a lamp,
but I wanted to ride the day down into night,
to sit alone, and smooth the unreadable page
with the pale gray ghost of my hand” 
~  Ted Kooser

 

It’s my birthday today. Yay me!

I’m fifty, and it feels GOOD. Originally I was going to post a quick picture of me as a kid, looking all cute, and a few others through the years to now. But when I dug out all my old photos and memorabilia a funny thing happened. I saw so many pictures of friends I have loved and lost, so many family members who’ve passed, and friends whose lives have been touched by tragedy. It made me realise just how lucky I am to still be here at fifty, well loved, safe and secure, with work I adore, despite having had so many health diagnoses and prognoses predicting my demise or failure, and several near-death experiences, starting back when I was in my early twenties. Sure my health is still an ongoing adventure, but hey – I’m alive, and determined to make the most of every day. I’m still here! That deserves celebration!!!

Here are fifty things I’ve learned that have been helpful to me and which might come in useful for you too:

  1. Everyone needs cake on their birthday.
  2. I am not everyone’s flavour, but I am some people’s favourite, and that’s enough for me.
  3. It’s always better to be kind.
  4. No-one is immune to suffering. We all get to have our turn.
  5. Big old trees have much wisdom to share if you can get still and listen.
  6. The sun comes up after even the worst nights and things do look better in the morning.
  7. Sleep is under-rated as a coping mechanism.
  8. Clean sheets and a shower always make you feel better.
  9. Life is too short to live it for other people’s approval.
  10. If you don’t do what matters to you now you might never get your chance.
  11. Don’t wait for things to be perfect.
  12. Surround yourself with people who are real, caring and who think well of you.
  13. Shut the door on mean friends and people who treat you badly or with a lack of respect.
  14. Life needs more picnics and less overtime.
  15. Good books, movies and music are a kind of soul medicine.
  16. Sometimes you just need to take a road trip.
  17. Yes, you really do need to eat your vegetables and get enough fresh air and exercise.
  18. Never be afraid to seek a second opinion.
  19. Getting older is a privilege.
  20. Practice good hygiene, wash your hands after you go to the toilet and before eating, and consider others when you are ill. Not everyone has a robust immune system.
  21. It really is okay to indulge your craving for junk food, sweets or ice-cream occasionally.
  22. A part of you never changes, and stays solid and anchored inside you through all of your life experiences. That essence is always there for you to tap into.
  23. A part of you will change and grow and move you far from where you started. As you change you may outgrow people, places or situations. That’s normal. Don’t let it stress you.
  24. Sometimes we come full circle and find ourselves back where we started, but with new understanding and wisdom. That’s a sweet moment of realisation.
  25. Love is worth the risk of pain and loss.
  26. Laughing opens your heart and lets the light in.
  27. There is something magical about being a stranger in a new city. It unlocks all kinds of mysteries inside you.
  28. You need comfortable shoes for big adventures.
  29. Forgiveness is almost always about you and not the other person.
  30. Listen to your instincts, and honour your intuition. It was given to you for a reason.
  31. Some time on your own to think about everything or nothing is time well spent.
  32. Everyone should be able to cook a handful of meals well. Not just for survival but for satisfaction too.
  33. You’re never too old to learn something new.
  34. Do what you can to help others, if you are in a position to do so.
  35. It’s okay to put your own needs first.
  36. Follow your passion, or at least your curiosity. Who knows where it might lead you!
  37. Life rarely goes to plan, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be awesome anyway.
  38. There is always someone or something that can help you manage pain better. Ask and keep asking until you find what you need.
  39. Being vulnerable is a strength.
  40. If you don’t want to do something say no.
  41. If you want something say yes.
  42. It’s better to have been rejected or to fail than to never have tried.
  43. Failure often leads to success.
  44. Every week needs a complete rest day. On the other days? Meditation gives rest on even the craziest of days and can be done in minutes. Learning to meditate is a gift for yourself and an investment in your well-being.
  45. Treat yourself well, and allow yourself pleasure.
  46. Find the things that make you feel like you and then surround yourself with that energy. It could be yoga, a perfume, soy chai lattes or books. Let something define you. Be okay if it changes.
  47. Fall in love. Keep loving, even when it gets hard. It always gets hard. Once you learn how to navigate the first hard bit the wonder of an ever-deepening relationship can reward and comfort you your whole life.
  48. Fall in love with yourself. Let it be a life-long affair and treat yourself gloriously well.
  49. It’s a good thing to be a little different, odd or unusual. Keep being yourself.
  50. Celebrate life – the milestones, the anniversaries and seasonal festivities, the successes and the ordinary. Celebrate on your own. Celebrate with loved ones. Celebrate with strangers. Let each day bring at least one small moment of grace or gratitude. Feel everything deeply and be unafraid.

Thanks for being part of my life.

Sending so much love your way, Nicole  ❤ xoxo

Everyday Blessings

ordinariness (1)

“Sometimes it happens that you become one, in some rare moment. Watch the ocean, the tremendous wildness of it–and suddenly you forget your split, your schizophrenia; you relax. Or, moving in the Himalayas, seeing the virgin snow on the Himalayan peaks, suddenly a coolness surrounds you and you need not be false because there is no other human being to be false to. You fall together. Or, listening to beautiful music, you fall together. Whenever, in whatsoever situation, you become one, a peace, a happiness, a bliss, surrounds you, arises in you. You feel fulfilled. There is no need to wait for these moments–these moments can become your natural life. These extraordinary moments can become ordinary moments – that is the whole effort of Zen. You can live an extraordinary life in a very ordinary life: cutting wood, chopping wood, carrying water from the well, you can be tremendously at ease with yourself. Cleaning the floor, cooking food, washing the clothes, you can be perfectly at ease–because the whole question is of you doing your action totally, enjoying, delighting in it.”

Osho Dang Dang Doko Dang Chapter 3

I love this card from the Osho Zen Tarot deck. It has a powerful message, which fits perfectly with how I’m feeling right now.  We live in a beautiful, magical, wondrous world, although we so often take this world for granted.

It also illustrates the benefit of making each day a meditation- of giving our full attention to whatever task we are performing, no matter how mundane. There is still beauty and wonder to be had in the most ordinary of moments.

Today, why not make a list of some of your most mundane and ordinary Blessings.  There is no need to wait for something extraordinary to happen to us.

There is a great magic in the ordinary once we open our eyes.

Here’s my list, a task made much easier after our recent days without power while we are flooded in here at our farm.  I look forward to hearing about your lists too…

1. Electric Light.  The magic of flicking a switch and having your world illuminated is pretty cool. Plus you can stay up past sunset much more easily without bumping into furniture.  Also makes night reading a breeze!

2. Washing machine.  Pop the dirty clothes in, press a button and they come out clean a little while later.  No beating sheets on rocks in streams, no mangles and hand wringers. It’s a five minute job. And as an added bonus, the smell of clean clothes, fresh from the line after hanging in the sunshine.

3.  Refrigerator.  It keeps my drinks cold, my food fresh, and stops bugs getting in my condiments. It is also a thing of wonder to stand in front of when you are experiencing an enschnackelation attack and have no idea what you feel like eating. The little light comes on and all your choices are laid out before you, shelf by shelf.

4.  Hot showers.  Soul soothing, and excellent for washing away the grime of the day. Oh the blessings of internal plumbing and hot water are immeasurable!

5.  The internet. Blog, facebook, emails and being able to stay in touch around the world or google anything I please, whenever I so desire. Site I missed most during our blackout? BOM – the weather radar site from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology! Hands down winner. Who doesn’t want to know where their extreme weather event is coming from, what it looks like, and just what to expect?

6.  Computer.  A magical box that holds the entire contents of my brain, the rough drafts of all my books, the pictures that tell the story of my life, and then some…

7.  Toaster.  Bread goes in. Toast comes out. ‘Mazing!

8.  Juicer.  Turns mountains of fruit and vegetables into tasty, health-giving beverages.

9.  Mobile Phone.  Charge it up, carry it around, and you have the world in your pocket, plus a handy camera!

10.  Coffee machines. Whether it’s a stovetop espresso maker or a full-blown barrista’s coffee shop dream, seriously these should be considered a wonder of the modern world.

And my personal favourite through these long electricity-free days?  The humble battery-powered transistor radio.  Special mention to ABC Radio for superlative coverage of unfolding local events and all sorts of other listening pleasures.

radio

Day 13 – Gratitude Challenge

Image from basicindia.typepad.com

Every time we remember to say “thank you”, we experience nothing less than heaven on earth.
~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

Something magical happens each time we take a breath of air.  Breathing grounds us, it expands us, and it energises us.  Although it is a simple act, and free, it also empowers. The breath alone can be a healing force in our lives. Many cultures and religions believe breathwork to be sacred.

Today give thanks for the air you breathe. Let every breath nourish and support you.  Let every breath do you good.

And of course, as we have done every day so far, let’s begin our day by counting our Blessings.

Counting Our Blessings and Using 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. 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.
  4. 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 today is these four steps, know that is enough.

Are you ready for more?  Try this simple exercise, designed to amplify your energy, gratitude and connection.

Image from larainegordon.com

Breath of Life

Sit quietly, and give yourself the gift of five minutes of uninterrupted time.

If possible, sit with the sun on your face.  If it’s not possible, at least sit near a window, or outdoors, even if it is in the shade, or under a shelter.

Breathe in. Really pay attention to that breath.  Feel it swelling your lungs.  Feel the passage of air from your nostrils down into your lungs.  Feel your chest expand. Have an awareness of that breath.

When you breathe out, once again, pay attention.  Feel the air exiting your lungs, feel it moving softly back through your nasal passages and out into the space in front of you.  Feel your lungs emptying and contracting.  Notice how that feels in your body.

Breathe in again.  Do this mindfully five times, inhaling and exhaling.  Just sitting in awareness.

Image from blisscentre.com

Now, repeat this process, but this time do it with your eyes closed.  Five breaths in, and five breaths out.

Finally, do this exercise one last time, but this time, imagine that you are breathing in energy.  Imagine that you are breathing in love and healing. With each exhale, imagine that you are releasing something that no longer serves you. Feel your connection to the world around you.  Notice if your breath links you to a time, a place or a person, now or at any time in history.

When you are finished, sit quietly for a moment with your eyes closed and give Thanks to the Universe for this sacred breath, for this gift of life, for this wondrous connection to all that is.  Bless ♥ xx

Image from rechabite.com

Day 7 – Gratitude Challenge

Image from indiegod.wordpress.com

“When you are grateful fear disappears and abundance appears.” ~ Anthony Robbins

While money can’t buy you happiness, a lack of money in your life can create great stress and upset, and is the cause of much worry and fear for many.

Whenever we concentrate on lack, we get more of that.  The clearer the thought and the stronger the emotion, the more quickly the Universe fills our order. So if we think or shout “Oh no – not another bill!” and we attach a strong emotion of anger or frustration or fear to that thought, we are only magnetising ourselves to more of the same…

In order to create financial flow we need to feel abundant. We have to develop positive feelings and thoughts about money.

How can you tell if you are in resistance to money?

Image from militarymoneymight.com

If there is mild resistance, or a belief that you don’t deserve more (we’ll be dealing with this in a later blog!) you might find that there’s enough money, but never any over, and that you can live day to day but never quite get ahead.

If you are deeper in resistance you will resent or feel envious of people who have more money than you.  You resent the bills, and are frustrated by your inability or constant effort to pay them. You feel uncomfortable thinking or talking about money. Your biggest awareness of money is that there isn’t enough, or as much as you would like. You pay bills and other expenses grudgingly, even if it’s for things you want. You don’t pay attention to your cash account and credit card balances, mail from the banks and bills go unopened, or get left around the house.  You worry about money.

And those thoughts and emotions are the surest way to make you feel impoverished.

 

The best way to start feeling wealthy is by counting our many Blessings.

Image from w2wministries.org

My Daily Gratitude Practice:

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. This morning, take your money from underneath your Gratitude Rock and affirm “I am grateful for financial abundance.  My money is multiplying and blessing me and others daily.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
  4. Place your Gratitude Money in your wallet, so that you won’t spend it, but that you know it is there. (I put a heart sticker on mine, folded it up, and poked it in with my drivers licence!) Affirm “This Gratitude Money is magnetic to good. It multiplies and brings money to me in so many wonderful ways.  Thank you!” Spend a moment and visualise this money as a little magnet, pulling other money to it.  Imagine tiny showers of golden light sprinkling out from this Gratitude Money, blessing all the other money and cards in your wallet. Let yourself feel wealthy and grateful. 
  5. 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.
  6. 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. Then snuggle back down into bed and drift off to sleep, cocooned in this wonderful energy of love and gratitude.

If you only follow these steps today, that is enough, but if you’d like a further gratitude challenge about creating financial flow, read on…

Thank You for the Money!

Remember, right at the beginning of our 30 Day Gratitude Challenge we said that Gratitude is a powerful tool in any Lightworker’s kit. When we say thank you to the Universe, in effect we are placing an order where we are saying more please of all this good stuff, or other things equally as wonderful, or even better!

This is equally true whether we are thankful for a hug, a friend, a good meal, or money in our wallet.

Image from abubakarjamil.com

Today, at every opportunity, give thanks for the money in your life.  This actually can be a lot of fun as you realise just how much money has already flowed into your existence.

The money may have come as a gift, or a loan.  It may have been earned by you or someone in your family, you could have sold something or won something, received a discount or been given a bonus.

If you are given a second-hand sofa, that’s money! The clothes you’re wearing were purchased using money. The mug you drink your morning coffee out of was also part of the money flow.  See what I mean?

Today, hold that awareness of how much money is already in your life.

As you lie in your bed think or say “Thank you for the money that has provided this home for me.”

When you get into your car, think or say “Thank you for the money that provided me with this car.”

When you pay for your breakfast, or the bus ticket, or the newspaper or the groceries, say “Thank you for the money that flows to and through me.”

There is so much evidence of the money that has already shown up in your life.

If you write a cheque or pay a bill, draw a little heart on the bill or the cheque stub and write “Thank you for the money that pays this bill.”

As you hold cash in your hand to pay for something, think or say “Thank you for the gift of money in my life.”

Give some money away with a Blessing for the Abundance in your life. Charitable acts come from an abundant heart. It might be a coin to a busker, or a coin in a donation tin, or the purchase of a packet of Girl Guide biscuits, or a ticket in the local charity raffle. Feel how abundant you are, that you have wealth to share. Say “I am Blessed with Abundance. Thank You for the Money I can flow to others.” Really feel that swell of gratitude in your heart.

Image from pellandbales.wordpress.com

 

I was sent this quote by the lovely Silvana Nagyl.  It’s from the Mediation Society of Australia, on the topic of gratitude. It’s a great thought to hold for today…

“I have no one to criticise and no thing, not even me.

For criticism blocks the flow of love,

it is gratitude that pours through me like a flood.”

Day 6 – Gratitude Challenge

Image from hispanicallyspeakingnews.com

If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness.  It will change your life mightily.  ~Gerald Good

You are provided for. And you have been since you got here.

When we were children we took so much for granted – a bed to sleep in and food on the table, electricity and water.  We had clothes, and books, and education. We had company, and toys and access to so many things…

Money is neither a positive or negative force – it’s neutral.  It is our thoughts and behaviours that give the concept of money a charge. And once we have those thoughts, and think them often, or behave in a certain way, the Universe responds by matching our financial outcomes to our thoughts and actions.  That’s how the Law of Attraction works.

Image from chicagotribune.com

Now we are grown. No matter what our current financial situation, by having gratitude for what we do have, and for appreciating money and what it can provide for us, we begin to increase prosperity and abundance in our lives.

It doesn’t matter if all you have is a handful of coins.  That’s a start.  When we begin to feel grateful about the money that has already flowed through our lives, when we can feel thankful for the handful of coins in our wallet, money begins to show up. Anything we are grateful for is multiplied in our lives…

For today’s Gratitude Challenge we’ll start by Counting our Blessings:

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. Tonight before you go to sleep, find a low value note like a one dollar bill, or a fiver.
  4. Now 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.
  6. Place your rock back beside your bed, on top of the money.  See the Gratitude Rock charging up that money with magnetic and positive energy. Say “I am Grateful for Financial Abundance.  Money is magnetised towards me, and it just keeps showing up in my life.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.”  Then snuggle back down into bed and drift off to sleep, while your Gratitude Rock works its magic!

A Gratitude Rock charging up some money. We’ll talk more about this in tomorrow’s blog!

If you like, you can do just these first six steps. That’s more than enough.

But if you’d like to participate in an activity that continues to build the energy of gratitude around financial abundance read on…

The Blessing Game:

As you go through your day, affirm often I am Blessed with Abundance – Thank you!

Affirm this as you put on your clothes and eat your breakfast.  Affirm this as you pay for your morning coffee or a ticket for the bus.  Affirm this every time you realise that money has been spent, or is being spent, to provide the many Blessings in your life.

Every time you pull money from your pocket, or your wallet, give thanks.

And it’s not just your money and your spending that you can show gratitude for.  If you live in a city, and there are pavements and gardens, give thanks for them.  Give thanks for the facilities at your workplace.

City Roos by Christopher Trotter – Public Art in Brisbane
This image from brisbanewalks.wordpress.com

Feel gratitude for the people and businesses spending money that support your community and economy. If you pass a building site, be grateful for that industry, if you pass a cafe, give thanks for the patrons who allow that business to exist. Give thanks for the Abundance you see everywhere that supports your current life.

The more we are grateful for what we have, the more we are given. This works for everything, including money. Our gratitude creates positive energy for our own prosperity and that of our economy. Isn’t that wonderful!

Wishing you a day of Abundance Thinking.  Bless ♥ xx

 

Things to be thankful for…

“The secret of happiness is to count your blessings while others are adding up their troubles”

This morning I’m counting my Blessings. Such a simple thing to do, and it always makes me feel richer. I like to count them off on my fingers – a tangible act, and a way of really anchoring their truth in my life. Blessings to me are always the simple things in life, and often the things we take for granted.  Even on the worst of days we can find something to be grateful for.  Counting blessings gets my attention OFF the things I don’t want, and back on the things I do. It’s an instant mood lifter that keeps things in perspective for me. It never takes much to find something that’s a blessing.

Today I am grateful for:

1. The sound of rain on the roof as I go to sleep, and rain as I wake up.

2. The warmth of the fire, and the sweet smell of woodsmoke in the cold winter air. (I’m also grateful for my husband, who chops the wood and loads the wheelbarrow, and stokes the fire for me!)

3. Chai tea, enough for two, sipped from big bowls, with just a dusting of cinnamon.

4. My Meyer Lemon tree, and its abundance of luscious fruit. And the fresh Lemon Curd I can spread on my morning toast!

5. The Byron Bay Farmers’ Markets, and the dedication of our local growers to grow or make the best seasonal fresh produce.

6. My Kindle, and being able to snuggle under the doona while it’s raining outside, sipping chai and reading books.

7. My dogs, Charlie and Bert, for their love and companionship.

8. Writing. It is my greatest love, and the thing that wakes me up in the middle of the night, brimful of ideas. I am also grateful for my Sisters, who keep me loved up, supported and connected in this often lonely game.

9. Black Tourmaline  which grounds and nurtures, and feels wonderful to have tucked up within my aura.

10. Trees. My little farmhouse is cradled by hundred year old trees who whisper their secrets, one to another, and add an incredible energy to this place and to me.

How about you? What do you have to be thankful for today? Go on – count them off on your fingers! Wishing you many Blessings, Nicole xx