The Peace And Quiet Of Broken Social Media

“Being connected to everything has disconnected us from ourselves and the preciousness of this present moment.” 
~ L.M. Browning

Hello, Lovelies!

I had a wonderful day yesterday, although apparently I should have been in melt-down. 😊 Facebook was down for most of the day for many business users, or at least most of the functionality was, and the same went for Instagram and WhatsApp.

I should have been stressed. My blog post didn’t cross-post to Facebook. My Instagram post didn’t load. My team and I couldn’t post or comment. Messenger went kind of crazy too.

Apparently this is a disaster!!!

Oh well.

Instead, I took myself for a walk through the laneways of Adelaide and stopped for good chai. I talked to people, read the paper, and made notes in my journal. Later a girlfriend came to pick me up for lunch and deliver me to my conference venue and we talked, shopped and hung out.

It was lovely.

I worked on a new deck of oracle cards and a book about card reading spreads that we are creating for you.

My phone wasn’t constantly pinging me with messages and updates. My crazy inboxes couldn’t load anything else into themselves. Instead I had static and quiet.

I’d forgotten how much I love that unplugged space.

It’s also made me more determined to create more of that in my life.

How about you? Do you get enough unplugged time?

There’s a whole world beyond our screens. And as much as I am grateful for having the world in my pocket and connectivity at my fingertips I find the here-and-now most satisfying too.

Biggest hugs to you, Nicole ❤ xx

30 Things That Changed When I Took An Unplugged Day Every Week

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“My imagination functions much better when I don’t have to speak to people.”
~ Patricia Highsmith

 

In January this year I made an important decision. I have a life where I am almost always on call. Always connected and reachable. Always busy. Even though I work for myself and love my work, and I certainly don’t work every hour of every day, I had reached a point where I was doing some kind of work every day.

So this year I decided to make a change and designated Sunday as my unplugged day.

I made some simple rules for this unplugged day:

  • no work
  • no blogging
  • not even a skerrick of work
  • no social media
  • no checking emails
  • no checking my phone
  • no surfing the net
  • no games on my phone or tablet
  • no saying yes to invitations out of duty or obligation
  • no answering my cell phone (only family, close friends and neighbours have our home phone number)
  • no time at the mall, or shopping or doing other ‘duties’

I admit that it was awkward at first. I was jonesing to check my emails. Or my facebook feed. Or to use my time to catch up on work.

And I did an awful lot of sleeping on my first few Sundays off.

Did I mention the guilt at not being productive?

But after a month or so I settled into having this space just for me and my loved ones. I began to look forward to Sundays. And this is what I discovered:

  1. I began to hear and know my own voice again
  2. I slept better
  3. I began to remember who I was before I got so busy
  4. My priorities changed
  5. My garden got some love
  6. I enjoyed being with my partner rather than resenting him for constantly interrupting my work, or feeling guilty for setting aside work to be with him
  7. During the work week I found myself refreshed and ideas came more easily
  8. There was time for me to do the things I love
  9. There was time to do nothing, if that was what I felt like doing
  10. I began to dream about my future, and to make plans more aligned with my soul energy rather than just a business blueprint
  11. My creativity began to flow again
  12. I began to take better care of my health
  13. I let go of relationships that I’d held on to because of duty or habit or fear of loss
  14. I felt better about myself and my place in the world
  15. I became more content with myself and my life
  16. I was more confident in my decision-making
  17. I connected more deeply with nature
  18. I connected more deeply with my creative projects
  19. I lost interest in constantly checking social media on days other than Sunday
  20. I became more aware of time wasters in my daily life
  21. I needed less stuff and less stimulation
  22. I became more mindful
  23. I began to see relationships more clearly once I got a little thinking space. I saw that some needed more love and time, and others were draining me while giving me nothing in return.
  24. I created more and consumed less
  25. I felt happier
  26. I began to perceive myself differently
  27. My life began to flow better and all manner of synchronicities occurred, or maybe I was just in the space to finally notice them
  28. I read more
  29. I napped and felt good about napping
  30. I began to understand that one unplugged day wasn’t enough and began creating stronger boundaries in my daily life

Enough time has passed now that I am confident in recommending a totally unplugged day to you too. You might be equally surprised and satisfied with your own outcomes.

Much love, Nicole <3  xx

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Chop Wood, Carry Water, then Surf the Net!

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“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” ~ Zen Buddhism quote

“When hungry, eat your rice; when tired close your eyes. Fools may laugh at me, but wise men will know what I mean.” ~ Zen Buddhism quote

 

It has been a frustrating week.

Due to a faulty landline I’ve had no phone or internet connection at the farm, unless I hiked up the hill behind the house with my iPhone.

At first I was angry. It’s a situation that has been dragging on for almost three years, with our landline slowly deteriorating until every phone call became a lesson in frustration due to static and poor line quality. (And our internet runs off this line too!) The telco kept sending technicians, and the phone would work a little better for a while, and then decline again. Until finally it broke altogether.

This week while they worked on our line I wondered what I would do. No amount of wishing was going to give me an ability to be online.

So in the end I drew on the wisdom of my favourite Zen quotes.

I rested.

I did laundry and actually folded it and put it away.

I planted things and tended my garden.

I tidied.

I wrote. So many words.

We did yard jobs. We chopped wood, and carried water to the plants where the hose doesn’t reach.

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Life became so much simpler when I stopped struggling against the things I couldn’t change and chose to be in the moment instead.

It was peaceful.

There was also something freeing about being so much less available, once I let go of the stress of no longer being in control.

But now the line is fixed. I am reconnected with the world. My internet is fast and my phone line is clear. So exciting!!!

And we have enough wood cut and stacked to see us through the winter.

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Sundays – An Experiment in Me Time

Image from qipost.com

Image from qipost.com

“Sunday is the golden clasp that binds together the volume of the week.”
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

I’m working today.

After a leisurely breakfast with Ben and Cafe Dog and a good friend – at a favourite cafe filled with other friends.

As far as working days go, mine rank right up there as fabulous. I work from home. I do what I love. I have an understanding boss (me!), and a great team. There are many days where I can work in my pyjamas, if that’s what I want or need.

But when I’m working, I am available. Not just to the clients who have booked appointments with me. I am available, full stop. Because I work for Spirit, and this is my calling. I am here to be of service. I am here to help in a crisis. For every paid hour of work I have untold unpaid hours. Every day. Ceaselessly. My inboxes are always full. My phone rings. My computer dings. It never stops.

But today is Sunday.

I’m working today because that was a decision I made months ago. While I’ve been so sick, every day has been much the same. And I have a waiting list for my psychic readings that runs for pages and has me booked up for months. My diary is always filled months ahead.

My workshops and retreats are already planned and booked into 2028. (Yep!)

Sunday has always been pretty much like other days.

Until this year, when suddenly it’s not the same any more.

This year, my Soul is saying STOP.

Nicole, let Sunday be a day of rest.

 

 

So, Sunday is now an experimental day for me. In 2016, Sunday is a day I intend to gift to myself. A day of being unplugged. Of family time and writing time. Of being outdoors, or indoors, or wherever I feel like being. Of journaling and planning and brain-storming. Of adventure. Or rest. I’m thinking lots and lots of rest!

I have three more working Sundays in January, counting today. I’ll honour those days, but already I am letting go of a working Sunday.

This will be my first and last Sunday Blog for the year. If there’s something really important I need to say then I’ll say it Saturday so you don’t miss out!

I hope you’ll understand. And more than that, I hope you’ll follow my lead.

Do you ever give yourself a day off? I mean, properly. Maybe it’s time.

See you Monday.

Much love, Nicole xx

<3 PS – Thanks Cherie, I really did listen! (((HUGS)))

A Day Just For Me

Painting by Laura Sotka

Painting by Laura Sotka

“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”
~Eleanor Brownn

 

I’ve designated a day of rest. Today I have no agenda, no chores to do, and nowhere to be. I’ll leave the answering machine to take my messages. My emails will wait. And so will everyone else’s problems.

Today I shall sit in the sunshine with my feet in the soft grass. I’ll hang out with my husband. I shall nap whenever I want. I’ll cuddle my dogs, read a book, listen to music, or embrace silence.

I’ll fill the well back up.

Filling that well is so important.

I’ll be back tomorrow, refreshed and more ready for the flow of life again.

Much love to you, and thank you – from my heart to yours – for your love, kind words and support these past weeks. It means the world to me. ♥ xoxo

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Life -Disconnected!

Lightning Strike - Image from Strange Sounds

Lightning Strike – Image from Strange Sounds

“We are creating and encouraging a culture of distraction where we are increasingly disconnected from the people and events around us, and increasingly unable to engage in long-form thinking. People now feel anxious when their brains are unstimulated.” 
~ Joe Kraus

There was a huge storm here at the farm on Saturday afternoon. The Black Cockatoos came to tell me, riding the stiff breeze that ran before the bruised clouds as they shrieked their message.

Not long after they sailed over my head it began to rain. And then to bucket down…

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The driveway became a river. The wind was ferocious. I’d planned to do so much work, but the power went out so instead my husband and I found ourselves eating dinner by candlelight and retreating to the soft embrace of our bed where we listened to the rain and the thunder of hail upon the roof.

It poured all night.

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When we woke the next day there was sunshine and silence.

Hail had left a litter of leaves strewn across the lawn, and there were branches down everywhere.

The power was still off. Our home phone was dead. The internet was dead. And our mobiles couldn’t pick up a signal.

No matter. We cleared a path to the road and headed to the beach for a bracing ocean swim and then a good breakfast at a favourite cafe.

Within 24 hours the power was restored. But still no phone, and the mobile signal was so weak that we had to walk up the hill into the orchard to get any sort of reception.

By Monday afternoon we had our home phone back on, and one iffy bar of mobile reception, but no internet. And we still don’t. It will be the end of the week (fingers crossed) before our fried roof-mounted antenna and wireless modem are replaced. Our old phone line, installed in 1954, will not support even the most rudimentary of dial-ups. For now the modern world has retreated, and we are living in a pre-technological quiet zone. No radio, no TV (that’s our choice and I like it that way!) – we’re unplugged!

To write this blog post I climbed right to the top of the hill behind my house yesterday and used my mobile to get some sort of service, which is patchy at best. While I waited an eternity for my files to upload I lay in the grass on a blanket and read a book or watched clouds.

This morning I’ve hiked up here again to send this post out into the world. It feels quite symbolic – as if my blog post were coming to you by carrier pigeon!

I’ve caught up on some sleep this week and written thousands of words, planned a new herb garden and had many swims in the ocean or dips in the pool.

And it’s still so quiet…

I’ve missed you all, and I’ve missed being able to download and respond to emails and facebook messages, but gee it hasn’t been all bad!

Flap

I’ll leave you with the sound of my Black Cockatoo friends, who have visited every day this week. I had walked out into the paddock to record a meditation and then the storm rolled in so fast there was no time to do anything but walk home again. You can hear Harry barking and yapping as he leaps feet into the air to try and catch a Black Cockatoo. There’s the growl of thunder and my footsteps in the long dry grass. It’s only a short recording. Just click on the button below to listen:

The cockatoos are still here with me this morning. I wonder what other adventures their presence heralds for me?

Thinking of you all, and sending much, much love, Nicole xx

Life without my computer…

At first I wondered how I would cope, but then this happened…

Beautiful book.

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Cup of tea.

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Sleep.

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Visits with friends.

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Hand-written notes for my cookbook project as I snuggled under a doona on a cold, rainy night.

And suddenly Sunday was over…

Today I see my Lyme Doctor, obtain a raft of new meds, and (cross fingers it arrives!) get a new power pack to replace the one Harry chewed so that my computer can live again.

Normal blogging shall hopefully resume tomorrow.

But in the meantime maybe you could schedule some ‘unplugged’ time as well. I highly recommend it.

Much love to you ♥ Nicole xx