Leading by Example – A Lesson In Vulnerability

 “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.” 
Brené Brown


I’m running a retreat right now. It’s something I love to do – one of my greatest joys is helping others to discover their path, to connect to their intuition and soul wisdom and to become skilled at energy work and using their psychic gifts.

My courses are a mix of lectures, philosophy, channelling and practical activities. And I always demonstrate things I ask my students to do for themselves. So when it comes to teaching how to do personal journey-work I use myself as the example.

Yesterday we worked on connecting in to our Oversoul and asking about our life direction, what will make us happy, what gifts we have come here to share and what our legacy might be.

Which is how I came to be sitting on the carpet in front of my students, my oracle cards spread in front of me as I chose cards and then spoke aloud the very private messages that these cards evoked. This was not staged. I pulled cards and did this exercise that was meant to be done privately in the same way I would have done it if I had been working alone at home.

Every card became harder for me to read. My life was on the floor in front of me, and the messages were profound and excruciatingly personal. But I was committed to doing the exercise from start to finish to teach my students clearly what I was asking them to do for themselves.

By the last card I was in tears, and my voice had a definite waver. It was hard to share such an intimate journey when I did not know in advance what might be revealed with each turn of a card. It was a big reading. There’s nothing like laying your soul bare in front of a crowd to make you really feel your vulnerability.

But I am glad I did. It helped my students to see not just my process, but the power of being brave enough to go deeper with your self-exploration, and of owning that journey.

So my question to you today is this: Who can you help by laying bare your process, by sharing your vulnerability, by allowing yourself to be seen uncensored, raw and real?

Sending much love your way, Nicole ❤ xx

The Power Of Shared Experiences

“Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.”
~ Ruth Reichl


We went to a neighbour’s house for belated Christmas drinks yesterday.

On a rainy summer’s afternoon we sat on the veranda talking and laughing and sharing stories. It was lovely.

And then it was magical.

One of my neighbours shared a memory of her early childhood. She thinks perhaps that she was about two years of age. She remembered being guided out of her body at night, and people would take her flying through the night sky. It was always such a shock when she would float down, down, down and back into her body again at flight’s end. She would lie in her body watching the room spin, and wishing she was back there, up in the air and free again.

How odd.

My skin prickled with goosebumps of recognition as she shared her memories. I have similar experiences, and have never told anyone except my husband. Her story validated my own.

Ben and I glanced at each other, exchanging knowing looks as my neighbor finished her story and took another sip of her drink.

What? What? she asked.

I told her then of my own flying stories, and of being in the remote Kimberley as a young adult, being finally able to recreate that childhood experience through meditation, and how my experiments drew some of the Aboriginal elders to me, so that they could guide me safely and appropriately instead of my unsteady and disruptive efforts.

Wow, she said.

Wow, I said.

(Yeah, Year of ME-ers, I know… finish my memoir!)

After which we both laughed, the boundaries dropped and each of us shared stories of strange and remarkable happenings in our lives.

The one thing I have learned as I have grown older is that I know nothing. My paradigms are constantly shifting. What I think I knew to be true is always being proved wrong, or challenged by things that must surely be impossible, and yet aren’t.

Our world and our very existence is so much more magical and mystical than we might realise.

I find that completely reassuring and delightful. Don’t you?

Lessons in Vulnerability

“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.”  ~ Madeleine L’Engle

I’ve spent most of my life being strong. Being strong for others, being strong for causes, being strong because if I broke I feared that I would never get up again, or that the meager gains I’d made would be lost. Sometimes I had to fake that feeling of strength.  I had to wade in, teeth gritted, heart pounding with fear, and do the very thing I was afraid to do. Sometimes I’ve had to be who others needed me to be, even when I doubted that I could. That’s how I learned courage, and resilience, and self reliance. And all of those are good things.

But no-one can be strong all the time. That’s a recipe for burnout.  Or madness.

And every once in a while, in the middle of being strong, life will send a reminder that strength, like every other state of BEing, is impermanent.

This last week I got my reminder.  I came down with a virus.  At first it didn’t seem that serious – a sore throat, swollen glands, a little fatigue.  I dosed up on herbs and vitamins, ate well, had early nights and kept on going.  I had a full week of work ahead of me, after all…  But within a few days I ended up glassy-eyed with fever.  My head was hollow, and I felt so very strange – weak and detached from myself somehow.

I thought it would pass.  I put myself to bed.

It got worse. Fever, nightmares, the feeling of being on the other side of a wall of glass, not quite able to find a way through to my sane self and my ability to think clearly.

I cancelled a day’s worth of work (and I felt bad about it!), lay in bed, still feverish and disconnected, but convinced myself I would be fine.

I succumbed to a second day of rest, sent my husband back to the farm while I stayed in Brisbane, accepted soup from friends – embarrassed by their kindness.

Tough it out, I said to myself. But the fever wouldn’t leave.

I ended up with arrthymia. My heart, which has been so well behaved of late, woke me up with its flip-flopping and thumping and sudden stalling.  This is never a good thing with a healthy heart, let alone one that has suffered as mine has these past few years.

I lay in bed, gripped with fear, telling myself it would pass and that I would be fine. I am never one to make a fuss.  I hate to draw attention to myself.  I lay there in the dark discussing with myself how bad it would have to be before I might need go to hospital.

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My heart. My heart, right here in the middle of my chest… Writhing and kicking and racing and slowing.  It wasn’t like the pain I’ve experienced in the past. My heart was doing this crazy dance and I had no control over it.  Nothing I thought or did made any difference at all.

It finally settled down, although I then had a broken sleep. There is something quite terrifying about your heart misbehaving. If your heart doesn’t work, the rest of you doesn’t either.  All I could think was that I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready for this to be it.  By morning I’d convinced myself I was overreacting.

Then the arrythmia came back. This time it was the middle of the day and I was home alone, sitting in bed, one hand on my chest, trying not to panic.

Superwoman, with a full diary and a dicky heart…  Superwoman calling her cardiologist.  Superwoman back at hospital getting checked over.  Superwoman being given stern warnings, and promising to go straight to Emergency at the first hint of another ‘episode’.

This week I was reminded, in no gentle way, of the ongoing fragility of life. Of my own vulnerability. Of how everything can change in an instant.

Of how I need to remember, and live by, my values and priorities.

We are, all of us, vulnerable. That’s actually a beautiful thing. It forces us to be in the moment, to entwine our lives with others – to live with open hearts.

To be honest, I’m shaken. I couldn’t even meditate for a few days. Instead I sat and watched the birds, or the sunlight dappling the ground with shadows. I tried to tell myself it was all okay.

And it is. In life I’m fine.  In death I’ll be fine.  It’s all fine. A day or two removed and I’m seeing that more and more clearly.

But I’m still wide open and heart-felt and raw.  I’m questioning everything, even as I’m accepting that it’s all fine.  I’m looking over my shoulder, and trying not to.

I’m vulnerable.  And sometimes that scares me. Even though it’s true for all of us. And was ever so.

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