Journal Challenge Week 2 – Lightbulbs and Lightning Strikes

Image from  Dan's Data

Image from Dan’s Data

“SOWING LIGHTNING

Seize
Bolts of lightning from the sky
And plant them in fields of life.

They will grow like tender sprouts of fire.
Charge somber thoughts
With unexpected flash,
You, my lightning in the soil!”
~ Visar Zhiti, The Condemned Apple: Selected Poetry

 

Hello, my Lovelies, and welcome to Week 2 of our Journal Challenge!

If you’ve only just found us now, it’s not too late to go back and start at the beginning. That’s the beauty of journalling. It waits for us, and works with our own time-frames.

I suppose you’ve heard about Lightbulb Moments. You know, that instant where the light comes on and you truly UNDERSTAND something for the first time. ‘Ah,’ you say, perhaps a little excitedly, ‘I get it!’

There’s another kind of awareness that can hit us too. It’s painful. It’s abrupt. It’s super-charged and the sting is so shocking that the memory is somehow imprinted into you at a cellular level. ‘Holy Shit!’ you manage to choke out, if indeed you can find any words at all. That ain’t no Lightbulb Moment, honey. That’s a Lightning Strike!

Some of our most powerful insights and guiding direction comes in the form of Lightbulb Moments and Lightning Strikes. This week we’re opening ourselves to reconnecting to the wisdom we’ve already received, as well as inviting more of these moments into our lives.

Are you ready? Courage, my dears.

Let’s Begin!

Image from tumblr

Image from tumblr

Choosing a Crystal

You may wish to choose a crystal to work with this week. It is entirely optional, and you’d be fine without one too – but for my fellow rock lovers, read on…

You can hold this crystal as you write or meditate, place it under your pillow or beside your bed while you sleep, or carry it in your pocket to help you stay focused.

You could choose your stone based on what most appeals to you. That’s a very valid approach. But if you need a little direction, good crystals to work with this week include:

  • Citrine
  • Clear Quartz of any kind
  • Emerald
  • Amethyst
  • Labradorite
  • Orange or golden calcite
  • Black Tourmaline
  • Hematite
  • Jade

This week I’m using a rather comforting Labradorite that fits perfectly into my hand. Feel free to let us know what kind of crystal you choose by leaving a comment below or over at our facebook page.

Labradorite

Week Two Meditation:

There is so much wisdom already inside you. It stretches back through your family tree, and through your past lives. This week, before you begin to reflect on and journal your exploratory questions, take a minute or two to perform this simple meditation.

Image from Pinterest

Image from Pinterest

Ancestor Activation Technique

Before you begin writing, sit or lie quietly. One by one, raise your palms and look into them, seeing all the lines and contours. Know that your entire family lineage is held within these hands, and that your hands link you back through time to loved ones who still watch over you and guide you. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know or feel connected to your family, or if you don’t know your family history. It doesn’t matter if the family you are born into is a family with whom you don’t resonate. Family is bigger than that. It goes back so much further than you might know. These bonds anchor us in a love far beyond our conscious understanding. We reincarnate into our family tree over and over again. None of us is ever alone. We are always well loved, although we may not always understand this.

If you are using a stone, cup your crystal in one hand and then place your other hand over the top. Rest your hands comfortably in your lap. If you’re not using a crystal, place your hands palm down on your belly.

Visualise a rainbow in your crystal, or if you are just using your hands, visualise a rainbow in the palms of your hands. Breathe in to activate your hands and let that rainbow of colour expand, flowing out into your aura and into your body on each outbreath. Close your eyes if it feels comfortable to do so.

Image from Maha Rose

Image from Maha Rose

Now in your mind offer up a prayer to your Ancestors. Ask them for guidance and help. Ask them to flow wisdom and opportunity to you. Say anything else that feels right for you.

Then sit in this energy a little longer and be open to any thoughts, images or ideas that come.

Finally, take six breaths deep into your belly, letting your body relax completely.

Now you’re ready to write!

Journal Questions:

You can choose any or all of the questions below. Some will be asked as traditional questions, and some are sentences that give you a place to start by leaving a space for you to complete that sentence.

I suggest going with what resonates and repels for a good balance. Write as much or as little as you need. It could be three words or three pages. Spread it out over a week, or spend a solid hour or two over one day – it’s up to you! If you’re in flow, keep going and see where it takes you. Be brave here, sweethearts. Pry open those tightly closed doors. Fling open the windows and let the light in. We can’t operate in darkness. Healing needs air and sunlight.

You can also write over more than one sitting, even beyond this current journal challenge, taking yourself deeper and clearer each time you come back to that question. Trust that more will be revealed as your own wholeness is revealed.

If you’re using a crystal, hold it in your non-writing hand, or place it in your lap or pocket. Feel free to get yourself a beverage, or to sit in a coffee shop while you do this. Enjoy the process!

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This week we’re bravely peeling back the layers, seeking to own all the parts of us. Including those things we have pushed away, rejected, been shamed for, or that give us embarrassment or pain. I’ve grouped the questions together for a reason.

If you don’t know how to answer something, ask yourself again, and then wait.

Still nothing?

Ask again and wait some more. Then ask – What am I afraid of here? Bravely wait for the answer, and then ask yourself the question again, knowing that your fears cannot harm you.

Also ask yourself this, if it feels right: Is this a family pattern? How might I break this pattern, so that Ancestral Patterning stops with me?

Self-Sabotage:

  1. What is my most insidious (subtle and sneaky) self-sabotaging behaviour?
  2. What is my most overt (obvious and visible) self-sabotaging behaviour?
  3. Why did I start this behaviour? Who did I pattern it (copy or learn it) from?
  4. What are the benefits of this sabotaging behaviour? How does it keep me ‘safe’?
  5. What would happen in my life if I gradually replaced this behaviour with one that genuinely supported and sustained me?
  6. What positive behaviours could I choose?
  7. How does this knowledge make me feel? Why?

Resentment:

  1. The people I resent most are…
  2. The reasons I resent them are…
  3. It’s so unfair for me because…
  4. I’m so worried that I’ll never get time to…
  5. I hate that I’m always the one who has to…
  6. What do I resent that others tell me about myself, or expect me to be?
  7. The thing putting me under all this stress is…

Excuses, excuses:

  1. What do I tell myself that keeps me small?
  2. Who else do I know who behaves like that?
  3. What virtuous or ‘good’ patterns or behaviours do I use to avoid dealing with my own stuff?
  4. What am I so afraid of here?
  5. What am I stopping myself from doing?

Oh, the Shame!:

  1. The incident I am most ashamed about is…
  2. The thing I still hate to have people bring up about me is…
  3. The thing I still feel most guilty about is…
  4. The most embarrassed I’ve ever been is…
  5. I feel such a failure because…
  6. I could never be that thing I so desire to be, because…
  7. The one thing I wish I could erase from my life is…
  8. The powerful and painful learning burned into my brain like a Lightning Strike about this is…
  9. I could reframe that learning into something good and wise by seeing it this way…
Image from GalleryHip.com

Image from GalleryHip.com

And now for some healing and expanding life energy. Be informed by the writing you have done with your exploratory questions. Choose one or do them all. Let yourself step into the energy of possibility and growth. Let your own inner knowing be a healing force of good in your life. Write at least a paragraph. Be detailed and specific where you can.Turn pain and suffering into wisdom. Let yourself be lit up with Lightbulb Moments and Lightning Strikes.

If you’re uncomfortable, then write it as a wise fairy-tale that might be good advice for someone else.

1. The lesson my self-sabotaging behaviour teaches me is…

2. As I embrace this lesson, with love and compassion for myself, I can see my life becoming…

3. My resentment is a powerful voice inside me showing me what’s truly important to my heart and soul. This resentment has taught me that what matters is…

4. I will overcome or deal with my fear by…

5. These painful things have taught me some beautiful lessons about myself. I can now become wiser, kinder, more uplifted and more inspired because I understand that…

6. The parts of myself that I lovingly reclaim are…

Do pop over to our facebook page this week. There will be some rune guidance for you. I’ll be giving away some lovely surprises and there will also be an online party next weekend where I’ll be available to answer your questions and have some fun!

I have so much faith in you. We have a big year ahead in 2015 – full of opportunity and possibility – and I know you’ll be well positioned to make the most of it by doing all of this self-work!

Big hugs to you and lots of love, Nicole xx

A Newsy Update and Writing Reminder

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“Are you ready?” Klaus asked finally.
“No,” Sunny answered.
“Me neither,” Violet said, “but if we wait until we’re ready we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives, Let’s go.”
~ Lemony Snicket, The Ersatz Elevator

 

This will be quite a newsy post, hence the title.

Breaking News and Announcements:

  1. Husband Update: Ben is doing better. He has even been able to enjoy the delights of hospital jelly. Mmmmm….. Jelly! I’ve been able to spend hours and hours of quality time with him – just him and me in a room, talking about life and the meaning of the world, shooting the breeze and laughing about the dogs. There is nothing like a health hiccup to help you refocus and re-prioritise. Thank you so much, everyone, for your kind thoughts, messages of support and visits. We love you xx
  2. Dog Update: The first two days of being in the city went quite quickly. But now the boys are over it and wishing that Dad was home, and that we were back at the farm. They have taken to being completely and ridiculously overprotective of me. “Mum, there’s a possum on the roof – let us jump on top of you while you sleep, waking you abruptly while completely squishing the life out of you. Now we will bark as if the house is under threat from hostile military invasion. Feel protected! Now Bert will fart. Badly. Because he always does that when nervous or afraid. When’s Dad coming home?” Meanwhile Harry keeps wanting to take me to the car so we can go get Ben and then head to a cafe. It’s been way too long. 2014-10-28 18.49.13
  3. Halloween Update: Candy Munchers Beware! All I have for you is organic apples and oranges. No time for spooky cupcakes this year. Oh, alright, maybe a few… fca376c2e92039abbc46c8b756401488
  4. Me Update: It’s my second week of being completely drug-free while my liver and kidneys had a Lyme Drug Holiday. Oh my goodness – I’m beginning to remember what human feels like! This week I realised how much I depend on Ben for just about everything right now, and how my world crumbles when he is under threat. Love that man so much. Just want for us both to be well, and able to be out in the world enjoying life again. Upstairs, if you are listening, enough already! Okay? Also, why did you make Bert part skunk? Just sayin’… We’re dying here. Even Harry, who is a dog and who you think would adore farts, is not coping with Bert’s sudden onset stress and defense mechanism. 2014-10-28 18.57.56
  5. NaNoWriMo: Yep. National Novel Writing Month. That month-long insanity where we use November to write 50 000 words and get our book done. As a shitty first draft anyway. Cos what could be easier? It starts TOMORROW, so writing buddies I am calling out to you to pony up. It’s nearly time. Sharpen your pencils. Organise your favourite beverages. Muster your thoughts. We’re doing this! And it’s not too late to join us. More details here2012-05-17 07.34.52
  6. Journalling Challenge: We have two more days to get this week’s activities finished. Tune into my facebook page later today for details of our facebook party tomorrow, where I’ll be online to chat and answer all your questions. Also, there will be an awesome give-away. So join us, and be part of the fun. I might even give away Bert! (NO! Just kidding…) 2014-10-26 08.26.16
  7. End Of Year Spiritual Retreat With Me: Need a recharge? Some very personalised guidance? Pampering and organic food? Healing and energy work? Some cool artsy and spiritual workshops? Meditation and journalling? Fun and friendship? Learning how to use your own spiritual gifts? Ready to work out what’s stopping you so that you can truly make the most of 2015? Want to hang out with some beautiful Soul Sisters? Come join us in Byron Bay. Details here.

So that’s my news. Happy Halloween from all of us!

Wishing you some Creepy Cupcake Madness,

Lots of love, Nicole and family xoxoxo

Halloween-Cupcakes-5

Write On!

love heart pen

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
~ Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

 

Over the next four days I’ll be on retreat. Not one I’m running, but one I’m attending. Hopefully I’ll have some phone reception while I’m there, so that I can sneak out a post or two for you!

For the past several years I’ve belonged to a small band of writers – a support crew of writing ‘sisters’ – and this coming long weekend we have hired a house in the countryside so that we can all sit in various corners hammering out vast quantities of wordage. Just for this weekend we have left our day jobs behind, our partners, our families, our worldly responsibilities. All that will matter is our writerly selves, our current writing projects, and words on the page. As the words pile up we’ll share a meal, drink tea and discuss life, writing and everything in between.

I was too ill to attend our last retreat, so I’m super excited to be able to get to this one, and I’ve made a deal with my doctor to delay my Drug Number Four by two days so that I can make the most of this break away. Even if I have to spend all weekend in bed, writing in my pyjamas, I shall be there. Writing!!!! Oh my goodness, I adore crafting words into stories and learning tools. Even when it’s hard. Even when it’s agony. Writing has been a deep and abiding love in my life since I was a small girl.

Tell-me-what-is-it-you-plan-to-do-with-your-one-wild-and-precious-life

My plan for the weekend is to create an editing schedule for the fiction manuscripts I’ve finished in the past year, rework my writing plan for my next memoir instalment and my non-fiction books that are still all in pieces, and then I will start work on something completely new – an idea that has me totally abuzz. Goodness, I am SO grateful to have my mind back, and to be able to finally write well. Taking these horrid drugs for my lyme disease, although wretched, has been totally worth it just for that simple fact – my brain is working again after too many years of being a barren wasteland. As my health is slowly returning I can write! My memory works, my imaginative is technicolour instead of monochrome, and words that long eluded me are now flowing from my fingertips.

I feel like a kid about to go on a long-awaited school camp. My bag is packed. I have my journals, my file cards, my favourite pencil case and my writing laptop (the one with no games, work, emails or other distractions).There’s a box full of food. I’ve baked a cake. And I managed to sneak some chocolate in with the farm-fresh vegetables.

Let the fun begin. 🙂

What are you doing over the weekend? I really hope you can find a little time to work on your dreams too! Lots of love to you, Nicole xx

And Then It Was Done…

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“When we are motivated by goals that have deep meaning, by dreams that need completion, by pure love that needs expressing, then we truly live.”Greg Anderson

 

Since early this year I’ve been hammering away at a memoir. I started writing it because you, dear readers, suggested that it was the thing you most wanted me to write. It’s all about my time in the Kimberley, and how that has shaped me.

‘How easy could it be?’ I thought, when I first started writing. I truly imagined I’d just throw a few words onto the page, and then a few more, and then it would be done. I did not expect that in writing about myself I’d have to face so many demons, drag up so many unwanted memories, or need to do so much self-reflection.

Easy? It’s the hardest thing I ever wrote. Dripping those words onto the page has been excruciating. And it has slowly taken over my life, these past few months.

But now I’m done.

I finished it yesterday afternoon. Hooray. I hope that one day soon it shall be a proper book, and that you will be able to hold that small part of my life in your hands.

Thank you. Without your encouragement, this manuscript would never have come into existence.

Much love and hugs, from a very tired but happy Nicole xoxo

What My Morning Looks Like

memoir

“Each of us is a book waiting to be written, and that book, if written, results in a person explained.”
~ Thomas M. Cirignano, The Constant Outsider: Memoirs of a South Boston Mechanic

 

I woke at four this morning with the ending of my memoir firmly in my head. So I am writing. And writing. And thinking a little. Checking a detail or two. Writing some more.

I can’t stop to chat just now. I’m sure you’ll understand. 🙂

Unexpected Treasures from the #Writers Festival

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“What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.” ~ Anne Lamott

 

Byron Bay Writers Festival 2014 has been my first writers festival, and I am certain it shall not be my last.

All I had really planned was to go sit at the feet of some memoirists, in the hope that I might glean some tips for the agonies I am currently going through in writing my own.

But oh, I got so much more…

I have wept more than my fair share of tears as brave writers have bared their souls in conversation, as well as on the page. I have been inspired, uplifted, encouraged. I have laughed til more tears rolled down my face. I have been reminded of my humanity.

I have experienced breakthroughs in both the craft of writing, and in my personal journey. For isn’t every story a way for us to better understand ourselves and this thing we call ‘life’.

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I have also met some wonderful people, and reconnected with friends I have not seen for an age.

Each time I have sat in a tent, or in the sunshine, or at a shady lunchtime table I have asked my fellow festival goers a simple question: Are you a writer, or an enthusiastic reader? The answers have been unexpected, endearing and enlightening.

I’ll share my favourite, from yesterday.

I met an elderly woman over lunch. She was grey-haired and rail thin, dressed in a warm grey coat, red shoes and a felt hat adorned with bright red flowers. I asked my question.

“Oh,” she said. “I’m a reader. Books are my life!”

I pressed her for more detail and found that she was a widow and librarian who looked after an ailing mother and a disabled adult daughter. All of her life this woman had read literature, until one day, quite by accident she was introduced to a crime novel. It was a humorous light read, and she found herself devouring it, and then skulking off to find more by the same author. Eventually crime became her favourite genre. She reads all kinds of crime now. Such is her addiction that she has an iPad with several e-readers on it so that she may read on the bus on the way to work, or over a sandwich in the park at lunch. And each night, she told me, she goes home to the detective waiting for her on her pillow. A hard-cover book is her reward at the end of a long day.

Why crime, I asked her.

For the feeling of control, she told me. For the sense of satisfaction that there can be justice in the world, and that ordinary people in the pursuit of that justice can be brave and clever and powerful. Detectives and pathologists were a lot like librarians, the old lady told me. They investigate, research, connect to others with knowledge and track down information and answers with great dedication.

She leaned closer and shared her last secret in my ear. “I’ll never travel, dear. Not with my situation. But when I read my books I am transported. I have walked the gritty streets of Chicago, travelled the romantic canals of Venice, suffered the heat of Africa, and travelled through time.” She winked at me. “I’ve even had love affairs…”

Image from Adazing

Image from Adazing

Sorry, but I’m #writing

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” 
~ Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

 

I’ll keep this short.

You see, I’m busy. Writing.

Not blog writing. Book writing. Do you know how many words you need for a book? So many words. Not even counting the ones I erased already.

It’s become a bit of an obsession right now, getting this story onto the page. The words and the feelings are cramming themselves into every spare corner of my brain. Words are spilling out of my fingertips onto scraps of paper or notes on my phone when I am away from my desk. Words crowd around the bed, waiting for me to wake.

Soon there shall be a finished draft, and then the real work shall begin as I wrestle those errant words into a tidier form, making them look more closely like that thing I had pictured in my head which was my story before it had a life of its own.

Coffee now, and more writing.

And then more of that. And some more.

One day, perhaps, I will hold this story in my hand, and then it will fly away from me and out into the world, maybe even finding you.

But for now, it’s just me and the page, and endless soul-birthed words…

Image from mediawebapps

Image from mediawebapps