How do you start your day?
I usually wake up to a hug and kiss from my husband. After living together for nearly 27 years it's the sweetest thing—even if it sounds cliche. I like to meditate first thing in the morning to connect to my Self, to who I truly am, to spend those first conscious moments of the day immersed in love and grace rather than thoughts. And then I wake up my body with a few chi gong exercises. I have always struggled with regular exercise but this makes me feel so good—to feel the energy flow through every part of my body. After that it's off to making breakfast for my family...
What do you do when you are overwhelmed or stressed?
Ha! When I read the questions out to my family my teenager answered this one: 'you scream and shout!' Its true, I do sometimes lose my cool a bit with my family when I'm overwhelmed and stressed—and who doesn't...? I don’t like it at all—so the secret is to try and avoid getting too stressed, which becomes more important the older I get. My morning ritual of meditation and cultivating a certain awareness of what's going on in my life helps with not getting overwhelmed and stressed. And good planning and not putting things off...
*Above gallery of photos by Emily Falconbridge.
What gives you the feeling of true bliss within?
Meditation. Definitely meditation is the key to true bliss for me. I was fortunate to start on my spiritual path when I was 22 years old and to have a living guru who has guided me on this path of experiencing that inner bliss.
What is your go-to simple recipe?
I love making pizza! Most of the time when we have someone over for a meal I will make pizza. I make the sourdough for the base 6-8 hours before and then just put a tin of organic tomatoes, some capsicum, Italian herbs, olives in the Vitamix for a sauce and top that with feta and mozzarella. I enjoy the whole process of kneading the dough, having oily hands splattered with sauce—it's really quite simple.
What are some simple things you do for self-care?
At the moment I usually spent 8-10 weeks in Australia and then 3-4 weeks in Bali. In Bali my live is very busy—I run retreats, I have bags and scarves and clothing made and dyed, I have a very busy social live with all of my Balinese friends and the simplest thing for self-care there is to ask one of my friends for a massage. Back in Australia my life is the opposite—I spend most of my days by myself at home while my husband and son are at work and school and I make sure to provide us with a nurturing lifestyle. So the simplest way of self-care there for me is to veg out on the daybed and watch a movie.
What does nourishment look like to you?
I have always been a mother and homemaker—even before I had children. And creating a nurturing environment comes easy and natural to me. It includes healthy food, a beautiful clean living space, mealtimes together, sharing love and life, spending time in nature and being creative.
I truly love running the Soulful Escapes to Bali and creating a nurturing environment for women to recharge and just be. As women and mothers we often take on roles of nurturing other people and many of us get burnt out at one point or the other—it happened to me about 10 years ago. Life can be so overwhelmingly busy and the first step to self-nourishment is often to take time for ourselves. To be with ourselves. To heal ourselves and to find balance in our lives.
Self-respect plays into that too. To honour and respect ourselves enough to recognise that we are truly worthy of nurturing.
Last year a healer in Bali told me that around 10 years ago I thought I was Superwoman. “Sound familiar?” he asked me. And then he went on to say that back then I had used around 70% physical energy and 70% mental energy—so that makes 140%. “But we only have 100%. Where do you think the rest of 40% came from?” I shook my head—no idea. “It didn't come from other people or your environment. You stole it from your future. That's why you are so tired now.”
And he also told me that with enough self-love I can balance my life again. We all can.
How do you make space for play?
I don't know how I make space for it—it's so important, there just has to be time for it, right?
At the moment I really love to paint. I have always been creative and made things with my own hands, it's a large part of who I am. And the playful part in art and creativity is really important for me. Once I am in that space I stop thinking and I am not interested in outcomes. I am flowing in that playful creative energy and I actually get quite high on it. Its wonderfully enlivening. It does take practise and the more you can let go the higher you fly.
I have also just started going to Bollywood dance classes which is so much fun!
What are some favorite mantras you cling to?
'Go with the flow' has become an important truth in my live since I had my Balinese horoscope done. It was such a relief to find out that in this life I could just go with the flow—something that came easy to me but seemed to not be the norm. Going with the flow to me means that I can live more in the moment, I don’t have to worry about the future or dwell on the past. I can just BE.
'Time is not linear' is another favourite. How often do you hear people complaining that time is just flying by... that time is speeding up... I love to think about time. I love to think that time is my friend. And my experience of time has changed so much since I have become more aware of being in the moment. When we live in the moment time becomes our friend and every moment in time is precious. Some moments can be so precious that they stretch on forever—and all of a sudden time is not linear anymore but organic and alive.
Please share some words of wisdom you’ve learned as a direct result of soulful and embodied living.
Having been immersed in Balinese life since the age of 19 and being on a spiritual path for almost as long has taught me a lot about soulful embodied living. I prefer to live a simple life with less material possessions and rich in creativity and inner experiences. I have also grown comfortable in my own company. I feel like people in Bali can truly see Me. They look me in the eyes with a natural curiosity to know who I am rather then what I do and what I have. Maybe it comes from their belief system that everything is imbued with the Divine - every person, every living creature, every blade of grass, every rock and every drop of water... Life is filled with joy and freedom once you start experiencing that.
Nicole grew up in Germany and the Canary Islands. She first travelled to Bali when she was 19 and felt immediately at home. It was there that she met her Australian husband, built a house and café. They now live in Australia with their two (almost) grown up sons and travel back and forth to Bali several times a year.
Nicole is an artist, homemaker, Waldorf School teacher and still feels most at home in a small village in Bali amongst her Balinese friends and running Soulful Escape retreats with her soul sister Em Falconbridge. Nicole loves nothing better then to bounce creative ideas back and forwards with Em and they have started to involve as many of their Balinese artisan friends in creating beautiful things to adorn body and home. Their next challenge is to set up an online shop...
Connect with Nicole—