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Beauty

It’s okay to dream the dreams you dream. {A little love note}

It’s okay to start where you are. It’s okay to allow yourself to move forward with what calls to you to do. You do not need to be held back by small mistakes of the past, or a fear or doubt that you cannot do it.

Know that you are worthy of all that you dream of having in your life.

For me, I dreamed of sharing my grief journal, creating more journals with ease. Publishing them on Amazon, being a published and well-loved and celebrated author.

I always dreamed of this. Even in past visions or meditations, and beautiful ideas for children’s books.

It has always been a dream of mine, but one I’ve held so close and near, afraid to name in case it doesn’t come true.

It’s okay to name what you want.

It’s okay to dream the dreams you dream.

Without your dreams, the world wouldn’t be the same, the fairies and fireflies couldn’t dance in the midnight’s sky.

Your dreams are beautiful. They help make you who you are.

And all that you are is your dreams coming true.

When have you ever had a dream come true, that it brought you to life the moment it was fulfilled?

For me, it was visiting Easter Island. The very experience of that dream coming true, standing there along the ocean’s shore, breathing in the fresh salty air and feeling the sunshine on my skin…

I danced with delight on the inside and it put the biggest smile on my face.

You are worthy of your dreams coming true.

Allow them to give you energy, not like a bag of rocks weighing you down.

Anytime you feel like a bag of rocks or a ton of bricks are weighing you down — stop and feel inside, if those rocks or bricks are really yours.

For you know the dream you dream is yours, when it makes you feel light and happy and free.

Not weighed down with fears or anticipation of judgments or what others think.

This is not your responsibility. It’s okay to set those rocks down.

That’s what I wish I could go back and tell my former self — and even what I’m still learning right here, right now — today.

Is to let the rocks of expectations go, and trade them in for freedom instead.

So what would feel like the most freeing thing for you today?

I’ve found that when I focus on freedom, and what feels nurturing and loving for me to do, usually leads to the greatest rewards — the greatest surprises, and unfoldings and synchronicities.

This is likely true for you too, and I wish I could tell that past version of myself the same.

That you don’t to have it all figured out right away — that it’s okay to take steps into the unknown. And that it’s okay if others don’t understand.

You know what’s true for you. You know the brilliance that you hold within your hands — your life, your love, they are but treasures to be found, as you follow the voice from within.

Allow her to guide you — that sweet, most innocent and pure, delighted version of yourself.

And she’ll carry you all the way home.

Sending you infinite love & blessings, today, and this week~
Caitlin

P.S. If you’d like to join us for our Virtual Tea Party tomorrow, reach out here and let me know! I’ll make sure to send you an email with all the details.

Make some tea, bring your journal and let’s connect!

Tomorrow, Thursday, August 1st at 3 pm PST…

Brave Soul, Grief & Loss, Self-Compassion, Writing as Healing

10 Ways to Connect When You’re Feeling Isolated & Alone

I still remember standing outside visiting with people after church. I could feel the warmth of the sunlight on my skin, but I couldn’t feel the compassion or understanding of those around me. It felt like an invisible curtain appeared right in front of my face as I talked with them — you couldn’t see it, but you could feel it. An invisible barrier laced with the belief that no one cared, that they couldn’t understand.

And to be honest, they probably didn’t.  I’d recently lost my dad, and even those who had experienced loss couldn’t express their sentiments in a way that I could feel. Somehow their genuine concern got lost in translation.

They had already made it to the other side, to a place where their grief was no longer felt at the same depth as mine. They were no longer standing in the very same hole that I felt I’d been plopped down into.

I wanted someone who could crawl down into that hole with me and keep me company while I was there.

And that’s what I’d love to do for you — crawl down into whatever exact, uniquely shaped, and sized hole you are in, and shine some light, share some love, and walk beside you or sit with you with compassion.

Compassion is my specialty. 

Just ask anyone who knows me, and it is often one of the first traits people will mention.

I care. Deeply. And it’s one of the things the people I’ve coached thank me for most.

And it’s also one of the things I’ve practiced most deeply in my life — learning to care for and be kind to myself.

Do you have that challenge too? 

My guess is, if you’re here reading these words, you might also be on a similar life path of learning to offer yourself the same kindness and grace that you so readily offer to others.

And I’d love to work with you.

I’d love to shine a light in all of the dark corners and lift them up with evergreen grace.

I’m here for you. All you have to do is decide you’d like to open your hand and welcome some fresh love in. 

Try it right now. Open your hands, palm up and feel the love that is here for you.

Now — let me know where your “hole” is located and I’ll be right over! With your favorite cup of tea and a beautiful strand of twinkle lights.

We’ll shine some twinkle lights in the darkness until you find the light and strength of your own. And we’ll do it, together. 

You don’t have to go through any of this alone. 

I’ve got you. And I care. 

And that’s a winning combination. 

Not that there’s anything to win. But the ability to feel better, even when the circumstances around you don’t change, is one of life’s greatest gifts. It’s something I’ve learned again and again in new and deeper ways, and continue to practice every day.

So if you feel curious about the idea of hanging some twinkle lights to bring a little light and ease to any challenges or losses in your life, I’d love to talk with you. 

Schedule a time on my calendar for a free 30 minute, Shine The Light On Your Life call where we can talk about your dark hole of a challenge or loss, and what some possible twinkle lights might look like in your life right now, even if it’s just one teeny tiny bulb to add a little glow.

Schedule here: https://calendly.com/coachingwithcaitlin

In the meantime…here are 10 ways to feel more connected when you’re feeling alone.

Feeling disconnected and unable to connect with the people around you, whether because of loss or illness, is one of the most gut-wrenching experiences I believe we can ever have. I also believe that it is an opportunity to get creative and find other ways to support yourself in feeling connected. 

I know from personal experience how hard it can be, and whether you’re in a tough place right now or not, I know these can help. They are my top 10 favorite ways to connect! Enjoy!

1. Take a 5 minute nature break.

Spend some time sitting or walking outside, or looking out the window. Just take some time to notice your breathing and look at what’s around you — notice the rocks, the leaves, any trees, or blades of grass. Even if you don’t FEEL anything, just keep noticing. Keep observing. And eventually you’ll start to feel more connected both to yourself and to your surroundings. 

(Bonus: Make note of how you’re feeling both before and after your 5 minute nature session to build evidence for yourself if it’s helpful and to watch how your experience changes over time.)

2. Write down how you feel.

Science shows (and I’ve learned from personal experience) that naming your feelings can help lessen the severity right away. And then writing them down is an even deeper way to acknowledge your feelings and offer yourself compassion and support. Take 1 minute and write down as many feeling words as you can that describe what you’re experiencing. 

(This can be a post it note, a note on your phone, the back of a letter or piece of mail, anything nearby will work.) 

They don’t have to be complete sentences either, anything goes! Scared, alone, twist in my stomach, hard to breathe, numb. Whatever it is, write it down. See how you feel when the minute is up. Any better? Want to keep writing? If so, keep going. If not, move on with a greater sense of connection to yourself and awareness of your emotions and experience.  

3. Do a Lava Volcano Quick Write.

This is where you set a timer for 5 minutes and just write down EVERYTHING that comes to your mind. And when I say everything, I mean everything! Every thought, even if it’s “this is a stupid exercise.” Letting whatever is swirling around in your head flow out through your pen onto the page (or note on your phone, etc.) is one of the easiest, and most powerful ways to set that energy free. Try it and see how you feel!

4. Connect with your breath.

This is one of the easiest ways to begin feeling more connected — and also one of the most challenging to remember or make time for…or, let’s be honest, find the motivation to actually DO. But it’s effects are far reaching and healing in ways our minds can only imagine. 

To do this, simply stop wherever you are. 

Notice your breath in, and feel what the air and oxygen feels like as it fills your body. Does your belly expand, your chest rise? Do you feel it in your neck, head, shoulders, feet? 

Then exhale slowly and notice the physical sensations in your body there as well — does your chest collapse and relax forward, do you feel an openness in your belly, sleepiness in your eyes? 

Whatever it is, just notice. And then at the end of your exhale pause, and wait for your body to naturally inhale. Follow this sequence for as long as feels good and notice how little effort it actually takes — that you’re not the one who has to MAKE breathing happen, that in fact, you’re the one being breathed.

5. Write a note to a friend.

Whether it’s a text message, an email, or a handwritten letter, reaching out to those we care about can have huge mental health benefits. But what do you do when you don’t FEEL connected? Reach out anyway. Send a kind word, a thought about how your day is going or ask for some support. If there’s something you need — ask. This is SO hard, I know from personal experience and it’s harder for some of us than others. But even if you simply write to wish THEM a wonderful day or to say “I’m thinking of you,” there’s some part of you that will receive that kindness too.

6. Write a love letter to yourself.

Take some time, set aside maybe 10-15 minutes and write out some of the things that are troubling you. Then, look through your list and imagine your dearest friend was experiencing these things. What would you say? What words of comfort or compassion would you offer? Now write “Dear, (and your name),” at the top of a fresh page, and begin pouring out all those loving and kind words of support to yourself. Allow yourself to gush as much as feels comfortable — and know that it might not feel comfortable at first, but that’s okay. The more you practice this, the easier it will get. And before you know it, you’ll be connecting with yourself in an easy and compassion-filled way each and every day.

7. Listen to a song with a melody or lyrics you love.

Let the music wash over you. Get up and dance if you feel inspired, or sit and wrap yourself in a blanket and allow yourself to cry if they lyrics move you. Allow yourself to feel connected to the rhythm, the harmony, the connection of another person’s words and music, knowing that anything that artist could write or compose or sing about, is something they’ve experienced too. So if it moves you, know that there is a connection there. A life and a spirit of compassion and love. An empathy of sorts — being sent out through time and space in the sound waves of this favorite song.

8. Do a short loving-kindness meditation.

Find a calm and quiet place where you can relax. And sit down, or lie down and close your eyes. Call to mind the image of a pet or family member or friend who naturally makes you smile. Hold them in your mind’s eye and send them all the love and support that naturally arises. Do this for at least 3 breaths. 

Then see yourself standing there next to them, and continue offering the same loving support, and any kind phrases or wishes that come to mind. “May you be blessed with peace / ease / gentleness / kindness / love / forgiveness / healing.”

Now, imagine that this friend or other person or animal needs to go somewhere else for a bit (they can always come back if you need them!), and see yourself standing there in the golden glow of this love, and all of the wishes and kindness you have offered. 

Now spend 5-10 breaths sending even more love and support directly to yourself — this vision of yourself you’re holding in your mental movie screen. Offer her all the love and beautiful wishes you can and see how you feel. 

Repeat as often as necessary, and as mentioned, you can always bring that loving family member or friend back if that helps make it easier to send the compassion and love. You’ve got this. And you’re infinitely loved. Allow yourself to step into that circle and receive some love yourself. You so deserve it.

9. Pet, snuggle, or play with a pet.

This can either be your own pet, or someone else’s. (And if you don’t have access to a pet, try watching a bird or squirrel out the window, or pulling up a cute animal video online.) 

Connect with your pet — talk to them, pet them, invite them to sit on your lap if appropriate, stroke their fur, play a game with their favorite toy — anything that helps you connect. What do they like to do? Offering one of their favorite things and watching them enjoy it can help you feel more loved and connected in turn. And can even help spring forth some new feelings of joy and relaxation. Enjoy! 

P.S. If you’re really struggling this might even look like sitting in a favorite chair with your pet on your lap or by your side, not engaging but just sitting together, looking out the window or staring at the wall. Do whatever feels best to you and fits your situation. You are so loved!

10. Sing a song.

I know this may sound silly, but there’s nothing like the power of singing a song to help you connect to the voice and the power within yourself. It’s like you connect to yourself through your song. Any song that comes to mind is perfect, or maybe a lullaby your mom sang to you as a child. Maybe you have a favorite song that always brings tears to your eyes or helps you feel relaxed and at home. Even if you don’t have a song in mind, just humming whatever random sounds or tones come to mind can help put your mind at ease and connect you with yourself as you notice the vibration and humming sensation in your body. Give it a try!

I hope this helps the next time you find yourself feeling low, or alone and like no one understands. There are so many other ways that you can connect with the people around you — but when all else fails, don’t ever doubt the connection you have with yourself, and the power of tapping into that with compassion. 

I’m sending you so much love, and I’d love to know — which one of these ideas was your favorite? Is there one you feel like you could put into practice today or sometime this week?

Hit reply and let me know! I love hearing from you.

And as always, sending lots of love and many blessings your way,

Caitlin

P.S. You’re Invited…

I wanted to do something beautiful for us as a community, and so I thought, hey, wouldn’t it be fun if we had a virtual tea party!? 
So…

Join me August 1st at 3pm Pacific for a cup of tea, some journaling, Q&A and conversation. We’ll go wherever the wind blows so be prepared for an adventure!

All you need to do is subscribe here, if you’re not already, to receive weekly newsletters and the link to where we’ll meet at the designated time.

Make sure to bring a cup of tea (or other delicious beverage of choice) in your favorite mug, a cozy blanket, your journal if you have one and something to write with. Looking forward to it!

Hope to see you there!

three hearts, Caitlin 


Blessings, Brave Soul, Self-Care

Want more joy in your life? This is for you.

One day as I was walking through the woods, listening to the birds chirping from the trees and watching my cute little dog Dino run along the forest trail, happily sniffing everything in sight…

I decided I wanted to have a summer of JOY.

If you’re not familiar with Susan Hyatt, this thought was based on her Summer of Yes. If you’d like, you can learn more about her work here.

It’s all about making your summer memorable, and saying yes to the things that light you up, or in my case, with the inspiration of the lovely Marie Kondo, spark joy.

I’ve wanted to have a Joy Diet Book Club FOREVER. It’s based on one of my favorite books by Martha Beck, The Joy Diet.

And so I’ve decided — it’s time.

It’s time to say yes to the power of joy, and summer, and beautiful forward momentum in a way that is nourishing and provides a sense of community and belonging. A summer that Sparks JOY.

Because I believe that as we follow our joy, we’re led to the ways we can make the biggest difference — and have the greatest impact in the world.

Our joy matters. Just as our stories, our mission, our experiences, and even our pain do.

Joy can be a tricky one to claim. It can often feel elusive and is one of the most vulnerable emotions, as noted by Brene Brown.

So why not do it together? And follow the steps, practices, and insights that Martha lays out in her book, The Joy Diet. Here are the chapters, or as she calls them, ingredients:

#1: NOTHING

#2: TRUTH

#3: DESIRE

#4: CREATIVITY

#5: RISK

#6: TREATS

#7: PLAY

#8: LAUGHTER

#9: CONNECTION

#10: FEASTING

Here’s how the Book Club works.

When you sign up, you’ll get:

  • Access to a private Facebook Community to connect with other Book Club goers 🙂
  • A series of 10 Live weekly group Book Club Calls on Wednesdays @ 10 am, starting on July 24th
  • And, practices and journal prompts to accompany each of the 10 chapters in the book.

As a bonus, you can also select an option that includes an individual coaching session with me, or a package that includes three sessions, all in addition to the book club itself.

I once heard a spiritual teacher ask the following question:

If all was well and wonderful in the world, and no one needed a single thing from you…what would you do? How would you spend your time? What feeling state would you bless the world with?

THAT is your mission. That is your purpose and part of why you’re here.

I’d love to know your answer!

Mine was Joy. My immediate answer was, “dancing around singing” like I did when I was a little girl.

So if you’d like to carve out some space for yourself this summer to invite more joy into your life, then I whole-heartedly and joyfully invite you to join us.

You can sign up via the links below, or click here for more information about the book itself and a more in depth description of each of the chapters, or “ingredients” in the Joy Diet.

Joy Diet Book Club
 
Joy Diet Book Club + 1 Coaching Session
 
Joy Diet Book Club + 3 Coaching Sessions


Questions? Email me at coachingwithcaitlin@gmail.com and I’d be happy to talk with you and sort out whatever you need.


Much love, and many blessings always,

With infinite grace & compassion,

And with much joy,

Caitlin

P.S. I was recently selected as one of 25 people to receive a partial scholarship to an online business school because they loved my vision and mission for my writing & coaching program! If you’d like to support the mission but aren’t available or interested in participating in the Book Club right now, you can still donate to the cause here. (Just make sure it’s set to “friends and family” since it would be considered a gift.) Even $5 makes a difference!

Thank you so much!

And here’s a cute picture of Dino for good measure. 🙂

Beauty, Blessings

When Giving Something Away Makes Your Heart Sparkle

There’s a way that love sparkles. The way that the light feels when it hits your face with the glorious glow of sunshine, or even in the moment you notice a sparkle in your very own eye.

One of the things I’ve found that creates this luminosity and sparkle in my own life, and presence, and heart… is clearing space for new things in my life.

That letting go of things we no longer need can bring clarity, insight, freedom…and even, JOY!

This is the story I share in the post below about a time I cleared some clutter, only to find some tremendous and unexpected joys and surprises!

I hope you enjoy!

It’s called: Why Giving Things Away is The Absolute BEST!

Originally published Oct. 12, 2015

I stood in front of the bathroom mirror. As I stared at my reflection, wearing the red Chiefs sweatshirt, I noticed some things. I didn’t like the way it looked. I didn’t like the way it felt. And I didn’t like the way I felt wearing it.

It was uncomfortable. I felt droopy and kind of weighed down. All of this could only mean one thing: the time had come to let it go.

I took a few minutes to remember how much fun my brother and I had together that crisp and sunny October weekend five years ago. It was the first trip I’d made back to the Midwest on my own, and I flew into town for a quick visit and a Chiefs game. Naturally, this meant stopping at the store to buy some Chiefs gear on the way.

But now, holding the sweatshirt my hand, my mind carefully clicked through the following:

  1. I wasn’t going to wear this thing again.
  2. Giving it away would not erase any of my cherished memories that were created while wearing it.
  3. It would be awesome if someone else could have the opportunity to wear and enjoy it.

And just like that, the years of keeping it stored it the back of my closet, thinking I would or should wear it again, finally came to an end as I added it to a bag of items destined for Goodwill. Then I went about my day, happily imagining a Chiefs fan unexpectedly stumbling across it in Portland, thrilled to have something new to wear on game days this season.

A few days later, my mom came over to load everything up. She took the first couple bags down to the car and came back WEARING the sweatshirt! And it looked fantastic on her!

I experienced FAR more joy in those first five minutes of seeing her wear the sweatshirt than I did in the entire 5 years it had been in my possession. All of the things that made it less than ideal for me — the orangey shade of red and the way the collar pops up in the back — are the exact things that make it perfect for her! Needless to say, I had no idea that the Chiefs fan to find treasure in my old sweatshirt would turn out to be my very own mom! I was, and still am, thrilled!

Maybe you have something similar in your possession — something small, something you hardly think about, but something that if you were to take a second to consider it, you’d realize there’s some memory, emotion, or “should” attached to it. I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below and I can’t wait to hear if you experience the same sweet taste of freedom that I did.

Because this simple sweatshirt didn’t take up much room. I didn’t think of it all that often. And yet, it was sucking energy and joy from my life without me even knowing it. I only realize this now because of the feelings of lightness and freedom I felt once I’d let go. It became a release of guilt that I didn’t even know I was carrying around — for not having worn it enough, for not having gotten my money’s worth, etc.

So it turns out, I let go of something more than just a sweatshirt. And I was rewarded tenfold, receiving something SO much better in return.

Big surprise, little things are powerful. This definitely shouldn’t be a surprise at this point, but somehow I find myself in awe of that simple truth EVERY time it pops up.

Simple yet profound. Small but mighty. It never gets old.

Wishing you freedom and JOY, 
And some awe for good measure,

Caitlin

Blessings, Brave Soul, Grief & Loss

Would You Like to Be Part of the Launch Team for My New Book?

Here’s the scoop:

You get a free copy of the book before anyone else, and you get to connect with me, and the rest of the group, leading up to launch week — and even after, if you’d like!

And you commit to read the book (or play with a few of the prompts that speak to you), leave a review on Amazon, and help to share and spread the word during launch week —

which could look like anything from calling and telling a friend, posting on social media, or writing an email to your audience. The sky is the limit and the “how” is completely up to you!

It’s a chance to gather and celebrate and share the book with anyone you think might enjoy it, or benefit from a tender loving presence and safe place to write during their experience of grief. ❤ And, of course, get a free copy for yourself! 🙂

If you’d like to learn more about joining us, you can let me know here.

Brave Soul, Grief & Loss

By the Light of the Moon {+ Top 3 Title Choices — Help me decide!}

Having returned home from a trip to Easter Island, at one point it dawned on me–

Grief is like being plunked down on a distant island in the dark — strange terrain, not knowing your way, not even with a simple street light to guide you.

There is no map. No clear road ahead.

Only your inner compass, and the light of the moon overhead.

The stars are like your loved ones, shining down on you from Heaven above.

And the light of all, a reflection, of the light you hold within you.

And as you tune in very closely and listen to this light… you’ll find that it guides you every step of the way and you never have to go it alone.

From the light of the moon you gain your strength, the courage to take the very next step. And as you step and step and step…the landscape becomes less scary.

Before you know it, you find your way, with all your treasures in your heart and in hand.

Walking as a brave new person, with a new landscape to unfold.

By then it becomes an adventure — a daring new experience by the sea.

To walk and fumble, and hold yourself in love, until you finally find yourself free.

…This was another excerpt from my forthcoming grief journal.
AND…

I now have a selection of the Top 3 favorite title options from the various writing groups I belong to…and I was so surprised by the overwhelming favorite.

But first I’d love to hear from YOU! Which one do you like best? Or do you have a DIFFERENT idea that you think we’d all love?!
Click here to submit your vote!

And if you have an extra idea, you can always email me here, or leave a comment below!

Much love, and many blessings to you always,
Caitlin
Blessings, Grief & Loss

A blessing for you. {And my new grief journal}

This week I want to share with you a blessing I wrote for my forthcoming grief journal, By the Light of the Moon.

Although now I’m returning back to former ideas and playing with new titles alike.

You’ll be the first to know when I get close to a final decision and I’m ready for your input to make a final selection!

One of the most important things to me is to make this journal BEAUTIFUL.

I can still remember standing in the bookstore aisle with all of the books on grief. And most of them had one or two things in common.

1) They were…UGLY. Drab. Brown. Boring — Ugly.
2) They had the word GRIEF written on them in huge sprawling letters, practically acting as a flashing neon sign, like an arrow pointing to the person holding the book exclaiming, “Hey! This girl is experiencing grief!!”

Not exactly something you want to be seen with at a coffee shop when you’re in your twenties and just lost your dad.

Or at any age, I would imagine.

So I want this journal to be beautiful for you. And that is exactly what I plan to create. 🙂

If you’ve experienced loss, and have any thoughts on something that you feel would have really helped YOU, or anything you feel would help you in your current experience, I’d love for you to hit reply and let me know.

I’d love to hear about any insights you may have — and perhaps they even match up with some of my own that I still plan to share with you.

Either way, it is always a blessing to hear from you.

Your kind words mean so much, and you are truly a blessing in this world.

So without further ado…

May you be blessed~

May you be blessed with peace —
Even if that’s not what you feel like you want,
Or even need.

May you be blessed with grace —
To see the light of love shining through.

May you be blessed with courage —
The kind you show in every moment,
Just taking another step, and inhaling another breath,
Again and again and again.

May you be blessed with beauty —
The shared and treasured memories
That help to light your way,
The insights and ideas
That guide your self-care each day.

May you be blessed with gentleness —
To watch over yourself with care.
The way you’d love a sweet little bird
Or a toddler with messy hair.

And most of all…

May you be blessed with love —
The glue that holds everything together.
The twinkle lights that glow in the darkness.
The radiance of your very own heart.

May you be blessed with knowing how worthy
You are
And may you sing you own unique song,
Every day, your whole life through.
Knowing there is always someone
Who’s watching over you.

New! Coaching For Gentle Souls Learn more here.

Beauty, Brave Soul

Links & Updates

We had a brief downpour here in Portland today.

And I couldn’t help but remember the way I watched my dad stand in the doorway breathing in the scent of the rain with every fiber of his being.

And the way I shared this memory as part of a different experience with rain from a few years ago that I wrote about, called Gentle Afternoon Rain.

For the last few weeks things have been quiet on the blog because I’ve been sharing past beauties and insights via email.

If you’d like to receive posts and other surprises, and just all around inspired goodness straight from my heart, you can join us here. And I’d love to connect with you each week.

Here are the links to some of the posts, and more, I’ve shared, if you feel like a weekend Scroll-Through-And-Savor session. 🙂

Sending much love to you always. ❤

Links & Updates from the Past Month…

The Girl in the Coffee Shop {+ A Fun New Surprise}

the girl in the coffee shop

Need some encouragement? {You can do this.}

still she sings header idea circle

May Day Wishes {+ A Few of My Favorite Things}

Be kind to yourself.

Did you enjoy this post? Would you like to receive future blog posts, along with fun surprises & other beautiful things by email each week? You can sign up here.

And to follow along with daily love notes & journal prompts, and other inspired goodness~ you can Like the Caitlin Sanders Facebook Page Here.

Also, NEW! By the Light of the Moon: Grief Support Group. Check it out & join us here.

Brave Soul, Writing as Healing

Your words are powerful + {I hope you dance.}

I have a note from my dad taped up on my bedroom wall. It is a note he tucked into a package he mailed to me while I was in college. It contained very precious cargo — a dress I wanted to wear to an upcoming school salsa dance.

I kept the note because it made me smile.

Written in his signature-style handwriting and on his new (at the time) OHSU Foundation letterhead, it reads:

 

Caitlin–

Have a terrific

time at the dance!

Love,

Dad

 

I pulled the note out again a couple years ago, and having lost my dad several years prior, I burst into tears.

But not for the reason you might expect.

I burst into tears because it felt like a message for the moment —

To live my life.

To enjoy my life.

To enjoy the dance

that is life.

The great cosmic dance and play of being human.

(Extra fitting given his love of the mantra “Carpe Diem.”)

Have a terrific time at the dance all of a sudden had new meaning and I couldn’t get over it — crying and crying at what a magnificent miracle it seemed to be. It felt like a Divinely timed message just for me, in some way, from the great beyond.

And I cried with the perfection of it all. The grief. The loss. The glory. The grace.

Crying not because I was happy. Crying not because I was sad.

But crying because I was so moved by the power of it all. The epiphany, the grace, the metaphor, the love…

The perfection.

It felt absolutely perfect.

And in that moment, I realized the true power our words hold.

Whether you write a letter, a text message, a bestselling novel, or an entry in your personal journal…

They all matter.

Those words — your words — have the power to transform lives long after you’re gone.

Let alone the healing they can bring to your own life while you’re here on earth.

So if you’re at all curious to do a little writing of your own — to take a closer look and explore some of the stories you have about a loved one you may have lost, I’d love to have you join me for The Heart-Mending Wordsmith this spring.

The course came about because of a writing class I took one summer while I was teaching first grade.

The writing I did held such potent healing power that once I found myself in life coach training years later, I knew it was a process that could help others too.

It includes 8 weeks of live coaching calls and writing exercises that all fit together to help you create a narrative about your loved one — a treasured story that you can bring to life on the page and hold in your heart forever.

Allowing some of your most treasured memories and experiences to be brought into the light of day through writing is one of the most priceless gifts there is.

Say yes to yourself. And yes to your memories.

YES to the power of your words.

I’d love to have you join me. The course begins on this coming Thursday, April 25th and registration is now open! You can sign up here.

 

In the spirit of flowing forward with this metaphor of dancing, I’d like to share an old blog post with you called: I hope you dance. (Which you’ll find below.)

I’ll also include some journal prompts for you to play with this week if you’d like.

I hope you enjoy!

Journal prompts…

What would it look like for me to show up and dance in my life this week?

If I could do anything — if I had unlimited resources to do whatever I wanted to do this week, what would I do? Who would I spend time with? And who would I be?

I hope you dance

I hope you dance.

(Original post from March 9, 2015) — happy to say that I am physically dancing again now, too! 🙂

I love to dance.

And for a year and a half now, I have not been able to.

So Lee Ann Womack’s song that goes, “And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance,” even as just a metaphor for life, somewhat breaks my heart.  That’s because physically, I’ve been doing a lot more sitting than I’ve ever done before or ever thought I would do–especially at 28 years old.

Literally sitting, not dancing.

But by sitting, I’m playing my part right now; stepping up to do what my body and soul have asked.  Which means that what I’ve been doing IS dancing.  That’s right, I am dancing even though I physically can’t dance.  How cool is that!?

Dancing is living with courage. 

Life is calling us to take a leap in every moment; each one unique in its shape, size, manner, and purpose.  But having the courage to show up, THAT’S dancing.

Sometimes that might be going for a run along the river, when at other times it means staying still and curling up in your favorite chair.

Sometimes it might mean opening up a flower shop because it’s always been your dream or it might be appreciating the beauty of a single flower sitting on your coffee table.

Sometimes it might be speaking up and sharing your message with a group of people, and sometimes it might mean quietly acknowledging and accepting your own truth.

Each of us has the power to recognize which kind of leap we’re being called to next.  And when we feel that pull, we have a decision to make.

Did you notice that in the song she doesn’t say IF you get the choice, but WHEN you get the choice?

That’s because we always have a choice.

We choose.  We decide whether to walk toward life or turn away from it.

I choose courage.  And I choose stepping out onto the dance floor of life, whatever form it takes.

So let’s dance.

May you dance in exactly the way life is calling to you right this very minute.

***And if that means signing up to join us for The Heart-Mending Wordsmith, then I’d LOVE to dance with you!***

Love,
Caitlin

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Forgiveness

A Forgiveness Meditation

Today I’d like to share with you a forgiveness meditation I used to do. A couple years ago, I created a habit of sitting cross-legged on the floor each morning, after drinking a glass of water and getting some fresh air, to go through this process and forgive all of the past parts of myself that needed forgiving — often times, I found myself surprised by the aspects of self that would emerge. And by the people and situations, present and past, that would bubble up to the surface, to be seen, recognized, healed — and forgiven.

I sat cross-legged because there is something about sitting on the floor or the ground in this way that feels grounding to me. I’ve recently returned back to this way of connecting with myself in the morning and I absolutely love it.

There is something about the feeling of where your body connects with the floor that is stabilizing, grounding, and connecting. A beautiful way to start your day.

I created this practice as a unique combination of practices from other spiritual teachers, as well as based on my training in a program for rewiring the nervous system and healing trauma.

That is why, for this meditation, I recommend keeping your eyes open. You can close them slightly when you get to the part about forgiveness, but to begin just sit cross-legged in a comfortable space. And begin to notice your breath.

Now put your hand over your heart. And feel your breath slow, and your chest expand — open. Breathing in more and more oxygen and energy into this sacred heart center.

Begin to slowly and gently look around the room in front of you, whatever you can comfortably see, and allow your eyes, our gaze to linger on each object, or pattern in the floor, etc. for a few moments before you move on. Doing this gently, scanning around you with you eyes. While also feeling your body and noticing your breath.

Connecting to both simultaneously.

The outside world. Taking in the details, the orientation, the location of where you are.

And within. Your body, your breath. Your brilliant soul shining through.

All uniting, all merging and living in harmony. A gentle and subtle awareness of both.

Begin breathing in and whispering “I love you,” to yourself, either in your mind silently, or aloud.

Then, “I forgive you.”

“I love you.”

“I forgive you.”

“I forgive you for all past regrets.”

“I forgive you for all the things you’ve gotten wrong.”

“I forgive you.”

“I am here with you.”

“And I love you.”

Continue on with whatever phrases come to mind. There might be specific phrases where you include your own details of forgiveness, such as “I forgive you for…” Or you might feel inclined to say, “I love the way you…” And you might find yourself saying the things you love or admire or appreciate about yourself. Even saying “Thank you for…” Or just plain, “Thank you.”

Allow your mind to really wander, and your heart to really explore, whatever words come to you — whatever words are asking to be said.

Say them with kindness, gentleness, and love.

And if you get stuck, or words are not coming to you…

Try asking, what words does my heart need to hear right now?

And still, if nothing comes to you, you can simply return to…

“I love you.” “I forgive you.”

“I love you.” “I forgive you.”

Let the rhythm of your words and your breath wash over you with ease, with grace, and with forgiveness.

Now, when you get to an opening, a space where you begin to feel open and clear inside, ask…

“Who needs to be held in the light of forgiveness today?”

“What aspect of myself needs to be held in the light of forgiveness today?”

You can ask one, or both of these questions — or any variation you like.

Hold the question in your mind, focusing on your heart center, and see what begins to arise.

If nothing does, simply imagine a golden loving light surrounding you, of whatever color comes to you, or comes to mind to imagine.

If an aspect of self or another person in your life, or a situation or past even comes to mind —

Visualize it being bathed, and held in a soft and golden healing light.

Or again, whatever color comes to you, maybe a purple, an emerald green, a light and gentle, healing and restorative blue…whatever comes to mind, go with it.

Allow your intuition go guide you and your higher self, your heart to guide the way.

You may even begin to have ideas of visualizations that might help, of that aspects of yourself are seeking.

For example, a small child-like part of your self, might want to be held in your arms. And you could imagine that sweet, innocent beautiful part of yourself being rocked gently in your arms.

Notice the way your body begins to feel as you do this exercise. What feelings do the visualization evoke?

Allow it to fill your consciousness, your heart, and your mind.

Allow yourself to be lifted up in the light and freedom and love —

And know that everything is forgiven.

You are healed and held in love, and you are forgiven in every way.

Continue with the mantra, “I forgive you,” if you like.

Or, “I love you.” Or, “thank you.”

“Thank you for showing me where healing light needs to go.”

“Thank you for showing me where and how you need to be loved. Thank you for teaching me. Thank you for helping me grow.”

And as you finish saying the remaining words that come to you to speak, begin to look around the room once more. Returning to the feel of your hand placed over your heart. The sound and feel of your breath. The things around you in the room, or the space where you are seated. The place where your body makes contact with the floor.

Noticing all these things, and scanning once more, aware of the inside — your breath, your body, your own emotions and feeling sensations. As well as the outside — the details and objects you notice in the room around you.

Allowing yourself come back to a place of grounded center to return to and go about your day.

This meditation is best performed in the morning, even while you’re still a little bit groggy and connected to your higher self — in a more relaxed state from your sleep the night before to help the situations, people, aspects of self to surface, and the healing phrases to arise.

But, of course, this can be done anytime during the day — especially if you find yourself in a moment of being especially hard on or critical of yourself. Stop, take a breath, put your hand on your heart, and even if you simply breath in and out, and say the words “I love you,” surely this is enough to help bring you back to center, to a state of calm and of peace, a place of knowing that you are loved.

And that you are forgiven.

Namaste.

I hope this helps you! And I’d love to hear all about your positive experience in the comments below. 🙂

Much love to you, now and always,

Caitlin

P.S. If you’d enjoy an audio version of this meditation, please email me and let me know!

Forgiveness Meditation

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