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Brave Soul

You can do anything.

My wishes for you today — boldness, confidence, grace.

My darling canaries~

You can do anything.

And your life is divinely blessed, like a sunflower reaching up to allow the sunlight to grace her face.

You can do anything. And all that you desire to create and be is for a reason.

When you write, you let freedom flow through your fingertips. And that freedom has the power to open Heaven’s door.

One could even say that that IS Heaven’s door.

As you create from the heart, you allow a wellspring of knowledge to bubble up to the surface…sometimes with insights and information you didn’t even realize you had within you.

What a treasure it is to be one with the inspired ideas and creations that come to you —

You can do anything that you put your mind to…

Or perhaps I should say, put your heart to. 🙂

Because your heart is one of the most wondrous creators there is.

Allow yourself to be in the wondrous flow of whatever it is you are creating.

Whether is it a simple journal prompt, or a bit of poetry that comes to you as you’re sitting outside, gazing across your backyard…

THIS is the infinite space through which creativity is born.

And all human beings are creative.

How could we not be?

We were created by a creator and we were destined to create.

As part of Creation, we too create, with every thought and deed, word and breath.

The breath is what gives wings to our dreams and lets our hopes soar high up in the sky — like a bluebird, or a dove…or an eagle soaring with the tops of the trees.

What type of bird do you feel like today?

What energy resonates with you the most?

Now imagine that you are this bird, about to tackle the events of your day…

How would this bird respond?

Who would she be? What would she do?

What energy do you feel as you see her flying in your mind’s eye?

You have this same freedom within you, and it’s singing–

I can do anything!


And I’d love to hear in the comments below, what helps your heart feel like singing?

How did you like the bird visualization exercise? What did you find or discover imagining yourself as a bird?

Sending you much love & many blessings always,

Caitlin

You can do anything

Self-Care

A Simple Trick to Calm Anxiety & Help You Return to Center

Thank you so much for all of the beautiful feedback about my first video!

I thought I’d go ahead and share here as well so that more people can find it if need be. 🙂

In the video I talk about how our energy can tend to feel scattered, and how tuning into notice that, and then following the simple tip or trick I share, restore your sense of balance and calm so that you can feel what needs to happen next. That isn’t not about pushing the anxiety down, but about returning to a place where you can sense your inner guidance or wisdom for what you truly need.

The main points:

  • The experience of being frazzled vs. being filled with peace
  • The purpose of returning to center and restoring a sense of calm in order to receive guidance for what you need next
  • And, of course, the trick to physically help your body calm itself to return to a state of equilibrium, balance, and calm.

I hope you enjoy the video, and you can watch it by clicking the link below!

VIDEO: A Simple Trick to Calm Anxiety & Help You Return to Center

vimeo video screenshot

Please also leave a comment and let me know what helped you the most… or any aha’s or insights of your own that came from watching the video!

Sending you much love, and many blessings always,

Caitlin

Writing as Healing

A Simple Grief Journal.

The Story.

While my dad was dying, I journaled all the time. I had a special notebook where I’d write down any thoughts, feelings, prayers, or anything that came to mind in the moments when I sat down to write.

It was a sacred practice. Morning, noon, night–whenever the need struck, the journal was there, and it helped to see me through one of the most challenging times in my life.

But when he died, all of that changed. Suddenly, I felt too overwhelmed to write…

I didn’t know where to start.

There were so many thoughts and feelings, not to mention the haze of shock and shame of my emotions that swirled through my being. I felt that I was supposed to somehow find a way to get on with my life–like the world expected me to just move on as if nothing had happened. But how could I? My life had been changed forever.

I tried going to grief support groups, and to a couple different therapists. But none of it seemed to help. In fact, it had the opposite effect. The callous or even simply aloof statements and reactions of others seemed to do nothing but throw salt in my wide open, gaping, and freshly torn wounds.

So in a way, it felt as if I was left to find my way through this on my own…

And I did.

And this what I’m here to share with you.

A simple grief journal that can be a place to help you get started.

Because I don’t want you to have to figure it all out on your own. I want you to have an experienced like I always dreamed about…

I want you to feel loved and supported, and held in knowing that your experience is okay.

I want you to know that I understand that while the world moves on, your life has been irrevocably changed.

Years later I developed a writing program with that exact intention in mind, and I’ll share how you can learn all about it at the end of your journal.

But right now, I’d like to start with the basics, and give you a simple place to start.

Let’s cut down on the overwhelm and keep it simple.

For me…

It all started with a journal.

A blank, empty journal I found at a local bookstore.

As a bonus, the leather bound cover had a smell that took me back to memories of being a little girl, watching my dad shine his shoes.

I didn’t have an exact plan for the journal but I knew I wanted to use it for something to honor my dad.

After awhile I started to notice some patterns in my thoughts.

There were three main categories.

So I took my journal and divided it up in to thirds.

{These are the thirds you’ll find in this journal I’ve put together for you.}

1.

The first section was for treasure:

Memories, special moments, things my dad had said, things we’d done together…

All of the treasured things that I never wanted to forget.

Because that’s the thing about grief…more than anything we can be stricken with a fear that we’re forgetting those we love. That we’ll forget a certain way they looked at us, or the way their face would break into a soft smile.

The feel of stroking their hair, or the twinkle in their eyes.

That’s what this section is all about.

So in those moment where you remember something about your loved one, you can take out your journal and write it down right away.

That way, you know you won’t forget.

The act of writing it down will help it to expand and seal it further into your memory, and then you can refer back to it anytime you need a boost or want to reconnect with the memory.

Whatever small details you are able to record will help trigger other aspects of the memory so that it is easier to return to anytime you wish.

Record all your treasure and let it never be forgotten.

Let the stories and memories make handprints on your heart.

Like twinkling lights at twilight…

Allow their glow to light the way for you now, and to help you feel and know how much you’re loved.

2.

The second section was for things I had learned from him.

There were so many things I learned from my dad, and I wanted a place to write them down.

Again, so I wouldn’t forget.

And also as a way to honor him and all of the ways he had changed and shaped and blessed my life.

All of the ways my life was different because I knew him.

All those things that he’d taught me…like memories of sitting on the edge of the bed, learning how to write an outline for a presentation.

How are you different because your loved one lived? Because you knew them?

These are the things to record in this section. Both, to help you remember, as well as to honor and recognize and celebrate their life, and their presence here upon the earth.

This might be things your loved one taught you…concrete skills like riding a bike or writing an outline for your speech at school.

Or it might be deeper things that you learned about yourself, or ways that you are changed because of how they saw you.

Maybe they helped you learn how to believe in yourself. Or maybe you now laugh at certain jokes or find certain things funny, just because they loved them too.

Whatever it is, write them down. And allow your heart to soak up all the richness of how your life is different, how much value, in concrete and beautifully written examples, your loved one brought to your life.

The richness of your life that is made up by the tapestry of the treads of your lives intertwining….

And how you are different, because they lived.

An honoring of your loved one’s presence and all that they are, and the example of their life but also how your life is uniquely touched because your lives were entwined.

Celebrate and appreciate these things and know that the truth and love of them lives on forever.

3.

And finally, the third section was for the things that I wished I could tell him…

All the things I wanted to say or wished we could do together. Things I hadn’t gotten a chance to say or most often, things I came to realize later that I wished I could tell him.

So in any moment you have a thought of, “I wish we could…” or “I wish I could tell him/her…” write it down. No matter how small. It all is significant.

This gives you a chance to express the things you feel in your heart, the love that you still want to share.

It creates a lifeline and helps you to feel the love you wish you could share.

And in doing so–by writing it down–it can feel as if you’ve actually gotten a chance, in some small way, to say what you needed to say.

So there you have it.

A simple DIY grief journal.

And this simple journal that I created myself…

It absolutely changed my life.

And in those first hard months of grief, I believe it saved my life…

It gave me a place to turn and a way to begin sorting through the thoughts. It cut down on the overwhelm, and gave me solace, the peace of mind, that some of those most precious and treasured things were written down.

It even brought a sense of sunshine and smiles–laughter even, for the memories we’d shared.

And I hope that is what it does for you too.

You can download a FREE copy of your very own, right here: The Heart-Mending Wordsmith Mini Journal

When you get to the end, will you let me know what helped you the most?

I’d also like to invite you to join my new Facebook Group — By the Light of the Moon: Grief Support Group.

Inside I’ll be sharing tips for self-care, more journaling and coaching support, live videos, resources for determining your own grief style so you can learn how to support yourself best, and more!

If you’d like to be notified when the group is open, please send me an email here. And put the word Facebook in the subject line.

I so look forward to having you join us!

Much love and many blessings, always,

Caitlin

Writing as Healing

To me, writing is medicine.

To me, writing is medicine.

It’s like a warm cup of tea or a soft blanket draped around your shoulders in a moment you need it most.

 

It’s also the crisp breeze or burst of fresh air on a cool fall day.

Or the warm sunlight as it streams through the window and puts a smile across your face.

 

To me, writing is everything.

It’s how I explore, it’s how I learn.

 

It’s how I uncover what’s important to me.

It’s how I discover who I am.

 

I get to know myself, I support myself, I learn from myself.

I grow, I expand, I contract, and I grow.

 

It’s all a process.

And writing makes it possible.

 

Writing gives us a map. A journey for the excavation of all that matters most to our souls.

 

In fact, it’s how I connect to my very soul.

 

I find her on the page.

That’s where I know she’ll always be there for me– to guide me, to lead me back home again whenever I get lost. To offer comfort and insights and grace.

 

She’s there for me no matter what–

Through thick and thin

Through peace and storms.

 

She’s always there waiting.

 

All I need to do is pick up a pen and find a blank page

To write.

 

And just like that,

I come home again.

 

What helps you find your way home again?

I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Self-Compassion

Letting go of perfection for clarity, insight, and freedom instead.

As I play with putting together the pieces of my writing program in a new platform called Teachable…

I’ve been thinking a lot about perfectionism. It is bringing me face to face, once again, over-and over-with this desire to have things be perfect — just right.

And there really is no such thing.

We know this. But yet, the struggle continues.

Does this happen to you sometimes too?

If so, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And even, a way to make an opening in the side of that tunnel so some light can start streaming through right now.

I was reminded of a day when I was so determined to make a bird feeder for some of the cute little bird feeders outside, that I’d finally had enough, and decided to simply find a way to use what I had in order to create SOMETHING.

And as you’ll see, the birds decided it was perfectly enough. MORE than enough.

——

From my journal on April 9, 2018…

Life feels like such a miracle.

There is a new bird in the backyard today. A kind I’ve never seen before. Gray with an orange stripe across her face and some black around her neck and on her wing.

I love her.

I love that she showed up here to feast–to nibble on the little bits of feed.

And to think…it’s just quinoa.

I didn’t even have real bird seed.

But I felt the need to put something out, to help to feed the birds. And here she is. What a miracle.

A reminder that we don’t have to get it perfect, we just have to try, and put something out.

To offer whatever we can of ourselves…and then watch and see how that’s enough.

Smiling now, smiling still. Smiling all morning; seeing my bird, a beautiful thrill.

——

I learned that sometimes, it’s just about putting something out there. That sharing what you have in your heart can be of far greater service than keeping it locked up inside waiting for things to be perfect.

Sometimes “good enough” is exactly what you need.

It can bring joy and freedom, and lead you to places you never thought you’d go. It can show you, that actually, you’ve always been enough.

That you’ve been enough all along.

And letting go of perfection is part of what this writing course is about.

It was born out of a space where I finally let myself open up and share.

The writing experiences opened a crack in my sense of a need and desire for perfection…just enough so that the whispers of my heart could come through.

It’s about finding something bigger than our need for perfection, more meaningful than our anxieties or fears.

And often times, that something can be a really small opening–something so small that it may not seem good enough, or big enough or important enough.

But it is.

And that’s what I’d love to do for you if  there’s a story you want to share. Or if you just want to clear away whatever feels stuck and hear what your heart has to say.

As I play with letting go of perfection at this new level and in this new way…

I’m reminded of  what my dad used to say…

“Perfect is the enemy of good.”

And I used to think of “good” as somehow still not good enough, or less than, in some way…how ironic is that?

But now I realize that good is goodness. And goodness is being filled with love.

And filling my creations, my heart and my life with love has become part of my new motto and also my new intention while putting together this beautiful program to share with you and with the world.

So what about you? Do you struggle underneath the weight of perfectionism sometimes too?

In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown says that…

“Perfectionism is a 20 ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact it’s the very thing that’s really preventing us from taking flight.”

What shield are you wanting to let go of today?
I hope you let down whatever mask you wear or shield you carry that’s weighing you down, even just a little bit, so the world can see your beautiful face.
You deserve to shine, and your stories are a perfect place to start.
Or maybe I should say, a good place to start.
They were for me.
Much love, always,
Caitlin
Thanks so much for reading, and I’d love to know…
If I were to create a free 5 or 7 day journaling challenge, and you decided to participate, what would you hope to get out of it? Let me know in the comments below!
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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sending some heartfelt love to you today.

A few months ago in meditation I received the message… Be the love.

I remembered the quotation from Gandhi…
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

And it occurred to me that we often think of this in terms of action. (Which is equally as important…love as a verb.)

But what about WHO we ARE?

I believe we must first look within ourselves, within our own hearts to find the peace and love that we already are in order to shine that love out into the world through our actions.

It all starts with who you are.

And in honor of the beautiful and most radiant soul that you are, here’s another blast from the past with a blog post I originally titled…

The secret but somewhat obvious thing behind what you do.

During this time of physical illness I’ve thought a lot about what I’ll want to do when I’m well again.  Mostly, I joke, but with all sincerity, that I want a vacation.  That I want to just do whatever it is I want to do whenever I want to do it and enjoy every second of it!  I want to go to the beach.  I want to run, and dance, and skip.  I want to do agility training with my dog.  I want to learn modern calligraphy.  I want to visit places of ancient history and stand in awe, feeling deeply connected to all of humanity.

You get the idea.

But the other thing I’ve thought a lot about is what I’ll want to do to make a living, whether I’ll return to teaching, create a program for kids outside of the public school system, start a coaching practice for adults, become an author, etc.  And for now, I always end up at the same answer–I don’t know.

For a long time I’ve desperately wanted to know the answer, experiencing various amounts of peace within this phase of, “I don’t know right now, and that’s okay.”  But what I’ve come to realize is that figuring it out doesn’t require anywhere near as much pressure as I’d been heaping on top of it.  And what matters even more than what I choose is the fact that it will be me doing it.  I can choose whichever path brings me the most joy when the time comes and I can’t tell you how unbelievably freeing that feels.  Talk about taking the pressure off!

And the same is true for you.  It is what you bring to whatever you do that matters.  Unless you’re a sociopath who finds pleasure in harming others…which, as a lovely person who gets my emails, I trust you are not.

It’s who you are that makes what you do meaningful.

Sure, there may be types of service that your soul is called to more than others but no matter what, your purpose is bigger and more precious than any label or occupation.

At Luther College we were reminded of the term vocation often and were encouraged to consider what Frederick Buechner calls, “the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

This works on a grand scale but it’s also true for the little things.  And chances are, there is something you’re already doing, that’s inherent in who you are, that is helping to make the world a better place.  Find that, and focus upon it.  And I promise, the joy that you discover there will propel you forward to uncover even more of what you love and what you are meant to do while you’re here.

And I would LOVE to hear what happens!

I am sending so much appreciation for who you are and what you bring to the world in the unique and exact way that only you can.

Big hugs,
Caitlin

P.S. If you’d like to talk about what brings you joy and how to carve out some more peace time in your heart and life, reach out and let me know. I’ll send you a link to schedule a free coaching session. Think of it as a Valentine’s Treat, just for you! 🙂

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A new take on ribbon dancing.

I woke up this morning with an old blog post on my mind…a draft from a few years ago about ribbon dancing in the chaos of life that never got published.

February always feels like kind of a funky month. It has always felt like a strange limbo land to me…not quite spring, and often times, there seem to be new gusts of unexpected winter.

So I thought it would be a fitting time to share this with you…

May we dance in the ribbons, the chaos of life and find new strength and joy peeking through!

a new take on ribbon dancing.png

In a conversation a few months ago, I was describing how I felt when an image popped up in my mind, a perfect picture of how I felt. There were shoe boxes with the lids off and ribbons overflowing out of each one.

Each shoe box represented the upheaval in a different area of my life. And since that’s what’s happening in pretty much every area of my life, you can imagine the number of boxes!

Even with the lids put on them, the anxiety remained, knowing what a mess all the ribbons were inside.

If you’re an organized person, like me, you’ll understand what a disturbing image this is (probably even more so for me right now with my physical symptoms and the way my brain is processing information) and why it matched how I was feeling inside.

Complete overwhelm and overstimulation. Frazzled to the max and completely out of sorts.

But somehow just having this image, this metaphor for how I felt seemed to have a soothing effect. I gave myself permission to dislike them.

Then one morning, in my mind’s eye, I saw those same boxes of ribbons but this time, instead of feeling the need to figure out how to get them cleaned up and back in order, I started picking the ribbons up by the handful, throwing them into the air with joy, and dancing around in the mess.

I’ve always been someone who likes things to be clean and organized; and still do. But if you haven’t noticed, life doesn’t often work that way. Life often feels like more of a mess, agonizing over unknowns and getting blindsided by the unexpected. Life has bigger plans for us. Life knows that there’s an order to the mess. And maybe this, this learning to dance in the mess, is the highest order there is.

If I hadn’t known the mess of ribbons, I wouldn’t have learned to dance in them–to dance with them. Same goes for life. It is in knowing all of the messy things that we don’t like, that we come to surrender our wishes for what we think life should be, so we can dance in harmony with the order that was there the whole time.

But it often doesn’t feel as easy or blissful as it sounds.

Even though I’ve made peace with some of these other boxes, right now I’ve got one in particular that’s overflowing and driving me crazy. And I really hate it. And that’s okay.

In the same moment that I allow myself to hate this stupid box and all of its maddening ribbons, I dare to trust in the order that is the mess. And maybe, one morning, (hopefully someday soon) I’ll wake up and be ready to dance with those ribbons, too.

But until then, there’s nothing to do but take a few deep breaths and allow our frustration with the mess to have its turn, until we’re ready to dance.

And I promise, your turn to dance will come.

Sending grace for your days with the icky feelings and blessings for the ribbon dancing that awaits you, just around the corner.

Or if you like Pocahontas…just around the river bend. 🙂

 

I’d love to hear from you!

How are you dancing with the ribbons of your life today?

Let me know in the comments below…

 

I’m sending so many blessings and so much joy your way, always.

Much love,

Caitlin

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When you just need a little extra space.

As I stood in the yard with my sweet little Dino dog this morning, we wandered over to a different part of the yard–a spot we haven’t spent time in for awhile.

And I got a new perspective.

As I looked up at a most magnificent tree in the far corner, by the fence…

I noticed it leaning at the top, starting about halfway up its trunk.

Hmm, I wondered, concerned something might be wrong.

Especially, noticing that the lean somewhat went in the direction of my bedroom.

(I’ve always had a little bit of a fear of a tree falling in on me during some of those super windy nights…they are big trees, and it can be scary when the winds are moving fast enough to whip the branches around a bit.)

Anyway, after my brief moment of wondering if I should let my mom know, if it should be looked at by an arborist to make sure everything is okay, I realized…

The bend was distinctly located in a section where the tree and the tree next to it came together a little bit.

It just needed a little extra space.

How often does this happen to us as humans, forcing ourselves to stay upright and rigid instead of following the flow of where our bodies want to go?

What if we just need a little extra space sometimes, and granting that to ourselves is one of the greatest acts of compassion, not only for ourselves, but for the world?

If there’s something you feel like you want to pull away from, something that doesn’t feel quite right–somewhere you feel you need a little more space, I invite you to give that to yourself today.

Where in your life do you feel like you need a little more space?

And how can you give yourself that gift today?

I know that the thought of this tree will help me remember that it’s okay to step back once in a while. It’s okay to recharge. It’s okay to move over a little bit and declare a space of your own.

Boundaries are necessary. And boundaries help keep us safe.

The more we come to know ourselves worthy of the space, the freedom, the love and the peace we desire, the happier — and better off — this world will be.

How can you start today?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments! Let me know where you’re feeling in need of some space and how you can create that for yourself today.

Maybe it’s as simple as few minutes of meditation, cancelling a phone call…

Or maybe you feel too far away, lost and distant on your own, and you need that phone call, that connection point, to gather near to someone you love.

Whether for a hug, a kind word, or a simple heartfelt blessing.

Whatever it is, may you know how much you’re loved.

And how worthy you are of all the love that surrounds you in every moment.

Will you let a little bit of that light in today?

I’m hoping so, because your light is such a gift to this world, and it is my honor to get to watch you shine!

Much love,

Caitlin

 

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The determined little bee.

Much to Dino’s dismay, a bee flew into the living room today.

I pulled the nearby door wide open, all but putting up flares for guidance, but it could not find its way out.  It was fixated on getting through the window with a tree just on the other side.

It slammed its tough little self into the glass repeatedly, taking breaks in between to rest and rub its back legs together before launching itself towards the window again at top speed.

As I sit here writing, it continues to do so again and again as if eventually, given enough attempts and enough force, it will break its way through the glass barrier.

How often do we do this as humans, pushing again and again with determination to go one way, when what we really need to do is broaden our view a bit and change direction in order to reach our desired destination?

The fact is, there is no amount of time, dedication, or hard work that will get you where you want to go if you’re going in the wrong direction.  And sometimes it’s necessary to back up in order to expand your perception or ask for help to be able to sense the next step and know the best path to take.

For now, the determined little bee still has not found its way to freedom (hopefully it will before bedtime) but perhaps you can use the wisdom of its example of what NOT to do in order to find a little taste of freedom in your own life today.

With wishes for a beautiful weekend,

Caitlin

{May 15, 2015}

Self-Compassion

Breathe. Relax. Allow.

This made me smile as I discovered it in my old writing folder…

I hope you enjoy:

Sitting on the exam table, I listened carefully as the physical therapist gave me instructions for the next exercise.   This one, a stretch.  I was to let my head to fall forward as far as it would go, take a deep breath in, and on the exhale allow the weight of my head to give a gentle pull, letting in hang there for a moment before lifting it back up to neutral.

By about the third time, I started to notice that my neck was allowing my chin to go further and further with each exhale.  Breathing into it, relaxing deeper, and allowing my neck to let go so gravity could help out.

I marveled at the power of the breath, of relaxing, of allowing whatever wanted to happen.

 

Not pushing.

Not forcing.

Not trying to MAKE it happen.

 

Breathing.

Relaxing.

Allowing.

 

Wow.

 

Pretty profound for physical therapy, huh?

I’m now doing my best to apply this in all aspects of my healing journey.  And here’s the mantra.

Breathe.  Relax.  Allow.

Namaste.

 

{November 13, 2014}