Beauty · Brave Soul · Self-Compassion · Writing as Healing

Where the Water Runs Clear & the Sky is Blue

A FACEBOOK POST FROM NOV. 7, 2017:

Some say that writing must come from sitting down and practicing, determined to make it happen.

But mine has always come from nothingness.

It has always come from a place of silence within myself.

From this place, an idea, an inspiration–with a literal in breath–brings a burst of energy that gives me the strength to write. Whether to physically move myself and type the words, or to simply allow them to be written in my mind, a gentle offering from my heart, and trusting they’re somehow written in the fabric of space and time.

And that’s how it started; how I learned that I love to write.

Even this piece that I’m writing to you now–I wanted to go back to bed, but these words wanted to be written instead.

Nothingness is the space where the where the flower blossoms. It is the life-giving spring where the water runs clear. A place of beauty and nourishment to be steeped in, that becomes the force, the very current of life, that moves you and carries you to all that’s meant for you.

May you allow yourself to be moved–to bend and to flow, and follow what you know.

This is the place where miracles unfold. And where you see the greatest miracle, the one that lives and breathes as YOU.

And also, if you’ve ever seen fish trying to swim upstream; holy cow. I still remember the time we visited the locks after first moving to Portland. And I can still see this one little fish; I felt so mesmerized, and then shocked, watching his little fins move at warp speed, only to gain just enough momentum to remain in the exact same spot.

Fighting against the current requires you to work ten times as hard, just to try to stay in the same place. Where, if you turn around, ah, you’re smooth sailing; blazing forward with the force of freedom on your side.

So in honor of this little fish, may we flow with freedom. May we trust that it knows where to go. And may we trust that it wants only good for us; that it’s helping us to blossom, and grow.

All the best and brightest wishes to you, now and always,

Caitlin

Brave Soul

You Are Worthy

I’ve decided that Dolphin Tale is now one of my favorite movies, ever.

I watched it for the first time a couple years ago, and felt inspired to re-watch it last week. It makes me cry in all the best ways, and dolphins in general just bring me so much joy!

I love re-watching movies from time to time to see what new lessons or insights pop out at me.  There have been so many serendipitous movie experiences for me in the past, that I couldn’t wait to see what this one had in store for me.

And as I was watching Dolphin Tale this time around, I was not disappointed.

At one point, the character played by Morgan Freeman, tells a young man in the military who’d just returned home with some serious injuries, “Just because you’re hurt, doesn’t mean you’re broken.”

I literally jumped up to grab my journal and a pen so I could write it down.

So often there are things that happen in our lives — we get sick, we lose loved ones, we find ourselves with broken hearts or twisted knees…

And it can be easy to think there’s something wrong with us. That because we’re hurt, there’s something to fix.

And while there is, of course, a place for healing and tending our wounds, both physical and emotional; there is nothing that can take away from our inherent worth as a human being.

Your worth does not come from what you can do for other people.

Your worth doesn’t come from the work you do, or how well you live up to other people’s expectations for your life.

You are worthy because you are you.

No matter how you feel. No matter what challenges you face. No matter much or how little you may be hurting right now, You Are Worthy.

I’ve spent a certain amount of time working through a lot of these fears and beliefs because of the injury and chronic illness I’ve dealt with over the years.

I had to learn very quickly that my worth did not come from what I do, but from who I am.

Homebound and away from the roles I was used to playing, as a teacher, community member, family member and friend, it was hard to come to terms with the way everything had shifted.

Maybe you’re feeling some of this now, with all of the ways things are continuously shifting in our world — faster, and faster, like a spinning globe.

And if you can’t find that center — that arm that holds the globe up, you can get QUITE dizzy trying to follow along with all of the chaos & crazy energy spinning around.

I doubt life will ever stop giving us opportunities to listen to the small voice within, to find our center, to look Heavenward and to bring the light of truth and greater understanding to our lives and to those around us, just by simply being ourselves.

We’re not meant to live under heaps of rubble. We’re not designed to carry the burdens of others as if they’re our own. We’re meant to walk side-by-side, and tend to our own healing.

At the end of my life, I won’t be asked how I lived up to other people’s expectations or judgments about my life…

I’ll be asked if I lived up to MINE. If I was able to accomplished the mission my soul was meant to fulfill.

And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to arrive in that moment and find that I passed by soul-inspired adventures and ways to be of service and make a difference in the world, in order to try to live up to someone else’s idea of what my life should be.

We have the opportunity to transcend suffering; and learn and grow, from every challenge, illness, struggle, and from every bit of pain that ever comes our way.

And somehow, finding the good, and turning towards healing in those toughest moments, only to find them transformed into new possibilities and a brighter future ahead — well, it just never gets old.

What if we measured our progress as humans, not by the things we gain, accomplish, or lose, but by the people we become, and the growth we develop along the way?

What if we’re all, each of us, already spectacularly and wonderfully enough?

What if we all KNEW that with every cell in our bodies and with the oxygen that fills each life-giving breath?

Wouldn’t the world be beautiful?!

I have a hunch we’d find infinitely more solutions, have greater creativity and better relationships, and more meaningful art in the world, if everyone believed in the power of the gifts they came to bring to the planet — and to share with all of us.

We are all here together. So when one person rises up above the limitations that once restrained them, or breaks the chains that once held them down, it creates an opening, a beautiful doorway filled with light and hope, peace and joy, that invites the rest of us to do the same.

So the next time you find yourself hurting — whether from a broken heart or a broken leg, remember that you are worthy.

You are worthy of healing. You are worthy of grace.

You are worthy of compassion, and courage, and the love and understanding of those around you.

And when you see someone around you who is limited in some way, remember that just because their life might not look the same as yours, or their physical abilities don’t match your own…they are worthy too.

And who knows, they just might have discovered something wonderful in their experience that could help your path blossom with greater wonder, freedom, and joy, too!

Each of us is unique and we’ve all had the opportunity to learn to transform suffering in our own unique ways.

I dream of a world where we are able to learn from each other, grow with one another, and celebrate with courage and bravery, and a sparkling toast that says…

Yes, we are all worthy! Each of us unique, each with a special gift, perspective and beautiful energy to bring!

You are enough, dearest one. Take a deep breath, exhale, and feel how worthy you are, right this minute — just because you exist.

I love you, and am cheering for you in every way,

Caitlin

Brave Soul · Grief & Loss

The Wisdom of Hope, Renewal & A New Start

A Reflection From This Week

One morning this week, I walked out the front door to see a favorite tree that had fallen on the house.

My eyes welled up with tears as I felt the shattering and longing for some of my favorite memories in the front yard of my family’s Portland home.

You see, while my dad was sick, we used to sit on a bench that looked out across the yard at this very tree.

So many summer afternoons spent talking and laughing with him, and learning, what I didn’t realize at the time, was a lesson in the power of presence.

We used to sit in awe of the way the sunlight hit the water droplets flying up through the air from the sprinklers in a way that made them sparkle and dance through the sky.

The quaking aspen stood in the background with a generosity and beauty about her. She helped to ground the scene. And added to the beauty of each moment — her soft leaves fluttering in the breeze.

I’d also known for a long time that this was one of my mom’s favorite trees, for this very reason.

Watching the leaves flutter in the breeze, watching them dance with hope and joy, gives us permission to do the same — to trust the same wisdom, and hope and joy within us.

It grounds us in the present moment, and allows us to spring forth rooted in something that cannot be seen but only felt in the quiet and most tender, sacred places of our being.

It is a truth so deep that only nature has arms long enough to reach.

Maybe the branches of that tree, with the leaves dancing in the breeze, was actually just a way of returning home to myself, in a way I hadn’t come to fully recognize yet.

It had a unique and sparkling way of aligning me with the truest sense of myself: the self that has no words.

It’s one of the few things in the world that can help point you to an experience, without you even noticing. That’s how good it is. That’s how magnificent of a gift it brings.

It stirs the heart and soothes the soul in ways that Netflix movies or comfort food can only dream about but never provide.

For a long time now I’ve been amazed by the way the beauty we see in nature helps us to find and see greater beauty and love within ourselves.

And when a special part of nature — like a tree, a bird, a forest creature, flower, or plant is lost to us, it can tug at some of those deepest places within our hearts.

The moments. The memories. The freedom, the joy, and the love. All rolled into one.

As I stood there, I allowed myself a few minutes to stand with the tree and cry. Images of my dad and me sitting on the bench floated through my mind, all the memories of looking up at that tree, and a very real felt sense in my body of the sadness its loss brings.

The rest of the day I found my mind wandering back to that tree.

And later that night while meditating, I had a sense that the tree had somehow lived its purpose. That by helping to guide me, and those close to me, to the homes inside our hearts, she had been set free. 

She had done all that she came here to be.

And the lesson, too, that sometimes, the greatest thing we can ever do, is be.

The gift is in who we are, and who we’re becoming. And the far-reaching affects that can have on those around us.

Like one little leaf traveling through the breeze, with the hope and freedom to soar, and with it, bring to life a brand new tree.

By this morning, when the work crew arrived to cut down the tree, I was ready.

And this surprised me.

I’ve had so many experiences before where the wrecking all comes in at once. The turmoil, the grief, the pain, all mashed together.

But this time, I allowed myself to grieve. I allowed myself to feel all that this tree meant to me.

I allowed myself to say goodbye, and to honor the gifts that she brought me.

So that by today I was ready honor her, by freely letting her go. And knowing that she’d been loved, and that I am loved in return.

There’s this strange magic that happens when we allow ourselves to feel the feelings that flow through us. When we honor ourselves and our experience enough to acknowledge them and let the tears flow.

I can still remember a hospice worker who once said that when you sit with an emotion and feel it and allow it to flow through you, then it flows through and can actually move through rather quickly.

As a twenty-something who had just lost my dad, I thought this was complete poppycock. She just didn’t understand, I remember thinking to myself.

And it wasn’t just what she said, but the way she said it.

I can, now — many years, and a chronic illness, and a life coach training program later — see the wisdom in her words. But I will never forget the way I felt — and the way her words seemed to dismiss and undermine the complexity and depth of my feelings.

So I don’t say any of this today to undermine your feelings. I offer this reflection because of the joy it brings me to see the beauty in the process. The process of healing can be vast — it can take time, and it can also happen in an instant.

In some ways it’s very simple — but simple does not mean that it is easy.

It takes courage. LOTS of it.

More courage than some of us have to offer in a given moment — but when we do, ahhhh, that’s when the magic surfaces and the sun can begin to rise.

They say, “it’s always darkest before the dawn.”

Well, what if we saw every bit of darkness as an opportunity for a rising sun.

If pain became a beacon of hope, of light — to come and rescue us from the turmoil that can feel so often unrelenting.

We are free to choose the way we want to respond to the pain in our lives. And I’ll be the first to admit that I at times fall down the rabbit hole of choosing unhealthy behaviors to cope with the challenges that life brings.

But this week, and this tree — this holy, magnificent and altogether splendid tree — reminded me that it’s okay to grieve.

It’s okay to feel sad. It’s okay to allow those feelings to flow, and allow the grief to flow out your eyes with longing or anguish or anything you may feel.

And when we allow it out, we can ask for healing. And with the healing, comes new space — space for the sun to rise.

And before you know it, you’re watching the miracle of a new idea being born, or a new feeling of hope blossoming within yourself — a brand new start.

I’ve always been amazed by the power of writing or or even just talking things through for this too. It seems like pure magic or dumb luck, but every time I start out writing or talking about (and acknowledging) the terrible thing, it’s as if the awareness is a flashlight that allows it to receive moonbeams of love from Heaven that allow it to fully shine. And when it begins to shine, the old falls away and it makes space for something new.

Like I mentioned above — a new idea, a new solution, a new feeling or different approach. And whatever it is, it is usually BEAUTIFUL — and so much better than you ever could have imagined when you were standing back on the other side of the grief, or anger, or fear — whatever you were feeling.

So whatever YOU are feeling this week, and whatever trees (literal or metaphorical) that have fallen down in your own life, calling you into the pain so that you can be ushered into a brand new beginning, know that I’m sending you tremendous compassion, love, and healing grace.

You are brave.

And I’m so proud of you. And you know what? I think I’m proud of me too.

With infinite love & grace,

Caitlin

Brave Soul · Writing as Healing

Blessings of peace for you this week…

I melt into the navy leather arm chair, feeling my body rest down into it as never before. 

My shoulders relax, and something in my chest area starts to open and calm as I listen to Martha Beck say that all we ever have to do is this moment, right now

As I relax into her words of comfort and reassurance, saying that no matter what happens, you’ll always have the strength for THIS Moment. Just this one. And that nothing else is ever needed.

I’d heard my dad talk about the “Power of NOW.” He became quite obsessed with it, and rightly so, in my opinion. That was a time in his life where he needed the message, and it found him.

This was a time in mine, where, while I’d tried to practice it with some success beforehand…

There’s nothing quite like every moment of your own life becoming a complete and utter uncertainty, to help you open to something new.

And that is what had happened.

Away from school and my job as a teacher, sick with never-ending vertigo and a slew of concussive symptoms, my life had been changed forever. And I was now on a journey through taking Life Coach Training, that at the time, I don’t think I even realized had begun.

As often happens with illness, the very capabilities of your body to do what you’re accustomed to doing changes. 

I’d lost my health, and with that, my job, uncertain of when, if ever, I’d be able to return. And with that, my community — both my students and the teachers with whom I’d worked. Many of my friends, my financial stability…all of it, gone. Seemingly overnight.

Sound familiar?

While there are MANY differences between much of what I went through and what so much of the word is going through now, I see the similarities. The golden threads of hope — which to me, offer a new perspective, and a new way of doing things.

When things fall apart, we’re given an opportunity to go inward.

When we don’t know what to do, we’re given the opportunity to open to something new.

Once we let the old fall away — so painful! — we can find, sometimes quite unexpectedly, a brand new beginning that is brighter than we ever dreamed it could be.

So I offer you tremendous compassion today, for whatever feelings you’re feeling, whatever situations you’re facing, whatever loss you’ve suffered, whatever you find swirling around you or within you in any given moment.

And I pray that you find the strength to keep going — to keep offering yourself the love and kindness you deserve.

Because you are worthy of so much love, dearest one — ALL the Love in the Entire Universe, in fact! 🙂

This is a song I listened to often about 5 years ago, in one of those layers I mentioned of opening to something new.

It’s called Wahe Guru.

Turns out, it’s actually called “A Thousand Suns.” (You can listen to the song here, if you want.)

And there was one stanza that called out to me in particular. So much so that I took a gold-colored sharpie and wrote it out on a little index card that I used to keep by my bed.

It read:

“May the light of a thousand suns shine through. 

Live the life of grace that you were meant to.”

So in whatever way, today, this week, may each of us open to the new level of being, and the new way of seeing that has become open to us.

May we find hope where there is heartbreak. And peace and love in all things.

And if you feel like playing with some feelings, I’m hosting a free call on Thursday called Funky Emotion Paragraphs. 🙂

Every time I’ve taught this process or shared it with someone one-on-one, it has been a hit, and magical things have happened. So now seems like the perfect time to share it again.

It’s a process for looking at an emotion in a creative way, that takes it out of the context of the situation where you find it arising, so that surprisingly wise (and often funny!) insights come through. I’d love to have you join us! 🙂

No need to register. Just use the link below. 🙂 And I’ll hope to see you there!

Topic: Funky Emotion Paragraphs 🙂

Time: Apr 2, 2020 11:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us04web.zoom.us/j/5063033279

May you be blessed with infinite peace today, and each day, as we go through this great big process, and unfolding of whatever is going on — together.

Much love,

Caitlin

P.S. If you and/or your kiddos are feeling like a cozy story time, I did a Facebook Live over the weekend with a reading of Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. If you’d like to snuggle in and listen, you can do so here. Love you lots! 🙂 (Also, if you enjoy, please let me know and I can make it a regular thing while we go through this pandemic together.)

P.P.S. I’ve received a couple requests to offer another Gratitude Call, where I shared a new way of gratitude journaling that I started playing with over the winter months. If you’d be interested in something like this, let me know! 🙂 (Just comment below, and say, “YES! I want to play with gratitude journaling!” — or something to that effect 🙂 and I’ll know to put it on the calendar. Wink!)

Brave Soul · Self-Compassion

I’m Back! (In a Yellow Submarine…)

“We all live in a yellow submarine, yellow submarine, yellow submarine…”

Photo by Sung Jin Cho on Unsplash

This Beatles song keeps popping into my mind and unexpectedly flowing out of my mouth over the last few days and weeks.

Sometimes the songs I hear, or find myself singing (seemingly out of nowhere) have messages, or strange synchronicities that make me smile.

I found myself wondering what this might be about.

(Especially given the fact that I’ve never been a huge fan of this song.)

And then it hit me, it’s like we’re all in a great big yellow submarine together.

Some of us more closely, given the quarantine and shelter in place and social distancing precautions.

But even more than that, it’s the message that…

We’re all in this together.

This great big planet spinning through time and space is like a big ship…or a yellow submarine, that we’re all trying to find our way through and learn how to navigate, together.

One person’s joy affects the multitudes. Each small action, whether fearful or loving and filled with peace, affects everyone.

That’s why my motto or mission during this time so far has been to anchor as much joy as I can.

My theory (just because it feels good :)) is that this virus can’t survive JOY.

Of course, if you’re feeling sad or scared or panicked or even just a low grade sense of anxiety or helplessness, PLEASE allow yourself to feel those things. I’ve felt them too, and it’s important not to just set them aside for some pretend joy thinking that’s going to help.

Fake joy can’t help, but true, genuine, smile-from-the heart-so-big-that-it-lights-up-your-face joy — I believe that can.

So do whatever you find joyful today.

And if joy feels too far out of reach, try offering yourself the compassion you would offer a sweet, innocent, beautiful and amazing child. What kind thing would you say to a little one who is afraid?

You would comfort them, not berate them for feeling their emotions. (Unless you’re trying to avoid your own.)

But yes, kindness always matters. Especially when you can begin to find a way to offer it to yourself.

You are worthy of kindness.

You are worthy of respect.

You are worthy of feeling heard and appreciated for who you are.

So today, as we float through the sky in this great big yellow submarine, know this…

You’re not alone. Anything you’re feeling or experiencing, others are likely experiencing it too.
 

You are loved. You are worthy of infinite compassion and grace, especially during hard times. Often, those can be the times where it can feel hardest to offer ourselves the kindness we deserve, and this is when we need it the most. So offer yourself some kindness, be gentle with yourself and know that as you follow the flow of that, only good things can happen — from the inside-out.
 

I appreciate you. You are appreciated, seen and heard for all that you are. You are a blessing in this world and I’m so glad you’re here. 

Remember that.


You are loved. You are not alone. And you are infinitely appreciated for the gifts you bring to this planet…to our yellow submarine. 🙂

Wishing you peace and infinite blessings always,

with a side of gentle clouds and soft sunlight to light your way,

Caitlin

P.S. If you’re feeling stressed out and would like to play with some coaching or writing to see how that can help (HINT: It is AMAZINGLY helpful) just send an email and let me know. We can find something perfect — supportive and kind — just for you. ❤ 

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. 🙂

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
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.