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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Brave Soul

You can do this. {Reflections from past regret}

Trust yourself.
Go slow.

You don’t have to do what others expect. This is your life, and you get to live it the way you choose.

You do not have to follow the crowd, or others’ expectations of you.

This is your life. How do you want to live it?

How do you want to feel? What do YOU want to be doing, right here, right now?

Follow that wave.

Allow one little seedling of an idea to expand into a mighty oak tree.

You have not gotten anything wrong. And you are infinitely and abundantly loved.

You cannot get it wrong here. Tune in and ask, what does your heart want to do?

Just like the Lady and the Tramp, or Aladdin, and the magic carpet ride…

When did you last let your heart decide?

Compromising what you know to be true for yourself with the belief that it will somehow help others, serves no one.

It does not help anyone to shine brighter or feel more filled up with peace and love and joy, all of the very things you are hoping to bring to this planet, yes?

You are infinitely and Divinely blessed as you follow the steps from your heart that you are guided to take each day.

Follow your heart.

Let your heart decide.

Allow your heart to lead the way, and follow in the magic and the mystery and the love of it all.

Everything will be okay in the end. Have no doubts or fear here.

You are enough.

All that you want is destined to come to fruition.

How can you be easier on yourself in the meantime?

How can you bring yourself feelings of sweet surrender and deep peace?

What brings you feelings of deep peace — the things that help you sleep better at night, relaxing into the unknown, this is where your heart’s treasures are waiting for you.

It only takes the courage to look — to take a peek deep inside and see what your heart wants to share. What pain needs to be healed. What scars need to be allowed to mend. What treasures you are here to find. What gifts you are here to bring the world.

All is right here within your very own heart center.

Allow yourself to breathe into this space within your heart today with the knowing that you’ve already won. That there’s nowhere to get to. That there’s no battle left to win. You have found your way home, inside your heart. What’s next is purely Divine.

Allow yourself to drink in the freedom that is yours. The freedom to live. The freedom to feel. The freedom to make your own choices and decide what you want your life to be.

You can do this.

I have no doubt. You are are stronger than you know. More brave than you can possibly imagine. And I am with you.

I am with you every step of the way.

You can do this.
Namaste.

And if you’d like a personalized blessing to help you remember your strength or help bring guidance to your path, you can get all the details here:                                              (and download a free copy of my blessings-filled ebook, Delicate Grace.)

personalized blessings

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Brave Soul

Walking through fire.

​The quotation in my planner today reads:

“If you’re going through Hell, keep going.”

Winston Churchill

I used to love this quotation.  A lon​​g time ago it made me laugh, it gave me a way to approach my life and the huge challenges with a bit of humor. And it was a way for me to, even if only subtly at first, recognize and acknowledge, and then accept my pain.

You see, the only way to make it to the other side of our pain, is to walk straight through it.

Not to ignore it, deny it — but face it. Head on.

Now this is more difficult to do than it might seem. It sounds simple enough.

But like so many of the simple tasks in life, the simple lessons, the simple actions or habits — they’re often not so easy.

Simple and profound. Easy? Maybe.

Maybe not.

Either way, it is by walking into and through the fire that we find the peace and freedom that getting to the other side of our trial brings.

And I would argue that it isn’t so much about getting to the other side — being in a place without the fire — that brings us peace.

But it’s who we have become by walking through that fire that gives us the peace we crave.

When we get to the other side, it is in knowing that we can do it. That we can face whatever life throws our way.

That no matter what we can always look to the light. And that God and the Angels will be there for us and guiding us along the way.

No matter what.

It’s about facing the things we can’t change. And allowing them to transform us. So that when we make it to the other side, we have freedom.

Not the freedom of peace. Or absence of trial.

But the freedom of fire. The freedom that comes from allowing the fire to burn away anything you don’t need — all the layers of who you thought you were and who you used to be, in order to make room for who you become.

Because who you become, that beautiful golden seed within you now, as it begins to blossom, will only sprinkle out little bits of confetti and love in celebration as you shine.

When you reclaim your voice. When you reclaim your place. All of Heaven smiles.

Just like I am smiling for you now.

So whatever challenges or trials you face today, know that whatever the fire is burning away is only to help reveal the most magnificent being that you already are.

Hold yourself close in the pain. Whisper kind words of compassion to yourself in your suffering.

And know that you are being created, molded, into something far greater than you could ever imagine — the purest essence of you.

And you, my darling, are the most radiant soul in all the earth.

And I’m so proud of you.

Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep walking through your fire, so that when you reach the other side, you will smile, with peace and satisfaction with how you have emerged — transformed.

You can do this.

You are a brave soul. I’ve got you and I believe in you every step of the way.

Much love to you always,

Namaste.

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Brave Soul

The girl in the coffee shop.

She sits, on a small bench with a little patch of sunshine shining through.

She sits with her journal, with her cup of Chai — and she reflects.

Thinking about her life, her loss, pondering all the moments gone by. Wondering about her future, wondering what it will be, what it will bring — more fearful now than ever before. But she doesn’t know this. She just sips her tea, and she writes what she’s grateful for.

 

She always focuses on the light, you see. Always focused on bringing in positivity, harmony — grace. She’s convinced it can always be found, and she finds little bits of it everywhere.

In fact, it is one of her strengths.

 

It’s one of the things others admire about her. But what she doesn’t yet know, is it is in part, a challenge, that one day she’ll overcome.

 

To face her fears, her sorrow and tears — the despair so heavy and alone.

 

And that she’ll rise again, her face in the sun. One day walking back into that very same coffee shop, this time ordering water instead of tea, and a healthy bar instead of the chocolate scotcharoo.

 

A girl brave with new understanding.

A girl with new tenderness she never could have foreseen.

And this tenderness gives her strength.

This tenderness gives her fire.

 

From this tenderness a new life is born. One that honors her every need.

And with this her life expands, into a beautiful expression of grace — filled with joy, and laughter … and the smiles of dreams coming true.

 

There’s nothing like the feeling of a dream coming true.

And this girl, yes this girl — she lives for it.

 

The feeling of accomplishment, the knowing she’s helped.

It puts a smile on her face and helps her relax with ease — or she jumps up with a scream and a shout, thrilled by the very experience of being alive.

 

She is worthy. She doesn’t always see it.

But just wait — you’ll see her shine.

 

And her shining will set the world aglow — and in it you’ll find, you know,

That you’re just a masterpiece in shining also, who out of fear or shame is hidden…

 

And you’ll find the courage, little by little, to take off your mask and reveal —

The angel that lives inside

To spread her wings and fly

 

Leaving raindrops of love and rose petals of joy.

Blessing every soul you meet.

 

the girl in the coffee shop.png

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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

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Brave Soul

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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Brave Soul

The power of connection in grief and loss.

When I lost my dad, I didn’t feel I could connect with other people my age anymore…
What did other 20 year old’s know about caring for and helping to support a dying parent after college?

Everyone else was off living their dreams…
While I was stuck in a grief that it felt no one could understand.

How could they?

They hadn’t been through it. It was so outside of the scope of their reality of what they knew in their own lives.

But through that experience, a star was born, right here within my heart.

I found my way through. Even in such isolation, I found a way through.

And writing was part of that solution.

So I’d like to share that with you…

But more than that, I craved a group, other people my age who could understand…

It felt painful to feel that the only people who could understand my reality were the elderly and those so much older and in a different place of life than me.

How was I supposed to deal with this on my own, or so it seemed?

I did find a couple of other girls, one at first and then the other, who had lost their dad’s too. One had been in high school, the other, a few years out of college.

And connecting with them was worth everything.
It helped me know that I wasn’t alone. That even though our experiences were different, there was a common thread.

I wasn’t the ONLY one to have lost her dad at such an age.

That connection was priceless.

And so I have learned…

Connecting + Writing = Magic Healing Superpower

And that’s EXACTLY what I’ve created here in this group for you.

Connection with others to help you know you’re not alone.
And writing experiences to connect you more deeply with your inner self, your navigational guide and source of love when all else fails or seems to have fallen away…

So I guess it’s all about connection, really.

Connecting with others, to help give you full permission to connect with YourSELF.

Because you are worth it.

You deserve to feel connected.

And you deserve to feel loved.

Join us, and know that you’re not alone.
Connect to an inner strength you never knew you had, and make some new friends along the way.

It’s all here waiting for you.

All you have to do is say yes to the whisper inside that says, maybe things can be different…

And I’m here for you. Every step of the way.

Namaste.

Much love and many blessings to you always~

Caitlin

 

P.S. You can sign up for the group here: http://eepurl.com/dLCLWc

P.S.S. Anytime past or present. If you’ve experienced loss in your lifetime…this golden ticket is for you:

 

jpg of golden ticket

Brave Soul

Remembering our wings.

Almost exactly a year ago in 2017, I started a new beginning.

Here’s how it went…

(May we sing together, and unite in song, and together, set the whole world free.)

Much love to you, now and forever,

Caitlin

 

. . .

A friend sent me a card in the mail several years ago–one of those craft paper style ones from Trader Joe’s. On the front there was a delicate illustration of a bird on a branch and along the side, a quotation from Victor Hugo was typed in a lovely italic:

Be as a bird,

perched

on a frail branch

that she feels

bending beneath her,

still she sings,

sings,

knowing

she has wings.

There have been many times I’ve identified with this little bird. Feeling stuck in a whirling storm with nothing but a frail branch to cling to. And sometimes I still feel this way. But I also believe that life gives us these storms and frail branches so that instead of looking to the branch to hold us, we discover the strong, steady, graceful wings that have been there to carry and guide us all along.

So as I set out on this new journey, reclaiming my voice and freeing my song by sharing the thoughts of the moment from my heart, may whatever pours forth help us remember our wings.

And may the strength and comfort of these wings support us, no matter how fierce the storm or how weak the branch beneath us.

Always, these gorgeous, magnificent wings.