Self-Compassion

Be kind to yourself.

Be kind to yourself.

Be kind when you rewind.

Be kind when you think no one is watching.

Be kind even when people are.

Sometimes it can be even harder to be kind to ourselves when we feel others are watching or judging us. That we’re somehow not worthy of this kindness, and honoring, or respect.

But we are.

YOU are, my child. My darling, sweet friend, and companion.

You are worthy.

That is what I want you to know.

And every word you think and deed or action you take, every desire, every wish that aligns with love and kindness towards yourself, brings infinite treasures…a wellspring flowing from within.

It allows treasures to flow forward into your life in ways you could never expect.

I still remember the day, sitting in my mom’s car in the rain. The Portland Rain.

I had just left a counseling appointment. I’d found a new counselor to have extra support there for me as I was dealing with sudden and chronic mystery illness.

And I loved her. Thank goodness. Not all therapists are kind, and the kind of souls where you feel respected heard and cared for through their actions and words.

But something on her bio on her website read “transcending suffering.” And I KNEW, this was what I wanted to do. After everything I’d been through with my dad, watching him die a most horrific (in so many ways) death, this was my opportunity to use my illness to help my soul shine through in ways it never had before.

Reflecting, there in the car — sitting at a stop sign, with my mom, in the rain, I said…

“If I can learn how to be nice to myself through this experience, I think that will serve me well for the rest of my life.”

Don’t you just love the prophetic things you say, before you even realize how prophetic they truly are?

The things we say, half-joking or not in full sincerity — but that actually have a grain, if not a mountain underneath, of truth beneath them?

This has happened to me many times.

But I have to say, that one of my favorite things is seeing the growth of where life leads along the way. It hasn’t always been pretty. But it has always been kind. On the highest level, deep within — somewhere deep within my heart-center there is a love that is always calling to me.

And there is for you too.

Have you ever heard the love song from your heart?

Have you heard it sing to you — a loving lullaby or a dancing, happy tune?

What is your heart singing right now?

Mine is singing a song of peace, complete with a smile on my face as I type these words to you.

Because I want you to know that you are worthy of kindness. You are worthy of honoring and respect. And the more you can practice this kindness towards yourself the deeper your roots will grow.

And deeper roots mean stronger branches. And stronger branches mean fairer blossoms.

Imagine now the most beautiful rose or flower blossom you can imagine.

Now imagine what would happen if that blossom didn’t get the air, or sunlight, or water it needs to survive. It would wither and die, right?

The same is true of us.

Kindness is like the oxygen in the air that helps our lungs to breathe — to breathe in life, and the richness and goodness of all that life has for us.

The good, the bad, the not so great — whatever it is life is presenting you with right now, it is your choice whether or not you take that deep inhale. Whether or not you let that life-giving oxygen in to nourish your cells.

If you’re going to go through whatever you’re going through anyway…why not take some deep breaths of oxygen rich kindness to breathe some life, and health and nourishing love into all of your cells while you go through it.

It’s not to say that hard things will never happen.

It’s that breathing in that oxygen — treating yourself with that kindness is what makes life worth living. It helps make it bearable. Easier.

It’s what makes it beautiful. Knowing that you always have a choice.

You can make things worse, by starving yourself of the kindness and appreciation and love that your body and soul craves…

Or you can let the fresh oxygen of grace in through love and feel every part of yourself filled up with a kindness beyond your wildest dreams.

You may not always be able to control everything. In fact, I know that you can’t.

But you CAN control the kindness. You can make the choice to be kind. To yourself, to others. And chances are, if you’re reading this right now, you’re a sensitive soul like me, which means —

Being kind to others comes naturally to you. Knowing what others are going through. Feeling their pain, celebrating their triumphs, feeling deeply whatever it is — so deeply that often, you might even confuse it for your own.

Whether you’re feeling something that belongs to you, or something that’s not yours to carry, kindness is what helps you to set it free.

It sets your own soul free to let go of the burdens it holds. From the traumas, the past regrets. The illness, the isolation…whatever the case may be.

And it also is what frees the temptation to hang on to something that isn’t yours.

It’s the quiet voice that says, “oh, my darling, that isn’t your bag of rocks to carry. Let’s help you set that down and go find a quiet place to frolic in the meadow or dance along the sand by the ocean’s song.”

This is the voice of kindness.

The voice that sets you free.

The voice that says she’s proud of you, when all seems completely lost, and fallen apart and you feel utterly forgotten.

She’s the one there. To comfort you. To bring you loving words in a caress of Angel Song.

And she’s there within you.

Kindness is her name.

What can you do to let her into your life today?

Who would you need to be to sing along in harmony?

How are you worthy, right where you are, today?

This is what she’ll tell you. Because she’ll always believe that you’re enough.

She’ll sit with you, and sing with you — and hear every care and worry.

And then at the end she’ll tell you how worthy you are, how much you matter — that you’re loved and adored. And she’ll wrap you in a hug and make you some tea. And you can sit there together and smile.

Smile through the tears.

Smile with the sunshine.

Smile with the happy times, and the peaceful memories from the past.

Smile with dreams of the future. And with all that makes your heart content.

You’ll smile together. And know that you’re free.

You’ll know by the feeling you get when you’re with her. And you’ll know that you’ve found your way home. Home to the light of your being. The place where God is close. The place where you’re connected to Divine Light and Divine Grace, and the knowing that you never have to do it alone.

It all begins with Kindness.

Where can you start, today?

I’d love to hear your insights and reflections in the comments below — it’s one of my favorite things!

Much love, now and always,

Caitlin

Be kind to yourself.

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Self-Compassion

The power of writing a letter to yourself.

I sit down and open to a blank page in my journal. Tears stream down my face and I begin to write.

I write everything I can think of, allowing each thought to pass through and make room for the next as I write them down on the page.

At a certain point, the language begins to shift — and I realize it has become a loving letter to myself.

What kind words do you practice saying to yourself? When you’re sad, frustrated, or feeling all alone?

I still remember the blank page with the lovely text Compassionate Whispers written in my own handwriting at the top.

I was part of an art journaling course and during that particular week, we were to try on different compassionate phrases, kind things we could say to ourselves when we were feeling down or inferior in some way. Words that would help build a remembrance of shared humanity, that all human beings face and feel these emotions and so within that, we are not alone.

But I couldn’t think of a single thing to say.

Paralyzed. I left the page blank and just moved on with the rest of the course.

Then, a few years ago, I was thumbing through the journal, and found that blank page. I smiled with compassion for the person I’d been that day — as part of that experience.

And I wrote myself a love note. A letter of compassion. Wrote in all kinds of kind things I could think of to say.

I smiled at how far I’d come, and for the words of others that had helped to guide me along the way.

You see, that week I’d created a different page — one where I’d written different kind things (my favorite things) that friends had family members had written to me in birthday cards, etc. over the years.

And their kind words helped to see me through. They helped give be a life raft, a buoy to hang onto until I could find the kind words that were ready to flow through me towards myself.

The words of others can be a bridge.

Sometimes we we want to be kind to ourselves, but we don’t know the words to say.

When this happens, it helps to have someone else who has walked the road give us an example.

And we can tune in and ask our own hearts — “What do you need to hear from me today?”

And then there are the words from others, the compliments from family members and friends. The people who, at the time, might have a higher opinion of us than we do of ourselves.

And the beautiful thing is, as we practice these things — we develop the muscles for real. So that we can stand in front of ourselves and honor ourselves with the tender love and care that we desire — and so deserve.

And just like any practice, the strength, the ability, expands. So that one day, in the near or distant future, you find yourself saying words you never thought you’d say.

Kind things. To yourself. Without even thinking about it.

I know that is what happened to me.

And it goes it layers. There is no getting it right. No distant land of perfection to reach…

There is only this moment, and the kindness you decide to show yourself for whatever challenges you face…

No matter how you feel, no matter what you think.

You are worthy of the kindness you share.

So often, as sensitive souls, we think about the well-being of others, putting our own needs last. Letting our own desires fall to the wayside under the pressure of what we think others expect from us. And sometimes those expectations are accurate. And sometimes they’re not.

But either way, we always have the chance to make the choice to stand by our own side, and hold our truth with care. To hold our hearts in the palms of our hands and send that love out into the world.

For the love you feel in your heart matters. And tending the flame of your own desires, passion, purpose, and soul is your most important work here in the world.

So what would you say to yourself in a love letter today?​

Whether you play with writing yourself a letter, ponder with a friend, create an art project, hit reply and share your answer with me — whatever you choose, my hope is that you are abundantly blessed with the kindness that resides within your very own heart.

Much love always,
Caitlin

 

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Self-Compassion

The sweet little voice inside, and the whispers of your heart.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about the voice inside this week.

And how no one can decide for us.
It’s up to us to listen to the voice within and follow where it leads.

Only you know the language of your heart, and where it’s asking you to go.

Only you know the love it needs you to give, and the strength that wraps you in love.

Only you know your higher Divine Destiny. No one can know it or decide if for you.

It is your path alone.

Others can support and encourage and cheer you on along the way —

But it’s up to you to listen for…
that quiet voice inside.

I just love this poem.

I used to have it hanging on a bulletin board in my apartment several years ago…and it’s amazing the way life gives us opportunities…

circling back to the things we thought we already knew.

Greater depth.
Greater meaning.
Greater love and understanding, and deeper love
of self.

May you be blessed today with infinite grace.
And may that sweet little voice inside whisper to you…

And may you hear her whispers, as she says
how proud she is of you.

I know I am.

Much love to you always,
Caitlin ❤

 

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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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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}