Beauty in this moment

I read a blog post many years ago with a key idea that has stuck with me. The post was called The 5 Most Beautiful Things Project, which you can read here. The idea was to stop every hour or so and take note of the 5 most beautiful things around you in that moment. Over the years I have done this little activity many times, it is something I have come back to it often when things are feeling a little funky or I need to slow down for a moment. While I was working more of an office type job a few years ago there would be times when things would be feeling not so great. In those moments I would stop, take out a pen and scrap of paper and write down the 5 most beautiful things in that moment. Even on days where I thought everything sucked I managed to write down 5 little things. The things on the list were simple like having a bottle of cold water beside me, or the single conversation with a customer that had made me smile that day. When I had finished my little list I would then tuck it under my mouse pad, by just having it there it would help remind me that maybe things didn’t suck so bad after all. I have written these little lists many times since including on my overseas adventures to help bring myself back to the moment and so I can fully appreciate where I am.

These days I don’t often have pen and paper on me when I’m at work but I still often stop to appreciate the little things and the beauty of life around me. Many times I have stood looking at a sunset or moonrise or smiled at the little kid watching as we prepare his meal. I may only stand there for the length of one breath but it’s a moment where I am consciously present and admiring the beauty around me, it also brings me from my sometimes crazy head and thoughts into my heart.

The reason why I’m sharing these little stories is because I recently did a Character Strengths quiz and my top character strength was appreciation of beauty and excellence. Which surprised me a little as I had never thought of being able to see beauty around me as a strength. To me it’s a little activity that allows the beauty of life to not go unnoticed. So here’s my challenge to you: take 5mins or even 10-30 seconds right now to pause and appreciate the beauty and simple things around. By doing this you can lift your mood, help to slow you down and bring you back to the present moment. It can also help you to see another side to things which previously you may of considered sucky. I’m definitely not a scientist or expert so I have no scientific evidence or research to back me up I’m just speaking and sharing from experience. I want to share this because I really believe that with a little practice and mindfullness this activity can do wonders, it can really help to make your day happy.

To finish off I want to share with you the 5 most beautiful things for me right now, 10am 20/2/17:

  • the sunflowers given to me as a gift
  • the gentle breeze of the fan on this warm day
  • a day ahead without any plans or appointments
  • sitting here allowing words to flow onto my screen
  • time with my family

Over to you now, what are the five most beautiful things for you in this moment? Extra points for writing it down, they are lovely lists to look back on. Maybe leave a little comment below.

Lots of Love

Caitlin xx

Hey 2017

Hey There,

I know we are already three weeks into this year and I’m only just writing a blog post now but that’s okay, today is still a beautiful day of 2017, do I need a better reason?

Before I dive into my thoughts on 2017 I want to share a little of my reflections on how 2016 unfolded. Looking back over 2016 the biggest theme for me was Gentle, learning to be gentle with myself. When I did first begin looking back over the year all I felt I had achieved was lots of work with a few trips to see my family (who live at the beach) in between. I didn’t feel as though I had achieved much or even done much but when I started really thinking about the events of the year and how it unfolded I really had. The trick was to release the idea my year and basically how I live my life had to look a certain way. Truth be told I really, really liked how 2016 played out for me. Yes it was a year with full time work but work itself bought about so many opportunities for growth and learning as well as joy, laughs and a few tears. In between work I travelled to New Zealand, spent time with family and friends, mastered a cookie recipe, bought a new laptop, created, played, and lived life. So thank you 2016, you really were a pretty sweet year.

Now, on to 2017. In the lead up to the new year I knew I wanted to choose a guiding word for the year but nothing had really come to me. On New Years Day my beautiful aunt commented on an Instagram picture how the universal theme for the year was cherish, cherish yourself and the rest will follow. That really connected with me. In the tail end of 2016 there were a couple of times where things were a bit of a struggle mostly because I was run down due to not looking after myself first. I feel like 2017 is a time for change, I am realising how important it is for me to cherish myself and to prioritise this and then to share and shine my light next. I also want to cherish each day, friends, family and the little things in between, cliche I know but it sits right.

And if I needed any more confirmation on the importance of looking after myself first I received it during my recent chiro session. My chiropractors are all really great people and the guy I saw this week asked me what do I do for myself, we were talking about stress, I replied not really enough. He reminded me just how important it is for me to look after myself and do something for me every day, even if it’s just five minutes, we need recharging. So for me 2017 is a year of cherishing. (You can read more about the year of cherishing here.)

There’s a few other themes and ideas I’m feeling into for this new year. I have been inspired by my beautiful Emma Kate Co ‘Write your own adventure 2017’ planner to well write my own story, to live life on my terms and embrace all of it, the real, the messy, the joy and everything in between. (~Emma Kate Co).

I was also inspired by a video clip that I came across late one night last year, it left me in tears.

 

This song and video really hit home for me. How often do we stay in our same routine and comfort zone? I know over the years I have stepped out of my comfort zone and surprised myself big time, (6months solo travel in Canada when I was 20), but surprising yourself doesn’t have to be doing something big like jumping out of a plane, it can really just be facing a fear, making a choice that’s important to you, or trying something new even if it’s just a food.

Tying in with the them of surprising yourself is adventure. Adventure is a big thing for me, I even wrote a post about Little Adventures last year and how we can bring a little adventure into our everyday. I didn’t end up fully following through on the commitment I made in that post to plan an adventure for every week but I want make a slightly more flexible commitment now. I want to add adventure to the year wherever, however and whenever I can, whatever that may be.

So there you go, a year of cherishing and adventure sounds pretty good to me. I have know idea what this year will bring for me but I’m ready. What about yourself, have you chosen a guiding word or theme? How can you surprise yourself or include a bit more adventure in your days?

Here’s to a beautiful 2017 and may you cherish yourself and your days be filled with love, joy, health and abundance.

Lots of Love

Caitlin xx

Giving blogging a go

Hi There,

It’s okay, I’m still here, I haven’t gone anywhere. I am going to keep giving blogging a go, so please stick around for this journey.

I started this little blog in July 2014. Over two years ago now and it’s been through spurts. I’ll write a couple of posts in one month then there won’t be any action on here for months. (My last post was November) I’ve thought about calling it quits, the mean girl has said multiple times ‘Are you really cut out for this blogging stuff?’ and yet I’ve kept this little space live because there’s another little voice that whispers just keep going.

My vision for this little blog of mine has always been to share a little love, happiness and joy in this world even if it’s only for myself and my family who read it.

There’s so many reasons why I haven’t blogged much but right now I’m deciding that I’m going to listen to the one few reason why I want to blog. I want to blog because for me I enjoy the creative process of blogging, I enjoy sharing little thoughts and ideas and weaving stories. When I think back to when I was little I was always writing stories and making books, I feel like this is my grown up book.

So today I’m going to make a commitment to me to keep using this space in 2017 as my little creative and de-stress project. Already I’ve got a few ideas for blog posts in the pipelines that I’m looking forward to sharing.

See you again here soon,

Love Caitlin xx

 

Simple Joys ~ A Collection

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A few months ago now I wrote the first post in a series I called Simple Joys. My first post was about my Rainbow Umbrella and the simple joys it bought being able to set it up on the beach and spend time with my two sisters. I haven’t written a post in the series since even though I planned on it. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been taking note and appreciating all the simple joys life has had to offer recently. I thought I’d share 4 of my favourite moments and joys from the past few months.

Playing Games

At the end of September I spent two nights with my younger sisters in the city. We went to a concert together and spent our time exploring the city. My favourite moments of the time with my sisters was playing games together which made us properly laugh out loud. One of the games was Bingo, quite simple really, decide on something to find such as a person with a red shirt and yell bingo when you see it. There were also a couple of games of pocket Trivial Pursuit in the park soaking up the beautiful day.

A Fresh Juice from a Friend

A few weeks ago I had some things going on that were leaving me a little distracted and not myself when it came to being at my day job. One particular Sunday one of the girls I work with sent me a message before we started work offering to buy me a fresh juice from our favourite cafe. This girl had worked with me the days before and I think she knew I wasn’t quite myself. The simple gesture of buying me a drink that particular day meant so much to me in ways she will probably never realise. I relished the simple joy of that fresh juice all day.

Painting Workshop

As a late birthday present my friend shouted me and herself a create your own canvas workshop. Over the two sessions we had we both created two beautiful and different pieces of artwork. I hadn’t properly painted like that since high school but there’s something so simple and joyful about creating art with paint and being left with a masterpiece.

Surprising My Family

After not seeing my parents for nearly two months I decided to give them a surprise visit. Despite having a big week at work and an early start to go see them the joy of being able to surprise them kept me going the whole 3.5hr drive and it was so worth it.


While all this little things really are simple joys they have meant so much to me, they have reminded me:
~ Play and have fun
~ That small acts of kindness can bring so much joy
~ The beauty of creating and painting
~ How giving someone special a surprise brings joy to yourself

What about you?
How can you bring about some joy into your days?
How can you spread a small act of kindness, give someone a surprise or get in touch with your inner child and play?

 

Journaled Thoughts ~ A Letter to My Team

Dear Team,

I just wanted to write you a letter. I’ve been working as an assistant manager for nearly a year now and I thought by now I’d have this role down pat but I’m realising that I’ve still got a lot to learn and experience. I want you to know that I still don’t know everything, that every single shift I am presented with opportunities to learn and grow. I have had to accept that it’s ok to be a beginner and you probably don’t realise how much learning and making things up I’ve done on the go.

I am still learning how to ask for help when I need it and how to face conflict and confrontation instead of running away from them. My ideas about myself are constantly challenged and I have experienced a rainbow of emotions in the last year. I’ve realised that if I can be happy and full of ‘positive’ emotion I can equally be angry and experience a variety of ‘negative’ emotions which is natural, I’m learning too that these are just emotions and that they pass.

I’m also still learning to accept that sometimes I am wrong and that it’s ok to be. Sometimes I struggle to accept feedback and advice because sometimes for me this highlights that I don’t know something and I don’t like like not knowing or sometimes even being told.

I’m learning a lot about people, their values and their why’s. Why you all want to come to work besides the money and how you want to feel. I’m learning how to work with such a large group of individuals and how to not only keep myself motivated but everyone else as well.

I am learning how to be gentle with myself and how to look after myself. I am constantly being reminded that when I’m not looking after me I can’t show up as the best version of myself.

I am learning that everything happens for a reason and that mistakes are what make us human, mine and yours and that they help us grow. I’m learning how to teach and guide and leave space for creativity and individuality.

I’m learning about perspective and how it can make the difference between a ‘good’ shift and a ‘bad’ shift and how everyone has their own ideas, thoughts and opinions.

Dear Team. I am far from having it all figured out and to be honest I probably won’t but please be patient with me as I continue finding my way through this chapter of my journey.

As a final note something I don’t say all that often is thank you. Thank you for being part of this journey with me. I am also learning to accept you are all individuals on your own journeys and we have all just happened to cross paths in this job for a reason.

With Much Love

Caitlin xx

Little Adventures

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That really is one of my favourite quotes. Life is one big adventure comprising of all the little adventures and chapters in between. Adventure can be an actual adventure such as travelling overseas or to another country or it’s the little things like moving out for the first time, a new job, exploring a new coffee shop, opening yourself up to new experience, people and places.

I’ve been on a few big overseas adventures and somewhere in the middle of my last adventure I realised some of the things that keep drawing me to travel, one being breaking the repetition of the everyday. I also love to lose myself in new things and experiences, to meet new people and also to get to know myself better. I travel and adventure to explore life and what it has to offer, to step out of my comfort zone where things are new and different, while I was on this trip all of this was true. But then the trip ended and I came back to ‘reality’, everything was familiar and comfortable again and I let the day to day patterns take over

I’m familiar with this change between adventures and day to day life which is why during my last trip I also began to realise that maybe adventures don’t have to be limited to overseas travel. Maybe I can bring adventure to every week or day. So during that trip I began writing a list, a list of big and little adventures and activities, a list of mini adventures to make it feel like I’m travelling without actually going overseas. When I came home I forgot all about that list until the other day when my feet were itching so badly to travel again, to explore somewhere new. Realistically at the moment overseas isn’t quite possible which is ok because in a large way it’s the feelings of travel and adventure I’m chasing.

Which brings me back to that list I wrote. Why do we wait for adventure? Why do we think of adventure as a month long trip overseas? Why can’t we explore new places in our own home town? Why don’t we find ways at home to open our senses and step out of our comfort zones? Don’t get me wrong making a big overseas trip is pretty epic but there are so many other ways we can include a bit of adventure in our everyday.

From today I’m vowing to include a little or big adventure into each week and I’ll keep myself accountable over on Instagram. For me that might be as simple as spending a few hours exploring a part of my city I haven’t before. Maybe trying a new café or restaurant. Go indoor rock climbing with a friend (who’s up to join me?), go to a museum, spend an hour taking pretty photos. Go on a day trip or maybe spend a night somewhere, chat to strangers, be a tourist in my own backyard. Do some of the things I would do if I were travelling. I want to do these things to make the weeks count, break the everyday pattern and to enjoy all there is to experience and maybe calm the travel bug for now. It is so possible to have mini adventures and they don’t have to involve a lot of time or money just a little imagination and a sense of adventure.

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The book (and movie) ‘Me Before You’ comes to mind, and if you haven’t read the book or seen the movie yet you really need to! I dog eared so many pages because of their beautiful quotes. One of my favourites though is
“You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.”
I know it’s a super cliché one but I think it’s pretty perfect. I really want to make an effort to bring adventure into my life in big or small ways and that starts now after all Life is One Big Adventure.

The Happy Collection ~ Winter

Happy Spring and September! It’s been a little while since I’ve written a Happy Collection post, February to be exact. I’ve been a little more active on the blog again these last few months and so thought I’d do a collection of things that made me happy over the winter.

Getting Creative:

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At the beginning of August I made some happy little inspiration cards. One of my happy places is sitting cross legged in my room with craft supplies all around me feeling like I can completely let go and allow the creative magic to flow. I’m yet to find a purpose for the cute little cards I made but I loved the process of creating. This is something I want to include a little bit more of in my weeks.

Happy Eats:

I spent a lot of time in the kitchen in during Winter, more than I have the entire time I’ve lived in my flat. Baking in the kitchen for me has been a creative outlet and something I founds so much joy in. I have made many batches of muffins, choc chip biscuits and pancakes. None of which were particularly healthy but were tasty comfort food for winter. The muffins and biscuits I shared with family and friends which were greatly enjoyed. For someone who has never had much luck in the kitchen it was lovely to succeed at different recipes I made from scratch. There is something about baking from scratch, watching everything come together, making it with love while dancing to good music then getting to eat the results. If you’re after a tasty biscuit recipe check this one out.

Happy Reads:

I read two lovely novels over Winter

The Bee Keepers Secret by Josephine Moon and Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

The Bee Keepers Secret was set on the beautiful Sunshine Coast (somewhere I am very familiar with) at a gorgeous little retreat I would love to visit if it was real. The story features beautiful characters and reminds you how important family, telling the truth and bees are.

Truly Madly Guilty had me hooked from the start and is a story about life and it’s messiness at times. In terms of mystery novels Liane Moriarty’s are about as dramatic I get and really they aren’t even that dramatic.

Quotes To Inspire:

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Happy Watching:

If you are looking for a little inspiration any of Prince Ea’s videos are beautiful and powerful.

Happy Songs:

This one is for dancing in your lounge room…

This one I played many many times at work before opening…

Making Me Happy:

I am so grateful for many things this Winter of 2016 has bought. One being that we were blessed with such beautiful mild weather for most of winter. I am grateful for

~ The time I spent with my family ~ My Rainbow Umbrella (read about it here) ~ Lessons on how to be gentle with myself ~ Nights to chill on the couch watching a good show ~ Spending time in mother nature ~ A beautiful new laptop ~ Lessons in gratitude (read them here) ~ Simple Joys and sweet Days (read them here) ~ Teamwork and Leadership ~ Sister Circles ~ Manifesto writing ~ Home baking ~ Snapchat stories ~Melissa Ambrosini’s Goddess Group and Goddess Group on Demand ~ All the little adventures and stories that have made up the winter of 2016.

Final Thoughts:

In some ways I feel like I was just going through the motions a fair bit of the time in Winter. Now that Spring is here I’m ready to make a more conscious effort to set some intention for my days, get creative, spend time in nature, bake more but experiment with nourishing foods. Do more things that fill my cup up and take stock of the simple joys and little things in life. I feel a few more blog posts will be written in the coming month.

Wishing you a beautiful happy spring and September.

Love Caitlin xx

Simple Joys ~ A Rainbow Umbrella

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I think I might make this a little series. A little series of good things, simple joys, things that make me happy. The understated things that can make a big impact. This is my story about a rainbow beach umbrella.

Last week I went to visit my family in Noosa. The couple of days I was there visiting the weather was absolutely beautiful. For the middle of August Mother Nature was really turning it on. The weather was the kind where it was begging you to be outside by the ocean enjoying all its natural glory. I had told my two sisters that we would be leaving home at 10.15am to go on an adventure, I had no idea what we were going to do but that was part of the fun. We made a plan as we went along which involved packing books and towels, buying smoothies and heading for the beach. I had it in my mind that I wanted to find something that could provide us with a bit of shade so we could sit on the beach for as long as we wanted without getting baked, I didn’t know what this thing would be though or where I would find one.

After wandering in and out of shops I was nearly going to give up on my quest for shade until I decided to give the news agency of all places a try and I was in luck. They had four umbrellas of various colours and sizes left. When I saw that one of them was rainbow it was love at first sight. I didn’t realise at the time just how big (or how much) it was but on a slight whim I turned to my sister and said ‘yup, I’m buying it’. Pretty sure I walked out of the shop with the biggest goofiest grin on my face. Do you know how awesome a rainbow umbrella is?

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At the beach my other sister said more than once the umbrella was too big (and she was possibly thinking it was a bit ridiculous) but oh my goodness, once we worked out the best way to set it up it was awesome. Sitting on the beach under that rainbow umbrella with my two sisters chatting, reading, people watching and eating lunch was such a simple, beautiful way to spend a few hours. I know it’s not always possible to just move to the beach for a day but my story isn’t about that.

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Thinking about this beautiful day provides me with some lovely little reminders.

  • Sometimes when you don’t make plans life can unfold in magical ways
  • You may not know what you are looking for but when you find it you’ll know
  • Don’t worry if you look ridiculous as long as you like something that’s all that matters
  • Time spent with people you love is beautiful
  • Rainbow umbrellas bring out your inner child
  • Time in Mother nature can bring you back to the moment
  • Don’t let money stand in your way from getting something you love
  • Find and appreciate simple joys in each and every day
  • Take selfies, because why not
  • Sometimes a change in scenery is all you need
  • Doing things you find joy in with the people you love fills your cup up
  • Adventures don’t have to be big and extravagant

The little trip could be passed off as nothing all that spectacular but for the three of us I’d like to think it was a great adventure. It bought me so much joy sitting under a rainbow on the beach enjoying a beautiful day with lovely company. I’m off to the beach again this weekend and if you want to find me just look for the big rainbow umbrella.

I’ll leave you with a question. What’s one thing, person or place or combination of all three that has bought you joy in a simple and beautiful way?

Dissing a Clunky Old Laptop

 

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So the last week I bought a new laptop, not just any new laptop but a MacBook. Something I have been dreaming about owning for years. My old laptop is starting to become a bit of a dinosaur, it doesn’t survive without constant power supply and takes ages to turn on and off. With my new beautiful laptop in hand it was so easy to dis and bag out the old dinosaur of a thing that I’ve used for about five years now. But when I get truthful I actually really like that big old thing. It served me so well for that time, allowed me to type thousands of words, make beautiful designs and quirky little videos. I am grateful for the time I had with it.

That got me thinking, that how sometimes after change we are so quick to judge and ‘bag out’ what was and has been and think how much better off we are now. Whether that be a job, a place, a relationship or a thing. Once change has come and we’ve settled into the new change we can be quick to judge what came before. It’s at this time that I think we can show a little gratitude and love towards what has been. I’m not saying we have to hold onto the old things when they no longer serve us because change can be good and some things just stop working and that’s ok.

I’ve had things (jobs, people, places) that have been in my life for many years that eventually changed, these’s changes were good and though hard at the time were for the better. However sometimes now when I think back on what was I catch myself thinking about them from a place of judgement. Thoughts like why did you stay in what wasn’t working for so long? That thing was never really good. That place was never that great. Maybe this is the inner voice still trying to help me feel good about the change, I’m not sure. But truth be told though these things in my life have all played a part in shaping who I am today, they have served me and have been important chapters in my story, so for that I’m grateful.

I’m also grateful that by letting these things go it also opens up opportunities for new chapters, people, places, jobs and things to come into your life. Which I think is the key, gratitude. That whenever you look back on something you can find the little bit of gold and good and gratitude in whatever it is you are looking back on.

So to my clunky old laptop, thank you for serving me and the good times and to my new laptop I’m looking forward to lots of creative times ahead with you, starting with this blog post.

 

A Happy, Sweet Day

  
Yesterday I had such a beautiful, happy, sweet day. It was so lovely that I wanted to write about it, for everyone to read and also for my future self. I started the day by pulling a card from Gabby Bernsteins’ deck Miricales Now. I set the intention to pull a card with a guiding theme for the day and the card I pulled was ‘I make time to recharge my battery. The world needs my energetic light.’ So beautiful and fitting, it was my day off and it’s been a month of learning and growing and moments that were a little sucky. The weather has also been cold, grey and rainy and I felt I hadn’t properly seen the sun for quite a while, I know it’s winter but I need a bit of sunshine to help fuel me sometimes. 
Over the course of the day there were 23 things (plenty of other little things) that made me happy:

  1. waking up to see blue skies
  2. making myself pancakes for breakfast
  3. chiropractic appointments
  4. being the only one in the park
  5. being in the park on a beautiful day
  6. wearing sandals and a t-shirt
  7. reading a good book in the sunshine
  8. working on a course that lights me up
  9. lunch with my nana in an outside cafe
  10. having dessert
  11. fresh juice
  12. kookaburras laughing
  13. chats with my mum
  14. chilling in my room
  15. eating a homemade muffin
  16. walking in a beautiful park
  17. reading under a jacaranda tree
  18. listening to Hamish and Andy on the radio
  19. having leftovers for dinner
  20. 23′ at 5pm in winter
  21. chats with a beautiful friend/cousin
  22. watching a trashy soap and eating chocolate
  23. going to bed with fluffy socks

 

  
You see I wanted to write about this because all of the things I’ve written on the list made me happy but they didn’t require a lot of effort or money, they we’re such simple joys that one by one recharged my batteries and filled my cup just a little more. The weather played a big part, blue skies and 23′ at 5pm, I’m lucky to live in Australia where this is a day in the middle of winter. 

One of my favourite movies is ‘About Time’, I’ve written about it before and if you haven’t seen it watch it now. (Possible spoiler alert) The quote that always gets me is: (PS he’s a time traveller)

“Tim: And so he told me his secret formula for happiness. Part one of the two part plan was that I should just get on with ordinary life, living it day by day, like anyone else.

But then came part two of Dad’s plan. He told me to live every day again almost exactly the same. The first time with all the tensions and worries that stop us noticing how sweet the world can be, but the second time noticing.

How beautiful! Yesterday was all about a simple mindset shift, I can’t travel in time and take all the suckiness out but I can choose to see how sweet the world can be and take the time to relish in the simple joys that make me happy with the day I’ve got. 

Future Caitlin remember this: when things are a little sucky and you’re struggling to remain positive remember you only live this day once, the not so great times will pass but make sure you do 1, 2 or 23 little things that help remind you how sweet the world can be. Take the time to do what makes you happy and that recharges your batteries, you can’t go running around on empty. 

So what about you? Are you letting the tensions, worries and weather stop you from appreciating how sweet the world can be. What simple joys fuel you and light you up? How can you make today happy?