Videos That I Love

I have a little playlist on YouTube of videos that I love. These are videos that give me warm and fuzzy’s, make me smile, remind me how awesome people and life are and sometimes make me cry (sometimes you just need a cry). I thought I’d share some of these with you to pass on the warm and fuzzy feeling. So here they are 10 little videos in no particular order:

1. Free Hugs Campaign

This video is one of the earliest videos I remember watching on youtube and it brings tears to my eyes every single time I watch it. Those first few hugs, the music cue tears.

2. Street Compliments | SoulPancake Street Team

I’m a sucker for any SoulPancake video, one of their first videos I watched was A Pep Talk from Kid President . Their videos from the street are some of my favourites especially this one which highlights just how powerful a compliment can be. 

3. An Experiment in Gratitude | The Science of Happiness

It’s another SoulPancake video but this one about gratitude and the follow up one Calling To Say Thank You have made me cry, key message, say thanks to those who matter to you. 

4. Everybody Dies, But Not Everybody Lives

Prince Ea makes some very powerful and thought provoking videos and this is one of my favourites. This video isn’t designed to make you feel bad if you don’t know what you’re dreams, goals, passions are but to encourage you to be curious, take risks, play, dare to dream, step outside your comfort zone and live your life fully in every aspect. 

5. A Stand For Self Love

When I first watched this video I sobbed, this isn’t just about the beautiful women who was taking the stand and putting herself out there but also every other person who acknowledged what she was doing. 

6. EMBRACE The Documentary | Trailer

This project successfully became a film and it is incredible, definitely worth a watch. 

7. 5 Years of Travel (Lessons and Adventures)

This video hasn’t made me teary like some of the others but it’s one that has made me think. It’s easy to get caught up in the awesome travel adventures and footage while watching it and think ‘Easy for them, they just travel’, but it’s not so much about the travel as the message they are telling you which to me is life is an adventure, explore it, experience it and grow. 

8. To The Girl I Was

Another tear jerker for me, Jubilee have lots of other beautiful videos you can watch. 

9. Train Passengers Sing Over the Rainbow

This video I thought was very sweet and makes me smile and a little teary. I love the quote at the end “Each day is unique and special when we make it that way”. 

10. Jack Garratt – Surprise Yourself

This is a music video that I’ve watched multiple times. For me it’s saying surprise yourself, step out of you comfort zone and it doesn’t have to be something big it could even just be facing a fear of city driving (something I’ve done this year). 


So there you are, 10 little videos. I could of shared plenty more but the post would of gone on forever. No doubt there will be more videos I discover in the future which I’ll share here. The key messages

Live your life, love yourself, make today happy, life is one big adventure
and it’s okay to have a playlist of videos that make you cry (and smile).

xx

I Climbed a Mountain (And Survived)

I really surprised myself last week, I climbed one huge mountain and got over a pretty big internal mountain. A group of my co-workers had planned a hike up the local mountain, Table Top, an extinct volcano that’s pretty decent in size. It was an adventure I have had on my ‘To Do’ list for quite some time but had never done anything about actually doing it. When I heard everyone from work discussing it I thought now’s my time, this is the perfect opportunity to go with a group of people I’m friends with and a few who know the way up.

As soon as I made a verbal commitment to one of the girls the doubts, excuses and mental mean girl chatter started. I had so many reasons why I shouldn’t do the climb:

  • I’m pretty unfit
  • I’d look like a fool
  • Everyone would have to wait for me
  • I didn’t know what to wear (Yup a pretty poor reason but that’s what I was thinking)
  • That I had had a late shift at work and it was an early start
  • That I might feel sore or hurt myself
  • That I thought I had a stomach bug or something (I didn’t)
  • That I was already tired
  • Did I really want to do it?

Going to bed the night before I actually felt pretty nervous, that combined with a late shift at work I was really wide awake and did not get a good nights sleep. My alarm went off early the next morning and the excuses started, it was cold, I was tired etc. I kept thinking it would be so easy to message everyone right there and then and say “hey guys, going to give it a miss, thanks anyway”, it would have been so easy. I also knew that all this resistance, self doubt and excuses were even more reason why I had to do this hike. Bailing  would confirm the negative thoughts such as I was too unfit and unhealthy to do, it instead of loving my body to the fullest and pushing myself to step out of my comfort zone and surprise myself.

I got up and I got dressed (yes I did try on a few shirts too), I still felt like I looked like a fool but just went with it. I nearly had a melt down because I couldn’t take the backpack I thought I wanted to take, which in my mind another reason I shouldn’t do it (I was a bit premenstrual). But I kept taking little steps, I put my shoes on, got in the car, drove to the meeting point.

Standing at the bottom of the mountain I almost turned around with my hands in the air saying “Nope, that’s it, thanks but I’ll wait in the car!” In that moment I was having some flashbacks of me at 12 years of age on a school camp. In year 7  I went on a school camp to Carnarvon Gorge, which really is a beautiful place but to be honest I don’t have great memories of the trip. The worst memory for me was having to do this hike up a huge mountain to a look out and feeling so sick, sore, unfit and embarrassed about my body and level of fitness that I didn’t want to feel like that again. I can be a bit stubborn too and don’t like feeling like I’m being made to do something I don’t want to do, which is exactly how I felt on that walk. I had to remind myself this was different, the people I was with were my work mates, they’ve seen me in all sorts of emotional states before, I was 12 years older too, I’m feeling a little more confident in myself, it was also my decision to do this I wasn’t being forced by a teacher and I knew that I’m a bit more capable than I give myself credit for, so I did it. (Sorry to the guys I was with for having to listen to me kinda complain so much at the start).

The hike wasn’t really what I expected, there was very little walking track and lots and lots and lots of rocks. I felt like a very uncoordinated mountain goat at times. I huffed and puffed and slowly made my way to the top with my face getting redder by the minute but I did it and I survived. Not only had I climbed one hell of a mountain but I’d overcome one big internal one and surprised myself at the same time. I’ve got to say I’m actually pretty proud of myself for doing the hike and I actually want to do it again. I was a little sore after but not in my legs like you’d think it was my arms that were the sorest, I possibly climbed the mountain like a gorilla, I don’t know.

I wanted to write this story mostly for me. Climbing Table Top for me was quite an achievement physically and mentally that I want to remember. I know there will be so many more times in my life when I will be facing something, (an adventure, change, project etc) where resistance will rare it’s head but I want to remember that one time I climbed a mountain and survived.

If I Had a Crystal Ball

Something I don’t write about much is my job in hospitality. I’m an assistant manager in an up market burger place. There are times when I often say “I wish I had a crystal ball” and some days that would be super handy. I’d love a crystal ball just to know if it was going to be busy or not so I could perhaps go on my break without 30 people coming in or know how much bread to order. But I don’t have a crystal ball and I probably never will because they only really exist in ‘The Wizard of Oz’.

If I had a crystal ball before starting this job I would of been able to see:

  • That there would be times I’d significantly stuff up with important orders
  • That I’d have customers argue, rant, rave and slam doors at me
  • That I’d hear all matter of poor excuses to the point some of them are funny
  • That some days it takes all my energy just to be there and everyone wants to know what to do but I don’t have a clue myself and I’m just winging it.
  • That everything smells like old grease, me, my car, my shoes and even my handbag
  • That cuts, burns and bruises sometimes happen
  • That I said goodbye to daily and weekly routines a long time ago
  • That there would be many times where I’d cry in the walk in fridge
  • That some nights I’d really rather that customer not come in five minutes before closing, please
  • That I can’t please everyone all of the time and it can be a hard thing to handle
  • That sometimes all I want to do is ditch the apron and say that’s it, I’m out of here

If I had a crystal ball before starting this job then I may not of even started it. If I had of seen all these things that I would face then I may of gone, hmm thanks but no thanks that all looks too hard. But that’s the thing, the crystal ball doesn’t exist and I wasn’t to know of any of these things I would experience. Which means I’ve been on one heck of a learning and growing experience for the last 3 and a bit years.

Because I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future and for that reason I haven’t been able to prepare myself in the sense of going ‘Ok Caitlin, next week you’ll forget to order cheese, start stressing now how you’ll handle that one’. I’ve had to handle each of these things as they’ve come up, some things have taken a little longer to get through, sometimes I’ve been left in tears, or completely shut down for a bit but I’ve got through them and I’ve come out of each one better for it.

Here’s the thing though, IF the crystal ball existed and IF I had looked at it before staring this job and IF it was capable of showing me the messy, hard, challenging things it would also of been able to show me the moments of flow, joy and happiness as well.

The little things I would never of expected to unfold over the last three years in amongst the day to day things such as:

  • Watching staff grow, learn and ‘get things’
  • When a lovely couple say it was an incredible meal and we’ll be back and then they are the very next night with the very same order at the very same table with the very same feedback
  • A lovely older couple who have been waiting for the food for reasons they probably don’t even know and yet they say, It’s ok, no worries, you’re doing a really good job and you guys are really busy
  • When the team comes together and somehow this magical flow happens and things work
  • When you do get the ordering spot on down to the very last box of chips
  • When you finish an order and hand it to the customer with a sense of pride
  • When you’re favourite people are working and you get to have a chat and laugh
  • When you yourself learn a new skill like conducting interviews
  • Creating records
  • A roster that allows you to do things on a week day
  • When you can see just how far you’ve come as a leader

It’s these little things that I’m happy I didn’t know would happen because it’s these little things that catch me by pleasant surprise  if I take the time to pause, observe and appreciate them.

So crystal balls don’t exist and I don’t know what the next week will hold but I’m going to into these shifts with an open mind and flow with whatever comes my way. If I find myself in a rough moment I’m going to remember that there’s good ones to come. And to keep me grounded when in the flow I’ll remind myself there is more learning to come. The experiences to learn from are something I’m prepared to take for the opportunity for flow, joy and growth. I’ll continue to learn from what I need to, let go when I have to and find gratitude in the little things and continue writing this chapter of my life.

The chapter where I make burgers and learn management.

Lots of Love

Caitlin xx

What are my goals?

Hey There Lovely,

It’s been a while since I’ve shared anything here but today felt like a good day to do share some thoughts. I’ve got a little story to tell you about myself and my inner critic/inner mean girl/ego or whatever you want to call it, for the sake of this story I’m going to call my inner mean girl, Janice, (sorry any Janice’s out there, I don’t think you’re anything like my inner mean girl). So anyway this story all started when I saw my Chiro a few months back and he asked me ‘Caitlin, what are your goals?’.

I froze up, what were my goals? All I could think of was the goal to read 40 books this year but I didn’t think that’s what he was implying at. He was talking big goal, like start a multi million dollar ground breaking company type of goal. Ok, maybe he wasn’t meaning that but that’s how Janice interpreted it anyway.

But what are my goals?

The question left me in a bit of a meltdown.

What are my goals? What are my goals? What are my goals?

That one question lead to other questions.

What am I doing with my life?

What’s my ‘purpose’?

How am I making a difference in the world?

Ahh so many questions and I don’t know the answers.

So back to my goals, I have a goal to read 40 books this year but is that connecting with my purpose or making a difference in the world? Janice was saying definitely not. What about some of the other things on my list then? Learn french, finish my diploma in Management, make candles, spend a weekend with my sisters, fly on a plane somewhere.

Janice kept denying all of these as proper goals. ‘She’, Janice/Inner mean girl thought that none of these goals were right. They weren’t big enough, or they weren’t going to help me live my ‘purpose’, or make a difference, or earn me money. She also thought I’d probably fail at any goals anyway. Holy moly is Janice a tough one.

My rather immature response to Janice and her tough ruling was to do nothing. Just to stop, to not read any books, stop making things, and not do anything that I enjoyed, I just watched lots of Netflix and Youtube. Exciting right? Not really. I was also letting Janice win in her mission to keep me ‘safe’.

The less I seemed to ‘do’ the more I felt like Janice was stomping her feet and going “Ok Caitlin hurry up, what are your goals? What are you doing? You’re not making the most of life.” Janice can be really confusing, she doesn’t want me doing something incase I fail or stuff up but she also thinks I should be doing something because that’s what other people are doing. If I saw someone on Instagram or read about a person in a magazine who was all about living their life on purpose, making the most out of each day, sharing their gift with the world Janice would start comparing me to them. She can be so full of attitude and contradicting at times.

So this last week or so I basically got tired of Janice’s BS (which is really my own BS). I decided it was time to put a stop to Janice ruling the show and to say:

“Hey Janice, welcome I know I can’t make you leave but please go chill and let me do my thing, OK?”

With Janice taking a back seat I have been able to get clear on a few things.

Number 1: I decided to embrace where I am on my journey at the moment. To live this chapter to the fullest.

Number 2: I decided to turn back to what I value the most which is Joy. So while reading 40 books, making candles and learning french may not be earth shattering goals they do bring me so much joy. For now I’m going to make joy my goal.

Number 3: As cliche as it sounds I’m going to listen to my heart a bit more and get Janice to take a backseat. If my heart says create or explore I’m going to find ways to do that.

Number 4: Feeling like I need to “Find a purpose” and “Make a difference” has got me in a bit of a rut. I’m realising how I contribute to the world can be entirely different to how someone else contributes, which is more than ok. Me doing me and you doing you is so important. I’m also realising there’s no need to discount what I’m already doing, just showing up as me.

This has been quite a rambly post and I’ve changed it so many times while writing it but I think that’s life, make it up as you go along and for me find the joy in it all.

I’ll leave you with some final thoughts.

What are your highest values? Are they connection, creativity, community, kindness, leading, love, peace?

Whatever your values may be make a goal to do one little thing each day that lets you connect with that value in any form.

If you were to give this chapter of your life a name right now what would you call it?

Step back from your day to day and get an overview of your journey at the moment. You may not know how this chapter may finish but know that it’s an important one in this big adventure of life.

How has someone made a difference in your life recently, big or small?

Reflecting on how someone else has contributed to your life may help you realise how you’re contributing to others.

And lastly know that you’re not alone in feeling uncertain, in having a ‘Janice’ run the show, in getting stuck with what you should be doing in life. I’m in the same boat just trying to make sense of it all too.

Lots of love

Caitlin xx

 

Holidays and Little Adventures

 

A little over a month ago now I took two weeks holiday from my day job. Unlike other years when I’ve taken my annual holiday I have travelled overseas this time I spent 2 weeks with my family in Noosa. I was very lucky to be able to stay at my Grandma’s unit on the river. I hadn’t planned much for my time away I just wanted to allow each day to unfold and the little adventures to present themselves. What did end up unfolding was 2 beautiful weeks where 2 weeks felt more like a month and each day was filled with gorgeous little adventures. I’ve said it before but adventures don’t have to be huge overseas travels they can be little things that break the daily pattern. Even though this holiday was now a little while ago I wanted to write a recount like I have for my overseas adventures. I thought I’d share a little idea for an adventure you can do yourself so you can bring a little more adventure to your days and so you can see it doesn’t have to be something huge like hiking in the Rocky Mountains (though that would be cool).

Week 1

SUNDAY: I drove through some beautiful country scenery from my home town to Noosa and listened to The Melissa Ambrosini Show Podcast.

Idea: Take a country drive and listen to a podcast, learn something, see some sights

MONDAY: I ate breakfast while admiring the gorgeous sunflowers I had been given then walked to the little bookshop up the road to use my gift voucher. I then read my new book on the river for a while. In the afternoon I went for a swim with my sisters.

Idea: Venture to a book shop, read in nature

TUESDAY: On a spontaneous whim my sister and I decided to go stand up paddle boarding (SUP) on the river. Before we got going I was a little apprehensive, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into and I had heard from that it was hard work. It turned out to be one of the best hours just paddling along the river chatting to my sister and soaking up the sights. It didn’t take me too long to find my balance and I only fell in the water once. It’s something I really want to do again. My sisters and I had some yummy pizza on the beach for lunch and I went for a walk with my parents in the afternoon.

Idea: Try something new/paddle boarding

WEDNESDAY: The day was all about me and my body and pampering. I started the morning off by going to the podiatrist to get my feet sorted,  when I’m standing on my feet for 40hrs a week for work it was time I paid a little bit of attention to them. I then got my haircut, I have been waiting until I’m visiting my family to get my haircut because we’ve found a really lovely hairdresser.

Idea: Treat yourself to a pamper session, get a haircut

THURSDAY: I want to give a little shout out to a pair of shoes I bought on this day, my very first pair of Birkenstocks, while they did give me blisters for the first few days I’m so happy to own a pair of shoes I feel like I could walk and adventure all day in. On this particular day I took my two sisters to the beach to eat burgers under my rainbow umbrella (if you don’t know I own a very very cool rainbow umbrella, you can read about it here). We ate, chatted and people watched then headed home for a movie afternoon.

Idea: Have lunch somewhere different, get outside

FRIDAY: One of my closest friends made the trip up to the Sunshine Coast for a catch up. We had breakfast out then caught the little fairy to Hasting Street where we wandered in an out of shops then had lunch in a lovely restaurant overlooking the beach. We had a swim in the afternoon then went on a spontaneous outing to a Tappas bar. It was my mum who encouraged the outing, not usually my scene but I actually really enjoyed it. I had a drink with two of my favourite people as the sunset over the river then tried some tasty tapas while listening to the live music.

Idea: Explore your local area, pretend to be a tourist, step out of your comfort zone and enjoy the night life. (even if you go home by 7.30)

SATURDAY: My friend and I were up early to head to the Edmundi Markets. We took our time wandering around the stalls buying some little trinkets each. I got aranchini balls for lunch, my favourite market food. We also spent a lot of time in the bookshop looking through all the books, I walked out with only 1 book, quite an achievement for me. I said goodbye to my friend then spent the afternoon with my family in the pool hanging out.

Idea: Find a local market, browse/book shop

SUNDAY: I started the day off by going to the local farmers markets with my Mum, Dad and Grandma. Farmers markets always have a great atmosphere. For breakfast I choose a tropical smoothie bowl from one of the stalls and it was so tasty. We had lunch on the river until a shower of rain chased us inside and for a swim actually, there’s something about swimming in the rain. In the late afternoon we set off with camping chairs and an esky loaded with snacks to a little music festival on the river. There were so many people out and about enjoying the music and last few official days of summer.

Idea: Take things easy, find a farmers market and local festival

Week 2

MONDAY: In the morning I went to the movies with my sisters, we saw a movie from a film festival, it was a little slow and quite long but I still enjoyed it. I did a lot of reading this particular day, I had found a book that was so good I couldn’t put it down and the best part was I didn’t have to as I didn’t have anything else on. (Book: The fifth letter). I spent the evening hanging out with my siblings.

Idea: See a movie, find a book you can’t put down and make time to read it.

TUESDAY: It was my dad’s birthday this day. For my birthday a few weeks before I had been given a voucher to explore the Noosa Everglades and my dad decided he wanted to join me. At midday we set off in a boat suited for exploring the everglades with the rest of the family farewelling us. It was so peaceful cruising along the river and taking in the scenery and sights, being on the water gives you a whole new perspective of the local area. When we entered the everglades we got glimpses of near perfect mirror reflections of the scenery in the water. It was great to hear about the flora, fauna and local area and history and share the whole experience with my dad. We stopped for some afternoon tea before making our way back to Noosa then had a birthday dinner that night.

Idea: Book a little tour or experience and share it with someone. Learn about your local area, take photos, admire your surrounds.

WEDNESDAY: Today was the first of March and I began the new month by setting off on a road trip. I drove down to Byron Bay, which in itself was a little accomplishment for me, driving new roads. I checked into my little cabin for the next two nights, ventured into town to get some dinner and groceries and then watched a movie.

Idea: Travel somewhere new, tackle new roads, enjoy a good movie.

THURSDAY: I found the most gorgeous cafe to have breakfast at called Combi. The place had a lovely chilled vibe and I had a delicious acai bowl and fresh juice. I headed out of Byron Bay to the Crystal Castle, the drive was lovely through rolling green hills. It was a beautiful sunny day and I wandered around the gardens, did a little rainforest walk and joined in on some activities. I took my time with everything I did and did the things I wanted to do.  Heading back to Byron Bay I took another scenic drive then headed to the beach front where I ate ice cream and read under a tree for a few hours.

Idea: Go sight seeing on your own, make it a day just for you and what you want to do and explore.

FRIDAY: I was up really early Friday morning so I could head to the Byron Bay lighthouse to see the sun rise. There were so many people flocking to the lighthouse to see in a new day. It was a beautiful sunrise and I couldn’t believe it was the first sunrise I had seen for 2017. I had breakfast at Combi again, I loved it that much the first time then started my trip back towards the Sunshine Coast. Along the way I made a stop at Fingal Head where there was a tiny little lighthouse and a small version of Ireland’s Giants Causeway.

Idea: See a sunrise, soak up the beauty of a new day beginning. 

SATURDAY: The day started with a lovely walk along the river and some breakfast in a little cafe with my mum. I spent the rest of the day with my family hanging out. My sister and I made some delicious banana bread which we were quite proud of and ate for dinner.

Idea: Do some baking, there’s just something about homemade baking. 

SUNDAY: Being Sunday it was Farmers Markets day again, this time I got a fresh juice and warm chocolate croissant. After the markets my parents, two sisters and myself headed out for a Sunday Drive. We ended up at the Yandina Ginger Factory. We weren’t there for too long but we had lunch, wandered around and bought some gingerbread men. It was a really fun couple of hours being together and going on a little adventure.

 Idea: Spend time with your family. 

MONDAY: My last official day of holidays. I started the day with a walk along the river then met up with my sisters. We headed to main beach with my rainbow umbrella and a fresh juice each where we sat and read and chatted for a couple of hours. In the afternoon my brother took myself, my mum and one of my sisters on a scenic drive through Noosa to areas I hadn’t been to before. We ended up at the mouth of the Noosa river where we watched some boat action on the water and stood around chatting and laughing. My last night of holidays finished with a family dinner and a couple of games of cards.

Idea: Find joy in the ordinary, create your own adventure. 


Well there you have it, a little snapshot of each day of my holidays and the little adventures that made up the days. I really appreciated spending so much time with my family and exploring a part of my own home country. Who knows what little or big adventures my next lot of holidays will bring. What about you, are there any ideas I’ve shared that you’d like to try for yourself? How will you bring a little more adventure to your weeks? I’ve made a little list with all the ideas I’ve shared so you can download.

Lots of Love

Caitlin xx


Embrace

Last week I went to a showing of the movie/documentary Embrace and then followed it up by going to a live talk by the creator behind the body image movement. These two events bought up so many thoughts, ideas and realisations for me that it has taken some time to get them all down and be able to share them with you and heads up this is a lengthy post.

Embrace is a beautiful, powerful, inspiring documentary with a big message, Embrace your body and don’t waste any more time hating your body. It all began when Taryn Brumfitt shared a before and after photo of herself, before was her competing in a body building competition after was herself as herself and the photo created some big conversations about body image. You can watch the little trailer here.

My Story

To start with I want to talk about my journey and thoughts around body image. I have a distinct memory of being about 9 or 10 standing near a gate with my friend while our mothers were talking. I think my friend may of bought the topic up and it went something like ‘yeah I think I’d like to loose a little bit of weight around my thighs’ I replied with something like “yeah me too and around my tummy”. Our mums must of overheard us at that point and said we shouldn’t be thinking about things like that. And they were right, we really shouldn’t of been thinking about things like that we were so young. I have another memory from when I was even younger of being in a school race and hearing a spectator, who happened to be another student only a couple of years older than me, say look at her little tummy moving. To say that comment didn’t impact on my life and relationship with my body in some way would be a lie. While the effect of the comment wasn’t huge or dramatic it did pop up every so often as the voice of my inner mean girl and critic and it made me a little hesitant about clothes or activities sometimes.

Somewhere along the line, and I’m not sure when, but I started caring a little less about how my body looked and for the most part I was and am comfortable in my own skin. Growing up I was introduced to Louise Hay and the idea of loving yourself and I think that’s what did it for me. I no longer cared as much about what the other students at school thought or said because I liked myself and I didn’t have to be any different just because they thought so. I also learnt that I am so much more than how I look and that it’s what on the inside that matters. In more recent years since I finished school I have been on my own journey of self love and acceptance with myself as a person and with my body. I still have moments of self doubt, and moments where I’ve thought to myself huh I look kinda yuck but I don’t let myself dwell on it.

These days majority of the time I can look in the mirror and smile back at myself and think hey yup I’ve got a pimple the size of a blueberry on my face but damn look at those leg muscles. I’ve become grateful for my body as well for all it does for me, for allowing me to explore, play and live life and for all the little things it does without me even thinking about it. I’m also grateful for being in tune with my body and being able to listen to it when it says, rest, more water, little less chocolate today, lets dance. My relationship with my body these days is to make decisions from moment to moment, to find the things that make me feel good and to create balance.

Discovering Embrace

I remember watching the project video for Embrace before it became an actual film, Taryn asked ladies to give a word or two to describe their bodies. At that point in time I had known that there were other woman who maybe didn’t like their bodies and that the media was a contribution to that but I didn’t understand just how many people hated their bodies or how much. It really hit me hearing so many woman say how disgusting their bodies were when all I kept thinking was but you’re beautiful and unique. I remember the last lady replying her body was soft and luscious and that made me smile. I thought heck yeah, I can call my body soft and luscious too. Every body is different and yet everybody is the same in that they are our homes, they do so much for us every minute of every day with out us even thinking about it. Our bodies know how to breathe and move and digest food. They really are amazing machines and why would you hate something that does so much for us. We are grateful for our cars that get us from A to B and yet our bodies do the same and we don’t really think about that.

Seeing Embrace

When I heard that Embrace had become a movie and that it was coming to my city I knew I had to see it. The first time it was on I didn’t get to go but the second time around I committed to seeing it. I was in tears before the movie even started when I heard the beautiful lady, Jess, who organised the event speak and share her story. I absolutely loved the film, I walked out in tears but also with so much love and joy in my heart. I don’t want to give to much away but thought I would share a couple of my thoughts from the screening:

  • You are perfect just the way you are, don’t spend another minute hating yourself.
  • Woman are freaking amazing and when we connect we can create a movement
  • Be gentle with yourself and be gentle with one another
  • Cherish, your body, your life, each other

Hearing Taryn Speak

Walking out of the movie screening I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hear Taryn speak, I bought my ticket as soon as I got home. Taryn’s presentation was about Embracing our bodies and also about sharing our voice and message with the world. Some little thoughts I took away from the event were:

  • Embrace that things happen
  • Live your life on your terms
  • Practice a little kindness
  • Tap into gratitude
  • Have a laugh
  • Do things on your terms
  • Move for pleasure not punishment
  • Do things that make you feel alive

Towards the end of Taryn’s presentation she asked we turn to the person next to us and share how we are going to share our voice with the world and what little step we are going to take to continue our journeys of embracing and loving ourselves. By some coincidence I ended up sitting next Jess, the lady who organised the event. I turned to Jess and burst into tears, I was feeling all the emotions but we had a beautiful chat. In that moment I did make a little commitment to myself to share my story (which is this post) and to continue sharing my stories here on my blog, even if it’s just for myself, and to continue to embrace my perfectly imperfect, beautiful and amazing body now and into the future. I have embraced.

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

simplejoyscollection

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?