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

 

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

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.

adventure

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.

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? 

Forgetting to Play – Little Thoughts Part 1

  
 

What did I like to do when I was younger? Where would I loose time?

I’d read or scrapbook in my early teens. But going back even younger I’d play games where I used my imagination and creativity.

I’d play with my dolls for hours, be their teacher, take them on holidays, throw them parties.

I’d play with my barbies and polly pockets. Living out intricate stories where the dolls would go to school or run shops and have sleep overs.

I’d play with my brother with lego. Building big lego worlds for a family who ran a day care centre and went on holidays in a big lego truck.

I’d play with paper and pens. Writing books and stories.

I’d play with my friends and siblings. Being the teacher for bike school, fairy school, scooter school, actual school.

I’d play on my own. Imagining a job for myself where I was the host of a craft show, a secretary for events offices.

I’d play with design. Designing the interior floor layouts of houses, classrooms, fairy shops and craft shops then play out a story in those scenes.

I’d play with young children. Filming our own TV show, planning school games with them, taking them on little adventures.

I’d play with scrapbooking. Loosing myself for hours in the world of paper, photos and creating.

I’d play with my laptop. Creating videos and designing little inspiational pictures.

When I was younger I’d play. I’m not saying I’m old now but I do think that maybe I’ve forgotten the act of play. Of loosing yourself in your own imagination and just trusting your creative process. Not second guessing everything.

Back then I didn’t fear not being creative. Dreaming up worlds and ideas and making plans was fun not scary. In the imaginative games we were in control of how everything happened. There was no fear.

But now I don’t play as much. I second guess all the time if I’m really creative. The plans and ideas I dream up don’t seem like good ideas or justifiable. I let fear take over and let it keep saying ‘What if?’. But it’s not what if something magical happens it’s what if something bad happens.

Sometimes I get in the flow things start happening and I start creating and dreaming and getting carried along a beautiful ride and then all it takes is a pause. A pause in the thoughts and the moment where a single fleating thought or feeling can pass and be gone but in it’s path leaves the thoughts of the mean girl again. The thoughts that say I’m not left handed so I can’t be creative, I’m not trained properly, my art doesn’t look like others I work in hospitality, you’re not a writer. What are you doing? You’re not creative? Things might go wrong.

I read a book the other day by a beautiful Irish author. The last paragraph of the book was a quote about thoughts and moments. How thoughts are fleeting and a lot can happen in a moment, it was beautiful and perfect.

I feel as though I’m reaching a point where I want to play again. I want to create and I want to let go of those what if’s and doubts because playing and creating is what lights me up and fuels my passions.

How do I plan on doing this? I don’t know, well I don’t know logically. But if I pause and allow myself to feel what I need to be doing I know it’s just to release all inhabitions and do it. Let myself explore and create with child like wonder, play and allow the magic to happen. 

I need to remember again that I’m a beautiful being with a light that can’t be dimmed and a love for play and creating, dreaming and imagining, wherever and whatever that takes me. I find joy in the little things that make me happy and that in turn helps the world.

I feel there’s more to this story, how teaching/leading seems to be a common theme, the need to create, and how I sometimes forget to do my own thing instead of what everyone else is doing, little stories that I feel like sharing.

I think I stopped playing as much somewhere along the way which has changed how I think about creating. Too much listening to what others have to say. Too much observing what others do and what they create and how they live life. That’s their story and I have to live mine. There’s freedom in that.

I am free to play and create.

Much love

Caitlin

xoxo

PS Just after I presse publish on this I saw the most fitting quote shared on Instagram by Susana Frioni “It’s not who you are that holds you back. It’s who you think you’re not.”

A little love for Ireland

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Happy St Patrick’s Day. I have to admit I have a little thing for Ireland and the Irish. I’d always been a little curious about Ireland then May last year (2015) I spent four beautiful weeks exploring the gorgeous Emerald Isle and it’s fair enough to say I’m a little in love. I wanted to share a little collection of Irish wisdom, thoughts and inspiration and he little things I love about Ireland in celebration of St Patrick’s day.

Irish Sayings and Words

My name is Irish, Caitlin meaning Pure.

One of my favourite Irish sayings (of which there’s many)
‘A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.’
Oh how I agree with that. I had a couple of big days last week which resulted in me feeling rather run down, and not in the best frame of mind before I went to sleep. I knew I had to do something about this, if I went to bed grumpy I was most likely going to wake up grumpy. So late at night I found some videos (of an Irish Comedian) that actually made me laugh out loud and have a really good chuckle. And you know what? I went to bed feeling a lot happier and had a great sleep and woke up feeling great.

‘Thanks a million’, was something I heard quite a bit while exploring Ireland, to me it’s such a beautiful thing to say (the Irish accent helps). To me it’s a little reminder to be grateful for the little and big things in your life and to express gratitude to the people in your life.

The Irish are great at having some Craic (pronounced crack), good old fun. I’m not much of a pub or club person but I did venture into a couple of pubs in Ireland that were full of people having a great time with good food, good drink and great music. So remember to have some fun, enjoy life.

 

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Leprechauns, Fairies and Irish Folk Lore

In Dublin I was so excited to visit a leprechaun museum. We were told fairy tales and Irish folk lore, got in touch with our inner child and allowed ourselves to believe in magic. On many of my little tours we were told about Irish Folk lore, the fairy people and the mischievous leprechauns. I was definitely reminded to stay in touch with my inner child and remember to believe in magic.

Irish Authors

I’ve got to say there’s something about a good novel written by an Irish Author. At the moment I’m loving Cecelia Ahern’s novels (the author of PS I Love You). Her books have left me wanting to visit Dublin and Ireland again and feeling more than a little inspired.

“And then one good thing happened that day, the first good thing, the only good thing, but sometimes you only ever need one good thing.”
― Cecelia Ahern, One Hundred Names

“Every single ordinary person has an extraordinary story.”
― Cecelia Ahern, One Hundred Names

“Life is a series of moments and moments are always changing, just like thoughts, negative and positive. And though it may be human nature to dwell, like many natural things, it’s senseless. Senseless to allow a single thought to inhabit a mind because thoughts are like guests or fair-weathered friends. As soon as they arrive they can leave, and even the ones that take a long time to emerge fully can disappear in an instant. Moments are precious, sometimes they linger and other times they’re fleeting and yet so much could be done in them; you can change a mind, you could save a life, you could even fall in love.”
– Cecelia Ahern, How to Fall in Love

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Good Tunes

It’s fair to say Ireland has their fair share of good music. I’ve always loved The Chorrs, Ronan Keating, Hozier and even U2’s song Beautiful Day.


So why not don some green, put on some Irish inspired music and have some Craic. Fall in love with a good novel and dream of an Emerald Isle…