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

 

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.

 

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.”

Utopia 2015

utopia

Intention: To be present and allow joy to flow

On Saturday I spent a beautiful day at Utopia 2015 in Brisbane with my Mum, sisters, cousin and friend. After going to Utopia last year and absolutely loving it I was really excited to be able to go again this year. The day was made up of wandering the market stalls and listening to four amazing guest speakers. I walked away with a bag of goodies, some new books and a wealth of knowledge and scribbled inspiring notes. I wanted to share with your five little points from four speakers and the beautiful day to give you a little inspiration and boost.

Lisa Messenger

  1. Humanise yourself and remember you can’t do everything yourself
  2. Anything is possible, don’t be constrained by what can’t be done
  3. Circuit break from the busy, take a moment to yourself, get in nature
  4. Get out of your comfort zone, it will open yourself up to opportunities
  5. Get that hunger in your belly, shine your light

Jamie Gonzalez

  1. Live your life moment by moment, it’s not about the outcome or results,
  2. There are so many things falling into place right now and there is always a plan even if you don’t plan it but we get scared and get in our own way
  3. Get out of your own way, freedom is within you
  4. Live life fully regardless of your circumstances, don’t be driven by a need
  5. You are enlightened, there is nothing missing or lacking, ask yourself for the steps and the answer

Lola Berry

  1. Food is here for 2 reasons
    • To nourish you
    • To share with those you love
  2. Listen to your body and find what works for you, take little bits from everyone but make it work for you
  3. Eat real food and don’t feel guilty if you fall off the wagon, make the best choice in each moment and if you’re going to have the chocolate cake, enjoy it and eat it mindfully
  4. Celebrate the highlights in your life but remember it’s the lowlights and tricky situations that make you, you!
  5. Be real and be you, you. You have to believe in yourself, it’s you who can get you where you want to go and you who can stop you

Tara Bliss

  1. Don’t use busy as a badge of honour
  2. Feel in awe of you
  3. You can do anything you want to do
  4. Say thank you for the obstacles and remember we create our circumstances, there is a way through every block
  5. Be compassionate with your self

Utopia

  1. You are the leader of your own journey (Amanda Bisk)
  2. Be someone that makes you happy
  3. Share a special day with the people you love and be all there
  4. Be inspired to learn and grow
  5. You are worthy

That’s my wrap up of Utopia 2015, so grateful to have spent a day with some special people and hear so many inspiring things and timely reminders from fantastic speakers. You can find out more about the speakers by clicking on their links below.

Lisa Messenger
Jamie Gonzalez
Amanda Bisk
Lola Berry
Tara BlissUtopia Women’s Wellness

 

20 Lessons from 20 Days

Life Lessons frame

The last 20 days have been full of excitement, change, adventure, challenges and beautiful memories. They left me feeling emotionally frail but full of gratitude. Completely worn out but excited for life. It’s been a BIG 20 days.

Here’s a bit of an overview as to what I’ve been up to:

  • I moved into my very own little flat with the help of my beautiful family (Day 1)
  • Followed it up with a big work weekend, back to back shifts (Days 2-3)
  • Flew to Melbourne for a work conference (Days 4-7)
  • Worked 9 days straight (Days 8-15)
  • Helped celebrate a special birthday (Days 16 & 17)
  • More work (Days 18-19)
  • Beautiful days off (Day 20)

Moving was a big beautiful change, the trip to Melbourne left my mind boggling and work left me feeling a little frail. Celebrating with family and friends for a special persons birthday left me feeling happy and grateful and work and now days off have left me feeling a lot more in balance with life. But through all the ups and downs I didn’t miss the many many lessons on offer for me to learn. Here’s 20 lessons from 20 days.

  1. Family are the most amazing gift, they are always ready to lend a helping hand (to shift), to teach you something (how to use a drill), provide advice (on fashion), fill your home with love and warmth and provide endless hugs, laughter and love.
  2. Things take you by surprise and sometimes the only way out is through, hold your head high and do the best you can.
  3. The best packing happens the night before an adventure
  4. Hot Chocolates, brownies and bookshops are my happy place
  5. Try something new everyday
  6. Wouldn’t you rather regret what you did than regret what you didn’t do?
  7. It’s ok to feel worthy of abundance, and also important to say thank you.
  8. Take time to stop and smell the flowers
  9. Journaling and writing helps to get things clear and out of your head
  10. You can survive without 24/7 access to wifi
  11. Be proud of your little achievements
  12. Coffee probably isn’t a good idea for someone who isn’t used to caffeine
  13. Rain has a way of washing the world clean
  14. Take a breather, read a good book, look at the sky
  15. It’s ok to cry and have a melt down, we are all human
  16. Live your life in colour, celebrate life, dress up and dance
  17. Sing loudly while your driving, it makes the trip go quicker
  18. Sometimes a funny show and some chocolate is what you need
  19. Be organised ahead of time when you can
  20. Take time to enjoy the little things in life that make you happy

Well there it is, 20 little lessons from 20 big days. There were so many other important lessons and reminders from these past 2 and a bit weeks. I just wanted to say how important it is to stop and appreciate the little lessons and challenges in life, they make you stronger and you. It’s also ok to cry.

Life is beautiful and colourful, sometimes a little messy and crazy but oh so worth it.

Celebrate the Little Things

Celebrate

I want to talk about celebrating the little things in life and I want to start with a story. The other day one of our younger and newer members of staff came into work with cake and candles for his one month anniversary of working with us. At first this seemed a little over the top as it’s not something that is ‘normally done’, but then it got me thinking. Here’s someone who was so excited about having been working with us for a month, he is loving his new job and co-workers and that it’s different from his last job. All he wanted to do was share his excitement and achievement with us. He was celebrating his own little win and what better way to do that than with cake and candles.

It made me think how often do we let little achievements like this go under the radar. The little wins, anniversaries and milestones of life. They don’t all have to be celebrated with cake but the should be recognised. As it’s these little moments that when added up make something pretty special. Since that day I’ve been looking at some of the little things in my life a little differently. One chapter in my life is coming to a close but a new one is starting, and that’s kinda scary if I think about it. However I’ve chosen to look at it a little differently, it’s a celebration, a celebration of where I’ve come and where I’m going.

So I wanted to stop for a moment and take a second to look at my little wins. A little over 18 months ago I took a step into the unknown moving to a new city. After six months in my job I stepped up the ladder and have now been a team leader for a year. Something I wasn’t sure I could do but have flourished in since. I’ve also reached a stage where in just a couple of days I will be moving into my own little flat. These are all pretty big reasons for celebration and a little fist pumping.

There are so many other little things to celebrate in life too.
– being in your job – having savings in your bank – finding your way around an airport on your own – walking up a hill in one go – keeping your pet alive – catching up with old or new friends – an overseas trip – learning a new language – cracking an egg with one hand – successfully baking a cake – your first rent payment (Hey it means you’ve got money coming in) – getting your licence – a birthday – an anniversary – beautiful weather – taking a step towards loving yourself – making a move on your dreams – being alive

You get the picture, there are countless little things in life that are reason to celebrate and many ways to celebrate.

So why not celebrate with
– cake and candles – write about it – snap a photo – ring someone and share the news – shout yourself something special – give yourself a pat on the back – fist pump the air – just stop for a moment and smile about it

I think everyday has a cake and candles moment in it. Your life is full of beautiful little moments that you should enjoy and recognise because when you look back you’ll realise they all add up to something pretty special.

What can you celebrate today?

Little Inspirations

Little Inspirations

There’s nothing quite like finishing a good movie or book and thinking WOW! You feel pumped and there’s so much to think about. Well I’ve had a couple of those moments this week after re-watching About Time and reading Jessica Watson’s book ‘True Spirit’. These are the little insights I received that I thought I would share.

ABOUT TIME

About Time would be my favourite movie by far. I know it’s been out for a year now but it is just so good and full of little wisdoms. I first saw it while I was travelling Canada on my solo trip last year. Walking out my head was reeling and I felt a spring in my step. After a huge work week I put the movie on again the other night and was reminded of why I love it so much.

I’ll try not spoil the story in case you haven’t seen it but the movie is full of timely reminders. I had a giggle and some tears as I re-watched it with notebook in hand to capture my insights.

Little insights from About Time

Every detail of life is so wonderful it’s the tensions and worries that stop us noticing how sweet the world can be.
Life is sweet and wonderful, you just have to believe that and look for the beauty.

The real troubles in your life will always be things that never crossed your worried mind.
These are some song lyrics from a Baz Luhrmann song quoted in the movie, but how true? You can spend all your time worrying about things that probably won’t even happen, the things that will arise, you wouldn’t have thought of. Basically stress less.

Saying yes to the future means saying goodbye to the past
To move forward in life you have to finish with each chapter and release the past, there is no point trying to rewrite history and we aren’t all time travellers.

We’re all travelling through time together, every day of our lives, all we can do is do our best to relish this remarkable ride.
We are all in this together, living this beautiful thing called life, enjoy it and appreciate it.

And my favourite quote
“I just try to live every day as if I’ve deliberately come back to this one day, to enjoy it, as if it was the full final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life.”
Basically it’s saying we only live once. Beautiful this is your life, live it, relish it, ride it and enjoy the beauty and wonder it is.

I wrote this in my journal after first seeing the movie.
Some things are going to happen in your life no matter what. We aren’t all time travellers, we only have one life. We can’t change the past. It is us who choose how we feel about our experiences in life, we can call it a terrible day or be thankful for every little thing, taking time to stop and look around and enjoy the simple things and call it a good day. You also have to let others learn from their mistakes, and learn from yours.

JESSICA WATSON

It’s been four years since Jessica Watson sailed solo around the world, and I’ve only just finished reading her book True Spirit, I devoured it in a couple of days. I’m the same age as Jessica and was at boarding school in Year 11/12 when she set off on her solo voyage. I only remember knowing that a girl my age (16/17 at the time) was setting off on a pretty amazing trip but had received a lot of naysayers which I just thought well stuff them (the naysayers) and just do it, which she did. When she arrived in Sydney Harbour I watched bits of the telecast thinking how amazing it was that she was my age. It wasn’t til I started reading her book though that I truly appreciated her trip, beliefs and message.

It started with a spark of an idea then Jessica spent a lot of time visualising herself sailing around the world in all types of conditions and researching all she could, she wasn’t even 13. She declared her dreams to her parents, and then proved to people just how much she wanted to achieve her goals and that she wouldn’t stop at anything. Because she was young and a girl people would overlook her based on these facts, but it was her determination in making her plan a reality that got people on board to help in her preparations.

Reading ‘True Spirit’ I realised just how much we are responsible for our feelings and thoughts. Many times in Jessica’s book she describes how she would start to feel a bit mopey or homesick and then realised that she was the one who wanted to be on this adventure, it was all her choice and it was totally her responsibility what she thought and how she felt, only she could turn things around. She also said about looking at things through ‘Happy Glasses’.

Her voyage is also about dreaming and living your dreams. Jessica finishes her book with ‘I’ve got the ability to dream, that’s all anyone needs to make their wishes and dreams come true, you don’t need a shooting star, you can do it yourself and dreams are so so much better when you’re living them.’

I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on these little inspirations of mine at the moment and what is inspiring you.

Check These links out

http://jessicawatson.com.au/index.htm

Table for One

Have you ever walked into a restaurant or café and taken a table for one? Does the idea of doing this make you feel uneasy? Eating on my own was never something I was comfortable with, usually opting to blend in to the crowd in a food court, takeaway or bury myself in a book. But not anymore, I’ll happily walk into a place and take a table for me front and center. From experience I believe it’s a beautiful ‘taking time for you’ exercise which isn’t that scary.

Table_For_One

A Little Story

Last year I set off on a solo trip overseas. This was a pretty big adventure with plenty of highs, lows and little lessons to learn. I didn’t think feeling confident in dining ‘alone’ would be one of them. My first real dinner date with me was in Toronto after working at summer camp. It was a gorgeous day at the tail end of summer and I’d spent it wandering around the city. As evening fell I decided to have dinner before going to the movies, which is another story. Spotting people dining on the alfresco of a building a few stories up I decided I wanted to eat there too. The restaurant was a little out of my traveller’s budget but reasoned that for this one night it would be ok. I walked on up to the front desk and the lady said ‘Table for one?’ For a split second I froze looking in at all the other groups dining, was this really a place for a solo traveller? Am I too underdressed (my wardrobe was limited)? Could I really have a table for one? I shook it off, stood tall and replied that yes I would love a table for one, outside please. It turned out to be a beautiful night, with delicious food, views, atmosphere and a very helpful waitress. This was the start of many dinner dates for one.

The little fears

I think one of the common fears around eating solo, is what will people think? What will the waitress and other diners think? That you’re a lonely person who can’t even find someone to eat with. What will you do on your own, who will you talk to, how will you occupy your time? It can seem like a pretty big deal. But I can tell you first hand that taking a table for one is awesome.

So let’s bust some of the fears you may have.

What will people think? Umm does it matter what they think? No! To be honest I currently work in hospitality and serve people eating on their own all the time and I don’t even give it a second thought. To be honest most people are caught up in their own bubble to notice.

But why? Well firstly you can order whatever you like off the menu without having to justify it to anyone, warm chocolate cookie and ice cream just ‘cause. You can take as long or as little as you like eating, no one’s waiting for you to hurry up.

What will you do? Well it’s pretty unlikely you’re going to be left staring at a blank wall. People watch, soak up the atmosphere, snap a pic of your meal, and only after you’ve done this you may take out a book and read or journal and write but firstly be present and eat mindfully. Step out of your comfort zone a little more and chat to the person near you in a coffee shop, you never know what insightful conversations are to be had.

table_for_one2

Taking a table for one

Taking a table for one is all about doing something for you, going out for a date with yourself, a little pampering and even confidence boost. That one night in Toronto led me to many many happy meals in beautiful places all with myself as company. On coming back to Australia I let the practice of taking a table for one slip a little. I wasn’t a traveller here and it seemed a little more lonely to be doing it in my home town, someone could actually recognise me and I did have people to invite. But I knew that I loved those times on my own so it’s become a monthly outing. Only the other day I restaurant hopped, taking a table for one to eat lunch then going next door and doing the same for a sweet treat, hey I was on my own with only myself to justify it to.

Just try it

So here’s what I want you to do. Think of somewhere you love to go, or somewhere you’ve been wanting to go but just haven’t got to yet. Pick a day and schedule it in. Dress up a little, or not and walk on up and take a table for one then enjoy every last minute of it. Let me know in the comments if you take a table for one.

Little Lessons Learnt at Summer Camp

SunsetCaitlinSchaefer2

About a year ago I had just finished working at a Summer Camp as a kitchen staff. The camp was set in Quebec, Canada nestled between the gorgeous mountains on the edge of a beautiful lake. This was part of my big adventure, my first ever overseas trip and I had chosen to go solo. Camp was the first part of my journey having decided it would be loads of fun, an awesome experience (who hasn’t seen the Parent Trap) and the perfect introduction to another Country. Summer Camps are a North American ritual where children from 6-16 leave the cities for 2-8 weeks (there’s some hard core campers) and head for camp, often on a lake. Campers spend their days participating in all sorts of fun activities, anything from rock climbing to canoeing, pottery or drama. The camp I found myself at and falling in love with was a bilingual French/English all-girls camp with staff and campers coming from across Canada and various other countries. I don’t think anything could have prepared me for what lay ahead, ups and downs but overall an amazing experience. As camp wound down for the summer and we had our closing ceremonies I couldn’t help but think of how many beautiful little lessons I had learnt during my summer. Lessons I could use in my everyday life and that I felt called to share so that others could too.

Happy little life lessons learnt at Summer Camp:

I learnt the importance of being comfortable as you.
Camp is a place with few mirrors, where your morning routine was slapping your hair up and there was little privacy to change (which was an experience for me). Camp fashion is wearing the same clothes twice in a row or wandering around in crocs and socks and you showered maybe once a week, but get this, no one minds. What truly matters is if you are showing up as you and letting your inner self shine all while wearing a smile, after all it’s the best accessory a girl can wear.

Try this: Can’t leave the house without makeup, looking in the mirror or showering? Go without for a day, it’s surprisingly freeing. Be comfortable and confident in your own skin.

I learnt the power of unplugging.
I found this easy to do at camp but have struggled with since. At camp you’re pretty much unplugged; we had a share computer with slow internet and a time limit of 30 mins max. Facebook wasn’t the first port of call when I woke or the last thing I checked before bed. I had to plan a trip to the little staff bungalow and would use my time mostly for emails. Through being more unplugged I found I lived in the moment more allowing myself time to appreciate the simple joys like watching a sunset, reading by the lake or journaling before bed and it was beautiful.

Try this: Do you find it hard to go a day without checking in online at least ten times? Decide to only check in once during a day or if you’re game switch off completely and see how it feels.

I learnt about news, what’s important and what’s not.
This ties in with unplugging, when you have a time limit with the internet, no nightly TV to watch (only the night sky) and newspapers in French you realise how unimportant so much of what goes on in the media is. I found it so much more beautiful reading news from family or even just sitting and chatting with a fellow staff member about our days.

Try this: What’s your computers internet homepage? Is it full of stuff that leaves you feeling like the world is full of doom and gloom? Change it! Make it something that lights you up, Pinterest is a great option. Do you read the papers or watch the news daily? Find some good news stories/videos like Soulpancake instead or share happy little stories with family and friends.

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I learnt about meal time celebration.
Camp meals are a time of coming together. At each meal the dining hall fills as everyone takes a seat around one of the many big tables with their fellow campers and counsellors. Having been a kitchen staff I know that each meal was lovingly prepared and served and everyone could feel this, our chef had quite the reputation and all this was all celebrated. Songs were sung before eating and games were played. Everyone would bond over great food and the day’s adventures; it was a time of connection which was beautiful to see.

Try this: meals are such an important part of our days; they are to nourish and fuel our bodies. Celebrate your meal, pour love into your food as you make it and bring joy to the kitchen. Take a mindful moment before eating to be thankful for the food you have, savour the tastes and most importantly celebrate, eat with other people when you can and share joyful conversations.

I learnt about language, spoken and unspoken.
As I said camp was bilingual, but my French was very basic. The kitchen staff were a multicultural bunch with 4 different languages being shared, French, Italian, Greek and my Aussie English. It was a beautiful occasionally comical mix but I learnt the beauty of spoken words. I took joy in the challenge of learning basic French and I was reminded of how important it is to keep learning new things, to practice and keep your mind active. I also learnt about beautiful unspoken conversations, the little moments had when serving young French campers their morning oats where a smile was all that would pass between us.

Try this: share a smile with a stranger, keep your mind active by learning a new language, (there’s some great apps). Appreciate the beauty of words, download a dictionary app.

I learnt about stripping back in life.
At camp you sleep in little log cabins with 8 other girls. You only had with you what you could fit in a suitcase, but it felt freeing. I soon learnt I didn’t actually need that much ‘stuff’ to function daily.

Try this: have a spring clean; minimise; de-clutter; strip back to the necessities.

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I learnt about Celebrating
At camp everything is celebrated, the start of summer, the end of summer. New campers, old campers, being at camp for your first summer or your tenth. Learning how to kayak, making it to a new level in archery. Eating cinnamon buns on Sunday or receiving a letter. I learnt the importance of celebrating the big and little things in life and to share the excitement too. During the summer there were some beautiful ceremonies but one that sticks out the most for me was at the end of camp when it was just staff left. We gathered in a huge circle inside the rustic hall and took turns sharing and celebrating what we were most proud of during the summer, it was beautiful and powerful.

Try this: Stop and take a moment to celebrate where you are in this moment, celebrate the big and little joys. Take time to contemplate your achievements, what’s making you proud? Celebrate it!

I learnt about connection in various forms.
It was so beautiful to watch the connections formed because of camp, the bonds between camper and counsellor, new and old staff. In only two months I felt stronger bonds than with people I spent two years at school with. It’s hard to describe but I think it has to do with living so close with one another, the stripped back lifestyle and being a traveler. Even though we were all so different we still connected while star gazing and chatting, sharing a teary moment or on the similarities we shared it was about putting yourself out there and being you. There were also connections with Mother Earth. When you begin to unplug, when your closest toilet is under a tree or a good walk and when you’re constantly surrounded by trees you start to become more at one and in tune with Mother Nature which is damn good for the soul.

Try this: Get some physical connection in your life. Join a group, take up a hobby anything where you can begin to connect, share and put yourself out there. Connect with Mother Nature, get outside more, stargaze, or watch a sunset.

Camp has just come to a close again for the summer, I was in Aus but I would look at the pictures filling Facebook often wishing I was there. I realised one day that some of the things I loved most about camp I could actually recreate in my everyday life, while I wouldn’t have a lake I could still sprinkle some of the camp magic in my days. What ideas can you use to sprinkle some camp magic in your life? Here’s to an amazing summer in 2013 and the magic of summer camp wherever in the world you may be.