Caitlin Sanders

“It’s only in your head, you feel left out, or looked down on…”

Today as I was thinking of a dear friend who, as far as I’m concerned, flat out rescued me in junior high.

She saw something in me that I was not yet able to see in myself.

=   =   =

This was from a long time ago but still seems worth publishing…because sometimes it seems like we need the help of others to reflect back the truth that we are. To act as mirrors through which we can see our own eternal reflection. The infinite space–the sparkle of life that lives within each of us.

Sometimes it takes that connection with someone else–a knowing that we’re not the only one, that there’s someone else out there who believes in us. This very feeling, this thought, this belief has the power to set us free.

Once we realize that all is working together to support us, to lift us up, to know more fully our own potential and then REALIZE that potential, life becomes one heck of an extraordinary adventure!

And I love this. :) Smiling now, thinking of you and all of the grandness of life that is trying to be lived through you.

My dad had it right when he threw that Carpe Diem out wherever he could.

The present moment really is our safest place to live. It is here that we know we’re not alone–people nearby or otherwise.

It is in this deeper connection that we find that we’re never alone. We never have been and we never will be.

I was talking to a different friend recently and that was one of the things that poured through me was that now I am safe–that I’ve realized the one post important thing, this connection up to the Divine, and God and Mother, and Jesus, and Myself, and all the Angels and Guides who support me is the only thing that can truly never be taken away.

I always thought there was this mystery this fear surrounding death. That in the end, there’s nobody left but you–that you must face it on your own.

But this isn’t true.

I know now, with every fiber of my being, with every cell in my body that there are people there for us. Even those who die without a single soul around–no matter the suffering, no matter the tragedy–no matter how scary, or terrifying or how much upheaval and horror surrounds or fills them–they are NEVER alone. They always have the love of God by their sides. Always.

Always and always.

And with that, may this reflect to you that you are so perfectly watched over and cared for–no matter how it feels or what you’ve done. You would care for a sweet little animal or child with every ounce of strength and compassion, and tenderness and care that you have within you. Trust that the same is true of your Heavenly Mother and Father. Let them be there for you. Let them guide you and support you and make your path straight.

The straight path is not necessarily a rigid one–it is the one that is crafted and cleared and made new for you in each moment by the Angels and Guides that support and love you every step of the way.

Allowing this space to give them permission to assist you, to ask for their help–this is where the future becomes bright. Because then on a new level they can go to work on your behalf, going before you–clearing the way.

It is only for you to decide. But know that you are never, never, EVER alone.

Even in your aloneness you are watched over with care.

As I type this right now I ask that you be watched over and blessed with every bit of golden light from beings you love surrounding you with ease and grace, and comfort and peace.

They are yours.

They are here for YOU.

You are there reason they’re here to support. Let them support you. :) They will be so happy to, I know!

May you be blessed today in every way,

With abundance and grace,

And plenty of space–

To see the bright, shiny you

That is ready to come through.

Namaste.

 

 

(Quotation: Song by Jimmy Eat World) — a favorite of mine from high school.


The greatest mystery of all.

Last night I went to great lengths…

All to see a sweet, simple, glorious statue of Mother Mary.

Even her image evokes a feeling of such love, being held in the arms of the Divine, knowing you are not alone.

 

I’m learning to follow the guidance.

And I’m learning to be patient with myself. To go slow + not feel like I have to get it right all at once.

All will unfold in perfect timing.

And it will for all of us,

each step we take, all leading us, guiding us closer + closer to all that is Divine.

 

God calls us in mysterious ways.

Things don’t always make logical sense. And this is part of the beauty.

Can we pay attention and heed the call even when our mind says otherwise?

(realizing that if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have seen that blessed statue last night)

 

To me this is the greatest question and the greatest mystery of all. The greatest task unto which we are called forth.

And with every ounce of glory that lies within us,

We answer the call.


In the end, everything will be okay.

I stand staring at the little pink piece of paper in my hand. A lovely and elegant script, just waiting for me to be ready to read it.

To the daughter of the Divine, it says.

I stand, anxious, unsure of how to proceed… how could I read something so precious–with such a grand title. A declaration.

An entrance.

I’ve always heard when the name of God calls, you listen. No matter what you’ve believed before, no matter how you’ve felt or any choice you’ve ever made or worldview you’ve ever held…

When you are called by name–

you answer.

you just do.

Because what else is there to do but accept such a lovely invitation.

The invitation is gentle, patient. Steady, and strong.

It will sit on your coffee table and wait as long as you’d like to wait. And when you’re ready,

she’ll be there.

Ready to welcome you with open arms, a good belly laugh, and a smile that could light up the whole world.

A light that in fact, does light up the world for those of us with eyes to see it.

So allow your eyes to be transformed today. Ask how your eyes can see with the love and light of God that streams through them–

All places, people, things.

All wildlife, all trees–all planets and stars.

We are players, only a part of this intricate and miraculous spinning web.

How can you make your part count?

How can your part of the web be as peaceful and free as possible?

Therefore is your invitation today, blessed one. May you find the peace within yourself and help to set all hearts free.


Sweet little bird.

Sitting on the floor today with Dino, one leg bent, the other outstretched–Dino snuggled up in the little crook of my knee, sweet eyes looking up at me.

Offering myself the sweet quiet space my body so desires.

Nurturing and love, relaxation & freedom. Freedom to create space. Freedom to enjoy space.

And in this moment of savoring, my head quickly turned to the right.

Right there, not any more than three feet from my door–my wood floor merged with the wood planks of the deck as I saw a sweet Little Oregon Junco through the glass.

The glass seemed to melt as I felt fully captivated and connected to her. I was amazed by how large she seemed, how sturdy and strong. Not what you typically think of for a little delicate bird.

But she was strong.

I noticed the way she tilted her head, and then three feet behind her I saw the sweet little bird I call Mama Hen. She’s small, like the junco, but with the coloring of a hen. So as she shows up here and there, a sweet little mothering presence when I feel I need it most, she earned her name fair and square. I think that she’d agree.

I just feel so thankful that she’s here to watch over me. All of them. Their cute little beaks and sturdy, steady feet. Dainty, yes. Delicate, perhaps. But also steady. And precise.

I just love them!

And I laughed with delight, like a little kid exploring something new for the first time. It was the energy of play; two toddlers jumping in a mud puddle after it rains!

And I felt connected to the peace within myself. And felt that it was an honoring of how far I’ve come–a celebration of the peace within me, knowing that birds would not come that close if they did not feel the peace and safety within.

So here I am. A sweet little moment, expanded for you today.

I hope that you find some sweet little signs from nature to guide you on your way–to bring a smile to your face and peace to your heart, helping you to know how infinitely and abundantly you are loved.

Namaste.


Thank you for honoring my story

As I set out on this fresh start, I want you to know that when I share my pain, I’m not sharing it as a cry for help or in an attempt to seek counsel.

It’s just that often times, it is our greatest pain that holds our greatest treasure.

And most any pain that I share here, I’ve already had a long, nurturing chat with–we’ve likely shared a cup of tea and I’ve likely held her as she cried, reassuring her that I’m with her, that I’ve got her, and that she doesn’t have to face any of it alone.

So I share my pain as an act of service, that it may become a doorway that leads us to the most remarkable collective treasure.

I do, however, still appreciate you receiving my stories with kindness & compassion:), honoring my lived experience and perspective with the respect that it deserves. You are wonderful. Thank you for this.

May you be blessed with all the love and compassion, kindness and courage that your journey requires. You can do it. Remember, you were born for this.

 


Today is a new beginning

A friend sent me a card in the mail several years ago–one of those craft paper style ones from Trader Joe’s. On the front there was a delicate illustration of a bird on a branch and along the side, a quotation from Victor Hugo was typed in a lovely italic:

Be as a bird,

perched

on a frail branch

that she feels

bending beneath her,

still she sings,

sings,

knowing

she has wings.

There have been many times I’ve identified with this little bird. Feeling stuck in a whirling storm with nothing but a frail branch to cling to. And sometimes I still feel this way. But I also believe that life gives us these storms and frail branches so that instead of looking to the branch to hold us, we discover the strong, steady, graceful wings that have been there to carry and guide us all along.

So as I set out on this new journey, reclaiming my voice and freeing my song by sharing the thoughts of the moment from my heart, may whatever pours forth help us remember our wings.

And may the strength and comfort of these wings support us, no matter how fierce the storm or how weak the branch beneath us.

Always, these gorgeous, magnificent wings.

 


Gentle afternoon rain

IMG_20160303_113112

 

Last week I attended a performance: gentle afternoon rain.

 

It was warm enough outside that my bedroom window was open. As I finished cooking some veggies in the kitchen, I thought I heard a slight mist. It seemed so out of place with how bright the sun had been shining most of the afternoon. “Is it raining, Dino?” I asked aloud, as if my dog could confirm my suspicions. I walked into the bedroom to see, and there it was–rain falling softly, drawing me in closer for the show.

 

Next thing I knew, I found myself sitting at the foot of the bed, directly facing the window, staring out and eating my lunch by the sound of the falling rain.

 

I watched and listened with reverence, delighted by the feelings of eagerness and satisfaction that began to build inside of me as if I were attending a most magnificent performance live at Her Majesty’s Theatre.

 

My windowsill set the frame like a stage, and the stillness outside was the backdrop that featured the raindrops doing their thing.

 

I listened as the drops all evenly fell. And as I finished eating my food, the rain started to slow. A brief intermission to put down my bowl and let Dino hop up to snuggle in my lap. And there we sat, watching the stillness out the window and listening to the rain.

 

I breathed in deeply and remembered the time I watched my dad open the side door of our house, to stand there, looking out through the screen at the rain, breathing in the refreshing scent of invisible swirls of goodness. Fresh air meandering in, there in abundance for the receiving. I don’t know if he knew I was watching but the way he savored those moments with such purpose and wonder changed something in me forever.

 

Still on my bed, I listened as the rain accumulated. Larger drops began to fall on new things, creating fancy rhythms and delicate sounds. And then came the gentle rushing sound of tiny streams, flowing through the gutter or following the bend of the downstairs curb. Until the showers began to taper once more and finally slowed to a stop. And with that, the show was over and the sun came out again.

 

Now as I relive the story to share it with you, I find it curious that the experience doesn’t feel small, nor especially large. It feels softly satisfying. And perhaps this quiet intensity is the mightiest power there is. From stillness and softness comes the strength.

 

It seems life is just waiting for us to offer it the reverence it deserves. Not out of a desire for selfish recognition but because it knows the nourishment that will be brought to our souls and the contentment that will fill our hearts. It knows that it will stir things within us and unlock new secrets of who we are. And what pure and generous love is this, to want us to see its beauty, only so that we may feel and know our own.

 

Ah, may we all make a little space to savor this today–whatever beauty we can sense, wherever we are. Because the performance is always happening. It’s just a matter of hearing the whispers that call us to its display.

 

Sending much love & joy to you this week,

Caitlin


What do trailers for Downton Abbey have to do with the holidays?

There it was in my inbox.  An email from MASTERPIECE.  This could only mean one thing: news of Downton Abbey!

 

DowntonAbbeySeason5 www.pbssocal.org

Image credit: www.pbssocal.org

 

With great excitement, I clicked the link in the email right away to watch the preview of the final season that begins in January.

 

[kad_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bxgjUSvQok” ]

 

I scrolled down after I’d finished watching the video and there, among other related videos, was another one labeled, “Downton Abbey 6: UK Trailer.”  So, naturally, I watched.

 

[kad_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1I2AJ3AusIo” ]

 

And as the teary-eye-inducing trailer came to an end, I was stunned.  Captivated, really, by how a trailer with such a remarkably different feel could be created from the exact same season of the show.

 

The preview that was created for the United states puts its focus on celebration, ceremony, excitement, and a new beginning.  While the trailer intended for the UK features loss, saying goodbye and a season of life coming to an end.

 

In each new beginning something is lost, and each new adventure often comes with a goodbye.  So neither one is the full tale.

 

But still.  The exact same season.  Completely different spin.

 

One could say that our lives are like the season of the show and how we choose to frame them in our minds is like the trailer.  It’s all about which scenes you pick, the angle of the camera, which words the characters say, and what music you choose to play.  And they would be right; how we choose to frame our experiences does hold great power.

 

But there’s another way to look at it that feels more meaningful to me today.  And that is to recognize that real life is not simply made up of sound bites or single glances.  And the trailer isn’t the whole story any more than someone’s Facebook posts give an accurate representation of his or her life.

 

That’s because life itself is more than just a trailer or news feed.

 

Life has more depth.

 

Life is the sum of all of it.

 

And the whole, honest, miserable, and brilliant thing deserves to be honored.

 

So as we find ourselves in this season of beautiful holidays, may we honor everything about our experience.

 

May we honor the warmth of our homes and the abundance that surrounds us.  May we honor the breaths that fill our lungs and the moments of shared laughter and connection with those we love.

 

And in addition, perhaps this year we can also make space to honor the emptiness felt when thinking of those we wish could be at our side, the frustration that arises when things don’t turn out just as we planned, or whatever else finds its way into our lives.

 

Let’s welcome every little bit.  And honor it all.

 

With a deep and thankful breath,

Caitlin

 

 


Why giving things away is the absolute BEST!

I stood in front of the bathroom mirror.  As I stared at my reflection, wearing the red Chiefs sweatshirt, I noticed some things.  I didn’t like the way it looked.  I didn’t like the way it felt.  And I didn’t like the way I felt wearing it.

 

It was uncomfortable.  I felt droopy and kind of weighed down.  All of this could only mean one thing: the time had come to let it go.

 

I took a few minutes to remember how much fun my brother and I had together that crisp and sunny October weekend five years ago.  It was the first trip I’d made back to the Midwest on my own, and I flew into town for a quick visit and a Chiefs game.  Naturally, this meant stopping at the store to buy some Chiefs gear on the way.

 

But now, holding the sweatshirt my hand, my mind carefully clicked through the following:

 

  1. I wasn’t going to wear this thing again.
  2. Giving it away would not erase any of my cherished memories that were created while wearing it.
  3. It would be awesome if someone else could have the opportunity to wear and enjoy it.

 

And just like that, the years of keeping it stored it the back of my closet, thinking I would or should wear it again, finally came to an end as I added it to a bag of items destined for Goodwill.  Then I went about my day, happily imagining a Chiefs fan unexpectedly stumbling across it in Portland, thrilled to have something new to wear on game days this season.

 

A few days later, my mom came over to load everything up.  She took the first couple bags down to the car and came back WEARING the sweatshirt!  And it looked fantastic on her!  Tell me you agree!

 

Chiefs Collage gold corners

 

I experienced FAR more joy in those first five minutes of seeing her wear the sweatshirt than I did in the entire 5 years it had been in my possession.  All of the things that made it less than ideal for me–the orangey shade of red and the way the collar pops up in the back–are the exact things that make it perfect for her!  Needless to say, I had no idea that the Chiefs fan to find treasure in my old sweatshirt would turn out to be my very own mom!  I was, and still am, thrilled!

 

Maybe you have something similar in your possession– something small, something you hardly think about, but something that if you were to take a second to consider it, you’d realize there’s some memory, emotion, or “should” attached to it.  I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below and I can’t wait to hear if you experience the same sweet taste of freedom that I did.

 

Because this simple sweatshirt didn’t take up much room.  I didn’t think of it all that often.  And yet, it was sucking energy and joy from my life without me even knowing it.  I only realize this now because of the feelings of lightness and freedom I felt once I’d let go.  It became a release of guilt that I didn’t even know I was carrying around–for not having worn it enough, for not having gotten my money’s worth, etc.

 

So it turns out, I let go of something more than just a sweatshirt.  And I was rewarded tenfold, receiving something SO much better in return.

 

Big surprise, little things are powerful.  This definitely shouldn’t be a surprise at this point, but somehow I find myself in awe of that simple truth EVERY time it pops up.

 

Simple yet profound.  Small but mighty.  It never gets old.

 

Wishing you freedom and JOY,

And some awe for good measure,

Caitlin


A toast in honor of doing scary-exciting things

A few of you mentioned that last week’s email landed in your spam folder.  Not sure why that happened but just in case you missed my exciting announcement of naming the blog “this genuine life,” you can read it here.

 

bday edit

 

It was such a rush of excitement that led to finally declaring the new blog title!  It was nerve wracking but exciting, so I took the leap.  And the next morning I woke up wondering if I’d made a terrible mistake.

 

Perhaps this has happened to you.

 

That certain situation where you get caught up in the whirlwind of the moment until reality sets in, leaving you with a pit in your stomach the size of the grand canyon and no idea how it got there.

 

It’s the same way I felt the day after I brought Dino home from the Oregon Humane Society.  And bringing him home turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  So if you’ve had this experience too, I think we might be onto something.  We are looking alive and we are playing the game. {three claps}

 

And that’s something to celebrate!

 

So what’s behind the magic here?  Just plain exciting might not be enough of a leap.  And just plain scary might mean you’re headed for a path through a never-ending, deep, dark forest.  But the combination, a captivating blend of both, creates a surge of power that will propel you forward into living the most extraordinary life that you are capable of living.

 

And the best part is that it doesn’t matter how the scary-exciting thing you decide to try turns out.  Everything we do now helps lay the foundation for what is to come.  So even if the action you choose today doesn’t pan out the way you think it will or you change your mind, it will still lead you somewhere new.  Somewhere with a  unique vantage point.

 

The thing you pick may not be the thing that ultimately sticks, but it may be the very thing that will lead you to something that does.

 

And the something it leads you to could be the most incredibly wonderful thing that ever happens to you.  Something you wouldn’t have been able to discover without first taking the leap onto the first stepping stone of the path.

 

And it’s that perfect blend of scary and exciting that lets you know you’re going in the right direction.

 

{ fear + excitement = right path }

 

So what feels scary-exciting to you today?  What dream do you have that is thrilling or feels like such a reach that you’d either be scared if it came true or you’d be too scared to even try?

 

Now pick one teeny tiny turtle step you can take in the direction of that dream this week.

 

I already wrote this blog post so now it’s your turn. ;)  I’d love to hear all about your dreams and turtle steps in the comments below!

 

Here’s to the beautiful and continuous unfolding of our dreams! {clink, clink}

Caitlin

 


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