Hi, I'm Caitlin.
I live in a little cottage in Byron Bay, Australia with my one big love, our three beautiful little wildings, and a labradoodle named Tui. I laugh really loud. I'm a recovering perfectionist and a card-carrying member of the Type A club. I'm a student of life and a gangster of love. I'm a soulful seeker, a renegade researcher and a devoted yogi. I'm a textbook Aries...fire, fire. fire. Yes, my hair is naturally that colour (more fire). I feel like (raw, organic) chocolate should be it's own food group. I've been known to listen to Notorious B.I.G. and Tibetan singing bowls within the same 30 minute span. I've got mad love for meditation. I think mantras, chanting and breath work are The Business. I play air-drums like a boss (air-guitar is over rated). I have a thing for kimonos... and my Vitamix. I'm BFFs with kale. My first sentence ever was "You're not the boss of me." Diamonds are my birthstone and I can't help that. I drink green smoothies like they're going out of style. I love to cook and feed people. I'm constantly smudging errrrthang. I won't B.S. you. Ever. It's just not how I roll. Bottom line: I'm obsessed with all things wellness and I want to make it easy for you to be high on life. The right meditation for getting out of a funk? Best açaí bowl recipe? A daily dose of inspiration to set you off on the right foot? Stand-out natural lipgloss? Full moon ritual for a fresh start? I'm your girl.
I'm originally from the United States, where I spent a good part of my childhood growing up on a ranch in Oregon. Grayback Mountain Ranch. Pretty magical place, and chock full of hippies. So at a young age, I had my first introduction into things like incense and organics, smudge sticks and sweat lodges, farmers markets and barter festivals, tie-dye and tarot cards, environmentalism and echinacea. (My soccer team was literally called The Tie-Dyed Tigers. No joke.)
Like most of my redheaded compatriots, I was spirited and feisty and forever being grounded for talking back. I was student body president and also started my first business at the ripe old age of 8 selling crafts at our local farmers market. So yeah, I was never short on achievement and motivation. But there is a flip side to that coin. Anxiety, worry and angst. Yep, those were my bag. Even as a youngin' I was worrying well beyond my place in life. I look back now and wish I'd been more carefree and enjoyed the bliss of being a kid.
My teenage years kicked off with my parent's divorce and a move to the conservative mid-western city of Saint Louis. Let's just say my Birkenstocks and hypercolor t-shirt stood out amongst the sea of khakis and preppy polos. Never one to do things by halves, I committed to studying ballet which saw me dancing and rehearsing for hours and hours each week. And consequently battered my body leaving me riddled with injuries and a healthy dose of body dysmorphia.
Like so many girls, later in my teenage years I struggled with an eating disorder and depression. Binging, purging, calculus level calorie counting, obsessively exercising, yep, yep, yep. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. Midway through my freshman year in college, my GPA was picture-perfect, my diet was calculated down to the square root of sweet f all and my body (and personality) had all but faded away. My family intervened and I withdrew from classes to seek help. Psychologists and psychiatrists and prescriptions helped bridge the gap, but one day I woke up and couldn't tell how I felt. Through the fog of anti-depressants and mood regulators, I just couldn't feel... anything.
I realised that in my case (and I GET that this isn't the case for everyone) that I had to decide to be happy. I had to wake up and fight for it every day by making decisions and choices that contributed to happiness. I didn't know how to do this, I didn't have the tools. At all. But I decided I'd just figure it out. Unwinding negative patterns and obsessive behaviour? It ain't easy, sister. I'm sure many of you know that all too well.
Simultaneously, in the space of 4 years I contracted mononucleosis, Epstein Barr virus, Dengue Fever and finally, Lyme Disease. These diseases literally brought me to my knees and changed my life forever. For the better. I know that sounds weird, but it's true.
So here I was, battered, bruised, broken and depleted on pretty much every level possible. I had some serious healing to do. As I slowly rebuilt my immune system over the next 10 years I happily committed to whatever it took - antibiotics, Chinese medicine, homeopathy, naturopathy, vitamin injections, IVs, hot baths, ginger tea and wet socks, GI tests, Vitamin C flushes, elimination diets, you name it, I did it. Fully. Committed.
But what I struggled with was slowing down (and here's where the whole "being happy" thing comes back around). I derived my sense of happiness and self worth through what I could control and what I could achieve. Throwing myself into work, smashing sales targets, never turning off, having my iPhone permanently attached to my hand, multitasking like my life depended on it, hair always perfectly coiffed, cultivating Barbi feet by wearing high heels (always), networking, hosting fundraisers, overdoing the whole social butterfly thing... (sound familiar?) It's an attitude and a canon of behaviour that our society champions. Dream, believe... but mostly, bust your butt and achieve. Because you're simply not enough just as you are. So despite all my healthy eating, supplements, treatments, et al., the Lyme Disease resurfaced. Something was missing from my heal-thyself strategy.
Ironically, the last piece of the puzzle wasn't to do with my physical body in a direct sense. The last piece of the puzzle was a major mental shift. Getting out of the Type-A, achievement addicted, adrenal state. Transitioning from always DOING - always feeding my need to achieve (and temporarily soothing my sense of "I am not enough") - to just BEING. And as I learned through trial and error, the very best way to learn to BE is to meditate.
Meditating helped me to slow down. And simply slowing down sealed the deal for my body and mind to realign and get back on track. Which has in turn, allowed me to manifest a truly fulfilling and healthy life.
Now, I say simply, but it was anything but. It's an ongoing commitment, an ongoing learning curve. Like all chronic over-achievers, I still have to be super conscious of staying in the slow lane on a day to day basis. (Daily conversation with self: Put ya blinker on, girl, and get out of the passing lane. Go on now.)
But I can tell you this. Come rain or shine, come sick or screaming babies, come airplanes and crossing datelines, come hospital stays or holidays, come pressing deadlines or alarm-clock fails, I show up and meditate every day. It's a non-negotiable in my day. That doesn't mean that my meditation practice looks exactly the same every single day. Because: life (see the list above). But I show up, even it's 3 minutes or 3 breaths. I show up.
Sometimes I get frowny-faces and "you poor things" when I share the story of my health challenges. But I actually see the whole thing as a great, big blessing. A boon. Once I took that first step towards wellness I've really never looked back. My health challenges forced me to make a choice about how I wanted to feel and what I was willing to do to feel good every day. Out of pure necessity I learned (and continue to learn!) so much about health, wellness, yoga and meditation - which I now have the opportunity to share with others.
My story is a carbon copy of a thousand other stories. I'd venture to say that more people feel overwhelmed, depleted and addicted to achievement than not. And most would be able to recognise that something isn't right. But it's hard to know where to start. How to do it differently. How to break through these super staunch beliefs about The Way Things Are... and about ourselves. And that's what inspires me.
I'm here to share what works for me - the personal practices that make a difference in my days...and upgrade my life. Because as author Annie Dillard puts it, "how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives." Wellness is a state of being, not an end goal. It's an ongoing journey and a daily practice that's worth devoting yourself to.
Being holistically well empowers you to live to your full potential. For you, that may mean tapping into free-flowing creativity, returning to a state of physical health, feeling empowered in your relationship or job, starting a family, or trusting in your body or your instincts. It might mean being more present with your children, breaking a habit that's dragging you down, or discovering a healed relationship with your body and food. Or it might just be waking up each morning with a shining, supercharged sense of self.
Whatever full potential means to you, I'd like to help point you to the path towards feeling well, whole and happy. What do you say? Ready to upgrade your life?