LFM #17 - The Why, What, and How of Purpose and Joy

Hello, friends. It’s been a while since I’ve written an actual blog post! Most of my days are filled with writing—for myself, for the company I work for in various formats—but blogging has taken a back seat lately. And that’s ok, because (1) of course that’s ok and (2) I feel a shift in the air, the winds of change, and more blog posts coming soon.

I came across a Rumi quote today I’ve seen before, but it spoke to me today more than it did the last time I read it.

“Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.” - Rumi

Being in any sort of marketing or personal development sphere (or, like me, both), we often are asked the question: “What’s your why?” We have to know some sort of driving why to do anything. I, especially, like to feel there is purpose to the things I do, even if the purpose is “it’s fun and I feel better when I do it.” I know other people have thrown around their purpose as reasons for not doing other things and that sort of focused attention, goal-orientation, and general vision can help keep the nonsense life can throw around at bay. I tend to be less wishy-washy on saying yes and no to things when I have a feel for what my purpose is; in life, generally, as well as what I’m focusing on in the short-term.

I like to journal to myself and ask questions—I get way more answers and real clarity that way. I ask myself: what do I want from my life? The most consistent answer: To live life unfettered, in joy. I know what that looks like more and more; and I am frustrated with myself if I’m not following my own best advice and guidance to where I know could lead there. When some of the steps feel big, I remember I can ask to be shown the way. And sooner or later, little signs appear that mean something to me.

Almost exactly one year ago, I was having coffee in the breakfast nook in my kitchen. I’d been waking up early for over a year, each morning, to spend time with myself before “starting” my day, in which other people and the outside world were directly involved. I’d worked through a lot of heartaches and worries in that time. And I was literally just enjoying my morning—the sun was streaming in, my coffee had visible steam coming off of it, and the phrase just popped into my head: “Light-filled Mornings.” I am a recovering over-achiever. I could be upset I haven’t “done more” and “finished” every vision I’ve had for this platform, this concept, in that time. But when those thoughts come up, I choose not to be. Because this is a large part of my purpose, and it’s only just begun. I’ll never be finished, not all the way. It will continue to evolve. And I love that. It’s such a gift.

Of course, by following what I truly want in life (to live life unfettered, in joy) to live out my purpose, this necessitates that I do it in conjunction with finding joy. If whatever I am feeling while doing anything is “not-joy” then it deserves to be questioned. Does this really need to be done? Does this really need to be done by me? If so, then how can I have more fun while doing it? How can I make sure I do this less? How can I do more of what brings me joy?

Sometimes, living life in a way that asks the questions is exhausting. Sometimes I just want to go through the motions: my heart isn’t light, and nothing feels fun. In those times, I need rest. Now is not the time. But I’ve found that you can’t ever really go back, before the questions. Because everything lovely in my life has come from the asking—and the answers, that always come. Even if they’re not in a way I’ve expected.

And every morning, it begins again. And this makes life truly beautiful.

I’ve found that you can’t ever really go back, before the questions. Because everything lovely in my life has come from the asking—and the answers, that always come. Even if they’re not in a way I’ve expected.
— Caitlin McCoy

LFM #16 - Staying Up Late, Being Social, and Receiving Inspiration

Hi, friends.

Today, I read something I’d written in my journal last week, and it made me so happy, I thought I’d share:

Life keeps giving us gifts, again and again. There is always a different way, a new way. Life is beautiful, and your joy is both possible and prevalent—and deserved.

It’s currently the Polar Vortex in the Midwest, with temperatures nearing record-breaking lows. With the winter, I’ve been taking a break from a lot of things, somewhat unintentionally (but with gladness that’s how it’s worked out)—like interviewing lovely ladies for the Light-filled Mornings blog (I have a lot lined up for spring, however!), teaching barre, and a lot of freelance work. Those things truly bring me joy (not always freelance work, I’m discovering, but the other two), but with today being a day that leaves me whisking away any and all expectations of physical productivity (my house is a wreck, and that is all right for today), I am sitting in appreciation of the breaks on things that have made space for others.

Last week, I had the privilege of attending a work conference. It’s a gift that I even want to call it a “privilege” to attend the work conference; because while I’ve always loved writing and the process of work, I haven’t always loved the environment it’s taken place in—often, far from it. During this conference, I was away from home for several days all on my own, and while my kids handled it very well, I knew it’d be an adjustment. I kept thinking to myself, I want to truly enjoy this time. And you know what? I really did.

I enjoyed the experience of being social; I’m a very introverted person, much as my personality is also bubbly and people-loving. It normally drains me to be too social for too long—I met so many lovely, truly lovely, people during this conference, drank a lot of coffee, snuggled a lot of puppies (yes, there was an evening event where you could snuggle adoptable puppies), and had my expectations blown out of the water. My expectations of the people I would meet, the experience I would have, and how I would feel during the event—all were surpassed.

I also did something I rarely ever do: I stayed up late. Every night. And I realized that this time is pretty special as well. While I normally wake up very early, and have transitioned myself into a morning person, I have a lot of people ask me, “but what happens if I just can’t wake up early? What if I’m a night owl?” While I do think getting your day off on the right foot is always a good thing, staying up late during this conference was pretty magical. And I had a lot of thoughts; I wrote in my journal, at about 2 a.m.:

In the wee small hours of the morning… the funny thing about staying up late is you can get in a momentum swing where you really can keep staying up. All alone in a hotel room, there is an ambient silence that’s quite comforting and magical… I’m starting to understand how people do this.

My only goals for the week were to (1) enjoy myself and live fully in the moment as much as I could; and also, (2) to send off a draft manuscript to a literary agent for the book version of Light-filled Mornings. I am happy to say I did both. I don’t have any publishing news as of yet, but just the process was lovely—and of course, it took staying up late until 2:30 in the morning on the last night I was staying to do it, FedEx’ing at noon the next day. But it was so lovely and worth it; I am excited and curious to see how this unfolds.

This is a small part of Chapter 7, entitled “Receiving Inspiration”:

“To change your life is to change your energy: to make an elemental change in your mind and emotions.”

– Joe Dispenza

My soul tells me that what I want in life is to live life unfettered, in joy. There are a lot of things that I think I want and that I truly do want to do or have, in any given moment. But when I get to the heart of it, that’s my “why.” Yours is likely quite different; or at least phrased differently, should you ask yourself. At our core, though, is there anything better than living life freely, as we wish? When you sit with yourself and make the space for the light to come through, the world opens up. Or rather, it was open; you’ve just found it, discovered your opportunity. And through its change and your own, reflecting, you will continue to find it in each step.

When I first set out to write a book, it was February of 2017. I was about seven months into my own personal deep dive into the life I felt needed fixing. I happened to look on Facebook and saw a post from a dear friend whose life was in a fairly constant state of disarray. She had been dear to me for a long time, and I knew, regardless of what life choices she made, how special of a person she was. I was sitting on the hardwood floor of my home’s den, and it just hit me—why do some people have a victimized experience, and others don’t? Why do some people seem to have a bad go at it, and for others, things seem to float on easily? Yes, there are actions and subsequent consequences; yes, there is the question of privilege; yes, there is the question of mindset and nature versus nurture and ALL THE THINGS. But it hit me that when it comes down to it, it’s really the underlying energy you’re bringing to the table. That energy could be there for any number of reasons—but that energy is it. It was an epiphany for me. The book I was going to write was called, very simply, “energy.” And as time went on, my energy went elsewhere. But that day, that concept, that foundation of energy and its premise that everything rests on it—that’s built the foundation for receiving inspiration during my light-filled mornings, and my life.

So, how does your energy feel to you? It’s tied into your emotions, to be sure, but it goes deeper than that. It’s your raw feeling, your baseline, gut, vibrating core; it’s whether you feel light when you walk down the street, as if a balloon could carry you away, or if you feel like you’ve got to be dragged along, unfairly, by life. While these are ideas we can attach words, layers of meaning, and metaphors to, truly, we feel them, and must feel them first before we can decide to shift—if that’s what we decide to do at all.

And when you want to shift your energy, in this morning moment, a good practice? To ask—and receive—inspiration. When we’re actively searching for answers, googling frantically, asking this person and that in an effort to overcome something, we rarely find those answers. But when we stop and ask of the world, of ourselves, for inspiration, of any kind, we let it come through.

And so, even in the midst of extreme cold, of dreams that aren’t here today—let’s enjoy and trust. There is so much joy in appreciation; letting go and moving forward; and in being here, now.

-Caitlin

Life keeps giving us gifts, again and again. There is always a different way, a new way. Life is beautiful, and your joy is both possible and prevalent—and deserved.
— Caitlin McCoy

LFM #15 - Caitlin's Word of the Year for 2019

Last year, I thought up what I wanted my words of 2018 to be. They were “empowered” and “dynamic” and a fun way to guide where I thought my year should go. And while I have felt more empowered than ever, and felt both wildly dynamic at times and very, very not at others, I enjoyed dreaming up those words. But this year, as each year is, will be different.

My word of the year for 2019? “Be.” Goodness, that's simple, isn't it? Until it isn't. I had grand visions this summer of leaving the job that did not feel like a good fit any longer (and I did, and it flowed beautifully and like magic)—with those grand visions of leaving the job, I felt that more, giant, leaps of big life upheavals would surely follow. I'd win the HGTV Smart Home. I'd be guided to publish my book immediately and go on a 9-month book tour. Big things. Extravagant things. 

And while I was floored by the ease, grace, and flow of how full-time freelancing with the some of the most lovely and lively people I've ever worked with came into my life—my mind was fixated (as it tends to be) on a problem. "That's all? I came to be floored by magic. Yes, I am appreciative... but I thought I was meant for more." 

And do you know what my heart kept saying, in my frustration, when I would really listen? Be. That's why I'm here right now. Doing the things. To be. 

It’s pretty incredible, the amount of things that have transpired in a mere 365 days. Goodness, the idea for Light-filled Mornings as its own entity, its own platform, came to me in April of this year! And, at least today, I am appreciating all of them. Even the ones that weren’t as pretty. Even the ones I’ve felt like I was in a funk. And so if you, like August-edition Caitlin, are berating yourself for “why am I here, why haven’t I achieved more,” take heart. You have achieved exactly the right amount of things you’ve set out to do for today.

My birthday has come and gone (Christmas babies unite!) and by next week we’ll have a New Year. Last year, I brainstormed to see what words would feel good for 2018. This year, I just asked myself and journaled what came up. So guiding me this year, will be “be.”

Ask yourself—how should I spend this upcoming year?

For me? In peace, in joy, in love with life lived fully. Allowing, day by day. Forming new. Having fun. Being light. Breathing in fun.

Happy New Year, friends. - Caitlin

How should I spend 2019? In peace, in joy, in love with life lived fully. Allowing, day by day. Forming new. Having fun. Being light. Breathing in fun.
— Caitlin McCoy

LFM #11 - Changing Seasons, Changing Routines

Hello! I feel like fall is coming. Woolly worms are covering my country road, inching back and forth going who knows where, and being adorable doing it. I'm still dressing my kid in shorts and there is a pool party for Sadie's class tomorrow, but it was in the 60s this morning at drop-off. I got out pumpkin candles and scent warmers last night. The pumpkin spice latte is here (though I haven't partaken). I suddenly feel an urge to listen to Neil Young (he feels like fall to me) and there is a crispness to the air that I may be conjuring in my imagination, but also a crispness to ideas and outlook on life with the change of seasons. Both of my kids are in full-day school for the first time ever (Sadie in Kindergarten; Sam in third grade) and I'm still fresh in working from home full-time again. This means that my mornings are changing their routines as well; I thought I'd update you on what I'm loving and what's working for me in this season. 

1. We're All Early Risers Now

When I was working full-time in an office, I felt like I really needed to wake up at 5:30 each morning to have time for myself before I started my outward-facing day. I really did need to do that each day to have the time to read, to journal, to dream, to drink coffee with my thoughts and not with my email. Only Sam was in school then, and he wouldn't get up until past 7. 

Now, my kids are both getting up early—by about 6:30—and I live by the code that no hurry, worry, or stress are ever necessary or worth it. This means that I am trying to bring Light-filled Mornings to my kids, letting them do whatever they'd like to wake up and have their special time before school. For Sam, this looks like eating nutella toast and watching his favorite YouTubers or checking in on his games on Xbox. For Sadie, this looks like watching Garfield in her favorite chair and snuggling in a blanket with our beagle, Loretta. 

I try to languish in bed a little before I actually get out of it—noticing how much I appreciate the air of my fan, the light coming in the windows, the feeling of my extra large blanket, my chihuahua curled next to me, how fun it is that I get to work from home. Just appreciating before my mind starts my "what's on the calendar today" list. 

Then I'll make my coffee, and really enjoy each process of grinding the beans, being weird and smelling it for way too long, listening to the drip of the machine. By this time, Sam and Sadie are up and set up with their things, so I mostly just drink coffee while getting out their outfits (it's much smoother if I do it) and putting their ice packs in their lunch boxes, which I pack with lunch the night before. 

Sometimes I feel like I have time to sit and journal at this time, but I want to be available for my kids, as I'm sending them off to school for the full day, and so I usually just hang around getting their stuff together, drinking my first cup of coffee while they're still here. Then I drive them to school (we've had bad experiences with the bus and tears with Sam in the past) and walk them in. (Often in lounge or workout clothes, which I've always said I'd never do, and here I am doing it and trying to be ok with that.) 

2. My "Inward" Morning Starts Later

Because I'm working from home again, I'm able to come back, in those workout clothes, have my second cup of coffee, and journal my thoughts for the day. Sometimes I just want to look through things I've saved on Instagram and write any thoughts or inspiration down. Right now, I'm not really reading anything other than Outlander (weird for me not to have the four books going at this time, I know) and am in a phase where I am just wanting to write my book and other content and am much more into producing than reading. I'm sure I'll get back into juggling four books at once again, but right now, I have so many thoughts flowing that it feels good to focus on those. 

So I'll spend that time in my nook going through my journal, and sometimes I'll write anywhere from 3 to 15 pages of things—how I'm feeling or ideas I've had I want to keep going for the book.

3. Movement is Becoming a Big Part of My Life Again

And I'm oh-so-glad. I've always had back problems (or felt like I did)—trying to lean over chairs the right way to make it feel better and the like. Yoga, Pilates, and barre had been huge in "fixing it" and making it feel better, but I felt like this part of my life was sorely lacking when I worked a 9 to 5 job. Everything is about priorities, and so of course it could have been a larger part—but now I'm thrilled to make it a priority again and feel good doing it. I'll be teaching barre this fall at Hatha Yoga & Fitness and going through and creating routines and playlists to go with them make me so ridiculously happy. I really love workout classes, being with people during them, at least one day of the week. I've also gotten out my Ballerina Body book from time to time, and I really love Misty Copeland's outlook about being a dancer—that it's a way of life, and so she'll be doing calf raises waiting for the subway. I don't have any subways out here to wait for, but I am certainly doing them waiting for coffee to brew, looking through kids' take-home folders, checking my email on my phone, etc. 

What are your mornings looking like now that school has started? I'd love to know! 

 

 

I live by the code that no hurry, worry, or stress are ever necessary or worth it.

LFM # 7 — About Caitlin, About LFM, and What’s Now and Next

You’d think the "about" post would be the first post, wouldn’t you? I like to mix things up. Obviously. 

For this post, I thought we’d get introduced, for who I am and where I am at this stage in my life. It’s an exciting stage! If we’re just now meeting, I am Caitlin Shea McCoy—my middle name “Shea” being pronounced “Shay”. (All my social media handles tend to incorporate my middle name, and I know it can be tricky seeing it all together. I’ve had people pronounce it “Shee-ah” and I know I tend to avoid pronouncing things in public if I don’t know for sure how they go, so… we’re good now.) I am a writer; I am a photographer; I am a dreamer; I am a mother; I am all the things that I am, and yet none of them really encompass who I really am, you know? It’s all of those things put together, but we’re all complex human beings, that can’t be summed up on paper, much as we try. 

ABOUT CAITLIN

I have always been “into” personal development and can’t really remember the first time I thought to myself, hey, I can guide my life—but I’d imagine the idea came to me when I was about 11 years old. I had a super happy, dreamy, loving childhood (throughout all of it), but the biggest change in my life, up to that point, happened when I was 11 and we moved out of the home that my dad had grown up in to move in with my new stepfamily to the bigger town 30 minutes away. I was so happy for my mom, I had always wanted siblings and within two years’ time went from being an only child to having a half-sister (with my dad and stepmom) and five stepbrothers and a stepsister with my mom and stepdad. Plus, being an 11-year-old girl is just its own lesson in changes, isn’t it? I distinctly remember sitting in my new bedroom, though, clipping things out of magazines, dog-earing books, writing things in notebooks about what I wanted to do and feel and be… and really, things aren’t too different now, in that regard. 

One of my favorite things to do in my new family unit, as a pre-teen and young teenager, was to go to bookstores (again, not much different now) and the first personal development book I bought was “Kiss My Tiara: How to Rule the World as a SmartMouth Goddess.” It came out in 2001, which means I was 14, which also means it’s the same year that Princess Diaries came out… so, it makes sense that this book stood out to me on the shelf at Borders. It also stood out because things like ruling anything, being “smart-mouthed” or a “goddess” were the antithesis of the way I walked through the world. I had debilitating shyness—most of my classmates at school had never heard me speak. And while this certainly wasn’t an appropriate book choice for a young teenager, it really helped frame my mind at the time that I could make changes, that I didn’t have to let my shyness hold me back, who I wanted to be was flexible, and most importantly, I was the one in charge of my life. 

After getting my Journalism degree at the University of Illinois (graduated in May 2009… had my son, Sam, in July 2009…), my small town newspaper closed, and I remember crying my eyes out one night because I couldn’t continue writing for them (covering town meetings and the like) and I could potentially never again, call myself a journalist. Of course that was silly. I’ve had my byline in quite a number of publications, and the sheen wears off after a while. It’s the research and the interviews and the way all the stories come together that’s the fun part. 

Anyway, my writing career ‘really’ started at a museum exhibit firm, where I loved the research-intensive nature of it and getting to really foster my bookworm’s heart; I loved taking all the data at hand and weaving a story through it, with a central theme at heart. I was laid off when I was pregnant with my daughter, Sadie (now 5 years old), and went to a marketing agency that was a bad fit all around—but led me to the opportunity to work writing full-time from home, which after a few years led me to the University of Illinois for a writing day job, which has now, again, led to me writing from home, full-time. Whew. 

While I’ve always been personal-development-minded, I had a lot of fear surfacing a couple of years ago, and in some ways felt like I had a wonderful, happy life (I did) but it didn’t feel quite right, and I felt very trapped, generally, and stuck. I had been working from home for years and in theory had all the time and flexibility in the world to give myself the space to discover what was next for me, and what I wanted to change that would feel right. But by taking the 9 to 5 job, where I really did have less time and space to think through things, I also had less time to worry—and clarity began coming in droves. In February of 2017, the thought of writing a non-fiction book came to me. And it’s been through several iterations and evolving ever since; in April of this year, I was in the midst of spending my early morning time doing what I love: reading books that speak to me—on a soul level—journaling, feeding my coffee addiction—when the phrase “light-filled mornings” just popped into my head. And I knew I had found what I’d been wanting; and I’m grateful I made the space for it. 

ABOUT LIGHT-FILLED MORNINGS

A few years ago, I was obsessed with morning routines. You’ve seen the (many) articles out there—12 things successful people do before breakfast, 8 ways to get ahead by waking up early. A lot of this was because I was also consistently working out for the first time in my life, and so I was trying to create space for things I’d never done before. But a lot of the advice out there was very action-oriented and, well, forceful, for lack of a better word. “Don’t want to get up at 5 a.m.? Too bad, sissy! Important people eat sheer willpower and discipline for breakfast!” I don’t think anyone actually said this in an article, but it often felt that way. If I could just be a little bit harder on myself (which I have a tendency to do anyway), then maybe I could create a morning routine that would fix everything I felt needed fixing about myself and my life. 

Light-filled Mornings has nothing to do with willpower and everything to do with joy. Over the past year, that has really clicked with me—allowing over forcing—working with instead of against—perseverance over insistence. I heard once that most of our problems come from us treating ourselves like a badly behaving employee; guilty as charged. It turns out that the things you really love to do (staring out the window while sipping your coffee… journaling to your heart’s content… reading all the books… doing yoga because it’s fun and not because you’re trying to reach a goal) are there because they’re meant for you. 

By doing the things that light you up in the morning, over what you feel you’re “supposed” to do, you are in alignment with your true self and able to start your day with a mindset that puts you in the driver’s seat. 

Light-filled Mornings is all about being proactive in how you want to feel; not reactive to conditions around you. Light-filled mornings are not another task to get done, but a way of milking the most from your day, the way you'd like to.

From my personal experience as well as studying that of many, many others, I’ve found that light-filled mornings—those truly life-changing, awe-inspiring, I-can-do-anything mornings, simple as they may be—typically fall into three categories: Cozy, Movement, and Inspired. Some mornings (generally my favorite ones) touch all three in some way; other times, I’ll only feel like doing some of the things that would fall into only one category, and that’s ok. With light-filled mornings, there is nothing that *should* be done; only things that you feel like doing that specific morning and making the space for them to happen, in any capacity. 

COZY

I always like to start my morning by guiding my thoughts for the day when I’m still in bed. I start my day by noticing and appreciating. As soon as I wake up, I’ll think to myself, “I should notice and appreciate,” because I’ve built the habit now, but also usually wake up coming out of a dream so I need a nudge to bring myself into the day. I think about how much I appreciate the fan in my room, and how the oscillating feature makes it so the right amount of air fans my face in the coziest, most wonderful way possible. I think about my king-sized Target blanket and how plush it feels and how great Target is, generally, and that we live in a world that has Target. I think about how well things are going for me (if I truly feel this way, no forcing it) and how excited I am for my coffee downstairs and anything else in the coming hours or days that feels fun or exciting. 

So by the time I’m ready to come down and make my coffee, I am in a good mood and good mindset—to where that appreciation keeps going. I have momentum behind it. My coffee addiction runs so deep and public that I have acquaintances sending me coffee memes and my daughter is learning her letters by saying, “C is for Caitlin and Coffee.” I enjoy the process of choosing which coffee beans will be today’s coffee, grinding the beans, choosing which mug is the right mug for the morning, listening to the coffee being brewed, and the steam that rises from it when I set my mug on the table and the light shines through to reveal it. 

MOVEMENT

I have always loved dancing around the house. I was in ballet for a lot of my childhood, and the sashaying around never went away. So after I have my coffee, I’ll likely twirl around to my yoga mat (people, if you weren’t sure that I was silly, here you go, full admission) and then do whatever barre or Pilates or yoga routine (or some mix of all) I feel like doing and have time for. I make my own playlists to play even if I’m watching a video and doing it along with that; but I taught fitness classes for a couple of years and really got into the habit of making my own routines, so it feels creative and fun for me to do that for myself. 

Lately, I’ve been wanting to branch out with the change in my own schedule and routine, and have been trying the Sweat app, which I feel is a good switch up to my normal Pilates—and I do love that you can just play your music right in there, and the confetti the app “throws” at you when you complete the workout is super fun. 

It took a while, but I’ve learned that I always feel better when I move in the morning, even if it’s a very small amount. Walking, running, getting out the mat, even for fifteen minutes, makes me feel more alive. 

INSPIRED

Reading has always been such a big part of my life. I have always been an observer, an introvert, and while I love having friends, doing things, and meeting new people, it has to be built on a foundation of quiet, introspective, time to read and process thoughts beforehand or it’s just not sustainable for me. A few years ago, I found The Universe Has Your Back by Gabby Bernstein, and it was the breath of fresh air that I was really seeking at the time. Every morning, I make time to read whatever book it is I’m currently reading (usually four at a time, picked up at any given time based on my mood). As I process things best through writing them out, I am concurrently journaling any passages that speak to me while reading. 

Right now, I’m reading Three Magic Words (see the fun way this appeared in my life here), Warrior of the Light, The Power of Now, and Dragonfly In Amber (Outlander series book 2). Three non-fictions to one fiction seems to be my sweet spot. I always choose books to read in the morning that inspire me in one way or another. I don’t push through books that don’t resonate with me anymore just because I “started them.” 

Like I said, journaling is also a big part of my morning—I am almost always writing passages and takeaways from the books I’m reading, but will also “vocalize” on paper the appreciative thoughts I had upon waking, and if I have a perceived problem or something I am wondering about, I will write it down and then let it go. Often just having the courage to ask and then giving up trying to figure things out will return the answer to me in record time. 

Sometimes I’ll listen to music or podcasts in the morning. Sometimes I’ll watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix. It just depends on the day and what I’m really feeling. And there is no wrong choice. 

WHAT’S NEXT

Light-filled Mornings will be a physical book; with thoughts, practices, and ways to get in touch with your intuition to give yourself permission to find what really lights you up—as far as morning routines and larger life paths go. 

I’ve also been thinking of making workout routines and playlists more readily accessible to the world, and expect a lot more video content to be created and shared in the very near future. 

And of course I love a good story; so I’ll be sharing many, many more stories of others’ light-filled mornings right here on the blog. 

Is there any content you’d like to see? Questions you have? Let me know!

 

Over the past year, that has really clicked with me—allowing over forcing—working with instead of against—perseverance over insistence.
— Caitlin McCoy
lfm 7 caitlin quote-2.png

LFM #3: Unexpected Books, Surprise Weekend Getaways, and Parallelogram Furniture

Hi, there. 

Life has a way of surprising us, doesn’t it? Or rather, as we get into the work of guiding our days deliberately, it’s surprising in that the perfect timing, the perfect moment, the exact thing that you wanted but didn’t realize existed, suddenly just pops right in front of you. With books especially, this is my experience.  

INSPIRED

My husband Micah and I photographed a beautiful farm wedding for a couple near our home and I was struck that day by the beauty of all of it — of genuine love between the couple, of all the perfect details that seemed done out of love and care and not “just because,” of the home itself. Before the ceremony began, we were in the living room of the home and I realized there was this sign that said “Peace and Plenty.” I loved that. I’m so like a little rat with my nest in that I am continually, mentally, keeping things that I want to have in my life. (Don’t birds kind of do the same thing? Maybe that would be better than a rat.) This sign, and this saying, was something I wanted to keep with me. 

So naturally, later that week, I went on Etsy and searched for the phrase “Peace and Plenty.” There were lots of hand-embroidered items that reminded me of the things that used to hang on my grandparents’ farmhouse walls. Which was sweet, but nothing I felt like I needed to have up in my home now. I was thinking maybe I’d just have to DIY something myself (which I may in the future) when one listing came up with a book title: “Three Magic Words: The Key to Power, Peace, and Plenty.” A lot of photos of inside passages were posted, including things like the conscious mind, intuition, realizing absolute love as the motivating power of life, and meditations. And it was from 1954. I felt like this book had everything I was interested in all right there, in a lovely, nondescript vintage cover, and ordered it. I’ve been reading it for a couple of weeks now, and it has surpassed my every expectation of what it could be. I read a lot of books, and I think this is definitely my favorite read of 2018 thus far. 

Soon after this book was on its way, my husband asked me what I’d like to do for our 11-year wedding anniversary. We are planning a lot right now, including a vacation, a book, so many more Light-filled Mornings interviews, the kids have activities — to where I wanted to do something fun and special, but I’m looking beyond so much that I was having a hard time envisioning what to do for this weekend. So I did what I never do, and said, “Surprise me!” And he did! With a trip to St. Louis. 

We hadn’t been to St. Louis for a non-work-related trip since before we were married, so we had fun exploring. There’s so much more there than the Arch. Which I knew, but really hadn’t experienced thus far. 

We had an amazing time trying all sorts of interesting food (biscuit donuts with Fruity Pebbles topping… meatloaf muffins… blueberry coffee stout craft beer…) but the biggest surprise of all was the parallelogram furniture.

Micah booked us a tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright home of Russell and Ruth Kraus in Ebsworth Park (about a 25 minute drive from downtown St. Louis) with a floor plan composed of two intersecting parallelograms. It contains all the original Wright-designed furnishings and fabrics — including a parallelogram-shaped bed and hexagonal bed. (“It would look weird in here with a rectangular bed!” our guide insisted.) It’s like the original smart home, with a switch as you come in the door to turn on all the lights in the home — and a switch by the (parallelogram) bed to turn them all off. 

Russell Kraus was an artist who wrote to Wright asking if he would please design a home for him and his wife, and one thing that struck me was he asked for a terrace for “sun-bathing and star-gazing.” (I’m keeping that sentiment, too.)

I’d asked Micah how many books I should plan to bring with me on the trip (I am generally reading four at a time, and pick them up depending on how I’m feeling in the moment) and he said no more than one. So the one was my new Peace and Plenty book, which very accurately described my feelings with a weekend away, experiencing new things. 

Enjoy your light-filled mornings, friends. 

Caitlin 

‘For sun-bathing and star-gazing’... I’m keeping that sentiment, too.
The sign that started the search. 

The sign that started the search. 

three magic words: the key to power, peace and plenty

three magic words: the key to power, peace and plenty

frank lloyd wright / russell kraus home in ebsworth park, mo 

frank lloyd wright / russell kraus home in ebsworth park, mo 

a lovely parallellogram terrace 

a lovely parallellogram terrace 

little baby beers.

little baby beers.