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Expansion

It all started with a vision in Shavasana at my local Yoga class.

This guy appeared in my mind, the clearest image I’ve ever seen, as though I had seen him before and the name Tom came to me.

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It all started with a vision in Shavasana at my local Yoga class.

This guy appeared in my mind, the clearest image I’ve ever seen, as though I had seen him before and the name Tom came to me.

My shavasanas, meditations rarely give me images, or signs, usually there is just calm and back then it was usually creating a to-do list, reminiscing about stupid crap, ready to move onto to the next thing.

The class ended, I walked out and grabbed the latest copy of Holistic Bliss magazine. When I got home I looked at the cover, there looking back at me was Tom Cronin, founder of the Stillness Project and the man hanging out in my vision. This moment was when life as I’d been floating along with changed. I knew I had to, that I would, meet him.

6 months later I saw him speak at an event, another 6 months later I was on his retreat.

In fact exactly 12 months since I had the vision, I was on the retreat.

By that stage I had enrolled with the Beautiful You Coaching Academy, completed my first year at University, change was happening fairly unconsciously.

So many things changed within me on that retreat, at the end of 2016. These things began the catalyst for my 2017 – a year of Expansion.

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us”

– Joseph Campbell

This year I completed my training with Beautiful You Coaching Academy (Read more about that here), continued my university studies for a Bachelor of Counselling and began my business with doTERRA. I felt deep hurt when one of my closest friends crossed a line very important to me, I felt the uncomfortable growing pains that comes with being in a network marketing business, and I put myself in situations that are way outside of the comfort zone of this little introverted empath.

I discovered how important boundaries are for survival. I learnt how much beauty there is in a desire to serve. I learnt that flicking your mindset has the power to change your trajectory in an instant.

I learnt I am not alone, I am loved and supported and when you think you are alone and no one gets you, all it takes is a leap of faith and the universe will throw you head first into a crowd of souls that are YOUR people.

2017 hasn’t been all roses, but being able to see the beauty in the pains, the stretching and having the ability to look behind and be grateful is priceless.

I am no longer the same person I was on 30th December, 2016. And I am just so so excited to see who I am on 30th December 2018.

Much love,

Casandra xo

Leaving it until the last minute

On Friday night I was up until 2am finishing an assignment for uni that was due at midnight.

I was frantically trying to get it done all the while kicking myself for not starting it until Wednesday. 

What’s worse was it was a journal assignment. All I’d had to do was write 350 words on a set reading each week. 

But I didn’t do the readings. 

View More: http://inkandivory.pass.us/casandrasmithI had ‘many other’ things to do that albeit were necessary and important, and they were also far more creative and enjoyable than reading a 20-40+ page academic article and then critically evaluating it.

So there I am internalising my self-hate at my lack of organisation, motivation and mountain of procrastination that got me in that position on a Friday night, and I have all these beautiful comments going through my head from people saying to me,

“you are amazing, you are doing so much, you are so inspiring”
and I’m feeling like a fraud. 

In these moments of praise I even find myself saying to people

“I’ve got a lot of commitments but I’m not really doing any of it well”. 

You see what I’ve realised is this situation is like trying to get my son to eat veges.

  • He likes to eat the meat, or the thing he likes on the plate first.
  • Then he’s left with the cold, unappetising veges.
  • No matter how many years I’ve asked him to eat the veges first, they are so much nicer warm… he refuses and dinner ends in tears – both of us in tears! 

What I recognised is this is Me!! I’d decided that assignments were hard and boring, and sometimes they are, so I set myself up to avoid them to only feel the pain later. Stubborn much?!

I teach people to take baby steps toward change. Keep your WHY in front of you to help motivate you, and with every other thing I do I’ve done this, but with uni I hadn’t.

When you know your WHY- your reason for why you’re doing something – your light at the end of the tunnel, you are far more motivated to dig in the trenches to get there.

The basis of my WHY for completing my degree is I want to help people to free themselves from their limitations to create a life of freedom– it’s the same for all I’m doing- life coaching, essential oils and business mentoring. With uni it’s about having more developed skills and training to assist on a deeper level and the recognition of having that training.

Not all the actions that are required of you to realise your dream are fun, or creative, or exciting; some of it is boring or challenging, but all the pieces are equally important and have valuable lessons to give you along the way. 

My next assignment is due in a few weeks. My plan of action is to do an hour a day on it everyday to get it finished, on time or before. 

My short-term reward is uni holidays start beginning of November for four months… I’ll have all the time to do the fun stuff then! 

Is there something you’ve been putting off starting for all your own reasons?

Don’t want to, it’ll be hard, got other things to do?

Maybe reading this will help you know you aren’t alone, and give you a little push to take action- remember any action is a step forward and closer to your goal.

Much love,

Casandra xo

You don't have to see the whole staircase.Just take the first step.

Getting my dream job and why I quit

I had a dream job. I put out a wish and I got that job.

I had a dream job. I put out a wish and I got that job.

It was a job I had thought for a long time while building my career would be the cream.View More: http://inkandivory.pass.us/casandrasmith

I worked hard. I put in triple the hours I was being paid for and then some. Because I really wanted to do well and prove to those who’d hired me that they’d made the best choice. 

I loved what I was doing. I loved the hard work. I loved my students. I loved the money. And I was really good at it, really good.

But I didn’t love the system. 

The system didn’t care about its employees. It didn’t set people up nor support them to succeed.

It bred a fear mentality. People feared losing their jobs. And because of this it was every man for himself.

Backstabbing, undermining, office politics. It wasn’t me.

It wasn’t in line with my ethics nor values. The system was abusing me, it was breaking me. But I needed the money. It had me trapped just like everyone else.

I reached breaking point. My lease on my house was about to end. I had to move. I had my son to support. But I could no longer do that job. 

I quit. Mid-course. 

I felt so guilty leaving my students. I did everything right. Waited until they had a replacement. Finished the module we were in. Dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s. 

Left with my pride in place.

I have never looked back.

At my breaking point, I reached out to a friend who helped me see what I was going through wasn’t worth it. She offered my son and I stay with her until we found another house. 

What I learned is

+ When you least feel you have support, open your eyes wide- there is always someone there for you.

+ No job is worth your self-worth or sanity.

+ Trusting your gut, stepping up and saying “No, this is not for me” is deadly empowering.

+ Living your truth always wins.

+ Walking through a door when the other side is pitch black and you don’t know what’s there is frightening and exhilarating all at once.

+ When you take a risk and trust, the universe will have your back.

+ Opportunities you could never have imagined previously appear and your life will be transformed.

+ Nothing is worse than living a life you hate because you’re too afraid to change.

After I finished working there and stayed with my friend for a month.

  • The perfect home came my way. It had all the things my other home was missing for the same price.
  • I met my partner.
  • I discovered a new career in coaching and found the most supportive course (I feel) is available to study with.

This has opened my world to incredible possibilities, to new fascinating people and as a result two (almost three) new careers.

+ I’m almost half way through my counselling degree

+ A qualified Life Coach

+ A business mentor assisiting people to create alignment between their self and business

+ I share my experiences with essential oils with people to support low toxic solutions for their home and emotional health and mentor a team of gorgeous souls to expand their businesses.

Life is good. It flows with ease and I am happy.

View More: http://inkandivory.pass.us/casandrasmithThe point of sharing my story is I want you to know you don’t have to stay small.

You have choices. You could absolutely choose to stay where you are… it might be comfortable for you, as in at least you know what tomorrow brings… every day of your life.

Or you may choose to open your eyes and mind to endless possibilities and begin to live a life that sets your soul on fire, that lights you up in ways you may have never dreamed.

All of my coaching clients have been in a position where they have felt stuck, they know they desire change but just don’t know where to begin. My series assists them to work through what it is they truly would love their life to be.

I guide them from personal experience and an innate belief that we all have within in us the power to change our situations, particularly with a little support. I encourage you if you are seeking change to talk to someone. Share you dreams, it is the beginning of opening your mind. You deserve to live your best life.

Much love,

Casandra xo

My break-up with alcohol

Two years ago I had a fall out with alcohol. It was one of those break ups you have like the one with your first love that is painful, on-again off-again.

I’d just broken up with my fiancée two weeks earlier. I was weaning myself off anti-depressants, it was my first night out partying with friends. I lost control.

For the record- large amounts of alcohol and anti depressants don’t mix. They turn you into a monster.

Meryl Streep2

It didn’t end there either, my new found freedom led to a year of partying, letting off steam, ‘enjoying’ the freedom that comes from being a single 35 year old woman. Alcohol was the socially expected norm.

Until I realised my morning-after sorrow, regret, severe anxiety that could last for days was a result of the alcohol beating up my sensitive system. I was hopeless, unproductive, lethargic- I was a mess and I was hiding this from the world.

So I started to pull back. It took almost another year though to work through the mind-fuck that goes with beginning to choose not to drink.

It would seem everyone drinks and if you don’t, it can become an issue.

“Let’s catch up for a drink” (it’s never ‘a’ drink). Sunday afternoons = drinks, Lunch = ‘a’ wine. And when you decide you don’t want to drink alcohol people don’t know what to do with you.

If you’re choosing not to drink alcohol you better have a good excuse why.

I’ve said “no more”, and a friend will arrive back at the table with a drink for me regardless. I’ve said “Let’s catch up for a coffee” the response is “Let’s go to ‘X Bar for Happy Hour”. So when I started saying no enough the invites to hang out at all slowed until they pretty much stopped.

What I’ve learned is when you no longer want to drink alcohol your friends don’t know what to do with you.

I had this realisation on the back-end of being at an incredible retreat at the end of last year– People throw the word intoxication around like it’s nothing, like it’s just a state of beingjust like being happy, or sad is a state of being. Getting drunk or wasted has become a goal and is celebrated.

As a society we have become blasé to the meaning of intoxication.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

in·tox·i·ca·tion

: an abnormal state that is essentially a poisoning

: the condition of being drunk : inebriation

Let’s cover that again: an abnormal state that is essentially a poisoning.

Getting fucked up means far more than an idle term to describe a good time… it means you are filling your body with toxins so severely that your body cannot function well enough to be able to perform its’ basic duties e.g. speak properly, maintain clear thoughts and judgements, walk properly, operate a vehicle etc. etc.

And this is what equates to a good time?

Even more so this is what we teach our children being social and having a good time is all about.

Since this awakening, change in perspective- call it what you will… around the consumption of alcohol I’ve had, so many people have shared their alcohol stories with me.

It’s ruining relationships. It’s ruining peoples’ lives.
It’s destroying peoples’ bodies. It’s breaking up families.

Men are ostracised horrendously within social groups for not drinking. They are called all sorts of degrading and humiliating names that more often than not they drink to avoid the ‘shame’. Alcoholics are forced to explain their disease- which is no one’s business- to get people to back off- and then the stigma starts with that. Even if your reason is you are driving people will still say, “One won’t hurt..”.

I’m not sure why this is. Maybe deep down we all know drinking to excess is not good for us, so when one person bucks the trend it reminds us and we feel a little guilty? So to make the guilt go away we pressure (all in jest) the abstainee to get involved…?

Muhammad Ali

With such a growing awareness around health and exercise, about the food we put into our bodies, it just floors me the amount of ‘healthy’ people that are still choosing to poison their bodies by overindulging with alcohol.

At what point will we wake up to it’s true dangers and stop thinking we don’t have a problem?

Since I’ve pulled back from drinking I’ve been clearer, focussed and aware. I’m achieving things I never thought possible and opportunities are showing up for me in ways that blow my mind every day. I’m the happiest I have ever been.

Just some food for thought….

Love Cas xo

In light of all this I’ll be honest, on the very very rare occasion these days I may have a drink, maybe two – what I find though is my body can’t cope, and I really just can’t do it to myself anymore than that any more. 

 

The Value of Saying THANK YOU

happy-people

How often we get caught up in life, the duties of day to day and forget to stop and take notice of what is going on around us. Or should I say WHO is around us.

I’m a big advocate for Gratitude, which is likely to be a common theme in my writing. Lately though I’ve been thinking a lot more about people, and how we can take our loved ones for granted so easily.

This could be our partner, our children, our parents, or our dearest friends… everyone in our life.

Our partner is always there. We both have responsibilities to keep the house running, work, cleaning, looking after kids and/or pets; that so often we forget to stop and SEE each other, connect to each other, appreciate and value each other.

We can get tired from all the “Have To Do’s”, pissed off with him for not picking up his goddamn undies off the floor and putting them in the basket, or her leaving makeup in the bathroom sink.

In my experience this is where resentment builds. It takes over and before long more of the little things they do that annoy you become your focus and they can’t do anything right.

But what if we took the focus off those things and redirected our energy towards things they do that support you?

Or better still, what if we asked ourselves –

How am I showing up for them?

What can I do to celebrate them that would make them feel loved and appreciated?

When we change our focus and turn the spotlight

on a person’s positive traits and good intentions,

and let go of the fact they do things differently to us,

things start to change.

You SEE them.

And when you acknowledge them, show gratitude and say thank you,

They begin to SEE you.

It’s the same with our children. We have so much responsibility for them, feeding them, ensuring they are clean, healthy, taken to school & extra activities, entertained- the list is never ending, but how often do we stop and thank them?

What would our life be like if we didn’t have them?

Ok, so we could be on a beach with a margarita in hand, but all jokes aside,

When was the last time you thanked your child for being them?

I know I surely don’t do it often enough. In fact my son (13.5) went through such an enormous growth spurt in the last 2 years, hormones were crazy- off the charts, I often joked at least one of us- if not both- may not come out of his teenage years alive!

This wasn’t good enough,something had to give. I changed my focus.

I started to pay attention to him, really tune in.

He is funny and smart, he tries hard to do the right thing, he has a fierceness that stands true to his beliefs, and he’s pretty fricken cool.

Once I stopped and really began paying attention to him and made more effort to thank him for the things he did for me – despite I may have had to ask 10 times initially {insert eye-roll}… When I drew attention to his positive qualities, praised him more – he calmed down, he began to be more appreciative of me, he started to TALK and SHARE and engage with me. He started to LISTEN. He started to say thank you to me.

And it did not cost a cent. There were no expensive bribes. It was just a matter of truly acknowledging him, showing him appreciation, paying attention, and revealing to him – “I see YOU”.

compliment-people

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman is a great resource if you don’t know how your partner or child best require love to be given to them. Each of us have our own love language, our own way we like to be loved, and if you are aware of your loved ones primary love language you have the opportunity to enhance your relationships ten-fold. Follow this link to do a quick quiz to discover your love language and have your loved one do the same.

I’ve put together a loved-ones-gratitude-worksheet that I hope you find useful for creating awareness for how you can best show gratitude to your loved ones.

Love Cas xo

If you would like to chat with me about this post, please connect with me by leaving a comment below or saying hello at hello@casandrasmith.com.au

Choosing to Focus on the Good

happiness-isThere have been so many posts on social media the last few days about what a terrible year 2016 was and how 2017 is going to be THE year for new beginnings.

Numerology tells us yes, 2017 is the first year of a 9 year cycle & therefore we have the cosmos cheering us on to start fresh.

However this gripe about ‘the worst year ever’ is something I’ve read or heard almost every year at the end of the year for many years now!

“When you make a choice, you change your future.” Deepak Chopra

It’s had me pondering… Why do we remember and/or focus on the bad and not savour, celebrate & remember our highs, our achievements, our good times?

Without the yin there is no yang,

Without the light there is no shade,

Without the hard times we wouldn’t be pushed to try harder to succeed, to make things better, to be better, and to want more.

One of my favourite authors Paulo Coelho shared this story on Facebook today…

My wife and I were reflecting on the past year, whilst dining at a restaurant.

I started to complain about something that hadn’t happened the way I wanted it to.

My wife focused her attention on a Christmas tree that someone put there. I thought that she wasn’t interested in the conversation, so I changed the subject:

“This tree has a beautiful illumination”, I said.                              

“Yes, but if you look carefully you can see one burnt light among dozens. It seems to me that instead of thinking of this year as dozens of enlightened blessings, you chose to look at the one light that did not glow”.

How often we do that without realising…

Being on the rollercoaster of life and trusting the ebb & flow- the journey- isn’t always easy. Trust me I’ve been on that ride many times!

Over the years though I’ve collected a little group of tools I’ve put in my go-to box to help lift me back up.

When I’m going through a rough time or I’m in a bit of a rut one of the tools I go to is my Gratitude Journal. I like to keep a daily journal of 5-10 things I’m grateful for, & as woo woo as it sounds… it really does work!

Having a regular gratitude ritual is a scientifically proven method of enhancing a person’s wellbeing & frame of mind. Making the good things in our life our focus allows & attracts more of the good to enter our life.

No matter how small: clean running water, a bright sunny day, food to eat, rain to nourish & replenish nature, a stranger smiling at you in the street.

This great video by Kristina Kuzmic goes into this a little more….

I try to remind myself when I become aware that I’m slipping into a ‘poor me’ state that there is always someone going through worse than me.

In a world where we are constantly shown real life stories through the media, I am forever in awe of those who suffer hard, really have been dealt the rough card, & despite (or in spite of) foster a positive, inspiring attitude to life & go on to achieve incredible things.

We all have that potential… it’s just about choosing your mindset.

Love Cas xo

“Where the mind goes, the man follows.” Joyce Meyer

If you would like to chat with me about this post, please connect with me by leaving a comment below or saying hello at cas@casandralee.com.au

More about Gratitude Journals:

My First Retreat

stillness-retreat-group-picture

Byron Bay Stillness Project Retreat November 2016

I’d never been on a retreat before. I’d dreamed about it, put it on my vision board and said “one day”. Earlier this year I gifted myself and booked in to the November Stillness Project Byron Bay retreat and I feel amazing!

I am back in my body, conscious of choosing foods that align with fuelling my body for wellness and vitality. Previous to the retreat I was making choices with food that was not supportive for my body or overall health, I was stuck on the treadmill of life unable to break from the clutches of my own limiting beliefs, laziness and lack of motivation.

The retreat re-set me. Four days of stillness- well sort of. Lots of yoga and meditation, and some workshops with the inspiring Tom Cronin, beautiful vegan food prepared morning, lunch and evening by Veet’s Cuisine, which meant my laziness could run free… I didn’t have to think about what I was going to eat nor did I need to feel guilty for making less than great choices- there was no option!

I had the break I required to stop, contemplate and incorporate change

The retreat led by Tom and his colleague Fiorella Kis-Major encompassed a supportive atmosphere that allowed you to let go, immerse yourself in the uncomfortable and look at your belief systems, what was holding you back and where did you want to go from here. The process was life-changing. Every person left a new and improved version of themselves.

I met gorgeous people– 23 in fact, that are all on a similar path to me, and that really made my soul sing! In my life there are very few people who understand me, but at this retreat there were lots. Every person had an inspiring story and all are on the path of self-discovery for living their soul purpose, just like me! It has inspired me to seek out more souls like this on the Sunshine Coast to create connections to ensure I stay connected to my purpose.

Since returning home, I have mostly maintained the momentum.

  • Meditation first thing is not negotiable- even my boyfriend is joining with me- previous to the retreat I used him as an excuse (without even consulting him). I told myself I couldn’t meditate first thing because I wanted to savour the few minutes in the morning with him before he left for work and he wouldn’t want to do it with me. SO NOT TRUE. Just another excuse SMASHED. He’s loving it! And I’m loving being able to share this time with him.
  • I’m conscious. It’s not like I was a walking zombie pre-retreat, but I was excuse making, lethargic and cloudy. My ego and mean girl were in control. The retreat has gifted me with tools to follow through and lean on at home.
  • I’m aware of my thoughts. Man, my limiting beliefs are rife! But now I’m prepared to recognise and let them go. I have a vision for how I want my life to be and there isn’t any stupid little thought going to get in my way.

What I learned is we make so many excuses every day for not showing up for ourselves

The little voice inside whispering for us to connect gets pushed away because we are too busy, too tired, too hungry, too broke, too whatever. We go through our day on auto-pilot doing just enough to get by. When really all it takes is sometimes just 1 minute a few times throughout the day to take a deep breath, close your eyes and ask,

“Spirit what would you like me to know/do now?”

Love Cas xo

If you would like to chat with me about this post, please connect with me by leaving a comment below or saying hello at cas@casandralee.com.au

For more information on the Stillness Project Retreats click here.