Happy Wednesday (or Thursday if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere) Dreamers! In today’s Wild Heart interview, we’re delving deep into the life of Caitlin Cady. A beautiful souled mystic reigning from Oregon U.S.A, who with her Husband, chose to raise a family and build a life in Byron Bay, Australia. She is the ultimate super mum, friend, mentor, and someone who inspires me on so many different levels. You’ll see why! To get the ball rolling I wanted to share an amazing excerpt from her blog – which by the way you must check out:
Hi, I’m Caitlin.
I live in a little cottage in Byron Bay, Australia with my one big love, our two 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 color (more fire). I feel like (raw, organic) chocolate should be its 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 lip gloss? Full moon ritual for a fresh start? I’m your girl.
Underneath it all, who is Caitlin Cady?
Well…ultimately that remains to be seen! I think our lives are spent scraping back the layers to reveal our most essential self. But what always seems to shine through is that I’m fierce and fiery, endlessly curious and happiest when I’m creating, lion hearted and loyal as they come. My 72-year-old dad Dad recently told me I’m “part poetry, part hip-hop.” And I think that’s pretty accurate.
How does a tie-dyed tiger ranch girl from Oregon end up settling (for now) in a sleepy surfy hippy town of Byron Bay, Australia?
By taking leaps of faith, following my heart, and other cliches like that. Ha! Truly though, I’ve always been adventurous, willing to pack up and go somewhere new. The short story is that after my parents split, I moved to St. Louis with my Mama, then to California to go to uni, then a couple years after graduation I moved to Seattle. In early 2009 I reconnected with an old boyfriend (thank you, Facebook!) that I’d dated in the Cayman Islands when I was 18. He was living in New Zealand and by May I was on a plane to NZ for a visit. He’s now my husband so needless to say, we hit it off…all over again. I ended up moving to NZ a couple months later. Eventually, we moved to Byron Bay for a business opportunity and we’ve been here for over 6 years now.
Where has your curiosity taken you so far?
Everywhere good. Seriously. I’m intensely curious – I feel like it’s the driving force in my life actually. Curiosity is what stirs our soul, prompts us to ask questions, sends us seeking for answers. Curiosity has made me a student of life. If you’re truly, deeply, insatiably curious you are always WILLING. Willing to try something new, willing to get on a plane, willing to take a hard look at yourself or your habits. Willing to experiment. Willing to ask questions, willing to explore, willing to be wrong. Curiosity is honestly the greatest gift.
My parents were really instrumental in encouraging my curiosity. Because of them and the way they valued exploration, I went on grand adventures from a young age – from camping on the coast of Oregon to African safaris, surfing in Fiji and studying in India, cycling through Croatia and chasing my one big love all the way to New Zealand.
Curiosity has also been the driving force behind my inner explorations. It’s given me the fuel and fortitude to battle through an eating disorder and depression. It’s motivated me to heal from chronic illness, to study yoga, to learn about health and wellness. In short, curiosity has driven me to be a student of life, to experiment and to write about what I find, which, has been deeply satisfying for me and as it turns out also useful for other people (major bonus!). In other words, my curiosity has helped me be of service to others, which is the ultimate.
What are 4 things in life you’re most grateful for today?
My husband Loren and our sweet babies, Oliver, Isla and Hanalei.
How has traveling/living out of the States changed you? What growth experiences have you learned from it?
Living in India for 4 months at the age of 17 cracked me open. That was absolutely incredible. I lived in Varanasi which at the time was still very traditional and conservative so I really had an authentic experience. I studied, I taught, I traveled. It was achingly beautiful and also immensely challenging at times. Spiritually it was my jam – the reverence and ritual woven into everyday life. The mingling with the divine, the ancientness of everything. But there were also some really confronting experiences – witnessing cremation pyres on the ghats of the Ganges – looking death in the eye like that is something we don’t do much in the West. And also the gender roles were really hard for me to get my head around – the expectation of modesty (not being able to go for a run in workout clothes, much less by myself) and the sense that my body was anyone’s for the taking (being repeatedly groped in busy markets or festivals). As much as women are objectified in the U.S. there is also an autonomy and a closer approximation to equality that I really took for granted.
But to be honest, it was going home to the U.S. that was more of the culture shock. I remember landing at LAX and wandering around the airport with hennaed hands, sporting a shawar kamis and just being wide-eyed. How clean, how spacious, how orderly. But also sterile and soulless.
Living in New Zealand and Australia presents less dramatic differences. Generally, it’s pretty similar. But even still I do feel like an alien here sometimes. It’s the little things- the contextual things, the cultural references. Sometimes I say things here and my Australian friends are like…HUH?! When I go home and I crack a joke I’m like, YES, MY PEOPLE, MY PEOPLE, YOU FEEL ME. And of course, you get homesick for things that are special about your home country. For me that’s: excellent customer service, hip-hop, tacos, free shipping and free returns (srsly, get on board Australia), salads, iced tea, the word “y’all,” unlimited internet plans, and…of course, my family.
How does raising children in different parts of the world affect them in the long run?
You know, that’s a great question and it remains to be seen for us. Our kids are still so young (4 years, 2 years and 5 weeks old) so it’s hard to say. I think the biggest thing is being so far away from family. All I can say is thank Buddha for FaceTime. It makes a huge difference in creating continuity in the relationships our kids have with their grandparents, aunts, and uncles because they can see them so regularly.
Ultimately, my hope is that our kids are citizens of the world and that they have a sense of community and responsibility both locally and globally. Because they have multiple citizenships, I hope they’ll take advantage of the options they have and be free to explore the many paths available to them.
Where is one destination you feel most like yourself?
Oh, that’s a tough one. The redwood forests of Oregon and California are very special to me. New Zealand will always feel like home. But also, Hawaii is my happy place. Loren proposed there, we married there and we go back every year. We love it.
Who or what inspires you?
My kids inspire me on a very fundamental level – to show up as my best and never leave any parenting potential on the table. Parenting is high stakes and these kids are life’s greatest gift so I always want to show up with as much presence as possible.
Also: meditation. It’s a gold mine for creative resourcing.
What makes you come alive?
Superfood hot chocolate. Ha. But really. It’s my secret weapon.
What is your purpose?
Wow. Big question. I’m still fine tuning this but…. To honor my instincts, intuitions, and inspirations. To create with joy. To lift the lives of others by relating and sharing consciously, courageously and generously. To love big, live light and laugh hard.
If you could only eat 5 foods for the rest of your life what would they be?
I’m going to be super specific. Chai from the Roadhouse in Byron Bay, the West Hollywood Salad from the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel, spicy tuna poke bowl from the Dolphin Fish Market in Hanalei, Kauai, CocoWhip from BSKT cafe in Mermaid Beach, Sushi cone from Doma Cafe in Federal. Boom. Party in your mouth!
What does your morning routine look like?
At the moment, my routine is not a routine because I have a newborn baby who is the Boss Of Me. But when she’s a bit older I’ll get back to my regularly scheduled program which looks like this: I wake up early – ideally around 5:30 – for a morning sadhana including yoga, pranayama, meditation, gratitude, and journaling. It’s dark, the world is quiet, the babies are sleeping. There’s nowhere else I need to be and I can establish myself in myself for the day ahead. That usually takes an hour or an hour and a half. From there, I usually have fresh lemon in warm water (drink with a straw!), then breakfast and a cup of tea or my aforementioned superfood hot chocolate.
Self-care, self-love, self-worth. What do these terms mean to you and why are they so important?
Self-care is sacred. Self-care is self-love in action. Self-love is effortless if you have self-worth. For more on that, read this: https://caitlincady.com/blogs/blog/sacred-self-care
Confidence or courage – what’s more useful?
I love this question! I actually think they are synonymous. Confidence and courage are essentially trust. Trusting yourself. Trusting life. Trusting that you’ll be okay, no matter what. If you trust yourself, you back yourself. If you back yourself, you don’t let fear get the better of you. So you show up, even if it’s hard or scary. And showing up takes confidence and courageousness. My final thought would be – make sure your confidence and your courage are seated in your heart (spirit, soul), not your head (ego). Then you’ll know it’s the real deal.
How did you first connect with meditation? How has it impacted your overall well-being?
If we’re already acquainted you’ll probably already know my wellness story. But if you’re just tuning in, I’ll bring you up to speed in twenty words or less: eating disorder, depression, mononucleosis, Epstein Barr virus, Dengue Fever, and the crowning jewel in my body-bashing manifestations, chronic Lyme Disease.
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 course of 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 despite all my healthy eating, supplements, treatments, et al., the Lyme Disease continually resurfaced. Something was missing from my heal-thyself strategy.
I’d tried everything. Or I thought I had. Ironically, the last piece of the wellness 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.
I say simply, though it has wasn’t easy. It’s an ongoing commitment, a perpetual 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.
If you’re interested in more on this, get in touch on my website or sign up for my email list- there are some exciting things in the works for my peeps who are keen to establish a meditation practice. 🙂
Key ingredients for upgrading your life & living your full potential?
Make time for a morning ritual. Meditate. Be grateful. Show up. Tell the truth. Shine bright.
What does creativity mean to you? What does your creative process look like?
Creativity is everything to me. Making things has always been my purest joy. I feel most fulfilled, most satisfied, most alive when I’m making something and sharing it with the world.
But in some ways I really feel it isn’t me at all- I feel like a vehicle for the spark of inspiration to be born through. If you haven’t read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, check it out and holla back. She describes this so well, but basically, it’s a sense that we are just channels for creative expression. For example, when I write something I read it later and have sort of a creative amnesia. Sometimes I read what I wrote and go, “Where did that come from?”
Best hacks to take control of, and master your thoughts?
Meditate errrrday. Krishna Das said “Do practice while you can. You’ll need it when you can’t.” In other words, establish a daily practice so that you have resources and tools to call upon when Life Happens.
How do the people who we surround ourselves with affect us?
This is huge. HUGE. I’m sure you’ve all read that quote by Jim Rohn, “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” I believe that. Except instead of speaking in sums and averages, I’d say this: Life is all about resonance. It’s our nature as human beings to resonate with what surrounds us. We want to relate, we want to connect and we want to make others feel comfortable. So what that means is if you’re hanging with people who are doing low vibe things then you’re going to vibrate on that level with them. And if you surround yourself with people who are vibrating higher, you’re going to rise up and meet them there. So be conscious of who you surround yourself with. Notice how you feel around them. Do you feel inspired? Deeply connected? Uplifted? Like you can be you? Like you are loved? If the answer is yes, feed these relationships. If the answer is no, it’s time for an upgrade. In short: If it burns you out, cut it out. If it lights you up, feed the flame.
Let’s imagine you are guest speaking on a podcast and every 15-year-old girl in the whole world has earphones on eagerly listening in, what nuggets of wisdom would you share?
Oh, my goodness.
If you had a week left to live how would you fill your time?
Staring into the eyes of my babies, touching their cheeks, whispering stories of how I pulled them down from the stars.
I couldn’t possibly narrow it down to one ultimate favorite but here is one that is particularly useful. I heard Marianne Williamson say this on the Beautiful Writers Podcast and I think it’s an absolutely brilliant quote that you can use to really check in with how you’re showing up: “In any given moment, am I rising to the occasion? Am I being ethical? Am I being impeccable? Am I being loving? Am I being of service? Am I being of use? Or am I grasping and controlling and trying to get? It’s really that mental practice, that mental discipline, am I coming from what I can give or am I coming from what I can get? Am I living in the past or am I living in the future? Am I trying to control someone else or am I respecting where other people are?”
Any interview of Nadine Artemis – her appearances on the Rewild podcast is particularly useful if you’re interested in natural beauty products and holistic self-care. Also, Tara Brach and Guru Singh drop knowledge like it’s hot.
I’m a bookworm so this is tough, but here are some essential reads: Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Desires by Rod Stryker, The Desire Map by Danielle Laporte, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
What legacy do you hope to leave?
I hope to offer my children tools they can use to navigate their lives with ease and grace and joy. Mindfulness, a holistic connection to spirit and to the natural world, the impulse to be of service, deep trust in their instincts, respect for their bodies, and always, always, a sense of humor.
Where can we follow your journey on social?
@caitlincady on insta and facebook.com/caitcady
Last, but not least, what is your definition of success?