Interview With Caitlin Nowland From Wabi Sabi Well

Interview With Caitlin Nowland From Wabi Sabi Well

I have only recently discovered the gorgeous girls from Wabi Sabi Well and have been diving into all the goodness that you can find on their website.

Today I am bringing you my interview with Caitlin Nowland, one half of the beauty and brains behind this revolutionary mixture of yoga, meditation and personal training.  I wanted to share Caitlin’s story with you as I love how raw and honest she is with sharing her own personal journey of self-healing with her body.  We both hope you enjoy it as well.  So let’s dive in …

For my readers who may not know you I’d love for you to start by telling us who you are, what you do and how you are making a big impact in the world right now?

I’m originally from the U.S. but I now live in Byron Bay, Australia with my husband Loren and our two little wildlings, Oliver and Isla and our dog Tui. Along with my business partner Brieann, I am co-creator of Wabi-Sabi Well– a comprehensive, holistic formula fusing metabolism-boosting movement, yoga, mindfulness, bioenergetic techniques, meditation and deep relaxation. The method integrates not just the physical, but also the emotional and spiritual elements to help you reconnect and return to a healthy state of balance, harmony and well being.

I’m really interested in knowing where the name Wabi Sabi Well came from. Can you share with us what Wabi Sabi means and how you integrate the philosophy behind it’s meaning into the work that you do?

Yes! The word wabi-sabi is steeped in meaning. Here’s the scoop. Back in the day, (we’re talking 16th century) a Japanese Tea Master named Sen no Rikyu tasked his son with tending to the garden. The boy undertook the assignment with zeal, cleaning up all of the debris in the garden, polishing each stone, raking the ground until it was flawless, tidy. Perfect. Rikyu stepped back and surveyed his son’s work. Rikyu approached a cherry tree and shook it so that a few bright blossoms spilled randomly, disheveling the perfectly manicured garden. This is the spirit of wabi-sabi. Striking a balance between immaculate perfection and the authenticity and natural beauty of imperfection.

Wabi stems from the root “wa” and refers to harmony, peace, tranquility and balance. Poetically, it means simple and in tune with nature. Sabi translates to “the bloom of time.” Wabi-sabi then, is the art of seeing beauty in impermanence and imperfection – in revering authenticity above all else.

Wabi-Sabi Well is our business name, but it also describes our philosophy and way of being in the world. It’s a willingness to accept things as they are and find wisdom in nature. It is an invitation to shift your focus from doing to being, from perfecting to embracing, from conflict to connection. It’s a clarion call to loosen your grip and reframe the way you see yourself and the world around you. We believe that it’s the secret to a lasting, harmonious relationship with yourself.

You have obviously discovered the key to your own physical, emotional and spiritual wellness. But I know that you have had quite a journey, particularly with your body, to get to the place you are at now. Can you share with us a little bit about your story and what drove you to dive deep into the world of health and wellness?

Like everyone, my backstory has a lot to do with the path that I’m on. Like so many girls, 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 grades were 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.

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. 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… 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. 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 life.

What would you say the hardest part of your journey was and what work did you need to do to overcome this?

Slowing down, stressing less, trusting more. 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. For me meditation is absolutely key.

What do you believe the ‘key’ to healing is?

Finding the underlying cause of your pain. You have to feel it to heal it. As author Rhonda Britten puts it, “the feeling you’re afraid to feel is running your life.” I believe that the antidote to any negative feeling is to feel it completely, acknowledge it, invite it in for tea. Hold space, raise the curtain and give the feeling the mic. Listen and watch as it begins to loosen, open up and eventually dissolve. Once we can begin to identify these stories and feelings we’ve locked away and bring them into the light and look them in the eye we’re on the way to healing. This may sound like I’m speaking specifically to emotional pain but I believe that our physical pain is inextricably linked to our emotions and history.

If you could give my readers, who may be just starting out on their own healing journey, one piece of advice what would it be?

Just one! That’s tough. I’m going to cheat and give three small pieces:

1. Be holistic in your approach. Nothing is isolated, everything is connected.

2. Get a second opinion, and/or seek out help from healers that will empower your and help you address your illness or pain holistically.

3. Just. Start. Don’t get overwhelmed and give up. Start small. Listen to your intuition and pick something that feels both promising and manageable.

What truly inspires you in both your life and your work?

The inspiration in doing this work is two-fold. First, the inner work. Wabi-Sabi well was essentially born out of necessity- and it has continued to grow and evolve that way. This work is representative of a personal evolution- well two personal evolutions really! Brieann’s and mine. It’s directly born out of our own learnings, experimentations and explorations into what really works for us. So our process of creating and sharing Wabi-Sabi Well is inextricably linked to our own growth and learning. It’s a constant evolution and I do it because I love it. Because I can’t not do it. I feel compelled, cellularly. I’m naturally curious and I hunger to learn more, to expand, to evolve. So I do it because to me, our individual journeys of evolution are the most profound acts of creation. The evolution the Self is an adventure that is rich with possibility and that prospect totally ignites me.

The second point of inspiration is bringing the work out into the world and sharing our creations. It’s an honour and an incredible privilege. I want Wabi-Sabi Well to be a resource for people to tap into and it’s incredibly inspiring and affirming when people write to us to share the impact that Wabi-Sabi Well has had on them- that spurs us on to keep rolling.

And if my readers would love to connect with you and support you in the work you do, where is the best place for them to start?

Thank you! Brieann and I would love to connect with your readers. Our website is wabisabiwell.com and it’s loaded with articles, workout videos, meditations, recipes, ritual guides and more. We’ve also just launched our online Shop, which is really exciting- our workouts and meditations are available to purchase so you can download and keep them. If you’re looking for a more personalised experience you can also book in for private online personal training sessions with Brieann or have us design an affordable at-home Total Transformation program for you. You can also find us over on Instagram and Facebook.

Caitlin and I both hope you loved this interview.  We would love it if you could leave us a comment below and let us know what was your favourite take-away piece from what Caitlin has shared with you today.  And if you know of anyone who you think would love to know more about Caitlin and Wabi Sabi Well then please feel free to share this interview with them.

Professional Bio:

Caitlin from Wabi Sabi WellMama, student of life, undocumented yogi, and wellbeing whizz, Caitlin Nowland lives in beautiful Byron Bay, Australia with her husband Loren and their two little wildlings, Oliver and Isla. Caitlin is co-creator of Wabi-Sabi Well.

Interview with Amanda Coneyworth from Gorgeous Presence

Interview with Amanda Coneyworth from Gorgeous Presence

This month I had the pleasure of interviewing a good friend of mine, Amanda Coneyworth from Gorgeous Presence. Amanda is a self-confessed type-A perfectionist, gym-junkie, Bikram yogi, kamikaze netballer, wannabe golfer, health food experimentalist, amateur photographer, Bali lover and Lorna Jane addict. But above all Amanda has a heart of gold, strong values and a beautiful message about that she is sharing with the world through her work.

Amanda is on a mission to inspire professional women to be their happiest and healthiest self with practical tips to get organised and take control of their finances. An accountant in the busy corporate world, she knows first-hand the challenges women face to prioritise their wellbeing and is passionate about changing this mindset.

I know I have learnt a lot from Amanda and I know you will too.

For my readers who may not know you I’d love for you to start by telling us who you are, what you do and how you are making a big impact in the world right now.

I am a thirty-something year old Chartered Accountant hailing from Sydney’s southern beaches. I have spent the last 13 years helping businesses in financial difficulty, as well as being a teacher and mentor in the industry. Based on my experience in the “busy” corporate world, I am on a mission to inspire professional women to be their happiest and healthiest self with practical tips to get organised, take control of their finances and create space in their lives to do more of what they love.

We have often talked about how you are really aware of the first-hand challenges that women face to prioritise their wellbeing and that you are passionate about changing this mindset. Can you tell us a little more about what wellbeing means to you and also give us some practical tips on how we can change our mindset around this?

My idea of “wellbeing” has certainly changed over the years. I used to think it was spending hours at the gym doing cardio to get skinny, which makes me cringe now!

Over the past few years I have journeyed into the world of self-development, spirituality, yoga, meditation, self-love, eating whole foods, using products that are natural and lifting weights at the gym. As a result, my body has transformed and my mind has become resilient and strong.

My understanding of what “wellness” means has evolved into a lifestyle that inspires and energises me to be my best self and to help others on their own journey. I approach my days differently and consciously prioritise my health and wellness (well try to anyway!).

If you are like my former self and only consider wellbeing as staying fit and skinny, my tip is start thinking bigger. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • If I had unlimited time and money, what would I choose to do in life? What excuses am I currently making to avoid doing the things I love?
  • How is my body currently feeling? What is it craving in terms of food and movement? What is my body actually trying to tell me?
  • What tasks and areas of my life are currently draining my energy? How can I automate those tasks and make them more efficient so that I can create more space in my day?

Being honest with your answers will immediately direct your awareness to certain areas and thoughts that can be easily changed. This is start of your journey to a better life!

I also know that you are someone who listens to the messages your body is sending you and has learnt what these messages mean. How do you find your body responds when life gets busy and what lessons have you learnt from this?

My wellness practice has made me so aware of the messages my body is sending me, that’s for sure! I know I am stressed when my shoulders become tight and my tummy bloats after a meal! I tend to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders and my posture deteriorates.

During these times, I have to remind myself to take things down a notch at work and the gym. Most importantly, I have to remind myself to drink more water and get more sleep (thanks Nicola)!

I talk a lot about prioritising being less busy and increasing our self care as a way of healing our body, learning to quiet our mind and leading healthier, happier lives. We have both talked a lot about how this isn’t easy to always do (especially with our personalities!), so I would love for you to share with my readers about why you believe this is so important and the consequences you’ve experienced when you haven’t prioritised this yourself.

Being a perfectionist and high achiever means that I am constantly on the lookout for ways to better myself, do MORE and be MORE to others. Unfortunately this means that I have taken on commitments at the expense of leaving space in my day for relaxation, self-care and sleep.

Whilst I did a fabulous job at progressing my career and learning new things, being a “yes!” woman caused me to become very stressed. I got sick and started to resent the position I had put myself in. I became frustrated that I wasn’t able to put 100% into each commitment, even though my 90% was more than enough. I completely lost control of my time and freedom, which were the two things I was trying so hard to achieve, funnily enough.

Experiencing this type of stress has made me realise that I don’t need to prove myself to anyone, especially myself. There is no point spending your whole life pushing so hard that you don’t have the space to feel grateful and enjoy each day. As Nicola has mentioned, the way we spend our days is the way we spend out lives (credit to Katie Lee for this quote). So I realised that needed to shift the focus back on my own health and happiness, otherwise achieving things in life becomes meaningless.

Part of the work that you do is helping women achieve a healthy financial mindset. I completely agree with you in that this is something that women often overlook when it comes to health and wellbeing, but is such an important part of our overall feeling of abundance. Can you tell us a little more about why you believe it’s so important for women to address their financial mindset, and how it can affect us if we ignore this area of our life?

I have spoken to a lot of women about what they think is holding them back from doing what they love, whether it be in business or life, and the two most common responses are – “I don’t have enough time” and “I don’t have enough money”.

Not having enough time is an easy enough excuse to make when our days are full of inefficiencies and energy-zapping tasks. As Katie Lee says in her book, The Effortless Everyday, there are many ways that we can create more space in our day. We just have to get to the core of the issue and make tweaks to the way we do things.

Our mindset towards money is a completely different issue. It is all about awareness and overcoming fear. As an accountant, I take it for granted that I spend my days thinking about cash flows and bank balances, but most people (women especially) have no idea what they spend each month! Of course there will never be enough money if you don’t know what “enough” is!

The excuses that women use are that it is “too hard” or “boring” or “scary” to understand their finances. The problem is that approaching your finances from a place of fear can have a negative effect on the abundance your experience in other areas of your life, whether that is your health, happiness or relationships.

To overcome this fear, I tell women to keep it simple and start tracking their monthly income and expenditure (personal and business). Maintaining a budget makes it very easy to identify opportunities to reduce or reallocate spending.

Once you have the awareness, you can find the space in your budget to do what you love, even if it takes a period of time to get there. This creates a shift from having a limiting mindset to one of abundance, and once you create abundance in one area of your life it has a ripple effect on other areas. It really is that simple!

What do you believe the ‘key’ to healing is?

Firstly, it requires you to be aware that you have a choice. If you are feeling injured or unwell, healing requires you to choose differently, whether that be to go to bed earlier, reduce your workload, start meditating, get moving outside, etc. It goes without saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting things to change! Yet so many people wish for a better life without taking action and wonder why they remain stuck.

Secondly, ask for help! There is always someone out there who has been through a similar experience (that’s you Nicola!), or can give you advice that is impartial. It can be as simple as talking to a friend or partner about how you are feeling – it can really put things into perspective and help you see the situation for what it really is. At times we can be so emotionally invested in our story that we need that objective bystander to remind us of the truth!

If you could give my readers, who may be just starting out on their own healing journey, one piece of advice what would it be?

Don’t try to change everything in one go – that can have the opposite effect! Break it up into manageable steps and form one new habit at a time so that the changes will stick and you don’t feel overwhelmed. Baby steps…

What truly inspires you in both your life and your work?

Helping others by being a role model, whether that is in the workplace, community or simply within my family and circle friends. It gives me great joy to be able to inspire other women to feel empowered in their health and wealth so that they can achieve their true potential.

I also love surrounding myself with other inspiring women and men who are from all backgrounds, professions and locations. It helps me to broaden my perspective on life and appreciate the strengths and skills different people possess. It also reminds me to feel gratitude about my own life and journey.

And if my readers would love to connect with you and support you in the work you do, where is the best place for them to start?

I write over at Gorgeous Presence, where I share practical advice inspired from my own wellness journey, as well as featuring interviews and guest posts from people I love. At the moment my website is simply full of inspirational content, however I am currently working on a few products and courses to help women take control of their finances and health, so make sure you sign up to my newsletter to be the first to know more when the time comes!

You can also connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

www.gorgeouspresence.com.au
https://www.facebook.com/gorgeouspresence?ref=hl
https://www.instagram.com/gorgeouspresence/
https://twitter.com/amandagphillips
https://au.pinterest.com/amandagphillips/

Biography:

Amanda ConeyworthAmanda is on a mission to inspire professional women to be their happiest and healthiest self with practical tips to get organised and take control of their finances. An accountant in the busy corporate world, Amanda knows first-hand the challenges women face to prioritise their wellbeing and she is passionate about changing this mindset.

Amanda proudly admits that she is a Lorna Jane addict and is dedicated to the Move Nourish Believe philosophy. When she’s not in the office, Amanda can be found lifting weights in the gym, practising sweaty Bikram Yoga, taking walks by the beach with Cindy the Dalmatian, photographing everything and anything, trying new healthy recipes and dreaming of holidays in Bali. She loves homemade kombucha, almond mylk…and a good glass of wine!

Amanda writes at Gorgeous Presence where she shares practical advice inspired from her very own health and wellness journey. Amanda wholeheartedly believes that it is possible for everyone to live their best life.