Using Substances to Support Creativity? I’ve Got Something Better… A Clear Mind.

How many times have you heard people discuss their use of substances as opening the door to feeling or experiencing a different state of consciousness? A more innovative, unfiltered mind? Maybe you yourself have tried to alter your state with drugs, alcohol, or food to tap into the free flow of imaginative thought, experiencing something you thought was otherworldly or a new layer of consciousness. You are not alone. Been there, done that! …too many times to count.

The memories which most stick out in my mind: smoking marijuana before seeing The Killers perform during their 2005 Hot Fuss Tour in Oklahoma City and later describing how I really “felt the music” to friends, a lame-as-hell comment (judgment…sorry!) I cringe admitting now. Four years later I was filling my wine glass while working on my Bachelor’s Degree to assist in writing papers, claiming the alcohol “let it flow out of my fingertips and onto the page”. The outcome? Mediocre ideas, illogical ordering and sentence structure, and horrendous punctuation. Needless to say my professors were less than impressed and definitely weren’t praising me for my creativity.

In a more broad context, at the societal level we see the justification of mind-altering experiences as a way to heal and touch into (or escape from) our consciousness with the legalization of marijuana, utilizing LSD to cure the maladjusted mind, and Ayahuaska to “open the consciousness to experience the universe”, not to mention the abundant access to alcohol, tobacco, and refined foods which line every super-market, gas station, and eatery across the nation. It seems obvious there are false notions surrounding the use of substances as keys to accessing the inaccessible. I’m reminded of an instance in which Albert Einstein was offered a drink by a colleague, to which he famously declined by stating, “My mind is my laboratory”.

Another great mind who addressed this issue was Rudolf Steiner in this discourse entitled The Origin and Meaning of Wine. In this he states,

“Wine was that which separated man from everything spiritual. He who takes wine cannot arrive at the spiritual. He can know nothing of Manas, Buddhi, Atma. The whole course of humanity is one of descent and ascent…the direction alcohol guided us – downwards”.

If these two great minds don’t make it clear enough, that consciousness is a gift to be cherished and refined, then take it from modern day creatives who are clean and clear minded such as Steve Jobs, Russell Brand, Daniel Radcliff, Lady Gaga, Eric Clapton, Elton John (I could continue but won’t).

Poignant and hilariously the creators of South Park address this issue in the episode entitled Quest for Ratings. In it the main characters “get high” on cough medicine in order to come up with ideas. Upon waking they revisit their ideas which they had written while intoxicated and Cartman describes what is scratched on the page, “squiggly line, circle”. The extent of the “good ideas” I read in my own pre-sobriety writings.1522609937986

The notion that substances allow one access to more creative states of consciousness is false. In reality, what we are experiencing while altered are glimpses into our subconscious and unconscious mind, not something external and otherworldly at all. Quite the opposite. The experience comes from the mind, and one should develop the mind to the extent where access is unlimited. But doing this takes time and effort which isn’t for those wanting a quick-”fix”, pun intended.

Most clients I see who are recovering from addiction are the most intelligent, hard working individuals I’ve ever met. And I mean that completely and seriously. They know sobriety and habit change take an incredible about of mental energy and effort. There are no days off. Vigilance and longevity are the keys to success. The same effort it takes to change a habit ingrained in our society is the same effort necessary to develop the truly creative consciousness. It isn’t though bypassing the consciousness by use of substances which taps you into a reservoir of creativity. One must utilize the enormity and complexity of the mind to harness ideas. Doing this will lead to clearer, more focused, sustained creative thought, leading to astounding innovations and works of art.

So drop the joint, put down the booze, and start developing your connection to the conscious mind. It will lead you to the depths of the unconscious, a reservoir of creative thought, tapping you into a truly amazing gift; originality.

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What I’m Reading Now; A Bookshelf Confessional of Addiction Recovery, Spirituality, and Erotica

Reading and writing has always played an important role in my life. Growing up my parents read to me each night before bed. My sister, before being able to read words, would create stories based off illustrations, eventually teaching me to do the same. And even before learning the alphabet I began creating stories with my drawings, publishing the first of my works, a story based on a frog named Henry, at age five (in Mrs. Anderson’s kindergarten class we were all published authors).

Although reading is of great value to me, I haven’t always taken the time to sit down and actually do it. Actionless aspiration became the norm in my teens and twenties, placing more importance on drinking, camping, running, school, work, yoga, gardening, skiing, writing – really anything other than reading. Thankfully, with the gift of introspection, this hope of becoming the type of person who relaxes with a book on a Saturday afternoon has become a reality. This change comes at a time I am fully embracing who I am, giving up the need to constantly “do”, and relaxing in the present moment.

The catalyst for this change was a desire, which became a goal, and was achieved with each flip of a page. The book which started my success: The Giver by Lois Lowry which I started in the fourth grade and finished 20 years later. This thought provoking story of breaking conformity at all cost, the ambition to search relentlessly for answers, and to find freedom in the pursuit of life spoke to my naturally-rebellious-self (for more on the topic of rebellion contact my mother). Since creating that goal nearly one year ago I have gone on to finish several books including Unhooked; How to Quit Anything by Susan Shapiro and Dr. Frederick Woolverton, The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson, Recovery; Freedom from Our Addictions by Russell Brand, The Energy of Prayer: How to Deepen Your Spiritual Practice by Thich Nhat Hahn and My Fair Junkie: A Memoir of Getting Dirty and Staying Clean by Amy Dresner. This demonstrates just how powerful it can be to set an intention, create attainable goals and taking action (for more on how ‘Baby Steps’ function in a clinical setting see What About Bob? starting Bill Murray).

What I have found over the year of dedicated page turning is reading is an art form. There are guidelines and etiquette involved. One which we should all adhere to is not ripping out pages, especially at the end of a thrilling scene. If you need to roll a joint or spit your gum out, remember that you’re an adult and to find a some rolling papers or a tissue. Also, don’t be messy with your foods while reading! I can see the curry splattered on the pages of Lord of the Rings now. Do as the Zen Buddhist say, one thing at a time. My last rule happens to be on the list because of those naughty Germans in the 1930’s; Don’t burn books! The lessons learned and the imaginings of the past are all available to us to learn from and are contained on the pages. Take care of them.

Although I do like some rules there are others which I recoil against. Some include reading a book all the way through to the end, independent of whether is sucks or not, reading one book at a time, not marking pages (aka annotating), and the encouragement of swapping, trading, and borrowing.

We learn these rules from teachers, parents, and librarians in our formative years, but I wholeheartedly disagree. I read books like others watch television shows; the chosen subject dependent on mood and energy, one chapter or episode at a time, and moving to the next when desired. If I don’t enjoy reading a book, I simply don’t read it anymore. Continuing to read a book which you don’t enjoy would be like watching the first episode of Westworld, hating it, and continuing to watch the subsequent nine. Hours of your precious time lost. I once read 856 of 936 pages of Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, stopping because I was no longer interested in the events or characters. No shame.

And one book at a time? Heck no! Currently I am in the middle of seven different books on varying topics; Each with its own purpose and energy. This means no matter my mood, I always have something from which to choose.

And why swap, trade, or borrow books? Sure, if you don’t have the money to buy a book, find it at the library or ask a friend for their copy, but if you can (and I’m sure you can!) buy it. Buy the paper or hardback preferably. Hold it in your hands. Ear tag pages, write questions or comments freely in the margins, carry it with you wherever you go. A book is like a boyfriend, you get to know it slowly, and if it’s good, you don’t loan it out to others.

Although I don’t suggest sharing the physical copy of a book, sharing the content can be a wonderful way to connect more deeply with a story, improving comprehension and understanding. I suggest reading aloud with your significant other, sharing a book with a friend, or joining a bookclub in your area. Doing this will allow you to discuss the deeper meaning of the book and how it relates to you, the other person, or society as a whole. It also opens one to meaningful discussions which would not otherwise have been had. What a great way to spend an evening, a road trip, or a morning at the coffee shop; discussing the ideas, cultures, and imaginings of others, past and present.

Basically, whatever you enjoy reading, read it. Nothing is better than a good book. Below is the list of books I’m currently reading, along with what I enjoy about them, and a link for you to find out more information. If you’d like to share what you are reading with me, leave a comment below, email me, or go to my contact page to leave me a message.

Happy Reading!

Lighting Up by Susan Shapiro

This book is a riot! I literally laugh out loud as I’m reading. Susan Shapiro hides nothing as she takes the reader through a rough year of giving up cigarettes, alcohol, gum, and pot. Themes include therapy, sex, addiction, family dynamics, and relationships. I HIGHLY recommend this book!

El plan infinito por Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende es mi autora favorita. Cada carácter que ella se crea yo puedo ver perfectamente en la imaginaria mia. Los caracteres se seguimos durante sus vidas y se conocemos los pensamientos, aspiraciones, y duermos. Esta historia no es diferente. Se sigue la familia Reeves en su viaje a California durante la segunda guerra mundial. Después que el papa de la familia se enfermó, la familia establecieron en un barrio hispano en Los Ángeles. Ellos encontraron amigos nuevos y encontraron una pasión para justicia social.

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

I picked this book up amidst moving from Idaho to Arizona a week before Christmas with no home, job, or gym. In this teaching story Siddhartha, the main character, leaves the comfort of his home, giving up all things familiar, and goes on a spiritual journey to find himself (sound familiar?). During his journey he renounces everything material, meets the Buddha, learns of love and sensual pleasure, and finds his own true path, independent of others. Each time I pick this book up I see clearly where I am in my own journey and the possibilities of where I could go.

Love and Its Meaning in the World by Rudolf Steiner

After reading one paragraph of Rudolf Steiner I’m left to ponder for days about its meaning. This book on Love is no different. This isn’t a superficial book on the strategies of relationships. Rather it’s a book on our souls evolution and loves role throughout the journey. This one takes some serious mental juice. Only serious seekers should attempt.

Little Birds Erotica by Anais Nin

Thirteen short stories written by the diarist and essayist Anais Nin. What I love most about Anais is her courage to write about herself, the scandalous topic of sex, and fictional characters who practice introspection. Although this book was published after her death, the majority of the stories were written in the 1940s when she was part of a group who wrote pornography for a dollar a day. Isn’t she great?!


What are you reading???

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Getting to Know Yourself Sexually: Step #2 – The Fun Begins!

Step #2. Self Exploration – The Fun Begins!

In terms of getting to know your body and the different sensations which can be experienced, we must practice by touching ourselves. These sensations aren’t new to you, but experiencing them mindfully with the intention of developing sexually will be different. The sensations could range from hot to cold, numbness, tingling, vibration, pressure (light to heavy), tightness, openness, achiness, and spaciousness.

Most likely, you will notice these sensations change with each new sexual experience depending on your energy, stress, hormone levels, and environment. Bring a mindset of adventure to exploring and getting to know your body’s sensations. Experiencing something new in how we use and feel our bodies continually brings us back to the ‘beginner’s mind’ mentality (find out more about the ‘beginner’s mind’ mentality on the Resource page).

Below are points listed as a means to begin the process of exploring sensation.These practices move from non-sexual to sexual in nature. As you become more comfortable with the experience, you can move to the more sexual practices. Take notes or journal about your experience, whether pleasant or unpleasant. Documenting your experience will allow you to identify patterns and find what you really enjoy.

Questions to explore while experimenting with the following:

  • What do I enjoy?
  • Why do I enjoy it?
  • How do I enjoy it?

The Practices

  • Take a dry brush and lightly move the bristles over the entire orb of the head, moving to the face, neck, chest, belly, pelvic region, shoulders, arms, hands, upper/mid/lower back, hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, calves, shins, and finally the feet. Pause at each location to notice sensations.
  • Practice the Body Scan Meditation: This meditation moves concentrated awareness on individual body parts sequentially either beginning at the top of the head and moving toward the feet or beginning at the feet and moving to the top of the head. Find my 20 Minute Body Scan Meditation on YouTube @CaitlinHegwood.
  • Experiment with watching, listening to or reading erotica.Orange Patterned Tax Day Social Media Graphic
  • Change Body Position: sit, stand, squat, lay, or position yourself on hands and knees.
  • Go over my favorite BDSM checklist by Latches. This is a thorough checklist, allowing you to define sexual boundaries including what is appropriate, acceptable, and desired. This is a necessary step before sharing this aspect of yourself with others. Find it under Resources.
  • Use hands, fingers, vibrators, rings, yoni wands and/or eggs while releasing and contracting pelvic muscles, working toward orgasm. For purchase @ Boxatsantafe.com (find more information of vaginal mapping in the resources section).
  • Practice daily or as frequently as possible.

If you would like to read steps #3-#7 order my book on Amazon by clicking here or go to her website www.Incorporate-Wellness.com/shop/

eBook on sale for $4.99
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Change Your Habits: Feng Shui Magic

If you have ever wanted to give up a bad habit (smoking cigarettes, drinking too much alcohol, coffee, Dr. Pepper, eating ice cream, watching T.V., having sex with strangers) you know stopping can be more difficult than first anticipated. Not only are we driven my our habits, routines created over several years of doing the same activity, but our physical habits, thought patterns, and even our homes can lead us back to using, and abusing, a substance or activity. For this, we must be diligent about changing our mental, emotional, and environmental landscape.


Change Your Environment

A friend of mine who uses Feng Shui in her interior designing explained how the layout of a home is indicative of the layout of the mind. If one is going to effectively change a habit or behavior they must also change their environment. This made total sense to me and often where I see clients struggle.

Take for instance giving up a habit such as drinking coffee in the morning. If I am going to give up drinking coffee, I need to change the layout in my kitchen. I need to remove the coffee maker and replace it with a tea kettle, as well as give away the coffee beans I have in the pantry and replace them with tea. In an extreme attempt to interrupt the bed-to-coffee-maker pattern, I could place my yoga mat on the kitchen floors as way to prompt me to stretch to awaken my body instead of relying on caffeine. This alone isn’t going to keep me from drinking coffee, but the change in my environment supports my goal and makes it more likely to continue without coffee. 

Another example, which I am working on currently, is getting back into a daily formal meditation routine by dedicating myself to 40 continuous days of practice. Many of you might be thinking, “Changing the habit of not meditating isn’t life or death like alcoholism or anorexia…”. On the contrary, meditation is how I discovered how to sit with uncomfortable feelings instead of numb them with food, alcohol, nicotine, and marijuana. To ensure my meditation success I didn’t just ‘hope’ to be able to complete the 40 days. No. I bought a calendar to put in the kitchen, marking down each day in the succession, which changed the environment, as well as placing meditation cushion and chairs in the living room for easy access and no room for excuses. I also enlisted my partner to be an accountability buddy, reminding one another each evening of the goal. And finally, created a plan to sit for 10 minutes for the first 10 days, 15 minutes for days 10-20, 20 minutes for days 20-30, and 30 minutes for days 30-40.

Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life: How to Use Feng Shui to Get Love, Money, Respect and Happiness by [Carter, Karen Rauch]

Both of these examples include a change of environment, crucial to the success of the desired habit change. Without these it would become too easy fall back into the unwanted habit or justify quitting the new and desired routine. If you are serious about changing your patterns, habits, and/ or addictive tendencies, you need to get serious by making changes in your environment. You can also ask for help from co-workers, friends, partners/spouses, or contact your local Feng Shui interior designer 🙂

Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life by Karen Rauch Carter 

For those incredibly brave, serious folks who are ready to tackle their habits which are getting in the way of living a healthy, fulfilling life, check out my resource Creating a Bad Habit Busting Recovery Wellness Plan, attached below.

Bad Habit Busting Recovery Wellness Plan


If you need more support on this long, arduous, adventurous road to recovery, contact me!

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The Wonderful and Difficult Path of Finding Yourself

It is up to us to find out who we are, no one else holds that knowledge. Externally we find there are many manners in which to live and learn; There are teachers, religions, books, and ways of living which can serve as a guide. If we are able to use them as such, we can take what practices enable us to live joyfully and leave the rest. But if we look at another’s path as the ultimate path, we eventually find the path lacking in one way or another, not perfectly completing the picture of happiness and wholeness.

I have experienced this personally in my life as a cycle of inner-connection, growth, searching externally, suffering, and a re-connection and homecoming. Let me explain, In the times we feel most connected to the inner voice, the inner knowing of walking within our correct path, there is a deep connection felt, a synchronized movement and flow through life. This spurts growth. Then, we may find an outside source, someone we respect deeply, revere, or has something we want, be it peace, serenity, sobriety, or joy. Instead of sticking to our path and following our inner voice, we try theirs, as if trying on a pair of jeans or test driving a new car. We think, “Well, they seem to enjoy it so I might too”. Soon after we begin to walk this path, we realize this way of going about life didn’t bring us the same joy it did the other person. We tried, it didn’t work, and now we suffer. We suffer from living a life outside of our values, outside of what is most important to us. We are back again, searching diligently for what makes us happy with options of looking yet again to the external or diving deeply into what it is we find important. It is up to you to find out who you are. No one else knows. No one else can tell you.

Questions I recommend asking yourself:

  • What is most important to you?
  • What do you value?
  • How are you spending your time?
  • What would it look like to live in accordance with your values?
  • What would it feel like?
  • What is holding you back?
  • What can you let go of? Possessions, relationships, behaviors?
  • What behaviors are supporting you in living in accordance with your values?
  • What people are supporting you?

Personally, this has been a long and arduous journey. As I move to a new place and create new habits and ways of living, I am looking seriously at my old, habitual ways of living and reflecting on these questions. I now have the opportunity to rid myself of the old and replace them with something different, something more, or possibly less, in line with my values. I feel drawn to follow the external easy path, which seemingly works for others. But will they work for me? Time and experience has shown that no, these external and contradictory behaviors which make others happy will not bring me the same happiness as they do others. So I must go about replacing these behaviors mindfully instead of at the will or influence of others. In doing this I become more of myself, pursuing my own interests and way of looking at the world while developing inner-strength. This is wonderful and also difficult. This path is unknown. There are no guides to show me what I must do next or what choices I need to make to be happy, healthy and whole. There are only reminders coming from within to continue defining what is right for me. All I have to do is listen and act accordingly.

It is much easier to look externally for answers; To trust others instead of your own inner-voice. Yet we know what is lost when the inner-voice is ignored: discomfort, agony, and suffering.

Keep listening to yourself, learning about yourself, and acting accordingly. This is the only way.


Self Reflection Bonus: Who Am I Compass

Internal External Compass


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