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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Ready to stop using alcohol, cigarettes, food, heroine, running as a way to distract, numb, or avoid life?? Work with 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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Updates and Offerings with Caitlin

Dear fellow readers,

My goal in writing this blog has always been to inspire and support my readers (YOU!) in living happy, healthy lives. In the past this meant sharing my spiritual journey of becoming mindful by means of meditation, healing my physical body with yoga and plant based recipes, and how to overcome the obstructions, irritation, and frustrations which arise on the Bodhisattva path. Sharing with you what is going on in my life has been a way of creating community, fostering creativity, and defining what I am focused on at any given moment. Currently I am focused on addiction recovery, life and couples coaching, mindfulness, and developing healthy relationships by communicating, setting boundaries, trusting, and being honest.

My upcoming in-person events include a 3 hour Mindfulness and Yoga Workshop December 8th at Pure Body Bliss register @ www.incorporate-wellness.com/workshops/

My final Movement and Meditation class December 10th at The Flourish Foundation from 6-7 PM followed by a going-away (see more about this below) potluck from 7-8 PM.

Coming soon is a project I have been working on for several months, an eBook entitled Getting to Know Yourself Sexually; Explore, Discuss, ExperimentA sneak peek from the introduction:

No matter your age, taking care of and getting to know yourself sexually is as important as finding the right career, group of friends, lifestyle, or committed partner. I encourage you to keep an open mind while reading and working through this process. Who knows? You might just learn something about yourself.

 

For those of you who couldn’t join Cody and I in September for our Creating and Maintaining Healthy Relationships Workshop, you will have the opportunity January 2019! We are hosting 4 online workshops, each week a different theme. Join live to ask questions and be part of a community seeking to develop peak relationships in all facets of life. You can purchase the entire workshop, four 1.5 hour long classes for $75, or pick and choose by theme, $25 per session. If you can’t make it to the live event, the recording will be sent to your inbox. Register at https://incorporate-wellness.com/workshops/

Working with clients (addiction recovery, life and couples coaching) will also move to an online platform as I transition to living in a new place, Flagstaff, AZ. This move comes after spending 11 years in Idaho, an amazingly beautiful place with wonderful people. I find myself ready to take on new life experiences, get my masters degree in Family Counseling, and engage a broader population. Find out more about coaching at https://incorporate-wellness.com/Coaching-services/


Last but not least, Kelsey Johndrow, beloved friend and yogini, and I have started a podcast, Karma is a Bitch. On this new platform we will discuss our personal struggles, provide resources and share methods for overcoming obstacles. These struggles include addiction, chronic pain, relationships, trust, touch, trauma, abuse, yoga, healing, meditation, mindfulness, eating disorders, self-harm, communication. Click the link to listen to the preview and stay tuned for upcoming episodes: https://anchor.fm/karmaisabitch/episodes/Karma-is-a-Bitch–Preview-e2hq68

I hope these new offerings inspire you, as they do me, to be your best self!
Thank you for your support and for reading!
Love,
Caitlin Hegwood

Ooey- Gooey Brownies to the Rescue! Vegan, Gluten Free Dessert to Share (or not ;)

These super easy, super fast, and super DELICIOUS brownies are dense and ooey-gooey with just the right amount of sweetness.

No egg, no dairy, no gluten = Good for every body!


Black Bean Brownies

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10 minute prep          15 minute bake              16 Brownies

Vegan           Gluten Free          Dairy Free          Egg Free

Ingredients:

  • One can black beans (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Grease an 8×8 inch pan
  4. Pour mixture into the pan and smooth with a spatula
  5. Bake for 15-18 minutes
  6. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting

Place in an airtight container when fully cooled. Contents will last 2-3 days at room temperature or 7 days in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

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Life Update and New Recipe: Mix, Heat, Repeat

Life is always changing and, in my opinion, this is a good thing. With change brings new opportunities, new people, new places, and new food. Recently I was fortunate enough to buy a little apartment in the mountain town I call home. Having a kitchen, which allows me to be creative, means getting back to making mouth-watering meals to share with family and friends. For my birthday this past May my friend, Mariah Grooms – international raw vegan chef, sent me a book, Will Write for Food by Dianne Jacob. This book has re-sparked the passion I once took in creating and writing about food, motivating me to share this story.

As always, thank you for reading!


Mix, Heat, Repeat

A Story About Bread

As I pulled the 425° cast iron capsule from the oven, my whole body surged with gratitude. Grateful to once again share this comforting sustenance in a new place surrounded by friends and family. This process has taken place in each locale in which I have resided; comforting me, nourishing me, warming my soul.

Now the smell of freshly milled grain, mixed with water and fired to a light golden brown fills each room, as does laughter and conversation. As the loaf begins to cool, pops and cracks like that of a sappy log on a summer’s night campfire, fill my ears. My hands, used to break the freshly baked loaf into palm sized portions, graze the warm rough crust and my eyes follow the steaming middle which rises and moves with the breeze flowing through the open window.

As the bread is passed around the table, the laughter and conversation changes. It become quiet, replaced with muffled sounds of delight.


Recipe from My Bread By Jim Lahey

Pane Intengrale

Whole Wheat Bread

Yield: One 10 inch loaf Read More