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
Hard Copies Available for $9.99


For purchase on Amazon: Click Here

Or on my website @ www.Incorporate-Wellness.com/shop/


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An Excerpt From My Latest Book

An excerpt from my latest book, Getting to Know Yourself Sexually; A Down and Dirty Guide

Dictionary
sex·u·al
ˈsekSH(o͞o)əl
adjective
Relating to the instincts, physiological processes, and activities connected with physical attraction or intimate physical contact between individuals.

Introduction
Why is knowing yourself sexually important to you? Are you craving connection? Pleasure? A shared experience? Whatever your reason, you’ll find this book supporting you in getting to know yourself and help to expand your current thinking about what sex is and the role it plays in your life.

This topic is important to me because of my firm belief in getting to you know all areas and aspects of yourself; thoughts, feelings, emotions, motivations, desires, and sensations. Doing this sexually adds another layer of richness to life with ourselves and our intimate partner(s). To do this we must experience and reflect on life utilizing our intimate and sexual relationships as a tool. In doing this we become more comfortable with ourselves, which we bring to our intimate relationships and the world.

There is a process for getting to know yourself sexually, which I myself have gone through. Firstly, I began in isolation as to better identify wants, desires, and motivations (Steps #1 and #2). Then, I shared my ideas, wants, and desires with a community of like minded individuals (explained further in Steps #3 and #4). And after developing comfort and understanding of myself, was able to share with an intimate, committed partner.

Bear in mind these steps are not linear and may not, at all times, be accessible or appropriate. As you begin to move through them you might have a new experience, leading you back to Step #1 of the process. That’s great! This is a lifelong learning process. Repeating each step with a different intention or motivation will only further your understanding of yourself.

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.

…a few things to note before we begin…

Trauma
Sexual trauma can resurface five days, five months, five years, or 50 years after the event occurred. If you have had sexual trauma it is important to identify triggers which send the body and mind into a heightened,  reactive state of fight, flight, freeze. It is equally important to have a discussion with your sexual partner prior to a sexual encounter which  may re-traumatize.

Don’t wait until you are in the moment to have this conversation. Create a way to communicate about this topic before and during sex. Discuss it during a non-sexual, non-charged, safe activity (making dinner, driving, grocery shopping). My partner calls this Casual Conversations (more about this on Step #5). Practice this a few times, revisiting when/ if necessary. I have found once this has been identified and discussed, with a process created by which to communicate in the moment, re-traumatization is infrequent or null.

If sexual trauma is something you are beginning to uncover within yourself, research sexual trauma, get help with a therapist, and find out how you can heal. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) has worked wonders for me.

Shame
There is an abundance of shame surrounding sex.

“Sex is dirty – mouths, tongues, fluids, ewww!”
“You urinate from there, I’m not putting that in my mouth!”
“Sex is for the purpose of having babies only and is sinful to enjoy”
“If you enjoy sex you are slutty”
“You’ve had sex with HOW MANY PEOPLE?”
“Having sex before marriage is unacceptable, NOT OKAY!”
“Don’t have sex! You’ll get pregnant. And if you don’t get pregnant, here is the list of diseases you can get.”

Nothing is off limits. And don’t get me started on the shame surrounding genitalia shape, size, smell and taste!

“Too small”
“Too big”
“Smells like tuna”
“Tastes like soap”

When an initial judgement or feeling of shame comes into your mind as a thought, notice it before reacting and ask yourself the following:

Where is the judgement, or feeling of shame, coming from?
Whose judgement is this? Your own? Society? A past partner?
And most importantly, Is it true?

Remember: Sex is natural. Thoughts and judgments are natural. Reacting to thoughts and judgments surrounding sex is a choice. Only after full deliberation should one act. This takes time and effort. If you are dedicated to this practice of self-reflection, anything can be accomplished, including not shaming yourself or others based on sexuality.

Step #1. Self Reflection
No one knows you better than you know yourself. Having considered this, many of us do not know ourselves well when it comes to our sexuality. You may not have had the opportunity to explore these differing aspects because of the culture you grew up in, the relationships you’ve had, or the social group with which you interact. Using Self Reflection as a tool, one can become aware of beliefs and feelings toward sexuality. Ask yourself the following questions to uncover your beliefs:

-How do I define being sexual?
-What is my belief on the nature of sex? Its purpose?
-How do these beliefs impact my willingness to look at my sexuality?
-What taboos do I have towards my own sexuality or sex in general?
-What is my reaction when I think about sex? With myself? With others?
-What is the value of shared sexual experience?
Dictionary
ta·boo
/təˈbo͞o,taˈbo͞o/
noun
a social or religious custom prohibiting or forbidding discussion of a particular practice or forbidding association with a particular person, place, or thing.

If you would like to read steps #2-#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
Hard Copies Available for $9.99


For purchase on Amazon: Click Here

Or on my website @ www.Incorporate-Wellness.com/shop/


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Thank You & New eBook Available! Getting to Know Yourself Sexually

My eBook is Published!

Read Getting to Know Yourself Sexually: A Down and Dirty Guide 

Buy it on Amazon by clicking here
or @ www.Incorporate-Wellness.com/shop/

Over the last several months I have been working diligently on the project, Getting to Know Yourself Sexually; A Down and Dirty Guide. I hope you will join me on this journey of getting to know yourself, in all the varying aspects.

Below is an excerpt from the introduction:

Why is knowing yourself sexually important to you? Are you craving connection? Pleasure? A shared experience? Whatever your reason, you’ll find this book supporting you in getting to know yourself and help to expand your current thinking about what sex is and the role it plays in your life.

This topic is important to me because of my firm belief in getting to you know all areas and aspects of yourself; thoughts, feelings, emotions, motivations, desires, and sensations. Doing this sexually adds another layer of richness to life with ourselves and our intimate partner(s). To do this we must experience and reflect on life utilizing our intimate and sexual relationships as a tool. In doing this we become more comfortable with ourselves, which we bring to our intimate relationships and the world.

There is a process for getting to know yourself sexually, which I myself have gone through. Firstly, I began in isolation as to better identify wants, desires, and motivations (Steps #1 and #2). Then, I shared my ideas, wants, and desires with a community of like minded individuals (explained further in Steps #3 and #4). And after  developing comfort and understanding of myself, was able to share with an intimate, committed partner.


For purchase on Amazon: Click Here
Or on my website @ www.Incorporate-Wellness.com/shop/
Available ad Getting to know yourself.jpg

Thank You Wood River Valley!

A sincere thank you to all of you who have taught me, taken me in, and supported me over the last 12 years. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your time, efforts, and our conversations. Thank you!

Idaho has been a greatly healing place. It has allowed me to connect with my passion of helping others in their recovery. Because of this I am relocating to Flagstaff, Arizona (just arrived last night!) pursuing a Masters in Mental Health Counseling from Northern Arizona University.

If you are ever in the area, please call me at 208-309-1948 (or call me anyways!!) or email me at Caitlin4Wellness@gmail.com

…with love and gratitude…
Caitlin Hegwood


Struggling with the disease of addiction? Work with me, a Certified Recovery Coach

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