Can I tell you some secrets?
Things that are vulnerable, close to my heart?
That's how I like to roll, really.
For many years I kept up this persona of having all my shit 'together': being thin, smart, successful, always happy...
I never let people see what was really going on behind my impenetrable strong-woman facade. The fact that I had clinical depression, anxiety and disordered eating... That I was really scared of not being good enough, ashamed of my body, scared of the future.
Turns out getting in touch with my vulnerability was actually where my true power is! And a big part of my healing journey.
So I want to share with you a bit of my story. Who I am and how I got to be here, offering this mindful sexuality, shamanic healing, and self-love work.
It's the good, the bad, and the ugly of a woman on a journey through mega mental health difficulties, sexual hangups and loss of trust in the Universe. And the oh, so sweeeetness of a woman finding Herself. Finding Love. (The same thing)
Hey, I'm Caitlyn.
I was 10 years old when I first worried that I wasn’t good enough. I thought Amy (the popular kid who was my new 'friend') would judge me for being poor. It was 1997 and we'd just moved from South Africa to New Zealand. The conversion rate sucked.
I started believing I must earn love by being impressive. Being looking like everyone else.
Fast forward 10 years and my perfectionism and performance anxiety transformed into clinical anxiety, depression, disordered eating, and intimacy hangups.
When I was 23, I was living in Wellington with my awesome boyfriend at the time. I was completing my honours in Geographies of Art and I had lovely friends, a quaint house.
Everything was great.
Except I had this one big secret. And in about June 2011, I admitted to myself this secret was a reality.
I had clinical anxiety and depression. And the big scary thing with that, I had disordered eating and body dismorphia.
(Body dismorphia is a mental disorder in which a person is obsessed with an imagined physical defect or a minor defect that others often cannot see and they go through extreme measures to hide or minimise it.)
I was really embarrassed about these problems.
I’d written essays at university about how ridiculous it is that through advertising, Hollywood, and porn, we hold people (women in particular) up to such narrow expectations of how they 'should' look.
I felt like I was too progressive, too feminist, too aware to have issues with my body. But I did. They’d somehow infused into me.
Anxiety and depression was meshed into all of this: this fear of not being good or safe enough just I am. This sadness of not living and being myself, just as I am.
And of course, the body is central in intimacy.
My fear and shame around my body translated to the bedroom. I was very in my head and extremely goal focused. I was so self-conscious about my body, about what I was doing.
I was super performance orientated—I wanted to be in the ‘right’ positions and make the ‘right’ sounds that made me look best and ensure my partner was having a good time.
I completely ignored my pleasure and my experience. Yes, we both orgasmed. On paper it all looked quite good, but it felt mechanical. Even though I knew about how mainstream porn has conditioned us to be performance oriented and to be goal-focused, I somehow internalised this stuff.
My boyfriend at the time mentioned our intimacy felt 'off'. Which at the time was devastating because I was trying so hard to do everything right! I knew he was right, though. I had this moment where I was like,
What if it could be different?
When I realised I didn’t have to keep going with this kinda shitty status quo I became intensely curious and determined for something more.
So, I first started seeing a mindfulness therapist. It was awesome. It was the first time that I was able to observe and accept the painful, icky judgement-y feelings without judging them and trying to run away from them.
But I wanted to also feel more comfortable in my body in the bedroom. I kind of wanted to learn how to have sex again. I wanted to undo the baggage I'd picked up from society and media.
I wanted to not be so in my head when I was having sex.
I wondered what else was possible...
And there began my exploration of Tantra, mindful sexuality and shamanism.
My exploration of FREEDOM, Love and Authenticity.
It started with Google.
I searched for terms like,
‘how to not be so anxious and in my head during sex’ and
‘not porn-y approaches to sexuality’.
I found some stuff.
It was a bit too hippy for me at the time. I was extremely academic and anti-spiritual at that time and was allergic to words like ‘energy’ and ‘chakras’, haha.
Anyway, I powered on with an intense curiosity and determination to feel alive in my body and found myself at a Tantra workshop at a festival in New Zealand.
I was nervous to begin, wondering to myself...
What are we going to do?
Do I have to wear nice undies?
Who’s gonna be there?
But it was awesome, and not at all scary—more just exciting.
We did these simple practices and I was like,
Oh, this is how my body can feel?!
This what it feels like to not be so in my head and obsessed with ‘doing it right’?!
This is what it feels like to follow my pleasure?!
This is what it feels like to trust and let go?!
I kept going to more workshops when I got back to Wellington.
Through this mindful sexuality work, I started developing a new way to relate to my body, my relationship with my Self, my partber, my whole life.
I wish someone had told me this earlier!! Why didn't I learn this when I was in high school?
So what was happening for me that was so bloody amazing?
What is this mindful sexuality thing? It's about things like..
Embodying genuine self-love, self-worth and compassion.
Becoming your own lover: feeling confident and celebrating your body.
Authentic expression — unself-conscious, like you were as a kid.
Becoming present, without goals or expectations in the bedroom and life.
Healing unhelpful mental looping, worry, depression or anxiety.
Finding ease, vibrance, connection and confidence in relationships and intimacy.
Intimacy as a pathway to healing and Spirit (not just flesh rubbing against flesh).
Moving through fear, guilt, and shame that keeps us small.
Become authentically expressed, confidently (like you were as a kid!)
Expanding orgasmic potential and joy-fully giving and receiving pleasure.
Welcoming and integrating the animal, Godly, feminine, masculine, light and dark parts in ALL humans.
Yes, I healed from disordered eating and punishing self-talk. Yes, I grew through and out of debilitating anxiety and depression.
Yes, I learnt how to become masterful of my emotions and deeeeply self-loving.
Yes, I'm still human and am still growing.
My soul sings. It's not all pretty. NOPE. I'm not without my human challenges and big soul growth. And I feel stronger and more in Love everyday.
This is the direction I am moving in.
My journey to freedom is what led me to leave my corporate Design life in Melbourne and become an international coach, facilitator, writer and artist working in mindfulness, Self-Love, sacred sexuality and shamanic healing.
I now professionally share the exact tools and magic that helped bring me back to Life.
I studied with the International School of Temple Arts (ISTA), Shamanic Studies Asia, and have had mentorship with multiple leaders in the field. I'm also a mega geek and spent heeeaps of time at unversity and art school.
I facilitate groups, coach, and make art internationally.
I currently live in Pai, Thailand with my beloved and spend a lot of time patting cats, enjoying warm breezes, geeking out on Soul stuff, and eating cheese.
And working with people like you to come back to freedom, ease and JOY in their body, bedroom and life.
I'd love to hear a bit about you. Your story. What's going on, what you really want. What resonated with you in what you just read? As humans, we're not so different, huh!
Drop me a line :)
LET’S WORK TOGETHER
To go beyond your 'shoulds', negative mind chatter, past experiences that shut us down, fear, guilt and shame, I guide you in embodied practices, including:
breath and sense-based meditation
This is down-to-earth coaching that works with your full being (mental, emotional, physical, sexual, and spiritual). All fully clothed and no 'intimate' touch, if that's what you're wondering.
90-minute single sessions and discounted packages are available.
See here for more info and email me for questions and booking.
Ranging from short evening workshops, day and weekend workshops, and 1-week retreats. These are appropriate for single folks, people in relationship(s), and people of all orientations, cis, trans and non-binary people, queer and straight folks. Some workshops are exclusively for people who identify as women.