Caitlin Cady is a meditation junkie. She's also a writer, mama of three, author of the new book Heavily Meditated: Your Down-To-Earth Guide To Learning Meditation and Getting High On Life and now the creator of the app Heavily Meditated.
We had the absolute pleasure of chatting with her about all things mediation.
Hi Caitlin! Tell us about yourself and what you do.
Hello, hello! I’m a writer, teacher, meditation junkie, and mama of three. I am the author of the book Heavily Meditated: Your Down-To-Earth Guide To Learning Meditation and Getting High On Life and the creator of the Heavily Meditated App.
Meditation is a hot topic at the moment. Tell us a little bit about your journey into meditation?
I dish on the full story in my book, Heavily Meditated, but the gist of it is that I was a perfectionistic overachiever, struggling with illnesses like chronic Lyme Disease. Up to that point, I’d derived my sense of happiness and self-worth through two things: what I could control, and what I could achieve. I'd convinced myself that my stressed-out state of overdrive was essential to my survival as a human being and a functioning member of society.
But my immune system couldn’t reset itself when adrenal fatigue, off-the-charts-cortisol levels, and an avalanche of anxiety was my daily reality. So I had a choice to make. Keep going, keep doing, and stay sick. Or slow down and be well. I reached for meditation intuitively, and honestly, as a last resort. I sensed that I needed to make a mental shift to create a physical change. As it turned out, my intuition was right on the money. Through meditation, I learned how to slow down and be, which allowed my nervous system and in turn, my immune system to reset. I went from burned out, sick, and fearful to happy, healthy and living to my full potential.
You’ve recently created a meditation app (Heavily Meditated). What inspired you to create an app?
I first wrote the book and then created the app because I wanted to create what I wish existed when I set out into the world of meditation. It felt too hard to find all the information, tools and resources I needed - and at that time I wasn’t in a position to go on a retreat or drop a thousand bucks on a training. I wanted a down-to-earth, complete toolkit with everything I needed to know to feel empowered to kick off a practice.
So that’s what I did. I’ve gathered up the best of what I’ve learned about meditation thus far and put it together into a simple, practical, easy-to-use, and fun-to-read book. Then, the goal with the app was to give people the practical tools to make meditation a habit. The app features guided meditations, an automatic meditation tracker, intention setting and an Inspo Deck you can “shuffle” for a little hit of inspiration every day. It’s also super beautiful and curated. I believe good design elevates our experience and makes life more beautiful. So when creating the app it felt really important to make it not just practical but also gorgeous. You’ll notice that the design and user experience is really unique and not like your typical meditation app!
How has meditation impacted your life? What short and long-term benefits have you noticed?
How much time do you have?! There are more benefits than you can shake a stick at! Improved cognition, positive changes in the brain, deeper reserves of calm and patience, lower cortisol levels, boosting happy hormones, increased creativity, less stress, more joy, better sleep, smoother digestion, improvements in immunity, increased equanimity and resilience… shall I go on? The most important thing to know is this: The benefits show up if you do.
On a personal level, one of the surprise benefits that I wasn’t expecting was that meditation has made me less afraid. I always say that meditation helped me go from fear-of-failure to full potential. As Elizabeth Gilbert wrote in her book Big Magic, “perfectionism is just fear in fancy shoes and a mink coat, pretending to be elegant when actually it's just terrifyied. Because underneath that shiny veneer, perfectionism is nothing more that a deep existential angst the says, again and again, 'I am not good enough and I will never be good enough.”
Meditation continues to help me in feeling like I’m good enough, just as I am. And when you believe that (or at least remind yourself of it regularly through meditation), you can be so much braver with your life and much more compassionate with yourself and others. Which, for me, means a life where I feel like I’m being of service, showing up as my best self, and using my gifts fully.
Aside from meditation, how do you like to nurture yourself; do you practice any self-care rituals?
My morning ritual is a non-negotiable. It gives me such a beautiful foundation for my day. Baths, infrared sauna and regular massage are also part of my rotation of self-care practices. Incorporating Ayurvedic wisdom into my daily life is also really important for me. Things like tongue scraping and abhyanga massage help me feel more in touch with my body. Eating through the lens of Ayurveda has also been really helpful for me. I can really feel a difference in how grounded and calm I feel when I eat appropriately for the season and my doshas.
I also think that doing something purely for pleasure is so important. I tend to want to stuff every last minute of my day with something “productive” but even something as simple as reading a fiction book just for pleasure at bedtime, as opposed to another non-fiction book where I’m learning or upgrading skills, is so luxurious and joyful to me. I still read non-fiction, of course, but I try to do that during the day.
It might sound silly, but impromptu dance parties with my kids always sparks joy and reminds me to loosen up and let the joy in. Play is so underrated! Plus moving in this way can be such a great tool for the whole family to shake off the day and transition from doing into being.
Another fun ritual my husband and I do is having a jigsaw puzzle on the go. Nerdy? Maybe. But it’s so meditative and we love doing it. It just brings you right into presence and it’s so relaxing to single-task and do something low stakes, just for the fun of it.
I’m always looking for little doses of play and delight because I think that is an often overlooked form of self-care. I believe delight is an under appreciated ingredient in a satisfying, nourished, fulfilling and joyful life.
What are you reading, listening to and watching right now?
I have a stack of books on the go! On my nightstand right now: The Everyday Ayurveda Guide To Self-Care and The Vanishing Half, as well as some pretty dense yogic texts for study that I’m doing. In an age where there is so much heaviness, I’m loving a few LOLs so watching shows like Sex Education and Ted Lasso are keeping me good company. And watching the soapy time-traveling series Outlander orthe Bridgerton series (think Gossip Girl meets Downton Abbey) in the bathtub is a special kind of indulgence.
What’s your favourite Sodashi product at the moment and why?
The Calming Rose Face Mist is always a favourite - I love using it after cleansing and anytime I need a little refresh during the day.
The Clay Cleanser with Lavender is also fab because it’s like a cleanser and mask in one. I love that you can pop it on in the shower and leave it on for a few minutes to let the minerals do their work!