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‘Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord’ is actually a very compassionate line. When we personally get involved punishing or meting out what we perceive as deserved retribution to individuals or groups of people, even in small ways – when we take it upon ourselves to be the judge and executor of our notion of ‘justice’, even if the receiver is undeniably ‘wrong’, we make trouble for ourselves by involving ourselves in that person’s story or karma.

We’ve all accepted the Universal Law that what goes around comes around, but this isn’t limited to aggression or negativity we direct at good, innocent people. It bounces back from anyone we lay it on. So even if this person who we think we’re legitimately punishing seems to totally deserve it we are still creating the causes for the same violence to return to us. This is why ‘Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord’ is such an important and compassionate line because God, or The All That Is, has no karma. ‘God’ has no need to worry about things bouncing back – that entity doesn’t exist on the human plane and is immune to the dangers of getting involved in someone else’s drama.

I’m saying that the Universal Law is not putting itself in danger by delivering the lessons or negative consequences to folks who’ve ‘done wrong’. Humans are.

Beware choosing to be the punisher or the righteous deliverer of justice. It’s hazardous to humans, not Gods.

We’d all do well to resist.

www.jamiecatto.com

https://twitter.com/JamieCatto

It’s a painful truth that I have ruined every one of my long term relationships, including my marriage, by trying to hand over the job of ‘never letting me feel insecure or abandoned’ onto my partner as if they’d made a silent agreement that it was now their job to comfort me, be present with me and stay with me and certainly never trigger me into insecurity by placing their love and attention elsewhere.

I now realise that it had always been my very definition of ‘abandonment’, which was based in the idea of ‘someone else abandoning me’, that was the root of my repeated stuckness and pain here. While this was my idea of abandonment, ‘never being left by someone else’, then my sense of well-being was always at the mercy of whichever external person I’d assigned my ‘not being abandoned’ responsibility to. If they chose to leave me then I suffered horribly.

But I now see that the very act of assigning the job of ‘being with me’ to someone else was always me abandoning myself. It’s no one else’s job or responsibility to be dependable in that area, only mine. If I try and get someone else to do it they will inevitably be inconsistent and my misguided expectation of their consistency is what will hurt me.

It makes people feel weighed down when we try and foist this job, which is not theirs, upon them. It makes them feel claustrophobic and ironically usually creates the very rejection that we’re trying so desperately to avoid.

It also makes us cultivate the bad habit of absolving ourselves of a primary life challenge: To love ourselves, to be present with ourselves even when we feel depressed or lonely or insecure. To not escape our feelings and experiences in those moments is not as impossibly traumatic as we may imagine.

This is the time to soothe ourselves, talk to ourselves, remind ourselves that we, the steadfast adult, are still here, and are never leaving. This is the time to remind ourselves that we have always been here and survived every tough time, all the challenging emotional periods. We are here and always will be no matter what anyone else does or wherever anyone else goes.

I abandon myself when I try and get another person to do that job for me. Breaking that habit saves me from ever feeling abandoned again.

Next time that emptiness or insecurity arises in us let’s not anaesthetise ourselves by immediately running to the distracting comfort of another, or Facebook or food or drugs. Let’s become our own best friends or even parents, dependable, steadfast and safe.

What do you need to remind yourself in those moments?

All Workshops and Talks at:
http://www.jamiecatto.com

We have all come to earth to have an experience as an individual.

There is an amazing breadth of experiences on this planet.

We were born incredibly open. Then we have a series of experiences that shut us down in a unique way. We chose to edit parts of ourselves off that people didn’t like.

Debbie Ford says that when you are born you are a castle with a thousand rooms. Then we start boarding rooms up to please others. Most people end up as grownups thinking they are a three bedroom flat that needs some work.

We decide to shut ourselves down in different ways until we are a lot smaller, less open to each other unconditionally, fearful, “once bitten twice shy,” weary, cautious, grasping about things that we think are scarce.

We have edited ourselves down to uniquely freaky, wounded shapes. We are not tolerant, or unconditionally open to how we are—to those parts of ourselves that people didn’t like.

Ram Dass tells a story about one winter when there was much less light on the tree and so it grew this way and that way to find the light. We come and see that tree and we say, “What a beautiful tree.” Yet, we are so not like that with one another and ourselves.

We don’t say, “Wow, what a beautiful twisted shape.” That creates a huge amount of hiding from each other. We want to look our best. That hurts just to say that. Anything less than my best will result in rejection.

There is a violence in that.

There is a violence I feel in myself when I want to improve. There is improvement that comes from excitement. I don’t think there is violence in that.

There is a beautiful side to an exciting challenge and then there is an idea that you are not lovable just as you are right now. I can not love myself fully as I am. This is violence, and it stops us from loving each other fully.

If God came into the room right now and said, “You are not going to evolve or grow one more millimeter than you are today. You are not going any further than this. You wont be any more wise, free or enlightened.” Could you still love yourself 100% fully? If the answer is “no,” then we need to clean your tubes.

We want to sign a contract that says, if you see my less sexy bites: my neediness, my drama queen, my greed, my sexual perversion, my dark parts then you won’t want to hang out with me. We are hiding from each other so much. Hiding is the opposite of intimacy. When you get close to someone they let you see your dark spots. You get to see their broken mask. Then you can fall in love with someone.

Who ever fell in love with someone for being appropriate?

Part of the admission fee for this theme park, Earth World, is you have to be an individual. What comes with that is loneliness, alienation, competition and heartbreak. Will they like me? Where did everyone go? Am I ugly?

All the head trips come with being an individual. It is a big challenge being an individual. No wonder all those spiritual teachers we spend so much money on tell us:

“Don’t worry it is an illusion we are all one.”

“Whew, I thought I was an individual and it really did my head in.”

I find it tough being an individual. When we come across something that breaks the spell of being an individual, that gives us a hint that we’re not one. When the actor on screen makes us all sob, and break down together, then we give them all our money. The big money goes to the stuff that melts the feeling of being an individual.

Jamie CattoThe thing that is great about this is that which melts the idea of being an individual: our family, children and loved ones. When we melt that feeling of being an individual then life feels good. We are in this funny paradox where we have every reason to do things to cut off from everyone, to hide and go to the job interview and say, “I’ll be anything you want me to be.” Yet, what we all want is intimacy and to feel deeply connected.

I want to be more intimate with everybody.

In my film I interview an Indian who says, “I like to talk to people as if I already know them.” That is the world that I want to live in. I have to elect myself as the mayor of everywhere.

Some activists made a spoof with stickers on the trains in London, “Please avoid eye contact at all times. Respect public solitude.” I don’t respect public solitude. I want to be intimate with everyone. I want to dare to show up in all my light, and all my darkness. I want to be a walking permission slip. When I allow myself to be fully seen it automatically liberates others to be seen. You create a culture of visibility and less hiding and more bravery.

I want to know how I feel. I want more intimacy with myself. If I am a more ‘dropped in’ person I am going to be more honest about my boundaries and give myself what I need in any given situation. The parenting ends when you are an adult (often before). It is no ones job to account for what you need. No matter what your husband or wife promised you at the altar it is not their job to telepathically know what you need.

We would rather not ask for what we want and get pissed off for not getting it, or look upset until someone notices. When we are intimate with ourselves we get what we need much quicker. We take space when we need it. We have the permission slip to pause and ask ourselves, “What do I want right now?”

My deep belief is we have suppressed and amputated ourselves into crippled brochures that we think will be loved and accepted. We have made ourselves much smaller than the big, unapologetic, juicy version of ourselves. There are so many “should” and “should nots.”

Yet, the body is the most incredible self-mending machine. It is hard wired to mend itself. And it is also mending the screwed up way we edit ourselves. However, manicured or brilliant you think you are life is inviting us to stretch ourselves into the big, juicy, unedited version of ourselves. You spend the first half of life editing yourself and then the second half opening up.

Difficult people, difficult situations, are all part of some beautiful way life is beckoning me back to unedit myself to this big, humble genius you see before you.

A symptom of the weird way we shut ourselves down is the huge accumulation of ‘ick’ that lives here in the solarplexes. We have a huge accumulation in the pain body. When someone upsets us we feel a disproportionate, huge overreaction. I believe our lives’ genius is the self-mending, self-cleaning body. The self cleaning body does not want to carry all that stuff.

The body knows we are carrying a huge accumulation of traumas. The tears we did not cry. The huge accumulation of volcanic ‘blah’ that is ready like a time bomb to get triggered by an asshole. Your body creates, and magnetizes, and invites an asshole so that if you are skillful you can do a little astral shit at that moment.

There is something more deep, creative and ‘warrior like’ when you turn your attention to feeling deeply. We have to turn everything around so you can, instead of escaping feeling, participate in this incredible self mending being. We become fascinated with feeling. What happens is we melt, and move, and that constipation releases.

Many of you are used to thinking your chakras are for pumping your energy, and there for your meditation. That is only half the story. The other half is that your seven chakras are astral anuses to shit out the accumulation of everything that happens to you. If every time someone pisses you off, you take an astral shit and love it, it will start to turn into laughing and wisdom.

Welcome and be friendly with every annoying person. Even when it hurts a bit, become fascinated with what hurts. Become fascinated with the way you are feeling and the way life is impacting you.

The one tool to cultivate, that I want to share, to navigate the self-love trip is Full Body Listening. Not just when you are doing your practice, but always to be in a state of Full Body Listening. That means feeling everything in my body from my toes to my crown—to be a Nasa space station, a sophisticated listening device.

Turn your body on right now.

www.jamiecatto.com

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/04/the-astral-sht-full-body-listening-intimacy-jamie-catto/

I recently, in a moment of faux-spiritual overload at the Bali Spirit Festival wrote: ‘Enlightenment?? How about let’s just start with not having reactive tantrums day after day – or enjoying 24 hours of the luxurious abundance we’ve been born into without ruining it with endless worrying and complaining? Could you?

Let’s try a week of never once painting our predicament as some victim scenario or focusing on the ‘version’ of the events where we frame life as unfair or unjust to us?

Could we maintain a perspective of gratitude and optimism for 7 full days?

Enlightenment?? Give me a break

Yes, I was feeling a bit self-righteous. But I also mean it.

Someone wrote underneath:

‘Nice idea. Abundance? How can a dying,starving child in Africa consider his abundance?????’

Well…I wouldn’t challenge such a child to be grateful for their abundance, only us pampered Westerners on facebook…but…

…one possible answer is that the experience of being a human is two-fold – we might be both a ‘soul’ and a ‘human ego’ which is having a finite life at the same time. Both could be happening at once. From this perspective, when a human suffers, from the earthy ego place it is pain but from the simultaneous soul place it is learning, even grace. There seem to be (at least) 2 planes of reality running alongside each other. Duality, upstairs and downstairs. This doesn’t mean that in the face of terrible suffering you only run upstairs and say ‘that’s perfect!’ – that would be escaping and denying the simultaneous suffering which is going on for the human but neither do we stay only downstairs and say “no no no this is totally wrong!” – although faced with much of the World’s suffering it’s an understandable response – the skilful and brave human life is lived with the intention of existing in both planes simultaneously, where we can feel our heart break for the child, feel compassion and a call to action, and even help and give and try and ease suffering down below while at the same time acknowledging that from the soul’s perspective this suffering might be grace, it might be learning, it might be processing karma (not punishment) it might be part of a bigger pattern that we can’t always tune into from our incredibly limited human letterbox view of existence. The above ‘Nice idea. Abundance? How can a dying,starving child in Africa consider his abundance?????’ comment is written from a perspective that can only perceive reality from the lower, letterbox perspective – and yes, when reality is only viewed from that one place, and when the human has never been educated or lucky enough to have a glimpse of another possible plane or frame of existence, it’s the only comment you can make, and what I’ve written here will seem like an obscenity.

Ram Dass inspired me when he said (paraphrasing) ‘Right now in this moment there’s a starving child taking it’s last breath, so do I feel sad? Yes. Also in this moment there is a baby being born into a joyful family. Do I feel happy? Yes. Can I hold the fact that both these realities exist in the same moment?’

Could there be more going on that just the human experience of suffering?

www.jamiecatto.com

I was reading a post about women not wanting to be objectified sexually today and I’ve always wondered about this. Clearly, reducing women to the only sexually visual, tarted-up, arousing male sexual impulses role is way out of balance in our culture. The percentage of women on TV, on billboards and in print media which are photoshopped to conform to a thin, homogenised, sexually-appealing, over-groomed value system is very high and this can subliminally brainwash us over time and consistency of impact to expect that all women should look like this. This clearly goes nowhere good either for the men or the women.

But also, the visually astounding qualities of Woman, her beauty, deep power, grace, and yes, even sexiness are among the most wonderful ingredients of planet Earth available. They’ve triggered most music, poetry, art, and the devotional aspirations of men and the masculine principle since the beginning of time. You could even argue that the whole of the abundance and continuation of nature itself depends upon this principle from women to men and from flowers to bees….

To me, women can be any combination of deep souls, great minds, sex bombs, fragile flowers, wise hags, destructive typhoons, confusing conundrums, ecstatic volcanos of bliss – there’s not room on this page to complete the ever evolving list of my experience…. and yet I don’t believe women don’t want to be seen as sex objects. The beauty/sex industry thrives and always has, and did so long before darkly manipulative advertising and marketing evils of today. Many, not all, women (and maybe most men too) want to be found attractive, desired, even lusted after and that includes their visual, physical sexiness, no? I think the problem we have in our culture is how imbalanced the weight of that focus is. Women certainly don’t want to be ONLY a sex object. They rightly want to be enjoyed and valued for being many things, and not all of it feminine. But to remove the sexy appreciation is also a mistake. This issue, for me, is about balance of appreciation not stopping lusting after sexy buns.

Please let’s not place an ignorant cultural taboo on celebrating sexiness in all it’s forms and please let’s broaden our appreciation for all that we men and women are. Let’s become fascinated with each other, immersing ourselves deeply in all our qualities, mutual and diverse. When we do this, we WE OURSELVES open up our excitements and fascinations, the covers of all the magazines will change and the occasional wolf-whistle in the street might even be welcomed.

www.jamiecatto.com

Being A Guru

Inevitably, when I devise workshops about creativity, about getting people’s projects together, and bringing their generosity into the world, the first and most important thing to focus on is where am I creating ‘from’? How am I feeling? What is my true rooted excitement? Because this is the deciding factor on whether anything brilliant or touching is going to get made, whether it be a piece of art, a new company or just who I am in the world.

So on these weekends, before we get into the masculine practicalities of A’s and B’s and C’s of actually doing a project, I’m first most interested in us all coming back to our inspiration, coming back to our unedited, unapologetic versions of ourselves; less addicted to approval, less addicted to appropriateness. Those addictions are massively in the way of any Masterpiece, whether it be a Masterpiece of art, a Masterpiece of parenting, or a Masterpiece of making love.

A lot of the processes and games we get into in the workshops are about coming back to ourselves and inevitably, we begin to touch on issues of intimacy, issues of personal freedom, issues of who I am, even issues of looking at the wounds that have shaped me into the strange, unique creature that I am with my unique needs and edges. Am I listening to myself enough to hear those needs? All that stuff becomes fascinating and fundamental to the whole journey of ‘doing a project’ and ‘being an artist’ and vulnerably releasing your gifts into the world.

Everybody has their own, uniquely, personal ideas of what the facilitator should be like in a group so it’s very important for me to start the process by saying, “Please take a moment to dissolve any ideas you have about what a workshop facilitator should be like because I am here as an artist to explore the routes to making Masterpieces with you and although I know a lot about the practicalities and the A’s and B’s and C’s of creating a project, beyond that, the territory that we are going to get into can sometimes get vulnerable. You will choose what is exactly the right level for you to meet this work and I will totally honour whether you want to do it undramatically, meet it more on the surface, more intellectually, without it becoming a big deal in any way or if you want to go all the way into melting who you thought you were and coming out of the ashes as the Phoenix. I have no preference or opinion on which level is better for you than the other. Both are on offer and will be held and supported.“

Above all, I am not a believer that anyone should ever challenge themselves in life unless that challenge feels exciting to them. If there is a challenge which feels exciting, of course, go for it, but I am not a believer that anyone should ever feel the need to push themselves or evolve one inch beyond where they are now. In fact one of the things I always say on the workshops is, “If God came into this room and said to you, “You are not going to evolve one more millimetre in this whole lifetime. You are not going to get one millimetre freer, one millimetre wiser or one millimetre further along”, could you still love yourself fully?” For me, that is the most important question anyone can ever ask themselves and if the answer is “no”, you need to really look at your path, at you ideas about what you are doing here on earth. I believe that ‘enlightenment’ (if it exists) is loving yourself exactly as the wounded, freaky creature you are today. The highest spiritual path that I can attain is to love myself exactly as I am, with no finish lines. I have no ambition, no ambition at all any more and it feels incredibly freeing. Life is going to sculpt me plenty, often in uncomfortable ways. Life is going to already deliver me these challenges and I am going to be evolved by them, but to push myself through any challenges that don’t feel exciting, ones that feel like ‘shoulds’, I think that is violent.

So when people come on my workshops, I’m not a seducer, or an asker or a pusher. I don’t need people to go deep or go shallow. I feel people are going to be grown-ups and choose their own way in. I’m really excited in the beginning to say, “This is me. Sometimes I swear. Sometimes I’m impatient. Sometimes I am hurt and vulnerable and finding it hard to even get through this day of working with you, and I want to be okay bringing all of that into the room – and I want you to be ok bringing all of how you are today too. I want myself and anyone who comes through my workshops to become a walking permission slip, for everyone to be exactly as they are, to not have to fit into anyone’s preconceived mould of the role that they are playing.”

My responsibility in this is to express that I am trusting you to totally parent yourselves as adults – that you are going to look after your needs – that when you are feeling shaky or need space, that you are going to ask for it and you are going to be the one who reaches out for the support that you need. You are the parent of you and I feel that all of us need to stop looking at our lovers, our husbands, our wives, even our kids to be the person that notices our needs and takes care of them. It’s no-one else’s job but mine to parent myself and it’s no-one else’s job but yours, to parent yourself. So while it is wonderful to have close people in our lives that love us and care for us sometimes, it’s no-one else’s job or responsibility to do that.

To ask for what we want and is a great vulnerability, but the great thing about it is that it creates a visceral intimacy. In my workshops this attitude of self-responsibility is paramount.

So I wanted to express all that about what is like to be a workshop facilitator and sometimes having expectations from people about being a guru or being a self-awareness teacher or parent figure. Yes, all that stuff can come into the groups, but my greatest excitement is, whether we meet the weekend intellectually or we meet it as a great life-change, I want everybody to come through it, both being their own parent, taking full responsibility for their experience and expecting me to be an artist who is going to show up fully in who I am in every way too. Within these practices people find their creativity so deeply and by being themselves this fully, everybody finds the highest gift that is available to them when we work together.

All workshops at www.jamiecatto.com

Rudolph Steiner has a great meditation he recommends where he says – I’m paraphrasing - ‘listen to a dog bark or a baby cry, and first just listen to the sound it makes, the barking and crying sound, and then listen deeper, behind the actual sound, listen to the impulse that threw that sound out, the energy that made it spring forth into a sound’ – this is one of the steps of the Full Body Listening we do on the weekends, listening first to the words, then the needs or agendas behind the words.

Debussy said ‘music is the space between the notes’.

The crazy Taoists have a whole wing of teachings called Wu Wei – Active Non-doing. So cool! You get more data and available wisdom by tuning in to space than anything else.

The greatest skill to develop in our times is the ability to pause, to stop, to leave space, and listen.

All workshops at www.jamiecatto.com

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