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From the moment our human life begins most of us are traumatised by at least one, if not all, of these three things.

First the birth itself. Whether you believe in the great spiritual Oneness before human incarnation or just the oneness of the Mother’s womb, coming out onto planet earth as a baby, where before we were part of something bigger, in a yummy float tank with everything taken care of, now into individualisation, solitariness, Me-ness, and everything that comes with it, is a huge deal. The cord is cut and you are helpless, dependent, and begin the human experience in varying degrees of freak out. ‘What is this skin and nerves and sensations thing???? Help!!!’ Add to that the immense amount of fear and bright lights and disempowerment and death that’s surrounded ‘birth’ in our culture and how unconsciously, until recently, babies’ fragile psyches have been handled on the way in, and a trajectory of fear and loneliness, to varying degrees, is set in motion. (There are some wonderful rebel alliances working to change this but they are struggling to be heard.)

Second, the homes we were born into and the carers assigned to us, almost without exception, feed us a totally false set of rules on how we should be, based on the crap rule book they were given as children. ‘Don’t be like this’ ‘Don’t let anyone see you being like that’, painfully and scarily removing love and approval when not obeyed, or you get it wrong, or they’re just tired or stupid – and the whole model of ‘how to be a person’ is handed down, missing the real truths of Life, in fact, recommending the opposite. We’re taught, through our experience, not to be vulnerable, not to fail, always to obey, to not stand out, not to be magnificent, to manipulate other’s responses by reading them and catering to their model even if it’s not authentic for us, to say yes when we often mean no…and on and on…. We have all been given a different set of incorrect instructions and it has felt exhausting and self-abandoning to keep living to that toxic model. And most people don’t even notice this. They live as if their model is still right and should be working for them, crisis after crisis, still clinging to that early, ignorant, rulebook. Ouch.

Third, the cultural environment the humans have created is just so fucked up it is banal to even list it here. The attitude of fakeness and superficiality with which mainstream culture feeds itself is baffling. The normalisation of gun-running and creating war for profit. The way illness and medicine have become a business for profit. The way we treat animals. The way much of the world treats women. The taboo of male vulnerability. The way we’re taught to all pretend that we’re not going to die. The utter plunder of the environment…a culture where intimacy is treated as high risk. It’s just unrelentingly backward out there. Who said that it’s no measure of sanity to be ok living in a sick society?

So with our varying experiences of those three shadows, is it any wonder everyone’s in such a state of trauma? I know that I am and that the accumulation of only doing minimum damage limitation on my trauma when I’m forced into a crisis is not enough any more. I’m calling for a global pow wow to really acknowledge the state of trauma that most humans, even in wealthy countries with no bombs dropping, are in. And when we acknowledge this, to collectively team together to bring in the medicine to heal us all – and that is TURNING TOWARDS IT AND BEING VISIBLE TOGETHER.

I know looking weak or ugly or like a failure is a taboo and our lives have taught us that if we let those parts of ourselves be seen we will lose out or be exiled. We live religiously protecting the shop window of our attractive and palatable appearance – but it’s killing us slowly with loneliness.

Intimacy is not as big a risk as our reptilian brain parts claim. It feels much more dangerous than it is. In fact it’s a cuddly sheep in wolf’s clothing. We’ve made maps of ourselves, cut ourselves down to what we think will get us love and acceptance and success, and we’ve put ‘there be dragons’ around the edge of our maps as an alarm system to make sure we never risk those ‘other unwelcome parts’ being seen. But it only takes a tiny quarter turn towards those dragons to see that they are merely children’s chalk drawings of dragons and with one soft breath they evaporate and a pile of treasure and homecoming and intimacy is available.

And the starting point, I feel, for this time, is for each of us to acknowledge the trauma we’ve absorbed and start to take much more diligent and focused steps to release it. You can see how reactive we have become. Do you ever go a week without being triggered into it? A day?

Please let’s acknowledge the collective trauma and sober up about any expectations of life sorting itself out while we’re pinballing around from one self-protecting strategy to the next, ignoring the incredible need for releasing that trauma rather than living life in constant compensating for it and bouncing from crisis to overreactive crisis.

There’s so much heartfelt, nourishing, intimate, connected, laughter-and-tears-filled healing available if we can wake up from the trance for a moment.

3 – 2 – 1 – and we’re back in the room!

Hi……you deserve healing too, even if you had a happy childhood….come to the edge.

www.jamiecatto.com/workshops

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It occurred to me today that while I have quite a lot of coaching and mentoring ‘clients’ I’ve never described it or deliberately offered it before. People get in touch with me through word of mouth and occasionally I tell Facebook ‘I have some spaces next week’ but I’ve never shared with you what I actually offer or do….so in case you’ve ever considered it, here goes:

I run two kinds of support.

The first way I work is to offer a flexible hour plus two weeks of email dialogue support, by text or email or any written follow up, and together we unblock or ignite any mission, problem, idea, need, pattern, issue or life-challenge, (which usually involves exploring other areas of your life than you thought you’d come to talk about!), and with very few exceptions, a huge illumination and dissolving of what’s in the way and/or a well needed redirecting of your focus and framing of what’s going on to where you can be powerful. The fundamental twist in this process is that most people come to a session with something they want to get rid of or a problem of some kind, and of course, in the linear, problem-solving way we’ve all been brought up to address challenges there’s an assumption that we’re going to clear an obstacle, remove something – that that’s what we should do. But that’s where the great misunderstanding is, from my model, of how I see progress and healing and unblocking working, because the agenda I’ve just described is based in turning away from or pushing away what’s going on, as if we’re here to get rid of something and yet the quickest and most efficient way to both dissolve an obstacle or problem and also, most importantly, harvest it for the blatant, neon sign-post I believe your Life’s genius is trying to give you through the experience, (and which usually bears much more precious gifts than the issue you think you came to explore with me) is to turn towards, not away from the edge. It’s all in the way we turn towards it, and, a sneak preview, it always includes a way you’ve forgotten to self-care. For this flexible hour plus 2 weeks of written dialogue support I charge £250 and usually do it on Skype but if you can get to Oxford or London or somewhere else I am, of course, in the flesh. For me, to go so deep but then not have a 2 week follow up period for what is left, for what comes up, how it settles and any adjustments needed for the commitments you’ll make in the session, would be a bit weird to me and I’m surprised that most coaches and even therapists, just offer their time in hourly slots without that availability afterwards.

The second way I work, as I usually only offer a single or at most two of the above one-off sessions, is a fully hands-on Mentoring relationship which, again perhaps uniquely to how it makes sense for me to work, I only know how to do by offering my 100% availability, seven days a week, holidays, evenings and even nights if I’m awake – limitless. I feel that if you want my brain and heart that deeply in your life then I need to be right there on your shoulder for whenever you have a dilemma, an upset, a confusion, a need for clarity, support, encouragement and especially being smartly directed to your own wisdom in any and every moment of your life. It’s an all-you-can-eat buffet for the period we’re working together. So I’m there on the end of the phone or Skype or text or in person for as much as you need me, (unless I’m on a plane or feeding a child), I pick up – or certainly within an hour or two, no needing to book a slot – you just call, day or night. This is a very intense journey and is only offered in 3 month chunks of commitment. For this I charge from £2000-£5000 a month (means tested) and it’s not for the faint hearted! My past and current clients have offered to tell you more if you’re serious about this option.

It feels good to tell you all that because I’ve never written it down before and the one-on-one work is some of the most extraordinary, nourishing, intimate and profound stuff I do, yet I’m always going on about the Insanely Gifted book and the workshops….so if you’d like to know anything more just email me at jamiecatto@mac.com and it’ll come straight to my inbox.

Thanks for, in whatever way you are, being part of this army of walking permission slips we are becoming – just by being authentic and embodied ourselves, we create a space for everyone around us to be real too, vulnerable even, and everyone breathe a huge sigh of relief as we allow a deeper connection, less superficiality, more intimacy and power.

www.jamiecatto.com

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Unsafe Fences

One of the many characters roaming around in my mind, looking for trouble, is a kind of groundsman of my life’s landscape, perpetually checking on the areas of my perimeter fence which look insecure or vulnerable. He keeps returning to them, doing his rounds.

Some of them can be attended to and fixed or at least seemingly soundly protected but there will always be a few fences where he doesn’t have the tools to secure it. Some fences aren’t in our control or capacity to secure. This can make the groundsman a bit flummoxed or even anxious sometimes and he returns to those fences again and again to just stare at them holding his chin and sometimes imagine the danger of what might come through.

I read that the Samurai is instructed to, even in his most comfortable and joyful moments, imagine his own death, to imagine being swept away by a tumultuous river or ripped apart by wild dogs.

I also know that all the disasters that I used to dread and panic about earlier in my life, once they happened, I survived and often thrived unexpectedly and the experience was nothing like the dread I had pictured (often endlessly, exhaustively and exhaustingly).

Tell it to the groundsman.

Send the Samurai to stand by his side too.

Look at that fence.

Ask:

What am I believing is true when I keep focusing on the unfixable boundary of my perimeter fence?

Historically you’ve always been an epic survivor, no?

In our new film (nearly finished!) Ram Dass says ‘Not getting what I want is just as interesting as getting what I want it turns out.’

Trusting the curriculum is a very different life.

The fleet of groundsmen and groundswomen that we now have patrolling the permimeter fences of our lives charged with clear instructions: never let me look stupid, never let me look like a failure, never let me look ugly, never let me be destitute, never let me get exiled…rejected….abandoned…

…religiously guarding against those things was an agenda we set in motion as small children when the pain of being laughed at or excluded or told off was just too painful, so we understandably charged our incredible brains to never let us feel those things again – and we’ve lived by the urgency of those decisions ever since.

But we were children then.

Setting our amazing minds to be preoccupied with those protections is like getting Einstein to sweep the floor in the laboratory.

Mark Twain said ‘I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life… some of which actually came to pass.’

I can’t secure all fences but I am an epic survivor and I trust the curriculum.

In times of chaos I return to that.

www.jamiecatto.com

What are you striving for…(or gently heading towards)? What is the thing that when you get it will make everything peaceful and complete and ok in your life? For many it’s imagined as a certain amount of money or regular financial security – for others it’s just the right lover or partner or home – it could be Worldy or local success, being seen as valuable and special somehow by everyone – or having reached some other finish-line of achievement…maybe when you’ve done more yoga or attained a certain level of wisdom then everything will be great – pouring through books for that elusive aha moment that’s going to make everything acceptable and peaceful at last…

…but the thing is, having been around a lot of people that headed for those things before you and I, and achieved them, I can tell you that none of those finish-lines delivered that everything is ok now feeling to any of them for more than a flicker of a moment – and then it was back to the shadows and lights of being a human again, still feeling the same ups and downs and hopes and worries they had before.

In fact, the achievement of those this will make me complete and content goals and ultimate disappointment and emptiness that soon follows can be worse for some than the constant heading towards that most people live through, because once you’ve earned that money and got married and everyone’s chanting your name from the cheap seats on your world stadium tour, and yet you still return to feeling empty and disconnected when the lights have gone down and everyone’s gone home, then you REALLY have a problem – because where can you go from here?

This realisation, when it comes, is a bit like a rock-bottom moment for an addict – when all the unhealthy ways to avoid that feeling of disconnection have failed and one is left with no more options to escape the loneliness of being a person, an individual among billions of other individuals, all searching for that deeper sense of peace and connection in inefficient and unfulfilling places.

The inevitable realisation that occurs next, whether you’ve made it BIG or run out of addictions, and no more shopping or scrolling or consuming is filling the hole any more, is that the way to open the aperture of nourishing, fulfilling and joyful contentment sustainably is to GIVE.

Generosity and service are guaranteed to deliver that thing.

Having our generosity received is one of the most nourishing things on offer on this planet. How much more enjoyable is it to see someone open a present that you took some time making or selecting than you, yourself, opening another scarf? Having been appreciated for your love and care in any form, from a fleeting smile of presence or loving complicity to a big favour, or just being there for someone when they needed it. These things FILL our hearts and sense of being at home with the other humans during this brief, often scary, flash of human life. Writing music or creating is an act of generosity, offering our gifts as artists, chefs, guides, technicians, healers, helpers….the feeling of being received, the connection and intimacy that opens up is fulfilment.

So whatever material or spiritual path you think you’re on, wherever you think you are headed, please forgive my dogmatic tone here but I can save you a lot of trouble and tell you now, you are going to realise at the end of it, or at some point along it, that having an attitude of ‘where can I give?’ in small and big ways, either just with the people you know or to the furthest reaches of the planet, is the only thing that will sustainably bring you contentment. Whether it be devotion to your garden, your children, you friends, the environment, people who need help and care, or the song you are writing – wherever you can give of yourself devotionally will be where you find that thing and can build your castle of contentment on solid ground.

Might as well get on with it. Please let us know how it goes.

jamiecatto.com/workshops

For anyone who’s ‘on a path of growing’, I wonder if there may sometimes be a putting off of stopping and just…being…this, now, not going anywhere in your so important one Life as You.

I was watching one of the kids today, nearly 2 years old, and everything, for him, is growing and input. Every crouch-down to pick up a windfall apple is creating pathways of balance and weight-distribution and hand-accuracy. Moment by moment this kid’s life is intellectual and physical and emotional input. The whole organism is downloading and uploading a constant stream of data to arrange it’s motor, survival and human operational systems.

And then I was thinking about some people’s obsession with growing, and how it makes sense that after a childhood of accumulation one might think that that’s what life is supposed to be continuously about.

But a tree knows when to stop.

It keeps producing seeds and fruit, but at a certain time it knows that it’s high enough, and stops, and just resides as that height, that shape….being a tree.

Maybe the first chunk of our lives is for growing into all our systems and there comes a time to just be that shape – to enjoy the world just as we are without needing to head towards a finish line of enoughness when we will have earned the right to just rest…and enjoy…appreciate….Be.

How would it feel for you to just decide – ‘I’ve focused on growing and growing quite enough for now, I’m going to just Be now, just enjoy and appreciate all the aspects of my life, create new things, go deeper into what I’ve already manifested around me, and drop the idea that until I’ve done more, learnt more, broken through more, served more, healed more….I can’t just rest and enjoy?

3

2

1

Stop.

One…big…deep…breath…together.

Life is growing you – you don’t need to do anything except be there when it does.

jamiecatto.com

The two ways that we tend to access the wonderful, illuminating and inspiring wisdom and peace we humans are so capable of is either through someone else who, perhaps long ago, dared to get themselves into such a state of empty receptivity and deep listening that a blast of utter clarity and truth came through them and they wrote it all down (or told it to those who could hear it – and those guys wrote it down as best they could). Later on, maybe millions of people were so touched and nourished and switched on when they read this wisdom that they decided ‘this is it!’ and maybe even became scholars of that message, teaching it to more and more people and making it their life’s passion to share it with as many as possible. Hence Religions and ‘paths’ with priests, academics, and experts….even hierarchies. I’m not writing them off…but…

…the other way, and the more vulnerable way, is for each of us ourselves to enter that state of empty receptivity and deep listening as often as possible, even on a moment by moment basis throughout the day, and trust what we hear. To do this can feel uncomfortable because we have to leave the trusted, ego-realm of control which we are so used to, (even though if we’re honest, has it ever really delivered that ’safety’ that it keeps promising?). To let go of this earthy dimension of provable facts and the security of everything that has seemed to ‘work’ ’til now feels understandably edgy. Most of us are reluctant to let go of that perceived sense of usualness that we have counted on all these years. This is the same reason artists think they have writer’s block. There is no block, just a rejection of the edgy, vulnerable feeling that arises in the body when you look at your guitar or laptop or paints and feel that sinking feeling. It’s just the ego not wanting to let go into that less predictable, uncontrolled place where our surrendered Yin opens and none of the strategies we’re so used to living by are useful or relevant. It can feel a bit squirmy if you don’t frame it right and you can end up not creating that day. All because the accustomed, ‘safe’ place in you wanted to hold on.

Bravely allowing that sensation of resistance is what makes you a great artist or wisdom-bringer.

There is a third way where we use the teachings of someone before us to trigger our own channel to open and bring in the relevant wisdom of the ‘Now’, but I urge you to dare to make opening to your own unique channel, even though it can feel weird or spooky at first, central to the moment by moment living of your life. What those geniuses or sages of the past brought through was amazing, and yes it’s hard not to get sucked into the idea that only they could be the Buddha or the Christ because everyone’s made such a faux-humble fuss of them – but that’s bad brainwashing, to believe the ignorant parents or school-teachers that told you it could only be them, not you, and that it’s even arrogant to imagine you, yourself could channel the very same, pure wisdom, relevant to this moment TODAY! Burn me at the stake but those past moments back then that the old Masters and Mistresses were channeling were not as relevant to this today-moment of your life as what you, yourself, can hear, right now, by emptying and opening. Everyone has this ability, EVEN YOU. It’s not arrogant or sacrilegious to use and enjoy your own amazing cosmic CB Radio receiver. It’s a far better life to live according to those messages and offerings than the usual Headfuck FM radio station of the worried ego constantly trying to keep us safe and manically protecting us from ever looking stupid or weak.

If your guitar or pen is triggering that resistance, go deeper into just the feeling of it in the body, in a friendly, curious way, and soon, just by making a brief start, you’ll find yourself in the flow. And yes, if you’re inspired by Tantra or Yoga or any of the wise paths and doctrines, drink every uplifting mouthful – but I’d hazard against using it as a day by day substitute for what comes through when you open your own deep, listening, un-thinking hotline to the ever-generous ALL THAT IS.

Message me if you’d like to try it.

www.jamiecatto.com

This might sound a bit extreme, but as I communicate with so many diverse people in a day, I notice that the ‘One’ or ‘state of being’ in them who is writing or talking to me is very vividly coming from one of two places.

EITHER

They are coming from the connected-to-presence, loving, respectful, sensitive and awake to the unpolluted and undistracted compassion of this moment together – an undramatic, patient, forgiving, low-ambition kind of a place…

OR

They’re coming from the ‘one’ in them who is fully believing in some ‘reality’ or agenda that backs up their separate, individual identity as a person with specific needs, desire and fears – from this standpoint they are totally concerned with the material or emotional plane of their individual human experience, their model of how life should be, and the strategies to uphold that model and not be uncomfortable or out of control.

That second place is in such a state of oblivion to the first (truer?) more surrendered one – that it really believes that whatever it wants or needs or thinks is coming from ‘the truth’. This second state-of-being believes it can control it’s reality to achieve its desires and avoid the things it fears or finds uncomfortable. It has totally forgotten the ‘first’ place where there is sober acceptance of our limited sphere of influence to control Life and has forgotten the place inside that connects to trust, equanimity and surrender. This first (wiser?) place knows there’s no control and feels compassion for all of us heading towards inevitable death – death of the part that believes that ‘who I am is all these thoughts and wants and fears and busy-me-ness’.

This second, some would describe as purely ‘ego-driven’ state, to me, is nothing short of mental illness. To live as if that constant stream of desire, emotions, control-trips and ’separateness’ is true reality is to live in hell, both in our futility and constant failure to control getting the things we want moment by moment, but also the lack of control over all the unexpected and often painful events and situations which inevitably arrive in our lives. Add to that the fact of our impending human death and the bizarre rule-book we were all given as we were growing up about how we should live, a rule book written by other asleep people who were also grasping and terrified and confused…..it’s little wonder that the first (more peaceful) state of Love and Connectedness I described plays such a small part in most people’s lives.

Often it takes a crisis to force us there, something that strips away the ‘importance’ of all the things we want and don’t want. When someone gets seriously ill or dies those daily concerns seem suddenly petty. Many grudges and disputes seem petty too when we come back to the deeper appreciation of all of our fragility and the constant stream of unexpected change we have to endure.

This is why keeping that first state awake is the first and most important mission of my life, because when that part of me is asleep, for instance when something I don’t like happens and I jump into a knee-jerk control and strategy reaction, or really any conversation or action where I’m believing that running around maintaining the impossible comfort zone of Jamie’s Life is the main priority, I am in a PTSD reaction, a form of mental illness where the true faculty of loving awareness has been blocked out by the noise and urgency of my desire or fear.

So that’s how I feel about it today. Either we’re awake and compassionate, (not because it’s good to be compassionate, but because the truth of our wounded and fragile predicament is something completely worthy of our compassion, the compassion is truly fitting) – OR I am a mental patient, asleep to the (truer to me) reality. I’m in suffering, causing suffering, hiding, strategising, and inevitably doomed to the death of everything I think is important – the limited idea of me.

I recommend to all the people I coach, mentor or work with to set their phone alarm to bleep every half hour of the waking day because falling into the sleep-state where we have literally forgotten ourSelves and are believing the busy, delusionally-controlling, comfort-addicted identity is a total waste of hours and hours a day. It’s not an elephant in the room, it’s a dinosaur! Yet every moment spent in the realm where we are awake, present, and lovingly-aware is rich and worthwhile, and we all unconsciously drift out of it so regularly that a reminder to wake up with a bleep or a bell is, in the initial stages, vital to repeat the waking-up enough times to create a deep groove in the neuro-plasticity of our brains – until being awake needs no more reminders.

Whatever is takes – alarm clocks, meditation bells, Post It notes around the house – commit to loving wakefulness – anything else is insanity and enslavement.

www.jamiecatto.com