KARMA: let’s not, in our self-slave-driving way mistake the lessons and illuminations Life is sending us for ‘punishment’ or ‘payback’. This is far from what I understand by the laws of cause and effect or ‘karma’, Life wants to show us the things we’re missing, or suppressing, or escaping. If we continue to take actions which demonstrate that we’re in denial or rejection of those illuminations then Life has no choice but to turn up the volume so that we hear it. This can feel like punishment because after we’ve avoided looking at something enough times we might get a bonk on the head to wake us up. But this is just Life taking necessary measures to reach us. It’s benevolent. None of us deserve punishment or condemnation for our past ignorance. Please let this in. Let’s not add self-harming blame ideas to the already challenging lessons Life is sending us.
One of the limiting habits we have formed as a species is to always try and move towards comfort and push away discomfort. We feel a pain and we take a pill to make it go away, but as long as we are always trying to escape the uncomfortable we are missing half of the treasure of life. It’s when we are uncomfortable that we have to reach out to others, it cultivates intimacy and trust. When we are in pain our compassion for others who are experiencing pain too is deeply felt, unlike the rest of the time where we’re buzzing around in self-involved busyness. It’s when we are forced into the uncomfortable that we have huge realisations about ourselves. If we are open to life’s lessons we become illuminated by the hell we put ourselves through. The Dark Night Of The Soul is one of the most growing experiences many of us ever have. If it weren’t for the heinous panic attacks I suffered in my late teens and the suicidal state I got myself into I would never have sought out information and techniques to pull myself out of the misery I felt I had been sentenced to and begin the Warrior’s journey which led me to be the humble genius you now see before you…
…and there is a big clue about our suffering. From the point of view of always running from discomfort and grasping after comfort, these challenging experiences are hellish and need to be resisted, but when I realise that my journey through this hell-realm and the tools I’ve learned on how to survive have taught me to be a skilful and empathic helper for those who are experiencing similar things to me, I notice that the hardest times of my life have been like a kind of super-hero training, sculpting me and giving me gifts which are useful for others in need. It’s almost as if, in our suffering, we are sent down into the darkest mines alone, but when we return to the surface we notice that we have in our hand a jewel that is of use to the next person down the line struggling in a similar fashion.
We’ve become so used to pushing away the chaos of our edgier feelings and feel so wary of approaching the edges of our comfort zones that whenever something or someone catapults there involuntarily we resist, we judge those people, fight them, manipulate them, condemn them, anything to keep life within the narrow confines of our perceived safety. We need the artists and musicians to go to those dark and scary places on our behalf so that we can sit in rows in the dark cinema and sob along with what’s happening on the screen. We don’t want to hang off a cliff by one arm sobbing desperately but we’re happy for Brad Pitt to do it up on the screen and we sit in the safety of Screen 2 in Finchley and have a watered-down, vicarious experience of that intensity the actor has immersed himself in. This is a vital offering we artists and creators bring, to go to such extreme places in ourselves and transform them into music and film and art for those less comfortable with their edges to have a gentler, more manageable version, and then when the credits roll go and have some dinner. The musicians and artists tend to experience life with higher peaks and lower troughs, that’s why so may of us suffer from depression and get carried away by our elation. The artists and musicians are brave and dare to go more willingly to those edges of emotion, and we provide an essential service to anyone else who needs to feel those parts of themselves more safely. Our adulation and worship of musicians and actors is a symptom of how accustomed we have become to disowning our intense feelings. We pay these artists huge sums of money to go there for us and create songs and films and other artistic expressions which allow us to get in touch with the visceral, messy parts of ourselves under controlled circumstances, risk free.
How have the challenges you’ve survived trained you? What were the unexchangeable gifts?
Are you comfortable with everyone being there to serve your idea? Some of us carry fear about looking arrogant or believe that if we are the leader or boss of a project that we might come across as an ego-maniac by having the last word on all decisions. It can feel edgy to own the leadership and allow all the geniuses around you be there for you, to receive what everyone’s bringing without shame. These deserving issues can be a huge trap and keep us small. Let them serve you and your idea. It’s safe to receive. If you don’t think so or you have an uncomfortable block arising when you consider this, then it’s time to do some dissolving before you take another step. Where did this sheepishness come from? Who planted it in you years ago? Is it someone else’s baggage? If so, put it down, because great art, though collaborative, is NOT democratic. No Masterpiece ever came out of a committee with everyone having their say and arriving at an average, watered-down version of what everyone wants.
Your project is about your vision, it’s about a team effort for everyone to help you manifest what’s being birthed in you. Yes, we listen to input, and we might even give some of our team decision-making power in areas of the project that we trust them in, but the final word, and there can only be one final word, must come from you. Make sure everyone’s on board with this before you set off down the road. A huge part of success is the ability to delegate. How many people’s genius can you harness?
‘What people think’ is a vastly overrated issue to concern oneself with yet it is an often paralysing force, stopping people from daring to live their dream or even speak in public. The folks I’ve coached who are afraid of speaking in public seem to all suffer from the same problem; they’re not ok with the idea that anyone would think or see them as a total fool. For me, I already know that me being a total numpty, constantly failing, spilling the wine, saying the wrong thing, is a GIVEN. If you are ok with the basic, self-evident truth that ‘of course you’re a fool, who isn’t??’ then you are free! Public speaking will be the least of the gifts and relaxation that flows into your life. You, yes YOU, are an utter nincompoop. Stop imagining it’s a priority to hide that fact and we can all relax and thrive with each other.
I’ve been going through some intense transition waves of late, really big mofos, and I’ve been doing something that’s really helped and illuminated me in darkest bits.
1. When the big waves come, and they are feelings of strong loss and grief I’ve first said Yes Yes Yes and felt them deeply but also removed the usual labels of Grief and Loss and considered what is this feeling if I take off those words and just experience it as a nameless new sensation? Something shifts.
2. I get a bit fascinated while watching both the feelings and also ‘the one who is feeling them’ lovingly, being fully with the exact moment with whatever is being felt, like a wine taster savouring every atom.
3. Experimenting with a new label. What if I call this Love? What if it’s one of the 10 000 names of God, the 10 000 unique flavours of raw love? What does it feel like now? Better…even…beautiful in a weird way?
4. Be proud of my willingness to allow this and experience it as self-care and something nourishing. Feeling steadfast.
I’ve said many times that on my workshops and in all my dealings in life my Mission is to create an army of ‘walking permission-slips’, a legion of likeminded souls who, just by being Ourselves, present, authentic, often vulnerable, become catalysts for everyone who comes into contact with us to lighten-up, evolve playfully, and be exactly as they are without needing to exhaust themselves wearing masks. When we meet people like this, who are comfortable to be seen and heard just as they are without hiding behind roles or being an ‘appropriate’ version of themselves, we ourselves become more relaxed and more authentic. Our freedom to be seen in our mess, in our eccentricity, in our fallibility, creates a permission in everyone we meet to lighten-up around all the sides of themselves that they believe aren’t welcome -and when that happens, the Intimacy level shoots through the roof and the ensuing relief which expands though each of our central nervous systems is palpable.
This wonderful, playful, often foolish path is what we call The Path Of The Holy Banana. What happens to the other fruit when you place them near the Banana? They RIPEN.
Join us, and let’s be create a revolution of visibility, authenticity and playfulness. It’s available. We’re on a Mission to make self-reflection hip for just a moment, just long enough to save us, and the amount of energy we’ll inherit that has been wasted on the masks and roles will be enough to solve any Global crisis.
Workshops all over the UK and beyond at www.jamiecatto.com/workshops
I wonder when we started replacing the word ‘Lover’ with ‘Baby’. When you take a step back from it, it’s a bit weird, no?
“Be my baby”, “Baby, I need you”, “Baby you make me feel so….” – is it because babies can’t leave you? Or is it because babies are so cute? I’m confused. Is it a symptom of how, before we wake up to conscious relating, we all unconsciously yearn to be Mothered or Fathered by our lover? Or do we need our partner to be as helpless as a baby so we can be needed?
I don’t want you to be my baby.
www.jamiecatto.com/workshops Intimacy workshops coming up in UK