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A popular misconception about ‘going out there and following your passion’ is that you have to know what your passion is before you start. I saw a great talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote the bestselling book ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, about how guilty she felt having given talks urging people to follow their passion and ‘just do it’, not realising that there were people in the audience who simply hadn’t found their passion, didn’t know what it was, and felt like a failure every time someone told them to ‘just follow their passion’. What should the people who don’t know what their passion is, or don’t believe they even have one, do?

You can see the talk here: http://www.supersoul.tv/supersoul-sessions/elizabeth-gilbert-flight-hummingbird-curiosity

Do we all have to know what our passion is before we take action? I would say ‘no’.

I’d like to offer a different route which i believe is efficient for people who haven’t found their passion and innate drive yet. I suggest that if you don’t know exactly what your passion is then dedicate some scheduled action to the nearest thing you can think of to what interests or moves you, and instead of relying on the passion to instigate or lead the action, take some creative action on something which is in the area of what you love, which is perhaps the closest thing you can think of, even if you are unskilled in it at present. You may find that the passion grows with the action once you’ve given some time to it and sprouts little leaves as you go along.

What I’m saying is that the passion can grow out of the action instead of be the instigating spark and a gradually increasing momentum of fulfilment grows out of nothing, out of the bare ground once you get started. This certainly takes a bit more vulnerability as you don’t have the uplifting wave of inspiration to get you started and it is essential to have no attachment to the outcome of your actions, but the passion and drive can often birth itself very powerfully once we surrender to the pessimism and get on with it.

Those people who stagnate believing that unless their passion is driving them that there’s nothing worth giving their time to, forget this second option.

One of the traps here is that it’s easy to believe that the project or action is there to make us feel good, to fulfil us. Don’t get me wrong, there is an abundance of inspiration and ‘being fed’ that will unfold once the project or activity is underway, but it’s not that activity’s job to ‘give us’ the nice passionate, driven feeling. We can’t burden our art or our missions with the responsibility of ‘making us feel good’. Nothing good springs from that expectation. There’s a reason the old cliche says ‘you get out what you put in.’ The projects and missions which succeed are the ones where we are of service, even devotional, to the thing we’re doing. We pour ourselves into it and sooner or later it gives us back satisfaction or even, on a lucky day, something approaching a Masterpiece.

So if you’re one of those people who don’t feel you’ve found your passion, don’t use this as a reason to not take any action. We can’t always wait for the trumpet call of inspiration. Make a start, even a small one.

It’s also important to avoid setting ourselves up for failure by aiming for unrealistic expectations like ‘I want to be a Master painter’ or ‘I want to be a World famous pianist’. Yes, it is good to have goals but when they are too big we can daunt ourselves with an unclimbable mountain and give up when we realise how long this is going to take. Try this: paint one little picture. Learn how to play just one piece on the piano. Then, if you enjoyed it, try another, and another, and before you know it, you’re working with your passion!

If you’re a bit of a control freak you might find this challenging because to allow the genius of a Masterpiece to come through you have to surrender. The usual ego-mind that solves your daily problems has to take more of a back-seat when you take creative action so if you’re feeling controlling or unsafe then you can easily sabotage getting started too.

Negativity and lack of self-belief can masquerade as ‘truth’ but don’t buy into it. You might be a budding genius or you might be hopeless at what you’ve chosen. You won’t know until you make a start. And if it’s not for you then try something else. No drama.

Negativity or a flat day can be really deceptive. Sometimes, when i feel good and relaxed, I think of the book I’m reading and get a wave of joy at returning to it, or even just thinking of it, but sometimes when I feel a bit depressed or pessimistic, I think of the same book and it gives me no pleasure wave at all. Has the book changed? No. Only my outlook that day.

Some days just feel flat. It’s not that we don’t feel passionate about our project but sometimes we think of it, on a flat day, and when we don’t feel that spark of excitement we blame our project as if it’s not interesting any more, and it’s only really our lens, on a low day, that makes us feel negative, nothing to do with the project at all. Don’t get suckered!

Start with one achievable thing. Learn one piano piece. Paint one small picture. Set up one meeting with someone you’d like to collaborate with and brainstorm over coffee. Just…one…thing. We don’t create our projects all at once in one giant leap, we chip away at them little by little. We take the next step, then the next and then the next, and it either leads to something we’re happy with, or it doesn’t. There are no guarantees.

And even if you never discover one thing that totally inspires you, you may be a person who is inspired by numerous things for short periods. Is that ok with you? It’s fine with me. You might be turned on by ’passion for life itself in all its magnificent directions’ as Elizabeth Gilbert says in her talk. Not everyone has to find one single thing that sustains their excitement for a whole lifetime.

Lastly I’d like to warn us all about impatience. In Chinese medicine, impatience lives in the Heart. It is the result of our Heart-chi not flowing freely. And guess what the virtue is to unblock that channel….giving, compassion, generosity. It is when we give ourselves to our projects with patience and no expectations that we get fed by them and inspired to carry on. So make a start, without burdening yourself with huge expectations, just do one small thing in the direction of your interest, and allow the little sapling to sprout tiny leaves. If you enjoy what you’re doing, before you know it, there will be fruit.

Come and join us for a weekend and discover what turns you on…INSANELY GIFTED this weekend in London or weekends and days in Bath, Oxford, Devon, Bristol, Chester, Kent, Amsterdam and Nepal…

www.jamiecatto.com

Beware Evolving

Sometimes there’s a choice between either going for the experience that seems to be the fastest evolution, the biggest challenge, the most intense opportunity VS. the gentler, looking after one’s fragility, not pushing the wound into too much trauma or drama path. Sometimes we don’t allow ourselves the latter choice because we feel we should be brave, or slave-drive ourselves into an idea of uncompromising progress.

Beware of this.

We are each responsible for looking after this often wounded, vulnerable creature that we are, and for me, that has to come first.
If a challenge feels exciting then great, jump into the fire, but please, never from a ‘should’ or any sense of shame.

We deserve the care only we can give ourselves.

What specific thing can you do today which is only about self-care?

www.jamiecatto.com

If you like a free copy of my Intimacy Playbook (e-book) then sign up for my Nowsletter at the all brand spanking new website which has my music and all kinds of cool new stuff – scroll to bottom

www.jamiecatto.com

Take it fully for granted that at any given moment something might unexpectedly happen that you don’t think you want. Some of these things may need to be solved. Others, with a bit of patience and courage, are better to allow, sit-with as they often prove themselves to be gifts in disguise. Some of the greatest gifts in business and at home come cloaked in disaster. But either way, if we are present enough in our lives to be ever watchful for the suckah-punches, and above all EXPECT them, not be continually surprised and disheartened by them, then we are surfing not collapsing. Difficult changes, big and small, are so much more manageable and harvestable when we don’t add the victim drama of becoming a surprise-victim whenever Life is unpredictable.

When we learn to EXPECT edgy twists and turns then the draining victim distraction is taken out of the equation and the actual event you need to face is a whole different, illuminating possibility.

www.jamiecatto.com

When a writer or composer feels it’s time to create an often paralysing resistance can descend. It’s like fear and dread, even alarm. The excruciating resistance to sitting down and getting on with it is a syndrome that plagues numerous creators, both famously acclaimed and unknown. Why?

The answer is very connected to what a child feels at bed time when it wants to stay up and play. It’s not the just the excitement of being up late, it’s the fear and resistance of the ‘ego’ part of the child which doesn’t want to let go into sleep. The entrenched ego wants to stay in the driving seat and bedtime represents a kind of death, the surrender of consciousness, of the child’s idea of self, of presence. So bedtime, for many children, becomes a drama of refusal and strategic avoidance.

The same is true for the creator because when we sit down to create we have to let our ego dissolve and be taken by the channel. We can’t, as a mere personality and brain, come up with any real magic. We can come up with some good stuff, sometimes even get lucky with a few really good bits, but usually the magic, the genius, the high grade download happens when the thinking mind allows itself to take a back-seat and the juicy ‘Big Mind’ can come through. Great writers and composers are really glorified secretaries in the Listening. It feels edgy to let go in this way and is oddly hardly taught in Creative classes.

The moment before letting the channel take over feels like a death, both because the thinky, ego part doesn’t want to give up it’s power, its autonomy, and also because there’s a fear of the unknown, of the chaos of letting go and maybe not producing anything and feeling disappointment. It’s uncertain if it will yield any gold and that vulnerability is uncomfortable. The dual experience of this death of autonomy and the vulnerability of pessimism are what stop countless writers and composers from sitting down and getting on with it.

If you don’t mind letting your ego dissolve and not knowing if anything good will happen you’ll be much more productive.

www.jamiecatto.com

Come to INSANELY GIFTED in London this January
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/insanely-gifted-open-the-channel-to-direct-inspiration-london-tickets-19557930296?utm-medium=discovery&utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&aff=esfb&utm-source=fb&utm-term=listing

When I get severely triggered and lose it, start acting out and behaving in a way I later regret, it’s so compelling that I seem to totally forget myself. Then, when the stormy waves of drama have subsided and I’m back to myself again, whether I’d been swept away by a panic attack, a rage reaction or a jealousy trauma, once it’s over I can hardly remember what it felt like. I find it really hard to even connect to the ‘me’ I was then, only hours before. It’s so easy to feel shame and doom at those moments and even hate myself for slipping so completely into that unconscious ‘acting-out’ state again.

It’s as if the crazy full moon of wounding had come out from behind a cloud and I’d suddenly turned into a Werewolf, totally unaware of who I really am. Then later, after the rampage of destructive or violent behaviour subsided I had found myself with my clothes in rags and those around me upset or scared, or my inner, angry villagers climbing the hill towards me with pitchforks.

It’s so important at this time to turn towards the Sun, the warmth of forgiveness and understanding and be around others who forgive and understand too.

No matter how often we fall, let’s never forget our basic innocence and the innocence of those around us.

Easy does it. Don’t add self harm or judgement to the episode. Today is a new day. We need gentleness.

www.jamiecatto.com

When someone describes an artist, musician or anyone with ‘natural ability’ as GIFTED they don’t know how literal they are being. When we write a great song or have a great idea we receive it, we don’t ‘think it up’. It pops ‘in’ to our heads. When we’re in a flow writing, we’re not ‘thinking up’ what we are writing word by word, it is flowing into us as we write, fluidly, and we are, at best, transcribing. Great composers and writers are glorified secretaries and yet we are very happy to take the money and the credit. It’s hilarious how the personality takes full credit and will even get indignant protecting ‘my idea’ when they had almost nothing to do with it’s creation or arrival. All the great inspiration is GIFTED and the artist can be acclaimed as GIFTED but the irony is that no artist feels that comfortable being hailed as GIFTED, when it means ’special’, for very long as we all know we did very little to manifest the genius thing that arrived. We ushered it in maybe but we didn’t create it any more than anyone ‘creates’ a great idea that pops into their heads. So all GIFTED people, when praised, paradoxically feel like impostors and frauds….

…and the beat goes on…

www.jamiecatto.com

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