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Archive for August, 2012

Intimacy means being real, but not always being nice. We live in a world of appropriateness and politeness where we have all culturally agreed not to make each other uncomfortable or press each other’s buttons. This habit of holding-back creates insipid and stagnant relationships. I don’t want you to hide the truth from me when you see me behaving smaller than I really am.. I want your challenge, your insights and above all your ruthless honesty.

However, beware: if you don’t express your challenge constructively with sincere love and with the other’s interest at heart, then instead of supporting your partner in their higher truth, you are likely to send them deeper into the resistance and probably start a fight.

Who want their truth varnished? Not me.

In order to live this truth fully and richly you have to be ok with other people sometimes going into dramatic reactions around you. It’s important to know not to take their reactions personally. If you are terrified of people’s anger or even their tears then you might limit your honesty with them and therefore limit your Intimacy with them. One doesn’t have to be bluntly hurtful to be clear and ruthlessly honest.

Can you trigger someone’s resistance and know it’s not ‘your fault’?

(i) What is one specific truth you’d have liked to tell your former partner or you’d like to tell your current partner, or anyone in your life – and yet you didn’t or don’t for fear of not being ‘nice’? Please write it in the lines laid out below.

(ii) When you look at what you’ve written, are you sure it’s expressed in a manner that is constructive, full of love, supportive, and with that partner’s interest and well being at heart?

(iii) Go through it to make sure you’re clear about how much this is ‘for them’ and how much is ‘for you’, and then express your truth or challenge to that person from a loving place.

What About Intimacy weekends at http://www.jamiecatto.com/about_intimacy

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I’ve applied to meet my own aggression.

It’s always been there, it has a familiarity when it rears and rages, but I’ve never faced it soberly, explicitly acknowledged it exists and observed all it’s sudden, surging entrances and thinly veiled expressions.

I know I am aggressive in many ways. Surgically aggressive with emails to people who I perceive as trying to be dishonest or unfair or disrespectful with me. I stress the word ‘perceived’ because there’s often a difference between the perceived disrespect I’m reacting to and the actual disrespect being delivered.
It’s obvious that my reaction is based on how I’m perceiving the person triggering me into my aggression. If I am seduced, at the time of the trigger, by my anger’s clever justification for it’s self-righteous raging :
“this person’s an idiot”
“this person is disrespecting me’
“this person is trying to be dishonest with me”
…then I will mistakenly label that trigger-person as the CAUSE of my anger rather than face the Truth which is that they are just the TRIGGER of the anger which is already there, bubbling away in me, reactive to triggers like this person.

I am a volcano.

The anger and aggression is in me. It’s reactive to certain kinds of people and also certain kinds of situations, usually ones where I feel overwhelmed.
Recently Memphis had an accident and entered the room screaming with her foot dribbling big blood drops all over the place. My first reaction to the sudden shock and worry was rage at Indy for having not cleared up the glass she had broken this morning more thoroughly. And then rage at everyone not jumping around to support me quickly enough even though there was nothing specific I needed done or had asked for support in.
My aggression is useless and misguided in that situation and, if anything, could hinder efficient essential action if not reigned in quickly enough.

Another well worn aggression-trigger is my responses to my ex-wife. I not only look at the way I react to my stories of ‘how I’m being treated’, but I also have to examine my own manipulative aggression. I’m sometimes feeling like the victim to hers but I also have to look at how I am just like the projected ‘her’ I am complaining about. How have I distorted facts and information to get my way? How do I present one-sided, incomplete versions of things to get my way? How do I purport this same kind of aggression on others?

ALso, when I receive a snide, sarcastic email from someone who’s judgemental about me, recently usually about teaching workshops and writing my take on life publicly, when someone sends me an overtly or covertly bullying email, especially an indirect, sarcastic kind of message, I want to dissect and kill every syllable they wrote to me and spell out their hypocrisy and blindness to them in a way that shows them, silences them and maybe even kills them. In a way that makes them feel as dismissed as i feel.

I am trying to feel into this “saying fuck off to bullies” attraction that I am experiencing. I want to be metaphorically ‘upstairs’ as the high being that knows everyone is just a version of me, a lesson, a gift for me to lighten up and let go and at the same time be metaphorically ‘downstairs’ as a human, primal in flesh and bone and say “fuck off you bully!” to those people so articulately that there is no room for anything but How I see it. This is aggressive. It’s an Aggressive way to protect the hurt I feel or the fear I feel in my body from old bullies of long ago.
And again, I also have to look at both my reaction but also – how am I just like them? How do I lay my own superiority trips on people? Make them feel small so I can feel less threatened? Do I do that? How am I just like the smug, superior, dismissive bullies?

I’ve asked to meet my aggression.

And I look at how I shame others, how I make them feel guilty for displeasing me as if they are wrong and responsible for how I now feel. Shaming people when they don’t behave as I’d prefer is aggression. I’m examining my speech and my verbal tactics with my kids.

I got furious with someone else recently when I felt she was mocking me. I perceived she was. As I witnessed the perceived mocking twinkle in her eye, the perceived bid for humiliation, the perceived, deliberate cruelty for her entertainment, all these BELIEFS justified a rage surge that named her as the CAUSE and all my trust in her vanished and the jarring exposure I suddenly felt, where I perceived my openness had been mocked made me leap up, say something final and leave the area. I can almost summon the burning sharpness in my torso with the recent memory.
The version of her as all these negative intentions was of course totally in me and my ‘version’ that I had attached all this to. None of it really going on in her at all. All projected.

That sense of ‘being betrayed’ in me makes me want to kill, makes me want them to feel the pain they’ve just ’caused’ me.
Wants to strike out in pain, almost as self defence.
And then I ask, how am I like this character I’m painting? How often am I mocking, insensitive, a maker of inappropriate and accidentally hurtful things?
A lot.
I am aggressively insensitive sometimes.

And when I shared with a friend how I had felt about that trigger of insensitivity they said in one breath “you do that a lot” and a surge of rage exploded in me. “why had they given me an irrelevant auto-response in one breath and made me ‘wrong’ instead of empathising with the story I was sharing?” The rage of being unseen and wrongly judged. Deeper than that, the alienation and rejection of not being stuck-up-for or backed up.

The aggression in me is big. I am a big personality. I drag a lot of power along with me. I don’t want my unconsciously arising aggression to cause harm to anyone near me or to sabotage my life. So I applied to meet my aggression and the reply has been a cast of thousands, people and circumstances delivered by Almighty Productions to both trigger my own aggression so I can observe it and also send characters to mirror and mimic my own behaviours and strategies so that I can see myself in technicolor and tie bells to the ankles of my insidious traps – all the better to hear them coming sooner and not get sucker-punched so often.

I’m being punked by God all the time. I am being treated with humour and mercy. I remember that these strong sensations of fear and anger and shame that arise in waves during these episodes are from one perspective, just my body’s genius using the moment to discharge some accumulated, blocked trauma and my system is so self-mending that it uses strong sensations as anuses to excrete emotionally. Maybe the whole soap opera simply serves as an emotional and psychic EXPECTORATE for the humans’ EMOTIONAL and PSYCHIC EXCRETION.

What’s the best first step you’ve found in response to rising aggression in yourself, or from others?

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Choose Space, not Reaction.

When a challenging feeling arises, or an unexpected situation throws me off-centre, the first organ that leaps into the fray is always my amazing, problem-solving Mind. It’s as if I believe that whenever an unusual or shaky feeling arises in me I have to make it immediately go away with a solution or a controlling response from my thinking centre. Yet if I take a breath and a moment of space to allow myself to feel this uncomfortable wave fully before I dismiss it and block or solve it, the seductive, over-reactive urge to control the situation subsides and a less anxious and more trusting sensation is left. This is my Intimacy with myself.

To live intimately with myself and with the circumstances which unfold around me, it takes a moment of space and of listening. This is the habit to cultivate.

Choose Space, not Reaction.

I find a moment alone. I place my palm on my heart, I take a breath, and I feel deeply for a moment. Naturally, I fall into more harmony with what’s really going on instead of struggling and resisting by auto-reacting to it.

This Intimacy with myself saves me much angst and energy. It even saves me from alienating other people in my life both at work and at home.

What makes you so triggered that you instantly over-react? Please write below both the trigger or situation and also, next to it, how that behaviour in others is exactly like you yourself in some way.

Please continue with the answer to this vital question:
‘If I had set this situation up as a simulation scenario to show myself something about me, what could it be?’

This is how we participate with the challenging circumstances we encounter. This is where we are powerful, not victims of our circumstances.

What About Intimacy weekends at http://www.jamiecatto.com/about_intimacy

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When I am empty and open to listening, the ideas and insights which arise in me are always far richer and more profound than anything my busy ‘front-mind’ ever comes up with.

If a friend is hurt and I am sitting with them as they pour their heart-break out to me, when I am truly empty and present with them, not in a mindy solution-orientated mode, but just totally present with them as they speak, then amazing wisdom will come out of my mouth. These pieces of wisdom will contain more amazing insights than I could ever have thought up. In fact, they are usually news to me too! When I’m totally present then the most pertinent and apt genius arises all by itself out of the space between us.

All our best parenting of our kids, and all our best love-making come from a listening and empty place. It’s here that our perceptions and sensitivities to the other are most heightened and therefore our responses are richer. As I am quieter and stiller, I receive and am present with more and more of you. As I listen, our intimacy grows and our sense of being connected arises effortlessly.

Let’s listen even deeper. When you next hear a baby cry or a dog bark try to listen beyond the actual sound of it to the impulse that threw that sound out, the root feeling that the sound sprang from. Grab your lover, or a friend, and try 6 minutes of unbroken, silent eye-contact with them or your own reflection. All sorts of feelings will bubble up but stay with it for the full six minutes being fully present with all the feelings and thoughts that arise in you and giving full-bodied, focused listening presence to the unique human who’s facing you.

Please write below what it was like for you, your levels of stillness, presence and listening. What does it feel like to fully give your attention to someone and to be given someone’s full presence? Please tell us how much you heard or perceived with all your senses.

What About Intimacy weekends at http://www.jamiecatto.com/about_intimacy

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Since childhood, we have been so conditioned by our never-ending quest for approval that we attempt to project a ‘perfect’ image of ourselves to the World in order to be loved. We hide our failings and less attractive qualities from the people around us and present an edited ‘brochure’ of who we are. We think that if people saw our less charming sides that they wouldn’t love us as much.

But the truth is, when we meet someone who is comfortable to be seen in all their lights and shadows, it is the most refreshing experience imaginable. When someone is unashamed of their imperfection, suddenly that so-called fault becomes strangely attractive. Here we see that it’s not the quality that is unattractive but our shame around it.

I don’t only want to meet your ‘good’ sides. I want to meet you in your wholeness, warts and all. As we reveal more and more of our crazy diversity, there is more and more of each other to love and laugh about. And so more intimacy is felt and we go deeper still.

This was the core of the song ‘Wounded In All The Right Places’ we wrote for KD Lang to sing in our last 1 Giant Leap film ‘What About Me?’ – here’s that song:

What part of you would be a challenge and a relief to let us see?  Please let us know by commenting below. I’m scanning my own list as I ask this:  hmmm…….abandonment terror…….panic attack casualty…….fascist dictator….so many to choose from.

What About Intimacy weekends at http://www.jamiecatto.com/about_intimacy

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from Raisa:

There is not a single question that a child will not ask and there are no questions that should be banned from being asked because when a child meets the World, naturally inquiry arises. In this inquiry the child seeks intimacy with his or her World.

Intimacy is our natural state. It is the state we are born into. Somewhere along the way though, sitting in a primary school classroom, we asked a wrong question and people laughed at us. Somewhere along the way we faced others’ humiliation, dismissal, judgment and negativity when asking our questions, and we learned not to ask ALL questions. In some cases, not to ask any questions at all.

We learnt these lessons at a young age when we often didn’t have the mental capacity to question these negative responses to our questions. Because we sought intimacy and were dismissed, we came to the conclusion that there must have been something wrong with us and our questions. Not only did we then begin to suppress our inquisitiveness but we also stopped our search for intimacy. We dismissed our own need for intimacy in the same way that people dismissed us.

Look at your partner openly this evening, or look at yourself in the mirror, with your most childlike eyes, with the eyes of curiosity and fascination. What do you see? Please share with us below. Be specific. Be curious. And above all give yourself full permission to be inquisitive.

What About Intimacy weekends at http://www.jamiecatto.com/about_intimacy

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