I am a provoker and a disruptor, a wind-up merchant and a tail puller, a prodder and a poker. When I meet someone’s ‘appropriate’ mask my first impulse is to want to dance with them to the edge of their ‘appropriate’ version of themselves and see what illuminating fun can be had when the mask slips. Suddenly, then, there’s a chance of intimacy and often some well-needed oxygen.
When I was a child I soon learned, as did the other children, that when I got things right and obeyed my carers I was awarded the kisses, prizes and approval of ‘basic human training’. Most kids worked it out pretty quickly. Get it right and the computer goes <ping!>. Pass the test <ping!> Tie the shoelace <ping!> sit down nicely <ping!> add up the numbers <ping!> be a good boy <ping!> <ping!> <ping!>. But the problem with being intelligent and curious is that before very long the <ping!> noise becomes predictable and boring – even claustrophobic at times.
And then soon one discovers that when you get it ‘wrong’ the computer does something much more interesting – it goes <dn%fkj*erbfk!> or <nd$eg£rfnjh!> and always in a uniquely insightful way! As the wonderful word-artist Jenny Holzer once wrote:
‘Spit a mouthful of milk over someone if you want to learn something about their personality fast.’
So my natural fascination led me to become labelled a problem child – always in trouble and always puzzled by the injustice of it.
Since that time I’ve never lost my excitement to explore the edges where ‘normal’ repetitive, robotic and safe codes of behaviour can be disrupted and dissolve into laughter, creativity, foolishness and numerous epiphanies. I want to question and challenge the dishonest, violently self-edited ‘brochure’ of ourselves that we each present to the World. We’ve become so used to being fake and hiding who we really are inside. I no longer wish to feed that sleepy, unconscious agreement we seem to have all made to not trigger each other, not challenge each other and not say what we see or how we really feel.
There can be a few sticky transitions as disrupting limiting or unnecessary rules isn’t for everyone at first.
But there’s one rule that even amongst the culture of being a rule-free shaker-upper of things must be observed, and that is that no matter who’s tail I’m pulling, who’s ego I’m challenging, who’s mask I’m slipping, if I am IN ANY WAY coming from even a shred of superiority, elitism, point-scoring or self-aggrandisement then my offering is toxic as hell.
I have to be fully open-hearted at all times – what I now call ‘Heart Mountain’, and then with any gift I give, any two-penny-worth I throw into the soup, I can be fully responsible and loving and hold the space with confidence and fascination for whatever might arise. But if I am trying to prove something to the person I am challenging, if I’m feeding back to them without full empathy and knowledge of my own fallibility and foolishness, then I’m likely going to start a fight, shut someone down or even, as has happened to me upon occasion, be physically assaulted.
Heart Mountain is the key to all communication, especially the tender stuff. Heart Mountain is connected to the Earth over a large area. Heart Mountain is still and always listening and observing without judgement. When I know I am centred in Heart Mountain I can dare to express my edgiest, most risky offerings with confidence. From Heart Mountain I can be steadfast in the face of all criticism and complaint and never need to defend or argue.
Please tell me about any times where the difference between coming from Heart Mountain and not has been illuminating for you. Please share your thoughts about not holding back. Let’s express our truths and observances from Heart Mountain and be always inclusive of our own fallibility while we co-create new, emotionally safe domains to play and learn together.
All Creativity and Intimacy Workshops and Coaching at www.jamiecatto.com