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Archive for the ‘Activism’ Category

Vengeance Is Mine

‘Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord’ is actually a very compassionate line. When we personally get involved punishing or meting out what we perceive as deserved retribution to individuals or groups of people, even in small ways – when we take it upon ourselves to be the judge and executor of our notion of ‘justice’, even if the receiver is undeniably ‘wrong’, we make trouble for ourselves by involving ourselves in that person’s story or karma.

We’ve all accepted the Universal Law that what goes around comes around, but this isn’t limited to aggression or negativity we direct at good, innocent people. It bounces back from anyone we lay it on. So even if this person who we think we’re legitimately punishing seems to totally deserve it we are still creating the causes for the same violence to return to us. This is why ‘Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord’ is such an important and compassionate line because God, or The All That Is, has no karma. ‘God’ has no need to worry about things bouncing back – that entity doesn’t exist on the human plane and is immune to the dangers of getting involved in someone else’s drama.

I’m saying that the Universal Law is not putting itself in danger by delivering the lessons or negative consequences to folks who’ve ‘done wrong’. Humans are.

Beware choosing to be the punisher or the righteous deliverer of justice. It’s hazardous to humans, not Gods.

We’d all do well to resist.

www.jamiecatto.com

https://twitter.com/JamieCatto

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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

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This year Christmas is going to be different. My old pal Servan says that the Taoists don’t wait for their problems to become a crisis, but they do something called ‘picking the dragon’s teeth while it sleeps’. This means getting tooled-up ahead of time to be strong, awake and present with life’s approaching challenges, and exploring their potential wisdom and illumination before they become too overwhelming. You can’t draw the wisdom from a challenge when it’s triggered you into a melt-down or a big reaction, the trigger is too intense, so it’s very self-loving and sensible to look into upcoming stumbling blocks and vexations ahead of time.

Which brings me to this Christmas.

This year I’m treating all the challenges, triggers, and crazy head-trips of the whole Xmas season as the benevolent, illuminating mirrors and invitations to self-awareness that they really are. I’m going to harvest all the potential breakthroughs on offer – the real Christmas gifts to birth myself ten levels more liberated into 2013, because I believe that every challenge in my life, when framed correctly, is a way that Life with a big ‘L’ is trying to show me something – usually myself. Even at Christmas.

I have become fragmented as a man and, with all the parts of myself I’ve edited and suppressed to maintain approval from the World, I’ve made myself less than whole. I’ve learned which bits of me get good responses and which might get rejection and in my pursuit of endless approval and inclusion I’ve snipped myself down. Until now, every time someone I valued didn’t like an aspect of me I hid that part away from then on, and gradually, violently edited myself down to this crippled brochure of myself – just the perceived ‘good bits’ to get you to love me.

I now believe that the intimate life I want to live is all about un-editing myself from this little ‘appropriate’ version I present to people and to playfully journey back towards the juicy, inspired, unapologetic, unafraid Jamie – light and dark, angelic and diabolic, present and whole.

Wholeness is the word.

So now, when I encounter a challenging person or situation, it is my business to have the balls to see the trigger as a benevolent mirror of a part of me that I’m usually denying or escaping, an opportunity to face myself unflinchingly. And the longer I deny and escape aspects of myself that I don’t like and won’t face, the more I manifest people and situations externally that get right in my face and freak me out. The human body/mind/heart is looking for wholeness. It’s looking for personal Unity with itself. It can’t walk around incomplete with bits of itself cut off without getting ill. So my mission is to dare to see all the challenges as opportunities to question where I’m not being whole – to examine what part of me I’m in denial or exclusion of that I need it rubbed in my face by the ‘outside world’.

And I don’t believe the World is ‘outside’. I am in the Universe. The Universe is in me. I have the potential to be an abuser, but if I can’t handle that truth I am going to judge and condemn abusers wherever I see them. And as long as I am proclaiming ‘that’s not me! that’s not me!’ I will manifest more and more of them in my life. I have the potential to be an idiot, but if I can’t handle that truth I am going to judge and condemn idiots wherever I see them. And as long as I am proclaiming ‘that’s not me! that’s not me!’ I will manifest more and more of them all around. The World around me is here to deliver versions of everything I am in rejection of until I am can say ‘I am an abuser, I am an idiot…’ and feel no aversion.

Because we are all potentially everything.

So now, feeling that familiar dread of seeing my family members, of the Xmas challenges and all the personal twilight zones that this season has to offer me, I’m trying something new.

I’m getting together with a bunch of friends, outlaws and misfits on December 22nd in London to try out some new processes, games and discussions to dissolve and welcome the approaching Christmas challenges and harvest them for all the illuminating gifts they are bringing. This is the real spirit of Christmas – a period of self discovery and liberation from old traps and self-harming habits. When we address them ahead of time they will no longer knock us off balance and catapult us into age-old painful patterns. Instead they will give us revelation after hilarious revelation, because by tying bells to the ankles of these insidious triggers, when it comes to the actual challenges on the day, we easily see the sucker-punches coming and are able to lighten-up and free ourselves from the ancient, predictable reactions.

If you’d like to join us or find out more then the details are all on my website or here:

http://www.jamiecatto.com/xmas_presence.html

Instead of intensely striving just to get through, I invite you to transform this Christmas into the liberating illumination it’s meant to be – and give us all the real Christmas presence on offer: Self-Awareness and Lightening-Up.

All Jamie’s Workshops and Talks at www.jamiecatto.com

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Paedophilia

I feel disturbed by the UK’s response to the tragic Jimmy Saville events. For the record, I feel to support and promote any words and actions which seek to understand abusers and extend compassion and healing to all living beings. I do not feel to support or feed words or actions which condemn, shame and blame because those impulses are rooted in people acting from their pain and often their inability to relate to their own anger and hurt in any other way, not from their sound-judgement. I understand it but I don’t choose to feed or support it as it will never manifest healing for any victim or abuser. Culturally we are not encouraged to do anything but blame and be vengeful, sadly. But no words and actions rooted in condemnation ever lead to healing or closure for anyone, if anything they increase the traumas on both sides. I am a believer in Universal Innocence and seek to discover the roots of abuse that create abusers, not resort to just blaming the most recent in a long line of suffering, compulsive, wounded souls like JS.

Sometimes people say ‘but what if something like this happened to one of your kids?’ – the answer is this: if that happened I would undoubtedly be too traumatised at first to speak or act from anything other than my trauma, I would not be of sound mind and my judgements and actions would be destructive. But just because I would find it almost impossible to practice what I’ve written above in that situation doesn’t make the position less valid. I hope I would eventually encounter someone who would help me somehow seek out compassion and understanding.

Ironically, those who have sought out compassion and understanding for their abusers have found it the healthiest and quickest route to transforming both their own trauma and that of the abuser. Condemning and shaming has never helped a single victim or abuser, if anything it has entrenched their trauma deeper.

It’s not the condemnation of the abuser which helps heal the victims, it’s the victims’ innocence that needs to be upheld and reminded and affirmed. This is not the same thing as blaming the abuser but it does include affirming how ill or even horrendous their actions have been. And in my opinion all abusers are victims too. It can be hard to accept this but no matter what a ‘good time’ they may appear to be having, abusers like JS are in deep deep suffering and/or mental illness. How else could they possibly hurt so many? There’s no need for a clinical psychologist here. If you think it’s ok to rape children, then you’re ill.

For more info and compassionate good sense have a look here:

http://theforgivenessproject.com/

Phew, now I hope I can sleep…

www.jamiecatto.com

http://twitter.com/#!/JamieCatto

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Whenever you hear yourself say anything about anyone, good or bad, practice the habit of saying “like me!” afterwards. So, “he’s such a great guy, but not always completely honest………like me” or “she’s so talented but a bit of an attention-seeker………like me”.  It’s so liberating!

We can create a lot of false separation and alienation when we describe or pass judgments on others. We separate ourselves from them in our definitions. The truer and more Intimate way to live is to shout ‘like me!’ each time you judge something in another. We all have the potential to act in the darkest and lightest of ways and the only reason we judge is because we want to distance those ‘unacceptable’ qualities from ourselves.

This denial causes illness and separation, but joyously announcing one’s fallibility at every opportunity dissolves this false separation and creates oxygen for everyone to be their perfectly flawed selves without feeling the need to live in hiding.

Once the separation is dissolved, Intimacy naturally arises…

For one full day, keep track of each and every judgment you placed in someone else (by writing it down) and every time add the “… like me!” phrase at the end. Then next day share with us 2 such judgments and their melted separation from your list.

All Jamie Catto weekend workshops at http://www.jamiecatto.com

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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?

www.jamiecatto.com

http://twitter.com/#!/JamieCatto

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When a challenging feeling arises in me, when I get triggered by an infuriating person or situation, the powerful explosion of feelings is an opportunity to discharge some pain I’ve been carrying around, probably for years, but only if I can resist taking the escape route of blaming the person or thing that triggered me.

Each of our body/mind/emotion systems is genius. It somehow finds a way to set up the perfect stimuli to trigger the volcanic discharge of whatever pain or old wound that it needs to vent that day. I believe all these challenging instances are set up to give us opportunities to wake up and feel more of ourselves, often raw and sensitive like blood returning to a sleeping limb. These endless challenges are not to ‘get in our way’ but to speed us along by efficiently triggering and discharging old pain that’s been dragging us back, and thereby reclaiming as much space and aliveness as can be accessed in this human life.

We are in a constant state of efficient healing. The body is designed that way. It doesn’t know what else to do.

But in order for my system to carry out its innately genius catharsis, I need to participate by choosing to fully feel the feelings that arise rather than run away from the often uncomfortable surging sensations. Only if I can keep my attention on these feelings as they are fully felt, every nuance and shade and wave of them, become a connoisseur of that whole realm of sensations without moving to hide them or skip them or resist them, then the body can release a chunk of old pain and leave space for creativity and life to rush in.

It’s far easier to blame and complain at these times and frame the whole episode as ‘unjust’. It takes courage and repeated leaps of faith to dare to let the tough sensations do their liberating work without escape strategies.

If we made it common practice to fully feel our feelings in the moment that they arose, then there would be little or no need for physical disease on this planet.

‘I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow,
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals, or
have become shrivelled and closed from fear of future pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own,
without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.’

Oriah Mountain Dreamer

www.jamiecatto.com

http://twitter.com/#!/JamieCatto

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