An intimate conversation with Jamie Catto, founding and former Member of Faithless and the Director of the double Grammy nominated Global Music and Film Collective, 1 Giant Leap. He shares his own path of self-healing and the incredible tools that helped him turn dependency into vigorous self-care. He also elaborates on how there is so much intelligence in our pain! We are in fact perfectly capable of embracing uncomfortable feelings, the moment we decide to step beyond our comfort addiction and pro-actively turn towards what needs healing inside of ourselves. Learn about the 8 Bowls of Nourishment to protect against Addictive Patterns and why sometimes in Life we meet the exact right person in order for us to heal certain aspects within ourselves.
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The 8 Bowls of Nourishment To Protect Against Addictive Patterns with Jamie Catto
Welcome back! Today, I have another amazing guest for you. Jamie Catto is a former and founding member of Faithless. He was one of the two vocalists our director and video director of the band before leaving in 1999 to perform the double Grammy nominated Global Music and Film Collective, 1 Giant Leap. Together with Duncan Bridgeman he toured to nations such as Senegal, Ghana, South Africa, India, Thailand, Australia, America and Europe equipped solely with a digital video camera, a laptop and a vision to explore the unity in diversity. They released their first album in 2002. It was nominated for two Grammys in 2003. They sold over 300’000 albums and won numerous awards globally. In their work, they collaborated with artists as diverse as Dennis Hopper, Carlos Santana, Alanis Morissette and Eckhart Tolle.
In 2008 he released his second movie called “What About Me” and another journey around the globe where he explored how the ‘unity in diversity’ is expressed through our collective insanity. In 2016 he released his book Insanely Gifted, offering techniques and games to transform our thinking and turn our demons into allies. Telegraph said, “a prolonged exposure to Catto could blow your mind!”
Today Jamie leads uniquely transformative workshops and one-on-one sessions, drawing from the richly diverse wisdom techniques and processes he has encountered during his groundbreaking filming recording and philosophy voyages across five continents to spark both professional and personal breakthroughs.
Welcome Jamie. I am so excited to have you on the show. Thank you so much for tuning in!
What a pleasure. You make me sound really great!
Well you really deserve it! I mean when I first met you in Thailand, where you were screening “1 Giant Leap” at the beach it was magical! It touched me so deeply. Congratulations for really such an achievement.
Those were the luckiest artists in the world. I mean to be able to have this much of a breadth of inspiration in my life. Literature, to spiritual or self-development things to music to all kinds of lyrical culture and shadow sides of it as well. You know dark comedy and everything and then be told You can go anywhere in the world, work with anyone you can get to work with you, in any field, of any kind and edit it into anything you want.
It was a pretty you know pretty great premise and then we just wanted to make this mosaic of the most about inspiration and heart opening, authentic and create this unity feel through all the millions of diverse things that we encountered. I’m really glad that it touches so deeply.
Yeah unity! That is what I remember feeling. The world became all of a sudden so small like it wasn’t this big unknown thing anymore. It was like, wow, interesting! So, you really achieved that!
I was wondering, what was one of the things that really touched you while you were traveling around the globe for this movie and maybe what was the biggest learning you took from it?
I’m afraid that my answer to that is a bit of a cliché and that is that – not to be bashing anybody – but there was a deeper teaching in the fact that; consistently when we were going everywhere from mud huts, in the most far away rural Africa, all the way to the most billionaires penthouses in Los Angeles, there tended to be a pattern that the less people had materially, the more generous they were with it.
I have goosebumps when I hear that!
And you know they could not give you anything but the best bit of chicken or anything that they had for their whole family when you were in their mud hut. And yet in South Africa where there was a kind of a feast in our honor. A super-rich family put on a feast for us where some people and storytellers came and they made some meat. There was maybe like 20 people there. When we were leaving, there was a bit of a kerfuffle. Not that I was personally involved in it. Luckily our local fixer had to deal with it. They had expected us to pay 500 bucks for the expenses of it and I think that was really weird.
But I put that down to a misunderstanding. So that’s not totally fair to lay all of this on the shoulder of the family. But the general pattern was that the poorer people were, the more generous. It’s a question of currency. The reason for it is not because rich people are bad and poor people are good. It’s more mathematics really, that when you don’t have anything and you’re feeling generous about what you do have, you don’t have the addiction to all the things of the scarcity and the drama when you have nothing. Your whole currency isn’t based around material things because material things take such a small percentage of your attention in your life.
You’ve got the same bowl of maize every day, you’ve got the same four-mile radius maybe even less that you inhabit the same twenty nine people. And so, your whole notion of currency and exchange and giving and receiving and generosity is just massively different.
Wow. Yeah. That is intense. I mean I wish I can go to Africa sometime because in all honesty that’s where I haven’t been. I traveled a lot but not Africa and it’s a good moment actually to go there.
I mean it’s inevitable surely if that’s the case that you should be getting it. It cost nothing to get a digital camera and do whatever you like and with everything that you’re into, particularly with these podcasts and everything you know to go and explore Africa and beyond. What their attitudes are to love and marriage and relationship. We have some of the chapters in one giant leap which is particularly in the second one, the movie “what about me.” There was a whole chapter for love and need and a whole chapter for man and woman there was about 36 minutes’ worth of stuff that never actually got in the movie cut because it was made in chapters.
It’s really 16 short films that we do a movie version of people think they’ve seen the movie. The movie isn’t really what we made. What we made was 16 short films, like a film album each time. Simple bits of music each dedicated to 16 themes which became 16 mini movies. It was one God. One was death, one was sex, one was shadow, pain, you know desire and they were all a little movie and then that was cut into the big movie.
But there were two about particular subjects you’re interested in. One of the questions I asked everyone is I went from country to country was “do you have a law in this country where a husband isn’t allowed to rape his wife?” And most countries don’t. Particularly the developing world. And even more than that. Some places couldn’t even really quite understand the question. The idea about it to be consensual or not, they just couldn’t get it. So including those bits as well, it was really like exciting for us to not only be like doing a list of things we always agree with. There were some really full on Bible burning sort of heaven and hell literal word of the Bible Baptist preachers in there who thinks that God would destroy the world, allow the feminine to work because he spreads order in the society and the man is the head of the woman, you know that was his argument.
So including all that insanity to give a kind of picture of the world of that level of diversity not just a bunch of stuff we agree with is what’s exciting and if you did it with your questions and your particular unique flavor you know what you’re talking about love and relationships, particularly the wounds around it and everything. You might get a really extraordinary experience on a journey having all the kind of conversations you’d love to have but also end up with something which takes your whole project to the next level.
Right. Very good input. Thank you for that. I’m really glad to have you on the show because today I also really want to add value to our male listeners. Especially as we’re often talking about vulnerable subjects in the show which might come a little easier for our female listeners. But as a matter of fact, I get so many feedbacks from guys who tell me “Aleah, I can totally resonate with the content of your show. I feel that too when it comes to love and relationships and addictions, I need to have a closer look!” And so having you on the show, Jamie, being like willing to share your own story is really very powerful because I always say if we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and to be real and authentic we’re enabling the people around us to do the same. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about your personal story. Like I’m really interested in learning about your experiences with love, relationships, sex and addictions.
Well the main thing that I would say about the overreaching things should be of most interest to you and your listeners is the subject of not being able, not having realized that life was supposed to be sourced, and the feeling of being okay is supposed to be sourced from a great spread of things. Accidentally without even realizing it from teenager onwards with no consciousness or awareness whatsoever, walking into a situation where I would have long term relationships and make life being OK solely around how the woman in my life felt or how she was treating me or what she was doing.
My sense of being ok was totally sourced from this notion of a perfect harmony with the woman. And as that happens with every adult person which I’m sure you’d be talking about a lot with different people on your podcasts, there’s people who are interested in attachment theory. Due to our negligent or misunderstood or smothering or uniquely wounded childhoods particularly the way we bonded or didn’t bond with our parents, there is a certain amount of wounding and I’ll say it “trauma” that everybody is suffering from a certain degree of post-traumatic stress disorder, or even CPTSD complex post-traumatic stress disorder, which is a really kind of reactive traumatized suddenly being triggered into intensely over traumatic disproportionate reactions to certain things like not getting a text back. The level of cortisol and fear and melodrama that explodes in the nervous system when attacked doesn’t come back for some people or something like that, totally disproportional.
So what it is, is the whole lineage of all that scarcity all the way back to who knows maybe even your birth and before you know. I had some stuff that went on for me in the womb that definitely, when you hear the story of it (which I probably won’t tell you today) makes sense that you were therefore afterwards…. You know there was a big trauma that happened in my family when I was in the womb and therefore my mum being in the state she was in while I’m growing in her of course that has an effect on us. So we will all play out some way of … you know the body in my belief is so genius about self-mending and self-healing it’s the most amazing intelligent self-mending thing we know of. Not only does it mend skin when you scratch it or even knit bones together when they break it’s also yours and mine and everyone listening it is scanning all day and all night for viruses, bacteria and then making its own drugs when it finds them and secreting stuff, mixing it together, administering it in the perfect quantities.
Deepak Chopra calls it the exquisite pharmacy. It’s the most amazing self-mending thing. Well of course it is super intelligent to more than just the physical. It knows that there is a whole huge amount of pain and trauma and suppressed all the times you could not cry, all the time you could not scream and rage and all the times you had to hold this and that back. But it knows the accumulation of all that, there is this big lump of radioactive over reactive constipation has to be flushed out.
So it’s going to create later on in your life these situations, and in these cases mainly in our primary relationships with our lover, partner to give us another chance to heal it. And that’s not a problem! You know we always look at pain, we are so comfort addicted, when you get a headache we take a pill, we don’t think that the panic could be an intelligence in our pain. And that it would be actually life’s genius way of signposting something urgent. Usually in my case with all my one-on-one clients, It’s anything traumatic or big that’s going on is always a signpost to life telling you there’s a way you have forgotten to self-care properly. In some form. It might be about boundaries.
It might be about all kinds of things. But usually exposing yourself to situations for too long, which are basically not making you thrive, doesn’t get you spiritual brownie points with God. It doesn’t make “oh it’s so good for me to be in such pain with this relationship all the time because he really brings up my stuff.” I think that’s a bit twisted and a bit of a mezzanine level of spirituality, not quite getting the point. Absolutely. We are here to have an ego trip.
The ego isn’t evil, the ego isn’t something you know – it is when it’s left to its own device -but really the ego is wanting to thrive. It’s not its job to look for the soul learnings all the time and put itself through hell in order to have some agenda of enlightenment or the name of some sort of doctrine of freedom by just forcing yourself through all kinds of things. I believe that we’re here, to put ourselves in environments where we thrive. So I’m not saying everyone should stay in relationships because all your stuff’s coming up and you have to heal it. If it’s too painful and it’s just not flowing with this person after a while it’s OK. If you’re not thriving year after year, to choose a different person. People who go for couple’s therapy are often like coming there to make the relationship work. And really, they discover when they go through it that really they’re deeper want is for them both as individuals to be true to their deeper truth. More important than two the two people is that neither one of them has to sacrifice their own soul on the altar of “this has to work”.
I also think that it’s almost like a notion about staying in difficult relationships that don’t really work but we think we learn so much in them, like it’s spiritual to stay in them. When in fact sometimes it’s so much better to just move on and find something that simply is a much better fit for us.
Actually at 45 or all my adult life, where I’ve done like 30 years of relationships back to back. I would say I’ve done 95 percent of that. Only concerned with avoiding the pain that comes up around abandonment, betrayal humiliation. Some cocktail of sort of neglect and trauma. I mean I’m sort of in a great period of staying out of relationships for a bit and sort of getting those fields a little bit of time to be fallow and giving the nervous system a rest. So that is really good to be able to then spend some time deliberately going into those healing places but without the volume turned up to 15.
And yet you will still experience so much upheaval because by being alone a whole other ocean of triggers come.
Exactly.So there’s no escaping it but there are ways to regulate it in a self-care way if you really want to be diligent about being sort of “I actually want to recalibrate somewhat” and not get rid of something. So many times, people come to a session like “I have got this thing I have to get rid of”, no you don’t! It means that you have to lean towards it. And that is the very opposite thing, which is what I was doing for decades, which was trying to avoid it, trying to make someone else behave in a way or to set up life in a way that I would never feel A, B and C. And what I know now is, when ABC needs to be felt and healed it will knock on the door louder and louder. Life sometimes has to smash the door down to get to you, in order for it to get healed or get its oxygen. So suppression and trying to turn away from it, it just plain doesn’t work. It might just get more and more traumatic, more and more sort of horrible betrayals and back and forth of deceit and on both sides and just like total unconscious sort of hell realms that I got myself into at different times in my 20s 30s and 40s.
And all I was trying to do all the time was avoid this feeling. It just felt unfeelable, the very notion of it even you looking like you were getting on well with another guy, would set off such a post-traumatic stress disorder reaction. It was like insane but I didn’t really realize that it was taken of my life to that degree or become so interested in actually turning towards it until I was teaching workshops and wrote the insanely gifted book. Which is you know turn your demons into creative rocket fuel. That’s been my whole thing since the second one “what about me” movie. I had this massive, the ultimate disaster halfway through when we were traveling around the world and it’s a very small crew traveling.
This time by the time we did the second one, my eldest daughter who is now nine. I had another one year old and Jessica who had shot half of the first one as camera 2. We were now married and had kids and so we were going around the world and she was going to have a camera too. We had another person that was on camera one, you know had its whole second trip. But a very close knit community and it went so wrong. She ended up leaving me half way through, with the kids. And I was just left on my own in this square concrete hotel room in Beijing. It was at one of the darkest nights of the soul. I remember having to take this A4 size shaped sort of battered tin mirror off the bathroom wall, and just sitting on the edge of the bed, rocking back and forth looking into it. Just as a sort of last minute rope to keep me in reality to know I was even really here I was dissolving.
That really is what the withdrawal of love does to us.
Yeah, I totally lost, to say “my center” – that’s actually a massive understatement. You know especially after losing the wife the kids the whole life was the whole house of cards coming down. I was kind of forced unwillingly dragged backwards kicking and screaming like I am with all my evolution he said proudly unwillingly into it. You know up until now you have to give me a serious crisis for me to do any self-development work.
I’ve learned my lesson I think that quite well but you know I’m looking up at the sky now saying “I don’t want any trouble.” But the second 1 Giant Leap movie became all about that. The shadow of desire it was all about the shadow. The first one was all about inspiration, the second one is all about the shadow side of everything. It’s called “what about me.” It was the one that featured Eckhart Tolle, talking about the pain body and how addiction is all about a lack of connection. And that spun me into suddenly teaching workshops and groups. The conversations after the screenings went deeper and deeper and I just didn’t want to stop. So that’s kind of what led into mixing the film and music life with a healthy amount of workshops and mentoring and running these exploration groups. But teaching and exploring and facilitating from the middle of the mess. Artists and teachers like Ram Dass, they all teach from the middle of the mess. They use their own stories as the cautionary tale. They are the case study which we’re all cracking up about. So you become like a sad clown version of a teacher of this stuff where we were all a total mess together and it’s that mutual knowing at the beginning of the workshop/group, where we acknowledge that we are all absolutely crazy. Everyone is doing a brilliant way to show a shop window that’s lessening the crazy but God if everyone knew what you were really like. If they could hear the inner dialogue that goes on inside your brain, you, your listeners whoever is listening to this, can you imagine? If people could hear your inner dialogue, and really knew what you kept telling yourself all day? It would be over.
Exactly. And that’s hard because we get that as teachers and coaches and mentors we have to have it together and we have to be perfect, it is not true…
Not just coaches and teachers! Anyone! Housewives, bank workers, road sweeper’s, lawyers, everyone is running the same thing.
So how do you deal with your feelings? Obviously as guys you often hear “Boys Don’t Cry”, toughen up or whatever…
It has been, and it could be for a lot of people that haven’t discovered a lot of really great writing and blogging and speeches about, you know like that is not an untouched subject. You know there are some wonderful men’s groups and movements going on, really initiating men because they didn’t have the initiation from their fathers who were at the office and they never really got taught what it was to be a man. And there’s a whole lot of really cool shit going on, and especially with the #metoo movement. That’s kind of really spurred that area. Those people who are conscious and aware in those kinds of areas who are interested in exploring and creating new paradigms new systems so that men can be leading again through love and service. Which is how male leadership works, through service and listening. That’s the thing that’s been missing a lot. It’s had its yin listening part, the feminine part chopped off. The yin dot that’s inside the male Yang side of the yin yang sign. The male Yang; yes go into the world, do, lead, create. But without that dot which is the yin listening which is actually the guiding dot. That Dot of Yin is what guides the Yang, is the rudder.
Unless one is listening to one’s yin. The bit in space where you know – you sit in space for 60 seconds you know exactly who you are I’m saying without thinking. You just sit and be yourself, really feel yourself in stillness and listening curious yin receptiveness, you will know exactly who you are and what your truth is about any area of your life.
You don’t need to go to a fortune teller. We just stay inside in silence and ask ourselves and trust what comes back. We don’t trust, we’ve lost trust in the yin. All this Yang male energy – and you’re saying what it’s like for men – is it had that yin part, that’s never been taught or trained in it, lost. And if anything often it’s been laughed at or been a bit sort of an effeminate or you know uncool. But when the true warriors bring that back in and we don’t give a fuck about people looking at you thinking that you might be too sensitive or too “not macho” enough you transcend the macho and you actually realize that all the enriching deeper connection you wanted with women – not necessarily even as lovers – but with all people and especially with women you want to deeper connect with. When you’re in your listening and in your yin, then suddenly some part which meets in your hearts – that is doesn’t have to be covered in dolphins and rainbows where you have a very deep connection and welcome from the feminine that all men crave.
When you wrote real is the new sexy. When I read that, it was so amazing. Do you want to briefly talk about this?
It’s funny that one would even have to say such a thing. My life when I go around, talking stuff, it’s my job is to go around stating the obvious and I can’t believe how wacky some people find things like that. But the idea that you don’t present the shop window which has worked so averagely for us and that really nobody wants the appropriate side of you. It’s actually people’s eccentricities and authenticity that you fall in love with. The artist you fall in love with, when you hear a lyric in your teenage years that speaks to you from a place of authenticity, it touches yours and makes your authentic candle burn brighter. You feel such unity with the artist, you will buy every one of their music. You know it’s that sense of connection is so prized is so the elixir of life. Maybe because of just the disconnection of coming out the womb it’s so traumatic that anything to do with connection is all we want. Or maybe it’s the disconnection from breaking away from the oneness of the divine or God or the big pink fluffy dolphin in the sky at all breaking away from the oneness and coming into lots of individuals so that we have experiences. In the oneness no experience can happen if the oneness exists as one thing, no experience happens. You have to go into duality. Me and you, me and music, me and pizza, to break off from the one from the oneness to have any experiences.
Some people believe that that’s why reality exists because the oneness wanted to have some experiences. Or 7 billion having different experiences at the same time right now, 7 billion different experiments of what duality and life is like. So whatever that is it’s constantly trying to mend itself and relationship which is I know a huge part of what your exploration is at the moment. Whoever you’re with might be perfectly set up by gods or life’s genius Central Casting Agency, as Ram Dass calls it. That the perfect person is sent to you to stir up the exact constipated ouchy radioactive pain that hasn’t been healed and has never been felt.That’s the part of life’s genius and it doesn’t mean you have to go with it because you are allowed as the ego’s responsibility is to make the human thrive and feel okay. Your job is not to overreach. You know if it is too intense and you’ve tried most things to try and lower its intensity but still show up for the illumination or not just to bury it. If you’re willing to show up for battle and you are tooled up but it’s still too much. You know you don’t have to stay but often one finds when you turn towards it, really tends towards it, by you being so real. The other person, it will lift both of you to the same level of your heart’s opening and looking at it with curiosity suddenly becoming the crazy laboratory assistant on each other’s melodrama rather than the judges or diagnosis of it or the ones trying to control it or limit it because of your own insecurities.
Did you notice how brilliantly I swerved telling you much about my own story?
That’s alright. I realize that but you know we’re going with the flow. But now actually I do have a question about that. Like because it is all about normalizing that we have feelings we’re not always okay. So how do you say with the discomfort? Like what are your ways to deal with it when not repressing it but rather turning towards it.
The only way is you have to split your consciousness into two. You can do it in a spiritual way or just a bread and butter way, it’s as simple as this. That your consciousness is usually all the things you are thinking about, all the things you are worrying about what you’re trying to do today, looking at your calendar, having that phone call, what you hope might happen what you hope wouldn’t happen and then you go to sleep and that is sort of the ego.
Who am I, I’m Jamie, you’re Aleah and that’s basically the TV channel we experience life. But there’s another one that you can switch on which is the one watching all of that who is like in the audience. If you imagine the one we were just talking about as an actor on a stage and they’re having all these experiences there’s one way you can sort of step back from that and you don’t have to sit in the cave in the Himalayas for 25 years to do this you can do it today. Step back and be the one that’s watching it and you notice in the stillness of watching it the one that’s watching isn’t quite as invested in all the things that must and mustn’t happen. As the one who’s actually in the center of the melodrama. So then you have like a watcher, a witness and you have the one who’s still totally in the drama.
Now don’t get suckered by anyone to tell you that the one who is your ego and the drama is like it’s something you’ve got to get rid of and only stay with the one watching, because that’s impossible. The whole point is it’s supposed to be a dance between the two. But the one who is watching takes a much more parental role and makes much more of the decisions. You know you don’t let that melodrama one, while it’s triggered get control of that e-mail. We’ve all done that. And you go “f*ck you” send and it’s only later when you’re back in your adult again when you hear “oh no, that wasn’t me” because those parts of us jump in and will take over and put the watching one, the wise kind of one which has more equanimity and more parental one to sleep in three seconds flat. Probably in a third of a second when that rush of cortisol or righteousness or fear or anxiety hits your body, the super wise one can fall asleep so quickly and does for most people.
In fact it’s a really fun exercise to do that if you put on a bit of gentle music. See if you can stand as if you’re standing there with a clipboard like you are in a warehouse and there’s a conveyor belt and your mind, your crazy mind – try this – your crazy mind will start thinking of stuff all by itself. You’re not going to decide what you think if you just take a step back and curious observer and there’s a conveyor belt of thoughts coming. You just wait. Your mind will to start offering up its radio station of all the things it wants to double check on that. And that to do list or that kind of worry or this or that, it’s so seductive, that not only is it fascinating to see its content. But I guarantee you pretty much will at least one point during that three minutes one of those thoughts will be so delicious and as Ram Dass says, it’ll go “psst! think me! I’m real!” so deliciously that you will forget you’re doing the exercise and then “oh shit, I’m doing the exercise.” And that’s how seductive the mind, the ego kind of consciousness of self-protection is. I call it “Head-fuck FM.”
It’s constantly running with all its different DJ’s; the victim one, the naive child, the “I’m gonna make it better” one, the self-righteous superior one who knows better. And all these DJ’s, they’re so seductive and brilliant, it’s going on for so long that we think that’s who we are. And it puts the – once you get triggered – that wise one, that’s watching it all, who I believe is actually in control of the radio station. There is a way to keep it away and have it awake on broadband not just dial up. That and adding – that’s one thing but there are two things – and that’s the second one; and adding 14 buckets of love. And finding it with everything it seems, even the disgusting stuff, the messy stuff, the repetitively weak, you have to start finding it all adorable. The eyes you’re looking through is this witness parental figure; you have to be the lovingest, soppiest, finding it more adorable every time you fail eyes, like you would with your 1 year old or 2 year old. You never get angry with a baby that keeps trying to crawl off the edge of the bed. You just turn it back the other way and carry on your conversation or whatever. You never get cross with a baby for nearly falling off the edge of the bed or whatever. And it’s the same with your own mind. It’s a baby it’s still vibrating from the trauma of being a baby and a toddler and it is constantly going to keep kind of crawl off the edge of the bed. You have to start finding it all adorable and funny and look through the eyes which are looking through the Comedy Channel not the melodrama channel.
Right. And a good bucket of compassion. Yeah.
Right! And then just go: “Oh! How lovely you are!” I have a two-part exercise we do in the workshops, which is the most ancient spiritual exercise. And if you take nothing else away from this article, then please just learn this one thing: Anytime you get triggered, anytime you fail and cringe about yourself, any time, anything like that’s going on, you take the palm of your hand and you place it softly on the center of your chest and just let it go around and around or back and forth in a soothing way as if to a baby, a scared baby. And then you make this ancient Aztec mantra sound: AAhhhh…. MMmhhh… Uuuhhhh… and keep rubbing, just soothing that baby, that part in you. And that’s pretty much the only spiritual practice anyone needs.
Yeah, I do that all the time like when I feel weird, I just place my hand on my heart and already that in itself is just such a soothing thing. How about we talk a little bit about shadow work? Like I know that you have these great workshops around that. Can you talk a little bit about what it entails?
Yeah. And people often misunderstand what shadow is, like the yucky side, the dark side, as if it’s like the Darth Vader part of your life. And because those parts of us which we all have the spectrum about each of us when we’re born is everything from the angelic to the diabolical. We have the potential for the total darkness and light behavior in us and anyone that wants to Google the Stanford experiment, You see a time where they took I don’t know maybe 40 people and they split them into two halves prisoners and guards and they kind of shut the doors took away the newspapers and the watchers and changed the rules. And perfectly normal people like you and me started turning into full on abuses and some breakdowns and went mad. So everyone’s got that potential in them. And depending on how you grew up those different graphic equalizer of all your different qualities would have been pushed or squashed. And the times, the bits of you that you learned growing up, which were unwelcome, particularly some of the Yucky bits like well not Yucky but your natural warm rage. I doubt many people listening to this had your full on fiery rage fully upheld and supported as a child. Even as a baby a classic nipple is put in your mouth to shut you up when you were screaming, “don’t bite your sister! how dare you talk to your mother like!” So if you imagine 365 days when you were two, 365 days when you were three, suppressing every anger impulse, 365 days when you were four. You know that builds up to a huge amount of suppression in your life you know. And no wonder people explode so much and that’s just the anger.
So of course certain things like the anger have gone into the shadow. The shadow means that which is hidden that which has been sort of suppressed or hidden away. Doesn’t mean the bad stuff. So it’s not only sort of your anger and your neediness and your tears you know particularly boys will grow up in a place where your tears were unwelcome where boys don’t cry. Many women got them back, but especially men. And you know imagine all the amount of grief every man is carrying from “big boys don’t cry.” You know they are all internally weeping wrecks. And there’s no mommy or daddy coming now to make that okay. Except each of all of us for ourselves and each other to really acknowledge we’re in this incredibly suppressed state.
So the shadow stuff is all there, but I don’t want you to think that it’s all the yucky stuff or all the painful stuff. It’s also like, a lot of people grew up in a place where their natural being, for example their natural flamboyant entertainer was not held and supported. It was labelled as too arrogant, or too greedy or it was too loud. And most people were shut down, in naughty mischievous flamboyant entertainer part of them and everyone had one when they were born. And obviously I’m so sure some people have more tendencies with more lobes but everyone has that enjoyment of telling a joke or being the center of attention for a moment. There is nothing terribly ego maniac about that. But most people had an experience growing up, where they were told to stand at the back of the choir or they were stopped showing off in front of their friends. A lot of people were being told that they were too much, to quiet down or “why do you want everyone to look at you?” – being shamed for it basically.
So that goes into the shadow. And then we start doing these edits of all these things which were shown to us as parts that were unwelcome. “Don’t be like this, don’t be like that!” And then we think that this one got me told off, this one got me rejected or emotionally exiled and you start suppressing and putting all those bits in the shadow. Perfectly nice bits as well as the crying and the tears of the anxiety. So that’s what we mean by shadow work, it is the amount of suppression of all of that, the body can only take so much. And generally, by the time people are 35 to 45 they will have some sort of a collapse, a breakdown, almost some sort of a wakeup call – hopefully not an illness – where they are forced to have all of that facade stripped away. And then they come back to such a degree of high volume of feeling that they have no choice but to turn to what it is.
And that is sad because this is exactly what keeps us from living who we are. Like our true skills potential passion. I think that’s why people have such a crisis of meaning at this point in life. And it’s good it’s good that this happened. That’s great work.
We turned discomfort into such an enemy. We shot these doors and nailed them shot and suppressed all these parts of ourselves when we were like 2 3 4 years old. We made it absolute gospel truth. We didn’t have the sort of brains or the maturity to decide whether it was a good idea or a bad idea. It felt bad, we locked it in a room you know. And these suppressions, which are enormous that we live by. And anyone who tries to pull us towards those painful places, we are like: “No no no no!”
We live religiously like we shouldn’t go there! Like the biggest phantom of a giant, the size of a mountain, of a dragon. We’re terrified of the idea of them but we’re only terrified of the idea of all these unhealed places. We’re terrified of the idea of it but we actually have no idea what they really are like when they come forward and get felt. Because they’re really just children’s drawings of dragons. You turn towards them and what was a huge phantom in your mind, and the moment the resistance is gone, then we can really deal with it. When you turn that around and you know a group of beautiful people who drop and no one is trying to score any spiritual points, just very interested at being curious and laughing and being playful about how nuts we all are.
Most of the games in the workshops we are pissing ourselves laughing like a band acting out all our most outrageous manipulations and you know like looking upset till they notice. You can’t play these games for how we use our suffering to get people’s attention or whatever on it. The shadowy stuff is about playing with it and giving it permission not digging it up to get rid of it is digging it up so that it can be played with like a child and just made much less of a big deal. That’s wonderful. It’s really about the fun, not the fun, but yeah it is about the fun. You feel like a family you are playing adult party games with. You know there’s nothing to be proud of. We’re all a mess. That’s why we call it the Academy of the sacred fool. If you’re still trying to pretend to everyone that you’re not a mess even on the inside, then you won’t get any of this but if you’re willing to go yeah I’m a fucking mess we’re all a mess. Let’s all play around in the mess without having some exposing excruciating quality to it. You know it’s really sort of safe.
You know this is a gentle non-excruciating way to do this.
And what to step into empowerment like what do you do to nourish yourself.
I have really learned a lot particularly in the love addiction side of things. And what I was trying to do was to nourish myself just from how things were with the woman. And if she felt shitty towards me, I felt shitty, until she stopped being shitty towards me. If she was all over me and everything was great, I was fine. I was a king, I could make any movie, I could record any song I could write any lyric. I was just like unstoppable. So, I’m totally kind of plugged in to my sense of everything being okay to how it was with the woman. So, when it wasn’t good, which was a lot of the time and it got more and more dramatically ungood from relationship to relationship. I was just a mess; I couldn’t parent my kids I could barely make an omelet.
Actually, it took a long time to sink in. I realized that it’s not any woman or any person’s job to give you that. So to nourish myself, I worked on 8 other incredibly nourishing “everything is okay bowls” of my life. The first one is friendship. I really cultivated in the last couple of years not isolating and reaching out to the male friends but also female friends and having as many non-sexual relationships as I need. Where you go really deep with these people. You really stay in touch with them and cultivate showing up for them and actually bother to go to that place on the weekend when you know the drive is long but really cultivate that.
The second one is time with my kids where we really switch everything off and have a good time with them. The older they get, the more you are no longer just the parent but also a friend.
The third one is a self-care really stopping being such a soap dodger. You know I actually buy the nice moisturizer, wash and shower myself at half the speed, really take a whole step up in body care and slowing the whole thing down. And that includes giving myself a lot of space, includes solitude, includes time in nature.
The fourth one is my absolute love and adoration for music and literature. Oh my God, the way that books move me and the way I have been moved and guided and fed by books and in my life both writing and by being on the receiving end.
The fifth bowl is creativity and is making my stuff, you know making a film, making the music, spending time creating products from all these amazing ideas I have in my head. Like the new film we just made called “becoming nobody” which is my kind of homage to Ram Dass. It’s about me and him talking all the way through all the best of his archive so that there will be a legacy of how funny he is and how soft and artful and incredible he is and just hilarious he is. None of the other films have what an unbelievable Joker, a sad clown and how beautifully he is setting himself up as a spiritual teacher. That’s why I adore him. He is the chaplain of that.
And then bowl 6 which is my connection with spirit and the great dance that’s trying to treat my life like a soul curriculum of almost like a cast of guides who think they’re funny. Up in the sky, poking me through my spiritual path. The way that my body is mending itself and healing itself and becoming awake to what is unhealed or what’s still sticky or whatever is going on. It’s kind of my comedy troupe, that is providing my melodramatic kind of trigger path to illumination. It isn’t just my own spiritual path it’s the whole enjoyment of all of that beautiful way spirituality has been compassionately and lyrically expressed through different cultures. I just love how the people who were right on it, did it and did it right.
You know Taoism is my absolute favorite, you know how chi moves in a body, Tai Chi and Qi Gong is a way to help the body flush out all that constipation. It is the seven chakras as the Seven Spiritual anuses to basically shit out all that constipation and suffering that we were talking about that got stuck in the body. It’s always down the front. You know when someone hurts you or your throat, your heart it’s because your body is now doing an astral shit in my opinion.
If you’re brave and wise, instead of going on complaining about what they just did to you, if you go up through the eyes of the soul that knows the body is trying to have astral shits all the time and flush out the constipation, if you know that suddenly all these people and challenging people and situations in your life are really just walking laxatives.
Good analogy! (Smile)
Analogy! Ah, clever! You know there are certain things when you’re into the lyricism of spirituality as much as I am, where you can reduce suffering and see how juicy and wonderful it can be. Like the Hindu mythological, the gods and goddesses you know like Lakshmi and Ganesh and Hanuman. Or Kali who eats impurities and pains, where when none of the other techniques have worked, I go like “please Kali, can you take all that shit for me please!”
I love all of that and I love some of the beautiful Bible stories. You know there are certain elements of the Bible which, especially as a child, really really opened my heart. I love Abraham and his sons and what was really behind those stories. What I really mean to say is “what my soul is up to.” It is about trying to heal all the suffering. That journey which is the comedy troop, pushing me through all these different experiences so that I can turn towards myself and come back home more again.
Find all these different parts of myself. These wounded children that wander around my mind, the DJ’s of “Head Fuck FM”, the victim, the one who is in pain, the inner critic, all these different fragments of myself, invite them all back home, instead of unconsciously pushing them away because they come with edgy uncomfortable feelings. Stepping beyond comfort addiction, saying “I am now a human who is willing to feel some of my uncomfortable feelings.” But you know “I’m going to play along here but play nice!” And then your comedy troop sort of trying to heal you of all those experiences sends it to you with less resistance. And so that’s how I try and treat – not only comedy – often is very tender and sad. I had some therapy this morning some EMDR therapy where I revisited three moments in my childhood. In fact we were going into how I felt so terrified around the woman ever looking at another man. So we used it as a way in – like you were actually telling me about this when we first spoke about it. Just letting the unconscious in the deep listening and emptiness take you back to a memory, if it wants to, don’t need to force it, not trying to find anything, just dare to really feel the feeling. Just really feeling that total despair of “why? what’s wrong with me? what did I do?”. But I was there as an adult, the guy talking to you now who could also be there with that 7-year-old. I was able to feel that feeling and maybe I did a huge astral dump, a big lump of constipation this morning. You know time will tell but turning towards this playfulness and tenderness and willingness. The human genius that is constantly trying to mend itself. You become a willing participant in something that’s already happening rather than you having to do your own healing. Just by turning towards it with empathy with willingness with kindness and a pinch of playfulness.
It suddenly starts healing itself like that old-style telephones. You know the handset which had that wiggly wire that would always get totally tangled up? You stand on a chair and you hold the phone and you let the actual handset drop and just by itself, it entangles in a twisty way. You know what I mean? Now that’s what life will do by itself. If we just play along and welcome it.
And then bowl no 7 is my connection to nature and solitude which is always something I avoided a lot. And you know things like Facebook help us avoid it, as much as they connect us with lots of people or social media. You know it is a very rare thing for me to take a trip by myself. Almost never or decide when there is no one around to go for a walk, sit on a bench and read a book. Or do something just alone that does not involve checking if someone else is around. It took me quite late in life to enjoy that. I know a lot of people who really already enjoy going off alone – I have always envied those people. But more and more recently I really appreciated like I was saying before you know just being in my room, there is no one is in the house, no one needs anything, and just to sort of feel what it is like being me. The presence behind all the thinking. There is a great presence practice you can do without having to go into super deep years of meditation. To just drop behind all the thinking and just feel the silent presence of being you.
Oh yes, I just love nature. I think it is sometimes really orgasmic. There is so much life energy in nature and when I walk with my dog it is such a blissful feeling – it’s so nourishing. Often I take my feelings into nature. I walk on the fields, I start processing and I just start crying. It’s like nature absorbs it all, recycles it back and then you land back within yourself. It is so powerful.
Yes, and I am allowing more and more of that in. You know before it was only fully enjoyable if there was another person to share it. If not a woman, just someone. Almost like the infant “it’s not real unless it gets mirrored back by an adult”. That is why it is so important to hold children when they cry. They don’t know they’re having a real experience, unless there is an adult there with them.
And then the last bowl no 8 is sexuality and passion and feeling erotic and turned on and not even necessarily anything having to lead to full on intercourse. Just the sense of sexuality in me, in my body, in the juiciness of life. I did not want to leave that off the list even though that is the thing I am not to be addicted to. It’s still one of the list. Like the ego. It is not to be taken off the list, it is to be balanced with the soul’s guidance. It’s just that that becomes one many the bowls that feed us and it doesn’t become something where we become dependent so if that bowl is not available then there is seven other bowls feeding me. Keeping all those bowls full and cultivating my enjoyment of being fed and feeling okay from eight sources instead of one has been the greatest healing for me.
That is beautiful! And I think sexual energy is just life energy and it makes you create. It spills over into so many other areas. I feel like when I experience sexual energy, whether that is with myself or with a great partner, it makes you thrive in other areas as well.
Well I’d say these are very beautiful words to end our discussion. But I do want to ask you for one more thing. What is it that you are currently working on and people should know about. I read something about an online course and you’re offering but what is important to you right now?
Yeah it’s kind of exciting the Academy of the Sacred Fools so that I didn’t always have to be in a room with 20 30 40 people working one on one. We just made this thing which is in a sort of an online 40 Days and 40 nights version of everything I love to teach called a maze – game changing tools for sacred rules.
And it is available as an online kind of thing that’s starting on the 22nd of October, where an online community of lots of people from all around the world will join me on this adventure through the maze. Through 40 days and 40 nights of stuff. Every day has a thing to do during the day to keep in your mind or to practice and something just before bed.
A 3-minute or so video with me, bringing up a subject and chatting about it for a bit and then sending us all off into our day. It can be stretched over three months or we can do it all at once. Basically a bunch of people are supporting each other with this buddy system if they want. Going off into adventure online. And that’s called a maze. It’s from the Academy of the Sacred Fools.
And the other thing is which is the end of November and in December, we’re touring, me and this wonderful teacher, an amazing, more than a teacher, a woman called Ruby Mae. We’re doing this thing called “bitches and bastards” which is going the kinds of things we were talking about you and I about the triggers and relationships for couples. People that want to just explore that kind of stuff we’ve been talking about and how we get so triggered and dramatic and different techniques: attachment theory, stuff to do with noticing yourself enough before it explodes into something else, correct language (nonviolent communication) all kinds of different bits and bobs and fun. It’s called Bitches & Bastards.”
I love this title. It’s amazing. It’s totally Jamie!
24th, 25th of November in London and then Berlin, Copenhagen but come and ask us to do it in your town! Basically, people invite us, so far we have been invited to the Philippines, Korfu, Berlin, Amsterdam, London and now Copenhagen.
Amazing. If I’m around I will join you for sure.
Thank you for having me!
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About Jamie Catto:
Jamie Catto is a former and founding member of Faithless. He was one of the two vocalists our director and video director of the band before leaving in 1999 to perform the double Grammy nominated Global Music and Film Collective, 1 Giant Leap. Together with Duncan Bridgeman he toured to nations such as Senegal, Ghana, South Africa, India, Thailand, Australia, America and Europe equipped solely with a digital video camera, a laptop and a vision to explore the unity in diversity. They released their first album in 2002. It was nominated for two Grammys in 2003. They sold over 300’000 albums and won numerous awards globally. In their work, they collaborated with artists as diverse as Dennis Hopper, Carlos Santana, Alanis Morissette and Eckhart Tolle.
In 2008 he released his second movie called “What About Me” and another journey around the globe where he explored how the ‘unity in diversity’ is expressed through our collective insanity. In 2016 he released his book “Insanely Gifted”, offering techniques and games to transform our thinking and turn our demons into allies. Telegraph said, “a prolonged exposure to Catto could blow your mind!”
Today Jamie Leads uniquely transformative workshops and one-on-one sessions, drawing from the richly diverse wisdom techniques and processes he has encountered during his groundbreaking filming recording and philosophy voyages across five continents to spark both professional and personal breakthroughs.