In 2002 I took a course called The Mastery of Self Expression. If you’ve read The Bad Kitty Handbook, you’ve read about this amazing course. The Bad Kitty recommends this course with every fiber of my being. It is the one course I’ve taken, and continued to be involved in, that has made the biggest impact on my life.
After a 5 year absence, this remarkable weekend is returning to Alberta. It will be in Edmonton on September 18-20 and Calgary October 16-18.
It was first presented in L.A. in 1976 to actors by director Dan Fauci. He felt that actors were becoming worn down by rejection and the expectations of their profession and wanted to give them a place to blossom and rediscover their passion and individuality. Before long, he realized that it wasn’t just actors who needed this gift and he opened it up to “regular” folk as well.
Since then, The Mastery has spread across the U.S. and overseas to England, Australia and Canada, among others. It has served 10s of 1000s of people, allowing them to shed the standards put upon them by others, the hurts they’ve carried and the walls they’ve built to move on to a fuller, bigger, more exciting life.
The stated purposes of the Mastery are to:
- discover yourself as the source of your own creativity, spontaneity, joy, anger, passion and so on. YOU are in control of your life and how you respond to the stimuli around you.
- go from a position of fogginess and unconsciousness to a position of consciousness and clarity. In other words, to be present in your life.
- discover what you want and what stops you from getting it.
This workshop is not about fixing. It’s about discovering. We are all PERFECT JUST AS WE ARE. Mastery helps you find the places you’re holding back, the messages that you’ve taken on that are not serving your perfection, to know that you always have a choice and how to choose what works for YOU!
One of the things about Mastery that makes it different from most other courses out there is that it is not about the facilitator, it is about the participants. It is highly experiential and the “back row” of facilitators main purpose is to hold the space and take the participants through what they need to get what they want out of the weekend.
That said, we are so very privileged to have one of the most experienced facilitators with us for Alberta. Larry Gilman has been presenting The Mastery with Dan Fauci in L.A. and in Vancouver since the early 80’s. An actor and director himself, he is one of the most authentic, present, giving and intuitive people I’ve ever met. Along with 3 other back row facilitators (including myself in Edmonton), he will serve the participants of the upcoming Masteries as only he can!
If you are curious about The Mastery, there are some information sessions coming up: September 3 in Edmonton and September 23 in Calgary.
If you are led to take the course, you can register with Kim Deep at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions, you can contact myself of Kim.
The Bad Kitty recommends this course highly, enthusiastically and humbly to anyone looking to break through their walls, live a fuller life and be true to who they are in every moment with every one.
See you at The Mastery!
Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty
It’s time for Feline Life Lesson #9 – Forgive.
Feline Life Lesson #9 – Forgive – is closely related to Feline Life Lesson #1 – Don’t Take Anything Personally. The biggest key to forgiving, is to realize it’s not about you.
One thing about being a cat that lives in the same space as humans is they are much smaller than we are so sometimes we don’t see them. I couldn’t even begin to count how many times I’ve tripped over or stepped on a cat. Usually they’re smart enough to get out of the way, but sometimes circumstances conspire against us. It’s nothing personal, it’s unintentional, it just happens.
Life is like that so often for us as well. Someone says something hurtful or they let a door slam in your face or they tell someone else your secret. There are so many things that others do that we take to heart and refuse to forgive.
Take a lesson from the cat, forgive, let it go.
Even though I’ve tripped over Marlowe many times in the kitchen, he still hangs out there looking for a scrap. Even though I’ve had to get up many times right after Izzy has made himself comfortable on my lap, he keeps coming back. They forgive because at some level, they know it’s not about them.
No matter how hurtful someone is, you have to forgive for your own good.
If Marlowe stopped coming in the kitchen, he’d never get a little piece of cheese. If Izzy never hopped up onto my lap again, he wouldn’t get cuddles and ear scratches.
No matter whether someone else hurting you was intentional (I have to put Izzy down sometimes) or not (I don’t mean to trip over Marlowe), in order to keep your life full and beautiful, you need to forgive.
For example here are some events and the consequences of not forgiving:
- a man hurts you badly, not only do you not forgive him, you start to mistrust all men which keeps you out of relationship and lonely.
- a friend reveals something you said in confidence so you never share anything personal again which keeps you distant from others.
- your parents divorced and you never got over it keeping you from having closeness with them.
- someone criticizes you and it sticks with you because you won’t forgive so you become ultra-sensitive to any criticism, now matter how well meant or helpful.
- you make a mistake when you take a risk at your job so you play it safe resulting in staying stuck where you are. (yes, sometimes you have to forgive yourself, too)
I’m not saying forgiveness is easy. I’m saying it’s necessary. The only person you hurt by holding onto your hurts if you! Holding onto a grudge against someone does nothing to them. It keeps you from moving on, it keeps you from taking risks, it keeps you from seeing the good in others – and yourself. Forgiveness is something you need to do for YOU.
Here is a list of 23 quotes on Forgiveness.
This is an excellent article on 12 steps to Forgiveness.
A few of my favorites from the 12 steps are:
- #4 – Make a list of the good things that emerged as a result of this awful experience. Almost every time we have a negative, hurtful experience, something good eventually comes of it. A broken relationship makes way for a good one. A lost job opens to door to a new opportunity. A failed business fuels the fire for an even better one. I am featured in the book “Living Proof – Celebrating the Gifts that Came Wrapped in Sandpaper” which tells 39 wonderful stories on just this point.
- #7 – Learn that the Aramaic word for “forgive” means literally to “untie.” Forgiveness frees you from the person/situation that hurt you. If you don’t forgive, you are tied to that hurtful event forever. That sounds crazy-making to me!
- #9 – Stop telling “the story.” The best way to “untie” yourself is to stop dwelling on it. Whether you’re repeating the story over and over in your head or to others, you are dwelling on it and giving it strength. Leave the story behind and it’s power will dissipate.
- #10 Tell “the story” from the other person’s perspective. If you tell the story from the other person’s perspective you may realize that it had nothing to do with you. It may have been an honest mistake or accident. It may have to do with something in them that creates behavior hurtful to others. Maybe there were extenuating circumstances that you have yet to fully grasp.
Practice Feline Life Lesson #9 – Forgive. Become so good at forgiveness, it becomes second nature, just like the cat. This is for YOU. It is for your health, your outlook on life, your enjoyment of everything around you. Forgiveness keeps you free and untethered. It allows you to love yourself and those around you as the flawed, usually well-meaning creatures that we are.
Hugs, Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty
It’s time for Feline Life Lesson #8 – Be engaged (not GET engaged – no rings in today’s message, sorry).
There’s one thing you can count on with cats, they are always engaged in what’s going on around them – they are always present. Even when they’re sleeping it seems like they have a sense that stays awake and they are immediately in the moment, no matter what. This makes them a totally sensual being. Their presence, the way they completely give themselves over to whatever is happening in the moment, they are supremely engaged in life.
Some examples for you:
- When there is a bird outside the window, my cats are there watching. They know there is a pane of glass between them and the outside, but it doesn’t matter. They will watch intently. They’ll make the guttural clicking sound of the cat in hunt mode. In that moment, there is nothing else to pay attention to other than that bird.
- In cat land, there is nothing better than a good petting. They will lift their body to receive your attention. They will show their appreciation with a loud purr. They tap you on the arm if you stop before they’re ready. Some will drool, like my Izzy. There is no doubt that they are completely into what you’re putting out. Here are 3 and a half minutes of cats asking for attention.
- Cats playing is a joy. They are definitely totally engaged. Until they decide they’re done, of course. Then they’re totally engaged in something else. Give a cat a new catnip or honeysuckle toy (they love the latter without the high from the former) or get out a laser pointer and watch them go!
- Cats have excellent hearing. Their ears will swivel at the slightest change in sound and, if it merits attention, they will turn their head to face it as well to get a better sense of what’s going on.
- Have you ever seen a cat that is so interested in the smell of something that they open their mouth? Cats smell with their mouths as well. When something really intrigues them, they will open their mouths to get a fuller sensation of the smell!
- Many people say cats are aloof. In my experience, they are great listeners. My cats listen better than my dog. They come when called, they turn to you as soon as you make a noise or say their name. They’ll even come for a cuddle when I rub two fingers together . They’ll listen to you talk and sometimes even talk back. And they talk to each other. Or give an opinion.
You are a Bad Kitty. To be even badder, practice more of feline life lesson 8 – be engaged.
- Pay attention to what’s going on around you and really notice. When driving, be engaged in driving. When relaxing, be fully engaged with your relaxation (no making lists in your head!). Walk in nature and really notice your surroundings and what has changed since your last walk, what’s new or different whether it’s a new place or your neighborhood. Every instance of your day, be engaged.
- Really feel touch. Give yourself over to a hug rather than going in for a quickie and getting out as soon as possible. Enjoy the feel of a loved one’s skin and hair. Notice the texture of your clothes. Give yourself over to the tactile sensations that surround you.
- When you play, really play. Spend less time worrying about skill or perfection and just enjoy. If you watched Friends, you may remember the episode with Pheobe and Rachel going for a run. Pheobe ran like a child and loved it! Be a Pheobe.
- Whether it’s a taste, smell, sound, touch or sight, really pay attention. Your senses give you so much information. Give into the entirety of what is coming into your body through your senses.
- Listen, really listen, when someone speaks to you. Pay attention to their name (I’m still working on this one!). Listen for the hidden messages behind what people are saying and check in about your assumptions. Listen as much for information as for intent and emotion. When asked to do something, really listen and determine if it’s something you want to/are willing to do and give an honest answer.
Be engaged in your world. It’s so easy to allow ourselves to feel overwhelmed and want to cut off or retreat. This may seem counter-intuitive, however, the truth is being fully engaged will help you get over your overwhelm because you’re paying attention to ONE thing at a time. Give it a shot and see for yourself!
Hugs, Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty
It’s time for Feline Life Lesson #7 – Embrace Looking Stupid.
When I do pole dancing parties we do what I call “poleoke” (pronounced like karaoke) at the end where the girls take what they’ve learned and play. I always ask them to pretend they are 3 years old. Three year olds don’t worry about how they look. They don’t worry about what other people might think of them. They just go for it!
That is what today’s Feline Life Lesson is all about. Embrace looking stupid!
As we grow, we start to get terribly concerned about the opinions of others. Most of us dress, act and even think (or try to) to conform to the “norm”, to the accepted, behave in ways that will get us into the group we want to be included in. One of the things we definitely want to stay away from is looking stupid. This will generate ridicule and possibly ostracization (yes, I made up that word!).
How often has worrying about what others think held you back?
How often has it kept you from trying something new?
How often has it shut your mouth and you didn’t something you thought?
Cats have no concern about this at all. I can’t even begin to count how many times my cats have done something that made me laugh because they looked so stupid.
- Jumping at the fish in the aquarium and smacking into the glass.
- Trying to make a leap and not quite making it resulting in a very ungraceful landing.
- Making a strange face when experiencing an unexpected taste.
- Getting stuck in a place they were sure they would fit.
- Leaping in fear at something silly like a sock.
Here are 10 minutes of examples.
The thing with cats is all of this stupid-looking, all of our human laughter doesn’t deter them from doing it over and over. This is how they learn.
- He never jumped at the aquarium again
- They learn how far they can actually leap.
- They know to stay away from that smell because it leads to that terrible taste.
- He never tried to get into that vase again.
- Well this one really never stops. (giggle)
Taking risks, and possibly looking stupid are how we learn as well. It’s also how we can have more fun. Without the possibility of looking stupid we hold ourselves back, keep ourselves safe and miss out on all kinds of experiences.
- New physical activities that you may look really awkward at at first.
- How fast you can run/jump etc before falling on your face.
- New tastes that may illicit a funny face with the first bit.
- What new experiences you’re good at and can learn from.
- What silly things scare you – and that’s always funny (to the rest of us).
Live Feline Life Lesson #7 – Embrace Looking Stupid on a regular basis. You’ll have more fun, learn more about yourself and others and make it safe for others to take risks.
Enjoy looking stupid!
Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty
It’s time for Feline Life Lesson #6 – Be Fearless!
Cats truly are fearless.
When I was a kid we had a Siamese tomcat, Thor, who would ask to be let out when he saw a dog coming down the road. This was in the days when people still let their dogs run free in the neighborhood. Thor would go out onto the step and wait for the dog. If it started to come into our yard, he would puff himself up and glare. The dog never made it past the gate.
Cats love to be up high – sometimes hundreds of times higher than they are tall. My cats love to hang out on the roof of the garage or shed. They, like all cats, love to climb and explore.
Cats stand up to animals much bigger and more dangerous than they are. They go through tight and dangerous places. They do whatever it takes to get what they want.
Check out these fearless cats.
How fearless are you?
- Do you let difficult experiences stop you?
- Do you worry about what others think of you?
- Do you let your little voice talk you out of doing things?
- Do you let the size of the obstacle affect your determination?
- Do you quit before you’ve even begun?
Take steps today to be more fearless.
- Practice FTF everyday. Make a list of what you need to do. What scares you the most today? Do your Feared Thing First (FTF). You’ll get it out of the way. You’ll likely discover it wasn’t as bad as you thought it would be. It’ll free up your energy for the rest of the day as it’ll be off your mind.
- Do something that scares you on a regular basis. Everyone has different fears. It could be jumping out of a plane. It could be speaking your mind. It could be making eye contact. It could be taking a class. It could be a change of career. Large or small, do something that scares you regularly.
- Talk yourself INTO things. When your little voice tries to talk you out of something say “Thank you for sharing, but I’m up to something else” and do it anyway!
- Break things into pieces. If something looks too large, break it into bite size pieces and do one thing at a time. An obstacle is much less terrifying when it’s seen as small steps. My cat doesn’t jump right onto the garage. He jumps onto the fence, then the shed, then the garage.
- Listen to what YOU want, not what other people say. History is littered with examples of people who followed their passion, their brilliance despite what all others said and created incredible results. For example, if you haven’t seen it yet, check out Alan Turing’s story about breaking the Nazi’s enigma code in WWII in the movie The Imitation Game.
Have fun, be fearless!
Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty
Today it’s time for Feline Life Lesson #5 – Love Your Body.
Cats come in all shapes and sizes and colors, just like we do. Granted, I don’t speak cat, but near as I can see, they don’t make fun of each other. And they don’t compare themselves to each other.
If we could speak cat, I doubt we’d hear anything like this:
Hey, Fluffy, you’re looking a little extra fluffy lately.
Calico? Really? What a goofy coloring. The cat gods must hate you!
Hairless? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! You’re HAIRLESS!? Ohmygod, that’s HILARIOUS!
Have you seen that Munchkin cat? His legs are sooo short. And the Manx – no tail. That just looks stupid.
Don’t sit like that, dude, it makes you look fat.
Grumpy cat really got hit with the ugly stick, didn’t he.
Yet, how often do we do that exact thing to each other? And even to ourselves. We constantly compare ourselves to those around us. We look for ways that they are better or, sometimes, how we are better so we can tear them down. When we look for flaws in our body and other’s bodies, we separate ourselves. It makes it impossible to truly connect and be supportive and loving of each other. Constantly worrying about if we measure up only tears us all down.
Cats take great care of their bodies. They are continually grooming themselves. If you’ve ever watched a cat groom, you may have noticed how happy they feel. It’s as if their tongue rubbing against their fur is the most exquisite pleasure they could possibly experience.
When you groom yourself – shower, do your hair and so on – do you take the time to enjoy it? Do you take the time to appreciate your body? Or do you try to get it over with as quickly as possible? Are you thankful for the steamy mirror so you can’t see yourself clearly?
It’s time to be more like a cat and Love Your Body in two major ways:
1. Stop comparing yourself.
- When you feel yourself making negative comparisons, find something positive.
- Stop reading fashion magazines because, as Baz Luhrmann says, they’ll only make you feel ugly.
- Look for ways you are the same as others – intellectually, spiritually, passions, etc so you can connect instead of being separate.
2. Appreciate your body and take good care of it.
- Deliberately look in the mirror and make a habit of finding things you love about yourself.
- When you find yourself being critical, look for how that body part serves you (for example, your tummy may not be flat, but it digests your food and helps keep you healthy.)
- Touch yourself deliberately. When you put on lotion, enjoy the sensation. When you wash your hair, enjoy the lather. Notice how your clothes feel on your skin. And so on.
- Eat healthy and exercise, and do both in a way that YOU enjoy.
We are conditioned to feel like we will never measure up to the standards set out by society. Realize that those standards are created by someone else and are completely unrealistic. Watch cats and live by Feline Life Lesson #5 – Love Your Body!
Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty
Sheila Kelley is the force behind the pole dancing trend for women’s empowerment and fitness. Her book, The S Factor, has inspired thousands of women, including me.
A few years ago she did a Ted Talk called “Let’s Get Naked”. She talks frankly about how important it is for us to be ourselves, to honor our sexuality and to move our bodies.
She says it all so well, there’s no need for me to expand.
And then, let’s get naked!
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. It is a day of love and lovers. The color red and hearts are everywhere. The pressure is on for grand gestures of love toward your special someone. It can be stressful for those with a partner to outdo previous years. The pressure is on for singles. As they watch happy couples all around them, sadness may creep in that they don’t have someone to share the day with.
Whether you are in a relationship or not, l’d like to remind you of the most important person who needs your love – YOU! On Valentine’s and every other day, you deserve your own love.
In honor of the day, here are 14 Easy Ways to Show Yourself Love:
1. Keep a journal of success. Every day write at least one thing you acknowledge yourself for.
2. Say something positive about yourself when you look in the mirror. Stop the judgement machine and look for good things.
3. Accept compliments graciously. Your acceptance of the generous gift from someone else who thinks highly of you is a great gift to give yourself.
4. Pat yourself on the back when you complete a difficult task.
5. When you reach a goal, give yourself a small gift of acknowledgement.
6. Speak positively to yourself. Keep the negative messages in check.
7. Eat well. You deserve healthy, tasty food in your body.
8. Wear clothes that flatter you and make you feel amazing.
9. Exercise. Activity makes you feel good in body and mind.
10. Participate in activities/hobbies/classes. Find ways to do things that you enjoy.
11. Set selfish goals. Be sure to keep things that make you happy in your life.
12. Ask for what you want. Use your selfish goals and your knowledge of what you need and want to ask for it and get it.
13. Get good sleep – and enough of it.
14. Have a good sex life. Whether you are playing alone, with a partner or several partners, get what you want in the boudoir.
It’s that easy – and that difficult. Get in the habit of doing several things every day to honor how amazing you are. These are only 14 easy ways to show yourself love. Whether you do them all or only a few on a regular basis, you will see a shift in how you see yourself for the better. Isn’t that worth a tiny bit of effort? Treat yourself this Valentine’s Day and continue with it every day after that!
Hugs, Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty
I heard something the other day that really hit home. It seemed so smart. It made so much sense. I just have to share! The question is “to be or not to be.”
When speaking of experiencing emotions we say:
I am sad.
I am angry.
I am happy.
I am frustrated.
I am joyful.
Interesting. We talk about how we all “have” emotions but when we’re in it, we say we “are” that emotion (am is the first person singular present tense of are).
What’s the big deal?
The definition of HAVE is: 1. to possess, own, hold or 2. experience, undergo
The definition of BE (am, are, etc in different tenses) is: to have presence in the realm of perceived reality; exist; live
When we say “I am – fill in the emotion” – we are expressing that that is our reality. It is how we are living, existing.
In many other cultures/languages they say “I have – fill in the emotion” which indicates that the emotion is a current experience that we are holding for that moment. The big difference between am and have is that with have, you have the option to let go.
Using “am” makes it feel a part of you, like something that will never end. For example, I am a woman. I am 50 years old. I am 6 feet tall. It would take a lot of work to change these things and some, like age, are unchangeable. Emotions, however, can change on a dime. By using “am” to refer to them we are tricking ourselves into thinking the anger, sadness or even happiness, will never change.
Using “have” gives you choice. I have anger right now. I choose to be angry right now. And I can decide in the next moment to “have” another emotion. In the next moment I may “have” relief, happiness, frustration, excitement and so on. “Have” gives so much more freedom around our emotions. It promotes choice. It gives the impression of the ability to let go.
Which sounds better to you? I choose “have”. My intention is to make a conscious effort to change the way I refer to my emotions from “am” to “have”. With the question to be or not to be, I choose not to be.
How about you? Do you want your emotions to run you, to be your perceived reality or to be a temporary state of being that you are currently experiencing? I hope to “have” my emotions along with you.
Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty
Here is the post from last year about selfish goals. I must admit, I don’t think I could say it any better this year. Set your selfish goals. It’s worth it!
SELFISH GOALS VS RESOLUTIONS:
Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? If you did, there’s a good chance you’ve already broken it – or them.
There’s something about a new year that gives us hope for self improvement. The chance to correct all the mistakes we’ve made so far. The opportunity to be more than you were and closer to the perfection you envision. No pressure.
And then it all falls apart in a few weeks or, if you’re especially motivated, a few months.
The most common resolutions are:
– get fit/lose weight/be healthier
– quit smoking
– quit drinking
– spend more time with the family/work less
– get out of debt
– learn something new
– get organized/declutter
Been there done that? And how’d it turn out for you?
How about an alternative?
Set SELFISH GOALS.
What’s the difference you may ask.
– resolutions are big sweeping changes, selfish goals are little things to do just for you.
– resolutions can feel onerous and overwhelming, selfish goals can be fun and rewarding.
– resolutions are often a result of societal pressure like being a certain size while selfish goals come from a desire and passion to be and express your best self.
The difference can be subtle. Let’s break down selfish goals vs resolutions to make it clearer.
RESOLUTION: get fit/lose weight
SELFISH GOAL: What are the things you love to do anyway that you’ve dropped out of your life for various reasons? Try something like this on for size. I love to walk in nature. I’m going to set a goal to walk a minimum of three times a week. OR I love to dance. I’m going to take a dance class. There is no reference to weight or fitness. It’s about doing things you love which will have the surprising outcome of making you healthier.
RESOLUTION: quit smoking/drinking
SELFISH GOAL: Ask yourself WHY do you want to quit? If its because you should or someone is pressuring you, be prepared to fail. If it’s because you have a deep desire to live better and healthier, then break it down further. What will you be able to do/enjoy more when you’ve succeeded in quitting? Set goals around those things and it will give you motivation for the big quit.
RESOLUTION: spend more time with family.
SELFISH GOAL: This can be tricky. One aspect of Selfish Goals is they are about YOU. Setting a selfish goal that involves someone else can defeat the purpose. Often when we set goals that involve others we get defeated if they’re not on the same page. Ex: I want to go to Paris with my husband but if he hates to travel or can’t stand French people,will you let that stop you from going to Paris? SOLUTION: Before setting any family goals, find out what they want as well. Be sure to know what you want so that you don’t go along with the desires of others just to make peace. Now mesh the priorities of everyone as best you can. If they don’t want to be part of this goal, you may need to find other ways to satisfy this desire. Be prepared to be creative. Also realize that you need self time as well. Make sure your whole life isn’t wrapped around your family – especially you ladies!
RESOLUTION: get out of debt
SELFISH GOAL: Less debt is a noble goal. Unless you have a clear reason to get out of debt other than you “should”, it will never happen and will feel like a burden. Without the weight of debt around your neck, what would you be able to do? Travel? Buy better clothes? Give to charity? Set the selfish goals of what you will do when the debt is gone and remarkably the debt will shrink.
RESOLUTION: learn something new
SELFISH GOAL: What do you want to learn? Be very clear about the end result you want. Do you want to do something creative? Are you leaning toward something academic? Do you want to work alone or in a group? How much time/money are you willing to spend? Once you answer these questions, you can look for things that satisfy your needs. Being selfish in this way will guarantee a higher level of success with your endeavor. Most of all, be sure you’re having fun with it!
RESOLUTION: get organized
SELFISH GOAL: Why do you want to get organized? The why will help with the how. Cleaning out your closet is an onerous job. But when you do it to make room for new clothes, it feels more exciting. Organizing your office seems like the worst job ever. But when you do it knowing that you will feel more creative, it gives you energy. Always look for the why and the how will come. Being selfish in this way will create more motivation.
A University of Bristol study suggests that 88% of people fail their resolutions. Not very encouraging. Change to Selfish Goals that bring you joy, feed your passion, ramp up your energy and in general make you feel great, you will succeed.
Have fun being selfish!
Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty