Increasingly dear readers, it gets harder for me to write about beauty products. The global multi-billion dollar advertising industry and in particular, beauty advertising, creates a false reality that we are all somehow ‘lacking’. We are not thin enough, not young enough, not pretty enough. And it is only if we buy a certain wonder product that we just might have the chance to become ‘enough’.
The media objectifies women to the extent that many feel that their intelligence and competence are currently not being, or will never be, acknowledged by society. It can be a monumental struggle as a woman to feel content and happy just as we are. To accept the lines and wrinkles, the uneven lips, the skin pigmentation, the too-big or too-small boobs, the frizzy hair, the expanding waist line. We feel shame about our miraculous bodies as we compare ourselves to the ‘perfect’ images we are drip-fed every day. And it’s all wrong.
In an attempt to reconcile these shameful thoughts I often have about myself with my feminist beliefs, my chosen career as a make up artist (which can seem shallow at times and throws some confusion into the mix), and my need to look inward for beauty of a different kind, over the years, I have been on a personal search to explore other aspects of myself and my life through meditation, workshops, post-femininst reading, yoga, holistic and alternative health practices, hypnotherapy and much more.
Some years ago, a friend showed me an multi-award winning film called What About Me?. Made by former Faithless musician Jamie Catto and Duncan Bridgeman, it explores the big, universal themes that connect us all against a backdrop of incredible music performed by many of the world’s best musicians. It reveals how we are all connected through our creativity and beliefs, but most of all through our collective insanity. I was so deeply moved and inspired by this film that I bought it for all my friends for Christmas that year, and resolved to find out more about it’s creators.
I discovered a TED talk given by Jamie Catto (and if you are unfamiliar with TED talks, I can’t recommend them highly enough, they are utterly brilliant), and then to my delight, found his own website with details of his mentoring workshops. I signed up immediately to ‘What About You?’ a two day workshop designed to facilitate bringing your ideas and projects out of your head and into the real world. Jamie mixes both a project-building masterclass with processes and games to amp up the levels of presence and make sure we’re creating from a 100% inspired and empowered place.
And I can honestly say that it was a life-changing experience. Challenging at times, hysterically funny at others, but always supportive and nurturing. I was amazed at the new, previously unseen angles that were uncovered by my small workgroup to help along the creative project I’ve been mulling over for some time. New friends were made, tears and laughter were shared, and some incredible projects were given life.
I’ve since been to the follow-up workshop ‘Transforming Shadows’ which delves deeper into our personal depths, and does require some grit. Jamie counsels us about “being a YES to whatever is happening, even when it’s not our preference, if we have to experience it, find the YES in it somewhere, even if it hurts, savour the exact quality of what hurts, every ripple, colour, texture of it, dance with it, become a ninja expert in this feeling – then we Open to it and it no longer controls us, then we feel it deeper and it can do it’s genius work”. And true to it’s title, I found it to be a highly transformative experience. I left there braver and brighter, I renounce my pointless shame, and when my inner critic inevitably raises it’s spiky voice, I now choose to play it through the filter of a cheesy gameshow host. Trust me, it really takes the sting out of it’s tail.
Here’s what some famous folk say about Jamie:
“Jamie Catto is kind, wise, open, boundlessly energetic, optimistic and passionate. His musical skills – while formidable – are trumped by his remarkable ability to light fires under otherwise reluctant people. I adore him.” Stephen Fry
If you’d like to shake yourself up, explore some of that creative genius you have lurking inside, and get those inventive juices flowing, Jamie’s next What About You London workshop is on July 15th/16th. (He runs them all over the UK and Europe check his website for details). And the amazing thing about these workshops is that they are offered on a donation basis. Jamie strongly feels that everyone should have access to his expertise whatever their financial circumstances, which is an opportunity not to be missed. After all, how often do you get to pick the brains of a highly successful, creative, inspiration engineer at a level you can afford?