Catherine Up Close

Meet Catherine — Up Close and Personal

I am fascinated by the questions “Who am I?” “What am I?” “What am I doing here?” “How am I being here?” “How am I relating?” Early in life, I fought with these questions; now I’m dancing with them. And as I’ve followed the questions, they have certainly led me on a great adventure. These questions are also equally fascinating to me as they are lived in other people.

So it was the questions that brought me to my life’s work. A work that at times has seemed nebulous, unquantifiable, mysterious, frustrating, magical, confusing, blessed, painstaking, sacred, indescribable, palpable, ephemeral, tangible and holy. My personal work has been discovering and growing my self as a human of BE-ing that is growing into my “Self” as inspirited being and embodied soul. My work in the world has been to support other people in this process. Let me add, I was doing “my work” and “my work” was doing me long before I had any understanding of it or could put it into words.

Being human wasn’t easy for me. I felt like I came from another planet, and clearly landed here by accident. I was sure God/Life/The Universe/Karma had made a huge mistake. Wanting to know the answers became a driving force in my life – reading, studying, searching giving it my all — at first trying to figure out how life works, and ultimately to explore how do I work and how do other people work?

Now these weren’t idol philosophical questions for me, I was in pain, a lot of pain — physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. I was given the gift of having enough pain that it couldn’t be ignored. My pain motivated my quest. In some ways it was the choiceless choice. The quest kept the door of possibility open. Without the possibility, the despair would have been too much to bear.

Now the other thing that was readily apparent was that I was not alone. A lot of other people were also in pain, serious pain. I wanted some answers, and I wanted something or someone to take the pain away. I had a real longing to feel well. What I didn’t realize was that the level of well-being that I was seeking would shape my whole life.

With some serious physical challenges traditional medicine wasn’t helping me, and at several junctures only made things worse with iatrogenic illnesses — receiving the incorrect medication and treatment and getting really sick. Traditional psychotherapy helped expand my cognitive understanding of certain situations, but I was caught in a psychological vice that was gripping my whole body and strangling my soul.

In a way, you might say my personality was killing me. I had been talking to God all along (in all the permutations that I imagined him/her) about this state of affairs, except for the year I was an atheist. At any rate you might say SpiritHeart was born, but not yet named on my 25th birthday. A turning point in my life, I was well aware that I felt pretty screwed up and trying to find answers from the outside wasn’t working. So I had a conversation with God/Source/Creator/Universal Intelligence. It went something like this. “I recognize that before I’m the child of my biological parents and family of origin, I’m your child. Given that — you have to be inside of me, in my heart. So I’m gonna trust that as I look inside to my heart, you’re gonna help me out. As I claim my self as your child, I expect things to change.”

You might say this was the beginning of recognizing Divine Relationship in my life. It was definitely the point of wanting to birth my “Self.” It was also the start of a new life that was guided from within by turning to my deepest heart, the heart of God/the Divine within me. In a way it was the turning point whereby I oriented to the Divine within me rather than outside of me. It was a birth for me and looking back on it, although not named until 15 years later, it was the birth of SpiritHeart.

The birthing point was just the start of discovering my life and growing into my own aliveness. I still had all my questions, but the answers seemed to be arising in different ways. I began to explore body-mind therapies and healing modalities for myself on a personal level. In conjunction with this, I also began to explore the mystical paths of different traditions— the mystery of knowing God through direct experience.

Slowly my life changed, I still had my questions and I didn’t have all the answers, but some answers were revealing themselves to me. I was not free of pain, but I was more peaceful. I did feel that it was the exploration of body-mind practices and a deepening of my understanding of the spiritual life and the relationship of body and soul that brought me both comfort and relief.

As I had been helped, I also wanted to help others. In 1984, I started my healing practice. At this point I was leading a double life — Director of Production for Lifetime Cable Television by day and healer by night and weekends. Three years later as my first marriage dissolved, I committed to doing healing work full time.

With this I left my job and the life of benefits and paid vacations, and went into private practice — although it felt more like entering into an apprenticeship. I’ve been studying and practicing for the past 23 years. The past 23 years have been years for healing my misunderstandings of who and what I am and discovering the truth of my being. They have also been years of growing and maturing my relationship with the Divine, a relationship that I view as the primary relationship underlying all other relationships. They have been years of bringing harmony to my body, my mind and my heart as I’ve unwrapped and unfolded my soul.

As I began to explore the principle of Divine Relationship as one that underlies all of life, it opened me up to a very different perspective with respect to my partnership with my own soul as well as personal relationships and interpersonal dynamics. Every relationship is a relationship with the Divine, and holds within it a teaching. The intelligence of love can move through us as we open into greater awareness and understanding of the depth of our being – with ourselves and with each other. So, in cultivating respect for the whole of creation, we enter into a cosmic union wherein we touch the sacred in all of our interactions thus weaving the fabric of Divine Relationship throughout our life and supporting it in the lives that we touch.

My life has been my learning laboratory, and what I’ve learned about and will continue to learn about for the rest of my life is the reality of the depth and breadth of the human heart and the wellspring of “Essential Well-BE-ing” that is our birthright and the treasure that resides within us. It’s a privilege for me to do the work I do and to support others in their movement of healing into the depth of well-being that is organically guided from within by True Nature as the inspirited being of our heart and soul.