Cattitude: The Feline Art of Sacred Self Indulgence by Sharon Bechtold

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Be Present (c) Sharon Bechtold

 

Do you ever look at your cat and wonder how it is that they are so sure of themselves? So comfortable in their being? How is it that cats, regardless of their circumstances exude confidence, grace, and style? I’ve always wished to tap into the thought processes of cats and harness that famous feline self esteem. As I journeyed into the minds and behaviors of the various kitties young and old around me, the powerful energy of Cattitude was revealed to me.

I discovered that there were three traits to Cattitude, which I will discuss in more detail later. Through self-development and inspiration, these traits became like a Divine guide for my work on what eventually became the Cattitude Oracle Cards. Cattitude taught me a whole new set of shamanic techniques to deepen my communication with Spirit, and these came out in the Cards and my recent work as a shaman. By creating a bridge from the conscious to the subconscious brain states, I tapped into my “natural” intelligence and inner divinity to master my thought process for my higher good.

Before delving into the three traits, I want to address the importance of shamanism in the creation of the Cattitude Oracle Deck and my discovery of the Sacred Feline Art of Self Indulgence. I call myself by the title of Shaman. I cannot give you a wholesale answer as to what that really means. I can only tell you my own experiences as a shaman and allow you to decide what you think.

What is shamanism? Shamanism is the ability to “walk between the worlds”- the seen and unseen, the world of Spirit, and the connection between all things. A personal shamanic practice is simply the ability to open up to the voice of Spirit and communicate with the wisdom that surrounds us every day. The ability to do this is available to everyone; these “gifts” are inherent to each of us.

A shaman or shamanic practitioner, on the other hand, has these abilities and is open to a greater scope of communication for a reason. In addition to maintaining a personal practice, a shaman is charged with using these “gifts” for the greater good of their community. Shamans are known to be Healers, Wise Women (or Men or People), Leaders, and Trusted Advisors.

In my case, I am a Shamanic Bard or Sacred Storyteller. I tell my stories through images, words, ritual, and games designed to open the doors to communicating with the Divine.

Throughout my life, I have been blessed with a  deep creative connection with the unseen. My imagination was able to construct worlds that I would navigate and characters with whom I interacted. I passed this off as creativity and never told a soul.

When I grew up, this creative world began filtering into my artwork and writings. My work became prophetic and strangely insightful in ways I could not understand. A simple drawing would depict someone’s vivid dream. A story would give the solution to a problem, and a short daydream would manifest itself exactly as I had seen it. Words whispered and insights given were later confirmed as I read a book I had never heard or listened to someone speak for the first time.

My art has always been tied to this practice, so it was natural that I was given the directive to create this Oracle Deck. All these images and messages were directed and chosen by my guides. Whether you consider them to be Spirit Guides, Angels, or simply an imaginative concoction of our own mind, rest assured that the value of the connection is still there.

Spirit does not require you to understand. (I’m not sure we can anyway.) Our human ability to name and categorize is not required in order to achieve the benefits of this mysterious communication. The only thing that is required is an open heart. With this same request, I ask you to consider how you can incorporate the three traits of Cattitude into your life. How can you participate in the Feline Arts?

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The Truth Lies Within (c) Sharon Bechtold

 

Cats live life on their own terms. They make the rules because their life is their own game. No one is required to approve of them. No one is expected to join. The game is played by Cat and Spirit, and the world is their gameboard.

The secret to Cattitude is the Feline Art of Sacred Self Indulgence. This is not a rebellious form of indulgence that flaunts its desires for the sake of contrariness. It is a sincerity that begins deep within the heart and is inspired by Spirit.

Three traits define Cattitude. They are as follows: (1) Consistent Care and Grooming; (2) Landing on Your Feet; and (3) No Explanations.

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Come out of Hiding (c) Sharon Bechtold

 

Consistent Care and Grooming

Sacred Self Indulgence is a catering to the Divinity within. Cats are intimately aware of the spark of Divinity that exists inside them. They are also aware of this spark in others. Sacred Self Indulgence acknowledges the Sacred Self by staying in a state of complete awareness of the needs of the Self. Whether these are physical, mental, or spiritual needs, Cat is tuned in.

In creating that open line of communication, Cat is also continuously connected to Spirit. Cats know that these physical bodies we have all been given are blessed vessels. Within these vessels are the doorways to our souls and our Source. So in caring for the Self, Cat maintains a constant connection to Spirit. We can learn to do this, also.

However, most Humans look at “self care” as a form of required maintenance, a task that must be done. Eating awful-tasting food, doing strenuous exercises that leave us sore, denying ourselves joy and pleasure for the purpose of “health”: Cats would never accept this!

Self indulgence when done in a sacred manner is the highest celebration of gratitude for our existence. It is inclusive of all that is joyful; it is the absence of guilt. The word “should” has no meaning, and life takes care of itself.

Which brings us to the next trait…

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Active Receiving (c) Sharon Bechtold

Landing on Your Feet

Life takes care of itself when you practice the Sacred Self Indulgence of Cattitude. Cattitude trusts in the perfect unfolding life. Cattitude had endless patience because it relies on Spirit, and Cattitude is not attached to external circumstances. Therefore, Cats are willing to take insurmountable risks because they will land on their feet.

Cats land on their feet because of Cattitude (of course), and, for this to happen, Cat must do three things…

  1. Have a flexible spine- Trust has no room for stiffness, allowing for twisting and turning while falling in order to readjust without pain and resistance. In Human terms, this may mean releasing the situation to the Divine.
  2. Find your center- When a Cat twists itself and finds its center of gravity, it is ready to land in a manner that will prevent the most injury. Cat knows that her center is Spirit, and, in all surprises, Cat will seek to realign herself with Spirit. In Human terms, this may mean connecting with prayer.
  3. Absorb the shock- No matter how centered Cat is, the inevitable will happen. She will land and possibly land hard. Loosening her joints and preparing to absorb the shock of landing helps keep her from unnecessary injury. In Human terms, this may mean taking action.

Landing on your feet is about Trust. Which leaves the last and perhaps most surprising trait of all…

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Create (c) Sharon Bechtold

No Explanations

It is presumptuous to assume that you know the reason a Cat does anything mainly because Cats are not always sure, either!

Oh, Cats follow inspiration- they have purpose. They don’t just always understand the Hows and Whys of the situation and are perfectly fine with that.

In one moment, they may perceive their goal to be one thing, then, in the next moment, it becomes something else. They are not attached to an outcome but to the call of Spirit. This means they appear to change their minds quite often or simply not know what they really want. This is absurd; their confidence confirms that they are exactly where they need to be at each moment because they answer only one call- the inner call of Spirit.

Example: Cat asks you to open the door- you open the door- Cat looks at the door then at you and walks the other way. Why? Who knows, and, as far as Cat is concerned, who cares! Cat has followed the call of Spirit and that is all that matters.

This is not to say that Humans should embrace being fickle. Rather, this suggests that needing to “understand” everything ahead of time or needing to gain the approval of others is not necessary. In fact, it can be detrimental.

Cats set their own rules and play their own game. It is irrelevant to them if anyone understands what they are doing and why. They do not worry if others join them because Spirit is the only one that needs to be present. When others join, Cat is joyful; if no one joins, Cat is still joyful. Her joy is independent of any external factors.

The ability to say “Yes” when she is unsure of the final outcome is what defines that famous Feline Self Confidence. Cat understands that she never says “Yes” to a task or goal or outcome. Cat says “Yes” to the all of Spirit, and THAT makes all the difference.

Keep these three simple traits in mind as you look through the eyes of Cat and view the world from an intimately empowered and inspired purrspective.

Let the adventure begin!

 

Sharon Bechtold is the author of Cattitude: The Feline Art of Sacred Self Indulgence Oracle Card Deck. She is a Shamanic Practitioner, Artist, Bard, and Teacher. Sharon studied shamanism with Joan Forest Mage in the Life Force Arts Shamanic Training Program, holds the Bardic Grade from the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, and is well versed in elemental energy work and reiki. She is a professional award winning pyrographer who has published 5 books on wood burning techniques. A columnist and writer for numerous international print magazines, Sharon also teaches art as energy work throughout North America, has been certified as an Illinois State Artisan and is represented by numerous galleries and collections throughout the world, including Life Force Arts Center

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