Chinese Medicine body-clock in everyday-living made easy! with Sam Ma

SamMa_CCC

Sam Ma will conduct a free workshop to explain how to utilise the principles and knowledge of our biological internal-clock in association with the internal organs’ functional sequences.

Sam will illustrate just how easily a daily routine can be adopted that can help to reduce many common but dangerous ailments such as: ‘High Blood Pressure’, ‘Diabetes’, ‘High Cholesterol’, ‘Heart Disease’ and ‘Severe Neck and Shoulder Pain’.

Saturday 7th October
Tai Chi: 10:30 am – 11:00 am
Talk 1: 11:10 am – 12:00 am
Talk 2: 12:20 am – 13:10 pm
QiGong: 13:15 pm – 13:45 pm


TCM Workshop Poster 2017

中藥生理時鐘令每一天的生活變得容易

舉辦工作坊解釋如何利用我們生理時鐘的原理和知識, 及其對我們的身體內各器官功能序列的關係。

它顯示出在日常生活中如何容易地採用,並有助於減少所有常見但危險的疾病,如高血壓, 糖尿病, 高膽固醇,心臟病和嚴重的肩頸疼痛。

Sam Ma, TCM Acupuncturist
BSc(Hons) DipLAc LicAc MAcuSo MFHT
Confederation of Chinese Business UK – Sports Division Vice President
Deyin Institute Taiji Instructor
British Health Qigong Association Qigong Instructor

Spitalfields City Farm

The Roots & Wings Event will take place at The Spitalfields City Farm in Tower Hamlets

WHAT IS IT?
Its a one month long exhibition of Art with an opening day of talks about Well Being, with childrens and adult workshops, activities, live music, poetry reading and refreshments

WHERE IS IT?
Spitalfields City Farm, Buxton Street, London, E1 5AR www.spitalfieldscityfarm.org

SCFarmMap

WHEN IS IT?
Saturday 7th October 2017 – 11:00am – 11:00pm
Sunday 8th October 2017 – 10:30am – 4:30pm

PROGRAMME OF EVENTS: please visit this page: catcatalyst.co.uk/roots-wings

Please be aware that the farm is in an outdoor setting and to wear appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear.

Spitalfields Farm Association Ltd. Charity Company Limited by Guarantee.
Reg. Charity No. 299536 Registered in England No: 2021898

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Event Supported by Tower Hamlets Council Event Fund

Farm Map 2015

 

Addiction: Self-love Vs Self-harm

Cultivating self-love will help one to see through the many layers of illusions and distractions that form what we perceive to be our outer-reality, because these illusions cause a disconnect from Source-Energy that can cause us to see ourselves as less-than the direct-extensions-of-Source Energy that we are, deserving of the best that life can offer.  If we feel undeserving for any reason at all, we may feel a ‘disconnect’ from Source-Energy as a need to bypass any feelings of resistance to feel reconnected again as soon as possible. This ‘resistance’ is our notification from Source-Energy that one’s inner-alignment needs work. 

The problem is, if one is too busy self-medicating with substances to cover over the disconnect; irrespective of whether the substance is sugar, caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, diazepam, sleeping pills, pain killers, antidepressants, skunk, nitrous oxide, ecstasy, speed, cocaine, heroin, ketamine, adrenochrome, DMT, ayahuasca, or something else, then the more removed an individual becomes from being able to align for their own self inwardly, through the correct use of one’s own mind and the more dependent a person becomes upon various combinations of substances to manufacture an alignment with Source-Energy. The more dependent a person becomes upon the manufactured effect (or effects), the less able an individual is maintain their inner-alignment naturally.

Furthermore, once the manufactured effect becomes habitual, the product becomes less and less effective. This is because the manufactured effect is only ‘temporary’, as the desired feeling of inner-wellbeing and connection is being generated externally, as opposed to being generated and maintained internally, via an authentic alignment with Source-Energy (through the correct use of one’s mind). 

The more one forsakes one’s natural alignment with Source-Energy in preference of a manufactured alignment, the more dependence for establishing this connection is placed outside of oneself. Authentic alignment with Source-Energy can only be generated from within one’s own mind energetically, because alignment is a non-physical connection.

Various products may show an individual a fleeting glimpse, demonstrating a ‘way-in’ to the feeling of connection that is being sought, but once a person has been ‘shown’, then it is up to the individual to do this for their own self from that point onwards, and to resist the temptation to keep returning to the product.

If a person keeps returning and relying upon a particular product to manufacture a feeling of alignment and wellbeing, the more fleeting the window into that feeling becomes, and the more quantity and frequency of dose is required to recreate the ‘feeling’ of connection again and again. Also the less tolerable it becomes for the individual to be without their substance of choice, to the extent that the user cannot imagine their life without it. This is because one’s alignment with Source-Energy, and the desired feeling for inner-connection, is not being sustained from within creating a ‘Catch-22’ cycle of external dependancy. 

The danger with repeated over-usage of a manufactured product to replicate inner feelings of wellbeing, connectedness and alignment, is that it not only becomes a health-risk but it also becomes life-threatening. This is when a person risks accidentally over-dosing, causing serious health crises and even death, simply by ignoring the innocence of the body and continuing to treat it like a consumer product, an object, or a machine, expecting the body to always bounce-back. Normalised habitual use often means taking too much and / or mixing incompatible substances together, whereby a person can lose contact with their outer-physical form in pursuit of an inner-connection via external methods. It’s a fine line and one that must be acutely observed as its potentially life-threatening.

This holds true even when the desired connection is via natural plant derivatives, because it is still an external method of establishing an inner connection. One’s inner-alignment with Source-Energy is only sustainable when it is achieved through the correct use of one’s mind, (self-love), otherwise the boundaries between physical energy and nonphysical energy can become blurred. 

Lynne Yun-Kevin: Yeh-Code x Glitch Type

The point of an addiction is that it is repeated harmful use of a substance, as in substance abuse, therefore, by default, all addictions through habitual use means that it is only a matter of time before the organic flesh body will fail, resulting either in a serious health condition, (such as heart failure, kidney failure, liver failure, urinary tract and bladder problems, incontinence, memory loss, hallucinations and others) or, premature death. All addicts think that they are in control and all addicts think that they will will never die, or get sick. This is a misconception. What one needs to understand is that all forms of addiction are forms of self-harm, harming the body in an attempt to escape from the self (the mind). 

Being responsible for one’s own alignment with Source-Energy, and not dependent upon some outside factor to get one there, is what it means to become an empowered individual. 

Accountability means ‘taking back’ one’s own power for ‘feeling good’ on a daily basis, rather than ‘giving away’ one’s power to outside substances, conditions, situations, places, people, or things, as all that does is make feeling good ‘conditional’ upon outside conditions, the variables of which are beyond one’s mortal control and manipulation. 

It also helps to understand that one’s primary identity consists of nonphysical energy. Everyone consists of both physical and nonphysical energy. The nonphysical energy is often referred to as the soul, which constitutes one’s inner reality of thoughts, feelings, desires, beliefs and intentions. This nonphysical energy can never die as energy cannot expire or be destroyed, it can only change form. Bodies on the other hand are mortal, the deteriorate and expire. Therefore, the inner-extension-of-Source-Energy part of who we all are, can only keep transitioning between physical and nonphysical states of being. However, the pain of separation from Source-Energy, the Source-of-All-Creation (of which we are direct extensions), is what causes the desire to seek union though quick-fix substances, and / or serial relationships, in order to feel connected and complete again. Alignment with Source-Energy immediately maintains this union of connectivity and feeling good.

Surrendering to a regular practice of inner mindful alignment with Source-Energy enables one to feel good all-of-the-time, without the need for self-harm. 


Source-Energy’s 24/7 vibrational broadcast of pure unconditional Love is the purest form of energy in the Universe with which one can align. Regular alignment with Love’s Presence gently refocuses one’s thoughts, feelings and beliefs in line with the natural Laws of the Universe, magnetising one’s heart’s desires without having to chase them, or manipulate outside conditions to fit with one’s desires.

Aligning with Source-Energy regularly means that even during ‘worst case scenarios’, one can still connect inwardly and not be fazed by any outer-chaos. It is a centring-mechanism that grounds an individual in self-love, self-worth and trust, that the universe is a safe place.

The real cosmic alchemy is only ever accessed from within, which can then be reflected outwardly, and not the other way around. Most people are too focused upon the outer world of form, busily trying to manipulate and control the world of form to fit their ideals. However everything in the world of manifest always starts as a wave form, a vibrational offering, generated from ones most frequent point of focus, which are ones default subconscious thoughts, feelings, beliefs, desires and the constant inner narrative in the background.

Everyone and everything has a vibrational signature, as we are all direct extensions of Source-Energy (the energy that literally creates worlds), and therefore we are all creators of our own realities, which we construct through how we utilise of our minds. Even when we are not aligned we are still creating by default through our unconscious feelings, thoughts, beliefs, intentions and desires. The point is to create desired realities, rather than undesired realities.

Becoming aware of Love’s Presence is like discovering the umbilical cord, direct uplink to the Source of Energy from whence one came, and if one commits to maintaining this connection and alignment regularly, then one’s outer reality simply follows suit to reflect ones inner-alignment with Source. It cannot happen the other way around. Source cannot alter its vibration to come down to your level and bring you up. We have to tune in with it. The good news though is that this broadcast is accessible to anyone, anywhere, from dawn to dusk, 24/7. The only thing one has to do, is remember that it is there, and commit to a regular practice of alignment. 

This might sound relatively simple but the truth is that in a world of electronic devices, EMF’s, ELF’s, microwave frequencies, multi-media illusions and distractions, from social-media platforms, to online dating, gaming, scripted reality TV, music channels, the movie industry, the advertising industry, 24 hour online shopping and home delivery, ever increasing apps to download, device upgrades, messaging mediums, hundreds of new channels, subscriptions, usernames and passwords, 24 hour news and political agendas: the sheer barrage of information and illusions that serve to occupy and distract, hardly anyone these days can hold their mental focus for longer than a seconds at a time, before losing it again. And what this means is that people find it near impossible to be alone with themselves in the absence of distractions. Therefore, what people do is reach for their distraction-of-choice to avoid being alone and face-to-face with ones feelings and also with ones internal dialogue, which can often be quite negative, even tyrannical.  (This is where self-love can be helpful, turning ones inner-critic into ones inner best-friend).

Thus, distraction becomes the crutch of addiction, without which people go into withdrawal in the face of neglected mental and emotional coping-mechanisms to deal with unwanted feelings, anxiety, memories of past experiences, etc., or what to do with oneself without a never-ending stream of likes to online shares.

Essentially, over the last fifteen years the public has been groomed to participate in a never-ending stream of antisocial-media, driven by questionable algorithms. The ego literally feeds and indulges itself with status updates and responses to selfies. The ego-self only perceives information in relation to-the-self that requires constant attention and validation from external sources, instead of ones self-validation coming from one’s alignment with Source-Energy.

Without alignment, the ego will constantly seek external self-validation to gratify its self-importance, serving as diversion-tactics away from dealing with, and getting to know one’s inner-self. This is why techniques such as meditation and mindfulness are not only helpful but also necessary, to silence the inner-narrative that is on constant replay.

When one aligns with Source-Energy, one also connects with one’s inner-sovereign identity, whereupon one is able to embrace the realisation that there is no one above us, and there is no one below us. This instils a sense of Sovereign-Equality with all beings. It establishes our divine right to be here, to exist, just as one is, no less that the trees or the stars, alongside everything else that exists, as a direct-extension-of-Source-Energy, which automatically removes any pressure of having to conform, establish importance, or behave in a certain way to fit in, to please, fulfil a role, or position. This realisation allows self-love to permeate into every level of ones life, enabling old patterns to simply fall away and dissolve as they are transmuted by a sense of inner-peace, serenity and wellbeing. 

When we consistently engage with our all-loving ‘I Am’ presence, we automatically generate new neurological-pathways that are in alignment with our sovereign identity, overwriting old outdated internal dialogues that no-longer serve. These new neurological pathways assist with cultivating a more compassionate internal-narrative, that enables one to respond in more loving and forgiving ways to any old memories and experiences from the past, that may have caused anxiety and releases them. This expands our emotional parameters of self-worth, self-love, what we allow ourselves to receive and how we interact, not just with other people but also with the environment. As we begin to understand that we are all co-creators of our own realities, and that everything happens for our highest good, we start to hold space for others to acknowledge their own Sovereignty-equality as well. 

“Every addiction arises from an unconscious refusal to face and move through your own pain. Every addiction starts with pain and ends with pain. Whatever the substance you are addicted to – alcohol, food, legal or illegal drugs, or a person – you are using something or somebody to cover up your pain.” – Eckhart Tolle 


Sept 2014:  Opiates, Iboga and the Roots of Self-Destruction :: Waking Times Magazine :: http://www.wakingtimes.com/2014/09/03/iboga-roots-self-destruction/


Passage from: ‘Heart Felt Mind’ by Cat Catalyst, June 2017.
This post updated 2021.
© Cat Catalyst 2021.

Tuck Magazine

JUNE FEATURE INTERVIEW: POET, ARTIST AND PEACE ACTIVIST CAT CATALYST
May 29, 2013

Grad Show June 2012

Tuck Magazine: Many of your poems are infused with matters relating to the human spirit and the state of humanity. Do you consider your spirituality to be your primary muse?

Cat Catalyst: Poetry and Art for me is a spiritual practice and a social responsibility.

‘The good artist is wise,
God is in his heart.
He puts divinity into things.’
– (Mayan Saying).

To me this means that the poet has the ability to communicate deep and meaningful truths in a simple uncomplicated way that the general public at large can understand. The poet synthesises and translates strong emotions with lofty ideals. It is a language of the heart that speaks to the soul.

My primary muse, as is traditional with many poets or song-writers through the ages, is ‘Love’. Or in my case spiritual and emotional evolution, as a way of aiding the next step in humanity’s awakening, working through the lower emotions in order to open to ‘Loving Kindness’ as a way of life, a philosophy of life, enabling man and woman kind to work together as co-curators of Planet Earth. Loving and caring for Planet Earth as an extension of ones own self-love and self-care in the same way we are urged to ‘Love one another as thyself.’

The problem is that no body loves or accepts themselves in this day and age as everyone is so separate and disconnected from them selves, from each other, from the natural world and from spirituality, and so therefore what most people are projecting is ones own self-loathing, denial, and insecurity. An absence of self-care.

Love has to come from within, otherwise its needy, competitive, controlling and co-dependant. And self-love is not to be confused with a narcissistic self-absorbed obsession, no, activating the heart-center is all to do with being able to accept the Self as it is, right here, right now, with all ones imperfections and flaws, guilt and shame, (as well as ones strengths shining brightly), as a simple honest acceptance of what is, and therefore cultivate an ability to accept others, just as they are, with all their imperfections (and also their strengths), for in the evolution of the soul there is no hierarchy.

Carl Jung says: “The best political, social and spiritual work we can do, is to withdraw the projection of our shadow onto others

This is about training the mind to stay in the present moment, to drop all judgments, let go of attachments to desired outcomes, to honour the innocence of the body, (and the innocence of all living beings and creatures), to see through the charade of separation, to see through the illusion of materialism and personal gain, and become Conscious. For everyone and everything has a right to be here. (Although Love also requires firm boundaries, it does not mean subjugating oneself in the process).

Chelsea Fringe Festival 2013

When interviewed by Lily Cole, British sculptor Anthony Gormley postulated that if we carry on as we are, the Human race faces extinction within the next 300 years and I tend to agree with him on this. I would even go as far as to say it will take much less time than that, for once the delicate balance of the eco system becomes unstable, plundered by Capitalism, pollution and war, the process will rapidly escalate. Much of our prosperity and peace is dependant upon climatic stability.

If Planet Earth, and the survival of all Her creatures and beings are to have even a chance of a future as Nature intended, then we have to work together as a whole planet, a whole Earth, and a whole community, with no divisions, for there is no where else in this solar system to go, we have to learn to take care of our only home, to stop crapping on our own door step, to learn gratitude, humility, compassion, non-personal love, and work together in order to move forwards. At the end of the day, it’s everyone or no-one.

Training the mind begins with the breath. The breath connects the ever-present internal dialogue of the mind with the innocence of the body. It allows for space, calm and observation away from the incessant inner chatter. If one feels like saying something in response to a thought just take a breath instead. If ones mind offers up a judgement, just take another breath. The over rationalising neurotic logic of the ego will begin to dissipate and this in turn will lessen the pressure on the emotions to react. (I call it the push-button effect). A mind that is not trained can really torture and torment a person by turning ones inner dialogue into a habitual inner tyrant. How one treats ones inner self is how one treats another. The trick in this instance is to turn ones inner tyrant into ones inner best friend.

Meditation is a wonderful tool for calming the mind and the emotions, and is something that I think should be taught in all schools everywhere as a necessary survival technique. It can help kids into adulthood to cope with over exposure to the media, from being seduced by the advertising aesthetic, brain washed by TV crime and Hollywood, social networking addictions, combat computer games, peer pressure, gangs, bullies, etc, especially at such early ages.

Kids become a commercial target audience as soon as they leave the womb. Rapid advances in technology have produced a new generation of ‘kidults’ equipped with smart phones and laptops who seem to have skipped their childhood. Today much of a young persons dialogue is through an electronic device and not necessarily face to face. Yet it is through innocence that an individual learns valuable interactive social skills through the act of play. Meditation can also assist with being able to ‘turn the other cheek’, to not take the ‘bait’, to rise above the ‘limitations of others’ and to stay ‘true’ to oneself.

It all begins with self-love, for when one has self-worth one doesn’t need approval from other people to be ones self, one isn’t dependent upon the appreciation of another, a partner, a spouse, a lover, for validation in order to feel worthy. One is empowered to help others as one would help oneself, to treat others as one would expect to be treated oneself without necessarily expecting anything in return. The vision is for a nation of empowered individuals interacting with other empowered individuals, rather than a nation of neurotic walking wounded behaving erratically, trying to exploit one another out of self-interest.

Degree Show Private View 2012

Tuck Magazine: There is also an activist bent to your poetry that tackles many societal issues we currently face as a species.  Do you think a poet has a social responsibility to impart information about their journey through this life as a way of holding up a mirror to the reader?

Cat Catalyst: Yes I believe that the ‘real’ poet, or the ‘real’ artist, those who are motivated by an invisible driving force from within, driven to honour an inner calling, yes, those are the ones whom have a social responsibility to communicate personal insights and truths, although not necessarily as a mirror, for everyone is unique, but perhaps as a sign post, an alternative way of thinking, a seed of suggestion, something which provokes a new thought process, creates new neurological pathways in the brain.

Also identification and catharsis can be very healing, through the sharing of human experience, for one can feel less alone or isolated by ones problems, and perhaps instead of seeing something as a problem, one is able to see certain challenges as a growth opportunity, for it is often only by undergoing a passage to the dark side that one can uncover ones inner pearls of wisdom.

The artist or poet’s process of self-introspection can lead to personal revelation. It is these personal revelations that I wish to share in the pursuit of aiding not only my own spiritual growth but also to be of assistance to other ‘Catalysts’ out there, other agents of beneficial social change and transformation, through the planting of seeds of inspiration and perhaps paving the way forwards.

Actually that’s about the most one can do for another human being. The only person one can change is oneself. The best one can do for another is to plant a few healthy seeds of inspiration, in the hope that at a later date when the timing is right they may germinate, blossom and flower.

And like a farmer tending his crops through the cycle of the seasons, so must ones seeds be watered and tended, through the speaking of ones truth, the walking ones of talk, and leading by example, consistently over time.

Tuck Magazine: In addition to being a poet you are also a painter. Have you ever incorporated your poetry into any of your paintings or vice versa and if so, is the finished product the complete work or can each stand alone as separate entities.

Cat Catalyst: Yes, although mostly I only incorporate text or audio with my digital art. Yes they can stand alone individually too, for example my poetry film ‘Swim’ was screened at the Tate Britain as a poetry film, but it was originally created as a combined backing track and visual projection to perform vocals over the top. The idea was to wear white so that I would blend into the projection and appear to be swimming in the water, however, I have yet to find a compatible venue to test out my creative vision for this poetry performance and so in the mean time it was picked up as an independent film. I would still like to test out my idea one day to see if it actually works.

Tuck Magazine: There are two schools of thought regarding the composition of a poem. Some poets claim that too much editing destroys the soul of a piece while others swear that to labour over a poem, sometimes for days or weeks perfects and polishes it. What is your process for revising your poetry and have you ever written a poem that had no need for revision?

Cat Catalyst: For me each poem is a unique and individual entity and so its birthing process is also individual. There are some poems that come through perfectly intact requiring absolutely no editing at all; ‘Inversion’ was one such piece, although it largely depends upon how transient, or complex a feeling, or an idea is that I am working on. Bringing through ethereal, or emotional concepts that have no words and exist only as feelings can take time to articulate in ones mind before committing to paper. An idea takes work to bring into form, it’s a bit like a sculptor chipping away at an idea until it says exactly what you want it to say, like a slab of marble that invites you to discover the hidden form within, to articulate a complex thought or a feeling, and as you chip away something lovely emerges, a prize of hindsight is revealed, a hidden pearl of wisdom unveiled, some little nugget of truth uncovered… the golden conduit of the muse.

The body of a poem will largely arrive with its own structure. I see that like the trunk of the tree and then the minor tweaks and edits are like the branches of the tree, fleshing out the boughs with leaves, and blossom and fruit. Usually a blog post will require two to three days of constant re-reading with some minor tweaking and attention to flow and punctuation, before it feels right.

“I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.” – Oscar Wilde

The act of posting a blog, or a poem, online has the effect of objectifying a piece for me and therefore I am able to distance myself without becoming overly attached to it. I try to stay as close to the source of the muse as possible without allowing myself to become overly distracted from the original intent. I think it is important to keep a check on the ego for the desire to impress can totally ruin a poem and turn it into a complete pile a drivel.

Art on the Underground @ Baker Street Tube, 2008

Tuck Magazine: Have you ever gone through a period like many poets where you were blocked and felt unable to produce? What ultimately reignited the passion for words?

Cat Catalyst: No not really, at least not yet anyway, for me it’s more about not losing the order of the words as and when they appear in my mind and capturing them in time before the arrangement is gone for good.

Sometimes the ideas are relentless as more often than not they come in the middle of the night and keep me awake into the small hours as I diligently try to commit them to paper or copy paste into a word doc, in an effort to keep up with the express train of thoughts as they race through my mind.

I don’t know why but it always feels like there is an important urgency to it, especially as it can happen so fast. If you are not prepared you can completely miss the whole thing and still be left dithering looking for a pen that works, or a pencil that isn’t blunt or a back of an old envelope to write on.

I used to pull all-nighters regularly and work right though until 8 or 9am in the morning, sometimes never going to bed and working through to the next day, but as I get older I get too tired to keep up with the voice of the muse in my head and so I just say: OK if I’ve had that idea once before then chances are it will come back around again, although sometimes the poignancy is not quite the same the second time around.

I never try to force the words. The words come when I feel I have something particular that I want to say, a feeling to unravel or a concept to articulate. If I don’t have anything to say I don’t write anything. I never know when the next time will be when I am called upon to write but I am quite opinionated so life is always striking a chord or moving me in some way, so I know it is only a matter of time before I shall be required to play the role of the faithful servant to the muse once again.

It’s a magical alchemical process that is completely timeless, of which I shall always be in awe. I have no idea why the muse chose me, especially as I have never been able to spell particularly well, although I have a theory that perhaps it is to do with retaining a sense of humility and honesty. I regard myself as a custodian of the ideas that are bestowed upon me and I am the conduit by which they are able to become manifest. I feel it is my duty to stay as true to the muse as possible.

I Am Joy Festival, 2010

Tuck Magazine: How do you prefer to write, with pen and paper or computer?

Cat Catalyst: It’s a combination of both. Usually when the idea is stirring within I need to capture it as fast as possible before it’s gone and so I shall use whatever is closest to hand. Now I always carry a little notebook just in case as it is the worst feeling to be having an inspired moment without a pen or paper to hand to write it down, even a paper napkin or an old train ticket is better than nothing.

The iPhone notes app is OK but too fiddly to cope with the rushing onslaught of inspiration when it comes. For those initial stirrings you just can’t beat a good old-fashioned pen and paper to get it down. So the bare bones of an idea usually begins its life on paper and then later I will transfer it to the computer to edit.

When I didn’t have many blog followers I would just transfer the ‘bare bones’ straight into a blog editor online and then keep publishing and editing directly in the blog editor until it said exactly what I wanted it to say, but I cant really do that anymore for as soon as I post a blog now two thousand and something followers will automatically receive a copy of the first draft in an email notification as soon as I click ‘Update’, and so it if its something that is not yet fully formed, or I am not yet happy with, then my subscribers will not see my work at its best and it is unlikely that they will know to keep checking back to view subsequently revised versions.

Now I try to work as much of it as I can in a word doc before transferring to the blog, but inevitably there are still a few tweaks once it is up. I don’t think I can actually avoid that. The online tweaking process usually lasts for one or two, maybe three days max after it has been posted, although in a few rare cases it has taken as much as week before I was completely satisfied.

When I worked in IT I learned that the attention span of ones online audience is just two clicks and then they are gone, which is unfortunate for me, as its not until I actually see my work on the computer screen and I know its live that I can really get into the meat and flesh of it. Somehow it initiates a process that once started I cant stop until its finished. That’s the alchemical and timeless part of the process I mentioned earlier. For I seem to remain in one long continuous never-ending present moment for however long the writing and editing process takes, even if it takes three days it still feels like ten minutes to me.

Catalyst VI – World Environment Day @The Kirk, Sydney, 1997

Tuck Magazine: All indie writers are innovative and I suppose part of the motivation is to stand out from the crowd. You are very adept at social media and have taken healthy advantage of the various ways to market your art and for many emerging writers the vast internet terrain is daunting. What have you found to be most challenging aspect of getting your poetry out there and do you have any advice for those who are new and trying to attract readers?

Cat Catalyst: I left a career as an IT contractor to focus on my art and poetry and so I was well equipped with a broad understanding of multi-media, web design and the usefulness of the internet, so for me it was a fairly natural process to utilise my IT skills as I would any other skill in the creative process. It is fortunate as I haven’t needed to employ anyone else to do it for me and so I haven’t lost anything in the translation as I have had complete creative control of how my work is presented.

I would say anyone in the arts and humanities pretty much needs to have a web page or an online profile of some sort these days to represent them selves in the virtual world, as it acts like a digital business card. Writers should definitely keep a blog and have some sort of cross feed to notify their readers of new posts.

For me the Internet is a way of making my ideas accessible. Unlike most other authors I am not precious about my ideas as I have so many of them and they all feed into each other. I need to get them out pretty much as soon as possible in order to make room for new ones otherwise they are backing up like crazy causing a massive bottle neck in the creative process.

I Am Joy Festival, Chichester, 2008

Tuck Magazine: I found what you are doing on SoundCoud to be uplifting and socially conscious in a beautiful and artistic way. You are donating a significant portion of the money earned through the sale of your spoken word tracks. Do you feel part of the answer to many social ills could be found if there was more work being done between those within the arts community and social causes or does this risk polluting the free thinking of art with political bias?

Cat Catalyst: No I don’t think it pollutes the world of free thinking art with a political bias, because there are so many deserving causes out there that require our attention, such as homelessness, deforestation, the protection of children, animal rescue, refugee displacement, family mediation, women’s refuge, etc., and I think that if by association my work can raise awareness to any one of the underlying reasons for why they have become a problem in our society then it can only be a good thing. Addressing the causes rather than the symptoms equals prevention rather than cure. Although I feel any sort of awareness is better than no awareness.

Also, when I used to organise ‘Catalyst’ events they would usually be fund-raisers for various causes or charities or had various themes like the use of ‘recycled materials’ in the exhibits, or ‘Unity in the Community’, bringing groups of people together in urban environments. I have never really been motivated by personal gain, money was never my primary concern, call me a dreamer but for me ‘Love’ is by far more valuable, and by far the most important quality to embody, embrace and understand more deeply. Actually it’s the only key to personal freedom in a society where the minority inhibits, limits and controls the majority.

In the English language there is only one word for ‘Love’ when in fact love has many different faces and forms. In India there are seven different words to describe Love and still that is not descriptive enough. I think perhaps that only having one word in the English language for Love gives the illusion that perhaps it is simple or easy, or that perhaps it is ‘old hat’ or ‘hippy dippy’, when in fact it is one of the most evolved and elevated concepts of behaviour that one can embody in waking Life. And once this concept is embraced and understood, it then becomes the road less traveled and one of the most challenging paths in life to walk, for keeping the heart open in the face of adversity is one of the hardest challenges to champion and overcome.

“…For to evolve through Love,

Is the greatest spiritual teaching on Earth,

From personal, through transpersonal,

To unconditional and Universal,

A conscious choice everyday,

There really is only ‘One’ way forwards,

Everything else,

Is resistance.’

Excerpt from: Holiness of the Heart (2010) 

Harvest Festival 2010

Read the original interview in Tuck Magazine

iVend

‘iVend’ is about the normalisation of art and the accessibility of ideas such as social unity, environmental awareness, spiritual enlightenment and emotional evolution, and that it should be as normal and as effortless as being able to buy a bar of chocolate, a packet of crisps or a can of coke. So by replacing commercial snacks and beverages with a range of Poetry CDs, DVDs and books, the vending experience may provide intellectual food in the form of inspirational ideas for the mind and a visual feast for the eye, thus defying the traditional museological experience, for here the vending-machine becomes its own self-contained gallery, independent of an exhibition space for exposure or accessibility, where the act of buying the art and poetry becomes part of the piece itself.

The iVend installation contained copies of a book of poetry especially designed for the installation with an audio CD of spoken word (containing 15 tracks), a DVD of five visual poetry videos and a selection of individually wrapped poems, in handmade envelopes made from recycled cotton rag, sealed with sealing wax. All content featured my own original material.

The installation was open from 14th May until 17th June 2012 in The Foyer, Central House, 59-63 Whitechapel High Street, London, E1 7PF.

Previous art/poetry site specific projects in public spaces include work featured on The EDF London Eye, The London Underground and The Tate Britain.

Brief History of Vending Machines 

The earliest recorded coin-op vending machine was invented by Hero of Alexandria an ancient Greek mathematician and engineer who was active in his native city of Alexandria, Roman Egypt. It dispensed hot sacrificial water in a Greek temple for five drachmas through a slot on the top of a machine that resembled a Greek urn. When the coin was deposited, it fell upon a pan attached to a lever. The lever opened up a valve which let some water flow out. The pan continued to tilt with the weight of the coin until it fell off, at which point a counter-weight would snap the lever back up and turn off the valve.

Although the idea of ‘coined consumerism’ did not catch on for another 1,700 years, people are now completely familiar with the use of vending machines as they are firmly embedded into the fabric of the community upon their introduction into the UK at the beginning of the 17th century. These early devices in England were for the sale of tobacco and snuff until in 1851 beverage-selling devices were demonstrated at the Great Exhibition in London. Vending was first introduced properly in England in the 1880‘s, selling postcards with scenic views of London.

In 1897, the Pulver Manufacturing Company added animated figures to its gum machines as an added attraction.

Inspired by the invention of the post card vending machine, Richard Carlisle, an English publisher and bookshop owner decided to vend books from his own shop. As a result  Carlisle invented the first book vending machine which held six books at a time. The concept of the book vending machine has since transformed into the invention of newspaper vending machines and magazine vending machines.

The first patents for vending machines were granted in the United States in 1886, and in 1887 the first commercial firm for the sale of goods by vending machines was established in Great Britain.

In 1888, the Thomas Adams Gum Company introduced the very first vending machines to the United States. The machines were installed on the elevated subway platforms in New York City and sold Tutti-Fruiti gum.

The round candy coated gumball and gumball vending machines were introduced in 1907. Soft drink and nickel-candy machines followed in the 1920s and 30s.

In Philadelphia, a completely coin-operated restaurant called Horn & Hardart was opened in 1902 (and stayed opened until 1962).

Vending machines like this  Nestle chocolate bar machine (left) were situated in busy foot traffic locations such as railway stations, bus stops and dairies and were operated by the “column and drawer” principle. The chocolate bars were stacked one above the other inside the machine. A glass window on the front allowed the customer to see the amount of stock left. A coin inserted in the top of the machine activated the mechanics until the purchaser could open the drawer at the bottom and remove the chocolate bar. Closing the drawer re-locked the system.

English companies such as the Postcard Automatic Supply Company and the Sweetmeat Automatic Delivery Company, developed some of the earliest machines dedicated to the supply of a particular brand. Cadbury and Nestle were well-known names on chocolate dispensers.

Vending machines were chiefly restricted to selling penny gum and candy until 1926 with the invention of a cigarette-vending machine by American, William Rowe.

Sir Allen Lane with his Penguincubator

Shortly after in 1937, inspired by cigarette vending machines the inventor of Penguin Books Sir Allen Lane invented a machine called the Penguincubator a vending machine for his paperbacks in keeping with his pledge to offer classic literature at affordable prices, costing just sixpence, the same price as a packet of cigarettes and was situated at Charing Cross station.

As conflict in Europe drew closer, Penguin Specials such as ‘What Hitler Wants’ achieved record-breaking sales. One of the bestselling titles during the war was ‘Aircraft Recognition’, used by both civilians and the fighting forces to recognize enemy planes. Penguin also started an Armed Forces Book Club, bringing entertainment and comfort to soldiers cut off from friends and family. ‘A Penguin could fit into a soldier’s pocket or his kit bag … It was especially prized in prison camps’ Martin Bell.

Also in 1937 an important vending milestone was the introduction of the soft-drink machine of the Coca-Cola Company. In coordination with Vendo Company of Missouri, Coca-Cola could vend their drinks in a coin operated cooler. Another company called Vendorlator Manufacturing Company of Fresno California made a series of classic vending machines during the 40s and 50s that mostly sold coca-cola and pepsi. Famous Vendorlators included the VMC 27 and the VMC 33. By 1950, around 400,000 automatic Coca-Cola machineswere in use. Vendo and Vendorlator merged in 1956. Bottle vending machines were supplanted by can-dispensing machines by the early 1960s because cans didn’t break and cooled faster.

In the USSR, series production of vending machines was begun in 1956 and by the 1960‘s vending machines were a successful phenomenon worldwide, not just for cigarettes, newspapers, coca cola, snacks and candy but for anything one could fit into a machine.

Today ambient vending machines (non-refrigerated) have moved up into state of the art gadgetry and are common place in Japan and America with peak usage in airports selling high quality merchandise such as iPods, iPhones, digital cameras, Nintendo DSi, USB sticks, chargers, headphones and other electrical goods, although in the UK machines are still mostly only refrigerated for the purpose of vending snacks and beverages due to the antisocial youth culture problem of vandalisation.

Brief History of Vending Machine Art

Vending machine art started with and was made popular by the Fluxus movement. Fluxus, a name taken from a Latin word meaning ‘to flow’, was an international network of artists, composers and designers noted for blending different artistic media and disciplines in the 1960s, sometimes described as intermedia. They were the first to recognize the creative potential within vending machines. Fluxus artists took up the task of re-embedding art within everyday life, picking up where Dada and Russian Constructivist artists left off after World War I.

In 1963 Fluxus artist Robert Watts used a stamp vending machine to vend “Fluxpost” stamps and in 1966,

“I would like to see the sky machine on every corner instead of the Coke machine. We need more skies than Coke.” – Yoko Ono, 1966.

Yoko Ono created ‘Sky Machine’, a vending machine that sold “pieces of sky.”

Other Fluxus artists also used vending machines in their artwork, ‘blurring the line between art and the selling of the art’. The act of buying the art became part of the piece itself, echoing my own intention.

Robert Piser‘s The Daily Palette which involved a series of newspaper vending machines in the San Francisco Bay Area which were filled with weekly silk-screened art editions that sold for 25 cents, or, as Piser put it, “Significant art works at popular prices.” This was significantly different from the Fluxus artists as The Fluxus artists vended work by single artists inside a gallery. For Piser, the vending machine sold work by a variety of artists on street corners, locations that are not typically associated with art. According to Piser: “I was a young art student and was frustrated with the straight / closed gallery scene in the bay area and was just looking for a way to show my work and it was a cool way to do it. I was part of the bay area underground music and art scene of the late 70’s and 80’s. The Ant Farm, Survival Research Laboratories, Flipper, Dead Kennedy’s, Cramps, etc. I taught lithography and silkscreen printing at Berkeley and was part of a group of alternative printers and artists who were involved with the “mail art” movement. (The Mac and email weren’t designed yet). The machines were $55 and I had 8 of them at one time. The cost of the operation wasn’t close to the money I got back at 25 cents a piece, but a quarter seemed like the best price someone would actually let go of at the time, besides, it wasn’t the point really. It was the cheapest gallery in the world. People liked the concept and I showed all kinds of people’s work , (too many), and people mostly stole more than they paid for. The UC Berkeley police actually confiscated some machines as they said they were on university property and I had to bail out the machines and I had a show accordingly at UC Berkeley art museum. Too many stories… I ran it for about 6 years and got tired of it. …”

Blumenautomat Gallery

The Blumenautomat Gallery was curated by Georg Glueckman and Suwan Laimanee and operated from 1987 to 1992 in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district. Glueckman and Laimanee repurposed a retired flower vending machine and used it to vend small sculptures: Glueckman and Laimanee had operated more traditional art galleries before, but discovered that this left them with no time to create their own art. With the Blumenautomat Gallery, they had “the only European gallery open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

Hayvend Laboratories

Operating out of London, Hayvend Laboratories has been selling “affordable, desirable and collectible” artworks since 1995, which makes it one of the longest running art vending projects we know of. Currently run by John Hayward and Bee Kreskin. John Hayward is following in the footsteps of his grandfather, a vending pioneer. John’t grandfather recognized a need. People still needed hay for their horses at night, or on holidays, when the hay sellers were closed. He set up a hay vending method that used an “honesty box” so people could get hay whenever they needed it. The current John Hayward has found a way for people to get art when the galleries are closed: by selling it from shiny yellow vending machines: Hayvend machines can be found in many areas throughout London and in the UK. According to their website: ”All the artworks are affordable, as well as desirable and collectable, making the Hayvend experience last long after the coins drop and the draw opens. John believes that art can be ubiquitous, for everyone to enjoy.”

Art*o*Mat®


Art*o*Mat ® was started by Clark Whittington in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA in 1997. It’s arguably the most polished, professional. longest running and most successful art vending machine in the US. It’s birthplace is significant, since Winston-Salem is also the birthplace of the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. It’s really a city that was built on tobacco smoke… and lung cancer. Bans on selling cigarettes to minors have made many cigarette machines in the USA obsolete. Fortunately, Clark has found a new use for these old machines.

Art*o*Mat ® rehabilitates cigarette vending machines, and the machines are works of art unto themselves. They completely redecorate and refurbish the old machines, making them fresh and new while still honoring the historical context of the period the machine was created in. Check out their gallery! Currently they have 82 machines around the US other countries. Better still, they give artists a generous 50% cut of the sale.

What is an Art-o-mat? Art-o-mat machines are retired cigarette vending machines that have been converted to vend art. There are over 90 active machines in various locations throughout the country.

What do you get from an Art-o-mat? The experience of pulling the knob alone is quite a thrill, but you also walk away with an original work of art. What an easy way to become an art collector.

Want to be an Artomat artist? There are around 400 contributing artists from 10 different countries currently involved in the Art*o*mat project. We are always searching for fresh work. http:www.artomat.org/

Distroboto Distroboto

Distroboto Distroboto, started in 2001, by Louis Rastelli in Montreal. Distroboto also uses cigarette vending machines. In fact, Rastelli got the idea in 1999 when, on a trip to North Carolina, he encountered an Art*o*Mat ®. Remarkably, Distroboto vends for $2 and gives the artist a $1.75 cut! Unfortunately, (for those of us living outside of Montreal) Distroboto is run by Archive Montreal:
“Archive Montreal is a non-profit organization founded in 1998 by local writers, artists and publishers. Its mandate is assisting in the promotion, distribution and preservation of local independent culture.Archive Montreal appears to be totally focused on Montreal. You can only get Distroboto from vending machines in Montreal.”

Gumball Poetry

Gumball Poetry was published by Laura Moulton and Ben Parzybok from 1998 to 2006 in Portland, Oregon. Like Callithump!, they used 2″ capsule toy vending machines to sell poetry and other contents. Smartly, their main focus was poetry, printed in black & white on plain paper. This would lower costs and reduce production time over the elaborate way we do it! They even included an actual gumball in the capsule, so even if you didn’t like the poem, you still got your money’s worth. Gumball Poetry had a good run of it, with 19 machines throughout 8 states in the Pacific Northwest. Happily for them, but unfortunate for the rest of us, Laura and Ben have moved on to other creative endeavors (like having children and writing books).

Gumball Poetry was published by Laura Moulton and Ben Parzybok from 1998 to 2006 in Portland, Oregon. Like Callithump!, they used 2″ capsule toy vending machines to sell poetry and other contents. Smartly, their main focus was poetry, printed in black & white on plain paper. This would lower costs and reduce production time over the elaborate way we do it! They even included an actual gumball in the capsule, so even if you didn’t like the poem, you still got your money’s worth. Gumball Poetry had a good run of it, with 19 machines throughout 8 states in the Pacific Northwest. Happily for them, but unfortunate for the rest of us, Laura and Ben have moved on to other creative endeavors (like having children and writing books).

Travelman

In 2001 the 4th Earl of Iveagh, Aurthur Edward Rory Guiness, heir to the Guinness fortune, formed a business alliance with writer and broadcaster Alexander Waugh, grandson of novelist Evelyn Waugh, to put literature dispensing machines alongside the chocolate on a variety of UK station platforms. One was successfully installed at South Kensington tube station.

Travelman was created as the result of a conversation with master short story writer William Trevor. ‘The thing about short stories, Waugh and Trevor agreed, is that although they are written to stand alone, in practice they very seldom do. The reader must approach them through the medium of a collection or anthology, where there is a danger of what Trevor calls ‘cancellation’ – one story nullifying the effect of the next.’

And so the idea of the Travelman Short Story was born – a library of individual, unabridged short stories, printed on a single broadsheet which concertinas neatly in pocket size. The concept in some ways looks back to the hugely successful two-penny short stories that Rudyard Kipling used to sell on the Indian railways in the early 1900’s. The Travelman logo is a distinctive pre-war illustration by George Marrow of a man in a tailcoat carrying a stack of books.