Allan Blackwell: Welcome to your 20 minute podcast with David Brower, where we do our best to give you useful information in 20 minutes or less. Now, here’s your host, five time voice arts awards nominee David Brower.
David Brower: Thanks Allan, this is David Brower with your 20 minute podcast. Our special guest today is Catherine Auman from Southern California. She’s a licensed therapist with advanced training in both traditional and transpersonal psychology with 30 years of successful professional experience helping thousands of clients.
What she likes to do is work with you on your personal healing and spiritual advancement. I like that. Catherine, welcome to the show.
Catherine Auman: Thanks, David. It’s lovely to be here.
David Brower: Spiritual advancement. I’m sure that probably is defined 20 hundred different ways by 20 hundred different people. Is that a fair statement?
Catherine Auman: I would say so, probably each person has their own definition.
David Brower: How do you work with people to come up with a meaningful definition that will help them?
Catherine Auman: I think that once a person has mastered basic living skills like being able to hold down a job and have friendships and so forth and basically have a good value system, which is actually for a lot of my clients, that’s a goal for them.
Once someone is able to do that, then we wanna look at what else is possible for a human being. I think then we want to get into more issues of meaning and value and what’s life all about.
I think for a lot of us it kind of boils down to something that the Dalai Lama said which was his religion is kindness. I think we wanna get into expanding our capacity to be compassionate for all kinds of people, all kinds of ways of life, openness to other people’s viewpoints. I think that’s expanding into spiritual understanding.
David Brower: I couldn’t agree more and talk about something that’s needed more and more every day, it seems. I mean you can’t ignore that, yet people do ignore how important it is to have a value system, to have accountability, to have friends, to have an open heart for other people. It’s not easy for some people.
Catherine Auman: Some people are still trying to wrap up how to make their own life work. We can understand that.
David Brower: Sure, you bet.
Catherine Auman: That can be difficult depending on what kind of childhood we came from or what kind of economic situation. We certainly wanna support people but then I think it’s expanding our own hearts, working on our own self to be able to love everyone.
David Brower: That’s where you come in. You have the life skills as well as the experience, the training, all those kinds of things to be able to recognize the possibilities in other people, right?
Catherine Auman: I had to work on myself very hard.
David Brower: Sure, sure.
Catherine Auman: I think that can be, I’m sure a lot of your listeners have too, I think that can be a good quality for a therapist sometimes is that we had to do our own work. I came from a difficult childhood and worked my way out of that and then as I go along, I notice more and more opportunities for me to expand my own heart and I work on those as I’m sure you and a lot of your listeners do.
David Brower: You bet. When you do that, that opens you up to help other people with what you’ve just learned, right?
Catherine Auman: Yeah, we can help other people and we can also just help other people just standing in line at Starbucks by smiling and saying good morning instead of being grumpy and critical of everyone around us.
David Brower: Yeah.
Catherine Auman: We can just extend a feeling of acceptance and warmth.
David Brower: Even to homeless people, especially homeless people in my mind because they seem to be such an ignored part of our community but so many of them that I run into anyway, they just appreciate a hello. Just being recognized as a human being rather than whatever other people think about them.
Catherine Auman: That is so true, David. I know when I was working with the mentally ill, which a lot of the homeless people are as you know, they rarely even get the courtesy of being treated like a human being.
David Brower: Yeah.
Catherine Auman: Which is kind of awful and it’s partly because we’re afraid of them and we’re afraid of mental illness but if we can just open up our hearts and realize we’re all in this together and this human being requires the courtesy of a hello and a nod. It can go so far.
David Brower: Absolutely. What’s cool about it is whether you realize it or not, when you do that, it makes you feel good.
Catherine Auman: That’s the secret then, isn’t it, right? That’s the secret selfishness.
David Brower: Yeah, that’s right. That’s the secret sauce. You help people with personal healing, spiritual advancement, you’ve got a book out called “Shortcuts to Mindfulness”. Mindfulness is certainly a buzzword that’s all over everywhere these days from mindful eating to mindful talking to mindful praying.
Tell us a little bit about your approach to mindfulness and your book. It looks like it’s been very well received.
Catherine Auman: Thank you. My book actually “Shortcuts to Mindfulness” is very easy to read. You don’t have to actually sit down to commit to read a whole book which a lot of us don’t have the attention span for anymore. I wrote it in little bites that you can just read while you’re waiting for someone to text you back or while you’re waiting for the bus to get a little insight.
What I mean by mindfulness is paying attention to what’s going on right now. We’re usually so busy thinking about don’t forget what I need to get at the store and that bugged me so much what that person said to me yesterday, and we’ve got very busy, exciting lives, most of us.
If we can just stop, be in this present moment, experience my own breathing, experience my own physical body sitting here against the chair, the warm air and so forth, real happiness is right here in this present moment no matter what else is going on.
David Brower: It only takes a minute or too.
Catherine Auman: It only takes a minute, can sometimes be even less than a minute. Remembering it is another thing. That’s why Buddhists and so forth practice for years trying to remember. But for those of us who can just remind each other to take a moment of mindfulness, it can really change the quality of our lives.
David Brower: For those of us who live and die by our calendar, it wouldn’t be bad just to schedule mindfulness in your calendar.
Catherine Auman: Yeah, I’ve got to be mindful next hour sometime. 4:15 today.
David Brower: That’s right. 4:15 today, oh damn it, it’s 4:16. Well, I’ll have to wait until tomorrow.
Catherine Auman: Actually, any prompt can help. I hope my book can help people to just come into a mindful moment and experience how good life is right now, no matter what else is going on.
David Brower: If you go to Catherine’s website, it’s catherineauman.com, you’ll see a trailer about her books, some testimonials around there, you’ll be able to see and hear Catherine talk about spirituality and different things of that nature and join her mailing list.
I already joined your mailing list. I’m fascinated by what you do and how you do it.
Catherine Auman: Oh, great, thanks.
David Brower: I’m looking forward to getting more of that information and you’ve got a lot of books out in addition to short cuts to mindfulness, right?
Catherine Auman: My most recent book is called “Tantric Dating” and everyone immediately becomes alarmed that I’m talking about having sex with everyone and that has nothing to do with sex whatsoever. I think that word tantra has kind of been absconded by people who advertise in the back pages of magazines.
But tantra is actually a philosophy that everything is sacred, even sex, but it’s everything is sacred. I, through my own experiences of trying to date again later in life, went back to some spiritual principles of what if we dated with the fact that everyone’s all right, I’m gonna enjoy meeting you even if you’re not my life partner, and date from that perspective versus the conventional dating method which is swipe left, swipe left, swipe left if you don’t look like a movie star.
David Brower: Right, exactly right. That’s a wonderful- Before we got married, my wife did that and I did that as well as far as trying to meet people and accept them for who they are and hopefully, if nothing else, have a conversation. If nothing else, have somebody to go on a hike with. If nothing else, thank you, have a nice day.
Catherine Auman: I love that and I think that loving perspective, one thing I teach in this book and in the workshops I’m doing is that I think that’s one reason you and your wife were able to meet each other because you were treating other people lovingly.
David Brower: Yeah.
Catherine Auman: You were dating in a loving way, maybe I’m not gonna marry you but let’s go for a hike. Maybe I’m not gonna marry you, but what’s interesting about you? Let’s just share some quality time together.
David Brower: Exactly.
Catherine Auman: I think that you both were practicing being loving people and that’s why you could attract each other. What I see from a lot of people I counsel and who come to my workshop is that the conventional dating process online or dating advice teaches us to go into a date with a shopping list of all the characteristics I’m looking for and if you’re not that, swipe left and get out of that date as fast as possible.
David Brower: Right.
Catherine Auman: You miss the opportunity to have a lovely experience, meet a new person, learn something. By dating that way, we become less loving people. We become further and further away from being able to meet another loving person.
David Brower: Well said. In fact, my wife and I have talked about that many times that in some degree, at some levels, we’re 180 degrees apart but what’s the same is our heart is exactly the same.
Catherine Auman: Beautiful.
David Brower: That’s just a gift. I don’t know what to tell you. Pretty cool stuff. I look up blessed in the dictionary and there’s our picture, that’s how I know.
Catherine Auman: Oh, I love that!
David Brower: Tell us about, you’re in Southern California. Do you travel around and do workshops? Do you do workshops just in the Southern California area? How does that work?
Catherine Auman: I am actually just starting a West Coast tour. I was up in Seattle and that was quite well received. We’re going to Portland in March. If you invite me out there, when it’s not freezing, I may show up.
David Brower: There you go.
Catherine Auman: But I’m not sure I’m gonna come, David, while it’s 14 degrees.
David Brower: I would not either. That’s well said. There’s a lot of stuff available on your website for folks just to get a taste, if you will, of the kind of stuff that you offer. I really like this line on your website. It says, “uniquely qualified to serve your psychological and spiritual needs.”
That not only comes from your training but from your life experience, right?
Catherine Auman: Exactly. My graduate work in psychology was done at a special school for transpersonal psychology which means in addition to conventional, western psychology, which comes out of Freud and Jung and all these people, we also take into equal consideration alternative psychology such as from the east, from native people, from some of the experiments that were going on when psychedelic drugs were legal.
There was some interesting research being done into the possibilities of that type of healing. Of course, that’s not legal now.
David Brower: Right.
Catherine Auman: The mystical traditions, religious experience, and so forth. We studied all of those things as being equally important to western psychology. It’s not either/or. We saw that there are many ways of healing and we took them all into consideration.
David Brower: Wow.
Catherine Auman: For myself, that was the perfect school for me because I wanted to be a licensed therapist. I didn’t wanna be out of the mainstream. But I also had always been asking these major questions since I was a child, which is daddy, what are we doing here? What happens when we die? What’s really important in life?
I had always been that curious child, so following my own spiritual interests and combining it with psychology was the perfect fit.
David Brower: Fascinating. Those are questions that we all ask ourselves at one time or another in our life, right?
Catherine Auman: I hope we do. I think we’re often encouraged to not ask them but just sort of be hypnotized by entertainment.
David Brower: True.
Catherine Auman: I think it’s okay if people wanna take some time and think about these things. I know sometimes people wanna think about them and everyone around them is going don’t be depressing.
David Brower: ‘Cause they don’t know what they don’t know, so they’d rather shut you down than give you a chance.
Catherine Auman: Exactly. But these are the questions that people have asked, it seems to me, since the beginning of time.
David Brower: Agreed.
Catherine Auman: I think go ahead and ask and explore. I also just wanted to mention that I have my YouTube channel which you can get to through my website where I’m putting up lots of videos where you can find something maybe that helps you for free. If there’s anything there, just go ahead and check that out.
David Brower: Nice, nice. How do we get to that?
Catherine Auman: You just go to YouTube and just search for my name.
David Brower: Okay.
Catherine Auman: Which is Catherine spelled with a C and Auman is A-U-M-A-N. I have, I think, currently about 60 videos. I learned how to make videos watching YouTube videos.
David Brower: That’s the way to do it, right?
Catherine Auman: Yeah, there’s a lot of great information on there, people just sharing, sharing, sharing. I think it’s actually quite spiritual how people are just giving, giving, giving.
David Brower: And there’s so many of them and I like the way you say that because giving and sharing should be a big deal in everybody’s life. To be able to receive those videos in that manner, touch one person and you’ve hit a home run.
Catherine Auman: That’s what my boyfriend is always saying. When I was first starting giving my workshops, maybe three people would show up and I’d be disappointed and he’d go, “Catherine, if you help one person, it was worth it.”
David Brower: Right.
Catherine Auman: I think that’s a beautiful motto.
David Brower: Yeah, agreed. That should be part of your mission statement.
Catherine Auman: I love that. That’s great.
David Brower: That’s cool.
Catherine Auman: I was just gonna say you’re certainly helping launch more than one person yourself. Thanks for your work.
David Brower: Thank you, I appreciate that. I’m a voice actor by profession. I’ve been interested in podcasts for a long time as far as doing one but I didn’t wanna do one on voice acting ’cause there’s so many out there that do that and they do a great job.
I thought what can I do to maybe reach some other people in curious ways and not unlike the three questions that you asked and do it in kind of a pay it forward mode. I focus on marketing, business, management, relationships, self-improvement and I interview experts on those various topics.
That’s why yours is such a great fit because it’s not just western work, it’s everything and I think the more we can expose ourselves to everything in the world, the better off we’re gonna be.
Catherine Auman: I think that’s really the message of this fascinating time we live in with the internet and so forth is we get exposed to many things we didn’t as a child and we can synthesize the best of all that human beings have put together so far.
David Brower: Absolutely. If you can just take a nugget, from here or there or whatever and you listen to a 15 minute speech or discussion and you go, that 15 seconds was cool and file those little nuggets away, all of the sudden, you have a whole bag of new tricks that you can pay attention to as you move through life.
Catherine Auman: Absolutely and I think that’s where wisdom comes from.
David Brower: There you go.
Catherine Auman: Putting all those things together and working on ourselves to become better people. Unfortunately, sometimes suffering and difficulty makes us better people.
David Brower: True.
Catherine Auman: It seems to work that way. Going through all that, then we can become a wiser person and then start, as you said, paying it forward, start giving that back. I think the world right now is, especially older people, we wanted to stay youthful which is a good thing.
I have nothing against that, but I think part of what’s been missing is the desire to take it upon ourselves to say, I’m in an older role now, I wanna give back and help younger people.
David Brower: Absolutely right.
Catherine Auman: I think people such as yourself are coming forward and say the world’s kind of a mess. I wanna help in my own little way. If I help one person, I just wanna help. Entertainment is fine, playing golf is fine, but is that the purpose of my life? Or is the purpose of my life now to give something back?
David Brower: Absolutely. Here’s a really easy one. I’m gonna venture a guess that every school district on the planet has a reading day for their students, a volunteer reading day. I know ’cause I’ve done a few myself.
You check in with the school district, you say do you have one of these? Yeah. Well, grade second through fourth or what do you have? You find out and they give you the book and you go in and you read a book to these kids in this class and you walk out a changed person and hopefully they are as well.
Catherine Auman: Wow.
David Brower: It’s so simple.
Catherine Auman: I haven’t heard of that. That’s fantastic.
David Brower: Yeah, so simple. This stuff doesn’t have to be complicated. If people wanna get in touch with you and learn more about personal growth, spiritual advancement, those kinds of things, how do they do that?
Catherine Auman: Please check me out on Facebook, my YouTube channel. You can send me an email. I’d love to hear from you if you have any questions. My website. Let’s just stay in touch.
David Brower: Absolutely. It’s Catherine, that’s catherineauman.com. She’s got lots of books. Her blog is there, YouTube, all kinds of free things that hopefully give you a little bit of an epiphany and congratulations on all the work you’re doing. It’s cool stuff. Just a real treat for me to talk to you today.
Catherine Auman: Thank you so much. It’s a treat for me to talk to you as well, David.
Allan Blackwell: Listen to your 20 minute podcast with David Brower on the go. Downloads are available on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, iTunes, I Heart Radio, Spotify, any podcast app and on our website at davidbrowervo.com/your20minutepodcast. Until next time, thank you for listening.