Tell us about Unlightenment, A guide to Higher Consciousness for Everyday People. Who is this book for?
It’s meant to be a reminder to laugh, lighten up, and not take ourselves so seriously while we’re in the midst of misery. I’m the kind of person who can twist something as beautiful as a Namaste greeting into negativity, so it helps when I can see how silly that is and move on to the task at hand.
What’s your definition of mindfulness? What is the first step to becoming mindful in your day-to-day life?
Mindfulness is simply living in the moment and being aware of my thoughts, feelings, and surroundings. It can be as simple as taking a breath, looking around and noticing where I am instead of thinking about where I’m going.
My first step to becoming mindful is to realize that I’m not being mindful — which is pretty much all the time. Then I try to forgive myself for being human, take a deep breath, and marvel at what’s around me.
What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
I’d be woken up from a restful sleep by the light of the sun and cuddles from my family. Then I’d head out for a brisk walk to meet a good friend at a local coffee shop for a dry cappuccino. We’d go walking by the water, unloading our woes and delighting in our joys.
That would be followed by studio time. A studio that I did not share. A studio that had its own washroom and a comfy sofa with cushions and a blanket. There’d be a sitting and standing desk, a computer table and a drawing table. Oh, and it would have big windows that looked out into an urban forest. A quiet studio, just for me. (FYI: I have no such studio, but you asked for my perfect day, and in my perfect day, I’d have this studio!)
I’d spend two or three hours working. Mostly writing, drawing and developing interesting projects. I’d go for lunch by myself, think my thoughts and write in my journal. I’d return to my studio for another two or three hours, or maybe I’d go somewhere fun for inspiration; a gallery, a movie, or maybe a meeting with a Hollywood executive to sign a contract for a feature film based on my cartoons. Starring Jennifer Aniston. (Again, you said perfect!)
After work, I’d buy groceries and head back to my already clean home to prepare dinner for my family — a dinner we would eat together at the dining room table. I would cook, but someone else would set the table and wash the dishes. The meal would be nutritious and greatly appreciated. After dinner, my family and I would stroll to our local ice cream shop, stopping to chat with our many friendly neighbours.
After our walk, the kids would play in the front yard with their friends while my husband and I sat on the porch proclaiming our love for one another.
If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
I’d love to fly. Soar through the air like a bird, wind in my hair. Not a care in the world. But if you need me to remain in the realm of possibility, I’d like to be able to forgive easily. To walk through life without the burden of big resentments, or even the smaller ones reserved for strangers who cut me off.
What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
Finding the humour. I used to be so serious, which was exhausting. When I found the humour — or maybe the humour found me — things changed drastically. My load lightened and everything wasn’t as big a deal anymore.
Who did you want to be when you were a child?
Anyone but me. Being a child was very hard for me, especially the lack of autonomy. I wanted to grow up fast and be an independent woman who got to do whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted. I’m 50 years old… I’m still waiting for that time.
What are some of the choices you’ve made that made you who you are?
When I first started drawing cartoons, I was told by a teacher that my cartoons were not art and that they didn’t deserve to be among the featured paintings and sculptures on display for the final art show of the year. Normally, I would become despondent and defensive after such an aggressive criticism. That time though, I decided I had no use for their opinion, walked away without comment and immediately went to another teacher who helped me find a spot to display my cartoons in the show. So began my career as a cartoonist with a thicker skin. It’s a quality that’s come in handy in the past 18 years because not everyone loves what I do — and that’s okay.
Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
There’s this book. It’s a hard-covered, coffee table book filled with cartoons and musings. It’s called Enough. One reason I haven’t done it yet is because I let my day-to-day life take precedence. Also, my inner critic tells me that I’m not good enough to write it. However, I’m currently negotiating a different role for my inner critic. There’s a lot she could do around the house instead of worrying about me — the curtains need hemming and the floor can always use a good mopping. She could take those things on and leave me to focus on my book!
What is your no-fail go-to when you need inspiration or to get out of a creative rut?
If you could invite anyone in the world to dinner, who would it be?
I’d do some research to find out who the most powerful healer in the world is. The kind of healer who instinctively knows where a person’s blocks are and can heal them without the person needing to do any inner work. We would go out for waffles topped with fresh fruit, whipped cream and melted chocolate, followed by a thorough healing.
A book or a film that transformed your life?
The Power of Focusing, A Practical Guide to Emotional Self-Healing by Ann Weiser Cornell, Ph.D.
In moments of self-doubt of adversity, how do you build yourself back up?
I turn to someone I trust to spill my guts, have a good cry, followed by a good laugh. Afterwards, I find I don’t need to be built up, I’m already up!
What does the world need more of? Less of?
Visit Cathy’s website for more wonderful cartoons.