Cate Hollister, 55, at her home

Katie recommended Cate to me. In our initial correspondence, Cate warned me about the plastic cows, but I had forgotten that tidbit, so they came as a surprise when I saw them along her driveway. She was walking her four dogs when I arrived, which was just perfect because I brought my dog along. So, the first thing we did was take a walk to let the dogs acclimate to one another. And that set the tone for what would be a few hours of learning about each other. Cate made some cacao and we chatted and shared experiences and thoughts. She was up for it wholeheartedly. And I was up for it wholeheartedly. And when two people are equally up for it, a really beautiful energy settles. I got the sense that Cate is pretty much up for it, whatever that is, all of the time. 

Who are you and how would you describe yourself?

I'm a lot of things that are indescribable (laughs). Well, my name of origin is Cate Hollister. I am from a long line of pioneers. Ha! To say the very least. And grew up on ranches and open space, natural living, organic, before it was organic or even that word existed. And we were totally sustainable on these ranches. And I grew up a really wild and free life. A lot of brothers, a lot of wild - a lot of wild (laughs). And I kind of came into this world with very few parameters, very few boundaries. Though, I did have a mother who had some pretty tight boundaries that I couldn't really respond to. But, for the most part, my life was a really wild and free life and I was free to do whatever I wanted to do. And lots of animals, lots of connection to nature; nature was the foundation for everything. Nature was the elixir, you know, of life. So I am a wild being in that sense. I like to know the rules so I can break them (laughs). In a way that works for everybody. 

But, anyway, who have I become since then? I'm a mystic, of sorts. I believe in a higher source and I respond to that. I flow with that. I believe life is about finding the wave and riding it. You know? And sometimes that wave takes you and it just pummels you and there's two or three sets behind that that you come up for air and it pummels you again. And I've learned to just relax when that wave pummels me because when I relax it lets go and I'm allowed to come up and breathe. But if I fight it and I struggle, then it holds me down longer. Yeah, so that's my perspective on life - is how to stay on the wave, how to stay with the flow. And create an energy-rich environment in my world all the time. Right? 

So, these dogs that are right here right now are all part of that (laughs) and they love the energy. They love being right here, as you can tell. So much our world is conditioned to be energy-neutral and we're comfortable there. Right? It doesn't ask much of us. It's safe. Quote/unquote safe. And energy-rich really challenges you; it pushes you to your edge. And if you can come out the other side of that, it just brings on more and more richness. I think I live every day and I'm like looking for the magic. You know? Where is the magic? This is the magic, right? And it's so fun when you're aware and conscious of looking for magic because it shows up everywhere. And what's life about but to live that magic? Yeah, I think that's a general idea of where I'm coming from.

 I've also been in my life a really disciplined athlete in every single sport you can imagine. I take sports and I refine, refine, refine - or I did - until there was perfection and until I was deemed worthy and proving myself in every possible way. I did 14 years of rowing crew and that allowed me to continue to prove myself in every way possible until I realized one day that I had done it all and there was no more proving needed. So now, living in Bend, I get to just enjoy these sports and just play. You know, I think playing is my source of energy. So people kind of think, Oh, you get to go to do that or get to go do this. You're so privileged. And it's like, no, it's necessary. Because I believe my interactions in the world - whoever I come in contact with - it is my responsibility as a human being to help them to raise their vibration. 'Cause if we can all raise our vibration together and live in this energy-rich life, then what would the world be? Taking people out of the unconscious of energy-neutral or energy-poor and bringing 'em into a conscious life - that is what we're here to do for each other. And they may not have a paycheck and that may not have a job title, but it's super important. It's probably the most important thing you can do. What you're doing here with these interviews is the most important thing you could do - is connecting to other human beings. Because that is what we all need. You know, we're in this desperate place. Our children are growing up with anxiety, isolation, depression. And that is because of lack of connection. So, how do we connect? And how do we go out and promote connection and make it a part of our lives? If we all did that, we wouldn't be in the situation that we're in. So that's what I'm passionate about.

What matters to you? What motivates you? Where does your spark come from?

My spark is just a part of who I am and I honor it and I recognize it and I feed it. I feed it with a healthy lifestyle. And I make sure to nurture myself so that I can nurture others. Probably some of my biggest topics - number one is how do we show up? Consistently. We all have emotions which are to be embraced. I mean, emotions are the whole reason we're here. And we label those emotions with our human nature, right? We think that anger or frustration or anxiety - it's all bad. We label that as bad, but that's part of the human condition. And if we can drop into those emotions and... I use this acronym, F.O.A.L. F is feel it. Just feel the emotion when you get it. Emotions can only last 60 to 90 seconds. So if we really just drop into them and just feel it, right? And then O is observe it. Kind of observe it from the outside because we're mostly external beings. If we can get out of our body and look at it from the outside, we can observe. And then A is just accept it. Allow it. We're so busy fighting against what we perceive as negative energies. But allow it, right? Integrate it as part of who you are. And then L is just love it. Love yourself. Love the emotion. And again, integrate it because it's part of who we are. So this fear of emotion and, you know, what you resist persists. So, if you allow it, it's allowed to just... you know, it just wants a little attention. 

So I really am interested in emotional intelligence. It's interesting, I grew up in a very academic world. Very academic. And ever since I was young I was like, What about emotional intelligence? Why doesn't anybody value that? 'Cause that's where my jam is - is emotional intelligence. This whole academic thing is important on a level, but if you don't have any emotional intelligence to go with that, then you're out of balance. So, for me, finding the balance is always... that's a part of also another thing that I'm really passionate about is how do we find our balance? And that's by having a really conscious perspective on how you approach the world and how you approach everything. Everything, right, is all about perspective. And if we have an energy-rich perspective on things and that all of this is happening for our benefit, for our learning, for our growing, then it's all awesome. Even if it seems, I mean, I've been through the craziest last three years and I'm like, This is great! My dad dies - I'm trustee of his estate, which I had no idea what I was doing. I went to India with nine students through a gap year program and led them through India for three months and had no idea what I was doing except I knew if I came from my heart, I would know. And that was incredibly challenging and yet incredibly... like the only way to get to the other side with this energy richness is to do the hard stuff. And to benefit as many humans as you can, which can get messy sometimes and then, if you're coming from your heart, everybody rises up out of it. That's again what it is - is how do we rise up and out of it together? Not one over the other. 

And that leads me to the other thing that I'm passionate about right now is this women's movement. Which is awesome, right? We've been in a patriarchal society. The matriarchal has forever been suppressed. Especially those of us who are mystics; we've had lifetimes where we've been tortured and we haven't been able to have our voice or speak. So now there's this whole MeToo movement and women are moving up and it's great. And, I see this at the expense of the masculine. If we would understand that we are a balance of the masculine and the feminine, we can't be stepping on anybody else. We have to rise up together. So I have such a compassion, especially growing up with the masculine and so many boys and men in my life, is how do we rise up together? As human beings. Not as men, not as women, but we're all a balance of the masculine and feminine. How do we get into that balance and rise up together and make a difference in the world? So, that's a big thing in my world right now. I'm really compassionate about men and how men are trying so hard to step out of what was the patriarchal society and they want to support women. And women need to step in and support men. So that we can all just enjoy this world together. And not at the expense of somebody else. 

What do you think we mean to each other? 

You know, connection is probably the most important thing. Without each other, we're isolated, depressed, anxious. We're lost. I started ecstatic dance probably six, eight months ago. It was so interesting because I had all this external freedom and I really exercised that and I never really paid attention to my internal freedom. And ecstatic dance unlocked that in so many ways. I'm serious, if the whole world could do ecstatic dance... let me tell you, I was like, Ecstatic dance? I am NOT doing that! No way. I'm like this athlete... And I'm telling you, this is one of the greatest sports of all time - is ecstatic dance. And it's about connecting with other humans. It's a total breakdown of all the rules we have about not connecting and giving each other space. And it's about just letting all of that drop. Connecting with other humans in a way that's non-judgmental and just about love and connecting. And when we get in that environment, it's amazing what lifts out of that. And how healthy the humans are that do this sport. I've had so many people go in there and they're like, I'm just not in the mood to do this. And they can't help but free their spirit - free their soul. And once you've freed your soul, there's no going backwards. You know? What I've realized, once you have a roadmap to energy-rich - just what I'm calling it right now - once you have a roadmap to really feeling connected to life and to all of us who... we are all one. We just have this polarity where we think we're separate. We think you're sitting there and I'm sitting here and that we aren't connected, but we are one person. Maybe not one person, but one energy, right? And so right now our energy is doing that like infinity thing - connecting. And every time you connect with a human, that's what's happening. I don't fix people anymore and I don't even suggest what might be best for them because I don't know, but I'm telling you ecstatic dance - and I never thought I'd say this - is probably one of the most  important things that we can do to teach us how to get out of our ego, out of our minds, and into our bodies and into our spirit and just conjure magic together. And it's not woo-woo; it's real. It's real and not real. So, essentially, what that has created for me is a roadmap. If I'm in that lower-vibrational state, you know, some kind of lower energy, I allow myself to be there because I have the roadmap out. I just play some music and I start dancing. It's so easy once you have that roadmap out, so you can just be wherever you need to be and accept that and then go, Okay, I'm done with that. 30, 60, 90 seconds, seriously. And then you go turn on the music and you dance around your house and your back up again. 

At first, I couldn't hold the vibration for long. I can hold it and then I go into energy neutral, which was fine. It's fine. You know, everything's fine (laughs). But I wasn't accepting of fine anymore. I had decided, especially when I moved to Bend, that I am only accepting of an extraordinary life. Period. So, every day I know I am here to live an extraordinary life. And I have a roadmap to that. And so, I can just play around in all of these other areas and I'm now holding that vibration because it doesn't take any energy to hold an energy-rich life. Because you're all of the sudden in that flow and the flow just holds itself - it doesn't take any energy. It takes a lot of energy to be energy- neutral or -poor because you're just struggling and you're resisting and it's persisting. So, it's finding what your jam is in life. What inspires you? What do you love? And that's not just a cliché. It is what do you love. Because that is what's gonna give you an energy-rich life. And if you can weave that into your life somehow, you can flow. 

What does community mean to you?

It is a really complex question. I first go to, What does community personally mean to me? And I'm out here on 20 acres and part of me is like, This is a place for community. And how do I weave in community - and maintain my privacy? There's this funny thing. I'm such a community person, but I also really value my privacy. And is that polarity? Hmm. I don't know. I don't know many people that would disagree with that. How do we live in community in a way that's energy rich for everybody? And what that means is everybody needs to be on board with doing their work. If we're all doing our work and doing our best - which, I really do believe we're all doing our best with the capacity that we have, right? There's nobody that's better than anybody else. There's nobody that's more evolved than anybody else. We're all on our own journeys. And we're all right where we should be, I believe. And we are doing our best. And what does that mean for community? It means the more that you do your own work, the more you can affect others. And again, then you can come from a perspective which is more accepting and more connecting of those that may be coming from a different place. 

Community is non-negotiable. We're on this planet to be in community. And I think that with the ego involved, there's this thing about humanity where everybody's striving to be more than somebody else and by putting someone down that somehow raises the other person. Which is not necessarily true. So, how can we live and let live and appreciate each other for the gifts that we each bring to the table? That's community - is everybody contributes. And I think that when we get to a place where everybody realizes their gifts... right now, we really recognize people if they have a monetary support system and they're paid for what they do, then they're valuable. One of the hardest questions for me is, What do you do? It's like, Well, how much time do you have (laughs)?  Because I do a lot, but is it valued by our society? Is it understood? Not necessarily. So when you're in community and if you're only valuing off of one system that we've put in place... it's just like our educational system that teaches to one... it's such a one-dimensional educational system that teaches to only one type of person. Then everything's skewed and everything's out of balance. So I think what community is to me is how do we be in balance together so that we can have a vibrant community? And everybody's in balance, everybody's contributing. I think that's the other thing that's super important in our world is when you're not contributing, you don't feel an investment and then you don't feel valuable and then you move into a place of I don't fit in and then isolation. So we all need to be contributing even though we think that might be hard. It's like, I don't want to contribute because that takes energy. But if you contribute in a way that your soul speaks to it, then you start to vibrate higher and higher. And you're like, I have purpose in this community! And so if we all find a sense of purpose within a community, then it can work. And if we find balance within ourselves, it can work. And I think we're moving towards that. I really do. 

I have a very optimistic outlook for where we're going. You know, it's pretty exciting. And it's intense. And it's okay. It's gonna have to get intense for people to wake up and start contributing in a little bit of a different way that's maybe more true to themselves as opposed to true to others. 

What concerns you about all the individual movements regarding social injustice as opposed to our being generally interested in equality?  

Well, what's interesting is I think by labeling anything, you're creating polarity. And you're creating separation. I really have never been able to tag on to anything trendy. I'm a vegetarian 95% of the time - I don't tell anybody. I just choose not to eat meat. I don't care. I'm a vegan most of the time - I don't tell anybody. It doesn't matter. You're just creating separation every time you label something. And I don't believe in labels. I understand MeToo. I understand Black Lives Matter. I understand We All Matter. And we're all on this planet and there is no separation. We are separating ourselves in this condition that we're in right now. And what I love about our situation right now - and I'm sorry, I have to be optimistic because I don't know any other way to be - because there's gifts in everything all the way down to Trump being president. It doesn't matter whether you believe in him being president or not, what he is doing - and I know the minute he became president, it was completely unbelievable to me and also it was like, Oh, this is life just showing us that this is an F-ing illusion. And if we can buy into that, if we really think this is real, what it's doing and what he's doing, which is so great - he's exactly where he should be and exactly what we need. Right? We couldn't have stood eight more years of status quo. Our world can't wait. So, Trump comes in - Trump can be anybody, whatever - he's the catalyst for raising up all this stuff that's been there. It's always been there. But it's been hidden and we haven't been able to see it. And I credit him for being the catalyst for bringing that stuff up. And now we can see it. And now it's making us squirm. 

I don't believe in privilege - a privileged way of thinking. We all can think however we want. And we all can have our own perspective. That doesn't take money. That doesn't take time. It takes perspective. And if we all could just wake up to us all being human beings on this planet - not even human beings; beings, sentient beings - everything that's alive on this Earth has an equal opportunity. And as humanity, we have a responsibility to taking care of this Earth and taking care of this planet, whatever that means. We're just getting so lost in the details. So lost and distracted in the stuff that doesn't matter. If we focused on the stuff that mattered, which is nature, which is our planet - which holds us and which we're totally disrespecting in general which then cuts our lives shorter and ends humanity, so I don't really understand that - to me, you just take it down to the most simplistic form, which is how do we keep this planet alive and not get distracted by gossip and ego and all that shit that just keeps us separate from connecting. I think connecting is just so painful for some people. You look at this planet and the beauty around you and the beings and the animals and everything and I know that my heart can't handle if anything happens to them. If anything happens to other humans, it's because of our neglect. Because of our short-sightedness and our unconsciousness. 

I'm not quite sure where that question was, but I just know that where we're at right now is because of separation. Is because we're not looking at this as we are all equal. And we are all on this planet together and we need to support the existence of everything on this planet. Because that's what carries us forward as a species. So, what's happening right now is totally necessary. It's waking people up. And, honestly, it's about waking people up and however you have to do that. Sometimes it takes what's happening right now to wake people up. If we were in a sleep like we have been for eons, we can't make a change. We kind of have to blow this shit up. Just got to Blow It Up. So that we wake up and go, Whoa! Okay, I'm awake now and I don't like what I see. And I'm gonna make a difference. And so you've got movements. You've got people all of the sudden waking up and, you know, my kids actually understand what the political system is now. They understand who's in office. They understand what's going on. And it kinda took that drama to wake them up. But then they're like, Hey, wait, we don't like this. And then they find their power. They're like, Wait, I have power to change this. And we all have that power, but we forget. So, every day, we choose our lives. And we can choose, as an individual, as a consciousness, we can choose how we want to move forward. And how we want our world to be. And it's not just a few 1% that's controlling this world. Even though it may appear that way. We have the power. And if we connect and come together, move out of our separateness and into our connection, everybody will feel part of this. And, you know, then you got it. Simple as that (laughs). 

What do you wish for the future?

(Sigh) You know, I wish for the future what I feel that we're moving towards right now, which is people are just popping up - they're just waking up. And I wish for us all to wake up and realize we're connected and that we can't live on this planet unless we're working together and we're connected and we have a common interest of creating a better place for everybody on the planet. Not just for a few. 

It's so interesting. I've traveled so much in my life and I've never understood borders. It doesn't make sense. I was just in Southeast Asia - Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand - I'm like, This feels really similar to me, the energy here. But it's like, Oh, but it's a different country. But it's like, No, it's not. One of the biggest things about travel is just to realize what a cohesive world we're living in. We're all the same. We all want the same things. We all want joy. We all want just to feel content in our lives. And that's what I wish for the world. I've been wearing peace signs and peace sign earrings, peace sign belt buckles since I was five or younger and I've always been about peace. How can we bring peace to the world? It means including everybody. And honoring everybody. And when you travel you just find the love in everybody. I go to India - it's my most favorite place because I drop in there and I'm home. And it's chaos and it's crazy and I'm home. And I've figured out just for myself how to be home wherever I am. How to find that centeredness and groundedness, no matter what situation and wherever I am. And we can all find that. And if we can find that balance and centeredness within ourselves and be connected to ourselves, then we can be connected to others and realize there is no winning anything. There's no competition for who's coming out ahead here. 'Cause in the end, we all end up in the same place.