On Shame

I have been thinking a lot about shame.

Partly because I am only recently awakening to my own.

It is a new concept to me, and yet it has also been a part of me as far back as I can recall. I didn’t know that the sensations I had lived with for so long were actually a feeling, and not actually ME.

Sure, I had heard of it. Became a fan of Dr. Brené Brown years ago when her Ted Talk on vulnerability and shame went viral. (Brown’s 2010 TEDx Houston talk, “The Power of Vulnerability,” is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world.) She is sort of the Queen of Shame and Vulnerability. She is also a fellow introvert. (And a fellow Texan.) Read more about her and her work here.

Brown says: “I define shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection. I don’t believe shame is helpful or productive.”

Brown says she “became a shame researcher, because shame is the experience or fear of believing we’re not worthy of connection, and how people described their experiences of connection with me was by describing disconnection.”

Lately, I have been considering shame as being something that is getting in-between me and my desire to follow my talents as far as they can go into the world, as well as my desire to know and be known, to be intimate and have deep, meaningful relationships with people from a place of full authenticity. Once again, I am drawn to her work.

Again, in Brown’s own words: “One of the findings from my work that people get crunchy about is my belief that there’s no such thing as creative or not creative people. There’s people who use it, and people that don’t. I do believe – and this is where people get upset – that unused creativity is not benign. Ignoring that part of our humanity comes at a cost because, as you say, we are wired for creativity. It’s part of our DNA. My question is, if we are really wired to be creative, but people are not doing it, what gets in their way? So much of what gets in the way is shame.”

I have been at such a loss. I have healed so much of what stood in-between me and my desires, and yet still, I hold myself back again and again. So I am in a place now of asking what do I do about this?

Brown has developed the Shame Resistance Theory, or SRT, which she writes about in her book I Thought it Was Just Me, (but it isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to I” am Enough”. [This article expands in detail on it.] What I take from it is that the way out is through vulnerability and connection, courage and empathy. Through recognizing shame and practicing critical awareness, recognizing our triggers, sharing our story with others, we grow our resilience to shame and develop empathy to build connection, courage and compassion.

Ah yes. So it will take more hard work and diligence. No magic pill, unfortunately, like the rest of this spiritual journey I have been on since birth and beyond. Great.

OK. I will dig deep and find the will to meet my shame head on. I have come this far. I am certainly not going to turn back now. Not sure yet what this will look like, but I am all in.

Who’s with me?

 #shamewarrior #theanswerisvulnerability

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Love Song

I stand here, on this rock,

Arms outstretched, ready,

Amidst tumultuous sea winds

Carrying voices from afar

I don’t feel safe I am too much I want to leave I call you out I am called out for calling you out

I am enraged I am ashamed

Don’t assign don’t degrade

I hear it all and my heart aches

I called it in to see and to hear

But there is something else

Yet to appear; it seeks an ear

It wants to be known

Will I hear it if I push away

The harsh voices that do harm

Where will they go if they aren’t heard

Crammed back into I am wrong This isn’t the place for this This isn’t the place for that

I called this into being

Can I now cherry-pick what comes my way

Or do I listen and guide

Find new ways of being with the parts that are the hardest to hear

I stand on this rock

My arms outstretched

And I listen again,

And I listen, I listen,

For all.

#evolution #healing

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In Passing

Today I passed an older resident on her way out of our building as I was coming in.

As I automatically prompted myself to say “Good morning,” I was aware of the conditioning that I learned growing up to respect those older than me kicking in, still, so many years later.

I was the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of two very stylish, very elegant women. I was taught, when with them and my mother, to hold the door for them to enter, or to step aside and honor their age. “Age before beauty!” was the motto that I learned.

I carry that in my system, alongside so many familial and societal conditionings. This one, I do not mind. I love it, in fact. I carry the tradition on easily.

As this woman passed by and returned my greeting with elegance and dignity and a public manner that is becoming extinct, I was moved, as I often am, by my sense of the world of experience that she carries within her.

I say becoming extinct, because the generation of my great-grandmother has passed away. My grandparents’ peers are probably almost all gone. Those of my parents’ generation do remain, but it is a fifty-fifty chance of whether or not they carried forward the kind of public demeanor and carriage that the woman has this morning. Perhaps she was my grandparent’s age. It is hard for me to gauge age. I feel eternally young inside, so often relate to others as if I am still that 14 year old. I passed her as if she was my Great-Grandmother. She was my Grandmother’s age, I think. Or maybe even my mom’s.

When I am her age, will someone pass by me and find something in my manner or expression that leads her to remember her grandmother’s generation’s “quaint” or old-fashioned ways? Or will I not even see her because I am still texting or taking selfies, even though I am sure in 20- 30 years those things will long-since been replaced by newer ways of communicating?

I wonder where such things are headed. What of my ways today will be no longer be observed on the whole when I am that woman’s age.

Will there be someone around my age now who appreciates the “old ways” as I do now?

I hope so.

I send her my appreciation in advance. I hope that when she passes me, we have an exchange, and she feels somehow touched by me on a deeper, human level.

#generations #customs #appreciation #olderpeoplerock

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The Rememberance

When did I stop listening to – stop knowing –

The Truth that nature alone can claim

The wind is my sister

She reminds me who I am

The patterns in the ice are writ

With the wisdom of the waters

All I need to know, in the veins of a leaf

The trees are my elders

They council my concerns

Through birdsong, I am urged to sing

Especially after a storm

The stars are the map of a million once-human dreams

Mother Earth doubles my heart beat

And to her,  my body will return one day

To become one with the land

My spirit to roam free once again

With my sister, through the leaves of the trees

And the flowing waters of the streams

In the running cheetah’s strong shoulders

And the caterpillar paths ‘cross the garden green

Through roots running deep into the ground

To become a butterfly, alight on a delicate petal

To swim with the sea turtles among the corral in the seas

I am a part of it all and all is a part of me

When did I forget this heritage, this lineage, this communion

I breathe in all that has ever lived

And my breathe will be breathed by all who come after

May I remain awoken for evermore

May I never forget again

 

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Hats Off

Disclaimer: This is a bit of a rant.

(Well, not really a rant. Perhaps more of a wistful call to arms.)

Remember the time when people only wore hats outside? Yes, I am dating myself. So I’m dating myself…

I was at a table read for a new play last month, and at a certain point, I looked around, and noted that 6 of the 11 people there had hats on.

Yes, it is a play written by a millennial and mainly contains of characters who are millennials, so it made sense that there were mainly millennial actors reading. And they were the ones wearing the hats.

You know the kind of hat I am talking about. Wool. Sort of a slouchy skull cap.

I just do not get it.

I have been in plays, in classes, in restaurants, and see people wearing their wool hats inside. Men, women. And not just millennial-aged adults. (Yikes. A 40-something-year-old man wearing a skull cap as fashion. Really?)

When did this become such an acceptable thing? Did it happen sometime after people started wearing their actual pajamas on airplanes? I still cannot believe that shift in social etiquette.

And going down to breakfast at hotels in your pjs and slippers. Is that really a thing? (I have seen it. So have others.) I mean, maybe for the toddlers and infants. But I am seeing teenagers and young adults.

Am I becoming and old f–t?

Sigh. I still dress up for the theatre. To go on an airplane. I don’t put my feet up on the backs of movie theater chairs. I hold doors open for people who are older than me.

Maybe I am just holding on to antiquated ways.

What are you wanting us as a society to hold on to? Any pet peeves you are carrying around in your bosom?

I do have a wool hat that I wear when it is cold, but I take that off when I get inside.

And I always will.

 

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The Pleasure Principle

As can happen, a second word has found it’s way to me for the year.

I have been happily living through my deeply-felt word for 2019, which is CORE. (You can read about my Word for the Year practice here and my word for the year here.) Didn’t think or know anything was missing. I was perfectly content with CORE. CORE is a big ask! A truly great word for the year. I was content.

Until I was given an exercise by someone I am working with (a Desire Catalyst!) and I realized that yet another word had found it’s way into my life and demanded my attention. And that word is PLEASURE.

I was given a very simple task: make a list of ten things that create a experience of pleasure for me.

Let’s look at the definition of PLEASURE, according to the Oxford Dictionary:

definition: a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment:
“she smiled with pleasure at being praised”
synonyms:
happiness, delight, joy, gladness, rapture, glee, satisfaction, gratification, fulfillment, contentment, contentedness, enjoyment, amusement, delectation
adjective 1. used or intended for entertainment rather than business:
“pleasure boats”
verb 1. give sexual enjoyment or satisfaction to:
“tell me what will pleasure you”

I totally get the definition. Yes, I know what that means. Sounds great!

Then I get to the synonyms. Whoa. Rapture? Glee? Gratification? Delectation?

Other than a few amazing culinary experiences and some lovely sexual activity that I have known on occasion, where I am finding that kind of PLEASURE in my life? In my day, even? And by finding I mean, where I am taking the time out of my day to seek experiences that are truly pleasurable? Uh oh.

Then I get to its use as an adjective. There’s a bit of a hint. How much do I allow myself to do out of a day that is not in some way associated with business. The business of acting. The business of the business of acting. The business of living. Of being. A lot of business and busi-ness in my life. 

Then I get to PLEASURE as a verb. Now, that is a whole other post for another day. Let’s just say, I am usually “too busy.” Or it becomes the business of being intimate. I mean, you can approach anything in a business-like way. Even sex. “Gotta fit it in.”  Not, I am going to take this hour and just play for pleasure. Nope, just another thing on my list of things to get done.

So what is up with that, I asked myself.

The good news is that I had no trouble creating a list.

That came pretty easy. Great! I have no trouble identifying things that give me pleasure.

The problem is that I have trouble giving myself the time and permission to actually let myself have or do them.

I had my list, and I looked at it, and realized that I rarely allowed myself the time to enjoy or do any of the things on my list. (And some of them were as simple as enjoying a glass of water!)

It turns out that I am fairly anorexic in the pleasure arena. I staunchly deprive myself of things that bring me pleasure. What does this mean exactly?

This Pleasure Practice idea seemed so simple.

Now I am realizing that I have a lot of unraveling to do. And simple does not always mean easy.

What comes up when I begin to give myself the time and space to choose one or two and commit to doing them for two weeks?

I was so overwhelmed at the thought of it! My Protestant forebears reeled back in rebuke. My Puritan roots bristled with disgust. A lifetime (and beyond) of judgement and condemnation rushed through my psyche, channelling all those familial, cultural, historical and societal influences that my ancestors lived through and that I was born into and surrounded by throughout childhood. Words flew across my mind like dark bats hitting the sides of a cave: glutton, whore, lazy, lowlife, no-gooder, disgusting, perverted.

You see, I come from people who believe that self-discipline and suffering are badges of moral merit. To live for pleasure — well, that would mean to be wasteful. My heart craved pleasure, but my cellular memory feared it.

So my Desire Catalyst suggested to just start with one thing on my list: I was to let myself enjoy one glass of water at 1 PM each day.

At the mere suggestion, something in me breaks, some dam inside that I had no idea was there, the dam holding back a thirst for pleasurable things. I cry a deep little cry as the realization follows that I have been living decades denying myself small simple pleasures in my quest for great things.

And then something else breaks through…and I know.

I have found my second word for the year. Or it has found me.

So here I go. 2019, the year of CORE and of PLEASURE. Just typing that makes butterflies in my belly. Who am I to want to have more PLEASURE in my life? I speak gently, but firmly to whomever asked that question within me: I am the person who is going to break this pattern of belief. I am the one who is going to blaze a new trail for all that came behind me. I am the one who is going to seek PLEASURE from my CORE.

I cannot wait to see where these two lead me.

#core #pleasure #wordfor20019

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Word for the Year Follow-Up

I did it. I finally found my word for the year.

Or, rather, it found me.

As 2018 ended, I went through my end of year review and my year ahead intention-setting. And I began to live in the questions: what did I want to be my guiding word, an anchor as I traversed the days of the year ahead?

What did I want more of in my life? What was I calling in?

I kept circling around different words. I’d try them on for a few days. I’d think I’d found it. I’d think I’d found it, but in time, something would not feel quite right about it. t was like wearing a new sweater that looked great in the store, but doesn’t really feel like me when I get it home and wear it for the first time.

And then one day, as I was driving home, just sort of trying on the sixth or seventh word, free-associating, a new word came to me. And as I repeated it to myself, I found myself deeply moved. So much so that I had to pull over.

And then I just knew. It was “the one.” It was something I was ready to live in, to aspire to, to own.

The word that I heard was “Core.” And then “Ownership.”

So 2019 is all about Core for me. And Ownership. It is about living from my core. Owning my truth. Knowing and expressing my true feelings.

Getting to intimately know my core self. My power. Living from my power. Listening to my gut. Trusting my intuition. Living from my creativity.

Trusting my own sense of reality and living as fully and freely as I can from a place of deep authenticity.

Expanding and deepening my inner strength. I have been doing Pilates for a few years, but I want to really gain mastery over the deepest, inner-most and lowest abdominal muscles. To fully know my own strength. To move from my strength, my Yoni.

It makes so much sense to me now that this is the word that found me. The work of the past few years have set me up for where I am now. From Track Yoga:

The third chakra—the manipura chakra—is the center of personal power. As you’d expect, it’s located in the core of the body, at the solar plexus. To fully be ourselves, we need a strong core. Balancing the third chakra means maximizing personal power and strength.

When energy flows through the third chakra, we feel a strong sense of purpose and self-worth. We’re able to exert power without being controlling or dominant. In other words, we take our rightful place in the world and live in peace among all beings. We are energetic and enthusiastic about the life we are meant to live.

The first and second chakras govern our sense of security and our ability to express ourselves creatively and emotionally. We need a strong sense of our own personal power to use those abilities. The third chakra, then, unleashes our creative force when we feel secure in the world.

And so here I am, 29 days in. It is my guide as I move through my day, making decisions. Am I listening to my core? Am I acting from a place of ownership?

I remind myself to breathe. To listen. To sense.

It feels so right. I cannot wait to see how the year unfolds.

What is your word for 2019, if you have one? How is it going so far?

#wordfortheyear #2019 #guidingword #intuition

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