I am starting to not only see the wisdom in letting “Joy” lead the way in my life, but am actually letting “Joy” lead the way. I am letting joy be a part of everything I do. If I am not feeling joy doing whatever I am doing, then I stop.
I recently closed my counseling practice and moved to Albuquerque. I am resting and looking at: what next. Sometimes I come up with an idea that comes from fear. It sounds something like, “I am fearful I won’t have a good enough financial retirement, so I will do ________ because I can make more money.” Now, there is nothing wrong with the idea, and because fear motivates it, there is no joy. What I know for my self is: I deserve to live in joy and to enjoy my moments, work and all. So the question I asks myself is: If I am not operating from fear, and I just let myself do what I enjoy, what will it be?”
When we live our lives in joy, the shame is not there. When I live in fear and make choices from that fear, I live in shame.
Reminder: Whether I believe it or not, I deserve to live in joy. What choices will I make if joy leads the way in my life?
I am in the first rewrite in my book. As I do this I am reminded of one particular shame I want to comment on.
Awhile back I was watching a show on people who had lost their jobs, had searched and searched, and were unable to find new employment. They were dealing with profound losses, as well as a cultural bias that was shaming to them. The longer they were unemployed, the more they received the message that they were “not employable.” Often they were told not to apply for a job unless they had a job. They were not even allowed into the interview process.
The shame they are experiencing along with the losses and fear is untenable. They are feeling hopeless and often suicidal.
As individuals, we can look at our own biases, how they might be shaming, and how we can change them. We can make changes in our own beliefs that make a difference in the mass consciousness. We can be aware of how we think of the unemployed and make a conscious effort to think loving and empowering thoughts to support them.
I believe we don’t always do this because there is a cultural shame about the way we have “off-shored” our labor force and judged our unemployed. Because we don’t deal with the underlying belief system, we all can get sucked into the shame we place on the unemployed. We become part of the problem.
We each play a part when there is a cultural shame. The only place we have power is in changing our own beliefs. We are of one mind. When I change my mind I make an impact. I may not see this, AND we are making a difference.
We can treat our unemployed with dignity and respect. How would we want to be treated in a similar situation?
They come if we let them
Turn a corner and new view presents itself
I get lost and found again
Perhaps I never am lost
Home is in my Heart
I was just reading the book, The Gift of Years, by the author Joan Chittister. She has a right that I love and wanted to share. As I have mentioned, one of the ways out of shame is to know our rights and to live with them as our truth. The right she mentioned is: “I have the natural right to live till I die!”
That is perfect. I am being reminded of the fact that it is up to me to live my life and to claim it as my own. I want to live as my heart dictates. I want to live ALL of my life in the way that fits for me- ALL the way to the end. Living with the awareness of claiming my own life and truth has deeply enriched my life. I have dreams and ambitions and a bucket list that is unique to me.
Since I moved to New Mexico and am not caught up in constant travel and busyness, I have been claiming dreams. I am having so much fun and sharing joy. I am writing and singing and acting and about to be in a triathlon. Those fit for me. By lifting my energy I make a different contribution to the world. I see that as my gift back to all of you wonderful people who are part of my life. Since we are one, it is my gift back to life to live in joy.
I recently heard someone describe their internal shame voice as: “like a fire with a constant scorce of air feeding it.” Shame does go on and on and burns everything in its path. It builds instead of diminishes, and it rages on and on. It seems to be unstoppable and it is always destructive. In the middle of it, it seems like it has a life of its own and is not at all amenable to change. Like a big forest fire or house fire, it will eventually burn itself out. However, it can leave a lot of destruction before it does so, and it can take a very long time.
However, if a fire is caught soon enough, in fact, the earlier the better, it is able to be diverted or stopped. It can be transmuted. It may appear to be uncontainable. That is not true.
Reminder: It may appear that shame will rage on, just as fire with a source of air. However, there are ways to intervene on fires just as there are ways to intervene on shame. However, it is important to use the correct tools. If we pour water on a grease fire it is not effective. If we pour more shame on shame it may appear to be endless.
I am delighted. I have finished my 1st draft of my book. What has been interesting is noting the process. I had really struggled with having worked on my book for so long without making progress. Well, if I had not done all that writing as I went, I would not have the book today. I wrote down stories and peoples’ description of shame over the years. If I had not done that I wouldn’t have remembered them. If I wrote it down I had asked permission to do so. So, it helped me. Instead of being upset that I did it this way, I can see the process. Another lovely example of “trusting process.” It doesn’t always look like I want it to, and it always turns out to be for the best.
I now start the rewrite and editing. I still have much to do, but I had a dream where I was handed the finished book. I can see it now. YES!!!!!!!
There is a quote by a man who has been my mentor in understanding and healing shame. His name is: Gershen Kaufman. In his book: “ Shame- The Power of Caring” he makes a powerful statement. He says, “Shame is the affect which is the source of many complex and disturbing inner states: depression, alienation, self-doubt, isolating loneliness, paranoid and schizoid phenomena, compulsive disorders, splitting of the self, perfectionism, a deep sense of inferiority, inadequacy or failure, the so-called borderline conditions and disorders of narcissism.
I have seen this over and over in my 30 years as a therapist. And yet, how often is shame directly addressed in the therapy room?
June Tagney- co-author of, “Shame in the Therapy Hour” in an interview is quoted as saying, “although people rarely mention shame during the therapy hour, it’s ubiquitous in the therapy room.?
And yet, how often is shame directly addressed in therapy room?
I believe it is profoundly important and essential in anyone’s healing process, whether in formal therapy or not, to learn the language of shame and bring their shame into healing. If we do not, we will always feel a sense of lack. We will always be triggered and not know what happened, nor know how to stop the shame from overwhelming us.
Shame is a critical component of healing. We may as well work with it now.