01 August 2012

Mindful Healing, Day 1 Shame

Jumping right in to my month of mindful healing with a toughie since it is what was rattling my cage as I awoke this morning:
Let's talk about shame.

Yikes, right?
Now wait, don't click away; this may be gentler than it may appear.
It does not require you feeling any additional shame.
Or doing any deep delving into discomfort or cause and effect.
Or replaying.

This is about acknowledging that, for many of us, grief is tangled up with guilt and shame.
And most of us know what our shame triggers are, or at least are familiar with some of them.
And this is about releasing the grip that shame has on our hearts. Even if it just releases a little, wouldn't that additional space be a great thing?

Ok, first and most importantly:  If you do not feel safe, don't do this.
Let me repeat,
if this does not feel safe, just don't do this.
Don't even read it.
Screw it.
This is about healing, not hurting.  And if this hurts? There are better ways to use your time toward healing your heart.

Promise me, heck, promise you, that you'll stop if it sucks, ok?

Option 1: Quietly speaking the truth so that your heart can hear it.
Try saying out loud (even a whisper into your cupped hands counts):
I acknowledge my feeling of shame, but I was not and am not responsible for what happened.

Then imagine letting it go, imagine the words sitting cupped in your palms and then blow them away as if they are dandelion seeds, and imagine them floating away.

You do not need to repeat any details at all about what happened, you already know them by heart.
Just whisper and gently, compassionately, release the words.

If it feels right, you can do this again and again, feeling the weight lessen each time (the first time is hardest).  You may find yourself speaking louder as the weight lifts. Or you may find this goes deeper and deeper and once is PLENTY.
Trust yourself.

You can repeat this for other facets of the shame-- be careful and mindful to use language that supports your highest and best.

Option 2: If you'd rather do something more tangible, write it down.
Again, write the acknowledgement of the shame, and then state the reverse of the thing that is causing shame. EVEN IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE IT (yet). Use "for what happened" in place of the event, don't replay it.

Then, shred it. Light it on fire. Release it/transform it in some way that allows it to not be buried or hidden (for example, don't paint over it)-- truly let it be gone.

It is important to acknowledge it, but it is also important to not dwell.

To close, be very gentle with yourself.  Open your eyes, engage your brain in the here and now, and really look at something way out in the distance--trees, clouds, sky, things that are big and real and current and humbling....
really see what you are looking at, this sky, this cloud, that tree...
put your hand over your very big loving heart, fill yourself with as much love as you can muster and whisper (inside your head is fine):
No matter what I may think or feel, I deserve healing. I deserve wholeness. 

Ground yourself in the here and now. Wiggle those toes.  Breathe deeply, taking in this moment.  In this moment, nothing is happening but compassion and healing.

1 comment:

Emily Erin said...

My dear Kate-- you are a great teacher and healer. Thank you for sharing these thoughts and for making me grapple with, acknowledge & confront the part that shame plays in grief. Thank you for yesterday and today's posts-- I plan to be along for this ride.