I feel like shame and guilt are like a vaudeville act. they keep showing up in different guises with different riffs. They make themselves distracting and keep our attention through sheer constant material. Or at least they keep mine.
I’m reading a book called, “Coming to Wholeness” which is taking my bodyful practice to a whole new level. And the universe has continued to invite me to go just a little bit slower. and because of that combination, I am experiencing a deep appreciation this morning for having the time and attention to focus on Wholeness, Awareness, Unity and Life Itself. And within minutes, in walk guilt and shame.
Really? I’m experiencing appreciation despite having a body wracked with a lack of ease (feeling just a little proud of myself maybe?) and Guilt and Shame waltz in?
Guilt: mostly that I haven’t pulled my financial weight in my marriage (despite the fact my husband gives me zero grief about this), and some guilt that I haven’t figured out how to be in relationship to the world in a way that is actually helpful (in short, that I don’t have a job, and I don’t know what to do next). That I’m not a more active parent/partner/daughter/friend…
Shame: well, i’m ashamed that I’m not healthy. if i were as emotiono-spiritually advanced as I’d like to be, my body would be light and easy and practically floating, not this haunted house of a body. Plus? if I am smart, why can’t i articulate it in a compelling way to share it? and I don’t do anything. people are running around like chickens with their heads cut off and I respond to email every couple of days. I am milking this not-wellness thing, perhaps to absurdity. I should be a better person. on every level.
I notice the guilt and shame and let it invalidate the good feelings about focusing attention on life itself (and the attending wholeness and feeling supported and adventure) and I start defending myself. Valid stuff. I believe peace and calm are a more valuable currency than green dollars, and I am consistently growing my portfolio. But, defending is participating in the drama, and Laurel and Hardy go back and forth on a loop.
Luckily, this lovely book and my lovely practices acknowledge the feeling and find it in the body and accept it entirely while inviting it to relax, open, release. It’s the ultimate diffuser.
I also had a really big step this week, having read “Leadership and Self-Deception” last week, I had an opportunity where someone was (justifiably, I’ll admit) trying to guilt and shame me, and I could see their underlying pain and sought to address it. I’m not sure how well I did, but it was a far cry better than my general MO (let them know I’m right as bitingly as necessary). That book talks about an inner, sudden realization and I definitely experienced exactly that about another relationship while reading. That the lesson would then peek its head in during an emotionally-loaded moment demonstrates its a bigger, transformative shift than just a “concept” I hope to “employ.” Another book for the “must read” list…