Shame: Befriending the Inner Dragon

“Evoke the fire within” by Kamjar Fadai

Shame feels like such a dirty word. No one wants to talk about it and many people experience it. It shows up as the inner critical voice brought on by years of the social conditioning of self-hate.

During Presencing Tuesdays, our twice monthly time of meditation, connection and seeing one another for the all of who we are, the word “shame” emerged a number of times amongst other emotions of sadness, anger, and fear. What became clear is that, not only do many people live with shame, most people feel shame about feeling shame. Shame about shame makes it difficult to acknowledge and heal as many are reluctant to share their feelings of shame with themselves, much less others. Yet, shame marinates in our socialized beings and inflames, exacerbates and evokes other painful emotions–anger, sadness, rage, uncertainty, despair and feelings of isolation, alienation and unworthiness.

The word shame is thought to be derived from the proto-indo-european word skem or kem, meaning “to cover”, which makes sense, as a common reaction when we feel ashamed is to try and cover ourselves physically, emotionally or spiritually. We’re so busy covering or hiding our shame and the shame of our shame, that it leaves little time or energy to feel creativity, joy, love and self-confidence. Shame, unlike guilt that has more do with remorse over our actions, has to do with one’s sense of self, one’s identity. This makes shame particularly intractable and persnickety. We can change our actions. Actions exist outside of us. Shame cuts to the core of who we are ARE. It is painful and sometimes unbearable, leading some even to violence or suicide.

Like a dragon hiding in a dark cave in the depths of our being, much of the power of shame comes from the lack of clarity of and unfamiliarity we have with shame–shame when we’re being unkind, shame when we’re being dishonorable or disgraceful, shame when we’re sad or angry or upset, shame when we’re not being our highest selves.

What if we acknowledged those times when we felt shame? What if we got to know shame, when it shows up, what’s the root of shame, what are the needs and wants of shame? What if we befriended this dragon and met its fiery roars with love?

I watched How To Train Your Dragon at a slumber party with heart people recently. What if we approached our shame, like Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III approached The Night Fury, with curiosity, courage and love? We may just find ourselves an unlikely ally.

Don’t Take Anything Personally: Clarity in Relationships

“Be Impeccable with Your Word. Don’t Take Anything Personally. Don’t Make Assumptions. Always Do Your Best.” ~The Four Agreements by Don Miguel

Nothing is personal. Not the bad. Not the good. Every person brings thousands of years of their stuff into each interaction — not just their bad day or their bad week or their good day or their good week. When we can really embrace that it is their stuff that is contributing to them speaking unkindly or that it is our stuff that is clouding our hearing of them, we can turn our attention to what is really going on.

We can expand our awareness, & therefore, our perception, of processing our own past, our own hurts, our own blocks instead of getting distracted with this red herring of what someone else said to us or what someone else did to us. When we take this principle first made famous by Don Miguel in his classic The Four Agreements, we can experience a new kind of freedom–freedom from the addiction of kind words & freedom from the fear of unkind words.

Each time we notice ourselves becoming defensive, upset, angry, sad, or we notice ourselves craving or longing or expecting words of praise, words of love, words of commitment, we can check in with ourselves, “Am I taking this personally?” Simple? Yes. Easy? No. And with practice, you may be surprised at how very little has do with you & your interaction with them–really nothing– and how everything has to do with the stuff we bring into each interaction, the baggage we carry.

With this realization comes an opportunity to unpack our own baggage & let go of all that is no longer useful to us, that is no longer serving us. And oh, the freedom that comes with that lightness; oh, the innate joy that’s available to us when we don’t take things personally.

Much love, Jodi

We Have Only NOW

“What time is it?” “Now.” “Where are you?” “Here.” Adapted from the Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman

Time is an illusion created by human beings since the beginning of time. Wait a minute, (or an hour, or a lifetime). Did you just read what you thought you read? Yes, time is an illusion, a very good illusion, but an illusion nonetheless that human beings made up.

Yet, despite this unreality, people of all cultures and all ages believe that time is absolute and measurable, and have we ever measured it. From the Egyptian T-square to the Babylonian sundial, from the water clock to the hourglass, from the moon to the modern day watch, human beings have been transfixed and mesmerized by the passage of time and obsessed with measuring it, perceiving it and experiencing or escaping it. Yet, for all the “accuracy” of a chronometer, we still need an extra day in the western Gregorian calendar every four years to account for the “extra time” and the lunar calendar requires a 13th intercalary month every two to three years to “keep in time” with the naturally occurring seasons.

“Time flies.” “Time is like the wind, it lifts the light and leaves the heavy.” ~Doménico Cieri Estrada

We believe that time is a reality, the minutes are real, that an eight-hour work day is long (or short for those who work a lot). Yet, even in our language, we can begin to feel the malleability, the fluidity, of time. “Time flies when you’re having fun.”  “Time stands still” (when you look into the eyes of your beloved, when you hold your newborn in your arms for the first time). We speak of time or ourselves in time going in “slow-motion” (when we’re about to crash into another car, when we’re making the winning basketball layup). Zall’s Second Law states “How long a minute is, depends on which side of the bathroom door you’re on.”

Unlike Newton who claimed that time is absolute, Einstein has scientifically demonstrated in his theory of relativity that time is relative–that past, future, present all exist simultaneously. We can and have shown this with space travel where one person traveling in a very fast space ship near the speed of light experiences a few minutes or a few hours where another person on Earth experiences that same amount of time as days or weeks.

So why am I taking the time to write about time?

Similar to money and space (the distance between two points), time is relative and infinite. Some may immediately protest, “We only have a limited time between birth and death”. Yet, we don’t need a rocket ship to play with the “amount of time” we have. When we enter into the present, we can experience a timeless quality of infinity, eternity. We have all had these time-less experiences, when we’re playing an instrument, when we’re painting, when we’re playing our favorite sport, when we’re engaging in the flow of our most-loved activities–when time disappears & 3 hours, 7 hours, a day can feel like minutes.

“Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.” ~Henry Van Dyke

So instead of being in the mode of time-scarcity, we have an opportunity to experience the eternity of now. How? By participating fully in this present moment. The past is a set of memories that only exist in our mind in the present. The future is only a hope or a dream, a mental construct of the present, and we can only experience the “future” when it becomes the present.  We can expand time, lengthen time and be free of time when we are fully here, now, when we are being present. Feel free to read my last blog post below to discover more about how to be present through meditation  http://possibilitiesunlimited.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/stillness-in-the-eye-of-the-storm/.

Much love, Jodi

“God exists in eternity. The only point where eternity meets time is in the present. The present is the only time there is.” ~Marianne Williamson

Stillness in the Eye of the Storm

“Centering” from The Power Deck by Lynn V. Andrews, paintings by Rob Schouten

If you have a meditation practice or you imagine yourself meditating, often what emerges is a quiet, peaceful place, possibly in nature, at a retreat, far from the rat race or hum drum of life. Certainly, when opportunities arise to step away from routine, it can be nourishing and rejuvenating to step, to ground, to center.

Yet, what if the whole of your life became a meditation?

I was meditating earlier in the traditional style of sitting meditation and the scene was much different than the peaceful, out-in-nature picture I painted above. Like the Buddha in the card, I live in an urban neighborhood on the flight path to many arriving and departing planes with an ear-deafening power deck washer across the street, dogs barking, a leaf blower shouting, trucks rumbling by, bus brakes squealing–a veritable storm of noise, a symphony of sound. I settled in, found my breath, connected with my center and merged with the all of it–timeless time, soundless noise, Source manifest, God incarnate. I felt and have experienced this stillness in the eye of the storm in other activities as well, when I’m running, when I’m walking, when I’m deep in conversation with someone in the middle of a noisy gathering and all the other voices fall away.

Breathing, walking, eating, typing, what if it’s all part of the meditation? What if it’s all part of the dance, the Stillness playing in the movement while still sitting in Stillness?

“When you are eating, eat totally-
chew totally, taste totally, smell totally.
Touch your bread, feel the texture.
Smell the bread, smell the flavor.
Chew it, let it dissolve into your being,
and remain conscious – and you are meditating.
And then meditation is not separate from life.”
~ Osho

Expand your experience of meditation. Bring awareness to the here and now. Turn your attention to the mundane and see the profound in it all.  Sit in the eye of the storm in each moment and experience the stillness in the movement in the stillness. Much love, Jodi

Eye of the Storm by Golf Punk

The Eye-of-the-Storm.

Surrounded by the winds and the rain,
yet peaceful in its own unworldly way -
an unnatural ruddy-cloudy misty-bright kind of way.
Whatever comes next, the eye of the storm is
a moment of serenity among the challenge -
a time for repose and contemplation.
~ Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Spiritual Puttering

“We must see that consciousness is neither an isolated soul nor the mere function of a single nervous system, but of that totality of interrelated stars and galaxies which makes a nervous system possible.”
Alan Watts (1915 – 1973)

One of my favorite things in the world is puttering in my little home — laundry, sweeping, organizing, laundry, sweeping, organizing, meditating, writing, eating, meditating, writing, eating. I get into a flow that feels nourishing to my very soul, following the river of movement, attraction and impulse. Just as the body is the shelter for the soul, so the home is the shelter for the body. The putterings I do in my home feel meditative, calming and inspired. There’s no hard-and-fast rule of where I go next, what I do next, the order of the tasks. I listen to the calling of my heart. I listen to the calling of my home.

“You have begun to hearken to that call, but for most people it is an unnoticed voice in the innermost recesses of their hearts.” ~ Shaykh Nazim Adil Al-Haqqani, Book: In the Mystic Footsteps of Saints

My spiritual experiences seem to mimic these movements. I follow the energy of my spirit. Is meditation calling me in this moment? Is reading the works of spiritual teachers calling to me in this moment? Is writing from Source calling to me in this moment? When I pause for just a moment and listen, I can hear the yearnings of my heart, the longings of my soul and when I follow this river, it leads to pure delight, alignment, resonance.

“When many voices are speaking at once, listen to the one most quiet and gentle. That’s the one worth listening to. ~ Miranda Linda Weisz

Imagine a world where everyone flowed in their own soul’s river, where everyone listened to their heart, where everyone followed their bliss. It would be a peaceful, joyful place with everyone’s hearts being filled up and cared for in a powerful and transformative way. Let’s co-create that world together, shall we?  Much love, Jodi

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” ~Rumi

Return to 0 always

Rest is always available to you.

Message 30.jun.2012

Return to 0 always. Chavasana, sleep, Death — they are available to you always. Life begets death begets life — there’s nothing to fear, dear One. Rest is always available to you. Stillness is always available to you. Stillness informs movement informs stillness. And so it is.

Rest fully and completely, dear One.