Sunday, July 14, 2013

Ups and downs

I think I've mentioned a time or twenty how much I admire and resonate to the work of Brené Brown, who studies and writes about vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. I'm proud to say at the ripe old age of 52, I am beginning to cultivate shame resilience.

Big boo-yah for me! It's been a long time coming and I can feel the effect it is having on me. The work I've been doing through EagleSpirit's Empath 101 course has been setting the tumblers into place so as I discover new areas I have had difficulty with in my life, I am ready to unlock the pain it causes and set it free.

I've had two instances of what Brown calls a "shame storm" in the last few months, and interestingly enough (but I'm sure not coincidentally) both instances are career-related. The first I wrote about in  "Lessons this week taught me" was a hard lesson because I hadn't felt shame in what seemed a very long time. Most of the time I feel guilt.

When guilt hits, I generally address it by apologizing (because what I've done or said doesn't sit right with me and I feel it must be dealt with and learned from). Then I move on. But as Brown says, shame is all about "I am bad" and that is something I've felt from a very young age.

EagleSpirit gave us a forgiveness prayer and  some profound healing happened when I used it on old shames and hurts. I thought at the time it would be a temporary fix, but because I realized that some of the really old shames and hurts would only be truly let go of if they were forgiven by 'lil Kath. And she was ready.

My most recent shame storm occurred at the end of a fantastic day. An email came in from a client who did not like something I had written for him and he used language that I felt shamed by. I felt the heat wash over me; a painful, burning feeling that is both physical and painful. But instead of being carried away by it, I checked in with myself and found that what I was feeling wasn't mine. Eureka! And then I asked my fellow empaths to help me through it. I told them about what I was feeling and got the empathy I needed and you know what, good ol' Brené is right...

I was able to respond by apologizing for what was mine and only mine, acknowledging that the creative process doesn't always hit the mark, and simply letting go of the rest.

Later that night EagleSpirit offered the gift of Hoʻoponopono, an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness, which I had heard of, but not understood. I understand now that the simple words, "I'm sorry. Forgive me. I love you. Thank you." are as much about forgiving myself as forgiving someone else. It's a powerful act. Because when we let go of hurt and anger, the void can only be filled by love.

Since the feelings have not returned from the things I forgave and let go of, I'm thinking there has been some powerful healing going on in my life. As I learned today in my Spiritual Book Club Meeting, situations and people will continue to come back until I deal with my stuff, so perhaps another shame storm will come along to show me there is more to let go of. But I now 'get' that when I shine a light on shame rather than hide it, I have the tools within me and the support around me to cultivate resilience.



  1. I am familiar with Ho'oponopono--read a book by Dr. Joe Vitale and Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len. I think it was called Zero was an audio book and I lost it along the way, but yeah, it is pretty powerful stuff.

    One day, I started to say the words while in the shower and this intense feeling of sadness came over me and I started to cry. Still don't know what I was crying for, but it sure felt like I had released something. I haven't tried it or thought about it in a while though, so thanks for the reminder.

    I honestly think though that as long as we are in human bodies, we will have to deal with issues of the ego, less and less though with each lesson learned, until we are ready to move onto the next higher plane of existence-- whatever or wherever that might be. :)

    1. I get what you're saying Gisele. We were talking about Zero Limits last week at spiritual book club. Sounds like an amazing book and it's on my list to read. I think the energy we send out when we do this prayer helps to heal -- us, the people we are thinking about, and the earth.

      When I first heard of it, many people were saying it was powerful, but just as many reacted against it because they weren't ready to forgive. But in my thought process, it doesn't matter whether you are ready to forgive or not, just that you want your own peace.

  2. Yeah, some people just aren't ready to let go, I guess. And yes, it was a really great book. It is amazing what Dr. Hew Len accomplished with Ho'oponopono at the psychiatric hospital where he worked. They talk about it in Zero Limits. Pretty interesting stuff. :)

    1. Yes, that's why I wanted to read the book. My friend said she couldn't believe how much change was made without counselling. Looking forward to reading it.

  3. Three cheers for really getting the messages in Empath 101 so far. You are a sensitive soul and it is a divine gift. We are all connected, so not everything the Empath takes on is actually theirs. You can use tools to own what is yours and release the rest. Gentle enquiry within a supportive group is nurturing and so it is easier to access YOUR inner wisdom.

    Lots of juicy information for sure! And more to come as we enter week three!!

    I am so very glad that you chose to participate Kathy because your sharings on our private page inspire conversations as each of us continue to shine a light on aspects of ourselves we perhaps haven't been able to appreciate and honour. You are a wonderful soul and it is an honour to be of service to you so that you can truly know that too!!

    I am sure your blog will inspire others to love themselves up to.. and that is a good thing!!

    1. Thanks so much EagleSpirit, it always means so much when a teacher that inspires me recognizes my progress. ♥

  4. <3 We are always both teachers and students my friend and I know your words inspire many!

  5. Shame, to me, is simply old wounds that I've not completely healed. Once in awhile I feel ashamed over something I've said, as I tend to open my mouth to change feet on a regular basis, but I no longer allow anyone to make me feel 'less than' in my life. I'm so very glad that you're FINALLY realizing your own worthiness as both a person of substance and an amazing writer.
    I'm positive that as you progress on this wonderful journey you've undertaken that you will ultimately finish on an extremely high note knowing that YOU matter :-)

  6. Thanks Marlene, much appreciated coming from a fellow writer. I think I'm letting it go because I'm letting go of the triggers that bring on a shame storm.