True personal growth is about transcending the part of you that is not okay and needs protection. ~Michael Singer
I set a goal at the beginning of 2015 to write one blog post a week. You have’t heard from me since April 21. In addition to moving my blog to my WordPress website, I’ve needed to take a “holy pause” to work on transcending a part of me that is not okay.
In June 2014, I wrote about my Shame Demon battering me with harsh judgments after feedback received about my character at a workshop. In May 2015, I began receiving feedback from those agreeing to read my manuscript to help me improve my writing. One of them challenged me to dig deeper into my story and especially into my feelings and motivations surrounding myself as a mother. Once again the feelings of being inadequate and unworthy surfaced. My Shame Demon attempted to kill the meaning, purpose, joy and healing writing my memoir has given me.
Michael Singer is one of my favorite spiritual teachers. In his book, The Untethered Soul: the journey beyond yourself, he speaks of the roommate in our head–the mental voice that creates problems, makes us miserable, and never shuts up. Mine resembles that Shame Demon.
While we would never listen to someone who says the bizarre things our “inner roommate” says, we allow this mental voice to ruin anything we’re doing in an instant. When caught in a shame spiral, our mental voice creates even more havoc than usual. Mine was running rampant. I considered letting go of moving forward with my memoir and further exposing my inadequacies. I thought about giving up on the idea of sharing my story with the world.
Just as I did in 2014, I withdrew into myself for a time, avoiding contact with others, the very action that feeds shame. And then a friend noticed. “You seem depressed,” she said.
I let her know a little of what “my roommate” was saying. She gave me a new perspective, a different voice to consider. Gradually, I opened up to more friends. Gentler perspectives than the harsh ones my “inner roommate” offered came forth. Even on-line spiritual resources spoke to my situation.
This reminder of grace in the midst of our frailties:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” ~II Corinthians 9a
And days of wisdom from Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations:
“Salvation isn’t about replacing our human nature with a fully divine nature, but growing within our very earthiness and embodiedness to live more and more in the ways of love and grace, so that it comes ‘naturally’ to us and is our deepest nature. This does not mean we are humanly or perfectly whole or psychologically unwounded, but it has to do with an objective identity in God that we can always call upon and return to without fail. Some doctrine of divinization is the basis for all reliable hope and any continual growth.”
“There are two major approaches to spirituality and conversion. We try to exclude and triumph over the negative parts, the shadow parts, the ‘inferior parts’ (I Cor. 12:22), as Paul calls them. This leads us to a kind of heroic spirituality based on willpower and the achievement of some sort of supposed perfection. But if you are honest, what you are really doing is pretending–and excluding the dark side that you do not want to look at, or the people you do not want to deal with. The way of Francis included and integrated the negative–forgiving and accepting the imperfection and woundedness of life. He agreed with Paul that the supposed inferior or weakest are, in fact, ‘the most indispensable.’
Salvation is not a divine transaction that takes place because you are morally perfect, but much more is an organic unfolding, a becoming who you already are, an inborn sympathy with and capacity for the very One who created you.”
“The whole universe and all events are sacred (doorways to the divine) for those who know how to see. In other words, everything that happens is potentially sacred if you allow it to be.” ~Richard Rohr
And so once more, I was given an opportunity to grow my shame resilience. I began accepting my weaknesses, looking for the doorway to the divine, and reminding myself of divine grace in the midst of all my life experiences. I moved forward.