January 01, 2019
Taking Power Through Shame
On the path to self empowerment we meet many villains along the road who challenge our authority and try to take us down. They do it because they have not yet mastered their own true sense of personal power, so they feel threatened by those who seemingly have. One of the subtle ways they do this is through shame.
Shame is a crippling emotion that walks hand in hand with guilt. Both give us feedback about the consequences of our actions. Killing someone, for example, usually evokes a sense of shame, remorse, and guilt, so we don’t indulge in it much. Many of us will feel this about stepping on a spider as well. These emotions are hard wired within us so that we will treat each other with respect. They can, however, be exploited.
Much of what we feel shame about comes from not fitting into cultural norms. Institutions, like churches and schools, teach us to suppress our emotions and conform to an external authority from an early age. Without the full spectrum of emotions to draw from, we can no longer hear our inner voices. This opens us to letting an external authority define the lines we must color within, if we want acceptance. Anyone who does not toe the line is “too:” too easy, too loud, too forthright. The list is endless but we all know when we have crossed that line. Stereotyping is an extension of this. Anyone outside our comfort range is fair game to be made fun of.
April 01, 2018
Are You Still Apologizing For Your Existence?
You decide to wear something a little daring today but in your head you hear “Take it off, you will call attention to yourself, what will people think?” But some other voice inside says “DO IT!” So you do, but all the way to work you prepare for all the apologizing you will have to do today. Or maybe you volunteer to do something at work, or in your social circles, that calls the spotlight to you. That voice inside you starts asking who the heck you think you are, and you scramble to find reasons to justify your actions. Maybe you take a stand on a spiritual or political belief that is different from those among you, or perhaps you are just saying “No!” to something that is not right for you. It can even be the way you raise your children. Why must you always apologize?
The fear of judgement, conflict, not belonging, and of losing love makes us quick to retract our self expression. Many of us were shut down as children, and told not to be so loud or sensitive, for example. We were rewarded instead, for being the children our parents wanted us to be. Fearing a loss of love, or a feeling of ostracization, we begrudgingly complied. We will not ever be able to reach for the stars, however, if we are still trying to please an imaginary counsel of naysayers in our heads. When we express ourselves, people who feel threatened by it will judge us, there is no way around that. It is what people do in fear, they judge and control. The work for us is not in kowtowing to the demands of their low self esteem, however, it is in digging out what our fears of expressing ourselves are, and sorting through our own shame. What is it rooted in?
January 01, 2018
Pride and Power
There is much talk about owning our power these days. From spiritual teachings we find our power lies in our authenticity and willingness to surrender our agendas to an intelligence beyond our own. There is also the will of ego, however, based on a need for personal gain and status. While spiritual power requires getting out of our own way, this kind of “power” is driven by pride, and lends itself toward abuse. When someone is spiritual, but has not done their personal work, sometimes the two are confused.
Pride, at its best, is a positive sense of self. We are proud that we are the first one in our family to graduate from college, for example. While good self esteem is essential, pride has an uncanny capacity for over indulgence and abuse. In fact it is considered one of the seven deadly sins. At its worst, pride seductively lures us in to defend our inadequacies, at any price. We may choose to lie, or fight dirty, for example, just to claim a victory. While we have won the argument, at what cost is this to our soul? Feeling dirty, we look for another win, and so it goes.
January 01, 2017
Checking Your Emotional Hygiene
When someone has bad breath, or a skunky body odor, you just have to back up a bit and get out of range. Well, our negative emotions can be just as offensive. Someone who is always complaining, raging, or who puts a negative spin on every circumstance, ends up alienating themselves in much the same way. There are also people who try to control others through their criticisms of them. Regardless of whether there is intent behind these behaviors, no one wants to be caught in someone’s cyclones of pain and manipulation.
Emotions are something all normal people feel in response to the ups and downs of life. They have an energy that is meant to be felt, released, and moved through, as feedback about our circumstances. They are real, and feeling them is healthy. We all vibrate according to the emotional states we are in. If we are sad, or angry, we vibrate at a very low vibration. Alternatively, if we are in holy reverence, gratitude, or feeling love, we resonate at very high vibrational frequencies. The thing is, others feel our vibration, whether we can or not.
April 01, 2016
The Modern Shaman
Some people believe calling yourself a shaman is akin to saying “I am God.” A Shaman, they say, is a trickster who takes many magical forms, transcending space and time. Only others, they say, may call you one!
If we look at the word “shaman,” we find it is simply the (Siberian) Tungus tribe’s word for “medicine person.” Every indigenous tribe, from the beginning of time, has had a person, or two, whose role it has been to connect with the Creative Force on behalf of the tribe, to ensure their survival. They were everyday people with emotions, egos and even relationship problems to work through, but they were sensitive to energy. Their sensitivities helped them to heal the sick and help track down animals for food. They could see the dead and they could hear the spirits of Nature. Their job was to be an intermediary between the seen and unseen. When their skill sets were first recognized as children, they were pulled aside and trained to be of service to the tribe. There have always been these people, every culture, ours included, has relied upon them.
July 01, 2015
Romanticizing the Victim
Within each of us lives the potential to feel helpless and powerless as we navigate a world where our safety seems tenuous at best. Events are forever out of our control. Our foods are sprayed with pesticides and infused with hormones, unscrupulous people hide in the anonymity of an over populated world, stealing our identities and scamming money out of our elders. Dangerous pedophiles stalk our children. It is easy to see ourselves as victims. In fact, the Victim archetype is an integral part of the cultural paradigm we all have been taught to unconsciously construct our worlds around.
The seeds for this thinking start early. Most of us were raised on old stories of Heroes and Villains. We have Superman, Prince Charming and the X-Men all coming to save the day; we have the Wicked Witch, Evil Stepmother, and the Joker trying to destroy some form of our innocence. Implicit within each of these stories is a Victim that needs to be saved. They have been tied to train tracks, locked in stone towers, and fed poisoned apples. As we grow into adults we hear these stories morph into victims of crime, natural disasters, and disease. In a very reflexive way we romanticize the victim, we feel sorry for it and want to save it from its pain.
June 01, 2015
Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!
One of the reasons there has been a resurgence of interest in the teachings of the indigenous is that our own “civilized” culture has become so out of balance. We have our noses stuck in our phones instead of meeting eye to eye. We take walks in Nature looking at our emails and social media networks instead of interacting with the plants and animals who live there. Unfortunately, the further we get from connecting in with the implicit spirituality in our environment, the easier it is to forget our actions have consequences and the more out of balance we become.
Indigenous people are profoundly connected to Nature. While our cultural psyches are more recently rooted in a dualism that singles Man out from Nature and gives him dominion over it the indigenous recognize that we are all part of the same web that flows through all of creation. At the very core of their practices is a deep respect for the powers in Nature. Animal allies, for example, are important vehicles for connecting in with the Web of Creation. Each animal has certain aspects or characteristics that give it particular powers or energy to draw from. Power Animals, Totem Animals and Animal Archetypes are all ways the indigenous engage with the natural world regularly.
June 23, 2014
Looking at an upgrade in the way we "pray," something more empowering than waiting for the Big Guy to pick up the phone... There is a quote from the bible that says only drowning men can see him (Jesus)... What if we all have the power to manifest and we do not have to put this power in the hands of someone more... enlightened... than ourselves... What if we do not need to be drowning to see God? What if we do the personal work that keeps us stuck in lack and limitations... and then find, and hold, the vision of what we want instead... what if we consciously co-create what our heart desires instead of waiting for someone else to "save" us...? That God you are praying to... is within you too! What if praying is now tapping into the part of the Creative Force within you and manifesting what you need from there... it saves a whole lot of suffering... just saying...
December 08, 2013
The Shame of Imperfection
Reflecting on the great shame our culture asks us to feel about not being perfect...So many crimes against self, and others, start here. The crimes of self include not recognizing our own imperfections as our medicine. As Lao Tzu reminds us, true perfection seems imperfect, yet it is perfectly itself... but we are taught early that if we don't align with arbitrary standards we should be punished or feel shame.
The crimes against others shows up as seeing our own unowned "perfection" in others and resenting them for having it. When we stop seeing our imperfections as flaws and can instead see them more like the way the addition of lead to glass creates beautiful crystal, we can dance in the light our prisms shine instead of hide in its shadows.
December 04, 2013
Who Is Keeping Score?
The Creative Force creates always from a neutral place of Love... It is not punitive, it does not punish us for past deeds...
Instead it is we who punish ourselves... It is we who interpret things "going awry" as punishment... In fact, these are just moments for growth and evolution, no more, no less...
And it is we who perceive others' actions as punishment when we feel less than... because we have been taught to live in shame...The shame that comes from the sense of punishment has long been used to control people. Doesn't our cultural mythos say we were all born to "original sin"? This creates an uphill battle for salvation from the get go... It creates a person who is easily manipulated by shame... When we can accept circumstances without overlaying cultural morality onto them then the focus shifts to awareness and responsibility. Yes, karma exists... but WE create it, good and bad...Be responsible for your actions. Be aware of how your actions affect others. Forgive. Forgive others and forgive yourself. No one else is keeping score!
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