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?
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 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 01, 2013
Are you Thriving or just Re-carpeting Your Dungeon?
Someone asked me recently how a shaman truly heals and why the average person would need a shaman.
“The level shamanism works at is subtle yet very profound.” I replied. “Do you have patterns in your life that re-occur over and over again?” I asked. “Are you stuck in a loop or cycles that you cannot seem to break, do you have an injury that won’t heal or a chronic illness?”
“Oh, I don’t know, not really,” he said. “Right now everything is going pretty well; you never know when that other shoe will drop, but hey, I get along OK.”
“Exactly!” I say, “There it is...!”
Embedded in the very way you see the world are limits that keep you merely coping instead of thriving. While shamans remove the imprints behind illness and injury they also work with the subtle beliefs that keep you locked into un-empowered lives. Waiting for the other shoe to drop is a coping mechanism designed to avert unmet expectations. It says things may be going well now but don’t get your hopes up, disaster is around the corner. Believing this we avoid disappointment when things go south, but woven into it is the next disaster, waiting to happen. We all have countless maps like this in our psyche shaping our lives, some personal, some handed down to us through our families.