Elemental Balancing Ritual Stillness Month 13: Shame

Eligos 10-22-15 When you have a reaction to a situation, its worth spending some time pulling it apart. Yes you can feel whatever emotions come up, but afterwards explore why you feel that way and what created that feeling of tension and reaction. Unfortunately as easy as this is to write, to do it can be harder to execute. People can think they are doing internal work by simply recognizing what they feel and that's a good first step, but to really do internal work involves actually working through the feelings and understanding the conditioning involved. For example, I recently had a situation come up where my name was associated in a manner I hadn't been notified about. I felt upset for a few different reasons, but after the situation was resolved, I spent some time exploring what I felt and connecting it to other moments in my history, as well as pulling apart the reasons for my feelings. I stilled myself to really uncover what was underneath the reaction and the result is that I feel I understand why I felt that way and I know I need to do some work around how I value myself, and why certain external cues bring up the feeling of not having value. If I just felt what came up, but didn't go deeper, there'd be no opportunity to meaningfully change the behavior and become a better person in the process.

10-24-15 Yesterday I was reading Awakening the Luminous Mind and the author talks about the importance of awareness. It's not enough to be open to an experience, you also need to be aware of it and aware of yourself. It might seem like awareness and openness should go hand in hand, but the author makes the point that awareness allows you to fully bring yourself into the space you are in. You aren't just there, but rather fully present. It's an interesting point to make and one I'm appreciating as I consider how aware I am when I'm in a given space.

10-29-15 The pain body and identity is the pain that defines your life and thoughts. It can be your desires and whatever you are attached to. It's also what stops you from fully coming into your own. Tenzin points out that genuine confidence comes from not having anything to lose and being fully open to stillness. I'm definitely not there. I can feel my pain identity and how it shapes me, but I can also acknowledge it and be much more aware of it than I had been previously and that is a huge step forward.

10-30-15 Today I worked with a facet of my pain identity, or rather I opened myself up to holding space with it and being still and as a result I felt it dissolve and clear away into space. It felt really good. At first it was just this block defining me, creating this identity around an issue and then I opened myself to it, really felt it and it just relaxed and released.

11-2-15 At this time of year I usually hit a place of burnout and this year is no exception so I've decided to give myself a month off to focus on and recalibrate my business. It's clear to me that part of my challenge is that I don't connect with people on an identity level, at least not enough. I'm saying that because I see other people who do and their writing is more personable on an emotional level. I've always been an information person, but that's not helping me with my businesses, so I'm taking some time to consider that realization and figure out what I can do with it, as well as wrap up a couple of projects.

11-3-15 Yesterday I wiped my whiteboard clean. I got rid of all the projects on it and it felt like I was getting rid of a lot of clutter. I wiped the board clean and created Tabula Rasa. It felt good. Later I put only the projects on it that need immediate action from me. I think I need to do that from now on...It just makes it easier for me to do the work well instead of getting overwhelmed by everything else.

I've also started working with Eligos, a goetic Daemon who has some interesting influences with both time and writing. I've actually decided to take ab break from my usual routines for November, prompted in part by him. Today I was thinking revising some of the writing on my website and he chimed in and said just let it percolate. Let yourself be still and just think about the writing and feel it. Don't rush it. So I'm not going to rush it. It'll still be there when I'm ready for it.

11-4-15 Today in a conversation with a fellow business owner and writer, it became clear that part of the issue I'm facing with my writing is that it's not heart centered enough...not the writing that needs to move people enough that they want to make a decision. I've felt that way before, but Eligos tells me I need to really sit with that realization and NOT write (Beyond what I'm doing here). That's tough, because I want to write and yet I know he's right (There's a pun in there somewhere). So I'm taking a deep breath and not writing. I'm being still and allowing myself to get in touch with my identity as a writer. Also in that conversation I recognized how much academia still influences my writing, and that's fine for the books, but not so much for online writing, not if I want people to read and comment and otherwise care about what I'm doing. I've got lots of ideas swirling and I know that what I need to do is just sit with them. It's hard to do, but worth doing as well.

11-6-15 Today I saw the activity of someone I consider a competitor and I felt some jealousy because this person is pretty successful. Then I really sat with that jealousy and I realized something profound. Underneath that jealousy, the root of what I felt was shame. The shame of not feeling good enough, of not having everything in place and perfect. I really sat with that feeling of shame and just let myself hold space with it. It was hard because I realized how much shame has motivated my reactions and how much I've pushed it down and drawn on other emotions. And it doesn't just show up in my business or writing, but also in other areas of my life,yet I recognize that if that emotion is part of what's going into something I'm writing, it's certainly an influence on an emotional/energetic level and one I'd prefer not to have.

11-8-15 I looked at my whiteboard today and I was struck by the thought that I need to erase it at the end of each day and then in the morning only put on it what I think I'll work on that day. Otherwise I'm just seeing this list of things I need to get to and sitting with the reality that I haven't gotten to them. That creates its own sense of burnout I realize, because I'm reminded of what needs to be done and that I haven't gotten to it. It also clutters my mind instead of helping me focus. The potential downside is I might not remember something I need to work on, but as Eligos points out, if its truly important won't you remember it anyway? It's a good question. So I think I'll try that with the whiteboard...put on it what I think I can get to and then eras it at the end of the day. A clean slate opens the way to possibility.

11-9-15 I've started rewriting the magical experiments website. Part of my reason for rewriting the website is because I want my authentic voice to come through and I don't know that it always does. In some ways, I've gotten so caught up in trying to master a marketing/sales formula, but it hasn't really enabled me to present my voice, which ultimately hurts my efforts. So I feel really good making changes on the site, because I think it'll allow my voice to come through and give readers genuine access to me.

11-11-15 Today I did some deeper exploration of shame. I realize that shame has shown up in my professional life, in the sense that I have never really felt respected and have felt that I've always had to struggle to be recognized. I think at least some of that is a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I also know some of it is based on experience, particularly with how people treated my pop culture magic work (the last laugh is mine on that though). However I've used those experiences to continually justify a self-defeating perspective, a shame perspective that has influenced how I've presented myself, my writing and my businesses. It's not something I care to continue to do and so this recognition is important because with it I'm able to change that internal narrative that has otherwise held me back. I feel the shame in my heart, solar plexus and belly physically. The essential message of that shame is I'm not good enough...I'm a disappointment, handed to me by my father who would tell me I was a disappointment for not measuring up to how he thought I should do with grades, or other activities. But this shame has continued with the feeling of workaholicism, the constant need to prove myself. You know...I don't need to prove myself anymore and I feel like any work I do will come from a place of genuine desire and joy instead of shame.

11-14-15 The last few days have been quite interesting. I got to see the New Alexandrian Library, and taught classes at Ivo Dominguez Jr's place (and I'm actually allowed to do a separate post about the library for this month since its a special occasion. And now I'm visiting my mom in York. It's weird being back in York after over a decade of not living here. There are places that are the same and places that have changed. I feel bittersweet nostalgia as I look at some of the places I visit, such as where I met my first girlfriend, first had sex, as well as just being in a place that wasn't easy to live in because I didn't fit the standard. Being back here is strange, and yet good. I get to see my mom after all.

In other news, I called on Eligos during my workshop, which he was cool with, but which also indicates that yes we're going to work more closely together. I'm still continuing to do a lot of work around shame. Even as I was teaching the workshops, I was carefully monitoring my own responses and reactions and caught some things I'll be exploring further because I think it'll help me work with shame even further.

11-16-15 I decided to sign up for a class on how to write for the social web. I feel anxious and excited. I'm a good writer, but I can be a better writer. Just as importantly I really want to make a living at what I'm doing and getting some help with that is well worth it. If you don't challenge your strengths, you'll never know how far you can really go.

11-18-15 In Awakening the Luminous Mind, the author makes an interesting point about hope that I've been mulling over the last couple days. He explains that hope disguises a hidden fear of lack within people and that if we examine hope we'll discover that it creates attachment about what you want to receive from other people...in other words a person hopes that someone will fill up their own sense of lack. In considering this perspective on hope, I've come to agree with the author. I recognize this in my feelings of hope. I want something or someone to fill up my sense of lack...which is really an unfair attachment to put on someone else. It also is a continuation of the lack because no one else can fill up the sense of lack you feel in your life (as I've discovered the hard way numerous times). This isn't to say hope can't be a good feeling to experience, because sometimes it can be, such as when you feel about a new job or hope about some endeavor you are doing. It becomes a negative feeling when you don't recognize the sense of lack that underlies it or how the hope is a form of attachment holding you back from being in touch with yourself.

11-20-15 I'm a brim with inspiration for my businesses! I feel excited about them! I haven't felt this way in a long time, but I do now. It's a marvelous feeling. This month off from my regular routines...I needed it. You can't get unstuck until you are willing to step away from what you are stuck in.

11-23-15 Something I've been meditating on the last few days is how you hold space with the feeling of shame you have around people you've harmed. It's not easy because what you're facing is your capacity to hurt people and recognizing that in fact you can and have hurt people. I think most people would like to believe they don't have it in them to hurt someone else, other than inadvertently, but if we're really being honest, I think if anything most people have the capacity and at some time or another do so deliberately, for whatever reason. Certainly I have done that and it's no easy thing to sit with, to realize what an utter bastard I can be, and yet also recognize how much of that is informed by my own insecurities and weaknesses and fears. And holding that while actually also holding space with someone you've hurt...even harder and yet oh so necessary if you are ever going to make things right (if they can be made right). I think working with shame is really opening some doors for me in regards to my sabotages and failures.