Follow up to “New Age Reality Check”

 

Sometimes some stillness brings clarity

It’s been a month since I wrote “New Age Reality Check” and I have done a lot of soul searching since then. It had been a long time coming, and I’m glad I had the chance to really sit with the dissonance I had been feeling. It helped me to get honest about how to clear that dissonance from my own life and how I want to move forward with my work.

For my own wellbeing and to support the overall wellbeing of my readers and students, I will be taking a huge step back from the New Age movement and beliefs that are often associated with it. I am not entirely sure how this will evolve over time, but for now, this mostly means taking greater care with my wording and my topics, as well as narrowing the focus of my work. To this end, I have redefined my mission statement.

My Mission Statement:
To be a guide to those who seek support in their basic wellness. To offer hope and coping tools for the multiple unique aspects of coping with a chronic illness. To uplift. To share practical ways that the chronic health journey can be a little easier and a little brighter. To be real, and honor that it hurts and it’s difficult. To remind that there is still joy to be found, even in our humanness.

Of course, this will mean some changes. While I will still offer the courses I have been teaching, some of my classes will be getting a revision in the near future to reflect a more grounded and clear approach. New classes will be added that reflect my new mission statement and my newly refined focus on supporting yourself during chronic illness. My focus in my writing will be support and encouragement in your overall wellbeing. In each newsletter, I will offer a short wellness tip or herbal support recipe, a short bit of inspiration, or a book review and recommendation. I will talk about real life and everyday issues we all face. I will address chronic illness, chronic pain, and differences in neurology in realistic and supportive ways.

I truly hope these new changes will support you well. They feel like a breath of much needed fresh air to me!

Here is your wellness tip for this newsletter~
Wellness Tip
When the weather gets cooler and the kids go back to school, it never takes long for the stomach viruses to start making the rounds. There are a few things you can do to help ward them off if you should happen to get exposed or feel the unpleasant tummy rumblings beginning. Eating healthy, with reduced processed foods goes a long way to helping your immune system stay strong and prevent illness. But we will still get sick now and then, unfortunately.

This ginger root tea is a powerful multi-level destroyer of stomach viruses. Ginger is anti-viral, so it slows the virus down greatly. It also soothes nausea and eases inflammation. That, combined with the anti-viral effects, make it the ideal option to sip when you have a stomach virus, or even if you have just been exposed to one and want to head it off.

To make ginger root tea, chop a one-inch piece of ginger root into pieces. I don’t bother to peel mine, but you can if you want to. Add the ginger root to a pan or a teapot. Pour 2 quarts of boiling water over it and allow it to steep for 10-15 minutes. Add honey to taste and freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1/2 to 1 whole lemon. Sip the ginger tea slowly, as tolerated. (If you are having diarrhea, you may want to leave the lemon juice out until this has calmed down.)

Diarrhea can be calmed in many cases by drinking rice water. To make this, add 1 cup of rice to 3 cups of water. Add a pinch of sea salt. Bring it to a boil and let boil for about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, then strain the water off. Drink this slowly.

In Peace, Love & Joy,
Angie Webster
Online Classroom
Facebook
Amazon Author Page

Did you receive this email on social media and want to subscribe? Sign up here.

New Age Reality Check

key-2471021_640Trust Your Experience. Always.

I have been concerned with some harmful beliefs that I realized had taken root in myself and other healers and spiritual practitioners. I may make some people angry by saying these things, but that is not my intention. In the past year or so, I have seen so much harm come from this, I feel I have to share my thoughts in case that maybe someone out there needs to hear it, and in the hope that no one else suffers needlessly. My hope is to share my experience, bring awareness, and possibly to prevent harm to others.

We often develop the belief that someone who practices healing, or who has a spiritual practice no longer has difficult life experiences, pain, illness, or imperfections. That they are not also hurting or broken. We often hold ourselves and each other to these impossible standards. Isn’t it strange that we seek out healing or spiritual practice because we have difficulty, feel loss, have pain, and all the other human emotions, yet the moment we enter the path, we believe that is all supposed to vanish forever?

Yet all of us are living human lives, and those include both happiness and hardship, pleasure and pain, joy and grief, fulfillment and loss. We aren’t going to be blissed out and abundant all the time, not even on the spiritual level. Here’s what I forgot: my spiritual practice was to help me face life, to see it clearly. That often helped me make better decisions, but it didn’t make life struggles vanish. And that wasn’t what it was for! It was not to help me pretend and run away. It was not to delete all difficulty, loss, change, emotion, or illness from my life. And it was definitely not to fulfill all of my greed and desires. Rather, it helped me to see them clearly and face them honestly. My spiritual practice helped me to see that life is constantly changing. Even my inner world. Just being still with that brought me peace and the serenity to be OK with never being able to grasp permanence.

I developed my spiritual practice, not because I was healed and no longer suffering. I initially developed it for the opposite reason: because I was in enormous pain, physically and emotionally. My practice didn’t suddenly make me stop having human experiences or emotions. It gave me tools to be with them, to accept myself just as I was, even the pain. That doesn’t mean the pain isn’t painful, or that it doesn’t suck, or that I don’t still kick and scream for it to stop sometimes. It’s just that my practice reminds me that neither the highs or the lows are all there is. And the practice reminds me—over and over—to accept myself however I happen to be in that moment. I just accept that it’s what’s real right now.

I had spent much of my life not allowing myself to just be who I am; to accept myself. My practice began giving me back to me. I sought more information in energy healing for similar reasons. Tools for coping and for understanding myself better. But at some point, I began to believe that my brokenness wasn’t acceptable. I began to believe that if I felt something emotionally or physically painful, that I was doing something wrong, or wasn’t doing something right. Or that if I had a thought that wasn’t perfect peace and love, I was not attracting bad things to my life. Honestly, it sounds a bit silly when I read it. This was not what my original spiritual practice was about. I was just becoming overwhelmed with new age spiritual ideas and information, which seemed to be everywhere.

There is an undercurrent in the healing, spiritual, and “new age” community that we need to “raise our vibration” and that any illness, depression, setback, or difficulty we are experiencing is due to a failure at this, or to “unhealthy thoughts.” Or worse, that we have simply not tried the correct combination of crystals, essential oils, guided meditations, special diets, juice fasts, or exercise programs. Please stop listening to this! If you are sick, or if you are depressed, seek help! Sure, you can also use supportive measures such as nutrition and complementary healing methods, but also go to a qualified medical professional.

There is a strong need to pretend that all is—or even can be—perfect. That we never get sick and if we do, we know exactly how to cure it. That we can all be rich, cured of all health issues, and happy all the time. That is false and it doesn’t work. It is much more complex than that. When we get stuck on the idea that we CAN do all these things all the time, we make ourselves miserable. It is human to fear suffering and pain. And we want to cling to the things that tell us we have control over the suffering of the world; that we can keep it at bay somehow. We want to feel that the world is safe and that we are completely safe within it.

But in reality, the world is both happiness and sorrow, comfort and danger, life and death, vibrancy and decay. It is the way of Life and though we can observe it and participate in it, we can’t stop it. By chasing control and perfection, we will feel defeated each time we fall short. And we will always fall short because control and perfection are like mists in the sunrise. We can chase them forever, but they will always be out of our reach. In my experience, it is far more healing to put aside our attachments to an outcome, surrender, and be with what is. Which takes a lifetime of practice. A tough pill to swallow in an age where we want a quick fix for all things uncomfortable.

I have seen that we are harming ourselves by getting stuck in the belief that positive thoughts and the right diet will make all the unpleasant things go away. We harm each other because we hold each other to these false standards. In recent years, I have seen people lose everything and become homeless because they believed they could manifest whatever they wanted. Worse, I have watched a number of people die in the last year. Suicides in the spiritual community because they didn’t feel they could say that what was really going on in their lives or seek help. And others who have died or become very sick because they waited far too long to seek medical attention because they were afraid to admit that they had pain or illness or that their chronic health condition was worsening instead of being miraculously cured as everyone seemed to expect it would be.

It seems pretty important to hold space for where people are at, including ourselves. When we push away our own experiences or insist that others could stop having those experiences if they just did things the way we tell them to, we are NOT being healing or supportive. We are diminishing the life experience of another. And that prevents them from sharing, reaching out for support, or seeking appropriate help. It also prevents them from reaching out as they carry their burden. When you feel that your experience will be diminished with platitudes and subtle shaming, the thought of reaching out can feel overwhelming. And it leaves people completely isolated, feeling they are doing something wrong, simply because they are struggling, ill, grieving, or otherwise having a human experience.

As I have been dealing with my own health issues this past year or so, I have seen this pattern in myself very clearly. That need to pretend all is well, or that if I just found that one bad thought or low vibe thing in my life, I will get better. But I realize I am making light of my reality, my brokenness, my humanness, minimizing my imperfections. I have allowed myself to accept a different illusion, rather than continue the work of looking clearly and compassionately at reality. I don’t care to do that anymore. I have to return to the inner work that helps me see clearly. I have to drop the work that clouded my judgement and led me on false paths. I have to release the illusions, no matter how comforting they may appear at times.

I hope we can let go of this need for holding ourselves on a pedestal of perfection if we claim a spiritual path or if we are healers. We are hurting ourselves and others by perpetuating it. My original and abiding hope is to see with clarity and to live with compassion and truth. I can not do that by hiding behind a pretense of constant light. I know that the world is not simply the experience of light. It is far richer and more vibrant than that.

The Gentle Giant–A Guest Post

Post contributed by Jennifer Halldorson, MSW, RSW, Reiki Master

dog pixabyThis past spring, I came upon an animal Reiki course with Angie Webster and it was, for me, an incredible gift.  As a Reiki practitioner, I really loved the way I was able to integrate the practice of Reiki with the sharing of Angie’s wisdom, but most of all I loved the way it brought me back to reflect upon a gentle giant that came into my life eighteen years ago.

Eighteen years ago, I was 24 years old; I had just graduated from university and gotten my first job, which brought me out of the city to the countryside to begin a career. I found myself in an unfamiliar community and, looking back, I can say that I had no idea what was in store for me!  I had no idea that a journey of self-discovery was also awaiting me.  I don’t think I really knew then that I was on a healing journey home to my heart of hearts. I do know that the moment I met Tovin was the moment that left an imprint so vivid I hope to never forget because that was the moment I woke up to the remembrance of the “feeling” of my inner being.

Tovin fell into my world like a gentle feather floating on the breeze.  When I met him, his large brown eyes were filled with something my heart felt and knew on a level I could not explain. At the time, I had no idea that what I was feeling and attributing solely to him, was also within me… It was a beautiful opening; I had no idea I was coming home to my heart…this seat of my soul, this place of presence where I dwelled with such ease as a child.

I had lived in an urban area for many years while attending university and, being in the country now, I was excited about the opportunity of having a dog in my life. I began to ask around and let people know that I was looking for a dog to care for.  It was not long before I received word that there was a dog in the community that needed a home, however, I was also informed that I should not get my hopes up. He was, and had been, quite wild and mistreated for many years.

I learned that Tovin was flown out of the community by an educator who did not have the heart to leave him behind.  The educator and his family had taken a shine to him even though he was not very social. It was difficult for them to witness his suffering; they left food and water for him as often as they could.  Tovin had, as far as anyone could tell, lived on his own for about 6 years and endured his fair share of suffering.  I remember being astounded at his capacity for survival, 6 years is a long time to be without a feeling of “home.” After flying Tovin out of the community, the family did their best to re-socialize Tovin. However, it was not working out and came to what I imagine was a very difficult decision–they were going to have to let him go.

I went to meet Tovin, and as I approached him I saw and felt his beauty, his life, his heart, his love. He glowed….the light that surrounded him was incredible, beautiful, and so familiar….I asked him in my heart if he would like to come home with me, he rolled over and showed me his belly. I said, “Thank you. I love you,” and we began our friendship that lasted 9 beautiful years.

It has been an incredible gift to reflect on the relationship we had, and I am filled with so much gratitude for our meeting, as I know it was the beginning of realigning with the beauty of presence that also dwells within me. Indeed, Tovin and I had come together, and I greeted him from a place within that, for whatever reason, I had not been since I was a child. The astounded thought and feeling I had had at his capacity that he had not felt at home for six years, began to melt and expand as I realized I had not dwelt within my “home” for even longer.

It is not easy to explain that becoming a Reiki Master and completing the animal reiki course has given me such a precious gift.  I know now that when I met Tovin, I came home, diving deep within. There began an 18-year journey to uncover, learn, evolve, and grow many of the paths that this art of presence can bestow for myself and the world…the gift of Reiki and the reflective journey within the Animal Reiki Course being a beautiful one.

In love and life and deep thanks,

Jennifer and Tovin

 

Jen Halldorson (2) Jennifer currently works as a spiritual health specialist in the Canadian Health Care System, she is an avid student of life and spends as much time as possible cultivating artful presence in daily living. One of her greatest joys has been studying and practicing as a Reiki Master and loves to share its infinite gifts for the highest good of all willing hearts; human, animal, and nature alike. More recently Jennifer’s own healing path unfolded a love and passion of writing, and in particular; writing poetry; she loves to align with her inner being enter the flow of loving life consciousness through her heart of hearts and breathe the vibration of the poetic works free. Jennifer awoke to her healing journey eighteen years ago and has learned to incorporate different spiritual practices throughout the day to maintain balance while in service to others. Jennifer has found her true purpose in consciously choosing to be a light of loving awareness unto herself for the expansion and highest expression of love for all as this is the greatest gift she can give to herself and in turn offer the world.

Writing a Self-Healing Letter to Free your Energy & Balance the Solar Plexus

butterfly-2032295_960_720New Beginnings are Everywhere!

Each spring, it seems as though we move right along with the cycles of Nature to clear out the old and stagnant to make way for new energy to move in and lift us up. The whole world is awake and alive with new beginnings and it can be to perfect time to allow this same energy into our own minds, spirits, and bodies to create shifts, healing, and awakenings.

When I first became interested in energy medicine, I had the most earnest and deep intention and desire to know more about it. I didn’t know for certain how that would come about or what I was meant to learn, but I knew that this was a new connecting point to the very helpful world of plants & herbs, animals, and Nature which had taught me and helped me so much.

Yet, I felt stuck. I couldn’t find my way to move forward and really didn’t understand who I was. I had no idea why I was stuck or what to do about it. Finally, I worked with an energy healer who practiced pranic healing. She did a huge amount of clearing in my solar plexus, sacral, and root chakras. Afterward, she told me that I was holding a huge amount of my personal energy back in these chakras, especially my solar plexus. Then she gave me a wonderful tool, which I will share with you today.

The solar plexus is the center of our personal energy, our power center, so to speak. It connects all the energy of the lower chakras, the body, and the Earth, with all of the energy of the upper chakras, mind, spirit, and the Cosmos or Heaven. When the solar plexus is blocked or imbalanced, we can’t easily clear any blockages in the sacral or root chakras. We can’t access and use the energy or personal spiritual power that we are given by the Divine. We don’t feel really at home in the world or in our bodies. We may feel unsafe in loving expression, due to the imbalance within ourselves. Moving forward becomes very difficult or impossible without balance and flow in the solar plexus. Many people remain stuck or caught in repeating cycles because of imbalances here.

To help yourself clear and balance the solar plexus and the lower chakras, write a letter freeing yourself from anything that you feel binds you or your energy. This may be old resentments, regrets, unhealthy relationship patterns, limiting beliefs and ways of thinking. It could also be ways that you identify yourself that no longer feel appropriate. You will never send this letter, so you can freely write to who or whatever you need to.

Before you begin, take a moment to sit quietly and really look within. Notice all the places that you feel stuck or don’t feel able to be authentically you. Notice any areas where you feel a desire to move forward, but something is holding you back. Then simply start writing your letter, addressing each of these situations that arose within you. Let it flow out of you freely onto the paper. Write to all of the people, circumstances, belief patterns, regrets, or resentments that you wish to release or view differently. Remember, no one will see this letter but you, so say whatever you need to so it can release and heal.

At the end of the letter, see if you can find forgiveness for yourself, the other people, and situations involved. You may choose to keep your letter to look back once a year or so and see your progress. Or you may choose to tear it up, bury it or burn it (safely), offering the healing intention to the Earth. Whatever you do, it is important that you not send the letter to anyone you addressed in it. This letter is only for you and your healing.

Writing is such a beautiful tool to help us explore our inner world and heal it. I hope you try this tool. I am forever grateful to the pranic healer who helped me find my personal spiritual energy again by telling me about this tool.

Blessings,
Angie
angie-webster-healing.thinkific.com

Something Special for You!
I have something special for you this week! Fellow Reiki Rays author Paula Vanderzon has a wonderful course called Soul Writing, which she is offering to my readers for 20% off this weekend. (May 12-15, 2017.)

Early last year, took Soul Writing myself and it was wonderful! I loved Paula’s course so much, I have begun recommending it to my students. I recently asked her if she would be willing to extend a discount to my readers and she graciously agreed. Soul Writing teaches a form of automatic writing which helps to guide you back into alignment with your own soul. It is a beautiful, simple, and empowering tool to use in order to work with your spiritual energy as you were designed to.

To check out Soul Writing and enroll, click here or copy and paste this link into your browser:  http://www.paulavanderzon.com.au/soul-writing-course.html

In order to receive your 20% discount, enter the coupon code SOUL20 during the checkout process.The coupon is valid for this weekend and the special will end on May 15, 2017. Enjoy the class!

 

Paula Vanderzon, Soul Writing Class. 

 

 

 

Plants are Our Energetic Allies

dandelion-54314_640

I have always found a deep energetic connection in Nature and her plants.

Sometimes I find myself getting a bit disconnected, but she always calls me back. The flowers, trees, and plants send their loving medicine to me, even if I’m not listening or I don’t fully know how to receive it.

A few years ago, I started receiving messages from the plants during energy healing sessions. I would get an image of a plant or a tree and understand on a deep level that this plant offered medicine that was needed for that particular situation or person. It wasn’t that the person needed to consume the plant, I simply needed to call upon that plant’s energy to allow the energetic plant medicine to flow through and help healing take place.

When this first began happening, I was fascinated! I would look the plant up after the healing session to see what healing properties it held. I always found that the plant was ideally matched in some way to the concerns of that particular client or situation.

In many cases, I was personally led to the perfect herb to help me heal from a particular health issue or a flower essence to help shift an emotional block. This all led me strongly back to my lifelong fascination with Nature, plants, herbs, flowers and generally with being outside and connecting with the Divine Life Force all around us. I returned to making my own herbal remedies and began using plant energetics in my life on a regular basis.

Life does tend to get busy and things happen that seem to come out of nowhere. Sometime in the last year, I found myself so caught up in the tasks of everyday life that I began to forget the plants and flowers again. I still called upon them on occasion, but I could feel myself ignoring my need to re-connect, insisting that I was too busy. Each time I did this, I felt a part of my inner self wither and die. I felt sick inside. And I began to actually feel physically sick, in pain, and thinking in a lesser vibration. I was shutting myself off from that which fed my life force.

One day, in prayer and meditation, I asked to be connected to and nourished by the River of Life. I often do this, but this day I was feeling lost. I suddenly felt a warm, motherly presence that I recognized as the Divine Feminine Aspect of Life—or what many may call Mother Mary. She seemed to be all around me and within me. She said to me, “The River of Life is inside of you and all around you. You are never separate from it. You only need to breathe to remember your connection to it. It is with you always and you can never part from it. You are swimming in it.”

I felt an immense peace. And I remembered the flowers and plants. I remembered my connection was in all of life, on both an energetic level and a physical level. Yet, I had to find my way back to actually applying it, undoing the blocks I had built up in body and mind.

Around that same time, the plants began visiting me in my dreams. First, there was chickweed and calendula. Then dandelion and violet. Soon nettle joined, and then oat straw. Each time a plant would show up, I felt instantly lighter and freer. They were working with me on an emotional level. I also knew enough about these plant’s properties to realize that they were ideal for the physical issues that I was having.

Once the dandelions, chickweed, and violets made their arrival this spring, I went to visit them in person, to pick some for physical medicine and to receive their healing presence. The simple scent of them each time is enough to heal my heart and mind!  Sitting with them in ordinary silent prayerful communion heals my spirit and reminds me of my truth. Consuming them as food, teas and tinctures has been deeply healing to my body as well.

I have returned to my practices of communing with the plants, trees, and the Earth. They are my connection to the Divine, and they are my medicine—on so many levels. It has been the experiences that I speak of here that have encouraged me to teach my Herbal Basics Class this summer. And more classes later on plant energetics. I have felt the nudge for a long time and I am so glad the Divine Mother opened my heart to listen!

Blessings,

Angie

angie-webster-healing.thinkific.com

To subscribe to my newsletter and receive regular updates, subscriber only specials, and a FREE Release Ceremony PDF, click here and sign up!

The Magic of Acceptance

person-1357485_640

Acceptance is a Magical Energy.

When I say ‘acceptance,’ I don’t mean simply hanging your head and giving up. That is resignation. That is a loss of hope. Acceptance is the ability to look around and assess where you are right now, in this moment in time, this very second, and just breathe and recognize this is reality, and be okay with that. To not judge the moment, or yourself in a negative way, but to simply allow it to be what it is. You don’t have to like everything about where you are and you don’t have to be ready to stay there forever. Just find a space where you can breathe and notice that you are okay, right in that moment. You’ll find that from a place of acceptance, you can often see the light well enough to notice what the next baby step forward is for you.

Each day as you wake up, spend a moment noticing your surroundings and your life. Take in the sights and textures of a few things around you, notice how your body feels, be with life. Don’t judge it. Just notice. Try and find at least one thing that you can be okay with, or even loving towards, in what you witness. It can be really, really small. Then notice at least one thing you can be accepting and loving towards in yourself. That part is even harder for most of us. It was for me. (And often still is.) But working with self-acceptance is really vital to healing all the underlying emotional energies in your cells and changing any self-defeating thought patterns that may have become ingrained in your mind.

There was a prayer that I said to myself every morning in the shower for a very long time, which helped me to find and understand acceptance. I still say this prayer when I am facing a difficult day. Prayer helps us call upon the larger energy all around us in a conscious way and to center our own mind. It doesn’t have to be focused on a religious affiliation. Even the simple mental wish for strength or for someone to have a good day can be seen as a prayer. This prayer is called the Serenity Prayer:

Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The Courage to change the things I can,

And the Wisdom to know the difference.

In many ways, when we accept where we are, we have to let go of certain things. We hold many expectations about things—expectations about the way things should go, about how others should behave or think, expectations about ourselves. Most of the time these expectations don’t turn out to be exactly what happens in reality. When we spend our time and energy thinking reality should match the image we have in our heads, we create energetic resistance. It is a state of disharmony and it is a lot like trying to force water through a blocked channel. It won’t work, but it can surely cause struggle and pain.

One of the fastest ways to change the way you feel about a situation that you have no ability to change is to let go. Accept that you have no control over it. For example, you cannot control someone else’s behavior. It doesn’t matter what the behavior is or what you do or say about it, in the end, you aren’t in control of it. Letting go of that allows you to find space to see options for either learning to accept the behavior lovingly or find distance enough to be free from it.

In any situation, including illness and pain, you can only control your part and your responses to the situation. Trying to control the rest of it is exhausting and anxiety producing. It won’t work in the end. But you can tune in to how you feel about the situation and respond in the most open, kind, and loving manner for everyone concerned—including yourself.

Lovingly letting go of the things you can’t change allows you to see options for the things you can change. Accepting what is allows you to open to Universal Life Force. It brings in trust that all things will pass. You can really begin to notice that this is true. No emotion or situation stays forever. They all shift at some point. Opening your energy channels to allowing Universal Life Force to operate through and around you each day acknowledges that you are aware that you are part of a larger whole and can’t see the whole picture. But you allow room for the mystery of the picture, even when you can’t see all of it.

(An adapted excerpt from my book Infinite Reiki, Infinite Healing.)

Blessings,
Angie

P.S. Pre-registration is now open for Herbal Basics: Creating Your Family’s Apothecary. This online class will be fully released on June 30th. Those who pre-enroll will receive a free PDF as an early preview of the class so they can get started now. Early enrollees will also have early access to class the material as it posts. Join us and learn how to create a few simple, basic recipes to have on hand to support your family during colds, minor cuts, scrapes or burns, and stress or sleeplessness! Pre-registration price is $55.

elderberries

Learning to Love our Inner Enemies

boy-666803_640

Loving our enemies needs to start inside ourselves. Each of us has a dark part, a side of ourselves we don’t like and may not want to acknowledge. This is our own internal enemy or shadow self. This aspect of ourselves is the part of us from which we react to people and situations most strongly. Imagine situations where you react out of strong fear or anger, or when a person just rubs you the wrong way for no apparent reason. This is the part of you that judges. It judges you and shows you all the things others have judged you for. It causes you to react in judgment to others. This internal enemy is where shame comes from.

We are very fearful of our internal enemy. We want to conceal from the world and even from ourselves, the parts of us that we don’t want to look at. They hurt too badly to tend to. These are our own inner open wounds, the crying child in our soul. But we feel unable to help because they hurt so badly. So, often we look the other way just as we would when we feel afraid of the gore at an accident scene or the need of a lonely beggar. We leave it, hoping it will go away. Doing this is causing more pain, of course.

Imagine an injured child coming to you, bleeding and crying. If you strike the child and tell it to go away, you cause further injury in numerous ways and the child cries louder. If you soothe the child and reassure it, tending to the injury, then it stops crying and the bleeding soon stops. When we ignore our own internal cries out of fear, it is as if we are striking a bleeding and crying child who has come to us for help. We create shame over having these feelings and needs and then we create new shame over the behavior we demonstrate when we don’t acknowledge our own needs.

We all have a shadow self that we ignore. And we have all seen and experienced the many expressions of this fear and shame, this disconnect from our inner selves. We see and experience it every day, directly and indirectly. It can come through overt means such as any form of judgment against self or others (self-harm, self-abasing speech, racism, classism, homophobia, religious exclusion, etc.). It can also be more hidden, such as when a person fears speaking what they feel or believe, saying what their needs are, or hiding their true self out of fear (subconscious or otherwise) that they will be “seen”. It can arise in co-dependency, dishonesty, or manipulation. We all judge and hide to some degree and more in some situations than in others. Extremes can cause physical and/or mental illness to differing degrees when the same cycles keep repeating unnoticed and unhealed.

Shame is not the same as guilt. Guilt is that uncomfortable flickering emotion that we experience as a sinking feeling in our stomachs and a clenching in our chests. It lets us know we have just done or said something that falls out of step, out of alignment, with our greater good. We have done or said something that created cognitive dissonance.

Sometimes when we feel guilty, the negative consequences are seen immediately and so the reason for the guilt is clear. Other times we may need to take a deep look at how we have come out of alignment with our greater good. Guilt serves as a red flag to tell us to do this looking. It is not helpful if we carry it as a punishment in order to continue feeling bad over and over. This will only keep us out of alignment, leading to shame and holding us back from doing the necessary work to break the cycle of negative consequences. We can’t think or see clearly when we are feeling upset. We think at our best and resolve issues in our highest form when we are in a clear and positive state of mind. So it is most helpful if we can thank our mind and body for offering the red flag to us in the form of guilt feelings, acknowledge the feelings, then let go of the guilt and move on to resolving the behavior that created it. Staying stuck in it is more likely to leave the problem unresolved and thus lead to the behavior (and the guilt) returning.

Shame runs very deep and can control our every move and thought–our programming. It does not leave until we understand and heal the pain from which it came. Changing a behavior won’t solve shame, though we often believe it will. This belief is what leads some to use shame and fear as a tool to correct behavior. The fear of punishment, fear of Hell, fear of the apocalypse, and fear of loss are used as pervasive tools to control behavior. Individually we may fear things such as exclusion, bombs, all the way down to spiders. The fear isn’t wrong and it doesn’t even mean that the things we afraid are not or were not real, but being stuck in the fear does not help us stay safe or satisfy our needs for happiness and growth.

Fear is at the bottom of shame and every other negative emotion. When we can see that we are fearful, sometimes that is enough for the fear to dissipate. Other times, we see a deeper wound that we need to heal. If you don’t see the fear, and then the wound, you can’t heal it. Seeing is the first step. Sometimes it won’t be any more difficult than acknowledging the fear and that you are willing to face it. Again, I see it very much like acknowledging an injured or frightened child. Sometimes just a hug and letting them know they have been heard is enough to calm them, other times it takes some time and some pressure on the wound, and there can be times that need professional help, but often, a hug is all it takes.

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.” –Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

When you are stuck in the fear/shame cycle, the only thing you can see is to avoid the thing you are afraid of, usually at all costs. This is very limiting and defeats the purpose in the bigger picture. When you can be at peace, having dissipated the fear, you can see the bigger picture much more clearly. We can’t see where the pain-shame-behavior cycle started if we continue to add shame to the behavior. Again think of a child, but this time think of one who has hit his sister. Clearly, you don’t want the child to hit his sister. But you have choices. You can ridicule and criticize him in various ways, even humiliate him, thinking this will teach him not to hit. Or you can find out what caused him to hit in the first place and really listen to all of his feelings. He will better hear you if you hear him and he will trust what you say. Understanding is much more important and useful than fear and shame. We need to do this for our inner ‘enemy.’

When someone is honestly heard they can heal amazingly quickly. That healing causes the shame to go because shame comes from pain and it is self-perpetuating. If the negative behavior is what you want to get rid of, then treat the root cause, not just the symptom! The behavior comes from the pain, which creates the shame we all recognize so well at some level.

We need to heal ourselves by seeing, honoring and loving our own enemy deep inside, recognizing it as part of ourselves and becoming fully whole. Patience and practice are necessary, but if we implement these with ourselves first, we will become masters at loving others.

Blessings,

Angie

angie-webster-healing.thinkific.com