I am still today a shame driven creature when the right conditions arise. If in shame, I will tend to extremes to get out. If not in shame but at risk for it, I will tend to similar extremes to avoid it. I don’t care, really where that comes from. It matters that I know it and that there are two streams of practice regarding shame that I can avail in order to live a better life. I can practice towards avoiding known causes of shame, but while this practice is useful and necessary, a better practice is aimed at moving beyond shame into forgiveness and compassion.
I am so filled with the tendency to treat myself better than I may deserve in any condition, that I have often felt doubtful toward such statements as “the first person I need to forgive is myself.” In fact a minor condition of my shame is knowing that I give myself too much of a break. But here again, I must concentrate on the known predicament I am in. My insight is often profound but it is also distorted in ways I cannot see.
I am 64 years old. I have seen much come and go. Nakedness of all kinds is not such a big deal anymore. I have learned the truths of clothing, of walls, of mirrors, of truth telling and of deception, of double lives and disguises, and how to spin the truth into a lie. I am still the victim of this poem if I relax my grip.
A very good friend of mine tells me her code as a runner on the track and in her life, relentless forward movement. You cannot finish the 5k course and more without a vow to relentless forward movement. I agree. In my place in order to transform beyond a shame driven reactive creature living a grief stricken life, I must recognize I swim against a current that changes all apparent straight lines into curves of a backward tendency, that forces me to tack like a sailboat to move forward, that any rest I take will cause me to work harder to catch up later, that if I just tread water for a time, I will be going backward. My life cannot have any straight lines for long because the backflow always curves them. This metaphor goes on and on with useful applications. Relentless forward movement.
It is not grim, it just is.
You Wouldn't Like Me If You Knew
I am sitting blank
trying to say what I know
but it holds me back
even as I am here
willing and I thought, no fear.
You said secrets keep
me sick and I know
how they erupt like boils do
yet shame blankets all.
March 1, 2009 3:04 PM
4 hours ago