Look up and out
Then deep within
Seek silent spaces
Create sacred calm
Gratitude is a practice. A choice. Acknowledging the beauty amidst the dreary is a demonstration of courage. Keep on.
When we practice looking for the light in all things, we begin to trust it’s there, even when it’s not shining directly on us. -Sue Krebs
It’s been a dreadful week of illness, exhaustion, and loneliness. One of the things bringing me joy during distress is this photo my husband took of the moon on Tuesday. He sent the image in an email which read, “The moon for you.”
Looking for the light, looking for the good, and practicing gratitude have proven to be as effective medicines as the concoctions the doctor sent me home with yesterday. I am grateful for all things which help me heal.
Shame is the intensely painful feeling that we are unworthy of love and belonging. -Brené Brown
A spreading warmth on your cheeks. Tears prickling in the corner of your eyes. The crushing chest pain of feeling unlovable. That’s shame. To recognize it, to anticipate it, to speak it- this is how we build resilience.
All of us experience shame. And shame is never going away. But if we can get familiar with how shame feels in and on our bodies, and know when we’re in it, that’s a great first step.
I know how shame feels in my body. It begins with a blow to the chest, then my stomach coils up. My shoulders shrug, my face turns down. There’s a weight on my back and a knot in my throat. It’s hard to speak without choking. The tears could fill a jar.
I know the messages shame whispers in my ear. It tells me to run and hide. To be silent. To disappear. It tells me I’m too much. It tells me I’m too little. It tells me I’m innately wrong, and because of this, I’ll never belong. Shame tells me no place is home.
Wow, just reading about shame evokes difficult feelings! It’s important to know shame, even if it makes us feel sick. Ignoring it, running from it, numbing it- these things don’t work with shame. This monster must be observed, full in the face.
While my resiliency journey still has me in the mire, I’m beginning to anticipate my shame storms. I am getting familiar with my triggers. The beast can be seen on the horizon. Although it can feel overwhelming to be so aware of shame and its effect in my life, I’m glad to be able to name the pain, and work to understand it. I am healing.
You can learn about shame, and how to become resilient to it on Brené Brown’s website.
Another black boy on the ground
See him fall, breath gone still
Begin to feel
Rage and sorrow bubble up
Tears enough to fill a cup
Bias prickles in my mind
Strip this child of humankind
Fight what longs to shield my heart
Recognize I play a part
Put Tamir where he belongs
Access deepest mourning songs
Struck by the news this morning that Tamir Rice, 12, was not given medical attention for nearly four minutes after being shot twice by police officers, I found myself in tears. I pictured my own sons suffering from physical pain and receiving no compassion. I didn’t hold that thought for more than a few seconds before my brain began to tempt me with relief. Biased and racist thoughts seeped into my mind. I tried to rationalize this shooting. I tried to explain it away. I am ashamed to write about this reaction, my brain’s attempts to ease my suffering and stifle my empathetic response to Tamir’s death, yet I believe these are the sort of difficult things that must be brought to light and discussed.
As a privileged white woman, I could easily succumb to the balm provided by an arena I didn’t build, yet have benefited from. It takes work to stay soft, to leave my heart exposed, to feel the pain of injustice, and to speak about my thoughts. This is work that has to be done. Please join me in softening into shared humanity, feeling empathy, and fighting the bias our culture spoon-feeds us. Let’s be courageous in action, risk saying the wrong things, and encourage open dialogue about racial injustice.
Writing prompt from WriteALM.