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Guiding You On Your Journey Of Self-Discovery


Nurturing Holistic Awareness & Growth

All About Shame: Part 2

I notice how my ‘shame shut-down’ has many roots during my teenage years and my time at school.

I was different (the only boy of colour) and I didn’t know how to fit in with other boys or either with the girls although it seems girls were more accepting of my performative personality.

Growing up, I wasn’t learning to be myself due to the many signals I received that my authentic identity was somehow unacceptable. I learned to mask my genuine traits—being considerate and honest seemed foreign because I was never taught to love myself just as I am. I wasn’t shown that it was ok to be brown, or that boys like me were respected. I never had someone who looked like me to look up to. This lack of representation made it difficult to see within myself the traits that were worthy of respect and admiration.

Instead I was exposed to a mash-up of projections. Reactions from people who didn’t look like me, reacting to someone who looked like me. Racism, fetishism, exoticism, superiority, privilege, idealised beauty, from the exclusion of people of colour being mentioned throughout my education to the lack of conversations about racial equality (this was the 80’s).I was left in the darkness with my own complex of feelings, not knowing how to fit in to a world that wanted something from me that I didn’t know how to give.

As an adult, my healing journey has required me to push away the world. Which has been counter intuitive for someone who has lived a very involved life, dependent on others. This self-created social-distance has been empowering for me. I have learnt to overcome my fears of being alone and prioritise the task of being honest with myself about the life that I have experienced. 

Turning your focus inwards to discover your personal truth is a liberating process, freeing you from the survival strategies you developed to adapt to a world that feels disrupted in many ways. This journey of truth seeking opens the door to self intimacy, authentic communication (with others), vulnerability, and trust. As you learn to see yourself in an unfiltered way, you gain the confidence to remove the masks you've been wearing and reveal your true self to the world. It also helps you to recognise these masks in others. In the past I was reactive to the superficial expressions of others in the world. Now I can sense when someone is hiding behind their words, I can feel when they are projecting their inner reality outward, and I observe when they are not in a mode of being receptive and responsive. These behaviours indicate that what lies beneath their surface is still a part of their unexplored self.

I step back and acknowledge that what may be happening within them is unconsciously dominating their experience and there is just not much space for anything else. But in the past I would internalise a lack of availability from others and give it meaning. This was a pattern that was rooted back to my school life and connected to the energy we call shame, which is a common feeling linked with experiences of marginalisation.

When shame stops me from expressing myself I usually hear these thoughts; ‘there is no space for your truth’, ‘you shouldn’t upset people’, ‘they will only reject you’, ‘what you want to say has no value’ and rationally I believe all of this to be true. So I make a choice to keep things to myself.

My shame keeps me small, keeps me avoiding confrontation, protects me and others from my rage against the system of oppression that I feel powerless to change. ‘There is nothing I can do’, ‘my vote doesn't count’, ‘I shouldn’t be disruptive’, ‘I don’t know enough to comment’. 

I have become so comfortable with the comments that some of them reside at a deeper level with my values. None-violence, inner peace, non-attachment, stillness. The sneakiness of shame is that it has been hiding in disguise within the moments of relaxation slowly shifting the boundaries so that my personal enclosure becomes smaller and smaller.

In the enclosure that my shame created, I feel safe enough to be with myself, fully, for the first time in my life I can experience myself uninterrupted. I can sit with myself through a spectrum of moments and welcome my depth in a way that feels expansive. I sat through my depression, I learnt to befriend my shame, I became humble within my fears and found a deeper experience of love each time I dissolved and unpacked an adaptive pattern. 

The counter side of the contraction of shame is the creative leap to think big, to manifest a big vision, to change the world as a way of controlling how life should be. There is a part of me that rises up and seeks out those edges where I can challenge what I can not accept as part of my mission. But if I am honest, what drives me is my anger, my rage, I don’t want to live in a world that causes people so much pain. I want to change the way schools educate teens. It is my rage that drives me to alchemise my painful experience into creativity and a vision of the future. My pain and rage are the fuel that have created the change within me, my pain is the source of my impulse to evolve. My pain is the reason that I seek freedom and deep connection. 

I have a dream… that one day we can all experience a regulated nervous system. A day when we all have an awareness of our bodies so that we can listen to the signals when experiences feel out of alignment. A nervous system that we consider as a source of wisdom letting go of all attempts to override because we have no desire to change the way the world is. A nervous system that we trust in enough to follow its guidance knowing that the moment it feels ready. it will unravel and reveal the secrets of the inner universe. 

What if our shame and our fear are divinity expressing itself? 

What if our shame and fear are guides that are leading us to our personal unravelling, our cocoon of transformation?

When we misunderstand shame and fear, they become dangerous to us, but is this because our minds are reacting to the feelings (sensations) in our bodies? It is how our minds react to those signals, consciously and unconsciously, that creates the issue? It’s not the signalling itself. Yet we are being taught to ignore the signalling, regulate our reactions and responses to a distorted world. 

A mind that has become identified with a story rather than just being attentive, is a source of many problems. Is it also true that a mind that is blind to what a feeling is teaching us, will also encounter problems? A mind that wants to take action to override the feelings, change the experience, control the world rather than learn about our bodies and our needs is a mind that is creating inner separation. A mind that is perpetuating the emotional neglect that is the disruptor of our time.

If your body says hide away but your mind wants to split away and do the opposite, if your body says protect and you condition your mind to override that impulse, are we perpetuating a lack of self-trust, trust in our bodies? Are we inadvertently creating separation within ourselves?

If we reprogram ourselves to adjust to a disrupted world are we less likely to feel the urgency to look at the real systeminc problems?

Is it possible that if we listen to our fears we will eventually find creativity and authentic connection without needing to deny our fears?

Is it possible that if we honour the signalling that the mind has labelled shame, that we begin our process of metamorphosis? If the mind doesn’t give a story to the signalling of shame, is it the same signal the caterpillar acknowledges when it knows it is time to find a safe place to hide so that it can be still in the darkness, sacrifice its body and begin the process of transformation into the butterfly. 

Has our culture misunderstood our feelings so much that our narratives for understanding these signals have inverted because we choose to understand them socially, culturally, psychologically, rather than through the lens of the divinity of our biology?

Sure the roots of my shame can be traced back to childhood and a psychological approach may guide me to overcome this feeling of shame because relationally shame does not serve me. But this approach is a mental one that is still a relatively recent way of seeing. If divine biology is a lens through which we can find wisdom, maybe it’s time to explore a new approach. The build up of the energy the mind labels as shame could be a biological timer that is set to be felt at its most intense level when it is the time to find a cave, turn within and dissolve an aspect of the ego so that we can become something new. What if the signal we label as shame is the first signal of our inner navigation to begin the process of rebirth?

Rather than by-passing our suffering and creating communities of idealised positivity where self-regulation becomes a form of self-policing. Maybe feeling the signal of our fears in our bodies will bring us together in our vulnerability to speak about our collective problems and unify our creativity to find the solution to what we are all afraid of. Maybe our primitive mind that we are told is holding us back, is actually our divine biology being activated. Maybe the consciousness of our planet, the collective awareness of our species, is signalling to us. Now is the time to be vulnerable in our fear, now is the time to turn in and transform. Could these signals be the pathway to save humanity because to override, deny, ignore these signals now will cause greater internal separation later?

I slowly began to learn how to speak from the seed of my awareness that I hold at my centre. 

Now when I allow life to come in, it flows straight into my core. 

It was the signals that were labelled as shame and fear that guided me here. Feeling anxious interrupted my attempts to live old patterns, and because I listened I now know my truth.



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