Shame, Shame, Shame

Brene Brown and Jen Lemen are leading a really fascinating online workshop called http://hopefulworld.org/class/orindary-courage-lessons-in-love-shame-and-worthiness, which I’m taking right now.  In it we’re exploring the concepts of empathy and shame.  Shame especially is a tough one for me.  How often do we, women in particular, miss living our lives to the fullest possible limits because shame keeps us trapped?  I think shame is one of the most detrimental emotional forces in our lives today.

One of the reasons I love this course and Brene’s Book I Thought It Was Just Me is that they talk all about building up shame resilience. This is something I’ve so needed in my life. I think about how often I keep quiet in a big important work meeting because “how could I have anything relevant to contribute to this meeting” or “who do I think I am?” But why is my voice any less important than anyone elses?  Why do I think my thoughts are any less valuable than someone elses? Or other times when I’ve held back telling people I’ve just met that my real passion in life is writing, and that I dream of writing full time for myself.  I cringe to think what they’d think of me if I shared that.

Take any of these examples (I could write a post about each of these on their own, which I think I’ll do):

Beauty – The size of the global beauty industry is upwards of $300 BILLION dollars, crazy.  Think about it, the beauty industry makes billions and billions by making women feel poorly about themselves.  You have wrinkles?! You have hair on your arms, crazy?! By making women feel shameful about their appearance, they lure them into buying their products.  It makes me crazy watching commercials on TV where they have 18-year-old women in the ads for “age minimizing serum.”

Food and Body Image – How many women do you know that “bond” over complaining about body parts, or what they eat.  Food is a wonderful part of life, it nourishes and sustain us, but there’s this prevalent message that women are not allowed to partake. Women must deprive themselves to be physically attractive.  We’re also inundated in the media with an onslaught of images of one perfect body type that’s rarely ever occurs naturally – itty bit wait, big boobs, round bottom.  I love going to the museums to look at old works of art that showcase women’s voluptuous and health, normal bodies.  I’m incensed that this impossible standard is held up as something any woman should be able to easily achieve with enough “discipline” (ack, yuck).

Career – Women are supposed to charge ahead and be like men at work to really succeed.  Women lose both ways, if they’re great at their career then “oh horrors” their family must be a disaster if they even have one.  Then from the family side they’re forced to be it all, and stay home and raise the kids themselves, without being overbearing, indulgent so on and so forth.  It’s all very confusing.

Well this turned into much more of  a rant than I intended.  Bottom line: shame is one of the biggest barriers to living with an open heart.  There’s a fear that if someone else sees all my biggest wishes, hopes, desires they will make me feel small, they will tell me I’m silly or stupid. If they see my wrinkles, or my thighs, or know that I cry in the morning before I leave for work and have to say good-bye to my kids, I’ll feel ashamed.  It create so much fear in letting other people see the real pieces of you.  I need to get out my shame blasters this week and challenge myself to be the real me.  It’s funny when I take that risk and I show people the person I am they tend to like me more and want to know more.

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I did it! Two Mondo Beyondo Dreams Accomplished

Well this post is a little over due.. but I have some celebrating to do!! I got to check off two really huge dreams off of my  http://www.mondobeyondo.org/ . (I have adding my Mondo Beyond list to the website on my check list of things to do. I’ll get a page up with the whole list, soon. Promise. ) It’s essentially a list of all of my biggest craziest dreams that I’d love to accomplish at some point in my life.  I created it during an online class I took, Mondo Beyondo taught by Andrea Scher and Jen Lemen, where the groundwork is laid to make this list, and begin acting.

I rush through transition so quickly.  This time I really wanted to let it sink in that I’ve accomplished two dreams.

Checking off:

– Quitting working in PR forever and always

– Working as a full-time writer

Woohooo.  It only took me five years following college to figure that your work needs to be something you enjoy, something you’re passionate about.  I took the time to do that, and I’m finally, finally moving towards it.  I quit my job at a PR agency and will never look back.  In the next few days I’ll start my newest endeavor working as a writer at a local non-profit organization.  Yeah! This is essentially two of my dreams jobs combined into one.  Can’t wait to see where this takes me.

Most importantly I need to remember that the baby steps are what got me here.  It was one random online job application.  The small things really do count.  I’ll work harder at doing that.

Seeing What’s In Front of You

WARNING: this video may make you tear up. I definitely did, but I’m posting it because I think it has such an important message.  If you don’t take a second to see what’s right in front of you, you’re missing a world of opportunity.  Next time you have the opportunity, don’t miss the chance to connect. Show someone they’re not alone.

At one of the saddest points in my life I was sitting on a beach watching the sunset and felt completely lost and alone.  I must have looked it.  A complete stranger, teenage surfer boy with a gaggle of friends said to me “look where you are, you’ve got to smile.” I smiled and he said, “there you go I knew it’d be a pretty one.” He walked off with his friends, but my whole night shifted.  I didn’t feel invisible anymore and I managed to enjoy the rest of the sunset.

Without further ado, here’s Moby’s “In This World.”

 

Look out for the small signs, from the people right in front of you, and respond.

The Day We Have

“Nothing is worth more than this day” – Goethe

I’ve been procrastinating more than normal.  I’m a queen procrastinator, but I seem to have reached all new levels.  The above is a quote that’s on the cover of an old journal, one that I always remember.  There are so many cliches and quotes on the idea that the greatest gift we have is today.  But I find myself going back again and again to the concept, when I need a little jolt of something to wrench me away from the TV.  (Having 12 seasons of Law and Order: SVU at my finger tips, thanks to Netflix, has not helped in the procrastination department.)

Even writing this post, I’ve now checked iTunes six or seven times to find the perfect song to listen to while I write… sigh.  Why do I procrastinate?  Sometimes I start to think, why bother?  Why work so hard at chasing dreams I think might not ever materialize? Instead of taking a small step towards something I want, like finishing a chapter in the book I’m writing, I hide.  I hide behind the half bottle of wine that is now missing.  I hide behind the third episode of Law and Order that just ended.  I hide behind the entire box of Velveeta Shells that I’ve just polished off, though I’m not the least bit hungry.

In my experience, fear tends to be the culprit behind procrastination.  The little voice of doubt and fear whispers, and then procrastination sets in at full tilt covering up the real perpetrator.  I become too busy chastising myself for procrastinating to see that what’s really going on is that I’m afraid.

What am I afraid of? I’m afraid that I’ll work so hard at writing, and eventually God willing, I’ll write some really beautiful stuff, but that I’ll never be a “successful” writer.  What is a succesful writer, you ask? Well I’m really not sure. I’m afraid that I’ll never write anything good at all.  I’m afraid that I’ll fail.

The only thing I am sure about is that I love writing, and it brings me joy to put one word after another down on the page, and tell something that wasn’t there before.  I can’t influence what happens – I could be JK Rowling and I could completely and utterly suck.  I do know that today it’s going to make me a lot happier to work on that chapter, than it is to sit and let my brain turn to mush in front of the TV, sloshed and stuffed.

I ended up finishing that chapter, and it felt great.  So now to continue my spree you’ll see a few more posts that have been hiding in my drafts folder post shortly.

“How we spend our days is how we spend our life”  – Annie Dillard

Heart Heroes – Paul Potts

This is the first in a weekly or maybe biweekly profile of “Heart Heroes,” people (men and women) who embody open-heartedness in a way that’s moved and inspired me.

The Paul Potts story is one I love.  I found this clip a few years ago, and I watch it from time to time when I need a little pick me up, or when I’m feeling the air rush out of my dreams, having hit another temporary roadblock.

He was a contestant on Britain’s Got Talent in 2007, and his audition brings me to tears each time I watch. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Potts) A timid-looking man, he stands on stage a little apologetically and announces to the judges that he’ll be singing opera.  The judges share a few critical, knowing expressions before they cue him to begin.  You’re hoping against hope that he’s going to change their minds, and then he sings and you see a new person on stage.  You have to watch the clip below, I don’t think I can do it justice in recapping here…

What I love most is that no matter the fear, the anxiety, the self-doubt he may be feeling he holds on to his truth.  He owns it. It’s his dream to be an opera singer.  And you see it as he performs, it makes perfect sense.  Watching him live it on stage, and changing the minds of the doubtful judgest – you see yes, that is his truth.  Love this!