Tag: kevin brown
I must confess that I feel like I don’t know anything anymore. Everything that I thought I knew just does not seem right. I have lost certainty. I used to think that I had answers, but that feeling is so foreign to me currently. Discussions that were once riveting have started to fade into mindless uninteresting banter. When I listen to other people express their ideas, I am unable to find them interesting. It goes in, and all I think is that they have nothing new to share with me. Even when they are so adamant that this is the newest thing, my mind says we’ve been here before; nothing new here. When I try to listen with my heart, I get the warm feelings of “Yay! They’re coming around!” but hearing age-old ideas being presented as “new” when this information has been so easily accessible for years does not captivate my novelty-seeking mind. I try to let go of judgment when it comes to these situations, but I also find it disingenuous to rebrand concepts that were rejected earlier based on their associations.
I am feeling a bit lost and disillusioned. In order to save and liberate myself, it is time for me to be honest with others and myself. Why must I force myself to feel like I have no voice in order to protect relationships that appear to be one-sided? What am I to do when my ideas are met with accusations of proselytizing or spinning semantics? How should I feel when someone else presents the same ideas later and is met later with glorious applause? Is it my ego that is making me feel like this? I tried to convince myself of this, but this approach is leading to apathy. My ego is also responsible for my thinking that I have to check my ego so that I don’t fall out of line. My present feelings of knowing nothing anymore are a product of “turning the other cheek” over and over again.
After some introspection, the following is how I understand the relationship with the ego. Integrating the ego is not about dissolving it so that you lose your personal feelings and individuality in order to become a listless member of the hive-mind. Integrating the ego with your spiritual being means that you won’t measure your self-worth against others. It means that you will create your reality instead of reacting to the reality that is around you. It is about liberating yourself from self-limiting thoughts and behaviors. Checking your ego doesn’t mean that you cannot assert yourself while another person is leading a diatribe at your expense! A healthy ego will not let another person’s words and actions diminish your feelings of self-worth, and having a healthy ego does not mean capitulating to the other person’s ego. It’s ok to call someone out on their BS; it just may require more tact than it really should in some cases.
But what the hell do I know? I know nothing… That’s ok… Somehow I still feel like I am on my way.
Letting go of the boxes seems like such a wonderful mantra these days, but if you are a packrat like me then you might be thinking “I can use this later”. Why toss out the baby with the bath water, right? The stuff we learn and unlearn on a daily basis isn’t simply boxes though. Defining something as “limiting” is another box in its own right. Beliefs can be limiting when one’s perspective is narrow, and that is where the “box” actually comes in. When someone decides to believe that all ideas are boxes, this belief is a box. Think about it as trying to keep such an open mind that your brain (discernment) accidentally fell out.
Why are boxes/categories so bad? They’re not! That’s “judgment”. When you narrow your perspective based on an idea, you are heading towards the danger zone. So maybe we should just define what a box is. In this context, it is a self-limiting belief; but in the new age circles we have this “box” epidemic of people conflating words and ideas and ignoring context. What we get next is any word that is used to categorize, compartmentalize, or “box” an idea in order to describe it falls on deaf ears because it is a “box”. No longer are we talking about self-limiting beliefs, but rather anything that is being fit into a category for conveying an idea. To put it bluntly, I feel this is a castration of the divine masculine, while putting blinders and earmuffs on the divine feminine, and the divine child is running amuck. (As if we even need those boxes anymore, right?)
Take for instance the words “judge” or “judgment”. They are words with so much meaning, but new agers have decided that any use of them is taboo. So when someone uses the word judgment not in the context of a negative subjective opinion, there is this knee-jerk reaction to the word automatically invalidating everything they have said. Take a look at this list of synonyms for judgment: discernment, acumen, shrewdness, astuteness, sense, common sense, perception, perspicacity, percipience, acuity, discrimination, reckoning, wisdom, wit, judiciousness, prudence, canniness, sharpness, sharp-wittedness, powers of reasoning, reason, logic. Context is important, and words mean nothing without it.
Now back to the boxes. When someone says the sky is blue, is this a box, an observation, or a fact? First we have to agree what the sky is and what blue is. Is this agreement a box? I have heard that words are limiting and, thus, boxes, but I would have to disagree. They are tools with a deep wealth of meaning, but if someone ignores context they become meaningless and limiting. So when the sky is blue, are we describing the color or are we describing the sky’s mood? The magic of context! There are no boxes inherent in the words; the only boxes that exist are the ones we place around them; these boxes can be quite useful so we can convey meaning to one another.
Boxes are everywhere! But they are only self-limiting if they are based on beliefs with narrow perspective. So when someone describes our ideas or words as “being in a box”, just remember that it is not our box that they are talking about. It is their own box that they have closed up around our words. If you have the need to point out someone’s box, just make sure you didn’t initially build the box, to which they are trying to conform. That’s pulling the rug out from under them after inviting them in.
So there you have it. If you like your boxes, have fun with them. If you want to dismantle boxes, just make sure they are your own. [Insert analogy about bully messing up a sandcastle here.] Boxes are limiting only if we don’t have the imagination to play with them, and if we do have the imagination, they cease to be boxes. I’m going to use my boxes to build a clubhouse and maybe even a rocket ship!
Facilitator, Trinity Energy Progression™
Over the past several months, I have been going down an ego spiral with self-judgement, judgement, and narcissistic thought patterns. I was angry with the lack of recognition for my contributions and I would bounce back and forth between judging others and judging myself. Then I was judging myself for being judgmental. In my professional life I was receiving a lot of praise and acknowledgement for my contributions and skills leading up to promotion after 7 months at a new job. I was humbled by the new opportunity, but I also felt uncomfortable by the recognition. I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling this way. I was feeling I was not good enough when I was not getting recognition and then not good enough to receive the recognition when it was given.
For this blog, I decided to present some the ideas from the psycho-social research I have been reading on shame and relate it back to alternative healing, primarily focusing on Trinity Energy ProgressionTM. In the energy healing circles, people like to criticize the established fields of science. However, I implore you to start keeping an open mind since everyone is shifting even in the science community. Labeling all science and research as being “3D” or “in-the-box” thinking is highly judgmental, especially if you have not read or considered any of the ideas, not to mention hypocritical if also quoting Carl Jung and misappropriating ideas from quantum physics. Who’s the fundamentalist now? LOL. The shame researchers are very out-of-the box thinkers; and have struggled to get their research published. It is a huge disservice to discredit them as being in league with the old paradigm. I am not going to bore you with research details here, but I will try to offer a balanced perspective to inspire you to look shame in the face.
Shame is a dirty word in our society. We don’t like to talk about it. We keep our shame hidden even from our closest friends. We are taught shame at an early age. We even place value on shame as way to maintain societal norms and traditions. Consider the phrase “Have you no shame?”. But shame is not beneficial; its basic function is to keep our true selves hidden. It is the ego’s greatest tool to keep us isolated and separated from each other. Shame cuts off our ability to connect with others and fuels denial, aggression, and judgement. Even healing facilitators are not immune to the effects of shame. The shame could come from current life issues, inherited from our parents, and perhaps past lives, but I believe it is something primarily perpetuated in the collective.
My focus on shame came to light after a friend lent me a lecture series given by Brené Brown. I finally started piecing together my behavior patterns with shame. Brené Brown’s lecture was like preaching to the choir for me. It did not necessarily tell me what I didn’t already know, but it did empower me with the vocabulary and a framework for how shame was affecting me. I would recommend giving “The Power of Vulnerability” a listen if you have an interest in the topic.
So what is shame? Shame is often conflated with self-judgement and guilt. However, I understand shame as not being the same as self-judgement or guilt. It is true that shame may seem to be a product of judgement, but we have to be taught shame first in order be affected by judgement. This is where the mirror comes in. When we judge others, we judge them on issues that we hold shame for ourselves, but we do not necessarily judge ourselves for that issue, which is the distinction. If we feel that if we are lacking in a topic or characteristic, we will judge someone else for excelling or under-performing in those areas. This is an ego mechanism/behavior to protect one’s separate identity by justifying or distracting from the way we feel about ourselves. To put it in another way: shame is a feeling related to self-esteem and isolation, and judgement is one of many thought-behavior patterns inspired by shame.
Consider the Compass of Shame developed by Donald Nathanson (1992) as a tool to describe behaviors, in which people engage when consumed by shame. The four patterns of behavior are “withdrawal”, “avoidance”, “attack others”, and “attack self”. Withdrawal is the behavior pattern where one seeks isolation from others. Avoidance is the behavior to deny or distract from one’s own thoughts and feelings. Attack others and attack self are pretty self explanatory. These are the shields that we put up to prevent ourselves from being vulnerable. As much as I do not wish to admit it, I feel that I have expressed all four behavior patterns over the past several months, but I know that this happened in order for me to finally say “enough is enough”.
I am by no means cured of my shame issues, but I believe I am making headway in identifying why I judge myself and others or become withdrawn. This is why I am not going to simply tell you to stop judging or release judgement or any other behavior in the shame compass. Some of us have been gifted with a strong sense of shame, and such advice will just further the expression of shame. If you want to take it further, telling someone to stop doing something that is wrong or not beneficial imparts a sense of judgement, no matter how you sugarcoat it. The caring advice-giving person may not be actively or consciously judging, but the person who is receiving the advice will interpret judgement because of their own shame, which the ego uses to highjack the mind. They feel bad for doing it, and then the shame-based behavior will continue. Brené Brown gave an example about drug abuse and shame, in which interventions that judge or attempt to guilt the addict into rehabilitation do not effect change in the behavior. This is why healing the shame is vital. Releasing judgement is secondary since it is an addiction.
So what about guilt? Apparently a little bit of guilt is healthy. It is the feeling that one gets when recognizing that one has done someone else wrong. There may be a little bit of shame involved, but if the shame consumes you, you will have no room for guilt, and therefore not recognize what the other person has felt. Guilt comes from empathy and provides the drive to correct errors, whereas shame would prevent one to express empathy and make amends. The distinction is subtle, but it is an important one to make. If someone is “consumed by guilt” and not doing something to correct the issue, then there is probably more of a shame issue.
So how does one heal their shame? It sounds overwhelming, and you may not know where to begin. Deciding to focus on and heal one’s shame is truly difficult, because admitting one’s shame is often regarded as weakness. This is the type of shadow work that could be lifelong if the proper perspective is not enabled. The first step would be to recognize how shame influences our behavior and in what ways it governs our self-esteem, and I would recommend using the Compass of Shame as a start if you are clueless of where to begin. You can do an internet image search for it and see how it relates to any behavior patterns you see in your life. Another approach is to have a no-judgement candid discussion with a friend or loved one about what they see in your daily behavior that would fit the shame behavior compass, which may be painful to hear; think of it as a bandage being ripped off. Hopefully you would be mentally prepared for what you will hear if you are in control of the situation, because it could always come to you without invitation.
We often want to change our behaviors or thoughts without going to the deeper root issues, but we still have to do the work that makes look directly at our shame (shadow). It is about accepting ourselves for who we are and loving every bit of it. We have to forgive ourselves and remember that we are not alone. We are not the only ones having this experience despite other people’s shame having you believe otherwise. To put perspective on the matter, I view shame as the 3D mind/body expression (aka emotion) caused by the separation from others and our divinity. It is the prison cell, within which we lock ourselves despite having the key. I cannot express strongly enough that meditation and mindfulness are probably the most important tools when healing shame.
I know this is all easier said than done. I can only point the way and walk some distance with you. The inertia of getting started is always difficult to overcome. If you do not already have healing meditation practice in mind, I would recommend Trinity Energy Progression as a wonderful tool to get started and make a arduous journey fun and inspiring. For me, Trinity has been the method for keeping the light bright while delving deep into the shame shadow work. Trinity allows us to easily remember our divinity and the oneness. In order to grow, we may have to face some difficult issues that slow our progression. How you choose to do it will determine how graceful and easy it will be. I think I will choose LOVE!