Can you imagine the surprise of receiving a message on Facebook from my friend, Sharon, whom I graduated high school with 55 years ago? I haven’t seen or heard from her in all these years. OMG where does the time go?
Of course, memories of high school days danced through my head. I graduated from a class of 800 students and I was the captain of the cheerleaders, queen of the prom, president of my sorority and voted MOST POPULAR. I worked “very hard” at being POPULAR and it was exhausting!
I know today that I looked OUTSIDE to be validated, noticed, praised and loved. I had no idea how to love myself or that I “should” love myself. I beat up on myself and never felt good enough, no matter how many degrees I received. There was a HUGE hole inside of me that only God could fill. I tried to fill that hole by staying busy, rushing, working and being a people pleaser. On the outside, I looked great, but my outside didn’t match my inside. Can you relate?
Here is what my friend from high school wrote:
“I wanted to share how connected I feel to you. I too am a woman of faith and God has taken us on a similar journey. Although I didn’t grow up in an alcoholic home, I married an alcoholic, who is now recovering and my daughter is an Addiction Therapist.
My faith was nonexistent until I found Alanon and learned to surrender. Once having taken that leap of faith, I too received many blessings. What I wanted to share with you is that I had become very complacent in my faith. I read your inspiring book and it put the fire under me again, so thank you. I will be going to our 55th high school reunion in October. I will be bringing 3 copies of your book to share with some of my closest friends. I know from your postings that you have found your soul mate and are living your dream. I am living my dream too and I thank you for reminding me of how awesome God is.”
As you can imagine, I was thrilled and grateful to receive her message and that she is bringing 3 of my books to the reunion. Holy Moly! I’m also grateful that I had the courage to say YES to God, face my fears and have my book published 10 years ago.
When I was in the middle of writing my book (that took 7 years to write), I had a dream. I went to bed hysterical crying and said to God, “I can’t write this book, no one will read it, I’m wasting my time, you have chosen the wrong person.” I was riddled with FEAR. Thank you, God, for not giving up on me, like I had given up on myself.
Here is my dream:
I was climbing up a staircase. When I got to the top of the stairs, there was a STAR. As I reached out to touch the STAR, I became the STAR. I received an affirmation, “I am a STAR that shines brightly to lead others to the God within.”
It truly is my passion and purpose to shine brightly to inspire others to know their Source as the divine presence of God within. I share my story every week, not for validation or to be admired or praised. I share my journey to encourage you so that you know you are not alone and that you can live your dream, as I am doing today.
My friends, I encourage you to face your fears, listen to the small, still voice of God and remember Spirit will never lead to something without equipping you for the task.” I am here to help you and show you how to live your dream.
My portion of the blog was completed and ready to be edited. I wasn’t feeling comfortable and wondered if Spirit wanted me to write about something different. I remember thinking to myself; I don’t have anything else significant to write about until my experience with Larry this morning.
A few months ago a good friend of mine, Donna, asked, “Do you and Larry ever argue?” I said, “No, we hardly ever argue. We are both pretty easy going and don’t let things bother us.”
I planned on attending a water aerobics class this morning and was running late. I had finished my breakfast while Larry was still making his. I put the dishes in the sink and since I was late turned to him and said, “Do you mind doing these dishes for me since I am running late? “I don’t like to leave my dishes in the sink for him to wash, but I didn’t think he would mind since he would have to do his when he was through with his breakfast. He didn’t say anything to me but the LOOK was enough to communicate to me that he wasn’t very pleased about it. He then said, “I don’t want this to become a habit when you are running late.”
I REACTED in a huff and said, “Never mind, I will do them myself.” I was ticked! I gathered my stuff up and said, “I love you, goodbye.” I could feel the tears already welling up in my eyes. I got in the car and felt the hurt as the tears rolled down my cheeks. Hurt was always easier to feel than my anger. I was taught not to feel angry so I pushed my anger down until it erupted, and often then came out sideways and at the wrong person.
Instead of staying stuck in the HURT feeling and crying, I allowed myself to really feel my anger. Being in the car is a great place to release anger because no one hears you and you can say anything you want. I let it rip and felt better afterwards. I want my vibration to be as high as it can be and I know anger and resentment lowers my vibration. Love and joy are the highest vibration and that is where I strive to be.
I am no longer willing to do a SPIRITUAL BYPASS and push my feelings down. Giving myself permission to feel my anger and get my feelings up and out is a gift I give to myself and ultimately to the relationship. Whenever we want to “override” our feelings because they are uncomfortable and go right to love, we are trying to do a SPIRITUAL BYPASS. It doesn’t work.
By the time I arrived at my water aerobics class, I felt almost peaceful and was able to send Larry love. It was pretty amazing how quickly I was able to work through it. After class I took a long walk along the ocean and did what gives me pleasure – smiling and saying hello to people I pass on the path. I then had my car washed which made me feel really good.
I greeted Larry with a hug when I returned home from class. After I was home a little bit I said, “We need to talk about this morning,” He agreed. As we sat down to talk, he crossed his arms across his chest and quickly realized what his body language was communicating to me and we both laughed.
We both shared our perspectives of what happened that morning, which of course, was very different. He was feeling upset because he didn’t want to be taken advantage of. His perspective was that I often leave my dishes in the sink and my perspective was I hardly ever leave them in the sink. During our conversation and listening to one another, we were able to identify some old patterns that were being triggered from past relationships.
After some time of communicating with one another, we were able to work out a plan that was satisfactory to both of us. We both felt respected, loved and heard. What could have become a big struggle, turned out really well. This is a little thing but we wanted to take care of it before it became a big thing.
On one of Eckhart Tolle’s CDs (The New Earth) he talks about how all of nature is alive and connected. How everything and everyone is all part of one consciousness. He also suggests that nature doesn’t realize how beautiful it is and how much it contributes to our joy and happiness until we communicate that.
I thought that was an interesting observation, I had never realized that nature wouldn’t automatically know the effect it had on the whole. It appears that the sky, sun, mountains, oceans, trees, flowers and birds and all of nature need our recognition to understand that they are awesome, appreciated and beautiful. They need to know that we are awestruck by their vastness and beauty, that just being near them and experiencing their fragrance and color fill our spirits and hearts with joy and happiness.
We live in one of the most beautiful places on earth. How often do we rush around all day, pass by all this natural beauty and not recognize it? Doing this is such a disservice to us and nature. How much joy, happiness and love energy can we receive from just noticing the beauty of a flower? “Wow” what about the incredibly beautiful sunsets we experience daily on Maui. They don’t know they are beautiful until we tell them so and share with them the joy and happiness we experience every time they appear.
I walk three miles most mornings just before the sun breaks over the mountains. Everything seems fresh and new, nature waking up to a great new day. The birds chatter deliriously at the prospect of a new day and a new adventure. I try to take everything in: and tell the flowers that they are beautiful and that they fill my heart with joy and gratitude.
Have you ever wondered how many people we meet each day or walk by, who may need just a little recognition and appreciation? My daily walks use to take me through one of our beautiful parks. Most days I would see the same homeless person sitting on the grass near the walkway. I would greet him and sometimes stop and chat with him. One day, I commented that he had a discovered a great place to sit near the ocean. He commented, “Ya I like it here. A lot of people walk by and some even say hi or good morning.” I thought, “Hmmm it’s so important for all of us to be recognized and appreciated.”
How often do we express our love and appreciation for our family members? We get caught up in the daily grind of making a living, providing for our family, raising children, etc. Some parents may think, “Hey! How about a little recognition and appreciation for all we do around here.” Some children may think “We work hard in school to get good grades and be good students. We could use a little recognition and appreciation also.” A few moments of love and appreciation go a long way.
Pat and I have a really wonderful relationship and we realize how important it is to recognize and appreciate each other. Mostly in little ways like thanking each other when we do a chore without having to be asked or making the bed or washing the dishes or making lunch or dinner. A simple recognition and “thank you” goes a long way!
We appreciate one another when we show interest in each other’s day and really listen when one of us is sharing about something that is important to them. We communicate our love for one another at different times during the day when you would perhaps least expect it. We say things like “I love you” or “I think you have beautiful blue eyes” or “You look beautiful tonight.” Pat loves little gifts or flowers and cards. I try to pay attention to that.
What if we changed our attitude from one who needs to be served, to one who will look for ways to be a vessel of love and serve? Do you ever think of saying good morning or hi or aloha to someone you don’t know? It may be the only time that day the person will be recognized and appreciated as an individual.
On Maui, we have so many people in the service industry. Perhaps taking an extra couple of seconds to recognize them (most have name tags) by saying “hi” use their names, saying “thank you” use their names. They are not robots; they are real people with hearts and souls. Remember we are all one and we are all connected.
I have made it my practice to recognize and greet every person I meet. I feel it is an important way to be a vessel of love. Some return my greeting and some do not, no worries. I have offered them the gift of love and they can either accept it or refuse it. Not my problem. My responsibility is to offer the gift with no strings attached.
I encourage everyone to find little ways to recognize and appreciate each other. I think when we do that we give the energy and light of love a chance to manifest in all our lives.
“Cleansing often brings the worst to the surface before it is dismissed. The first stage of a washing machine cycle is called “agitation.” The clothing needs to be stirred up to loosen the accumulated dirt. To look into a washing machine while the basket is agitating, you see a fowl mire of grime rise to the surface of the water. If you did not know better, you might think that the clothes were getting dirtier and be tempted to shut off the machine. But that would be foolish; the dirt is not being added, as it might appear – it is being removed. In the presence of flowing water (metaphysically representing Spirit), the dirt is drained away, leaving fresh, clean garments. If you just stay with the process, the cycle will complete itself, and soon the clothes will be much cleaner than when the process began.” Alan Cohen, “I Had It All the Time”
I woke up feeling agitated, irritable and like I had been hit by a truck. My dreams were about struggle and not being able to get to where I wanted to be. I KNEW something was being dredged up from my unconscious to be healed and transformed. I was in the washing machine cycle called “AGITATION” and it felt awful.
When I went to bed the night before, I shared with Larry that I felt BAD and ASHAMED when I got off the phone with John, my computer guy. I downloaded the new Windows 10 to my computer, but I couldn’t figure out how to get my pictures from my IPhone to my desktop. A friend suggested I go back to Windows 7 which I did and was successful with.
Unfortunately, I still couldn’t get my pictures to my desktop even with the old Windows 7. If anything causes me stress and I want to pull my hair out, it is dealing with computers and technology. I called John and asked for help. John has always been very patient with me and is able to help me. John must have had a bad day because he appeared frustrated and said, “You need to take a computer class because you should know this stuff by now.”
John’s remark and frustration triggered my SHAME. The SHAME was still deep inside in my unconscious and needed healing. It must be REVEALED to be HEALED. It really had nothing to do with John. If the shame wasn’t inside of me, I would have thought, “John is having a bad day and has nothing to do with me.” But I internalized it and felt “bad and wrong,” that I didn’t know what John thought I should know. Feeling “bad and wrong and not good enough” is at the core of a shame-based person.
When I shared with Larry what I was feeling when I woke up, he read the above passage from Alan Cohen’s book to me. It helped me understand what was going on and what was being “dredged up” from my unconscious. Larry encouraged me to trust the process and asked, “How can I support you today?” This was an opportunity for me to nurture myself, re-parent myself and give myself self-love and compassion, rather than beat up on myself. I spent the day in prayer, loving and nurturing myself and within a few hours, I was back to myself. I wrote in my journal, “Today I will allow the light and love of God to flow through me, heal me and transform me. I will re-parent myself and give myself everything I need.
Growing up with an alcoholic mother, I wasn’t encouraged to ask questions or ask for help. I had to figure things out on my own. I was EXPECTED to know the answers, even though I wasn’t often taught how to do things. I PRETENDED to know what I was doing, but often felt “inadequate and not good enough inside.” It was hard to ask for help because I didn’t want to feel vulnerable and ashamed if I didn’t know the answers.
Thank God I know the truth today and have changed that belief. Today, I ask for help when I need it and am not ashamed if I don’t know the answers. I know it is healthy to ask for help and that it is unhealthy to put unrealistic expectations on myself.
Larry’s experience with shame
When do you feel shame? Underneath the shame could be thoughts of unworthiness, inadequacy, not good enough, not smart enough or thoughts of being a failure. As a parent, I have felt some of the above at different times. I have not always recognized this as shame until recently. People don’t talk about it because of its insidious nature.
There may be times in your life when you have felt ashamed because you didn’t think you were a “good enough” friend or supportive enough. You may feel some shame about how you look; too thin, too fat, too tall, not pretty enough, etc. I have felt shame about not having a higher education which made me feel “less than” others.
Many people believe their worth has to do with how much money they earn. Society often judges us by the amount of money we earn and when we have a lot of money, we are deemed successful. When we don’t measure up to those standards, we may judge ourselves to be a failure, which ultimately becomes shame.
In my own life, I have experienced shame when I put too much value on my ability to dance perfectly. I am leaving myself open to react in a negative way when my partner makes a mistake because I see it as a reflection on me. In this area of dance, I realize that I have been too concerned about what other people will think of me. It seems that my ego and wanting to be perfect has allowed me to forget that what other people think of me is none of my business. Thankfully, in many areas of my life, I believe that “what other people think of me is none of my business.”
My grandparents were farmers in Connecticut and had emigrated from Lithuania. They spoke broken English and when I was with them, I often felt ashamed of them because they couldn’t speak correct English. Then I felt ashamed of myself for feeling that way about them. Apparently, I saw it as a reflection on me.
Parents can often, unknowingly, put their high expectations on their children (get all A’s, pass this test, attend college). When children don’t think they measure up, they may not feel “good enough” because they think they are disappointing their parents.
Could it be that shame comes from a “hole in the soul” that only LOVE can fill and heal? When we learn to give ourselves self- love and acceptance, the feelings of shame and not being good enough will no longer have power over us.
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