“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.
As I boarded the plane at 7:00 a.m. on my way home to Maui, I felt anticipation and excitement about seeing Larry. Although I loved being with my family, friends and new grandchild for Christmas, I missed my soul mate and couldn’t wait to get back. I thought about the many qualities that I admire in Larry, in particular, how kind and attentive he is to me. I always feel heard and that he truly cares about what is important to me. Spirit then brought to mind that what I see in others, both positive and negative qualities, are also in me.
It kind of hit me in a new way. When I see something in Larry that I admire (or in anyone else), it is also in me too. I asked myself, “Do I admire kindness and attentiveness in me? Have I owned and embraced these qualities as a part of who I am? Am I kind and attentive to others and listen with my heart?” To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever really thought about it, but it felt good thinking about the possibility that I was kind and attentive to others, as Larry is to me.
As I allowed this truth to settle into my being, I heard Spirit say, “You are not only coming home to Mother Maui, but you are coming home to yourself.” This is the truth of who I am. I am kind, attentive and loving or I wouldn’t have recognized it in him. I am seeing my reflection in him because he is my mirror. The more I recognize the goodness in Larry, the more I will recognize it in me. I attracted a man into my life that has some of the same qualities that I have. How cool is that?
Is the unconditional love I feel for Larry an invitation from God to have the same unconditional love for myself? The more I love him, the more I love myself, or is it the other way around? The more I love, accept and appreciate myself, the more I will be capable of loving, accepting and appreciating him. I think that is more accurate. I have to love, accept and appreciate myself first before I can truly love, accept and appreciate another person.
I invited Larry to write out the qualities he admired in me. One of the qualities he admired in me was my patience. I asked, “Are you able to recognize this quality in yourself?” He hesitated and then said, “I am working on being more patient, but have difficulty believing I am patient enough.” I encouraged him to embrace and accept that quality in himself because as he recognized it in me, it is in him.
I invite you to pick a person you admire and think about their qualities. Are you able to embrace these qualities in yourself? And if not, ask Spirit to help you see the truth about yourself. Wouldn’t this be a great New Year’s resolution? Can you imagine what it would be like and how your life would be different if you consistently embraced and owned your positive qualities rather than focusing on what needs to be changed or what you don’t like in yourself?
I was given the opportunity to practice loving and accepting myself while I was changing planes on my way home to Maui. I arrived in Los Angeles in plenty of time and found the gate where I was boarding. It was a long walk through the terminal with many turns and doors to go through. I called Larry, feeling very proud of myself that I found the gate and didn’t get lost. As the time got closer to boarding time, I looked around and something didn’t feel quite right. I got up and asked the man across from me, “Are you going to Maui?” He looked at me and said, “No, I am going to Canada.”
I asked him to watch my bag as I ran around trying to find someone to ask where the flight to Maui was boarding. I finally found a woman behind a counter and showed her my boarding pass. She was very kind and walked me to the main monitor to see where the flight was boarding.
I almost fainted when she said, “You are in the wrong terminal. This is the Delta terminal and you need to be in the United terminal. She quickly gave me the directions to get back to the United terminal. I grabbed by bags and started running, not really knowing where I was going. I kept praying, “Help God, I don’t know where I am going.”
Right up ahead of me, I spotted a Delta pilot walking calmly through the terminal. I stopped and asked him for help. I am sure he could see the panic in my face when I showed him my boarding pass. He said, “I am meeting a friend at the United terminal, I will show you the way.” He looked at my boarding pass and said, “They are boarding now.” We both began to run furiously through the terminal. I could hardly breathe we were running so fast.
When I finally arrived at gate 76, the woman behind the counter said, “Mrs. Hastings.” Just about in tears I said, “Yes” and showed her my boarding pass. I was the last one on the plane as they closed the door behind me. I sat down in my seat, still out of breath and all I could say was “Thank you God, Thank you God. I knew God had sent me the Delta pilot as my angel to guide me.
I could have easily been upset with myself for not being more aware and being in the wrong terminal. I didn’t do that but instead, chose to love and accept myself knowing all is well and that I was being guided and taken care of the whole time. God sent me angels to guide me to the right place. There are times in our lives when we don’t know where we are going and we go to the wrong terminal, but when we trust in God, we are always led safely to the right place.
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