shame

Shame. Top of mind.

Shame. Top of mind.

December 6, 2020
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The monthly tankespjärn-community Zoom-sessions stay with me, very much top of mind, as the saying goes, and the November-session on shame is no exception. 

The sensation of shame in the body – the way it can feel both hot and cold, all at once, how it makes me hide, freeze, become almost paralyzed, in words as well as movement. Have I done something wrong? Am I wrong? I AM wrong, and there’s nothing I can do to NOT be wrong. The connection to guilt is obvious, and regardless of what the shame is about, it can be so utterly debilitating. Shame can wrap me inside a cocoon, and, paradoxically, if I numb myself enough, that can even become a place of happiness… if I have numbed myself enough! 

It’s a heavy topic, and yet… witnessing nine souls brave it, fills me with compassion and hope. My eyes were opened to the concept of carried shame, which, I’ve discovered in the days since the call, is not just valid for shame. There’s so much I can carry that’s not mine… we are all potential carriers of things that do not belong to us, and this… helps. Weirdly enough. 

Have you seen the meme of a person stopping a bus from running over a child?
This is what I imagine when I look at my –and your– potential to stop carried shame (and other sentiments) from being passed down. I carry ”stuff” that comes from previous generations, in the same way they carry ”stuff” from the generations that preceded them, and so on. The cycle only breaks, if someone actually deals with what has been carried over from the past. Otherwise it will continue to build and build and build… 

It’s strangely emboldening to think that it is within my capability to stop this. I can put a stop to some, if not all, of what I’ve had to carry, making sure it is not carried forward anymore. (No. I don’t think I can, ever, get to the all of it, but I do believe that whatever I can address, will be an act of service for those who come after me. But also, equally as important, also for those who have gone before me. So I try. I do my best. And then, when I stumble, when I fall, when I stagger at the sheer weight of it all, I am reminded that every little bit counts.) 

Shame lives in darkness. And heals when brought to light.
Shame is processed, and heals, when brought to light; when it is witnessed.
This is why I believe my deep-dive into shame has been so revelatory, I am doing the work, and I am sharing it.
The hiding aspect of shame is what keeps shame alive, vibrant, continuing. When unhidden, when brought into light, when no longer kept under wraps, it cannot not transform. The only way to stop the hiding is to stop the hiding. 

And.
At the same time, discernment in what I am sharing and with whom is most important.
Not everyone will be able to meet me in the shame I carry, in the shame I am trying, wanting, needing to shine a light on.

And.
As with everything else, there is information in shame.
When I feel shame, I am being informed. Of beliefs (mine and/or from the cultural context I am steeped in), of energies not tended to, of the situation at hand. If I approach it thus, perhaps the felt experience will not shepherd me into darkness, paralysis and hiding, but rather, give me an opportunity to bear witness to what is going on, so that I can address it, tend to it, tend to me. In this way, shame (as much as every other felt experience) acts as a magnifying glass. It is virtually impossible to not pick up on signals of shame, they are so effective in their communication that I, at least, find it very hard to ignore. 

And when I don’t, I have a chance to ask Is it mine? And even if the answer is yes, what of it? What is the message? What is the information carried forth through the sensation of shame?


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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The interplay of learning and discovering

December 3, 2020
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The bottom line:
The interplay of learning and discovery and what sets them apart from one another.

The Story Skills Workshop is informing me.
In many ways. But one, in particular.

How the word story is, in reality, much more defined than what I, personally, have known it to be.

I just wrote a reflective piece within the confines of my Deep Dive into Shame, and it was not a story.
Or?
Was it?

Aargh.
I thought it wasn’t.
Now.
Thinking about it again.
I am unsure.
Perhaps I’ll revisit it, trying to see if I can fit the story scaffolding to it.

However, this is one of the things being in such a massive discovery-phase leads to. For, even though I am learning, how to tell a story, what is a story, what parts constitute a story, and how I can become better at telling stories, I am also discovering. And as my wise friend Inma has made me realize, there’s a huge difference between the two. Learning and discovering are not the same. There can be a lot of learning within the discovering, and there can be moments of discovery within the learning, but in general, what Inma pointed to makes sense, for me.

Paraphrasing, what I heard her say was this:
Learning is being open to what is known to exist, however not yet mastered by me.
Learning has me knowing the end destination from the moment I set out.

Discovery has me stepping into the unknown, taking the risk of setting foot in unknown land.
Discovery is me not having a clue what might be, what might become, whether it be up/down, in/out, high/low, light/dark…

When I set out to learn how to play the guitar, I had the image of me sitting around a campfire on the beach on a warm summer evening, with a handful of friends, playing and singing. Together.

Given this image, I signed up for a semester of lessons with a local guitar teacher, and chord by chord, I learned. There was discovery thrown into the mix, like the discovery that I didn’t have the ability to make one or two of my fingers press down on a string where I wanted and needed them to. I had no idea of that particular aspect of learning how to play the guitar, so it was a discovery. But the endeavor itself was not. It was a learning endeavor.

When I set out to deep dive into shame, I had no idea what I was getting into. No idea what it might lead to. No clear plan or path ahead. What I did have was willingness. Curiosity. A clear intention of not holding back. But the end destination was not clear, not well-defined, simply a felt sense of something other. And willing to risk whatever it took to expand into this otherness. The endeavor itself is a discovery, and cannot be anything but a discovery.


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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Story Skills Workshop

November 15, 2020
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I did it.

I held out for four months, but finally, I could not withstand the pull to engage in another AKIMBO workshop. I signed up earlier this week, and am now, already, madly-in-love-with and knee deep into the Story Skills Workshop. (If you read this before the 16th of November, 2020, there’s still a chance to dive in with me!)

With a total of fourteen lessons dropping every other day or so, I look forward to learn a lot, discover even more, and get (and give) ample tankespjärn. The first lesson on Why, I responded to thus:

What brought you to this workshop?
A pull, the first since being on the first cohort of The Creative’s Workshop, the first real pull of a soft inner voice saying this, this is something for you. Just the way it was with TCW, which is the first AKIMBO-workshop I’ve ever taken, even though I’ve been drawn to them, drawn, not pulled, subtle difference, and yet, one I’ve distinguished between, ever since Seth Godin first started plugging the altMBA.

Small nudges in response to me putting out into the world my thoughts on joining the Story Skills Workshop, the universe aligning, making the pull ever-stronger, magnetic, harder to resist. Possible to resist, now and again, I do resist on of these pull’s. But not this time. This time I went for it.

What’s the story you want to tell?
If anything, this is what’s unclear, here I do step out into unknown territory (and what a treat that is!). I have blogged since 2012, resulting in a lot of personal storytelling published. Since a few months back I am doing a personal deep-dive into shame, using different modalities, writing being one of them. I am sharing these writings, not (yet) publicly on my blog, but in a smaller circle of creatives, and I know (owning it.) the power of this material.

However, I do not feel that material is what I am to share here. It’s too personal, in one sense, but more than that, it’s a bit too raw, too current, to share here, not sure I could take it being nitpicked and scrutinized the way I want to invite nitpicking and scrutiny to my participation here.

So likely, I will be sharing personal stories, blog-worthy stories, strung together solely by the fact of me. But who knows…

What are some of your challenges when it comes to storytelling?
Well, possibly my greatest challenge is how to distinguish between personal and private, what is too intimate to share. And the hurdle there involves others more than me, honestly. I am what I am, who I am, because of others, loved ones as well as mere acquaintances, or even strangers. Where do I draw the line? Who, and how, do I bring into my reflective ruminations? Where do I draw the line? Who do I describe in such a way that they, and others close to me, would be able to distinguish, to know, who I am talking about? What events can be shared, where identity is revealed? When does it make sense, when doesn’t it? When might it even be hurtful to the person/s? Does the end justify the means? What –how– can I do to tell my story in a way that makes the story worth telling, without telling someone else’s story, in a way they do not want their story told? Where/How do I draw the line?


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.

 

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Spider. With a message.

November 8, 2020
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After a long slow morning, going through every step of my morning ritual, the ritual that suddenly has come to be of such importance to me, I get out of bed, after writing and reading, with the intent to get up. For real. Not just to go boil a pot of water, not just to do a morning Seven of pelvic movements, not just to go pee, and then return to bed. I stop in front of my yoni-altar, somewhat lackadaisically created at the start of the three-month Yoni Club-program, kneeling on the sheepskin in front of it, picking up my box of oracle cards with messages from my animal guides.

Opening the box, I pull forth the little book, laying it to the side, as I bring forth the deck of cards, starting to shuffle them, holding my hands in front of my heart, breathing steadily. In. Shuffle. Out. Shuffle. In. Shuffle. Out. Shuffle. Making my hands go still, I part the deck of cards and look solemnly at an upside-down spider. I right the card, looking at it, laughing a bit inside, as it so looks like the spiders that mostly live in the basement of my house, but that a few weeks ago suddenly graced me with their living-room presence.

Trust the creative spark you’re feeling and express it through writing stories that inspire and enlighten

Having just written one entry in The Depth(s), the written part of the deep dive I am currently on, into shame, and one other story, for my anonymous blog, I nod to myself in recognition as I pick up the booklet and read on:

The pulse of creativity is especially strong right now, triggering a not unfamiliar and compelling desire to express yourself through creative writing. Whether or not the tales you weave are true, whether they’re based on actual experience or the imaginings of your fertile mind, each day sit yourself down and pour out the words that come to you. Don’t ponder each sentence or paragraph; just write whatever wants to be written through you.

Oh yes, this is precisely why my morning ritual has suddenly become so important to me. It is a time and place where by sitting down, words do come to me, through me, in a way that is harder to come by, if I don’t do it in the morning. It’s possible, but right now, the importance of honoring me by granting me time in the morning a l s o for writing, has become very clear.

To inspire and enlighten others, you don’t need a profoundly complex tale. Start by describing a personal experience, one where you gained some insight that may also be useful to others. However, don’t focus on how people will respond to your story; instead, just enjoy the process of writing without judging your work or yourself. Write to express–not to impress.

I’ve not let fear of how others will respond stop me from writing, but as I have shared some deeply personal and vulnerable writings, in a small close-knit community, fear has been a part of my deep-dive. Something I’ve worked through by writing about it. Not ignoring it. Not adhering to it. But acknowledging it, observing it, and letting the voice tinted with fear also speak through me, letting those words out on paper as well as the others.

In attempting to write, you may find yourself easily distracted, either with others’ needs for your time and attention or with those negative thoughts and beliefs that are the product of judgments and shame that you were subjected to during childhood. A powerful way to release these habitual and self-limiting thoughts and feelings is to write about them in story form. As you do so, don’t hold back anything. Through such a catharsis, you heal those words that had originally wounded you.

Shame.
Judgment.
This i s what my deep-dive centers on.
The basis for these thoughts and beliefs of mine formed during childhood, but it doesn’t stop there. I’ve been piling them on, one atop the other, my entire life; as are you, I’m imagining. I don’t know that we can stop ourselves from it, but it sure helps to gain awareness, and learn to breathe through, rather than get stuck in, it.

So no. I do not hold back. Nothing is held back, it’s all coming out, having me jump back and forth, no need to go about it chronologically. What comes comes, and in the reflections I get from the people I share with, I am helped along the way. Helped to go deeper. Helped by having my memory jogged, upturning stone after stone, hidden beneath the surface for a long time. Helped to make connections that have eluded me previously.


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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Hiding in the shadows

November 12, 2018
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A part of me.
Sometimes.
Hiding in the shadow.
Holding back. Not showing myself, fully.
Hiding bits and parts of me.
From others. And from myself?hiding in shadows

“Last edited by Helena Roth on March 16, 2016.” means this post and the accompanying photo has been sitting as a draft for two and a half years.

Was I hiding? Yes. Most definitely. From myself as well as from others.
Six months later I separated from my then husband, and two years later the divorce was final.

Am I still hiding? Lurking in the shadows?

Yeah.
But way less.
First and foremost I am no longer hiding (as much) from myself.

Am on a quest to own this, to own me (!), fully. I want to decide, consciously, what I show of myself and when I show it. No more letting old conditioning – others voices internalized within, carrying messages of shame, of belittling, of “don’t think you are worth anything” – to be in charge.

Not any more.
No.

Saying Yes instead.
To me.

Here I am.
As I am.

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Daring Greatly (book 12 of 26)

June 17, 2018
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in Tip
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“When we stop caring about what other people think, we lose our capacity for connection. When we become defined by what people think, we lose our willingness to be vulnerable. If we dismiss all the criticism, we lose out on important feedback, but if we subject ourselves to the hatefulness, our spirits get crushed. It’s a tightrope, shame resilience is the balance bar, and the safety new below is the one or two people in our lives who can help us reality-check the criticism and cynicism.”

Daring Greatly, subtitled How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent and lead, is a book by Brené Brown, shame- and vulnerability-researcher, made famous by her TEDxHouston Talk, which is well worth a look if you’ve yet to see it.

The-gap-starts-here-We-can-t-give-people-what-we“Here’s the question: We don’t intentionally create cultures in our families, schools, communities, and organizations that fuel disengagement and disconnection, so how does it happen? Where’s the gap?

The gap starts here: We can’t give people what we don’t have. Who we are matters immeasurably more than what we know or who we want to be.

This is the first of her books that I’m reading in English, which I strongly recommend, compared to the lousy translation to Swedish of one of her earlier works that I suffered through a while back. Daring Greatly is an easy read, and there’s loads of stuff within it to think about, to try out, to discuss with family, friends and colleagues, for sure. All the while, having listened to her in numerous pod’s, it’s as if I already know most of this.

“Minding the gap is a daring strategy. We have to pay attention to the space between where we’re actually standing and where we want to be. More importantly, we have to practice the values that we’re holding out as important in our culture.”

There were a few tender moments while reading though, centering on recent events, making me cringe a bit…. knowing I’ve n o t been vulnerable enough, knowing full well that I am trying to skirt the issues at hand. Grateful for the reminder, most definitely, and getting ready to shed my armor.

“Giving and soliciting feedback is about learning and growth, and understanding who we are and how we respond to the people around us is the foundation in this process.”

Voicing my discomfort, to someone in a position to help me reality-check the feedback, as well as help me through it (not around, not away from: through!), certainly is one of the best ways for me to keep me on a road of expansion, or growth, of a deepening understanding and knowing of who I am, and how I am. Voicing my discomfort, the shame and fear and disgust and confusion, makes it all real, bringing it outside of the dark recesses of my brain, where it would otherwise – perhaps – be lurking around for ages, doing no one any good. Better to bring it out into the light to see what it’s actually about. Starting to dance with it, sooner or later I know I will have learned new dance moves, that will help me as I dance along in life.


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2018, to read and blog about 26 Swedish and 26 English books, one book every week, books that I already own.

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Shame.

May 10, 2018
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Shame.

Hm.

Silence within.

Where to start? What do I want to communicate? What do I really feel after the 75 minute long session on Shame?

Held.
Seen.
Heard.
Acknowledged.

You did it well, long-distance and all. As if you were in the same room, the distance between Malmö-Stockholm annihilated by the SKYPE-connection that gave me your voice into my ears, straight into my head, into my body. When I closed my eyes, it was as if you held me, which you really did, with the help of the sofa I sat in.

I honor myself, and my choice to reach out to you, to start – in a pace dictated solely by the urgings of my Self – to deal with this that has been long forgotten, deeply hidden away; that which I have yet to shine a light on. A good start today, a start that did me good, and felt nice.

During the session thought upon thought was born, associations to various events throughout my life, memories slowly floating up to the surface, connections made – that I had never before seen – that docked into one another like a well-oiled mechanical machinery.

Went for a walk afterwards – just took off, letting the energy stream continue to flow; walked barefoot, threading softly on grassy lawns and pebbled pathways, earthing myself. Landed. Breathed in and let come. And more than that, breathed out and let go.

I can see how I did the best I could, under the circumstances. Clever was your word for it. Yes, I dealt with it in a clever way! But not just me. Others did the best they could, given their circumstances; they also acted clever, based on their perspective, needs, defense mechanisms and abilities.

I can see that too, and with tenderness I gaze into history, at both myself and the others. Not judging. That doesn’t serve me. Knowing there is a chance – in due time. I’m in no rush. This can take as little or as long time as it needs to – to let go, to let the ball dissolve, in the same way that I, with patience and calm untangle skeins of yarn that have become horribly entangled. I am good at untangling knots others believe were impossible to untangle, and that’s what will happen here as well. Only – without any demands for achievement. No deadline. No explicit goal.

And above all else, I do this for me. In my way. For my wellbeing.
Not controlled, not according to a fixed (time) plan. No. What will happen will happen, because it’s what wants to happen, in the moment. Not what I want to happen, definitely not what someone else wants to – or feels should – happen. But what wants to happen.

That’s where I exhale and let go – and enjoy the moment of Now!

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Wholehearted – Reflection November ’17

November 29, 2017
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conflicting emotionsIn the last month I’ve had been in conversations with a few loved ones into topics less often broached (by me, at the very least), such as menopause and money, desire and divorce, sex and shame. All of them topics well worth a conversation or two. Or more, lots more than two.

I am, slowly and steadily, approaching these topics, and my oftentimes conflicting emotions around them. It sure helps to have people close to me whom I can discuss them with – voicing even that which I am ashamed of, in the knowledge that it will be received with grace and tenderness. I’ve chosen wisely. My loved ones are people I trust completely.

Mmm.
Just writing that last sentence brings a smile to my face, and a warmth that sweeps across my insides.

How sweet it is, to sit here, knowing deep within, that I am worthy of this.
Worthy of having people close to me, worthy of loving and being loved.

It’s not always been apparent to me, this inherent worthiness, that I share with each and every soul on earth. I know it’s not apparent to many of you either. I wish you will be converted, as I’ve been, into this words-are-unnecessary-and-couldn’t-describe-it-anyway type of knowledge – and perhaps, knowing it’s possible to go from one to the other can make a difference?

Wholeheartedly, I do my very best to embrace myself, the light and the darkness, the skills that are so easily perceived, as well as the hidden potential, yet to be uncovered. It’s there. I hide it. From me. From you. But I hide less and less. And spending time with people who do the same – show up, in their full glory of humanness – is such an inspiration. It helps me. You are my role models. From you I generate strength, passion and ideas and, most importantly, you are my invaluable sounding boards, allowing me to bounce my insecurities, fears and desires off.

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