There is a line that I drew in the sand, a line I didn’t think that I had the strength to cross. It took me two years and the support of many people to gather the power to do it. I had the desire but I didn’t have the confidence.
The other day, I took the leap and deadlifted 200 lbs three times in a row. The most difficult aspects of the lift for me were “getting a grip” because my hands are so small, and putting the weight back down in a controlled manner. Putting it down was my true challenge.
Yet there was something else that I placed on the floor when I released my hard grip…shame. My inner critic is a fierce little being who sits at the bottom of my heart pounding on my diaphragm until I can’t breathe. It screams about standards, and perfection, rules and failure, control and rejection while drawing larger and larger challenges for the validation of worth.
It is there in all of us and masked by a myriad of devices and distractions including other strong emotions. We push it away with drugs and entertainment, and even spiritual practice that promises peace and happiness. A good deal of the violence and scapegoating in the world is the result of the inability to cope with its intense pain.
We inherit this critical shaming from dysfunctional parenting, schooling, religion, and societal structures that institutionalize it as a form of generational abuse. Blaming is pointless but pushing it away is even less helpful.
So I put it down. I put it down and really looked at it. On the healthy side, shame developed in humanity (and in children) along with the first awareness of the “other”. It is a barometer for connection with our selves, others, nature, and the Creator. When that connection is broken by less than loving behavior, we feel it intimately. Yet what seems like a profound weakness can be turned into a gift of insight, a gift of freedom within relationship.
We share this burden with each other because of our interconnection. We hold it against each other…and together we can mindfully put it down.
I crossed a line and in leaving something behind, I gained the ability to truly say…
I love you, all of you, every part.
I love you. Thank you always.