Pain and hopelessness can sweep over us and take control over our thoughts and lives. When it happens it can be so hard to see past it and to practice all that we’ve learned. There is no quick fix for the pain. No amount of wine ever blocked out my pain. It was always there in the morning. We must just be with the pain, be gentle with ourselves and be silent. When we are in this state and allowing it to just be we will find our truth. My truth that brings me peace is that everything always works out for me. In my experience, with pain comes a chance for change and growth. Please know, that you are not meant to suffer. You are worthy of love and all good things. And you are not alone.
Don’t pole vault over mouse turds.
Just pick it up and throw it away.
Yes it’s gross.
Just grab a tissue and pick it up.
You don’t need to call your friends over to see it. Why?
Oh great, now you are all standing around talking about how revolting it is. That was unnecessary. Do you feel better? You still need to clean it up, does it help having your friends around telling you how gross it is? If they were really your friends they would help you.
Yes everyone is leaving. They don’t want to talk about your crap anymore. It reminded them that they have their own shit to deal with. Some of it bigger than yours.
Now you’re alone with it and you’re walking away from it. You’re just going to ignore it? And is everyone you allow in going to ignore it too?
You’re not going to let anyone in.
Well, that’s lonely. Are you going to be okay living with it? You’ll see it all the time and it will attract bugs and start to smell. Ooooh wine…
Well the wine was great and we had a blast, but it’s morning and that piece of poo is still there. You going to clean it up now? Wait. When did you start smoking pot? You can’t just keep yourself numb you’re going to need to deal with it. It’s right where you can see it.
What are you doing with the box? You’re going to just cover it up? I see. The box is a little glaringly obvious though isn’t it?
Oh that’s a pretty table cloth and candelabra. No one will know there’s feces under all that beautification except you. Isn’t it kind of awkward and in the way?
Yes, I guess it would take work to clean up. More than the initial piece of toilet paper. And you’re okay with knowing what’s really beneath the nice things?
Alright well, if you’re at peace with that. See ya around.
10 years later…
Oh hey there! Great to see you. Are those your kids? What a beautiful family you have. You’re looking a little worn out though. You alright?
Oh you still have the box hiding that piece of mouse turd. That must have been hard to maintain over the years. I see it’s been knocked around a bit, but you’ve gone to a lot of work to keep it hidden.
That’s some really nice stuff you’ve put on and around it. Scented candles, flowers and happy pictures of you and your family…you sure you don’t want to move everything and just clean it up?
You do look really busy, it is definitely a lot of work now and yes everyone will see that the box and all your beautiful things are missing. Wouldn’t you feel so free of the burden?
You’re doing alright? Okay, friend hang in there.
Another decade goes by. I go into the house now quiet and calm. The box is beautifully encrusted with gems and is glorious and radiant. My old friend is beside it in a heap on the floor. She’s silently sobbing.
Hey, what’s wrong?
Your box IS very beautiful.
You do have many nice things all around it. Why are you so sad?
Ah! Yes, there is mouse turd under all of it.
Keeping it a secret has been hard on you. You must be tired. Are you ready to be rid of it?
It IS a lot of work and must seem overwhelming to you.
Yes, people will discover the truth and you may lose some friends, but you have people who love you. Some of them may already know you have a secret and don’t care. You are not alone.
It will take work to break down the box and it will have to be done by you alone, but you don’t need to BE alone.
Yes, I will sit with you.
She began to take apart the box. The lovely things she had placed on the box most recently were covering things that weren’t so lovely to her anymore. Layer upon layer were items that during a time had been used in an attempt to forget about what was hiding under the box. Some of it was painfully embarrassing and I would comfort her as she cried out in pain. Other things we came across made us laugh. How was bedazzling even a thing?
Eventually we came to the box. With shaking hands she lifted the last barrier between us and the 20 year secret that had caused her so much pain. For a moment neither of us could breathe.
She sat back with a sigh looked over at me and said,
“THAT’S what I’ve been hiding for 20 years?”
I smiled, handed her a piece of tissue and without another word she picked up the turd and flushed it down the toilet.
She invited over friends and family to dance with her in the free space. Some were uncomfortable and left. For they were envious of her freedom and did not want to deal with their own turd. Some left because seeing her joy and freedom inspired them to get their crap together. The rest of them stayed and danced the night away. For unknowingly most had known her secret all along and hadn’t cared. After all, it really wasn’t well hidden. Most aren’t. No matter how hard you try, boxes covering secrets are most often transparent and really not worth the effort of making pretty. Mistakes are made and shit happens. It’s best to clean it up right away when it does.
“Don’t “pole-vault over mouse turds” – by the time you’ve discussed the many options available to you, the problem itself could have been long behind you had you simply disposed of those rodent droppings with a simple tissue and dumped them into the garbage!”–Wayne Dyer, Change Your Thoughts. Change Your Life.
During my journey to heal myself form the inside out I had a mass period of growth. I had been studying positive thinking for weeks and everything I had been reading and hearing was like another eureka moment. For days I was walking around high on the new found sense of peace and unadulterated bliss. I then hit a roadblock. I started to realize I was beginning to feel really sapped on energy. My foundation started to feel a little shaky and the words I had been reading that were keeping me high daily were losing their potency. I once again was beginning to feel anxious and question people’s motives. Memories of my past mistakes and bad experiences were not so easily brushed aside. I tried meditating harder…grasping for my Zen fix. I expressed gratitude more, but the words were forced. I went through my notes and quotes I had written down from books, I prayed “Please, God what is going on? Why I am I losing it?” My answer came to me in the form of a shame punch that literally knocked me off my feet. Old memories, thoughts and feelings, came at me all at once. It was a full on attack and I was completely defenseless. I have never felt such internal pain. I remember thinking, this is why people commit suicide. I never wanted to experience what I was feeling ever again and in order to finally do this I had to face all the thoughts and memories that I had for years and decades refused to face. I have come to call this moment of awakening my shame shower.
I confided in David what was going on, when he asked what he could do I just told him “I want to be left alone.” Which has now come to mean, “I have too much on my plate, I can’t worry about another single thing, but please don’t leave me alone.” I began to write down in great detail every shameful, hurtful negative memory that had ever haunted me. It was not easy and at times my hand felt so heavy. With every memory taken from the vault and put on hard copy, I experienced relief. It took a few days for me to get balanced, but despite being physically shaky, I had such a deep sense of peace and confidence that has since stayed with me. I began to have eureka moments again and it’s now easier to recover from setbacks, which still do happen. If I had known my reward for dealing with my suppressed pain was forgiveness, self-love and peace, I would have done it a long time ago.
The idea behind self-love and positive thinking is not to walk around like Botox infused smiling zombies, but to be honest with ourselves. You will never truly feel at peace until you look at those painful memories and feelings that keep surfacing. Big or small. If it keeps coming up then you need to face it. When my neck is stiff I move my head around until I find the spot on my neck that hurts and then I stretch it that way. It really hurts to do it, but after a few times of stretching into the pain it feels better. The same goes for painful thoughts, memories and feelings. You need to stretch into the pain to make it better. Stretching into the pain means getting to the root of it. A negative situation can create a negative feeling which can create a negative event which then creates another negative feeling. For example, a teenager’s parents are divorcing and are too preoccupied with their own pain to notice their teen is feeling lonely and insecure. The teen begins to hang with the wrong crowd and act up and do things which as an adult they are ashamed about. The adult has shameful memories but is unaware that really, the reason behind the event was because they were lonely. This discovery is very healing. The adult identifies the loneliness and *poof* the shame is forgiven. And so is any other event or feelings that are branched from that loneliness root. The memory will come up again, but the adult shows themselves compassion and says to themselves “I was very lonely.” This gives reason behind the event that caused the shame. If a painful memory or feeling is harassing you despite accepting it, then identify the root feeling. If you are like me and sometimes don’t know what the heck you are feeling, having a list of negative emotions can help.
Being honest with ourselves is the first step to loving ourselves. Identify your pain, stretch it out, and then let it go.
“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”
― Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame