Monthly Archives: May 2010


Shame is like mold . . . it grows the best in the dark!

If you open it to the light (by sharing your shame with someone who can be trusted), shame loses it’s power.  It’s best if you share with someone you know can be trusted – someone with whom you have experience that they can listen without judgment and without telling others. 

 Secrets and shame go hand-in-hand.   In the 12 Step Programs we say, “You’re only as sick as your secrets”.  The only way to be truly free is to not have to carry a load of secrets.


We don’t always have to be strong to be strong.  Sometimesour strength is expressed in being vulnerable.  Sometimes we need to fall apart to regroup and stay on track.

We all have days when we cannot push any harder, cannot hold back self-doubt, cannot  stop focusing on fear, cannot be strong

There are days when we cannot focus on being resonsible.  Occasionally, we don’t want to get out of our pajamas.  Sometimes, we cry in front of people.  We exposed our tiredness, irritability or anger.

Those days are okay.  They are just okay.

Part of taking care of ourselves eans we give ourselves permission to “fall apart” when we need to.  We do not have to be perpetual towers of strength.  We are strong.  We have proven that.  Our strength will continue if we allow ourselves the courage to feel scared, weak, and vulnerable when we need to experience those feelings.


Tolerance vs Inclusiveness

I’ve seen & heard the word “tolerance” thrown around alot this week.  I’m not very fond of that word when used in the context of tolerating other people.  If I need to tolerate something or someone, it implies that somehow I’m “better than” and just allowing that person or thing to exist in my awareness.  So I prefer the word “inclusiveness” since it implies that we are all equals in our worth as humans and are a part of the same universe.  No one is left out.

Our friend Chely Wright has been all over the national (& international) news this week.  If you don’t know who she is (up to this week, there were a lot of folks who didn’t), she’s a Country Music Artist who has just come out of the closet as a lesbian – apparently the first to ever do so).

I’ve known Chely since she was 5 or 6 when we moved to Wellsville, KS where she grew up. My husband was her elementary principal and my kids went to school with her.  Back then, I didn’t know she was struggling with this issue, but in recent years, have guessed – athough I had no idea to what depths it was taking her emotionally.  She didn’t tell anyone and she became very good at hiding what she was going through.  Those of you who know me at all know I’m fond of the 12 Step saying, “We’re only as sick as our secrets”.  Secrets just exacerbate our shame and shame is the lowest emotional energy.

Chely is a shining example of a role model for inclusiveness.  I had nothing to do with who she is today, but I’m so impressed and proud of her and how she has lived her life up to this point.  She is not only extremely talented as a song writer and singer, she is compassionate, loving, inclusive, intelligent and articulate. She’s beautiful inside and out.  I know what she is going through now is a relief after a lot of suffering and I don’t want to minimize anything she’s experienced.  But I do believe there is a higher purpose to what she’s endured that has already shown up in her life – and it will be experienced by many for years to come.

I’ve been given several opportunities to help others come to terms with her announcement and how they feel about it. What I’ve said is this:  Being gay is not a choice.  She can’t change that about herself any easier than she can change being white or female.  If you get the opportunity to read Chely’s memior, Like Me, you’ll  see that she tried to change it.  She tried to pray it away.  From the first page you’ll understand no one would choose to go through that!  It’s her truth.   And that truth is going to help so many others find their own way.

 On a much smaller scale than Chely is experiencing, I’ve experienced how my life has opened up once I’ve connected with and honored my own truth – in a multitude of issues.  There’s a freedom that is indescribable when I just surrender to what I know is right for me.  And it enhances not only my own life, but the lives of everyone I come into contact with because I’m so much more open and honest with them – allowing each of us to just be who we are.

I hope others will find this freedom to be who they are.  Otherwise what’s the point of our being here?  Imagine how dull life would be if we were all exactly alike!!

Motivation vs Inspiration

I’m often asked by clients how to find the motivation to begin or continue on a path that leads to a positive change in their lives.   While I have a few suggestions for them, it’s always been difficult for me to know exactly how to help them.  The way I look at it, motivation comes from the outside.  If you’re looking for something to motivate you, you can probably find it for short term success.  For example, maybe an upcoming class reunion will give you the incentive to lose those few extra pounds.

But if you’re wanting long-term change, I believe what you need to find is inspiration.  Inspiration comes from within.  For some, this is a difficult concept – that they can inspire themselves to make a change.   These are probably the people who have continual intellectual violence going on inside their heads – all those negative thoughts or memes they have entertained for years.  Most of us will have the same negative thoughts today that we had yesterday and last year and for years before that.  Those are the memes (mind viruses) we’ve learned from our parents or society.  Like any other virus, they are successful in doing their jobs – duplicating themselves while we feel worse and worse about ourselves.  (See Mind Virus by Richard Brodie)

The way to change this is to first, be conscious of your thoughts.  If you want to change something, you first have to determine what the negative belief about yourself is around the situation, because that’s what drives your emotions and behaviors.  Your beliefs stem from the thoughts you are feeding.  Those that gain weight by the constant feeding become your belief.  If you conclude that you need to change that belief, it’s time to begin pumping yourself with more positive thoughts. That doesn’t mean you have to be Stewart Smalley (for those of you old enough to remember SNL that far back).

This is where the external triggers can be helpful.  Look for places to get more positive input.  I listen to audiobooks, podcasts and music that inspires me.  I do it daily.  Although I’m a pretty positive person, I do wake up grumpy often – and if I don’t listen to my inspirational input, I can stay that way.

For me it works well to listen to my ipod while I’m working out or walking.  Then I make every effort to meditate afterward to connect with my higher power and to center myself.  Sometimes, I use a mantra to focus on an issue or relationship I want to change.  On days when I can’t do either or both of these, I make a concerted effort to stay in the moment, and practice gratitude for every little thing that happens.

But you don’t have to do it my way.  Just look for ways you can feed your mind with whatever inspires you.  It doesn’t have to be about the change you’re trying to make, but just something that is positive & makes you feel good – funny videos on YouTube or TV or reading the Bible or a meditation book.  Whatever you choose, you do need to do it consistently and often.

Most of all, don’t be so self-critical when you fall off the wagon & forget to feed yourself those positive thoughts and feelings.  Just climb back on at the next opportunity. Quit thinking so much and pat yourself on the back for being ready for the next step.