What's your idea of the difference between guilt and shame?
Here are some of my thoughts:
😳guilt is an act you get caught for. You are forced to say sorry, go to jail, peers see you and point fingers. "You should be ashamed of yourself" -aha but are you? No one knows but you.
😌Shame is what you feel regardless of whether anyone knows about it or not - you know it's bad and you carry it with you, self hatred and judgment can erupt.
I've posted this photo to illustrate my point. This food could feed a small family. These are the remnants of our group the other day AFTER we were done. We couldn't take it with us so it went in the trash.
We were guilty of taking too much food (it was a buffet) we looked at eachother sheepishly and left. We were all equally guilty. But I feel ashamed of this and hope to plan better in the future. Some people never get to that shame - they are guilty but move on with no remorse. I certainly am not perfect but in this instance I feel this point so clearly.
I think perhaps we need shame to force us to be better. I'm not talking about Shame that one person does to another (shaming a child in front of friends) but I am talking about that subtle shift of awareness that yes you wasted food, time, money or love and you feel bad about it in order to be better next time.
How do you get rid of shame? Awareness then forgiveness and improvement
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all the things that need to get done? Do you lose sleep in the middle of the night thinking about what you forgot to do or worried about what is going to happen the next day? How are you going to squeeze it all in? Do you have a hard time NOT thinking while you are trying to meditate? Or actually not being able to find time to meditate or slow down at all because you have way too many things to do?
I think most of us would answer "YES" to many of these questions. There are a zillion things floating around in our heads...so many choices...so many unknowns.
One of my favorite things about Chakra Dyana Meditation is that we use a very simple mantra. We use a word that we all focus on at the same time. When we use our voice to focus on the one sound that we are making it forces our mind to tune in to that one thing to the exclusion of all others. That is the point. Thoughts will tend to come through while we are meditating but instead of trying to STOP these thoughts from coming I suggest we actually allow them to come without engagement.
Do not struggle to stop them because the very act of trying to stop them from coming will distract you more than the thoughts themselves.
If you think ABOUT the thoughts you may have an inner dialogue which may look like this:
"I will not think about other things during meditation. I will clear my mind"
"Oh no! here comes that thought again"
"Why am I thinking about that again?"
"I will not think about that any more"
"Here comes that thought again"
"Why can't I stop thinking about that?"
"Is anyone else thinking about other things?"
"What did she say?"
"Am I doing it right?"
"There is that thought again"
"I won't think this much next time"
"I will try harder next time...it didn't work"
May I suggest an alternative? What if when a thought comes you practice WATCHING the thought go by? Do not engage with the thought. Do not analyze what the thought is doing there or what you can do to prevent it. Let it be. Let it float by. The thought has nothing to do with your meditation. It has nothing to do with the time you have gifted to yourself for peace, calm and connection that you desire.
The more you step back and let the thoughts wash over you and leave without engagement the less they will come to you. Your mind will get used to trusting that you will get back to those thoughts later - when you are ready. They have no place in the time that you have set aside for yourself. They will leave if not entertained. Those thoughts will get bored and learn their lesson - there is no place for them in your meditation time. Do not worry if they come to you, pay them no mind - give them no part of your attention.
Once you are able to grasp this idea perhaps meditation will be easier for you. Perhaps instead of struggling to clear your mind and keep "trying" to meditate, you will actually be able to clear your mind and open to the wholeness that you seek. Perhaps your connection will be so strong that you will not need to struggle to find the time to keep "trying" to meditate and you actually will meditate.
The goal of meditation is to allow your mind to be still. You are not looking for anything....there is no voice to be heard, colors to be seen, vision to be felt...if these things happen, so be it, but if you "try" to get to any of these things more thoughts may come in order to distract you.
Meditation gives you a brief reprieve from engaging with your thoughts so that you can come out revitalized and ready to handle your thoughts in a productive way. That is the goal. Give yourself a break so you can tackle those thoughts when you are ready. Your ability to stay clear will become easier with practice and the stronger your connection with your own truth will be, this peace and connection will last even longer between meditations. It's a beautiful benefit - the deeper the meditation perhaps the less frequent you will need to do it. How efficient is that?
I am really getting comfortable and expanding my philosophy of combining the meditation and physical training part of what I do.
I am hoping that the way I explain things to people really gets through to them and helps them gain the clarity they need to figure out how they need to move forward.
Whether it's to mentally get past a physical challenge or an emotional/spiritual one.
Be Brave! Go beyond what you ever imagined yourself doing. Don't let yourself be stagnant in your way of thinking about life. You can go beyond your expectations of yourself!
The other day I was with a friend who is many years older than I am. I noticed, as I often do with this particular friend, that she is scared to do certain things.
She hesitates and takes the long way around in order to avoid certain steps or declines to do certain activities that she deems "dangerous". She has it in her head that she is "old" and is in danger of falling and breaking a bone.
I try to talk her through movements. I try to encourage her to pick up her feet so that she can clear that obstacle in the parking lot but often she prefers to walk around an uneven area. We all know you can't make someone do something that they don't want to do.
As a personal trainer, I can help people get physically stronger. But a client will not step up to a challenge unless they have the inner strength to move forward. No matter how great a personal trainer is, the only way training can be successful is if the client is "all in".
If you are at a spot in your life where you'd like to change your outlook, I really encourage you to get outside of your comfort zone. Perhaps meditation could benefit you but only try it if you are really open to it. I'm happy to stick with the physical stuff only if that's what my client is interested in.
This Easter Season began as a hunt for me. For some reason my perspective on nature shifted. So many times I would look at the world and see interesting ways of finding hidden gems amidst the branches or petals around me. It began with that first curious shot of the moon in a random tree and then it blossomed from there. : )
Shifting your perspective and allowing yourself to be open to new possibilities can be amazing. Nature has so many gifts to offer if you stay attuned to it. Take some time to look around you today. Stop and smell the roses. Notice the cloud formations above you. Close your eyes and feel the wind on your face or the warmth of the sun. Touch that soft petal that you pass by as you walk to your car. Touch your own hair. You are a part of nature too!
Enjoy my perspective, here are some of the highlights of the season for me.
You won't even believe what I was thinking when I took this photo. I was on the side of the road at 7 a.m. in the morning, walking through knee high grass trying to capture beautiful spring flowers.
I saw some spider webs clinging to the moist undergrowth and thought I would hone in on a particular web to try and get a cool shot. I am not even kidding you, as I stepped gingerly through the greens I began talking to the undergrowth in my head. "Don't worry little spider, I won't step on you." I truly was stepping along trying not to do harm.
Only after I got home and zoomed in on this shot did I discover the planet I had caught on camera.
I just love this photo so much! I love the little stars reflected in the droplet of water. I love the way it dangles there so delicately. I love the way it seems to have been giving me messages, pleading for safety.
It reminds me of Horton Hears a Who. It reminds me that this earth needs our help. As I examine this photo more closely I wonder if that is my reflection I see in the light. It reminds me of how precarious life is, how delicate the balance.
This photo reminds me that we are all living on a little dew drop floating in space. We are all in this little bubble we call earth. It reminds me that we all can be sending out messages pleading for safety and love to something greater than ourselves. It reminds me how small we all are, yet so loved.
I don't imagine that the caterpillar spends a lot or time worrying what it is to become. The more you focus on what you want to be the more you can lose sight of who you really are.
One of my favorite necklaces has a plaque on it that reads "be strong". 💪
It does not say "get" strong. That would imply that I am not enough where I am right now.
I must grasp and reach for something that is in the future, that I do not "possess". Yes, we must earn our way - work hard to improve in whatever we are seeking BUT we shouldn't overlook the beauty in the state we are in within this very moment.
My necklace does not read "stay" strong. That would imply we must still the passing of time. Freeze like a dog when it's owner yells for it not to exit the front door or follow their human across the street. How boring would life be if we stayed in one spot?
We do NOT want to "stay" stagnant in our physical bodies or in our energetic bodies. Our hair is growing, our cells are changing. So true - we can not "stay" happy all of the time or "stay" depressed continually.
We NEED to constantly shift and flow through our lives. No matter how high the highs or low the lows we all know they will serve their purpose - bringing us to a greater understanding of ourselves.
The only thing we can rely on in life is CHANGE. We are constantly evolving - embrace that truth and cooperate with the flow of life - joy is yours!
I can't stress to you enough my firm belief that it is not my job to tell anyone else what to do. It's just so true!
Awhile ago I wrote a post called "Only You Can Turn the Switch On" - the same idea.
As a personal trainer I am qualified, in fact obligated and happy to tell you what to do to be safe and effective with your physical workouts.
Don't get me wrong - I love telling people what to do, just ask my family. But from an emotional standpoint I can NOT tell you what to do. It is completely up to you to get off that sofa or throw out those chips.
Sure I can come to your house and get in your face about it or go through your pantry or take you to the market to buy healthy food but once I leave - chances are you will revert to old habits.
It is my job to help you figure out how to dig deep and be your own coach, your own boss, your own motivator.
I love spending time with you and encouraging you but I can't possibly be with you every minute of the day. You need to fill that role for yourself and YOU CAN. You have the strength within you - you just need to take the time to get in touch with it,, admit it is there. Be AWARE of your own power and trust it.
I can help you figure out how to do that but then it's up to you. I'm so excited to watch you grow! So excited to be part of the process of encouraging you to stretch to your fullest.
When I was in high school my dad took me on a date. We dressed up and had reservations at an incredible restaurant. It was The Cove in downtown La Jolla, very upscale.
I recall this wonderful date so distinctly because it was so very rare to get my dad all to myself like this. I think we were celebrating my acceptance to the college I wanted to go to but I'm not sure. I just recall how happy it made me.
You may think...why does a dad need a reason to take his daughter on a date? In our case, it wasn't needing a reason that perhaps made it unique but the fact that we just did not have the financial resources to indulge in such outings very often.
My parents did the best they could, they did a fantastic job in fact, of raising 3 children with a limited budget. Some of my best memories come from dates like this, or tent camping trips.
I still remember this particular date. My dad was so very thrilled as we entered the restaurant and the waiter assumed I was my dad's girlfriend. He thought it was so funny, was so very proud and loved me so much! That feeling of his love is what I remember the most even to this day, more than 30 years later.
I also remember being so excited and proud of him on many of our camping trips as he made fire for our family campsite or figured out how to put up the tent.
The same kind of skills humans have enjoyed for thousands of years. The same skills children watch and remember today sometimes.
Of course, my mom could figure this stuff out too (and often did). This is not a comment on the power of the male gender but since my dad's birthday passed recently he has been on my mind.
It is not the activity itself that we are giving to our children but the memory. They will hold it forever.
It is the love and security that they will remember, not exactly what they ordered or what material item they may have received. It is not how many times you even give them a particular memory but the strength of your love.
If my dad was in the habit of taking me on fancy dates every month this one date may not be so embedded in my memory. So Dad, I want you to know, I appreciate everything you ever did for me - you gave me the best gift of all - your time and love.
The photo attached to this post is of my dad with his beautiful mom. I remember asking him years ago where they were when this photo was taken. He did not recall. He didn't recall who else was with them. I'm not sure if he even recalled this photo being taken.
But I do know that looking at that photo reminded him of his connection with his mom. He felt her love. Even after she was gone from this earth that feeling remained. That is what life is made of.
We always have that connection to those we love. That is the kind of gift that matters. That is the kind of gift that endures through the generations whether you are making a campfire, mashed potatoes or tamales - I will remember that feeling and pass it to my children.
Seems like an appropriate Spring time title right? One of my favorite phrases is "just keep swimming" but I didn't want to take anything away from Dory. By the way, Ellen is on my mind a lot lately...not sure what that means...
Anyway, a thought has been floating around in my head that I want to share. I get the best messages from the oddest places sometimes.
Last weekend at my daughter's water polo tournament her team was in first place on the first day of a two day tournament.
Now, I must explain, usually her team is towards the lower end of the rankings, wins are a rare treat. This particular day the first team they played had to forfeit due to too few players.
Yes, they all rallied and some of our team played on their team for a fun scrimmage. We lost something like 14-2 but that's ok - it counted as a WIN for us. Woo Hoo!
Later in the day we played a team and actually DID win! YAY! My daughter scored the very first goal of the game. Double YAY!
She is one of two girls on the boy team. So proud of her!! Now for this WIN it didn't matter if that opponent was the 4th level team of the other club (not sure of proper vocabulary but that means they were not the most skilled players that the club had to offer). That's ok, it doesn't matter. Our kids WON!
At the end of this day we were officially in first place because we had 2 WINS. Phenomenal! So Exciting! As the kids parted ways their coach tells them that they are in first place, if they win the games the following day they will win the entire tournament.
The kids were sooooo excited! Chatter about all the different scenarios of winning was so wonderful to hear! What a great feeling to end the day.
Well, one of the parents, bless her heart, tells me privately "I don't think I would have told them." We have a conversation about how many times they've lost, how sad it always is to see all the fancy trophies and they never get one.
She is so sweet, she loves her boy so much she doesn't want him to experience disappointment. I understand but I couldn't help feeling that even if they have that one night to dream about victory, the loss (NOT guaranteed loss, POSSIBLE loss) is not even there yet.
The excitement of possibly winning is so powerful! Why not enjoy that feeling as long as possible without holding back at the thought of failure?
Well, of course today I'm ruminating on this very important message. With all the things that are happening in my life right now - why stop myself from moving forward because I'm afraid of failing?
Why should anyone stop themselves from joy because of worry? It is not naive, it is not crazy, it is life - enjoy the happy times with abandon. Go all in!
The happy times are the ones to hang on to. Seriously, I really believe the kids will remember being in first place for years from now more than they will that they lost. And yes, they did lose the next day.
But now they know what it's like to feel like a winner even for that one night. Now they know what they are aiming for. Now they can hop from that one tournament to the next hoping and striving for that victorious feeling again.
It's better to hop from one victory/happy event to the next instead of dragging yourself there being bitter over bad calls and staying in that loss. Stay on that high and hop from one happy time to the next - you know it's coming - what are you going to do with the time in between?