7.3
Winner
June 6, 2021

3 Heartening Ways to Let Go of Inner Guilt & Shame.

What if There was Nothing Wrong with Us?

Yesterday, on a whim, I chose to believe there was nothing wrong with me.

There wasn’t anything I had to fix or heal in myself. I breathed into the weightlessness I felt beneath my rib cage. I let go of the invisible wounds I carried on my shoulders. Every painful thought I held softened into irrelevance.

My heart opened to welcome everything—just as it is. And the overwhelming feeling of almost being enough, the reaching, wasn’t with me—not yesterday.

Peace and quiet were with me.

It was like a warm gust of wind slowly slid through my spine, rinsing and wringing the unease away. There was levity all around me. I felt it above me and beside me as if I was a feather.

I was free, and I felt like me.

This, I knew as stillness.

Until the old stories came back. They flooded in to say who it is I’d become—one emotional response at a time.

They say I’m the one who walks away from those I love, the one who turns her back, and the one who makes foolish mistakes. The woman who will never be whomever it is she strives to be.

“Shame, on me.”

Still, that blissful, fine feeling I had experienced moments earlier told a different story. Those sensations of pure stillness, I’ve known them well—they’ve been within me all along.

That wistfulness is me—of course it is: whenever I’m simply just being—not doing.

Yet, my imperfections and my inner dialogue never let me sense it or claim it as myself. They told me stillness is something I search for outside of myself.

I’ve learned that amidst the rough spots, blemishes, and my sordidness, there is enormous beauty. And so, I’ve come to see I am all of this.

We are all “all of this.”

But most of us only know our beauty in fragments or moments of stillness. Many of us haven’t integrated this brilliance as ourselves. Our minds don’t allow it, and our culture won’t recognize “all of this” in one. To hold two opposing or varying views simultaneously is a challenge for our minds.

However, we are and always will be more than the limited view of our minds—it’s just labels and the enhancement of our shortcomings.

We can quiet those thoughts and choose to live in our completeness instead.

A flower doesn’t consider itself wilted when its petals fall to the ground. A tree doesn’t find itself useless when it loses its leaves. They cycle in nature: spread their roots, feed the soil, flower again, and await the next season.

We can embrace the cycle of life too. We only need to live with the resilience and self-forgiveness of a tree and gain compassion and tolerance for our inherent limitations.

Nature has much to teach us about stillness.

Eckhart Tolle tells us, “All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness.”

We are all artisans, not just those deemed talented by cultural standards. We only need to remember the purity in which we entered this life to recognize this as ourselves. We are what lies underneath the overlay of perceived blunders and mistaken identities.

When we embody our entirety, we see that we are so much more than any title or role we will ever play.

When we rightfully take up our space and stop squeezing ourselves into little boxes, our imperfections are seen for what they are—tiny, obscure dots of our existence. Our wounding no longer lives under the microscope of the mind or the constructs of our society. Our pain becomes our teacher—not an identity. And our mishaps become our lessons—not the markings of shame.

I’m learning, finally, to live within my wholeness, despite having made a horrible mistake, hurt another’s feelings, or forgot to pay the bills.

These three points have taught me to return to stillness whenever I lose my way.

1. Find your color. I had a spiritual teacher who taught us to identify with a source color or colors. This is a color that we feel a special connection. Colors hold a vibration, and we can sense these vibrations as ourselves. We can shine that color into our offices, cars, kitchens, and homes. We can wear them on our bodies. When used often, these vibrations will help us embody our fullness and release the notion of labels. They encourage us to feel rather than think.

Music carries vibrations, and we can identify ourselves with musical notes or songs in the same way. When we bring this song to our attention, it will remind us of our wholeness. This is especially helpful whenever we are feeling nervous, tired, or overwhelmed.

2. Redefine what it means to be an artist, and make time for being in that space every day. We are all artists—whether it is simply looking and listening, breathing, walking, jogging, bird watching, writing, or drinking our tea. If it feels like inner stillness, it is our craft. We can make the time to be still and truly know ourselves.

3. “I forgive you.” After we process and make amends for our mistakes or whatever we perceive as wrong or bad, we can offer ourselves forgiveness. Saying “I forgive you” to ourselves is a necessary step to understanding that our humanity is one tiny piece of our whole self. Use this phrase often as a means of letting go of inner guilt and shame.

“When you lose touch with your inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

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