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With a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction degree (Goucher College, August 2014), I am looking at a new phase in my life. From 1992 to 2009, I served as Founding Executive Director of Miriam's House, a residence for homeless women living with AIDS. I left this position when Chronic Migraine Disease overtook my ability to do my job. Now I hope that a writing career will both accommodate the migraines and give me a creative, productive outlet. And soon, September 4, I will launch my Inkshares author page in a bid to hit the 1,000 pre-order goal in 90  days. The book I want to publish is "Nowhere Else I Want to Be," a memoir of ten of my years at Miriam's House.

20 March 2012

"The Power of Now" and Pain: Shame-Free Zone

Thirteenth in a series.

I have been posting about sensitive stuff lately.  It is not an easy matter to honestly turn our attention to our inner workings when we are speaking of the darker side of human nature.  I think that one of the main reasons it's not easy is that we have learned shame and guilt.

We get it from our religion, our parents, our teachers, and society in general.  We are taught shame, we are encouraged to feel guilty.  Maybe this is done to us for what seemed to be a good reason to some authority figure -- to help us learn a lesson, to show us a better way to live.  But the fact is that shame and guilt are unproductive emotions.  They harbor secrets and make us unwilling or unable to bring what is skulking in the dark into the light for healing. 

"Our secrets make us sick." (Alcoholics Anonymous saying)

In the context of this series of posts on Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now, guilt and shame also keep us from being in the Now.  They keep us from experiencing the power of this moment because they anchor us in the past, they make us deny the present and fear the future. 

For example: if I am ashamed of that part of me that needs to stay sick because my ego identifies as a sick person, I am forced to keep it hidden under layers of guilt and fear.  I can never release that shame from its dark containers: I can never bring what is happening in my ego to the healing power of the reality of the present moment.  I am stuck, forever denying myself the liberation, the freedom of living in the Now.  Not to mention that it lowers my self-esteem and obliterates my self-honesty.

Many of us will feel defensive, angry, or upset reading a post like the one previous to this.  Please just accept those feelings, acknowledge them as human.  The reality of our lives is hard enough.  We have to deal with pain just about every day.  We have lost careers, relationships, income, mobility, choice.  Our lives are stripped down close to minimum.  We have little control over circumstances -- well, no one has control over circumstances, but we seem to be more at their mercy than many people we know.

Yet.

Yet we do have control over one thing: how we deal with, accept, work with and live with the reality of our life in this moment.  This is where we overcome difficulties and darkness, in the choices we make to confront and be authentic about what is our Now.

And that will be the subject of my next post.


I would love to hear from you.  Please use the Comment link below, or email me at carold.marsh@gmail.com.  Thank you.


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