In the soil of our lives, shame can be the stones that will choke out any life that needs to grow. It is the shame that we carry with us that leads the soul to the silence and solitude that plagues so many levels of our relationships. It is the shame that we carry that leads us away from honesty with ourselves, others, and the world and into a place of discontentment in being. It is this discontentment that leads us to look outside of what is right before us to something more of what we do not need.
Any one of us have had the analogous experience of looking into the mirror and not being satisfied with the reflection that comes our way. This reflection goes beyond the surface of our skin (though many of us deal heavily with our own personal appearance). It is what we see within our soul that can cause us to ask the question, ‘who have I become?’ Many of us are familiar with what is known as the dark night of the soul. It is that moment when the shame that we carry deep within leaves us with no place to hide, and we must come face to face with the darkness that brings our deepest fears to life.
“I should be further along in life…”
“What happened to the innocence of a lost youth…”
“Where did I lose my ability to love the way I know that I can…”
“Why am I so angry all of the time…”
It is during this dark night of the soul experience that the truth of our inner condition… and the lingering shame of not being enough in some way becomes overwhelming, and we are able to admit, that we don’t have it all together.
What do we do then?
It is in this moment that honesty with ourselves must take center stage. Being able to admit, and embrace the broken pieces of our lives where shame has free reign is central to allowing the healing work of grace to become a glue that pulls our nature and our purpose back together again. This can be a tremendous time of renewal for our lives if we will allow grace to do what grace is purposed to do.
But so often, we will let the moment pass without careful meditation and acceptance that while in a perfect world, there is no time of sorrow or shame… truth is… we don’t live in a perfect world, and our tendency is to grab on to more of what got us in this mess in the first place: stuff we don’t need… food that doesn’t satisfy… sex without love… money that burns holes… and on and on and on.
It is a painful experience to face the shame and brokenness in our lives… and who among us are so masochistic enough that we, with joy look at inflicting it on ourselves. What we must come to realize is that in the current condition of life, there will be plenty of inner things to endure… so much so that we don’t need to be looking for more and more of it. There is plenty to unearth if given time and space to see it. Each layer that we pull back in our soul will reveal more and more of it until we can get to that place where we can see that who we are is enough… no more… no less.