by Claudia Gold, ShameIntoJoy c 2016
What do you do to get through hard or stressful times?
Her laughing exuberant, round Raggedy Ann face framed by curly dancing brown hair comes to me through email: She writes inviting me to share in her circle of friends on Salt Spring Island in honor of her birthday which I remember each year though I saw her perhaps 7 years ago last on that cute island. She writes that she will share what her friends from afar wrote with her in person circle. She is the sister of an ex-boyfriend and somehow our friendship has outlasted the one with her brother.
This is what I write back…We can do inner selfies focusing our cameras on ourselves at any point, regarding ourselves and looking at our expressions. This means that we don’t click, we just reverse the camera, and look. Look into the eyes that tell the pain, suffering, shame, guilt, worry, – and when attended to with curiosity and love, start to brighten, smile, crinkle, with the breath inhaling. Perhaps the seeing is to know the strength of the Creator’s blessings and noting one’s nothingness before the everythingness and gifts. Or we might give ourselves such love and compassion for an error we made, perhaps due to some deep need or some childhood lack. Or we might love our sweet selves and say: Good morning, sweet-heart. I want you to have a really loving day. Or say whatever you may want to hear for encouragement and a sense of belonging in your skin, in your present situation. “I really, really love you,” is what author and publisher Louise Hay recommends saying into a mirror.
This type of witnessing and self-compassion which can be done in an inner selfie can also be done in the mirror (we just don’t always have one handy, but usually we have our phones, right?) Many benefits ensue, and many ways to do it unfold. For instance, we can tell our truths to ourselves seeing our reflection. We can face secrets that we feel ashamed of that have been isolated in psychic caves, and telling them in the mirror or inner selfie, with compassion for ourselves is liberating. I found making up a compassion song or poem from what I saw in my eyes a healing experience that brought that shame out of its cave dancing in joy to be liberated. Some of the secrets I did this with were being a body rocker, rocking against couches as a child (much shamed in my house!) and having a messy room as a child while I read books.
This mirroring process is tricky; at first it feels awkward but gains a momentum of relative comfort over time. (It takes a nudge of courage to do it, for me anyway). Other ways it can help is to give us biofeedback when we need clarity… We can ask how we feel about a confusing phone call or interaction, looking in our eyes, that tell. When we feel stressed and don’t know what is bothering us we can run the parade of stressors in our lives by our honest eyes and notice which ones make our eyes distressed.
Good wishes to you of Beauty and Talent within. See it – be it. Let’s really love ourselves into our talents that we can give to the world, and nurture our trusting relationship with ourselves. What we face with courage and compassion may be at first uncomfortable to see. But as my Soul Motion teacher Flo Aliviado said, “It’s not always pretty – but it’s beautiful!” You, we are beauty-full, beyond and within the illusions we carry for a time.