When you learn that the hot coal that someone throws at you does not have anything to do with you, it allows you to choose whether or not to catch it, plant it, or drop it
Oh shame—how well so many of us know you. Shame can be such an intimate partner when we don’t know how to shake it. Shame is a pattern that so many of us have laced ourselves up with as a constant behavior pattern, which so many of us have resorted to and placed upon ourselves time and again.
The word shame means to feel mortified, painfully embarrassed, self-loathing or like you are a bad person. When I try to describe how the emotion of shame feels to my hands when I feel it in someone else, it’s hard to explain. It’s as if the tissues themselves take on a different constitution.
Shame makes the body cry.
That is the best way that I can explain it.
Shame is something that was not created inside you, but something that was put into you, and then you assumed the responsibility of taking it over and repeating the shame talk as you hammered it down into the tissues and cells within.
The Upside to Shame?
There is absolutely no upside to shame unless you consider the growth in rejecting behaviors associated with shame. When you learn that the hot coal that someone throws at you does not have anything to do with you, it allows you to choose whether or not to catch it, plant it, or drop it.
But this comes later.
Shame is incredibly toxic to the body and mind. Shame makes our muscles and body tissues weep. It becomes difficult to stand upright without hunching our shoulders and looking down more often than looking up or straight into anyone’s eyes, most notably our own. The mirror can be a hefty source of shame and loathing when we are not balanced and free from our internal dialogue at its worst.
Our minds perceive shame in a very heavy, sorrowful context, like we are being punished. Internally, shame is experienced much deeper. Shame cuts deep and stores itself heavily in the body.
Have you ever noticed the trees on the days it’s going to rain and the leaves begin to turn down? That’s what I imagine in our bodies—in the cells, the tissues, the muscles—when we bring shame into ourselves. Everything turns down in sorrow and begins to gently weep.
Shame to me is something that comes from outside ourselves and then anchors down based on the way someone else speaks to us or treats us. As a general rule in body work, shame is really hard to work with and release because of the deeply held disdain for wanting to discuss the reasons behind our experiences of shame. No one ever likes to say out loud the way that someone has made them feel or what was actually said or done.
Unfortunately, when someone else throws something ugly at us, we choose to take it on and continue it in a talk cycle that never changes back to its original track.
Someone could say one hurtful thing to us or about us along with twenty positive things, and the only one we take into our bodies and hold down would be that one line that created the experience of shame.
Understand that we always have the choice either to take the feelings of shame in and anchor down with it or to let it roll off and not take anything personally from toxic people. This is a sign of maturity and awareness that things that come at us from someplace else are not ours to own. This comes with work. It is never gained freely.
Guided Meditations to Release Shame
Click here to listen to a selection of free audio meditation guides.
Be sure to use the bathroom before beginning this practice. Each practice will take approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete.
Lie down in a place where you will be comfortable and not distracted. Turn down the lights, preferably having only natural light in the room. Lie down either on the floor, a couch, or a bed. If you prefer to be seated, this works as well.
Be sure you are wearing nonrestrictive clothing.
Relax every part of the external body.
Then relax deeper into the organs through auto-suggestion, and begin the process of doing the body scan to notice where there are green carrot-tops are in among the flowers within you. You want to dig down and bring the carrot up from below the surface.
Work with each individual carrot that presents itself for removal, replacing it with something far more loving.
Keep in mind that we only work with one carrot per meditation practice. I encourage you to return to the same meditation over and over until you feel that you have cleared every carrot in your body that was planted from this one body emotion before moving on to the next set of somatic emotions. You can fill out the journal and mark on the body as you repeat each practice.
Once you remove the carrot, choose a bucket of hot liquid and also choose the color you wish to use as you fill the space with healthy material.
Do not put much thought into what color you will pick for what area. Allow that to come to you naturally.
Once you are finished with the meditation you will document where you found this particular carrot in your body and the name that you gave that carrot as well as your color choice.
From there, you can look up what color resonates with that area of the body or what that color represents in terms of healing.
This excerpt is from Emily A. Francis’s new book, “Healing Ourselves Whole–An Interactive Guide to Release Pain and Trauma by Utilizing the Wisdom of the Body.” Reprinted with permission from Health Communications, Inc.
About the Author:
Emily A. Francis is a clinical and neuromuscular massage therapist from the Atlanta School of Massage as well as a graduate of the Dr. Vodder North America for MLD/CDT. She is the host of the internet radio show All About Healing on Healthy Life Radio. Emily recently made a giant leap from Atlanta, Georgia, and is now living her best life on the island of Malta.