Shame can only survive in silence.
Took me a long time to figure out what this ego thing was all my teachers were talking about. I then figured out that our ego is the human part of us that longs for things and stuff. It’s that competitive part of us that feels jealousy and wants to be the best. The ego is that aching stomach dropping cringe when you think you can’t find your cell phone. Our egos make us feel like we need this and that in order to be happy and to find peace. Just like anything else the power to be happy and at peace comes from within and knowing we have control of that is a comforting thought.
A week ago on my birthday, I was told that after 15 years of illness and 4 years of tough mental work, my struggle with Ulcerative Colitis was over. Besides left over scarring, there were no signs of the disease in my body. I was not on any new medication, in fact I had stopped taking the oral medication all together. There is no known cure for UC, because doctors do not know how it starts or how it stops. I made mine stop. On a day in February I decided that I was sick of the same fights and the same mental struggle and I took control of my life by letting go. I healed myself by changing the way I think.
I’ve started writing this article numerous times. Trying to explain how my healing started is not an easy task. I knew when it happened, but I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what I was feeling or how. I also kept feeling like there’s this timeline and facts that I needed to explain in case my story was negated, but I decided that it really doesn’t matter if it is. It’s in dramatic form, as it’s how most of my words come to me. (Weird, I know.) In no way, shape or form am I trying to convince you of a miracle that was bestowed upon me, instead I am sharing my story so that it may reach whomever needs it. In the past I used to feel that I would have to explain myself in everything I wrote and my articles would become long and wordy, but there are so many ways of saying the same words of wisdom. If you read something that you don’t quite get, that’s okay. You will when you need to.
It happened in February of 2014. The shame snuck up on me while I was in the shower. Shame is stealthy and would often blindside me, but not normally in the light of day. You see, shame prefers the quiet dark of 4 am where it has you all to itself. I had been sick with Ulcerative Colitis for a very long time and I was feeling quite exhausted by the pain and loss of blood. Being chronically ill and a perfectionist I believed that I was getting my just desserts by being sick and anytime I felt particularly uncomfortable the shame would remind me why. The bastard certainly didn’t hold anything back this time as it brought out the big guns. The garrisons were emptied and an army of past mistakes and ridicule lunged at me. The memories were random and ranged from as a far back as when I was three to as recent as the day before. Shame is shame. No matter if the mistake made was minor or major the shame felt the same. I didn’t want to do this anymore. The wakeless nights and the gut wrenching anxiety during the day. I remember thinking very clearly, “This is why people kill themselves“. With that thought I collapsed into a sobbing heap on the shower floor. It appeared that I was defeated, but what does one do when shame defeats them? I certainly, couldn’t end my life, I finally had everything I had ever wanted. My life was actually exhibiting the peace I had been craving for years. Why was this happening to me? I had stuff I wanted to do, things I wanted to see and I was not going to be able to do any of it if I was mentally and physically sick, let alone dead. So, I fought back.
I began to stick up for myself to myself. A memory would fire at me and I would explain exactly what I was feeling at the time and what my intentions were. During times that I exhibited lack of self-respect I told myself how lonely I was and how I was trying so hard to find happiness and acceptance. I comforted myself during humiliating memories by providing words of compassion as I would a friend. I convinced myself that despite my recklessness and my lack of self-respect, I was and am a very good person and would never purposely hurt anyone. As I continued to show self-compassion a beautiful thing happened. I gained a third perspective. My past, where my shame came from, my present, where I was being attacked by it and my soul, who was sticking up for me. I saw myself lying there in pain and I felt so sad for me. I picked myself off the ground, dried myself off and with my soul as a mediator, my present made peace with my past. I felt so good. I was full of self-confidence and pride. All the fear I had been living with became clear. The fear of what others thought of me, fear of the unknown future and the fear of conflict. It seemed ridiculous to me all of a sudden. With my soul intact, my past forgiven and my present awesome, I let go of my fear and I began to move with the flow of the universe. I put out there what I want, big or small and just go with it. If something dramatic or unexpected happens, I allow myself to feel the knock back of it, gain my footing and then allow it to just be. I take care of what I can in the moment and leave the rest that I have no control over. (Stress and worry still arise and I allow myself to feel it, but my recovery time is better. There is no dwelling.) To say that my healing in February was instant is not an exaggeration. With UC it is very obvious when you are getting sicker and it’s equally as obvious when you are getting better. I had never in 15 years felt as good as I was feeling a week after my shame battle.
There is no cure for Colitis, because they don’t know how it starts or how it stops. To me it doesn’t matter if I’m cured or simply in remission, I know how mentally and physically sick I was one day and the next I wasn’t. I am not taking my health for granted. I continue to take my medicine, watch my diet and take care of my mental health. I’m very obviously a different person than I was even year ago, but that doesn’t mean I don’t continue to struggle with my inner demons. I keep up with my soul work daily. I do well sitting at home in my cozy spa world, with my peace and incense, but the minute I step out in the world or log onto Facebook, shame is there. It is an epidemic. In our society where everyone appears to have perfect lives, perfect kids and perfect bodies, there is shame. Silence feeds shame. I want to end this. It’s eating us up inside and killing us. It’s killing our kids. I believe that there is strength within numbers and by getting together, sharing our stories and creating a strong bond this strength and confidence can stick with us even when we are faced with society’s perfection. Life has humbled me. There is no story told to me that I cannot say “Me too”. I will lead the charge in this shame battle, but I can’t do it alone. I want to create a strong group of imperfect women who together can spread the love, caring and understanding that is needed to kill shame. Who have no problem with being the first one to come out and say, “I am feeling shame.” Shame is the same feeling no matter what the circumstances are and it is destroyed by love, compassion and talking about it. It was the love of life and compassion for myself that helped me beat my shame, it was beating my shame that gave me the strength to let go of my fear and it was letting go of my fear that healed me. So, that means ultimately love and compassion are a healing force, and that’s a really easy place to start. Chose to love life and to love yourself.
I have done and continue to do much research on the power of our thoughts and of our subconscious. I have read and watched videos from Christians, Buddhists, Scientists and Sikhs from all times in the history of the written word and they all say the same thing. There is power in our words, power in love and power in our thoughts. If you have any questions or are interested in being involved in building a group of impenetrable and imperfect women please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Advice Over Pie is all about the learning and practicing of this loving ourselves truth. We are worthy of love. We are worthy of all things good. When you come into this awareness, there is peace and healing. Let go of all past mistakes and let go of all future worries. Have faith in yourself and in your love. Know that all goodness, grace and peace is found in the present. You are so beautiful and so loved. Allow yourself to feel that beauty and love that is inside you. Allow it to be your daily strength. Feel the fog lift and your mind grow. Every breath will feel anew and the love you never knew you had will flow from your every pore. You will know then that you are in fact Love.
This sunset is exactly the way the Universe had intended. You are exactly the way the Universe had intended. You are beautiful. You are loved. You need no filter. Be who you are. Embrace who you are. Show the world You unfiltered.
“Clearly there are no rules.” said the sun to the moon. “For if there were you would not be able to be with me in the daylight sky. The most glorious things happen in the daylight and I am so glad to have you here with me. Oh, but to have the opportunity to see the night. How much greater that might be.”
The moon was thoughtful for a moment and then with full confidence it proclaimed. “Your joy is with me and here in the sunlight sky. Why speak of what cannot be when there is joy in the now?”
If you are happy right now this very minute, then stay there and be happy.
Spent the day with thousands of like minded folks and the Dalai Lama. Crazy awesome experience. So much information to digest and my hand couldn’t write fast enough. I came out of it with 2 pages of near eligible short hand that I still need to decipher. But, his main message was easy to remember. Everyone deserves love and compassion. It was also comforting to learn that even after 60 some years, the Dalai Lama still considers himself a student. So that helped to take the pressure off a bit. 🙂
When we are bombarded with life’s problems, it’s easy to just sink into the sorrow and allow it to encompass us. With a simple attitude change, that feeling of hopelessness that forces us to give up because “what’s the point in trying anymore” can be turned around and become that amazing freedom feeling of “going with the flow”.
We have the choice on how we are react and respond to circumstances that are out of our control. Which things means that things really aren’t completely out of control. And that is a comforting thought.
Dream Big is overused. It’s in front of all of us all the time so we forget it’s there. It just blends into reality with “Don’t Do Drugs” and “No Means No”. We hear rags to riches stories all the time, but they start at the extreme end of poverty and end on the complete opposite side where the person is driving a Mercedes. There are many Dream Big stories coming true that aren’t as noticeable and are much more believable. I did not grow up desolate poor and my Audi Q5 is still sitting snug as a bug on my vision board, but that isn’t the point of my story. In a world where we are stuck in awful jobs, relationships, and financially instability, there is an abundance of hopelessness, dreaming kills that hopelessness. By consistently imagining yourself at the next level you will notice that the environment around you will start to change. What is happening is the standards you had for yourself have improved and what was once “good enough” is no longer.
The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America are asking for true stories about living with IBD and for selfies of the people who are living the life.