Sorry I have been Missing in Action for blogs the past couple of weeks. It isn’t that I have writer’s block. In fact, I have too much to say that I can’t land on just one thing. So many thoughts are flooding my psyche about so many topics. I am kind of all over the place and haven’t grounded into one exploration.
Today what has surfaced for me is an awareness of how afraid I really am. At 2:30 am I was awakened by the sound of guns nearby. I live in a relatively quiet and diverse Chicago city neighborhood; with a sacred garden we have enjoyed so much during the CoVid19 isolation of these many spring and summer months. It is easy to become complacent in our little bubble these days. As long as the weather is good, as it has been, we live happily among our fish that swim in our tiny pond, the trees, the birds, the bees and playful squirrels, who inhabit our garden. The only pests this year have been the feisty and hungry mosquitos! And then the sounds of guns, of anger and discontent wake me out of my misguided trance, that I am safe. I do not feel safe. I am afraid.
There are so many guides out there, deriding fear and shame, when it feels so absolutely human to me. These are merely human emotions that surface organically. Certainly, it Is not necessary to fuel them or amplify them, and so I am selective about listening to news and discerning about what I read. And yet, how can I not lovingly acknowledge what is organically human? In fact, I believe that most often damage is done because we hide these feelings and strategize around them to avoid fully accepting them. How can I not unmask my human experience? Why should I be afraid of Fear, instead of calling on something bigger in myself to soothe that place in myself that feels afraid and then being proactive and awake about what I am afraid of? Why should I shame Shame, instead of loving it up with compassion and understanding about why Shame may be arising in me these days?
As a white woman of privilege, I do feel shame about ways I have unknowingly exploited my position, completely unconsciously, thinking all along what a good and fair person I am. I do my best, and must do better. Shame motivates me to learn more and be even more sensitive to the experience of others who are being singled out and who have been mistreated for centuries. Shame actually encourages me to educate myself and strive for more sensitive and generous behaviors. Shame stimulates a desire for me to speak out when it is easier to hide and bury my head in the sand.
So, for today, I say “I AM afraid. I Am ashamed.” I take these feelings into the light fully. And then, after wrapping my arms around them, all the parts within me work together to find courage, defiance toward what we know to be unkind, inequitable, and immoral, and bold in speaking out toward a more loving and fairer society.
***Please join me on Saturday, September 12th at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time, 9:30 Central time, as I present a live FREE 90 minute virtual workshop from Beaufort, South Carolina on my book Beyond the Bookclub: We are the Books We Must Read blending that with Pat Conroy’s amazing, relevant and timely (published in 1972) memoir The Water is Wide for A Lowcountry Book Club Convention. I am honored to be among five prominent and Best-Selling authors who will be presenting throughout the day. For the schedule and how to attend go to https://ruthienergy.com/event/a-lowcountry-book-club-convention-free-virtual-event/.
Remember it’s free and should be a rich and fantastic event.