Shame (Part 1)

Oh, Dear.  I may really be just about to step into “it” today.  But, here I go.  I intended this blog to be an honest insight into where I am in my head and heart.  And the last few weeks have led me to questioning our collective and personal “shame”.  So, what is it?  Why do we have it?  Does it still serve us?  If not, how to we rise above it?

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“Shame” a work in progress.

So, how did I get here?  Well, the last few weeks I have started a new piece for the She Said/He Said exhibit coming up a the Groshek Gallery in Chicago.  I had an inspiration to do a Tree of Knowledge/Adam & Eve/ Paradise piece.  It has caused me to explore my memories of my childhood Sunday school lessons regarding the origin story (myth?).  April has also been a month of reflecting on a turning point in my own relationships.  I don’t want this to get too “long and involved” but, I do want to share enough detail that this makes sense.  So, I’ll do my best.

So the story of Adam and Eve for me is about “shame”.  We learn shame very young and, I believe usually from our parents.  (Confession: I’m a parent, I know I’ve fallen into my shadow and used shaming to attempt to solicit the behavior I desire from my kids).

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Every book contains a lesson.

Last Saturday I went to see comedian, Jen Kirkman where I bought her new book, I Know What I’m Doing and Other Lies I Tell Myself.  As I was listening to the Prince soundtrack and waiting for her to come on-stage I started reading the introduction to her book.  She starts out with “Ugh, my parents are going to read this.”  (I know what she means!) She then goes on to quote another of my favorite funny people, Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul).  He once said that people should make their art, whatever it is, “as though their parents were dead”.  And why is that?  I think it is because we worry about “shame”.  Not that we will cause our parent’s to be embarrassed by our work; but that they, our first source of “shame” will bring on that bad feeling within us again.  (Please Note:  I love my parents and don’t wish to cause them any embarrassment here or elsewhere nor do I wish they were dead, but when I stated I might “step in it” this is it. I just believe that we must rise above this concern for feeling shamed in order to “grow up and evolve”.

And how appropriate that only a few days after the death of the musician Prince while listening to his “Pussy Control” I was reading this book introduction and ruminating on “shame”.  Prince was a successful artist who by all outward appearances, rose above a concern for self-shame.  In fact by many recent reflections on his life his ability to be his true self and express his true artistry is greatly admired (and envied) by his fans and others.  And that is my point I guess.  Can we really do our best most creative work if we are in a place of shame?  And can we really bring to the world the healing and solutions needed if we are not creating from our highest, best self?

Well, I have gone on here for a bit, and while I have a lot more rolling around in my head and heart regarding the story of Eden, I think I will continue on another day.  You see the story of the Garden of Eden includes another figure,  Adam’s first “wife”, Lilith.  And she takes me on another “thread”.  So, rather than try to cover too much “ground”, you will have to wait for “that stitch in time” and for the rest of this story.  In the meantime consider the role of “shame” in your life.  Is it holding you back from being the highest, true-ist expression of your “self”.  What would you do if you didn’t fear (the feeling of) shame?

Please see Shame: Part 2 HERE

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