The Secret to Healing Shame


The secret to healing shame is found deep inside shame itself, the last place we'd ever think to look. Shame is a misunderstood vessel of self-love, weaved of non-ordinary materials and only longing to be infused with your warm awareness, curiosity, and heart. 

The secret to healing shame lies in finally meeting it from the inside. Not meeting some clinical, abstract, experience-distant definition of shame, for something conceptual cannot truly be touched, but this very alive, embodied, unique experience of shame as it appears imaginally, poetically, aesthetically inside you. 

Not yesterday’s or last year’s shame or the shame I had when I was seven, for this shame is too far away. But this day’s shame, this moment’s shame, which is raw, wild, achy, and untamed, emerging as thought, feeling, and sensation; as pressure in the head and fluttering in the gut; as emptiness and longing; as voices in the mind, yearning in the heart; as pregnant light, water, fire. 

Shame has arrived, not to harm, but to mercifully offer her sacred and misunderstood portal. Take the risk of knowing its unique fragrance, felt sense, moods and images; touch this sacred place that has been longing for your love for so long. Come close to shame, but not so close that you fall in. Interpenetration, without enmeshment. Intimacy, without fusion.

Forget about ‘healing’ your shame today! Instead, find the ashamed one, go to the one who feels unworthy and broken, invite in the one who feels sick and unlovable and bring him out of hiding, lead her out of the darkness and into the light of compassionate awareness. Find her in the belly, the chest, the throat; flood him with light, curiosity, and care, with this tender awareness that seeks not to ‘fix’ but understand; not to ‘mend’ but embrace; not to ‘annihilate’ but soothe and re-parent. 

Hold your shame close like a mother holding her precious child and ask:

“My love, do you need to be healed today?"

And listen, listen carefully, listen from the depths of your soul now; listen to his or her timeless response as it emerges out of the thundering silence of meditation:

“Not healed, today, mother; only held.”

~ by Matt Licata & Jeff Foster


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