I was going to write this morning about not shaming ourselves, about coming from a place of perfection, but striving for change if that’s what we want to do, and all of a sudden it occurred to me that I haven’t shared my news with you, and that I can do that and weave the topic through it as well! HAH! I love it when that happens.
OK, here’s the news. I have been officially accepted as a ministerial student into the Masters degree program of Holmes Institute. I will be a distance student (meaning many of the classes will be online in some form or another) of the Santa Rosa campus.
It’s exciting stuff, and I’m already starting to feel inner things shift around as a result of it. Some questions have been put to me repeatedly, so in case you are curious: No, I have no plans to give up my photography business. I absolutely love being a photographer! This program will take 3 to 5 years, it is an honest to goodness Master’s level curriculim. (According the Dean of this campus, the most difficult curriculim in the country. If I’m gona do it, I’m gonna do it the best.) But as my dear friend Jeff Anderson pointed out when I was fretting about committing myself to something for 3 to 5 years, I only have to do it one term at a time. No, I have no plans to open a church somewhere, or to be a minister at some already existing church. I’m really not much of a church person if you haven’t figured that out. In fact, I am embarking on this journey because I feel spiritually called to do so. That’s it, and that’s enough. I need no reasons, it doesn’t have to make sense, for me to embark on a journey. The calling is enough. I have no goals in mind other than to grow spiritually and be able to better help others. I also know how the Universe exists within me, and that there are probably going to be opportunities I cannot even concieve of right now! It’s all very exciting!
So, now to weave this news into my topic for today: Last night someone asked me how I felt about being accepted into the program and my response was, “pretty goddamned good.” The person who asked me the question got a kick out of that, he smiled and made some sort of silly comment. Another said I should title my thesis Pretty Goddamned Good, which isn’t a bad idea actually. And one other person shook her head, as if to say I was incorrigible. That may be so, but I feel no shame at saying the word goddamned, it felt perfectly appropriate as an emphasis to my feelings. But many of us have been taught that it’s bad or shameful to swear. In fact we have been taught all sorts of shaming things around a set of words that are…just words.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I too, have a tendency to wonder about someone who uses the f-bomb every other word. I too, tend to get a bit uncomfortable when someone can’t seem to communicate how they are feeling without using four letter words. But it’s not about the words, it’s about how we communicate with one another. It’s about feeling good about ourselves and being able and willing to communicate accurately, without shame. I happen to not be into shame much. So when I swear, I do it with relish, and great aplomb, and when I think it is useful and appropriate to do so. Even if I’m standing in the middle of my Spiritual Living Center.
So, today, I refuse to feel shame, even if I say a swear word. What about you? Are you feeling some shame today? Are you telling yourself, “I shouldn’t have done that,” or “I should have said this?” Here’s your new rule: No shoulding on yourself! Are you feeling shame because someone told you it was bad to say such and such a word? Or because someone told you it was bad to do such and such an act? Here’s the deal about shame: if you are feeling it because you are buying into what society says we should and should not do or say, get over it. Get your own set of values, and stick to them, and don’t be ashamed for them. But if you are feeling shame because you are not living up to your own values, (and I’m assuming you know what they are, if not I have a set of exercises to help you discover your values) then it’s time to adjust your behavior to fit your values. No regret, no shame, just adjustment.
For today, know what your values are, know what your truth is, and honor that. When you do that, you can’t go wrong.