I Left My Guilt, Shame, and Fear Behind

I Left My Guilt, Shame, and Fear Behind

Oct 11, 2016

I went to bed endlessly focussed on my next move, and as I tossed and turned, the irony hit me like a ton of bricks: I couldn’t sleep because of the weight of the decision, but I really needed to sleep on it. A fire was rising up in my belly and I had no idea what to do with this energy, let alone how the heck to say goodnight to it. Tomorrow is another day, I thought to myself, and released any expectations of what another morning would bring.

I woke up at 5:30 am. The fire was still there, but now contained and calm.  I decided to go for my morning walk and grab a coffee at a local café—my default method for any decision making attempts.  The walk was gorgeous that morning in Kelowna. With my journal tucked securely right alongside me, I was on a mission, but first I had to write it all out.  After all, the fire had to be released and I wanted to be the one to witness it first, in silence.

Journaling has been my go-to for any decisions that I make in my life, big or small. As I sat there in the cozy café in the wee hours of the morning while the sun was still waiting to peek through the clouds, I was reminded of a force higher than myself. When I write, I truly feel that I’m being guided by divine energy and connecting to my intuition at a level that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach. That morning was no different.  I reminded myself of the importance of uninterrupted, dedicated time for me, for white space, and for clarity.

I finally closed off my reflection period for the day at 7:45 a.m. and rushed over to my AirBnB to get ready for the day. It was the last day of a 200-person women’s conference where I was learning to both trust my voice, and how to speak on stage. (To say I was excited would be a colossal understatement.)

Chantelle Adams, the founder of Shine Live (the conference) and a total luminary, greeted and welcomed us with a hefty dose of warm enthusiasm that morning.  I kept staring at her in awe and wondering how the heartfelt words flowed from her lips so naturally.  To be honest, I craved and yearned for that ease.  Admiring her from afar and her ability to effortlessly captivate the room just made speaking on stage that much more desirable. I so badly wanted what she had. And then Chantelle asked the question I’d been waiting for with heaps of anticipation, fear, and anxiety.

“Does anyone have any breakthroughs
to share this morning?”

To prevent fear from taking over, I felt my hand rise instantly and I stood up. I’d organized my thoughts that morning in my journal, and I was finally, finally, ready to share a dark part of my story. The mic slowly made its way towards me as I thought to myself, It’s waaaaay too early in the morning for this! And yet, I was handed the mic by a beautiful woman usher and felt comforted by her warmth and ease.  Taking a quick look at both my roomie and a dear friend, both of whom weren’t too far away from me, I drew support from their steady, supportive smiles. They gave me a little covert nod and the infamous you’ve got this look. With that, I took a deep breath—while muttering something about nervousness—and spoke into the mic.

Sharing myself isn’t hard for me to do because I’ve always considered myself a pretty open person. That said, sharing all of myself (mind you, to the right people), is an entirely different story.  I shared a part of my story that day with a roomful of women, some of whom I knew, but most of whom I didn’t—and yet I felt okay.  I shared a part of myself that, in the past, has brought me a lot of shame, judgment, isolation and alienation.  Why? Because I was in a safe space (I knew that much). And it was the safe space that ignited my courage to take action.

Obviously, I was scared of being judged and stigmatized, but the recurring message that kept coming back to me was this: It’s about them, and not me. It’s not about me. It’s about what can I share with other women so that they can have that safe place to express themselves fully, to step out of shame and to gain the courage to take action. Let me tell you: if you’re engulfed in shame and guilt, action just can’t happen. And a life without any action means playing small and staying hidden—two things I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Deciding to share such an important piece of myself that day has shown me that the part of my life that’s brought me so much grief also has incredible healing and transformative powers. Because I shined a light on my darkest parts, my story now has a happy ending.

Now over to you, dear friend. I can’t wait to watch you spread your wings further than you ever thought possible and leave fear out of the equation. I’m so excited to see you digging deep. And I’m ecstatic to watch you pull out your truth out and live it, finding your inspiration and building your own circle of women so you can soar.

I want to leave you with this parting note—some beautiful, heartwarming words from Danielle LaPorte which are a must share:

My experience has been that women just adore women. A woman makes a cup of her heart. She carries your concerns and your fears along with you, for you. When your eyes fill up with teary news, so do hers. It happens with women you’ve known for years, with women you just met at the grocery store, in a ladies room, in a prayer circle. She carries your story with her. She mixes honey with it and retells it to you and she tells you how great you are doing in spite of everything, because of everything.

Need I say more?  Bring on those tissues.

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