From November through March my body was physically sick. Grief and loss and trauma had taken its toll, and my body had enough. By mid-March I was starting to revive – a bit. One Saturday during my morning meditation my mind said to me, “You are weak in every sense of the word.” Taken within the context of shame, that would be a harsh message. But I was by the very grace of God not in a shame place, so I agreed with the sentiment and then asked a shame-less question, “So what?”
I answered myself back, “I like having more strength and stamina than this.”
“Ok,” replied my head, “Is there anything you would like to do, given that you know this about yourself?”
“I will start with rebuilding physical strength and see what happens,” I answer.
And that’s what I’ve done. While sick I had maintained and even added to my spiritual disciplines; but with a compromised body, I felt that my other efforts could get me only so far in terms of a return to wellness.
Shame likes to tell us that we are weak and imply that this is our state of being and it is bad. Very bad.
Human frailty is part and parcel of the human condition, so shame is wrong. But it is not necessary to take this concept too far either. If we are honest about our limitations, sometimes that can point us to new adventures in growth! Yeah! That’s fun!
In my case, here’s what happened. Because I had these thoughts during my meditation time, I jotted them down in my journal, making note of my INTENTION to get physically stronger. Then I got on with my day. This was a Saturday and it turns out that my friend Abby came to the Saturday evening service and invited me to join her the following Wednesday for this fit camp class she particularly enjoys. Boom! Intention meets opportunity – since that day I have enjoyed that class AND a second AND taken some one-on-one time with the instructor, who is delightful in more ways than just her expertise with a kettlebell.
Within days, long before it makes sense that the class itself actually was improving my physical condition I could feel joy in my being. Christian had reminded me that joy exists and his presence had exposed me anew to the feeling of joy. I wanted MORE JOY! And my new fitness regime is joyful to me. Shame says we can’t or we won’t or we shouldn’t focus on joy. Today try to find your can and your will and your want to! Shame asks for grandiosity; joy has the temerity to be found in the smallest of moments.