A single woman in her 30s, who has craved touch and affection for so long, she now feels invisible. Her loneliness aches inside of her. Until one day, fed up with the feeling, every muscle comes alive, she leaves her carefully laid out career, and begins training as a massage therapist.
A soulful mother of two, who has always been ashamed of her voice.She’s full of life wisdom that yearns to get out, but she’s just not “smart” enough. Until one day, she refuses this “lack”, her throat lets go and she begins to write, with photos and words. She touches many lives.
A shy, young woman, who’s unsure of her direction. All her friends have now married. Until one day, she stops comparing herself, she releases her hips, her legs feel strong, and she begins to travel the world.
A woman in her 40s, with no partner, no children, feels life has passed her by. She can’t see her future. Until one day, she stops questioning her choices, feels her heart in her chest, and begins the process of adopting a child.
So often, on the other side of old shame, we will find our long-held dreams, our hidden wishes and our potential. *
But how do we get there?
I’ve eagerly listened to many talks given by Brene Brown about shame. She opened up the subject for us and seemingly made it ok to reveal our shame and vulnerability. But every time I listen to her talks, I’m left a bit frustrated as well. You see, as women, all too often, we resort to feeling bad about ourselves for a while, then confessing and talking things through. But, talking about shameful moments with our few select friends, doesn’t really solve shame or change it. It just soothes the moment. So I’m left with questions…
What about the body?
Isn’t the body where the initial experience happened? Isn’t this where we feel unworthy and unlovable, in those every day moments of life that trigger shame? And if so, wouldn’t our bodies be the most direct way to tangibly touch the source of our unworthiness and heal it?
Shame took shape in our bodies, not only our minds.
As children, at some point, we were all teased, humiliated, ostracized, compared, rejected, ignored, dominated. We all felt some moments of anger, disappointment or coldness coming from an adult we loved. Even the best of childhoods contained these things. And as children we didn’t comprehend these moments with our minds, we simply felt them in our bodies.
Sometimes, the feelings were too much, too frightening, too painful. So we held our breath, scrunched our shoulders, tightened our chests, squeezed our stomachs and averted our gaze. We shaped our bodies around a feeling to control it, limit it. This shape shrank the experience for our child-sized bodies, but left it incomplete and unfinished as adults.
Today, this shape is the container of an often-present sense of inadequacy, and it keeps us frantically trying to find the right thing to do to make this feeling stop.
To shift our shame, we need to shift the shape.
Through our bodies, we need to un-do how we wrap ourselves around this feeling that was once too big for us to handle, and to now let the feeling flow freely. To stop and let that warm wash of shame flood through us as a physical body experience, until it naturally runs its course.
We’re big enough now. We can handle it. And we don’t only need to soothe it. We need to deeply change it.
And every time we make this choice, shifting our relationship to shame and how we hold it in our bodies, that old feeling of unworthiness shrinks. We learn to relax into who we are, with no need to hide. And then we are free to make new choices. To express our potential. To live our lives as we wish.
A woman in her 50s whose hormones are changing and hair’s turning gray, is stripped of her defenses. She feels the despair of unworthy pursuit. Until one day, she cracks herself wide open, closes her business, sells her home and moves to Bali. Her path is now clear. She has chosen to teach women how to shift their shame.
* All of the above stories are amalgamations of clients with whom I have worked over the years.
Why in the world would I want to teach about shame?
The past 20 years of my personal and professional journey have led me to this place. Shame picked me. I have worked with women of all shapes, sizes and personal struggles. I have fought to uncover and heal my own. During these years, as I continued to train in the somatic bodywork I practice, I always dabbled in shame. I would dip my toes in and then gratefully move on. It wasn’t until 3 years ago, as I entered menopause, that dabbling simply didn’t work anymore.
My body demanded that I dive in. Dive in to the shame, open up those areas where I had locked it away, and shift my relationship to it. I had no idea what I would uncover. I had no idea where this journey would lead me, but I was determined, once and for all, to heal this ache inside of me. So here I am.
Here I am with a wish that is stronger than ever to teach women how to shift their shame and to do so through the body.
In all of the many conversations, lectures and workshops I have listened to and read about shame, the body always seems to be missing. But the body is where we hold shame, and the body is where we will heal it. And this is what I will teach, using movement, breath and a deepening connection to the body.
It has pained me for so many years to work with such a variety of women full of talent, intelligence, humor, heart, empathy, fierceness and a touch the world desperately needs, who constantly diminish themselves because of their relationship to shame.
I am fiercely passionate about giving women the chance and the tools to change this. To discover what lies on the other side of shame. Won’t you join me on this journey?
Workshop Tour 2017:
Shifting Shame, Releasing Fear Workshop
11th – 12th February
18th – 19th February
Auckland, New Zealand
25th – 26th February
17th- 19th March
25th- 26th March
1st- 2nd April
8th- 9th April
For a detailed description of what will be offered in these workshops and to sign up, please click here: