Shame is a feeling we all experience to some degree, even those individuals who seem the most “shameless” and confident, haven't gone unscathed by the blade of shame.
When I look at a person on an energetic level who is experiencing shame, I usually see a smoky, almost gaseous cloud coming out of the solar plexus and heart chakra. This cloud usually tends to expand only wide enough to cover the person's lower part of the face and upper part of the abdomen.
On a physical level, this will translate as a flushed feeling in the cheeks, racing heart, prickly sensations around the chest, a slight difficulty breathing, a sinking feeling in the stomach, and other sensations relating to these regions of the body.
Shame isn't something we develop due to a trauma we experienced during our teen or adult years. It almost always comes from childhood trauma.
Many of you might be disagreeing with me with right now and thinking “Ever since this one experience as a teen, I've felt a sense of shame” or “I've only felt this way after my first partner broke my heart.”
In these cases I still stand my ground and say that the root of shame starts out at childhood.
The way we react to certain situations directly relates to root trauma from your childhood. I would go so far as to say that most of what “ruffles our feathers” or hurts us on an emotional level relates to what occurred to us from birth to age 8. Other healers might go so far as to say that the age range goes up to the age of 10 or 12, but that's up for debate.
So what do we do to clear up our shame related to a specific situation or memory?
The way I've personally cleared up my past trauma is through a mixture of inner child work and a modern day version of soul retrieval.
Here are a few simple steps to clearing past shame:
Dive into the emotion when it strikes.
Try to replay a memory in your mind that reminds you of your shame. It could be as simple as remembering the time you replied with “you too!” when the waiter said “enjoy your meal” or it could be something more serious such as shame related to your body image or how you see yourself in the mirror. During this visualization, stay present with your discomfort as best as you can. If you feel yourself cringing, tensing up, or wanting to forget the memory, do your very best to stay with the emotion. Pay attention to your heart. Is it beating faster? Does your chest feel warm or cold? Is you face feeling flushed or do you feel a sinking feeling in your stomach?
Whatever is going on with your physical body, try to become hyper aware of the sensations for a few moments.
Use Healing Light.
The next step is bringing healing light to the areas of your body where you're feeling these sensations.
Imagine a golden white light radiating through these regions where you're feeling discomfort. Visualize the light clearing up these sensations and gently balancing out your energy field.
Work with the emotion.
After clearing up these blockages, go back to the memory causing your discomfort, but this time, as you're remembering the memory and feeling those emotions again, try to speak to the emotion. Ask the emotion “when was the first time I felt this feeling?” and wait to see what comes up. After you ask this question, your mind will bring a memory to you. Whatever memory comes up is the correct one so, do not doubt it or try to recall another memory on your own. In many cases you'll automatically be brought back to a moment in your childhood where the root of the issue started. If nothing comes up after several minutes have passed, don't become frustrated, but instead ask “what message are you trying to give me?” and see what comes up.
Do Inner Child Work
If a child hood memory comes up, sit with the memory and observe it. Relive the memory and let yourself feel those old emotions all over again.
What you want to do at some point during the exercise is interfere with the memory. In other words you want to imagine yourself as an adult coming in and comforting your child self in the best way possible. This would involve hugging your child self and telling them they are safe and free from harm. You could also defend them against an adult or an abuser. Don’t hesitate to argue, yell, or even become physically violent towards someone trying to cause them harm. What we want to do is show our inner child that we have their back.
Cleanse the memory
Once you've comforted your inner child, ask him/her what they would like from you. Communicate with them and see what they tell you. Many times they might say “I want to go home” or “I want my mom” but other times they might give more specific requests that you may have to carry out in your day to day life.
During a personal inner child session, my inner child told me he wanted “us” to rest. I asked him what he meant and he told me that we needed to stop and take a break because things were going too fast. I took his message with me and applied it to my daily life and I saw my levels of anxiety and self judgment dramatically decrease.
With that said, don't always interpret your inner child's message as something they want you to do in the visualization. Always try to find out if they want you to apply it to your life as well.
Once you've gotten a message and carried it out, imagine a bright flash of white light illuminating the scene of the memory. Visualize everything being cleansed and cleared of negativity
Bring Back the Lost Aspects of Yourself
Once you've cleared the memory, make a firm command saying “I ask that all the separated and lost aspects of myself come back to me now.” Afterwards, imagine shards, puzzle pieces or any other shapes that resonate with you coming into your child and piecing themselves together to make him/her look complete.
Close the Healing Sessions
Once your lost aspects have returned, you want to ask your inner child what they want to do next. Remember that whatever they wish to do should be respected and nothing should be forced onto them from this point on.
Ask them if they would like to stay in the memory or if they would prefer to go live with you. If they say they want to live with you, simply pick them up, give them a hug and let their image integrate and merge into yours. On the contrary, if they decide to stay in the memory simply tell them “If you need anything, always know that I'm here. Call me and I will be there for you.”
After following these steps, open your eyes and come back to normal consciousness. Let yourself lay or sit in peace for a moment to integrate what has just happened. In some cases, you might suddenly begin crying or purging out certain emotions you have held on to for years. If this happens, just allow the feelings to surface and let the process happen.
If you need to call a friend or relative, please do so. Also, make sure to drink lots of water and have a few hours set aside for some “me time.” This exercise is all about self care, so try to make the experience all about you.
In the event that you were not able to go back to a childhood memory, what I suggested earlier was to ask the memory what message it had for you. If this is the route you took, write down whatever words, images, or feeling that came up. If they don't make sense right away, they might make sense later.
There is also the possibility that you may need to ask the emotion each time it surfaces what it needs you to know. It might be a much slower process but we need to remember that often times after suppressing our emotions and ignoring them, the messages our emotions have for us tend to be less direct and vague.
We need to show them once again that we are listening and we're willing to accept their messages again. Once our emotions see that we're finally paying attention, they might open up and offer more direct messages to us.
By following this process, you might suddenly notice that you don't feel the same intensity of shame towards a certain idea/situation. As you continue to integrate and clear out the energy from the childhood memory, you will begin to feel relief from it in no time.
During my sessions, I offer a more in depth version of this healing exercise. Often times I can observe what's happening on an energetic level and offer better guidance to the person seeking help.
Always remember that every emotion we feel is trying to give us a message. If we choose to ignore or suppress the emotion, the message will only get louder with time.