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Shame And The Other S Word


Shame And The Other S Word

Marina Smerling


For the last of my Shameless Summer Series, I wanted to write to you all with a message about "the S-word," identity to be determined in just a moment.

But a problem arose: I didn't know how to do it, without being regarded as spam and sent away to a far off mysterious land called Junkmail, never to be seen again.

And so I am resorting to sneaky sideways references to that three-lettered word that is, needless to say, a fundamental part of life, insofar as none of us would be here without it.

And in a way, it's perfect, because the sneakiness with which I am writing this missive is the same as the sneakiness with which I and so many others have been conditioned to experience, talk about, and express this oh-so-basic aspect of our lives.  


Simply put, the sneak is what happens when we experience shame.  Shame being the notion not just that you *did* something bad, but that you *are* bad.  

When we believe that we are bad, we get sneaky.  We hide, often do the thing anyway, but feel "off" in our gut, shaky on our feet, and ultimately write cryptic newsletters with obscure references to random three letter words.


This past week, I had the opportunity to experience "The Tantra of Conscious Dance" with the fabulous Robyn Thoren-Smith and Jim Benson.  With just a little bit of enticing, they quickly had about 30 of us stomping around the room to tribal drumming music, thrusting our pelvises at each other, all with our hands delicately placed over our hearts in order to feel that sacred connection between pelvis and the heart.  

In other words, it was just a little bit weird, a lot Bay Area, and undeniably powerful.

One of the most striking moments was when they spoke of our S-word energy as being "ordinary and innocent," and a palpable sigh of relief went through the crowd.


Ahhh, someone said it.

Like all of our needs, our need for S-word expression is ordinary and innocent, an inherent part of life too often buried over with notions of "badness," brokenness, and various New Age equivalents of sin.

Imagine, without the veil of shame constraining your most basic needs....

** Whom you might fearlessly approach -- in your intimate relationships, and on the street

** What you might be willing to ask for, in and outside of the bedroom

** How much more alive, satisfied, and relaxed your dear body might be

** And whom you might dare to love openly, starting within

How much of what we call our "dark" or "shadow" side would be a glorious lit haven for all beings everywhere were we to remove the aspect of shame with which it is associated?

I want to live from there.

And I invite you to join me.


For those of you who don't want to wait for perfection and/or death before you can relax as you are, and dare to let yourself matter in all your relationships...  

If your shameless spirit has come knockin' at your door, don't hesitate to reach on out.

And oh yes, in the flesh, I *love* talking about the S-word. No opaque references required.  

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