Stay with us
You leave our company when you speak of shame
And this makes everyone in the Tavern sad
Stay with us
As we do the hardest work of rarely laying down that pick and shovel
That will keep revealing our deeper kinship with God,
That will keep revealing our own Divine worth.
You leave the company of the Beloved’s friends
Whenever you speak of guilt,
And this makes everyone in the Tavern very sad
Stay with us tonight as we weave love
And reveal ourselves
As God’s precious garments
-Hafiz (The Gift, page 284)
I stumbled across this beautiful poem by Hafiz, a beloved 14th century Persian poet the day following our practitioner retreat and was reminded of modern day writer and speaker, Brene Brown. At our practitioners’ retreat we were encouraged by our facilitator, Linda Watson, RScP, to share something that the people assembled would not know about us. We shared some very personal things which fostered a feeling of oneness, connection and safety.
If you are familiar with Brown’s work, you will remember that after her first Ted Talk, which she gave to 500 people, she suffered from the “worst vulnerability hangover” of her life. She had disclosed that she had had a breakdown which led her to counselling and eventually to a breakthrough. She was a very private person and wasn’t likely to share such personal details of her life.
The irony is that that Ted talk became the most viewed talk online. At last count, it had over 13 million views. It is the kind of message that can save lives, by relieving us of staying stuck in shame and opening the floodgates to creativity, innovation and newness.
Even knowing all that, the days following our practitioners’ retreat, I suffered from similar doubts. Maybe I had gone too far. Maybe they would lose respect for me.
So I know that spiritually we have been encouraged to share our authentic selves with those closest to us for over seven hundred years. Hafiz reminded us that staying on your spiritual path means doing the hard inner work of exploring the self. Everybody benefits from our authenticity. Yes, it would be easier not to divulge our secrets. But that very choice keeps us disconnected from the people we love.
Telling the truth about our secrets takes the shame away. When we live in shame, we are not living from an awareness of our spiritual magnificence. We tend to live smaller, taking fewer risks. We start believing the great lie that we are bad or wrong. The truth is we may have done something that was embarrassing, or dangerous or unbecoming, but that is something we have done. We will likely feel guilt. Brown distinguishes the difference between guilt and shame. It appears that Hafiz does not.
When we are courageous
and tell the truth, we enjoy our lives. We are living fully with expectations that life (the tavern) is for us and we are missed when we do not show up fully.
Back to the retreat again, I suspect I was not the only one with a vulnerability hangover. But I also remind everyone that the feeling of Presence, the Divine Connection, was well-worth it.
As Jimmy Carter said, “Go out on a limb. That is where the fruit is.”