You know shame sometimes lurks around in the dark corners of your consciousness and you are ready to shine a light there. You recognize that shame can also happen in the smallest of moments. It might be a moment that you don't stand up for yourself or make your needs less important. You are ready to take a look at what triggers shame and connect to the vulnerable feelings and needs underneath. In this series you will learn to bring shame fully into the light of consciousness and build a compassionate and skillful relationship to it.
Is this for you?
You have longing to feel more whole and alive in your life as well as more skillful in your relationships. You know that parts of who you are have been sent into exile and you are ready to reclaim those parts. You know that this means embracing vulnerability and being with discomfort. You have enough resource and support in your life to do this difficult work of moving into relationship with shame and cultivating a sense of self that has you thriving in your life and in your relationships. You can see how a lack of access to a solid sense of your own worth blocks your ability to engage in relationships the way you would like to and inhibits compassion and skillful relating.
You might not name shame as a part of the problem. Shame often goes undetected. Struggles with shame usually have other labels like: not standing up for yourself when you need to, withdrawing from something you really want, giving up on your dreams, overworking, feeling small in certain situations, having poor boundaries, wishing your body was different, hearing yourself say you’re not good enough, shutting down in a vulnerable moment, etc.
What’s it all about?
Shame is the feeling you get when you perceive that your worth or basic sense of goodness is threatened. It's about your identity, who you are as a person. This is distinct from guilt, which is the feeling you get when you perceive that your behavior is out of alignment with your values.
Shame can be triggered by your own thoughts & behavior, by conditions in your environment, or by the behavior of others. The idea isn’t to control conditions perfectly so that you never experience shame. Rather, the hope is to cultivate compassionate awareness, see things as they truly are, and make use of skills that return you to having a sense of being grounded in your values and a sense of your own goodness.
What to expect?
You will enter into a safe and supportive environment to learn and practice. You will have the opportunity to come together with a group of others who share your values and commitment to growth. You will notice that when a whole group brings this clear intention and dedication, a synergistic field is created which makes it easier for you to do the work you want to do.
You will work with examples from your own life. This means you get to decide the level of vulnerability you will bring to each exercise. The exercises are structured so that you are challenging yourself and at the same time can maintain mindfulness and learning. The focus is on empowering you to interrupt shame, engage compassion for yourself, and stand firmly in a sense of your inviolable worth.
For each class there will be an introduction to concepts and skills, practice time in structured exercises in pairs or small groups, and then whole group questions and discussion time.
Here are some topics for the day
Internal resources and thriving
Self awareness, mindfulness, an anchor, expansive identity, and a compassionate relationship to your experience are a few of the skills we will access to build internal resources in the context of shame.
Getting to know shame
We will talk about the life serving purpose of shame (what needs it is trying to protect) and how it moves from serving life to being a toxin. We will study shame at the subtle level of body, energy, emotion, thoughts, beliefs, and posture. We will practice using the body as resource to shift into an expansive perspective more easily when shame arises
Translating Into Feelings and Needs
Whether it is shame or any other judgment voice, feelings and needs are present underneath. We will practice recognizing the voice of shame as an expression of feelings and needs and offering empathy to that voice.
Embodying the Energy of the Need & Appreciation
We often talk about needs as met or unmet. This is the most salient aspect of our experience. At a more subtle level we can also experience needs as life serving energies existing fully on their own. Learning to access these essential qualities or energies gives you resource in the most difficult of experiences. Appreciation, is another door to accessing the energy of the need and we will practice with a specific structure for appreciation.
Making peace with yourself
From parents, environment, conditioning and other infinite influences we can’t name, you have inherited a whole package of characteristics, habits, proclivities, challenges, etc. that you relate to with varying levels of acceptance. Shame pulls out particular parts of this package and tries to cover them up and or push them away. By breaking down your sense of "me" into smaller bits you can more easily relate to each aspect of experience with compassion.
Deep Shame & Deep Empathy
For most of us there is something we have done in our lives that we still feel a sense of shame about. We haven’t quite been able to move on from that particular event or series of events. Shame and regret that hang on for years are toxic. They inhibit your ability to access aliveness and be a contribution to yourself and others. We will work with finding a way into long standing shame so that healing may occur
LaShelle Lowe-Chardé is passionate about helping people express their deepest values in their relationships and creating clarity and connection with self and others.
She began her professional career with a master’s degree in school psychology. In addition to nine years in public schools, she spent several years facilitating group healing work for adolescent youth labeled “at-risk”. During that same time she led leadership and teamwork trainings for businesses and organizations around Portland, Oregon.
Along the way she found Compassionate/Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and began training with Marshall Rosenberg and other internationally known NVC trainers. She immediately knew that Compassionate Communication was the missing piece. It offers a deep and broad yet simple understanding of human nature along with a concrete set of tools to help us act and live from a place of clarity and compassion. For LaShelle, Compassionate Communication is the hands and feet of spirituality. In 2006, she was certified as a NVC trainer.
In addition to certification in Nonviolent Communication, she has completed a three year training in Hakomi - Body Centered Therapy and introductory trainings in Emotionally Focused Therapy and with the Gottman Institute.
In 2004, she founded her business, Wise Heart (www.wiseheartpdx.org). Since that time she has served as a trainer, private coach, and mentor for the learning and practice of Compassionate Communication and mindfulness. LaShelle teaches locally as well as through video conferencing online. She has offerings for couples, women, and the general public in addition to trainings for local nonprofit organizations. Her offerings focus on combining NVC with mindfulness and a subtle understanding of reactivity and relationship skills.