Modern Alchemy and the Value of Personal Shame by Cindy Ella Rhodes, August 24, 2018
Life Calls for Emotional Intelligence and Energetic Alchemy
Being in control of one’s emotional energy is a matter of becoming wise and experienced in the practices of alchemy. People who live decades and reach their 70’s+ have the opportunities to learn from experience, but only if they realize the value of their lessons; some, though, never change. Let’s look at some of the lessons that we are offered in life.
In our teens, most react to the world with a low level of emotional/social intelligence; some behave recklessly, having unprotected sex, choosing the numbing sensations of drugs to the nervy characteristics of sobriety, and choosing laziness over productivity. These decisions present serious negative consequences to the teen, and, thankfully, many realize the opportunity to change their behavior and correct negative situations because of the realization of negative emotions and consequences that they bring upon themselves. Others do not.
In our twenties and thirties, we are face-planted upon the hard floor of realities that are entailed with finding and maintaining employment, creating and maintaining social and romantic relationships, and maintaining our physical and mental health. The one who has difficulty finding a job must beat down the desire to just give up; once he finds a job, he must beat down the desire to stay in bed rather than arrive at work on time. Those who look for romantic partners must learn how to make compromises with someone while not disrespecting their own values; they must learn how to determine if their potential partner is making the same efforts. As physical bodies mature, so must the mindsets of the people as they realize how their bodies metabolize and assimilate energy and what type of exercise is healthful for them, along with deciding whether to dedicate themselves to the maintenance of their physical health or just become a couch potato. As they endure their day-to-day routines, they must decide whether to discover within themselves the energetic/mental adrenaline to continue on and maintain sanity or just give up.
In later years, the challenges of physical decrepitude and sheer loneliness arise. The ones who have lost partners in death or divorce face the same challenges that teenagers do; keeping mentally fit by pursuing new educational opportunities, finding and maintaining healthful relationships, using prescription drugs wisely, remaining productive, and maintaining positive attitudes every day. By the later years, though, the energetic and emotional decisions should theoretically become easier and quicker to make. They are not, if the person reacts to Life as an earthworm with mere basal ganglia, but they are, if the person making them has delved into the subject of alchemy.
Where Personal Shame Comes Into Play
With all these challenges in our lives, it is the rare person who never “makes a mistake.” I do know some who live very “careful” lives. (See the film “Careful,” ) They tend to be very scared people, some not leaving the state in which they were born, devoid of the desire to explore or go where they have not gone before. They fear the potential failures that come with venturing into the unfamiliar and of challenging themselves. They refuse to accept the potential of personal failure, but, by doing so, they unwittingly deny themselves the potential for personal success.
Is it the fear of the SHAME that accompanies failure? Some have been shamed by harsh, judgmental, demanding parents and so fear it. For those, I wish avenues to improved and healed mental health. For others, I wish the realization of the value of their shame.
Shame is not something that is meant to be carried throughout someone’s life; it is only archaic societies that force “scarlet letters” upon others who do not meet up to their harsh social expectations. We are all mere humans and make mistakes that incur long-lasting sadnesses at times. Mostly, though, the mistakes that we make are generally easy to understand, assimilate, and change. Most of them can serve as bases from which to grow and improve ourselves. One of the reasons for this is personal shame.
Say that a college student begins a semester of learning with the intention of finishing out the 16 weeks of education and achieving a passing score. Two weeks into classes, however, he regrets the loss of his sleep and leisure time. He misses gaming and hanging out with friends. His focus on the reason he entered school in the first place becomes replaced with sadness, regret, and the desire for immediate gratification, whatever that may be. If he gives in to this desire, he fails to arrive at class one day, and then another day, and then just completely drops out, maybe even failing to go through the proper communication channels to properly and formally drop out via communication with the registrar.
For the remainder of the sixteen weeks, he first encounters a sigh of relief as he “sleeps in” the first time. Then, one day, as he lies in bed and envisions what his classmates are doing in class at the time, he begins to realize a particle of shame developing within himself. By the end of the sixteen weeks and posting of final exam scores, he has personally constructed a “tower of shame” within himself. He can hardly hold up his head in front of classmates that he meets on the street. People do not understand why he just “dropped out.”
It is at this point that his energetic/emotional intelligence is required. It is required for him to be able to look at himself from “outside himself” and understand that this particular point in time is not a life sentence, but a springboard to success. He can take a moment and realize what he has done to create this negative situation and the negative emotions within himself and then make a personal vow to never repeat it. He can realize that it was NOT his shallow desire for immediate gratification for sleep and leisure that caused it, but HIS DECISION TO GIVE INTO IT. Then he can make the vow to himself to never give into it again. His shame, hence, can become a stimulus for personal success.
There is no shame in being human. There is no shame in honestly living or making mistakes. There is only shame in never trying at all and in failing to realize how to learn from our mistakes.
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Article from "The Christ Within" (Find this page at https://www.facebook.com/MyInnerChrist/
December 30, 2016
"The Weight of the Ego" by Cindy Ella Rhodes
The one thing that weighs nothing but the heaviest thing we carry around with us is our ego. Some seem to just HAVE to show it off, scream it out, push it in our faces. It's the one thing that stands between our sucking the air out of the room and being a loving, helpful, guiding light in people's lives. Do you have to have the last say? That's your ego talking. Do you feed your urge to make yourself look smarter by taking an alternative stance without even understanding the underlying theme of a conversation or statement? That's your ego, and that behavior does not make a person look smart! Do you have to critique everyone's holiday greetings? That's your ego talking. Do you have to try to tell other grown people what choices they SHOULD make? That's your ego. Do you say "should" a lot? That's your ego. Do you criticize less fortunate friends or relatives? That's your ego trying to make itself even bigger by belittling others. There's nothing positive to say about the ego, not in context with how we are to treat others.
Where is the ego’s place in the life of a person who would emulate Christ? The Golden Rule, doing to others as we’d have them do to us, suggests that the ego takes a back seat as we consider the welfare of others first. It is an age-old law. In ancient China, Confucius wrote “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself” (500 BC). Mozi wrote “…One (must) do for others as one would do for oneself” (400 BC). Thirdly, Lao Tzu wrote “Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss” around 500 BC. In ancient Egypt, a 4th century BC papyrus states “That which you hate to be done to you, do not do to another.” In multiple locations in the compiled scriptures of the Bible from writers in the Middle East, we are admonished to “not take vengeance or bear a grudge,… and to love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev 19:18). Plus, in ancient India, “treat others as you treat yourself” was written in Sanskrit thousands of years ago.
The list can go on and on, but you can research this for yourself. The point of this is that Jesus, too, repeated these same words, emphasizing the age-old principle necessary for becoming an enlightened, perfected individual on this planet. At Matthew 7:12, he states “Do to others what you want them to do to you. This is the meaning of the law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets.” (See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermes_Trismegistus for more information about Moses and his connection with Egyptian ideals.)
This holiday season, I witnessed many people sacrificing their egos for the benefit of others. I watched mothers and father catering to the needs of trying children, cousins considering the smoothing out of family energy instead of insisting on their own personal desires, numerous people working tirelessly at necessary jobs that others would not do (and not complaining about it), and spouses attending events for the sakes of their mates’ happiness. This spirit of considering the needs of others over our superficial wants is enlivening, inspiring, and heart-warming.
May the spirit of the Golden Rule work in all our lives this coming year, and may we, too, like Christ, exhort both ourselves and others to embrace spiritual principles that truly do lead to life everlasting.
Blessings to you this and every day!
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