I am going to do something I try never to do, and that is quote someone without attributing the quote to the right person. Sorry to you who said something so brilliant I am now writing a blog post about it. I read it somewhere, recently, but cannot remember where or who or what. I am 40 now, so this forgetfulness is to be expected. 

Anyway, this super-smart unknown person said something along the lines of this:

“The path to the truth runs through shame.”

Let that one sink in.

First, you may want to reject it. I think that was my first reaction. It struck me deep, so I wanted to bat it away.

Then, I gave it another chance.

“The path to the truth runs through shame.”

Then, maybe, you will start to think about the word “shame,” like I did.

Shame: the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous done by oneself or another; a fact or circumstance bringing disgrace or regret.

Then, I started to wrap my head, and maybe a little bit of my heart, around it:

What do I regret?

What have I done improperly?

When was I ridiculous?

Who disgraced me, when did I disgrace myself?

Where, how and why have I fucked up….let me count the ways.

When you and I are ready to face those questions (and their answers) in the most raw and honest way, then it is possible we will begin to arrive at our truth. Similar (or maybe the same as) to what Carl Jung called our “Shadow,” our shame is a dark, ugly mess of a thing that some of us feel we’d never be able to embrace, or let alone even begin to tackle.

“It contains all the parts of ourselves that we have tried to hide or deny. It contains those dark aspects that we believe are not acceptable to our family, friends, and most importantly, ourselves. The dark side is stuffed deeply within our consciousness, hidden from ourselves and others. The message we get from this hidden place is simple: there is something wrong with me. I’m not okay. I’m not lovable. I’m not deserving. I’m not worthy” ~ Debbie Ford on The Shadow

All of that stuff you reject, you hide from, you try to sweep away or pretend about: That is your Shadow, your shame. I am not here to tell you to go at it with your Shadow, right here, right now. I don’t know what your Shadow is all about; hell, I am plenty-busy with my own, thank you very much.

What I do know is that there is no truth for you without doing some real time in that dark. That you must have that realization that this is an integral part of you. That despite it and because of it, you are as loving and lovely and loveable as can be.

You may say, “Well I don’t need that truth shit, so I don’t need to deal with my dark stuff.” To that I would say, without your truth you will have no sustainable peace and joy. And I am willing to bet you seek and crave both in your life…and not just for today.

* * *

This idea of shame leading to truth moved me to my core right now because I am about to wade dive deep into what is likely a cauldron of dark and shadow. As I start a new path of writing, focusing on writing a story that has been weighing heavily on me for 15 or 20 (or more) years, I know there will be a lot of shame (mine and others) to contend with. No one said that thing we were born to do would be easy. I will work on loving myself throughout this process, no matter where it brings me. I commit to doing what I need to do without dropping out and without expectation of what it will lead to.

It scares me to no end. It may thrill me, too.