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Rising Above Shame

I tried to kitesurf again today. I’m probably up to about 20 sessions out on the water.

I say “tried” because I never actually made it out onto the water.

About 5 seconds after I launched my kite, I slammed into a wooden boat that decorates the shoreline.

And I was then dragged about 30 feet down the beach before my kite came slamming down to the beach narrowly missing another kiter’s head.

It was a complete shit show.

Turns out my kite was way overpowered for my size, but I’m a beginner so I don’t always know these things.

Later I sat defeated on the sand my hat low over my eyes and my poncho covering most of my head and face and I cried.

I felt like an idiot, a complete failure and entertained the thought that the kite God’s maybe just don’t support this new hobby of mine.

And then I looked for the feeling.

Loneliness with a side of shame. So I held loneliness for a bit. I cried as I allowed its presence to be made known by my body.

Then I looked for the story behind my old friend loneliness.

There it was filed between failure and idiot. I recognized that anytime throughout the course of my life anytime I believed I had failed or done something stupid, loneliness would soon follow to reinforce my (limiting) belief that I am alone in the world.

In my practice I call this a default mental association. The perceived experience of failure elicits the emotional response of loneliness and shame.

I used curiosity to re-wire the story. Was it true that I had failed?

No, by all accounts I did suit up today. I fearlessly strapped myself to a kite and was prepared to do what only a small fraction of the population ever even try.

That’s not failing.

Once my brain disconnected from the belief that I had failed, I started laughing because the funniest part of the whole thing was that I slammed hard into a wooden boat called La Panocha Jugosa.

(If you don’t know Spanish hit the translate button.)

I laughed hard as I felt joy return to my body.

This is why emotional coherence (aligning what we feel with what we think) is so important. When we are able to sit with and understand what we feel, we can challenge and even change the thought that produced the feeling.

If we don’t know how to get to emotional coherence, our feelings will continue to hold power over us.

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