Spending the time to learn this song and really be present with the lyrics, it was very apparent how somber and pained it is underneath the glittery pop production. In the same way that the character in the song is running from their pain and numbing shame through drinking and party, the message of the song is hiding behind party beats and epic melodies. We decided to open the shutters up a bit in our rendition to reveal the shame and sadness of the lyrics more transparently by slowing it down and bringing some of the emotion of the words into the performance. As people, we so often put on our best face and try to push down the things we are ashamed of so that no one will see them. It is natural and easy to want to try to drown out the parts of our lives we aren’t proud of with a facade of fun and carefree exuberance instead of really facing the truth of our feelings. “Keep my glass full until morning light.” The character in the song is gripping their drink all night the same way that we take a firm hold on our defense mechanisms. We might not all cover up our shame with alcohol and party, but we each have our own coping mechanisms to protect us from fully confronting the truth of our shame.
It is important to learn how to be gracious and gentle with how vulnerable shame can make us feel. At the same time, there is enormous value in opening vulnerably up to the truth of our shame to let the pain of it illuminate a belief that is holding us back from living more joyful and fulfilled lives. In the same way that the pain of heat from touching a hot surface alerts you to a problem in your positioning to keep your body safe, shame can alert you to a problem in your inner posture toward yourself, work, family, or whatever it might be. Ignoring it just deepens the burn and extends the consequences. Sometimes we are just moving so fast in life that we simply don’t take the time to enquire into the issue. This oversight just leads to subsequent burns and prolonged suffering when we could have simply taken the time to learn from the pain, see what beliefs are cultivating shame and practice shifting our beliefs to prevent future burns. What does this look like in real life?
For us, the New song November Challenge confronted us with our own feelings of shame regarding our musicianship. We are painfully aware that we are not the most technically skilled musicians, and the mistakes that inevitably made their way into the final recordings made for easy shame triggers and self doubt. We definitely thought more than a few times about calling the whole thing off to avoid this pain. But in the end it offered us an opportunity to recognize the beliefs that we had about how we needed to have perfect musicianship and flawless technical performance for people to appreciate our music. We were able to recognize and shift these negative beliefs and let go of the fear of our mistakes turning us into a laughing stock and stunting our dreams of extending the reach of our music.
What places in your life could you slow down and enquire into the areas where you feel shame? Where is it that you go to escape the feelings? Recognizing our avoidance patterns can also alert us to unconscious shame or other negative feelings presenting in our lives in unhealthy patterns. This enquiry and deepening of listening can be a powerful way to break the patterns that aren’t serving us and give us more time, space, and energy to create the lives we really want to live! If you have reflections on any of this we’d love to hear from you in the comments below or you can DM us personally.