Monday, February 1, 2010

Clam Man - February 1, 2010

...Some say he's crazy.

He sells clams

Door to door through town...

"Want to buy some clams?" he shouted....

...."No," I said, ashamed

But frightened, and wished him away.

And he disappeared,

Banging the pail as he went

To scare the little breathers in their shells.

Where does shame come from? I've read that it is hard wired in us, that shameful feelings arise on their own from deep within, and the our various cultural constructs add layers on top of this for particular shameful stimuli. So when the frightful, crazy world comes knocking on the doors of our lives and we don't answer, but hide behind masks, shells of ego defenses, or literally in our isolated homes typing away on Facebook, is there anyone's inner soul that does not says "Now wait just a doggone minute, isn't the good life to be open to all that the world is, come hell or high water?" If we hide or clam up, we might miss something wondrous, or something that might teach us who we are and who we are becoming.

Do you experience shame in your life? What unmet needs might be behind these feelings? What might you do to respond to these feeling with actions that open you to the world?


  1. Shame can be our reaction to feelings of being unworthy or as in the poem, displaced shame we might feel if we project our values on others who then fail to live up to our expectations. Blame and contempt soon follow as we try to cope with shame. If instead, we project acceptance of ourselves and others, we are more open to the relationships that create opportunities to feel worthy.

  2. Dear J,

    Thank you for posting here regarding the emotion of shame and guilt. You talk about acceptance as a way to open up relationships creatively so we feel worthy, and I'm guessing like we belong on this planet. Is this right? I also deal with shame by taking time to mourn my actions and know that I was trying to meet needs, which are beautiful and connect me to all of life.