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BONUS: Exploring Shame with Sister Unity

episodes show notes Oct 16, 2020
 
 

Hello GerleMen listeners.

She is hilarious. She is irreverent. She is devastating in her academic acumen and her theatrical talent.

And, although we may be laughing, her messages are packed with wisdom and insights many listeners will find life-affirming.

While we pause our regular episodes and prepare a spectacular Season 2 of the GerleMen Podcast, we’d like you to enjoy some short, bonus episodes, co-hosted by my dear friend and rambunctious orange Nun, Sister Unity of the Los Angeles House of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

So enjoy the show my friends! We’ve packed all this awesomeness into some very short clips.


Mentioned in this episode:

Sister Unity (Listen to The Queer Hero's Journey with Sister Unity episode)

Sister on Social Media:

 
Get connected:

 

Full Episode transcript:

Mike Gerle : 

Hello GerleMen listeners. While we pause our regular episodes and prepare a spectacular Season Two of the GerleMen podcast, we'd like you to enjoy some short bonus episodes co-hosted by my dear friend and rambunctious orange nun, Sister Unity, the Sister Unity of the Los Angeles House of Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence that we had in Episode One. She's hilarious and she's irreverent, but she's also devastating in her academic acumen. And her theater talent is brilliant. You'll hear the joy we have in the laughter while we're digging into these ideas, but our messages are packed with wisdom and insights many girly men will find life affirming. So enjoy the show my friends and pay attention. Remember, you can find us anywhere podcasts can be found from iTunes, Stitcher, to Spotify, wherever you find us, please hit that subscribe button. Sign up to our newsletter and our website at gerlemen.com. It's a place to see some of our video outtakes from each episode. or contact us on Facebook again, just search for GerleMen. And if you're feeling old school send me an email at [email protected] Enjoy the show. I want to talk about the opposite of this word. But I think talking about the word gets us there. How do you feel about shame? Well, first of all, do you think that the opposite of shame would be dignity. I think there's a difference between pride and dignity.

Sister Unity : 

I think that shame has a lot of opposites. We've been talking in other podcasts about this inner self and having a clear channel from the outside in your mind, as in its conscious state with that pool of intuitive knowing and being of whatever you want to call your innermost self. Shame is contraction. And the opposite of shame is letting go, openness, release, expansion. So that can be celebration, inspiration, pride, joy, lust. So there are many, I think there are many words you can choose to describe the experience that is the opposite of the shame. Shame is contraction. It is one of the intense ways that people contract and when they contract, they tend to lock it down because they, because of fear, you know, fear triggers that contraction, fear's like: danger, safety. And then you lock it down to stay safe. And that's where you get homophobia, and misogyny, and hatred and racism and othering and power and control and all of the hosts, fear is the host to all of the sins and evils. So shame has brother, sisters and...

Mike Gerle : 

Here... Let me just, I mean, I think that bears repeating. I mean, he fear being the host of all the evils I'll just shorten what you said being a reason to look elsewhere. And and what we focus on does expand so maybe, let's not Focus on shame but like, how do we know we're progressing? How does that look on the other side? Like, I guess what I'm giving you helping our listeners understand when they're on the right path. You know,

Sister Unity : 

Here's the moment...

Mike Gerle : 

I don't want to judge their shame either. I mean, shame...

Sister Unity : 

Shame, everything, every quality cuts both ways. I am ashamed of something I did to someone who trusted me two years ago. I will be ashamed of it until the day I die. I am ashamed of it every single day. That's good. Because it inspires me not to ever do that again, which is to be the person I was and in the headspace I was when I did it. That is appropriate, Shame.

Mike Gerle : 

Yeah, we need shame. For that reason.

Sister Unity : 

Oh, yeah. Well, it keeps us safe. It keeps us from like killing each other for a month.

Mike Gerle : 

Yeah. Mm hmm.

Sister Unity : 

But we're talking about what is the moment of expansion out of shame.

Mike Gerle : 

Yes.

Sister Unity : 

Shame, for me, there was this moment in high school freshman year in high school, and I was in the gym. in the locker room and I just finished changing out of gym clothes. And there was, we'll call him Crump mon Witherspoon and Chroma Witherspoon was the most perfectly formed human male I've ever set eyes on with the possible exception of Mike Gerle in a kitchen about 20 years ago. Ah, his body was just life but muscled but perfectly formed with this golden skin and that Tawny blonde hair with that swept across side part and crystal clear blue eyes with long lashes and pearly white teeth and rose petal lips and a sort of outgoing friendly nature, but a little shy and a little reserved, you know, just balanced individual, huh? And they were naked, uncut. And just over, you know, but 15 feet away, and I just kept looking and looking and looking and just drinking with my eyeballs. And at some point I was I felt shame. And I said, Wait, you know, this is not right. You're like stealing these looks in this porny kind of way and this is not right. So I just finished dressing and I left and I walked down the hallway and I had somehow the inner self, the voice of myself, my psyche, someone in there, what like, pick the lock of the door through the door open. It was like, "Wait a minute! I am me. And I am gay. And it is okay to have sex and to feel attracted to guys." I turned around, just dropped the whole shame thing, turned around, walked back and finished watching him dressed in finished dressing by the time but you know, someone else came in and so I got it. I loved him. But um Yeah, so many people have experienced either pushing themselves out consciously, like coming out to your parents is a conscious decision to throw those doors open. Or it happened like with me it was kind of organic. And that's the turnaround from shame, where you just fucking drop it, or you push through it, you make a conscious choice to dissolve it or erase it or break it. I'm using these different words because they all happen in different contexts and with different fields and methods and time lengths to them. But...

Mike Gerle : 

Well, yeah, and I'm, while doing some work now, as a coach, and we're finding ways to respect that person where they are. I mean, that's the first...

Sister Unity : 

That's curious to me, because I've you know, as a sister of perpetual adulthood, we're like, no shame, no guilt. So I've spent 25 years plus, you know, like, no shame, no guilt. Tell me about this respect your shame first notion, that's curious to me.

Mike Gerle : 

Respecting that shame is part of this person's worldview at this moment. That the sum total of their life experiences brought them here. You know, that the way that they're upbringing, with their education, their own personal experience or other other people right you know the world feeding them these ideas like oppression. So if somebody shows up with internalized oppression, homophobia, whatever I want to call it, I don't want to say: Dude, why do you have that? You know, come back to me when you've gotten over that so I can be friends with you.

Sister Unity : 

That's doesn't sound healthy.

Mike Gerle : 

Yeah and it doesn't serve the community and it doesn't serve the other person. What I'm saying is respect their worldview that that is how they've arrived here and now let's have a conversation about it. It's like, how is that shame showing up in your life? How is it serving you? and generally the conversation is it's all the things you were just talking about. It's toxic, it's fear, it's closing it's it's clench, clench, just like small thing. My world is so small. It's like this. And then, like, you know, Dude, look, this is my experience. And this is the way it is when we have dignity and we have joy, and we have inspiration, and we have empowerment, and now all of a sudden your life is getting bigger, and then help, maybe move them away from the shame. And then but by fully bringing it up and like saying, maybe how did you get here? What created those filters? And then maybe look at that filter and say, Did you learn something from that?

Sister Unity : 

I would rather rephrase if you don't mind by tweaking something, you said just small ways. rather than pushing them towards letting go of the shame. I would say offering them the opportunity to step out of their shame. The difference being you can't go Don't be you know, don't have shame, drop your shame. But you can create an atmosphere in which there's an opportunity around them to do it themselves. They have to do it themselves.

Mike Gerle : 

And that's the true point. I can say a million In things, but the other the person with it, I need to hold space so that's possible for them.

Sister Unity : 

Yeah, if you keep talking to them, like don't feel shame or Gee, I can't wait for you to not feel shame anymore or Hey, when are you going to be free of shame? You're pushing on the shame. And yeah, and that what that means is, oh, I'm getting pushed, there's more push. So that just creates more fear. Yep, more locking down, more contraction. So instead, it's like, oh, hi, you're so and so. Oh, you say you see you feel some shame about yourself. It's okay to feel ashamed about yourself. Would you like a pickle?

Mike Gerle : 

And you're in the right place? Because almost everybody here as has been on this journey. Some of them are exactly where you are. Some of us are farther along. You know, the thing is, we love you the way you are right now. And...

Sister Unity : 

If it's me. I'm not even talking about it. I mean, I'll acknowledge it as they've described it, and they say, I hear you, this is you, this is where you are. This is, but I'm not going to be like so the future is over here. I'm going to be like, Oh yeah, some of us are not going to get naked and do yoga. You can join or you can just watch.

Mike Gerle : 

Absolutely. I love it.

Sister Unity : 

I'll be like, here's an environment of what non shaming people and life looks like. It's going to coexist with you in the same room, campground, rehearsal hall and whatever. You're not called to do it or anything. I'm just, you know, letting you know it's over here.

Mike Gerle : 

right? It's here for you to peruse. Well, this is conflating some topics that sounds counterintuitive for sex to lead someone out of shame. Expect...

Sister Unity : 

Wait, are you kidding me? That's the whole kit and caboodle of the gay rights movement. I mean, sex and love, but like, Are you kidding me? They burned us at the state because of their images of our sex in their heads. And they restricted us on the grounds and with the words about our sex, so that our sex became our revolution. Oh, it's definitely sex definitely leads us out of shame and political oppression.

Mike Gerle : 

Oh, thank God, somebody else said it. And I think that's a good place. to end our fifth mini episode, I want to thank you again for coming back and bye for now. And we'll see you very soon. I hope you enjoyed this bonus episode of the GerleMen podcast. I want to thank Sister Unity for her magic, her wisdom, and most of all for her huge open heart. We started this podcast with a promise that we deliver heart centered connection, both Sister Unity and I want you to feel the love that we have for ourselves, for each other and for you, are queer and dear family. We are all one. We are all connected. And we'll see you next time.

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