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Synopsis, Practically Shameless

As a girl, the author wants to belong in a circle of friends and to live a creative life, but a destructive behavior sabotages her efforts. The pattern persists into adulthood. By the age of forty-four, she is a woman without friends, encased in shame and depression.

A call for help brings her to an experiential workshop where she learns that there are four kinds of shame. She begins to view her destructive behavior as a four-sided box. As she studies its four walls, she recognizes the box's origin: it has been her unconscious way of bonding with her hyper-critical father, a WWII veteran suffering from trauma. A memory resurfaces of a painful incident.

Wall by wall, Alyce works to transform the box, facing a risk at every turn. The greatest risk calls forth the part of her that has been sabotaging her efforts to change in order to protect the bond with her father. When this part of her is honored for its role, it becomes her ally. In a touching ceremony, Alyce lets go of her unhealthy way of loving her father and is finally able to change.

When she leads a workshop of her own, Alyce encounters a man who does not believe he has an inner protector. When she honors his skepticism, his protector emerges to tell a moving story of survival. A series of images illustrates how this man learned to resist change and then how the technique of honoring his resistance transforms it into his ally.

The reader is then invited to experience an honoring directly.

Step by step, Practically Shameless illustrates the book's core concepts:

That shame creates "the box" that we feel trapped in.

That the box is not a mistake but a strategy, designed to protect us from something that would have been even worse than the box.

That a part of us guards the box, keeps us from knowing that it exists, and resists our every effort to change.

That "thinking outside the box" is merely flipping into an opposite strategy and changes nothing fundamental.

That we inevitably flip back because the box's reasons for existing have not changed.

That the box has four distinct walls, which were at one time open portals to our Divine potential.

That Shadow Work transforms the walls back into portals and the box into a gift.

An Appendix explains the Shadow Work Model and describes the sixteen different kinds of boxes.

Notes add explanation that would otherwise interrupt the main narrative.

 

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