Welcome to Shame Into Joy’s “Blessed Bendigas Bistro”!

One day when I was ill and home from work, and sitting at my oak computer desk I saw an image in my mind’s eye: a yellow circle, and in the center was the word: Blessed.  I struggled to understand, based on gifts and challenges in my life, if I could honestly call myself blessed, in the balance. I recently had a breakthrough in understanding:

“Each time we feel unsure or confused, and reflect and gain inklings of understanding, in that ordinary and extraordinary moment, there is a blessing.” (Please see my most recent blog, “Blessed” for more depth on this).


Welcome to Shame Into Joy

The Shame into Joy “Blessed Bendigas Bistro”, is named for the “Blessed” image I saw. How did “Shame into Joy” start? I’d been working in a social work position when one day my boss called me into her office. She asked me, “So, you went to Columbia University didn’t you?” I said, “Yes.”  She shook her head and said, mockingly, “What is so special about you?!” and  smiled. Soonafter, I was fired, along with two managers at our sister offices. The reason given for the dismissal was flimsy and a partial lie concocted to fire me.

Soonafter I saw a facebook ad for a seminar in Marina Del Rey for budding women entrepreneurs to weave together all their gifts into new businesses.  I was enthusiastic to do work that I was passionate about and congruent with me, and not work under a boss who could be cruel, in a business that could be dishonest, (and do mostly paperwork). One of the women at the seminar had a great idea for me. As I am a widow, she suggested I could start seminars for widow called, “Coming to Life After Death”. I  imagined husbands rising from the dead, and was amused.

Alone in my bedroom after the seminar, while working on business ideas I thought: How can I do a business? I am not young, thin, cool, confident and savvy like the other women. Maybe I was fired because I was flawed and a failure. All the air was sucked out of the room. I was immersed in shame and couldn’t get out, as if the air was charcoal around me and expanding into the room and beyond into a shame universe. (I just made up that last part about the shame universe for fun).

I almost crawled to the closet mirror and looked: I saw fear in my left eye. I began speaking to it awkwardly, trying to figure out what to say to comfort this dreaded, fearful me that I saw. “I love you. I will be there for you.” I tried speaking kindly to it, and, surprisingly, the mirror me spoke to the me standing at the mirror, saying affirmations and permissions to me. My eyes started to look delighted. Based on these guidances, and how they influenced the look in my eyes, I faced past shaming events for two weeks, while crying and laughing, using creative processes to re-frame shame, while joy, hope and creativity danced out.

I hired a coach from New York who I’d met at valet parking after the fancy seminar for entrepreneurs, and who I’d driven to the airport. After consulting with her about fifteen possible businesses, it became obvious that my passion was transforming shame. She encouraged me, saying thousands needed this work.

I had so much life experience to draw from!  I had been born in Long Island, New York, and grew up in Philadelphia and Las Vegas – where my father was the rabbi of Las Vegas.  As he was the divine authority in the home, it seemed he was not interested to hear me. At the synagogue, we were supposed to smile for the congregation, so I learned real well how to hide my emotions – even from me. From infancy, I was a body-rocker and head-banger, and drove one relative or another crazy with that and my very messy room.

There is also much strength to draw on: The beautiful Hebrew songs and prayers that sing inside, transforming from a terrible secretary into a clinical social worker and college professor who taught life-long learning classes including sessions about facing shame and finding life passions, and background as a kundalini yoga teacher, Virtues Project facilitator, and body-worker (human bodies, not cars).  I draw on boldness to connect with others in unique ways from studying at USC with Leo Buscaglia and participating in his “Love Class”. And from the time when I was a teen and wrote the humor column for my John C. Fremont Jr. High newspaper until now I love writing and still add humor wherever I can. (A more complete bio is at Bio).

I want to welcome you to fruit of my journey thusfar, the “Blessed Bendigas Bistro”.  When you read my writing about transforming shame, you will know that I am audaciously honest. This is not always because I want to be; when I write, it is as if I have taken truth serum. Your visit is much appreciated because the fulfillment of my sharing is both in the expression, and the learning that occurs through writing, and in you receiving updates in your inner computer that free you to breathe in self-acceptance, an aha that magnetizes your courage, one or more discoveries that give you tools for being a kind companion to you throughout all your days, and increasing your momentum for putting more of the you-“hot” sauce into the enchiladas in the potluck of life.

I hope you will feel most welcome. Take some deep, comfortable, compassionate breaths, inhaling while saying to yourself, “You are a treasure,” and exhaling saying to yourself, “You are precious and your journey from conception to present to future is precious.” Inhale: treasure, exhale: precious, inhale: treasure, exhale: blessed. Imagine you are in a wooden upper floor of a “Blessed Bendigas Bistro” cafe, over the ocean. air. Sun rays are warming your face and side. Your breaths are like ocean waves rising and falling, and rolling out to the shore. A jasmine-scented breeze occasionally stirs you and ruffles your clothes. Your stresses of the day and week recede. Sit a spell in the comfortable green velvet chair. You can use it as a rocking chair, or adjust it on the left side to give you an awesome back massage.  Here is a virtual Vegan berry muffin with hot lemon-ginger tea. Below is the menu you can order from. Feel free to write me at Claudia@ShameIntoJoy.com with any comments or suggestions. Bon Appetit.

blessed 9

Appetizers for Shame-Shifting

Blogs, Posts, Confessions

Guilt $1.49 extra

Side-Dishes of Loving Yourself When ______ Happens

Loving Yourself When Caregiving Happens – First in the Series

  (Dishes to be added to menu when chef gets back from rehab).

Specials:  E-books

What If Shame A Poem about Releasing From Past Shame – Free Gift for You for Having the Courage to Stop By!) 

More on the way


(Teleseminar Audio)

Lighten Up Shame Luau Invitation

Living BIG: Women Embodying Our Sacred Dreams Interviews,

Audios – Free Gift: Audio Recordings of Interviews

Seniors Menu

Ready for Sixty

You Ain’t Gonna See No Shame on Me

Children’s Menu

You Are Not Bad!  Recording for Children and Playful Inner Children

Your Magnificent Body

Gems Inside of You: Courtesy


Humor-aide, Self-Acceptance Tea, Healthy Shame Shakes:

Befriend Your Shame Brews

Green Affirmation Juice

Take Home Menu, Services:

Classes, Teleseminars, Coaching

Open Letter to Imperfect Families About Special Needs Family Members


Journal Pages for your journaling pleasure

Exercises: Expressive Arts (click on “Lighting A Candle…” and see exercise at end)

Guilt Reduction

Love Your Body:


Mirror Exercise ICI  short (a video),

Dancing with the Shadow Mirror Exercise ICI longer explanation

The Gems Inside You 2  Video With Song (for Children, Inner Children)

Thankful Thighs 3 Zen and the Art of Painting Your Thigh

Thankful Thighs 2 Beautify Thy Thigh

Thankful Thighs 1, the Intro 

Story of Shame into Joy: Bio (Published in “Daily Breeze”)

.. if it is possible to face them (experiences of shame), instead of seeking protection from what they reveal, they may throw light on who one is, and hence point the way toward who and what one may become.”

– Helen Lynd