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As I sit here writing this the sky is alive with rain and thunder. She is purging, brewing and renewing herself, and the world beneath her. So much magic comes from those moments of release. The cleansing waters wash away the pain and the fear, and reveal beautiful light that lives within. Falling rain always signals to me a deep change taking place, and yet reminds me to honor the deeply held forces within… Because just as much as they renew, they can destroy. But isn’t destruction just another word for rebirth?
I have been in a personal storm lately. All my parts are coming undone to reveal the weak spots, and the strong points that live within. As one thing reveals itself, I can acknowledge it and move through to the next thing. In this personal dance of light and shadow I find comfort, learning what I am made of.
In these telling moments that push you to your edge, strengths are revealed. Cracking open and revealing out what fills you. A slippery, multilayered world lives inside you. A world of pain, grace, memory, experience, fear and perspective. The light and shadow that cradles your personal power.
Unexpected changes prompt introspection and fizzle up fears. Old beliefs and dreams might fall away, but they reveal the smooth, robust and luscious flesh of possibility. New intentions to nourish. This is inner alchemy where you purge and part with to find your grace.
Can you open your arms wide and be nourished by the falling waters of change?
A Path to Empowerment
I knew this year would mark a pivotal time in all our lives. A time of getting closer to inner truth. Spirit has been calling you into action, asking you to lean in and go for a ride. Bravery and curiosity allows the road to rise up and meet you… A road filled with avenues of blessing and hurdles of learning. But, all in all, a road leads to flow and movement.
In my intimate moments of inner voyage I hear my spirit whisper: Are you ready to be empowered?
The idea of empowerment is beautiful to contemplate. Finding an inner well of truth that can forever nourish you on the ride of life… Through the good and bad. Empowerment is a wild sister who reminds you of your innate strengths and talents, rather than pushing you to dominate with power in the world. As a force in the world you can stand sturdy in your empowerment… There is no need to explain yourself, to bring people over to your side of life… You have nothing to prove. All you have to do is be you!
In a world bent on the material we have confused empowerment with power… The need to exert dominion over. To make things beneath us, or “other”, but power on those terms serves only to breed fear. When we relinquish the need to have control over the external we learn to ride our personal tide… And life will support you. You stand strong in the midst of change because you are the eye of the storm.
Feeding the Shadow Self
Disconnected from our empowerment the shadow (those unloved, unacknowledged parts of us) grows stronger and thrives on more of the same. Rather than interacting with life, we react. Reactionary living is acidic, corrosive and destructive. That is not to say we can live without reaction… It is a human response. It serves to keep us alert and alive. But, you can learn to interact with the world, befriending experience and still remaining safe.
First you must listen to the shadow.
The Truest Voice
It begins with questions. Each moment, and in each experience you encounter a question. A question about what you will accept. A question about how you will feel. A question about what you will think. A question about your needs and desires. A question about who you are, or are becoming. A question about where you are wounded. And the most profound question… What empowers you?
In each question, choice is made available to you. Choice about how you will act, interact, or react. This is so profound and so healing. Most of the people I work with are looking for permission to be, think, feel and live. But that permission comes from within. I remind myself of that daily. Who are you asking for permission from?
The shadow can feel dark, deadly, fearful and taunting. She can seduce you into anger, fear, pain and sadness. Coursing through your veins she can feel like hot, surging lava. But shadow not only holds the unacknowledged, unloved, and unhealed parts… She also carries within her these beautiful blessings. Her biggest gift is the gift of choice.
Befriending the shadow places choice back in your hands. She feels deadly because she is the parts that have been ignored for so long. She can look like anything… The part of you that feels helpless. The part of you that fears commitment. The part of you that believes money is elusive. But rather than letting your shadow well up inside and come out as reaction, you can find stillness and silence within her. Retreat into a space where you can ask the questions that give you choice. Always going deeper and asking her… Why?
Retreating into your sacred space can help you communicate with your shadow. Constructive time together lessons the deadly blow of force that she brings when a crack opens for her to creep through. She is looking for approval, validation and, when left to her own devices, proof that she has a reason to be who she is.
Facing Your Fears
When you feel the eyes of your shadow preying on you, turn around, face her and see what she is made of. She wants love and understanding, which means you want love and understanding. She will take you to your edge, show you your extremes and vulnerabilities. No more do you have to be lost in the black hole of your ignored psyche-selves… You can experience them as a collective of long lost friends.
We all carry around weights, wounds and scars. When the psyche carries a deep wound it responds with compensation… Much like the body expressing pain from a wound, it is a warning, an alarm screeching… Hey I am here, and I need some attention. So slip into you shadow, go a little deeper, and discover the gentle giant that has been made into a monster.
Ways to Communicate with Your Shadow
1. Ask to speak with your shadow.
Pose questions and wait for answers. These answers can come as thoughts, visions, memories, feelings and physical sensations. Let her lead you down deeper to show you what she is made of. Then write it out. Begin with the question: What am I feeling dark about? Or Why…?
2. In silent meditation allow yourself to breathe and be lulled into relaxation.
Let your body become still, all your parts releasing held tension. Then invite your shadow into the forefront of your mind. Allow a vision or feeling to come up. Then begin to move your body in a way that expresses those sensations. What does your shadow move like?
3. Write some hate mail to your shadow.
Write out all the ways she has harmed you, sabotaged you, limited you. Write out experiences where your fear, pain, anger or sadness got the best of you. Made you act out. Made you step outside of the “pristine” you. Then write a love letter expressing how much she taught you by doing that. This could take some time. You might do this slowly. You might have a running list. If you need to write the hate first… Then explore the love, that is perfect!
4. Create an image of your shadow.
A doll, a collage, a photo, a drawing. Something that gives a physical repression of your shadow. This can look however you want… However you are moved. It doesn’t have to be aesthetically pleasing, it probably shouldn’t be. She could be a tuft of dust found in the corner of a forgotten room. Wrap her in a black scarf or piece of tissue paper. Speak lovingly to her. Then lay her to rest in a small black box. You can dispose of it how you see fit. Or you can keep her and take her out when you need to speak.
Working with your shadow is a life long process. She is always there, growing and shrinking. She isn’t an enemy. She is a wise friend. Let your life be empowered by your light and your shadow. You will have intimate moments with her… By force or choice. You will have moments where she seems to be sleeping. Honor her and you will defy gravity.