Live your best life …
Just after I had posted part 1 of, What’s That Hiding in the Shadows, I was listening to the radio. It was an interview with an Australian author, Richard Flanagan. He had written a book about his father’s experience on the Burma railroad in Word War 2. During the discussion, he happened to say that life was a dance between the shadows and the light. Entering the shadows was part of the process of coming into the light and that this was a dance lasting our whole life through. What a great metaphor describing our passage through life!
Some people are ashamed of aspects of their shadow
In one of Debbie Ford’s seminars, a distraught woman, Audrey, confessed that she hated her daughter. She was ashamed of her feelings which she felt proved that she was a bad person. Firstly, Debbie Ford explained that if hate was what Audrey was feeling then it was okay and she needed to accept this. Then she asked the audience to remember a time when they might have felt hate for their children. Most people remembered at least one such instance. Then Debbie Ford asked the audience what gifts they thought hate could give them. Among the suggestions were; sanity, release of emotion and even love. They all saw that they had no control over the emotion itself. Seeing that she was not alone, helped Audrey give herself permission to feel hate without judgement. Audrey learned that hate only has power when it is suppressed or denied.
Eventually, Audrey understood that her hateful feelings were a defence mechanism which protected her boundaries and had been a catalyst for her spiritual journey.
A short while later, Audrey’s daughter got in contact with her. When Audrey told her daughter how she had been feeling and how she had embraced her hate, her daughter broke down. A space had been created for an honest exchange. Years of unexpressed pain tumbled out and a new relationship based on honesty was forged. Audrey had transformed the hate into love.
Some people wear their shadow like a badge of honour.
Pam, a woman with a tough exterior, had no trouble owning her shadow. She considered it a compliment to be called angry or a ‘bitch’. This woman’s comfort zone was her darkness. The part of herself she could not accept was her softer side, her femininity. During the course of the seminar, Pam explained that she had been abandoned in infancy and had never met her mother. She had hired a private investigator to find her mother without success. As a result of the gentle approach and support of the seminar participants, Pam was able to release the pain and embrace her gentler qualities. Three weeks later, the investigator put Pam in touch with her mother. Coincidence ?…….Perhaps……or once the rejected aspect is embraced, a space for healing is created.
Some people unconsciously project denied aspects of themselves onto others.
Mike was such a person. Idiots really irritated him. When Debbie Ford suggested that the emotional charge around idiots meant that there was something to investigate, Mike was adamant that idiot was definitely not an aspect of himself. When asked if he had ever done anything an idiot might do, Mike reluctantly admitted that he had BUT…..he just couldn’t see himself that way.
Mike did discover his idiot ( the universe has a way of making us come face to face with such definite denial) Debbie Ford found that Mike had made a decision as a child. Being an idiot was not an option. As a child, he had made a silly mistake and had been laughed at.
Mike was so averse to being an idiot that he had worked hard all his life and was at the top of his field. At work, he seemed to be surrounded by idiots which was very frustrating. Debbie Ford suggested that the idiots were there so that Mike could experience this disowned aspect of himself. Mike could not find compassion for his own mistakes, so he saw people who made mistakes as idiots.
Mike decided that the gift from his idiot aspect was determination. He was shocked by this discovery. It meant that Mike’s success in life might be owed to his idiot self!!!! While Mike was willing to forgive and embrace that part of himself, he needed time to digest the discovery.
Coming to terms with aspects that have been shut down for many, many years takes time and patience. Debbie Ford doesn’t say how long it took Mike to accept his idiot. In my experience, this process of acceptance and integration may take weeks and even months.
By allowing the disowned aspect to exist within our awareness without judgement opens the door to acceptance.
Gentle attention paid to this aspect, opens the door to compassion.
Appreciation of this aspect leads to wholeness therefore accessing more of who we truly are.
The universe always guides us back to embracing the totality of ourselves- this is a spiritual law. We attract whomever and whatever we need to mirror back aspects of ourselves that we have forgotten. Who will you see in your mirror next?
Be kind to yourself
Reference: Debbie Ford, The Dark Side of Light Chasers. Reclaim your power, creativity, brilliance and dreams.