Last year, a couple of spiritual based 'self help' books made their way into my world despite the fact that I thought I had pretty much read them ALL over the past ten years. The first one was Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford which led to the second book by the same author called Why Good People Do Bad Things. She also made a movie called The Shadow Effect which was equally enlightening. Debbie passed over to the Spirit world earlier this year and lucky for us, left her wisdom behind in the form of her journey and her books.
Since reading Debbie's books, I've been consciously watching myself and my shadows and asking Spirit to show me myself and these darker parts I was possibly still hiding from myself. You know what they say, ask and you shall receive! This journey into shedding the light on those still unseen parts of myself is one that has been instrumental in my growth process. It becomes more evident by the day, that things outside myself that trigger me have nothing to do with them and everything to do with me and my shadow (God I love when it comes out like a song?). :-)
We are all human so we all have this part of ourselves called the shadow or wounded ego. Many people are afraid of their shadow and don't even want to consider that they have one, let alone look at it. It's that part of ourselves that believes bad things about ourselves because of earlier conditioning and usually painful experiences in our lives. It is our inner loser, inner bitch, inner critic, inner judge, inner fraidy cat, inner rage, inner greed, inner jealousy, etc. All of those traits we would rather 'push away' or not admit are there. So we go through life pushing away and not accepting those 'ugly' parts of ourselves, instead of accepting they are a part of us.
Going through life pushing down or hiding our pain, shame, guilt, anger, and self hatred takes A LOT of energy. It causes us to push away those darker qualities of ourselves and bury them so deep we end up wearing masks to cover up what we DON'T want to be. We put on a 'show' to compensate for what we perceive as our shortcomings. In the end it surfaces anyway. The more time we spend trying to hide or cover up that part of ourselves, the bigger the incident when it rears it's head.
It's interesting because we actually need our shadow sides at certain times in our lives. It's to learn to call on those part of ourselves when it's appropriate instead of denying it's even there and walking around like we're all that and a bag of chips. To quote Debbie in her movie "either you're going to use IT (your shadow) or IT'S going to use YOU". I agree whole heartedly. There are times when we need our inner critic, our inner bitch, our inner fraidy cat, etc. We need not deny these parts of ourselves, we really just need to be aware when those parts of ourselves are making themselves known, and ask ourselves if it's an appropriate time for that part to be heard.
Our human basic 'shadow beliefs' are that we are not good enough, we are not loveable, and we are not worthy. It makes me sad just to type that and think of all the years that I've allowed those beliefs about myself lead me through this life which kept me stuck in my old patterns of self hatred. It really does make me sad to know that any human being feels that way about themselves, yet the fact is we all have or do. Now how do we help ourselves move through our shadows?
The key to our freedom is in EMBRACING instead of RESISTING those parts of ourselves that have caused us the most pain and realize there is no dark without light and no light without dark. We need to be grateful for the dark because if we never knew fear, we would never know our courage. If we never knew weakness, we'd never know our strength. If we never knew anger, we'd never know peace, and the list goes on and on. The trick is to not get stuck in the old behavior and stories that run through our heads over and over.
We need to have the courage to look at the parts of ourselves that we hide, not only from others, but even from ourselves! We also need to fully understand that when we are triggered by the actions of another, that it has nothing to do with them and everything to do with us. If anger, guilt, shame, or jealousy comes up through interacting with someone or perceiving a situation, it is there to teach us. To show us a part of ourselves that still needs to be healed. My experience with this process has been that the triggers are huge at first, and the pain sometimes excruciating. However, over time the triggers become less and less until they're gone.
"The cost of ignoring a destructive pattern in ourselves, is self destruction" and "when we embrace our TOTALITY we experience freedom."
A man on the Shadow Effect speaks candidly about how he was sexually abused in a church setting when he was a young boy and how he lived his childhood in fear and his adulthood carrying his secret inside and the shame that was attached to that. He explained that it was only when he was ready and willing to look at his 'shame', talk about it to someone who didn't judge him, he was able to find forgiveness in his heart for the shadow part of his abuser and the part of himself that felt responsible somehow. He found he was able to free himself and move on to use his life to help others who've had similar experiences. Forgiveness is not saying what someone did to us is okay, it's forgiving the shadow part of another human and letting it go in order to free yourself of the burden we carry. It doesn't mean we have to be friends with that person, it's something that's in our hearts. The first step is to simply be 'willing' to forgive...the process takes time but the willingness is the first step.
Our relationship to ourselves is the most important relationship we will ever have so it's worth bustin' out our mirrors! This process isn't an overnight deal...it's pretty much an every day, life long deal but it's definitely worth the ride because in the end we will be shining our true light in the world and feeling lighter and happier than we ever have. At least that's how it's working for me!
We really are good enough, quite lovable and very worthy, regardless of what our shadow tells us.
"As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." ~ The Shadow Effect
It's interesting how along the highway of our lives, we humans don't tap into our handy dandy little built-in GPS devices all that often! Here we are gifted with this inner wisdom and guidance to help us on our journey through life, yet we talk ourselves out of what it's telling us or showing us, we argue with it, or we just plain ignore it! I find that quite humorous actually and I've certainly done all of those things more than once. I have learned that when I don't listen to my inner GPS I really do end up lost, taking the long painful way around, ending up at a dead end, and yes even crashing into that big obvious tree up ahead!!
It's ego versus Spirit from where I sit. We come from this amazing, magical, all knowing energy that created us and has the power and ability to have an animal turn color according to season, make a leaf come out of a bud, and turn a caterpillar into a butterfly. This same all knowing energy supplied us humans with an inner GPS and yet we get into OUR 'all knowingness' and logically override it's guidance ?? Denial is a factor too, sometimes we don't want to hear what we know deep down because that will mean change of some sort and we oftentimes prefer to keep things movin' right along avoiding the shake ups at all costs. Interesting bunch we humans are, and I would imagine quite humorous to observe from the Spirit world or an alien ship. They probably watch us all bumbling around trying to figure everything out on our own, spending hours, days and weeks obsessing over something we have zero control over, and making decisions that ultimately end up hurting us, when it's all quite obvious had we SIMPLY listened to our built in radar?
I know we've all experienced those times we didn't listen. You know how afterwards you sit in the chaos and debris and go 'something told me I shouldn't have done that, or trusted that person, or took that turn or whatever...I just KNEW it!' It's better to follow our intuition and make the changes we need to make before the universe kicks our asses and forces the change for us. In my experience the former is far more comfortable!
I think everyone's GPS works a little differently.....it might be a nudge, a whisper, a feeling, a knowing, or a vision but no matter the form in which we receive our inner guidance, we all have it. The more I've gotten to know myself and strengthen my connection with Spirit, the stronger and more specific mine has gotten. I receive it as a 'knowing' or as a 'feeling' in my gut and I actually ask Spirit to crank it up for me.....twist that puppy into knots if I'm on the wrong road pretty please!!! It's worked for me as long as I've listened and kept driving even though I couldn't see what was coming around the next corner.
It's extremely important in these times that we learn to trust our OWN intuition rather than looking to others to give us answers about our lives. It's great to get an outsiders perspective and suggestions but always come back to your higher self and follow THAT. Following our inner GPS means leaving out the questions 'how' and 'why' and learning to TRUST in working WITH it. Taking a turn that your gut is nagging you to take but your head is trying to talk you out of, will get you to your next destination with minimum wear and tear. Never hurts to apply a little patience too ;-)
So you just might wanna power up your inner GPS for the ride! Here's to the journey!
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~ Marianne Williamson
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by what is going on in the world? Does your soul nag at you, that you are here to help in some way, but you feel unready, unsure, or worse small and insignificant? Do you wonder how you can use your life and your voice to contribute to the greater whole? Do you feel afraid to speak your truth for fear of not being liked or approved of? Do you know deep down you need to make changes to your life but you feel stuck and afraid? Or maybe you are so self absorbed that you aren't thinking about anything but yourself and how everything affects only you? I've felt all of these things at different times.
I think somewhere inside each of us is a voice that is always whispering to us. Sometimes we listen and sometimes we don't. The voice is more like a scream at times, which for me has shown up as a deep sadness, a longing for something more, as well as a feeling of overwhelming urgency that I am here to do more than go through the motions of a life that society dictates as the 'norm'. I have also felt challenged by my anger at humanity, our systems, and the state of imbalance on this planet. Sometimes this has had me feeling quite small and insignificant. Like what's a girl to do? and who's gonna listen to me?
Since I've been purposely and knowingly walking my personal spiritual path, I've learned that when I feel overwhelmed and small, or triggered by anger at the state of our world, that the most productive thing I can do is have a chat with Creator. It doesn't matter what name you call the energy that is bigger than us, it only matters that we acknowledge it (and if we don't that's our choice, but it's been my personal experience that without that acknowledgement, life is lived more in a state of struggle, than one of peace). I've found that to express my anger, worries, sadness, and concerns and ask to be shown the way, relieves me of feeling small and that I am somehow carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. After my chat (some would call prayer), I let go and wait for my guidance. It always comes. There's a flow, a process that begins to happen when one makes this a constant practice. I believe our relationship to Spirit is our own personal, unique experience and I can only share my own. I've learned to lean on this unseen energy, rather than choosing to be angry at it, or not believing it even exists (which was my experience for the first 35 years of my life as I called myself an Athiest). To be angry that things don't look how we think they 'should', or are not happening our way or in the time frame we expect, is to stay stuck and frustrated, which is energy we could be using to do what we can to help turn things around so we can all live in a better world.
I've learned that my partnership with that something bigger than me, has given me strength and courage to the point where I don't recognize myself some days, and I certainly never feel alone. I understand that I (and you) are an extension of that energy, here in human form on a mission to turn this world around. What we've come here to do on a personal level, can be found a couple of ways, one is by looking at what we have been through in our past and believing that we are meant to help others by having experienced and healed through those experiences. By healing our past and becoming strong enough to share our story with others, is purpose in itself. Secondly we can look at what we are passionate about. It may be children, animals, our food sources, or the environment. It's usually what makes us extremely sad, or pisses us off and fires us up!! We think 'someone' needs to do something about this!!! That someone is us.
I believe we all have a purpose that is unique to us, and that our collective purpose is to turn this planet around. I believe many humans are already awake to this and are actively living their purpose, and I believe some aren't awake yet are actively living their purpose on a soul level, I believe some are beginning to question their lives and why they are here, and I believe that some will not be waking up in this lifetime, and that's okay. I see us crossing paths with other souls who are in alignment with us, which is creating groups of people who are on the same wave length. And there is always power in numbers.
I've also learned that when I am aware of, and purposely using my life to help the greater whole in my own little way, that doors of opportunity open and the next steps appear quite magically. But when I've put myself and my fears, or personal gain first, nothing flows and I live in struggle. I've learned that things move slower than I 'want', and I've learned patience on my path to purpose.
We can often experience that feeling of insignificance when we put pressure on ourselves to do something 'big' right now, today. Peace comes with taking small steps towards a vision, which leads to more small steps until we are beginning to see progress on our path when we stop to look back. It's a process and it doesn't have to be taken all heavily and seriously (something I've also learned the hard way!).
I've learned that the most powerful thing I've ever done has been to commit to finding my true self and my soul's purpose. That process has me knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I am not working alone because I have experienced the help that is always readily available to me from Spirit. To understand and live this, is to experience the most powerful relationship I've ever had.
Once I moved past the anger and frustration in my life, and I committed to discovering myself, my happiness, and why I am here, the answers have been and continue to be slowly revealed. When I was seeking answers PRIOR to making a commitment to myself and my purpose, I would find myself continuously frustrated and going in circles.
I think we all have a part to play and no part is more or less significant than another. We will not find our part by comparing ourselves to others. We will not find our part by denying our gifts. We will not find our part by avoiding the changes we know we need to make in our lives. We will not find our part by numbing ourselves with addictions. We will not find our part in the longing, wishing, waiting, hoping for someone to come along and do it for us. We will only find our part by making a commitment to knowing ourselves on a soul level, then being courageous enough to share our souls with others, in whatever way that is for us. It may be through speaking, writing, story telling, music, poetry, art, dancing, praying, teaching, etc. The main thing is that we no longer stay stuck in our old painful stories because we are afraid of our own authentic power.
Peace, Love and Purpose