finding jewels in the shadow

A couple of weeks ago a dear friend sent me an email asking my opinion on something Abraham-Hicks related. Normally I’d respond right away, excited to have a discussion, but I haven’t listened to their teachings in months. I’ve been in a more…reflective state.

I was recently given these words of wisdom by another soul sister, who received them years ago from a wise woman elder: “Know your cycles.” Since leaving my job a few months ago, I’m really feeling this message. Quitting has had a domino effect; pretty much everything else in my life has shifted as a result. And all the energy it took to maintain an unfulfilling daily routine now has the space to breathe, to release.

I haven’t had the motivation to carry out many of the things that seemed so possible, so exciting, just a few short months ago. My body just wants to rest. Know your cycles. I can no longer ignore what my body is commanding me to look at. Stuff I thought I’d already dealt with, time and again. Memories from childhood. Buried emotions. The shadow.

I love Abraham-Hicks; their words have brought much comfort and joy into my life. But with Law of Attraction teachings, there can be a tendency to focus so much on the positive, that we mask our so-called negative emotions. We must be ‘doing it wrong’ if we’re feeling depressed. We fear that if we focus on the uncomfortable stuff, we’ll stay stuck there, and continue to manifest more of it.

jewelinshadow

There’s a term I’ve been hearing a lot lately: spiritual bypassing. Using spirituality to avoid dealing with painful emotions. We want to experience ascension and enlightenment, but not all the murky shit along the way.

Many spiritual teachers speak of the shadow – those parts of ourselves we long ago deemed unacceptable, and therefore denied and suppressed. In our spiritual evolution, we can’t avoid going into the shadow. If we haven’t integrated it – brought those buried parts of ourselves into conscious awareness – sooner or later it will show up. Even (especially?) if we’ve been on the spiritual path for years.

Personally, I thought I was so done with the ‘inner child’ stuff. I’ve wanted to focus on the present, think positive, move on already! But it’s largely my mind that’s been dictating the healing timeline. My body still feels the old pain and memories – and only through being completely present with them, staying with them for however long is needed, can they be released. There are no shortcuts.

In my last post I wrote that I’ve never developed a meditation practice, and I’m now being called to do so. For a long time I feared that if I looked within, I’d find nothing. And there was deep grief (and terror) in that. Those early experiences of feeling insignificant, not belonging anywhere on this planet, being disconnected, never really left me.

For most of my life, I haven’t been truly living. Yes, I’ve had moments of joy, adventure, and spiritual fulfillment…but it’s been somewhat surface. I’ve been existing, but not experiencing deep, vital, vibrant aliveness. I know there are many out there who can relate.

And for me it is no longer acceptable to half-live. I’m faced with all this in a very real way as an unexpected health issue has caught me a little off guard, throwing all aspects of my life into sharper focus. I know it’s the Divine’s loving way of getting my attention, nudging me to re-discover our connection. Books, teachers, tools can help…but ultimately it’s all within me.

I’m grateful for everything that’s transpiring. I’m getting that only by being present with my painful emotions can I ever feel truly alive in this life. The shadow taps us into our depths, and in those depths something far more powerful and brilliant is awakened.

50 thoughts on “finding jewels in the shadow

  1. This is exactly what has been going on for me also. I have had to cut back from teaching yoga due to a back injury and then re injury. I haven revisiting things I thought I had overcome and I have been making plans to not pursue future trainings and other activities in exchange for resting my body and turning inward using oils, meditation, etc. really slowing down and trying to release the stress and to do list. I can’t remember ever there being a time for me and I am struggling severely with where should I be and what should I do to get better, control. The fact that we can look at this time as a cycle and from acknowledgement and love and observation sending it on its way is a whole new way for me, thank you. I haven’t been on WordPress in such a long time and I found your post, very powerful, very grateful, hugs

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    • That is awesome that you are listening to your body and taking that time for yourself. Since I wrote this post I’ve been extra aware of the time I put into things I really don’t want to, and honouring that need for solitude and rest. And my body and spirit are loving that. I get what you are saying – it’s such a new way of being…so many of us think that we’ve been healing/processing for years – why is this stuff still coming up?!

      But the body is infinite in its wisdom and holds things our minds cannot consciously grasp, therefore we need that rest and silence to trust the body to do its thing, at its own pace, no rushing or should-be-doing. It knows exactly what it needs and the mind often just gets in the way of that. It takes a lot of courage, for sure – to surrender to that ‘unknown’. But I imagine on the other side is something very peaceful and content. I’m happy this post gave you the message you need! Take good care of your precious self. xo Aleya

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  2. Health detours show us we have gotten off balance, right? =) Spiritual bypassing. Interesting. Well, if the way you faced the skeletons of relationships and finance in your closet is any indication, I’ve NO doubt you will weather this one too, and come out stronger, Aleya. Be gentle with yourself – body and spirit.

    Love,
    me

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    • Oh yes, I can see where I’ve gotten off balance and I’m relieved to really get the message. The universe certainly is complying with my request to ‘bring it on’! It’s lighting a fire under my ass big-time…in a good way, I think. 😉 Thanks Diana, xo Aleya

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  3. I can relate. I feel like embracing ones shadows, including the totality of emotions is part of holding one’s fullness. I am a fan of Abraham-Hicks but I also feel like for me, I’ve found that as much as the raising of the vibration and positive thoughts of focus help- action is what allows me to manifest what I want. It sounds like u are on an amazing path.

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    • I agree that action is an essential part of it. I’ve been watching an Abraham DVD these past few days (writing this post inspired that!) and am grateful for their teachings – it’s all about our own connection to source energy. And the action that stems from that place of love and alignment is the best of all, because it’s not about effort, or trying to fix and control. It feels so much more free. Thanks Diahann <3.

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  4. I can so relate to this! I’ve been turning away from popular spirituality teachings such as the law of attraction, looking for something more ‘real’ (to me). I’ve felt for a long time that blind positive thinking only scratches the surface of what a true spiritual path really is. It’s feeling with the body, all of it, being truly present. It’s so hard and I’ve tried running away from it many times, but I think ultimately the only way to go anywhere, is to go through it. Buddhism for me feels like something to look into. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject 🙂

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    • Yes! I so agree. We each have to find our own connection and experience of the Divine (or not) since we are all different expressions of it. I think a deep and profound inner joy and come from experiencing all those emotions – being authentic, and not pressuring ourselves to be upbeat and positive when we’re really not feeling it. It’s as you say – we must go through it instead of finding ways around it. And clearly so many of us are experiencing all this – how great to know we’re not alone. Thank you for reading and commenting. 🙂 Aleya

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  5. Lovely post and so wonderfully expressed! Funny that you wrote this post because I’m in the middle of drafting something along the same lines! 🙂

    I so agree with what you say. The most part of my spiritual journey has had been seeing and embracing the shadow\dark\negative self – that’s how I started and that’s how it has been for the most part. To me, positive affirmations and positive thinking seem lacking in “power and authenticity” when your subconscious is shouting exactly the opposite to what you’re affirming. Only when you’ve embraced your wounded self can you be at peace and only then can you really relate to what you are positively affirming.

    Having known about Hicks since quite some time, only just recently, I bought Abraham’s book “Ask and it is given” and my wife and I were discussing what they were saying. The premise is good, but if someone is just starting on the journey and they read the book, they might have a hard time because I reckon there will be a lot of inner conflict when your subconscious beliefs are pushed aside. Whereas in reality what they want is to be heard and released! I reckon I’d have had a lot of difficulty had I started with positive affirmations and neglected my undercurrents! Love ❤

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    • I love the parallels! Seems like many of us are having these thoughts and experiences. Part of the collective shift! 🙂

      This is so good: “Only when you’ve embraced your wounded self can you be at peace and only then can you really relate to what you are positively affirming.” I couldn’t agree more. I never really got into positive affirmations because my soul, my emotions knew I was faking it. There’s something so much deeper operating within all of us…something way more powerful than empty words. As Abraham often says: ‘The universe doesn’t hear what you say, but how you feel.’

      When I first started listening to Abe, it was a breath of fresh air; the words did resonate, and they still do. But I take breaks from their teachings because I have to live all my feelings. Over time I’ve come to know that experiencing my negativity doesn’t mean I’m a LOA failure, it means I’m getting to a deeper part of myself that does want to experience that love and connection with all – which is their ultimate message! Thank you so much for sharing here, and for the birthday wishes. ❤ I look forward to reading your posts! 🙂 Aleya

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  6. Beautifully written, as always, Aleya. I totally agree that we have to go into our ‘darker’ spaces to feel and let go of past hurts. I see in my work and with friends, there are a lot of people feeling in pain due to not realising they are burying and suppressing emotion. I feel we also need to accept some of those hurts will never truly heal- some leave a scar that will remain with us until we pass. And that’s OK! For me, living in a conscious/’spiritual’ way means accepting all parts of our self- and others- without judgment. It seems we are all in this cycle of embracing the darkness at the moment- I’ve been talking about it on my blog and seen it on many websites in relation to the greater energetic cycles. I’ve been uncovering and making huge realisations of my own in the past few weeks and all in my life are speaking of old hurts coming up too. Exciting time when you can go with the flow of this energy! Thank you for the inspiring and honest post. Sending you well wishes in starting your meditation practice.x

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    • Thank you Laura, I love all your insights. To accept that some of our hurts might never be completely healed is kinda freeing, isn’t it? We can let go of that pressure to heal or fix it, and just allow ourselves to feel that emotion – and the beauty that often reveals itself as part of it. There can be so much judgement around those painful emotions…and then we just feel bad about ourselves for not being able to ‘get over it’.

      Like you, I see this collective experience of our darker emotions as representative of what’s going on with humanity at large. Waking Up is not all sunshine and roses, we need to excavate what’s been buried within (maybe long before we got here), but from a place of love and acceptance – not from the sense that something is ‘wrong’. Thanks again, it’s wonderful to share the experience with you and others – exciting times indeed! xo Aleya

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  7. Beautiful Aleya. I couldn’t agree more. There’s much spiritual teachings I’m questioning, as they skate over feelings. We are feelings, emotions, and need to learn how to maneuver through it all. I like to think we are spiritual beings that chose the human experience, therefore we can’t ignore the shadow. I used to gloss over it and I think it created denial. I love that you’re embracing you. Heal my friend and be well. These posts show you aren’t willing to live a half-life but that you are connecting to the whole life. Love you, A

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    • Beautifully expressed Arifah, thank you so much. We are feelings and emotions, and those are sacred things – they are our own divine guidance. We will never live life fully if we avoid the shadow because our precious energy will be going into resisting it! I love you too my dear friend! ❤

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  8. I much enjoyed this share, Aleya, and think it is empowering how you have both recognized and allowed what is appropriate for you. I was going to bring up a point very similar to the one Karin did, about the fact that while it is vitally important to release these emotions, it is equally important not to dwell on them. Meaning, we almost have to experience them in utter freedom, without any attachment to what it means to have them or experience them. Because once I start deciding that experiencing negativity is “the route to freedom”, it can become a practice unto itself…

    Similar to the way you have observed your own reactions and responses change over time in this post, I think my response to difficult emotional states has changed a lot over time. I think they truly are a misalignment, but there it is… With misalignment comes the energetic manifestation of the condition, the opportunity to experience it. The shift I’m seeing is that where once I wanted to dig into the misalignment and be precise about its cause, so that it could be healed, over time it has begun to feel apparent to me that every misalignment is the same. There’s no digging required. No riddles to solve. And in seeing them as the same, and recognizing there is nothing I can do to “fix” the situation but relax into wholeness, to return to awareness of what we already are, then there is a glimmer of the awareness that the space to which we return is always there. Like diving into the water, then climbing back up the diving board.

    And it leads to this glimmer of insight: the ocean is always there. And if the ocean is always there, the misalignments become trivial. Moments or feelings to entertain as they pass through, but nothing to latch onto really. Nothing to add weight or meaning unto where none exist. I think the difficult phase, the heaviest phase, is discontinuing the meanings we’ve already assigned to those feeling states. We judge them. But when we relax on that front, and realize there is nothing to figure out, we can experience them without letting them drive us all over the place. Like a cloud passing between us and the sun. We know the sun hasn’t gone away…

    I rambled. Sorry. 🙂

    Michael

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    • Hi Michael, no need to apologize 🙂 I love that you so openly shared your thoughts! You (and Karin) bring up important points – that in our willingness to feel our negative emotions, we can actually prolong them by analyzing and making meaning out of them, so that they end up staying with us longer than necessary, taking on an (unintended) existence of their own. I’m still finding my way on this one…honoring what my body/emotions are conveying, trusting that there’s a message there…yet not imposing fix-it solutions or figuring it out. That’s just another way we tell ourselves something is ‘wrong’. It’s a whole new way of being.

      You describe it very beautifully – “the ocean is always there. And if the ocean is always there, the misalignments become trivial.” Letting go of the meanings we assign can be the hardest part. That means admitting that maybe we don’t know, maybe we don’t have control, maybe everything we thought mattered, actually doesn’t. (Whew, my ego’s having a hard time with that one, just writing these words – hah.)

      Writing this post, and reading all these comments, seems to have uplifted something in me. I’m not sure what that’s about – and I don’t want to assign too much meaning to it hehe – but having this space to share our thoughts is really wonderful. Thank you for being part of the discussion! 🙂 Aleya

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  9. Like another reader commented, I could have written this word for word ( except for the Abraham part, try as I might, I cannot relate to him or them). The emotions we feel are part of this human journey and the body is an essential part of the “total 3d package” Although I rather be unburdened, I am here and I am certain I made the choice to be here and take on the human game. So how we play it is up to us!
    I am so grateful that source regularly brings me messages to keep me in line. Thank you for articulating so beautifully what I have held within.

    love to you Aleya

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    • Linda ❤ thank you for your thoughtful comment! Exactly, how we play this game is up to us and the 3D body is a huge part of it – it's our vehicle, and it's wise beyond words. I've read so many books and taken part in so many workshops, some of which downplay the role of feelings – but always I am brought back to the emotional realm. Our emotions are important – all of them – and our body conveys them when our head won't listen.

      I hope you are having a wonderful weekend…enjoy the Oscars tomorrow – it will be my bday too, yay! Hey, ironically enough, last year on my bday I was in LA, watching Abraham-Hicks live! Too funny! 🙂 xo Aleya

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  10. To know your cycles takes deep awareness — to honor them takes strength. Clearly, you have both…you’re an inspiration!! Keep the kindness focused on yourself as more makes it way to the surface. It’s not easy stuff you’re dealing with! x x

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    • Honoring our cycles does take strength, especially when we’re in a resting phase. There’s a temptation to fill it with to-do’s, activity, improving our situation. But I find the body very forgiving. It doesn’t ask a lot of us; just taking the time to sit and listen and breathe does wonders. It’s just waiting for the chance to be heard. Thank you for your kind words! Much love, Aleya

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  11. I think “spiritual by-passing” is definitely part of spirituality and, if one is not careful, can be the whole of it. That is what allowed Marx to describe religion as “the opiate of the masses.” But if we are aware of this temptation, and of our shadow side, we can avoid the pure escapism of “addiction.” Thanks.

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    • Absolutely – I didn’t think of the Marx connection but that’s exactly it. People use religion to justify all kinds of things, from the mundane to the horrific. I also know several people whose lives are enriched by having a community, and a place to go where they feel loved and accepted by god. Religion can be a beautiful thing, esp when it inspires self-inquiry, but that always comes down to the individual and takes the willingness to go to some dark places and feel very alone. Easy to see why escapism is the more attractive option for many of us. Thanks Lew, Aleya

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  12. Thank you – I love how honest your writing is – I’ll get round to some honest writing soon….(maybe 🙂 I’ve been back on the Abraham and the message I’m getting (over and over) is ‘it’s all in the timing’ which (in my head) is similar to know your cycles. It’s been helping me…my current experiences are not a kind of needless regression or a going nowhere they are preparation and all of the timing of everything is in order. That kind of gets away from your point of avoiding the shit but kind of not. I to have been trying to embrace it rather than ignore it, or worse still use it as a way to beat myself up. When I quit my job too, I was faced with so much stuff I would never have known was there had I not. Fear mostly, layers and layers and layers of it. It was almost like with the ‘security’ of the job I could distract myself from the fact it was there. And, it keeps on coming, who am I, what do I want, how am I going to claim my own power. Fabulous and terrifying but so rich and rewarding. Lots and lots and lots of love to you xxxx

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    • I think your writing is always honest, Sophie. 🙂 I do like the message that it’s ‘all in the timing’. That’s surrender and trusting and letting ourselves have periods of non-activity and non-action. I think only we can know for ourselves when we’re in that alignment of allowing things to unfold without our interference, and avoiding our shit. That takes awareness! I’m all too familiar with beating myself up about the ‘not doing’ but now I feel what a toll that’s taken on my body and spirit. Now resting is the ultimate act of kindness and self-care. My body is very happy about that!

      I love what you say about your job – ” I was faced with so much stuff I would never have known was there had I not.” So, so true – it’s like that one act opens the floodgates, and we see how that fear/security paradigm is everywhere in our lives. Layers and layers. I would never turn back now, the journey is far more interesting this way. Sending lots of love right back to you. ❤ Aleya

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  13. Know your cycles, know yourself – for all things there is a time and a place. And now it is time to rest and integrate – we’ve all been there and will again xo

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    • I’m glad the post resonated. I think many of us are going through this reflection, and it is essential. Our body holds so much wisdom and I’m listening in a way I couldn’t before. Thank you for commenting and I wish you lots of peace as you rediscover your practice. xo Aleya

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  14. Aleya, you are such a beautiful soul. I believe the shadow side can play a significant role in our spiritual growth. When I stop layering judgment on others I can notice the depth and richness of the river of humanity. Thanks for walking on the path with me, albeit from afar. 🙂

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    • Beautifully expressed, Suzanne. Thank you for your kind words. I’m happy to walk this path with you…and I’m planting the seed of doing yoga in Mexico with you someday! 🙂 Namaste, Aleya

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  15. Very wise. Thanks for sharing.
    I can relate to that. I am also not so comfortable with the Abraham Way of seeing it. There is a truth to it. Sure. But letting uncomfortable emotions come up for healing is not discussed. And one is tempted to suppress them.
    I find this is a tricky thing to navigate the fine line between letting the emotions come up , but on the other hand NOT drowing in them which in turn really does manifest more of the unwanted stuff.
    I haven’t managed to navigate this properly yet and rely on inner and outer gudiance, dreams and signs, that tell me when I am about to drown in the emotion.

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    • I agree! In LOA teachings (Abraham anyway), all negative emotion is seen as misalignment with source. It’s funny though, I started reading a short book with Wayne Dyer interviewing Abraham, and there’s something about their unwavering positivity that really does make me feel good. I wonder if experiencing really negative emotion actually feels better than resisting it. There is relief in allowing ourselves to feel fully – even if it feels ‘bad’ – instead of doing all those things we do to cover it up. That takes a whole lot of energy. It is all about navigating that fine line, one that only we can discern for ourselves. And I’m sure it gets easier with time, as we continue to tune into our own guidance system. Thank you for reading and commenting! Aleya

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  16. Aleya, your post is significant and reflects certain realities of spiritual pursuit.

    A significant deficiency in spiritual “teaching” is the avoidance of (as you suggest), or the lack of understanding relative to the rules of influence. Such teachings are mostly a lot of talk and no substance. There are very few “true” spiritual teachers and they aren’t going to attempt teach anything. They will provide learning perspectives which may or may not be ignored by the spiritual aspirant. We teach ourselves based on the desire and effort to do so, i.e., connecting with the database of the collective soul.

    The rules of influence are simple: we are influenced and we will influence. We cannot pretend not to have been influenced because we influenced accordingly.The most basic spiritual exercise is to self-examine the negative influences and exercise conscious choices to replace them with alternate influences. As such, the influencing energy we project also changes. This all goes to an in-depth discussion the correctly applied concepts of mindfulness, meditation, and moment-to-moment realization.

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    • Understanding that it all comes down to influence means taking total responsibility for our lives and how we receive and respond to every circumstance. What I’m realizing is that nothing is exempt from this. Even in situations that seem totally innocuous and/or where I feel totally justified in being ‘right’ – for example, noisy neighbours – I see that I am responding in a certain way and affecting how the situation plays out. I think that’s why meditation is so important to me right now. Because all this perceiving, assessing, controlling of situations is taking too great a toll. It’s draining my energy and taking away my capacity to live life fully. What my body/spirit really wants is to receive and respond from a place of quiet and non-reactivity. Thanks Rob! 🙂 Aleya

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      • Well said, Aleya….

        Except for the influences we agree to, there is no control. It’s simple cause and effect. Far too much effort is exerted trying to control the now or the future, while the influences that determine those states are ignored. Wrong influences, undesirable effects.

        Meditation is a parallel event. Meaning, no matter what life processes may engage us, we should always be in real-time meditation mode. People who “appear” relaxed or passive in any environment always function this way. They react differently to undesirable conditions, through understandings of energy projection and by mitigating negative influences internally. There is no such state as non-reactivity. The influencing energies, Human-based and Nature-based, always work on us. There is only the depth of consciousness we achieve that clarify our degrees of awareness. Thus, the relationship between meditation and mindfulness is established. It’s all very relaxed and quiet 😉

        Enjoy the day, Aleya….

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        • The illusion of control is a persistent one. When I was first introduced to Law Of Attraction I thought that being the creator of my own reality meant I could control pretty much every facet of it. Took me a while to realize that’s not exactly the case, hah. 🙂 It makes sense that if we are continually being influenced by humans/nature, then moment-to-moment awareness and mindfulness is necessary in order to become more consciously aware of those influences (and how we are in turn influencing). Thanks Rob!

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