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.