On Loving Myself Whole: Journeying into the Shadow

Repost from my old blog. Written earlier this year around April 2018. 💚

Most of us walk through our days in this life feeling like we’re missing something. Like we are on this weird scavenger hunt through life to gather back all the fragmented pieces of who we are.

And this perspective has some truth to it.
 We fill our cups in various ways in an effort to bring that feeling of wholeness, completeness, satisfaction and acceptance.

We seek the next relationship, the next job, the next purchase hoping that they’re the exact size and shape to fill that inner void.

We turn to organized religion or self-help, self-guided spirituality. We turn to drugs. We literally fill our cups with intoxicating things to try and feel, I don’t know…right.

We do this because we believe deep down that we are missing vital pieces.

I was not raised with a religious background so my connectedness to anything spiritual has been my own eclectic accumulation of a little bit of everything.

New age ish I guess.

And I was on this kick where I wanted to know so much about my Light. Lightworking. About peace and love and Namaste. Open-heartedness, transcending the Ego. Angels. High vibrations, dude.

And God, when you’re in that place and studying those things and in that flow it feels so good.

In October, I was gifted with a Reiki Master attunement, which basically is a way of dedicating yourself on the path of continuous healing and getting to the core of your authenticity. I had just been telling a new friend who was debating a Master training but unsure about the price, that if it was meant to happen, that her guides would find a way to bring it to her. I didn’t even really consider it for myself at all because of the price (which is so funny because I hadn’t realized I was blocking my own advice… I had just cast it away as an impossibility for now and didn’t let myself want it, which I should know better than to do by now with this magical, infinite universe).

She called me later that day to say that her original Reiki Master offered to fly out and attune her for free, and that she was wondering if there was one other friend who would possibly be interested…
Woo!!!! Thank you, God for sending in those badass guides.
So we got our Master attunements.

As beautiful and exciting as that was to experience, I also had this deep, nagging concern. What is going to fall away? In what ways am I not being authentic already? I felt like I had already let go of so much and emotionally and spiritually stripped down to pretty bare bones.
But there’s always another layer…

Fall turned into winter and I began to sort of hibernate and go within, without even really realizing it. And then one day, one thing I noticed coming up repeatedly was a growing aversion to the light & love persona I was trying to achieve.

I noticed myself judging anything I did, or any emotion I had that was not kind or easy as bad and that I wasn’t living up to this “spiritual” person I wanted to be. Because to me being truly spiritual was synonymous with transcending all negativity and living from a higher perspective all.the.time.

And that was such a misguided perception that led to restlessness, discomfort and totally harsh judgement about myself (and thus everyone else). It made me feel bitter and that I was not enough.
It made one of my old coworker’s faces pop into mind… he was a spiritual seeker too. Actually, a Reiki Master now that I think about it. And he told me one day (when we were having one of our many esoteric talks in between serving tables) that he had stopped choosing between identifying with light and darkness.

At the time I just couldn’t grasp that.

My introduction into the new age umbrella of spiritual resources started off with the gentle, Light teachers like Doreen Virtue. I was used to the concept of spiritual evolution being mostly a “focus on the Light, shun the dark” game.

So when he told me he quit identifying with one or the other, I thought he was being apathetic.

But this winter, I couldn’t stop thinking about that…how true it felt now. What if?
What if the thing I really, really fucking wanted was to ACTUALLY love myself all the time without questioning evvverrrryyything about myself, especially during my dark and stormy times?

What if my Light ain’t all that, all the time?
I thought, if I figure out how to do that- hold space for loving ALL of myself- the suffering of not being enough will subside, and everything else in life is just a bonus. Everyone else’s love is just a cherry on top.

What realized I was doing with my personal spirituality or “spiritual growth” was trying to go above my human side. The aspect of me that has the capacity to spit fire and be totally stormy and ever changing.

I wanted to suppress and ignore my emotions, the valuable earthly friction, not knowing how much wisdom they carry even when they pull my focus away from positivity and light and demand that I take a look into my darkness.

I learned a term recently for this called spiritual bypassing and when I heard it I felt totally called out.

Like, shit. I totally do that all the time.

And as much as I say and “affirm” that I love myself and am light and kind and divine and blah blah blah, I also realized how NOT loving I was being with myself regularly.

How unforgiving.

How conditional my self love was.

Only when I was feeling high-vibrational was I acceptable.

When I was feeling bitter, hostile, jealous, overwhelmed, angry, or any of those other stormy emotions, I spent the whole time fighting it and mad at myself for having feelings like this to begin with.

“Oh, I must not be growing, because I’m still going through the bullshit.

So I started to feel repelled by the new age angelic kind of resources for the time being and instead called to look into shadow work.

The term shadow work just kept replaying in my head.

I stumbled upon the whole Carl Jung, shadow self philosophy, which basically says that we fragment ourselves throughout life as we assess which traits are deemed acceptable and which are not. We only showcase or bring to light the safe stuff (which is relative to our individual experiences and parental/societal expectations, etc…) and the other stuff gets buried in the subconscious (the shadows) where it undermines our day-to-day actions and choices.

So until we stop and take a look at those subconscious traits/wants/needs and bring them to light, they remain an unknown but equally powerful part of us that drives our lives. Look it up if you’re scratching your head in confusion.

And seriously, this spoke to me so loudly. I was like THIS is what people feel like they are missing, why they feel so fragmented, broken, whatever.

This is how we find self love and wholeness. Not in showcasing our easy to love qualities, but by finding understanding for the suppressed ones that drive our subconscious and our daily choices.

There are so many gifts waiting to be opened in going into your shadow, into your perceived weaknesses and flaws, and giving them acceptance.

Most often, the traits you’ll find there are not bad. They are your biggest allies and strengths and you’ll be glad you were reacquainted.

I get the whole namaste 🙏🏼 light in me loves the light in you thing. I truly vibe with that and am so not hating on the Light because at our very spiritual cores, we ARE light.

But right now, we are also human. What about the darkness in me?

Cause let’s be honest, I sure as hell see your darkness and will make my decisions about you based on that.

Because your darkness is mine too. We mirror each other’s best and worst qualities and then judge each other as if we don’t both have those things going for us.

So wouldn’t it make sense if I stepped into my own shadow for a second and got to know it?

Wouldn’t it make sense to realize that the person I’m really judging when I’m judging someone else, is me?

So yeah, that’s where I am right now. Chest deep in shadow work, because that felt like the missing piece of self.

And honestly it’s liberating.

I felt weirdly called to watch Once Upon a Time because I felt like watching and understanding the Evil Queen archetype. And stories of Persephone, Morgan Le Fay, Lillith and other badass, complex female archetypes of shadow have surfaced repeatedly for me “randomly”, so I know this is the work to be done right now.

I looked up some shadow work exercises which led me to write a love letter to my shadow: Love Letter to My Shadow Queen. SUPER therapeutic in recognizing and owning some of my harder to love stuff.

I’m driven to teach healing and Reiki and all that bright shiny stuff, but I think that in order to know how to heal, you have to know what you’re up against. Only knowing the light allows for no dimension in life. Only surface love. Surface healing.

I want that deep, soul restoring love that will change me and the entire planet just because I shook hands with some dragons.
😎✨ 🐉
So I’m getting to know and love the flip side just as fiercely.

We are not broken.

Just hiding.

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