We like to keep the "best" parts of ourselves in the light don't we? The fun loving adventurer, the good lover, the kind mother, the wise teacher, the trustworthy friend. The other facets of ourselves which don't quite fit the mold of society we most often stuff into the broom closet and lock the door. We abandon these parts and carry on, trying to walk in the light.
But it's not just aspects of our characters we subjugate. In the quest for happiness in the ever-now, feelings of anxiety, anger and worry to name but a few are often labelled “negative”. And so we avoid them, dissociating from them and sometimes attempting to bury them in excessive behaviours and addictions.
We can end up living life like the proverbial swan, calm and pure as you like on the surface, but beneath the surface barely holding our own against a dark undercurrent. This takes so much energy we can end up living half lives, increasingly reactive and triggered by everyday occurrences, but unable to explain why.
The answers of course lie locked in our broom closet.
Facing our own shadow takes a courageous heart. And one which knows we will never be whole until we become one with every aspect of ourself. Until we learn to tenderly cradle even our darkest fears in the light of gently inquiry and compassionate awareness. Our demons are crying for our attention with all of their power. They come with a message, and when we turn our back on them, they try again and again until in desperation they attempt to swallow us up.
With a spiritual warrior's wisdom we can learn to walk into our shadow to face our demons and grant them for the first time our full awareness. To let them be as they are, not to attempt to transform them or integrate them. To simply hold space for them, for ourselves, in an act of sacred witness. In that moment our demons can become our greatest wise allies, affording us powerful insights into our lives.
This is the value of learning to embrace our own shadow, of learning to fully understand all aspects of ourselves. We learn it is OK to feel sadness and joy, regret and mirth, anger, bitterness and happiness. They all come as messengers: we may find their message uncomfortable, but if we shoot the messenger another one will come knocking soon enough.
In learning to be our own sacred witness we are able to welcome these messengers and live with them all. To live with all of our wild, beautiful self.
To learn more about unlocking your courageous heart and working with the wisdom of the warrior, you may be interested in the Path of Wild Beauty which begins again in Spring 2018.
The Guest House ~ Rumi
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.