The importance of looking at your shadows and learning to shine through them

In spiritual communities there is a lot of talk about “Love and Light”, “energy work” and being positive.  These are all extremely important things.  It is important for us, as individuals, to be able to see all the wonderful things in our lives and have a sense of gratitude.  It is important to be aware of our energy and find ways to have compassion for others and ourselves.  But what about the things that block us?  Some say that we need to only focus on the positive and when we give space to the things that block us or cause us pain we are, in a sense, counteracting any positive thoughts or feelings that we may be having.  Debbie Ford wrote a book about this called The Dark Side of the Light Chasers.  Like her, I happen to think that looking at the things that block us or the things that are “negative” can be a pathway to the light.

You know the saying about two sides to every coin, well for me a coin is light and shadow.  Carl Jung described the shadow self as being the part of self that we deny or cover up because it is in some way unacceptable to us.  Have you ever said “I will never be like…” and then you find yourself doing the same things you vowed to never do.  This is shadow.  The biggest example of this in my life was saying I would never be like one of my parents and then when I had children all was well for a while until it wasn’t. I have caught myself being like my parent more times than I would like to count.  Repeatedly I have found myself talking to my children in a manner that I am not proud of. Saying I would never be like that wasn’t enough, focusing on the light was not enough. I needed to take a look at the roots of my actions and words, where they came from and what I was trying to get from my behaviors.  I had to ask myself “what did that energy want?”

Through looking at the roots of my behaviors, which was looking into my shadow self, I was able to take that part of me, heal it, and continue to grow in a direction that was better for not only me but for my children too.  Because I was willing to look at my shadows I was able to become the mother my children deserved.  Looking at your shadow does not mean taking on guilt or shame.  It means acknowledging your actions and thoughts, asking what it is that the behavior wanted and working together with the “energy” of that to find a way to transform it into energy that would serve and support you instead of harm you and pull you down.

Shadow Work® is a tool created by Cliff Barry, based on Jungian psychology, which talks about shadow as the things that we have put into a bag to be hidden from society as a result of messages we receive about parts of us not being good enough or acceptable.  What if these same parts were the pieces that contained our light?  What if there was a gift to the world that we had within ourselves that we were told was wrong and we hid it away?  This is why it is so important to look in the bag and pull out those pieces, shine them up for the world to see.  I like to think of these pieces as parts of ourselves that we have had to cut off (deny), in order to fit into the box that we have been told we should be in.  Eventually we will come to a place where we want to get out of the box and live more fully.  How can we do that when we no longer have all our pieces?

We become a full functioning human being one step at a time!  We look at the pieces we have denied, one at a time.  When I was young I received the message that I was not worthy of support and I was all alone. So a piece of me that I cut off was “need” and I went through my life taking care of myself and not letting anyone support me in any way.  I got to the point where I didn’t know how to receive help or even ask for it in a way that was clear.  This perpetuated my story of being alone and not supported which left me with another story about not being worthy.  To figure out how to invite “need” back into my life I had to get VULNERABLE.  I had to put myself out there in a clear way of asking for support.  I had to open up to the possibility that I may be rejected and that some people would not be willing to be there for me.  I remember having a conversation with a friend where I told her that I needed her to be there for me and she reflected back to me that over the 15 years of our friend ship she had tried repeatedly to be there for me but I continually said I was fine and was not transparent with my needs, which left her no room to show up for me in the way I desperately wanted her to be there.  Again this was a way that I was not clear in order to perpetuate my story.  So, years later, here I am, being vulnerable and open in my life and receiving help and support when I am willing to reach out and ask for it.  Is it that simple?  Yes it is that simple!  Even though the healing process can be painful,  I am more of a complete human being now than I have ever been.

It is our light that we put in shadow, it is our life force and our humanity that suffers.  Through reclaiming all the pieces that we have denied they no longer seep out in destructive ways blocking us from the life that we have dreamed of living.  This is my work.  I am so grateful to have the ability to work with amazing people in order to help them reclaim their pieces so they can live more fully.  My business motto is “FIND INSPIRATION AND FULFILLMENT IN YOUR LIFE THROUGH: LOVING DEEPER, SHINING BRIGHTER AND CONNECTING MORE FULLY!” This is what happens when you reclaim all of your pieces even the pieces that you never knew were missing.

I invite you to fulfill your dreams, look in the bag, get out of the box, create the life you were born to have.  You are worth it and the world needs your light.  SHINE THROUGH YOUR SHADOWS!

“Do or Do Not. There is no try!” : Celebrating Failure in order to DO.

Celebrating failure

Wait…what?  Celebrate failure!?

YES!  Celebrate failure.  So often we look at things through such a limited lens we can’t see the treasure trove of gifts that are surrounding us.  There was a time when this limited lens was the only one I had and the thought of looking at things in a different way was foreign and not even in my realm of possibilities.  I was so goal oriented that if the goal was not met there was only one way to see it…. I FAILED!  I did not meet my goal etc.

Eventually I started to realize that through my failures I learned so much.  Frequently there was one or 2 things that would be at the top of the list about why I FAILED.  Something forgotten, something overlooked, rushing through something, not paying attention to details, undeveloped skills, insufficient commitment, the reasons why can go on and on.  Whatever the reason was, I started to recognize that I had the option to continue to work towards my goal and when I was able to recognize why I did not succeed I could change how I approached the situation to get different results.  When I was willing to look at why I failed and persevere, I learned so much about how to improve my performance and I learned so much about myself and how I approached things and how I could improve in all of those areas.

So yes.  CELEBRATE YOUR FAILURES!  When you fail ask yourself what you can do better, how can you improve, what do you need to change?  Look at the plethora of things that you have learned through the process.  Acknowledge what new skills you may have gained by getting up.  Take the chance and make an effort take the opportunity to practice perseverance and commitment to the task.  Don’t allow failure to be the final outcome.  When you make the commitment to yourself to achieve your goal and you continually strive for that goal there is nothing that can stop you!