I’m sure we have all found that the road towards self-love isn’t paved smooth, nor is it straight and easy to navigate; no, much more, it’s a true jungle, and what awaits the seeker is an adventure through the underlying, universal force of creation itself—love.
And it ain’t no easy trek.
What inspired me to attempt to write and share this epic journey of self-love today was how I woke up this morning– I was being embraced by a familiar presence that held me close, and whispered heartache into my ear,
“You ate way too much yesterday. Your body isn’t happy with you. You can’t go out like this.”
“You should just stay in bed and shut it all down. Watch some Netflix, forget about the rest.”
“Your goals are ridiculous, your dreams are farfetched. Your studies are pointless. You’re not worthy.”
And on it went.
I know we have all experienced waking up on the ‘wrong side of the bed’ as I did this morning, which is why I imagine that saying came to be in the first place.
And so as I laid here, on the wrong side, I was presented with an immediate choice (as we all are, right?).
Either fall victim to my own inner-predator, letting go of my goals and aspirations, pushing away my shadow and what it had to say or
Listen to it.
As I stayed lying on my side in a fetal position with my blankets wrapped securely around my legs in the early hours of the morning, I gave my Shadow my attention, which I could immediately feel was way over due.
“Shadow,” I whispered, “Why are you in so much pain? What do you need?”
With my eyes closed, and a heavy weight baring down on my chest, I awaited an internal response.
I’ve been here many times before. I’ve pushed my Shadow away for 5 years when it first came to me. It only banged on the door harder and harder each year I neglected its presence, it then transformed from internal thoughts to physical ailments– hair falling out, weight gain, eating disorder and an anti-social life.
Through the years, yoga practice, travel and experience has allowed beautiful insight into my life as to what it means to bare both, always and forever, the light and dark. It’s a difficult practice. One that can be forgotten, but as long as I return to listening, rather than reacting, I find resolve. I find my answer. Alas, listening is a powerful tool.
So I listened, and I waited.
“Shadow, why are you in so much pain?”
With my eyes closed, my Shadow immediately transformed from an unkown, abstract figure and instantly into a sad little girl.
“We never play anymore,” she said, “and you always tell me I’m not beautiful.”
My lips began to tremble, I took a deep breath to allow myself to sink deeper into this moment of healing– which I recognized this was.
“You never spend time with me,” I was 9 years old in this image that played out in my head, dirt on my face, a stick in my hand and eyes that held my gaze with a troubled past.
“You don’t believe in me, and you say my dreams are stupid, and it makes me sad.” A tear ran down the little girl’s cheek.
And a tear ran down mine.
The heavy pain in my chest floated up into my throat, tightening it’s grip as the little girl boldly expressed her hurt directly into my heart.
“Everybody was mean to me, and now you’re mean to me too, “her shoulders slumped down, her bottom lip puffed out.
I was feeling all of her grief this morning. So heavy. This was all of the neglect from the past, and all of the neglect from the present making itself known this morning.
I didn’t push it away. I didn’t try to numb it out with substance or food. I sat in her emotions. I found empathy and compassion for her, meaning I found empathy and compassion for myself.
I placed my palm onto my beating heart, and I thought “I am so sorry and I love you, I believe in you, and I’ll do all the things you want to do today, okay?”
The young girl casted doubt in her eyes from all the broken promises from before, but that child has always been and is so forgiving, she nodded her head with hope and slowly dispersed from my mind’s eye.
The grief in my heart lightened. I fluttered my eyes open an saw the first golden hues of the sun speckling against my wall.
I took a deep breath in, fully expanding my belly, and exhaling, ahhhh, releasing the experience. I was now ready to do what I intended to do for my day, whereas in the past, the Shadow’s call would’ve caused me to stay in bed all day.
I flipped my covers off my legs, sat up, stretched and found gratitude within myself. I literally thought, “I am so grateful to be able to experience what it means to transmute Dark into Light. I’m grateful for the lessons from both guides.”
So, here I am. Writing and expressing this experience because that’s what that little girl wanted to do today, ultimately meaning, that’s what I wanted to do today.
And it feels GOOOOOD.
That was one small thing from the past popping up, and I know it wont be the last, that’s for damn sure, but it’s part of the (shadow) work.
So when you wake up with your Shadow banging on the door, don’t ignore it, answer it. Greet it. Ask it of it’s journey, what it needs.
And watch your Shadow transform into healing.
Your Shadow is simply just you from another time line, waiting to be released and healed through the power of your presence and attention.
The path towards self-love is a dance. Learn to tango with the dark, for it will lead you into the light.
Thank you for reading and listening to my experience.