Here in the shadow light struggles to exist and all there is is darkness.
Darkness threatening to consume...and so I let it for a time.
Here in the shadow all feels wearisome and heavy, like a weighted blanket is draped over my body and the effort to shake it from my shoulders requires more energy than I have to give right now.
Here in the shadow I can't escape...and so I stop trying to.
Instead I dive deep into the sensations in my body, the trapped emotions, the thoughts...
But is it ok to allow myself to feel all of it, or is it better to say a few affirmations, shove it down to that hidden silent place where it resides most of the time and get on with it?
Do I deny my shadow or embrace it?
I read an article recently where the author, Ora North - a beautiful witch woman - spoke of her journey as a healer working with the shadow.
She had struggled and resisted, and tried to do her work only from the light - by which I mean guiding her clients to stay in the positive and avoid journeying into the shadow.
She denied her own truth for some time - trying to let go of the darkness and meditate only on the light - even though she knew the potency of her work.
Finally the day arrived when she was unable to deny any longer, and so she courageously chose to embrace it instead.
In her words...
'In an effort to reach divinity, enlightenment, and guru-status, we’ve banished and demonised the “negative” and the struggle of the human experience. We’ve lost touch with the glorious bittersweet medicine that our pain and suffering offers when truly acknowledged by the Self and the tribe, and subsequently integrated with compassion and love'.
This really struck a nerve in me.
As I consciously navigate my own shades of grey right now, the mere idea of denial feels like a betrayal.
A deception pungent with self-loathing and no true sense of love and compassion - or acceptance of myself as a whole being coloured by many hues.
I am all things at once...am I not?
To be told to only love and show parts of myself - the light, positive, accepted in society parts - and to let the rest stay buried and hidden to rot slowly away from the inside out reeks of disapproval and separateness.
To be clear here, I am by no means dissing the tools that help us work in and with the light, in fact I am a big fan of such things.
I am a bigger advocate of mindfulness though - being with all that arises in the moment - the discomfort, the pain - all of it.
I am a lover of seeking balance in all things - of following the Buddhist way of 'middle path'.
I don't do extremes... (anymore)
I am a supporter of leaning in, rather than running away from.
Of integration over ignorance.
Of embracing my truth, and loving my darkness as an integral part of me and my growth as a spiritual being...
When I am in the deep and dark shadow, I have a few tools to help me through to the other side. Maybe they might offer you a little solace too.
+ If I can mange it, solitude works well for me - getting away from distractions that will pull me out of my experience allows me to stay more easily in it.
+ I journal it out - writing out my thoughts and feelings uncensored is a helpful way to see what's there beneath the surface.
+ I move my body - this always helps shift energy for me if I am feeling stuck
+ I hold myself with loving kindness, gentleness and compassion - always
+ I let go of anything that doesn't need to to be done and allow myself the space to ride the wave
+ I seek outside help.
Sometimes there comes a point when you know you are struggling with something that may need a little outside assistance - that's when it's time to reach out and find the right person to be there for you and support you on your chosen journey.
No need to feel any sense of failure here (and this can come up), rather remind yourself of your bravery for really stepping up and owning when you need some help.
For those sisters choosing the path of the shadow, have faith.
You are not alone.
There is a whole tribe of us women out there waking along side of you, dancing in the dirt, sinking in the mud, diving in the deep...
And even when it feels overwhelming - when it feels like you might sink rather than swim -
Trust that the light that might seem hidden to you now is always there.
You are the light sister, even when you are engulfed in the darkness.
You are the light...
Beautiful woman are you struggling in the darkness right now?
I want you to know that truly you aren't alone here - and I'd love to support you - so let me know in the comments below what feels hard right now, or what helps you navigate the darkness when it is all consuming.
Love to you sister.
May your journey be one of grace amidst the darkness.