We all have a shadow, that part of us we rather not talk about…the peice of ourselves that sneaks up on us when we are least expecting it. Sometimes these shadows are things about ourself that we are not comfortable with, sometimes they are the unfinished emotional garbage we just can’t seem to get rid of. During the Ovate (second) year of my Druid training with the Green Mountain Druid Order I did a lot of work with my Shadow. It was truly empowering to reclaim the power I had invested in hiding from myself and others the things that I feared or disliked. I thought I did a pretty good job and certainly gained a lot from the experience. I found that by looking at the unwanted peices of my life story I stepped more fully into myself. I became less vulnerable to what other people thought of me and gained personal power through the understanding of self. The things that once haunted me now reminded me of how strong and complex I really am.
Many spiritual practices talk about personal power. Toltec teaching talks about how as individuals we have a limited amount of personal power. That power is often absorbed with time wasted thinking on bad relationships, personal failings and negative retoric. By facing our Shadow we learn to dance with it, to release the control it has over us and step more fully into ourselves. I often describe it to people by saying we spend a tremendous amount of time ignoring the things we don’t want to see…yet we look at them 100 times a day. They show up over our shoulder making us feel bad and we say to ourselves “Oh, I don’t want to look at that”. Our Shadow can take many forms, but most often it is what we don’t like about ourselves or a reflection of something or someone that has deeply hurt us. By looking at it head on we see the whole picture and we begin to see the lesson hidden inside the darkness.
Like I said earlier I thought I had dealt with my Shadow. Recently I have been learning that Shadows have many levels and when we believe we have figured them out they dance about and show us a differant side, a forgotten view we need to explore. This month has been a dance of Shadows for me, and like most things in my life when I need to learn a lesson the Universe conspires to make sure I do. This time I didn’t go looking for it…it came looking for me!
It started with a trip to my favorite stone shop (Morning Glory Essentials in Hardwick, VT). I love stones and find myself drawn to them…literally. I always feel that they pick me, not me picking them. As I browsed around the store I picked up a Brown Tourmaline that fit snuggly in the palm of my hand. As I talked to the stores owner about its attributes I felt compelled to hold it. This is a sure sign to me that I need to take the stone home. As I held onto the tourmaline Janet (the owner) told me how brown tourmaline was used primarily in shadow work. I thought how interesting, I can take this home and use it with my clients. Then she told me that it was really powerful and should be used with a black tourmaline to ground at the same time…this was after I had been holding onto it by itself for 10 minutes. Well long story short, I went to Yoga that night and had a bit of a melt down on my mat, not the first time as Yoga works with the energy of the Kundilini and helps to remove blocks. Over the last few weeks I have been dealing with those old issues in new ways. I do not believe that it is a lack of working the first time, but more healing on a deeper level. Sitting here writing this I know I am not done, but am acknowledging the journey….
I find it interesting, that life gives us so much to look at right there in our own being. What complex beings we humans are.