embracing the shadow


stepping into your light

In most spiritual practices, it may seem that we are expected to be stoic when a knife is thrown deep into our back. We are supposed to wince for a minute, accept it, turn the other cheek, and move on.

However, what happens when we suppress the emotions that arise from being betrayed or lied to, and we are left in an emotional quicksand?

It can feel as if we are sinking into a deep, suffocating hole, sometimes forgetting to breathe as we attempt to move on and face our day.

At some point or another, we have all mastered the art of wearing two faces– but unfortunately, this can be detrimental to our health. Throwing ourselves into our work or mustering up the strength to get through the day can wreak havoc on our mental and physical well-being.

It is as if we need to release the anger or hurt before we can move back into being that positive ray of sunshine. 

On the other hand, if we retaliate like a good ruthless soldier, then it often creates feelings of vindictiveness, resentment, guilt, bitterness, and shame. It’s as if we are teetering on a tight rope, trying to maintain the balance of keeping our peace and connecting back to the true core of our spirit.

We have to recognize that all of us have a shadow side, and we have to accept that there is beauty in that shadow. We need to feel the emotions that are stirred within us, accept them, and eventually release them.

As much we would like to deny these fundamental feelings by drinking our green juice, we cannot ignore our shadow; we must accept the ugliness of it. Only by accepting the ugliness of the events and also our response, can we stand in the power and beauty of our light.

It takes time to re-emerge, but it is also the reward of learning valuable lessons that never need to be repeated again.

One of the first steps in this acceptance is simply discovering the beauty of our breath. In taking that first deep inhale, it enables us to exhume all of the stressors by releasing with a strong exhale.

If we continually focus on the repetition of our breath when we feel certain emotions arise, we will find relief in the exhale by creating spaciousness across the heart.

It is by shutting the eyes and connecting with that balanced breath that we can feel a release from the events. It may not necessarily bring us closure, but instead the freedom to accept it for what it is, and move on with faith that on this path, lessons are learned for better or worse.

Wayne Dyer once pointed out, “How people treat you is their karma. How you react is yours.”

This statement reminds us that when we are faced with choices, how we respond is just as important as the person who wronged us. It is through knowledge and acceptance that we can begin to emerge from the rubble to find peace within ourselves again.

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