The best sense I have made of my shadow is how it enables me to empathize and support others. Here's a tiny peek into some insights that sprung from my journeys in the dark.
For years I wrestled with debilitating anxiety and tidal waves of depression. Despair has seized control over my heart and mind on more than one occasion. I have secretly gorged my body and nervous system with stimuli and comforts in an effort to drown out the pain. I've wallowed in hopelessness, hidden under the covers, cursed my fate, and ripped at the very fabric of who I am. I know what it is to plummet into the deep and dark.
Rise and fall is how life propels us forward. Movement through unexpected currents is inevitable; but staying stuck in the undertow is a choice. Thus, I strive to become a savvy surfer. Mostly I've learned that if I want to be happy in life, I've gotta summon the power to ride the waves rather than resent them. When I face my fear and meet their challenge, I reach highs I never thought I would.
I've given my power over to bullies, bosses, gurus, and convincing critics, drowning out my own voice to avoid disapproving tones or the spotlight of my discontent. I've been infuriated at the ways others seem so strong, making "it" look easy. I've bought into facades of perpetual togetherness, believing I must be alone (or somehow broken) in my disordered process.
Power isn't something that can be taken, only surrendered. I set clear, heartfelt boundaries without saying a word when I'm standing in my fullness. I've learned not to make assumptions about what motivates others and that jealousy is just a way we keep ourselves small. Most of all, my precious energy is no longer misplaced; I spend myself only on those I feel I can be safely raw and real around.
I live a mostly untethered life, which means that I disappoint people from time to time - taking a road less traveled for the sake of a larger sanity. I know what it feels like to be judged for not conforming… to be labeled naïve and immature for believing that we each have a right to live our lives without compromising our unique preferences. I’ve been called selfish, fickle (and worse) for being unwilling to settle in life.
What people think of me isn't my business. I'm not interested in convincing you or anyone else of my way in the world. In fact, I want you to find your own. My tenacity and refusal to settle for less eventually pays off in the end. This has proved true in every area of my life.
I know what it’s like to sacrifice stability for the sake of integrity… not knowing where the rent is coming from… aching in wonder of what's next?... or... how in the hell am I gonna pull this off? I've let go of a whole lot of goodness in order to find ever-more greatness. And yes, change almost always pisses me before I welcome it in.
Resistance is the raw power - potential unrealized. Fear and I have wrestled as frenemies for years; yet, I've recently come to love her for how her shamanic sourcery summons my courage to surface when I am willing to push back.
I am most at home in the gray areas of life… where one person’s savior is another’s worst enemy… when the wrong thing is the right thing at the time… and where the person who does the guiding is the one most needing to take a humble detour along the way.
How about you, Reader? What is the dark helping you to see more clearly? SHARE your thoughts on Facebook or the Blog.
We see the world through our eyes only. Therefore it's always a gamble to share your truth because only some will have a similar focus. Agreement, distain, or indifference... however this lands. Honor it. I see your truth, and I raise you a high five.