Before getting to the substantive part of this post, I’d like to make an editorial comment. This piece isn’t the easiest to share, as it involves a personal lesson that’s current. I’m choosing to rise above my discomfort and share this post here—instead of leaving it in my private journal—for the sole intention of serving you. It’s why any of my personal writing ends up in my blog. It’s to follow a distinct call to journey with you to unfamiliar and sometimes difficult territories, by sharing lessons learned from navigating my own path, some of which while still in process, like the focus of this week’s post.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
An Ever Blooming Love Affair
To set the stage appropriately, my spiritual awakening started some 8 ½ years ago when my broken body, heart and spirit were in need of serious repair and healing. Through the magic of synchronicity, I stumbled upon The Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne Dyer. For this reformed, converted Catholic to begin laying a new foundation for spiritual understanding with that book and program was like entering a new field of study at the graduate instead of freshman level; much of the wisdom went above my head. Even so, that advanced introduction to empowered living ignited my passionate love affair with New Thought spirituality, which continues to bloom a little more with each passing year. This ever deepening love has been nurtured in part by the books I read and with which I work in my spiritual practice.
One of the titles in my current practice is The Gathering by Jim Rosemergy. This book offers a refreshing, eye-opening look at prayer, which is really all about communing with the God of our understanding. This pithy little gem is loaded with simply stated yet profound wisdom. I’m taking my time to let the teachings contained therein to really sink into my day-to-day consciousness.
I’ve recently started working with one of the practices early in the book that calls for inviting the negative aspects of myself to a banquet, letting each aspect speak and accepting each without judgment. It took me a while to even begin that particular exercise, as part of me really didn’t want to go there. When I finally did the exercise, I had to repeat it a few times on separate days to get used to hearing from my dark side and for my shadows to empty out layer by layer what had been pent up inside over the course of my life.
Just the other day, I did the exercise again, as I was reminded that the fear and angst I’ve been experiencing intermittently, which has become more persistent of late, was something I really needed to embrace. To be perfectly honest, up until that point, whenever I felt a veil of darkness starting to befall me, I’d immediately squirm to look elsewhere so as not to give the darkness any attention or energy. But as the dark veil descended, I’d also have trouble accessing that loving, peaceful place inside that I’d be able to feel normally. When that happened, my consciousness would quickly be flooded with all kinds of ego-based judgments: I should know better than to allow myself to sink into despair and negativity. After all the years I’ve spent studying and practicing conscious living principles, I ought to be able to get myself out of this pit. Didn’t I even write a book about being a conscious creator in our lives? I needed to believe my ego that I was immune to experiencing any more dark nights of the soul, after all that I’ve already endured over the years.
Wisdom from the Dark
From my latest experience with “The Banquet” exercise, I was stunned by the insights shared by the darkest shadows within me. Below are some highlights.
First, here’s part of the wisdom Hopelessness had to impart on me:
Life isn’t a perfect bowl of cherries. The sooner you accept that and embrace that, the more you can achieve Peace. The more you try to push me aside and look for Peace and Love, the more those qualities elude you. We are two sides to the same coin. You can’t reject one without rejecting it all.
Surrender to your dark moments because that’s how you can truly be open to Peace, Love and Non-striving Acceptance. Light and Darkness are two sides to the same coin.
Accept your humanness, and that’s how you can be free from its shackles. Stop trying so hard to fight and bury your dark moments. That’s when you resist what you want so much.
Here are some choice words from Angst:
Throughout your life, I’m the one who gets you to achieve anything. The nice way to call me is ‘Divine Discontent.’
Value what I’ve done in your life all this time. Appreciate me. I serve you, even if it doesn’t feel good to you.
And, here’s part of what the crowd favorite, Fear, had to tell me:
When you’re about to throw up, you know you’re way out of your comfort zone. But that also means you’re growing, stretching.
Let me do what I’m here to do, to signal to you your growth. I don’t intend to keep you from doing anything. That’s your choice. I’m just the barometer. Use me for what I’m here to do. The other side of me is courage.
Two Sides to the Same Coin
Upon reviewing the transcripts of the latest speeches given by my shadows, I was struck by how much their voices sound like that of God, a.k.a. my inner wisdom. It then dawned on me that it’s the precise message from Hopelessness, that light and darkness are two sides to the same coin. God doesn’t just guide me through the welcomed voices of love, peace, grace, and the like. The dark aspects of my soul have equal wisdom to impart, equal purpose to serve. Darkness and light, angst and equanimity, fear and courage, shame and pride—and all the other pairs of contrasting aspects of humanness—are simply two sides to the same coin, two halves of the same whole, the same oneness. Just like body and spirit are one, so are our human self and our divine highest self. Divinity cannot be expressed through and as us, nor can we fulfill our sacred life mission without embracing our humanness, inconveniently uncomfortable as the latter is often.
Moreover, I’m reminded that I can’t release what I haven’t first embraced. Letting go of negative limiting messages and the charge of any emotion that impairs me isn’t the same as rejecting a part of me altogether. As Fear said, it will always be a part of my human experience as the other side of courage. When I accept fear’s presence in any moment as the barometer it’s intended to be—not the evil show-stopper I try to ignore—I can see the disabling charge of misdirected fear as nothing more than passing energy that I can release. I can then embrace fear in any moment as a signal that a breakthrough abounds. What’s for my highest good is to surrender faithfully to the unpredictable yet magnificent waves of my spiritual voyage in this human body suit—seasick bags in tow notwithstanding.
In closing, the above learning still needs to drop more completely into my heart space. Meanwhile, I hope this post serves to encourage you to take steps toward embracing your shadows. When you’re ready, why not follow Rosemergy’s recommendation and invite the negative aspects of you to speak?
Would love for you to share in the comment box below what you think/feel about the idea of embracing your shadows.
“Light and dark” characters: http://th03.deviantart.net/fs70/150/i/2010/309/f/5/light_and_dark___mei_an_by_kisaragichiyo-d328jkw.jpg
If you’re new here, welcome! I invite you to subscribe to my blog via email or RSS feed. Simply look for the “Subscribe & Connect” box below.