Stripped: Meeting My Shadow
I thought that following the voice to come here to New Mexico would potentially relieve me of the seemingly bottomless anguish I was experiencing, but I never expected that it would instead bring me to meet my shadow. There is no denying that darkness lives within all of us, yet the importance lies not in its existence but rather in how we choose to engage with it. I hid from my own darkness for so long. I built walls of black-and-white boundaries around me so that I wouldn’t have to take on the underbelly, for fear of truly meeting myself. I stuffed it deep into corners of my body, only to repress my true appetite for self-exploration and connection. I concealed my intensity in order to exist within a culture that champions aloofness. This torment only grew into an abyss of longing that would eventually lead me to unearth the roots of who I truly am. I needed the physical space to explore this, to drive into foreign sunsets and foreign lands in order to gain the metaphysical space to allow my innermost fears and desires to reveal themselves. Now, instead of building walls, I’m tearing them down. I’m allowing myself to meet my shadow with my gaze. To hold it. To honour it. To allow it to breathe and to permeate every part of my being. I’m permitting my life to fall apart and to get messy. I’m permitting myself to fall apart and to get messy. I am more authentic in my unravelling than in my needing to be “good.” And here I lie, naked, stripped, and raw. The dirt is exposed, but it only rots so that I can renew.
-an excerpt from my piece in Jane Magazine issue five - you can purchase here
A little expansion on this:
Rather than denouncing people and situations because “I deserve better,” I’ve been showing up for these sticky, grey areas. I’ve been engaging, listening, and learning. I thought that my standards and morals carried too much integrity to engage with anything that was not in the realm of what I felt was “right” for me. However, there was nativity in this for me - shadow work I was too afraid to dive into, parts of myself I was too afraid to look at. We are often taught that if we show up for these types of things than we aren’t leaving room for better things to come through. For some of us that may be true, but that hasn’t been my path. My work/learning involves going there.
I’m allowing myself to break down, to be a fucking mess. To not have the answers. To be the least intelligent person in the room. To not give a shit. To give too many shits. To fuck up. To not do the right thing. Not because I don’t care for myself, but because I do. I can trust myself. I trust that when something is not in alignment or me that I will set a boundary and speak my truth. But if I don’t allow myself to engage at all, I am missing the opportunity to learn from a situation or another person. We don’t need to denounce the dark to get to the light, but rather to face it.
What do you feel you have to write off? What do you feel shameful of? What situations/people have been triggering for you regarding this? I encourage you to explore these questions in your journal. You can use your objects as helpful tools as you do this work. I pause and practice rituals to ground into my body, and to encourage deeper support and release.