We must come to know and embrace our shadow, as well as our light if we wish to live in peace with our Being. It is from the darkness that the light comes forth. As I stood in this pose, I smiled - both inwardly and outwardly - at how easily my balance came in that moment, as I knew it to be a direct outward reflection of how I feel ... centered and centered in a way that I have not felt in many a year. I used to try to hide my shadow from the view of others (yes), but moreso from my sight. Doing so provided space and time for all that my shadow held to build up unresolved within me, until it manifested itself outwardly in ways that did not bring me peace and brought sadness and pain to my understanding of self and me. Coming to know and love my shadow has not been easy, but the most rewarding destinations come with some of the most challenging journeys beforehand. It has been and continues to be a journey of great self discovery, self love, forgiveness of self and others, working through pain, and coming to love not only my light but my shadow and with that - coming to know and cherish the incredible gift that is true: self love, soul love. The journey is not over, our shadow and our light remain with us, in all ways, throughout all the days. This is not to frighten us or make us feel less than another. How can it?... when we (our soul) are reflected in the other (their soul). It is a daily journey of self embrace, incredible love for both the shadow and the light - let it ground you, guide you, and fill you with hope anew. 💞
Unless you learn to face your own shadows,
I attended an extremely moving yoga class led by the radiant Sianna Sherman while at Bhakti Fest West 2017 (at Joshua Tree Retreat Center in California). The class was titled "Alchemy of the Heart" - together we created a living mandala, as we chanted a mantra together - in motion ... beginning shoulder to shoulder in a circle that completed outlined the entirety of the room we were in. Shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand, connected - we began to move in a circle towards the center of the room, creating smaller and smaller circles in motion (of people) within the larger one, the chants continuing created a vortex of loving prayer that filled the space we were in and then were being sent out into the world. As the last members of the outer circle found their way inward, those on the inside moved back out again, until we all returned, as we began - a circle of Beings, shoulder to shoulder - hand in hand - chanting and sharing in the energy of love - (outlining the entirety of the room we were in) . It was one of the most moving ways to begin a yoga practice and to be in space with others that I have ever experienced.
The asana practice closed with some partner poses and inner work with another. I found myself partnered with another I had never seen before this shared time on the mat together. Together we supported each other and experienced each others radiance in the practice. We all sat in our vulnerability together and whether we wanted to or not, we both displayed raw emotion. How did this come to be?... well, it came about through the simple, yet moving practice of complete recognition of the soul of another - we were instructed to look into each other's eye - to not say a word, but to sit across from another, maintaining eye contact for five minutes. Five minutes in the grand scheme of things is no time at all. When you sit in this way with another though, five minutes can feel like one's entire lifetime. This is because we see ourselves reflected in others. We feel that others see our deepest pain expressed through our eyes. It is true -- our eyes speak volumes, they speak even when our mouths do not. How often though do we take time to listen to the stories told through the eyes? ... not very ... so we can pretend the stories are not there, we can work to ignore our shadow and only display our light. When we look deep into the eyes of another - we experience and we see not only our light, but also our shadow and they in turn (experience and see theirs) the same.
On this day, in this sacred space at Joshua Tree - I sat there - vulnerable, my emotions raw, my heart full of love and moving through the tough (but beautiful) work of healing from past trauma and of coming to love my shadow (as well as my light). I sat there, legs crossed - knee to knee across from the beautiful woman I was partnered with. I looked into her eyes and felt even before vulnerable and exposed than I already was feeling. I felt the urge to avert my gaze, but resisted, as I knew this was an experience that I did not want to turn away from. Tears came to my eyes, as I saw incredible unending beauty and love in hers. I saw strength maintained through hardship, I saw discomfort and peace, and love, but most of all in that moment - I saw and was overcome with emotion by the great beauty that I saw reflected back and looking back at me through her eyes. As the tears rose up and moved down my cheeks, I saw that too began to cry and I so longed to hug her, filling the space between us with connection - both energetic and physical. I felt great love in that moment. Five minutes ended. We now could speak to our partner. For a moment, she and I did not speak, we wiped our tears away, smiled at each other, bowed in honor of the other and held each other in a loving embrace. Then she spoke. -- She said, "You saw my pain and how great it is. That is why you were crying and so I could not help but cry. It caused me great sadness in the moment to experience my pain and to know that you saw it, too." - I took her hands in mine, I held them tight. Then I said in return, "that is not why the tears came. I cried because I saw your beauty and I felt overcome with great love. I cried because I saw my own pain reflected back at me and I knew I wanted to continue embracing my shadow (my pain in this moment) even if the journey is not an easy one to be on." To this, she hugged me again, and asked simply, "wait, so you didn't just see all my pain and how deep it runs?" - "No." I said, "I saw love and I felt love." I was struck immediately, in that moment, by how we really do see ourselves reflected in the eyes of another. How our shadows are to embraced, fully, even if we wish that were not the case. It is a healing practice -- to sit in silence with another, making eye contact. It is also healing and essential (I would say) to give yourself permission to know and embrace your shadow. It is easier to embrace the light, but the shadow within provides space for the light to shine brighter, so why ignore it!?
May you always remember, the divine light within me, honors the divine light within you. Peace and Love, always.
A spiritual being on a physical journey, striving to make a positive impact on this world through my actions and loving intention. I believe that we are all capable of greatness, it is how we channel this great energy that matters... I choose to express it in the name of -- peace and love.