A Serenade to Shadow
Hi. How are you doing out there?
I know there are a lot of people around my life who wish they hadn’t asked me that question in the past few weeks. Because I’ve had no choice but to be completely and totally vulnerable and honest. It just rolls out of my mouth before I can say, “I’m fine.” Damn Shadow….leaking out everywhere right now.
If you are not the person being faced with an immense amount of shadow in your life then you certainly are walking next to someone who is.
What is shadow? Shadow is all that stuff we try to hide in our immense closet of memories past. Those things we think we are done with. Those patterns we thought we shifted but left just a tiny bit of room for shadow to sneak in and unravel everything.
Feeling me? Ask the person next to you if they are. Because, they are.
I stopped trying to figure out what the stars were doing and just started paying attention to what I was feeling and unearthed years of misplaced sadness and an unfathomable depth of grief.
And my usual coping techniques don’t seem to work the same way. Even doing my squares, which for the past year has provided me so much clarity and solace, really aren’t touching this. Meditation is a non-starter. Breathing doesn’t even really help these feelings pass through.
This feels like an immense opportunity to slide gently into rather than: stuff, ignore, or fight all of this old icky stuff that just simply wants to be seen, acknowledged, and released.
That sounds really easy when I write it, doesn’t it? Like a giant No, duh Elisha.
I’m the first to say it is far from easy. I have this spent Kleenex boxes to prove it.
Like I said, life is a lot easier when you have your coping techniques which support you every time. But when they don’t work and you’re faced with this old energy that cuts like a knife right to your core, it’s hard to get up and fight back, especially with an empty tool chest. Even when that fighting back is simply allowing it to wash through you without fighting.
Our instinct is to do something about it. To fix it. Not to simply sleep more. Eat better. Exercise more. And try with every fiber of our being to do things we love. Do that more often if possible. Even little things.
That’s the current tool chest. It’s all I’ve found that works…Eat more cleanly, Sleep more, Rest, And exercise my body and lungs more. Save for one other thing which I’ll get to in a moment.
In Chinese medicine, grief and sadness relate to the lungs. This is a perfect time to release these deep emotions because we have so much support from the trees. They are in full bloom and you can imagine that the leaves are like big catchers mitts just waiting to catch whatever you are releasing. Honestly, that’s the only visual that’s been helping me besides just sleeping.
But there is one more thing. And this one is really hard for me. Asking for help. There are some out there who find this incredibly easy and congratulations to you because it is a gift. But there are those among us who for whatever reason (older children maybe?) have this deep down learning that we have to go it alone.
That unfortunately is definitely not the theme of this party. Find someone to talk to. Find someone to hug. Find some friends to go do something with. I just accosted my neighbor the other day when she asked me how I was and I was actually honest. I don’t think she was expecting that. Maybe that’s not the best way. Find someone who actually is asking you how you’re doing before you dump, if you can hold it. Apparently I couldn’t.
So to recap, there is something happening in the universe right now that is affecting us deeply. If it’s not affecting you deeply I promise you it’s affecting those around you. It’s our greatest fears. It’s our greatest griefs. It’s our greatest losses all coming back to be seen and released so we can live our greatest most jubilant most purposeful lives without all that unconscious crap in the way.
This time right now is just a bridge. It’s not forever, though trust me I know it feels that way.
We just have to cross and will be somewhere else and this too shall pass.
Please let me know if you need some help. Because the thing that brings me the most joy is my practice and the people who join me in it. We can all work on this together and we can all come out the other side bright shiny happy people!
I know cyber hugs don’t feel the same as real hugs, but it’s all I’ve got in this moment and I’m thinking about you. Yes you. And sending the knowingness that you will come out the other side of this. And we may not make friends with our shadows….but at least they won’t make us spontaneously cry 🙂