We all have within us both Light and Shadow. The question really is, what do we do with them? I believe that we are all eternally connected to the Fountain of Life…that endless spring of Spirit energy that continually lives on, even after our physical bodies have crumbled and turned to dust. And I also believe that we live in a world that is brimming in opportunity to look at the shadow stuff within. Our experiences, the encounters along the way, the interactions that we have with the world and the people around us every day will help us to look at the shadow stuff and to heal it from within, should we chose to do so.
As a shaman I know these things. As a person, I experience them deeply. Yes, there are things in my life that I regret. There are likely people I have hurt along the way, even if my intention was never to do so. There are likely some folks who are on a healing journey not as a result of the healing work that I do with them, but as a result of an encounter with my shadow self. For those people, my shadow self has perhaps pushed them into healing some deep stuff within them. And perhaps the same can be said of my journey as a result of encountering their shadow selves as well.
I no longer look at this as something negative. In fact, I look at this as opportunity for me to heal more and more of my shadow. I hope as well that the others can do the same for themselves. When healing my shadow parts I journey back to that person that I was back then (which could be anywhere from a day or two to a number of years ago). I visit with that part of myself. And here is the trick. I don’t pummel my old self with guilt and blame. I approach him with love and compassion. I show him understanding for the way he got twisted by life and by love and by expectations of society and those who were supposed to have his back, but instead were wanting to control and manipulate him and mold him into what they expected of him at that time. I address this not from the stance of blame, but from the stance of understanding. Because we all have had enough of the blame game in our lives. There comes a time when understanding, love and compassion absolutely must rule.
As those shadow parts of myself are addressed in a kind and loving manner, their grief is huge, but their relief is much bigger than even their grief. There is relief at not having to carry the burden of blame and remorse any further. There is the relief of feeling that inner Light shine through, filling those shadow spaces with luminessence. There is strength that comes from the vulnerability to simply be willing to heal. And that strength is what moves me forward to continue to do the healing work that I do with others as well.
In a world where we are often told that we need to beat ourselves up over even the smallest of indiscretions, it is so important that we begin to treat ourselves with more love and compassion. The more we do that, the more of that love and compassion will flow out into the world around us. We become like a beacon of hope for those who are struggling, even if we simply are doing so by living our lives compassionately and thus serving as an inspiration for the luminessence within.