The Shadow’s Gifts

The Shadow
Photo by Jaanus Jagomägi on Unsplash

My shadow came out.

It wasn’t pretty.

The shadow is the all the parts of ourselves that we’ve decided are unacceptable and try to stuff down out of our awareness.  But the shadow is a tricky bugger and sooner or later it will blast out from our constraints.  The late Debbie Ford called this the “beach ball effect”.  Each piece of ourselves that we try to suppress is like a beachball held under water – it takes huge amounts of energy to keep it there.  And one day when we’re tired or exhausted or stressed out and we can’t hold all of the beachballs down, they will shoot up and smack us in the face.

I’ve written this post about my experience and in the first person, but my intention is to help you connect with your own shadow self too and because that can be a daunting, overwhelming and scary idea, I’ve used “I” and “me” instead of “you”.  I do hope that this inspires you to know the gifts in your own shadow and to take a little time to explore what your shadow might be trying to tell you when one of those beach balls pops up and smacks you in the face.

The other night my beachballs smacked me in the face.  A good hint to the shadow is something that we’re really proud of in ourselves.  I’m really proud of the patience I’ve developed.  I’m really proud of the compassion I’ve developed.  I’m really proud of my ability to hold sacred space for emotional truth.   All of these really help me create the kind of space that allows for deep healing and coaching to happen.

But it’s a truth that just like yin contains yang and yang contains yin, for each element of myself that I’m proud of, I also carry the opposite in my shadow.  So my lack of patience and lack of compassion and lack of sacred space and lack of emotional truth shot out from my psyche and had me become a shouty, mean bitch.   The polar opposite of what I am in my sessions with clients.  Oops!!

And actually, that’s a good thing.  Shouty mean bitch Jacqui was probably suffocating under water and needed some air.  She’s also helping me to realise some deep and uncomfortable truths about myself and how I’ve been sabotaging my success.  And besides, she’s there all the time in the sacred space I create anyway, so inviting her wisdom in means she can add depth and help support the sacred space I like to create.

A Matter of Time

The shouty mean bitchiness came from being totally fed up of having my time wasted and messed about by someone else.   Now I know the signs that I’m in my shadow – I can’t feel my body, I’m in my head, I’m blaming someone else…  if I start trying to sort out and talk through any problems from that space, I’m not going to get very far.  Do you fancy trying to sort out a problem with someone who is blaming you alone for it?  Nah, didn’t think so!  While I’m in that blaming space, I’m being a victim, so I will cast others in roles that keep me as the powerless victim.

I knew that my own sense of  “urgh” and disconnection between my head and body meant that I had some investigative work to do to get out of victim mode.  The other day I was chatting to a colleague about the time problem that had triggered my mean, shouty bitch self.  As me and my colleague talked, we both started realising that our relationship to time was off.  We have an abundance of time and there are so many things that we could do each day to help our businesses, but we end up wasting loads of time on social media and let other people take our time from us.  We both admitted that we’re allowing people to take time from us.

So, we both vowed to explore what was going on with this time stuff and share with each other what we learned.  I found this interesting article on time on the Psychology Today website.  I felt pangs of discomfort and as I read and realised that basically, my wasting time is a disempowering choice I’m making.  It’s an unconscious sabotage to keep things as they are and not step into my light and my true power.  It’s fear and survival based living rather than love and abundance based living.

I need to take back my power, clear up any beliefs or emotions keeping me stuck in powerless victim mode and own my moment-to-moment choices about what I do.  I can dream big and create big visions about the future, but I have to commit moment by moment, piece by piece to making those dreams and visions a reality.

Valuable Pieces of Peace

It’s all valuable material for the book I’m writing and philosophy I’m (kind of) creating and living.   When I say “kind of creating”, it’s because I’m not really creating it, it’s an idea from somewhere in the ether working its way into my consciousness.  If you’ve ever read “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert, it’s like the way she describes the mysterious way ideas choose a human to come through.

The idea that chose me is called “Pieces to Peace” and the intention behind it is to help people recognise the value of each piece of themselves and the vital roles each person plays towards creating peace in our communities and globally.  Each of us is a vital piece of a greater whole.  Embracing the shadow is an important part of the philosophy because we often see our own shadows in other people and then think the person we’re projecting our shadow onto is the scum of the earth who should be destroyed – you can see how that kinda messes up peace, can’t you?  Not only that but when we stop projecting the shadow onto others and look inside ourselves to find its message, we can find it leads us to valuable gifts, blessings and realisations.

Mean, shouty bitchface Jacqui was simply trying to get my attention about how I’m spending my moments of time.  She yelled at my partner but it was really me that she was yelling at.  Like trying to shake me awake to see what I’m doing with the precious pieces of my life – the moments of each day.  I’ve been throwing away so many precious moments where I could let myself feel more alive and feel more connected to source energy and be more present.

If that piece of my shadow hadn’t popped up and smacked me in the face, I’d continue to throw away valuable pieces of my life each day.  It’s me and me alone who choose the quality of the moment.  The truth is that I’m 100% responsible for how I choose to be in each piece or moment of my life.

And so are you.  So how are you spending the precious moments of your life?  Are you fully present or do you let others take your time?  <3

Exploring Pieces to Peace More

In my explorations of this Pieces to Peace idea, a beautiful meditation process came to me.  It helps you to accept all the pieces of yourself by seeing them as a beautiful mosaic and holding that mosaic in your heart space.  The meditation then invites you to heal a difficult relationship you’ve experienced by seeing the other person in the same way.  The meditation is a free gift to subscribers of my mailing list and you can access it on this page: Get Your Free Relationship Healing Meditation.