Category Archives: Shadows

Summer of Shadows

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I have found that my own shadows are not only what hinder me in my life, but the things that drive me to be better.  By honoring the challenges I have before me, I can do many things.I have found that my own shadows are not only what hinder me in my life, but the things that drive me to be better.  By honoring the challenges I have before me, I can do many things.

  1. (hopefully) work towards getting over behaviors that don’t help me.
  2. Learn more about me, and understand how my history has built me to who I am today ~ no matter how I judge each quality.
  3. They allow me to remember that we are all facing challenges that we may not yet be aware of.
  4. The shadows that I struggle with every day, remind me to hold compassion for those around me.

These are all remarkably powerful things.  

What do I mean when I saw shadow? I see a shadow as any connection to an idea, item, person, or object that causes you to act in a way or make decisions that do not allow you to be your best self, or work in your best interest.

For instance: One of the shadows I am working with right now is Money. I grew up below the poverty line in Traverse City, MI.  We are a town with a pretty solid divide between the haves’ and have nots. My entire adult life I had been trying to buy what I want, when I wanted it because when I was poor, I couldn’t buy things… So, I found that I was buying things, that I couldn’t afford, so I wouldn’t feel poor, but those same actions were causing for it to be difficult to pay my bills, as if I were poor.

A side shot of this I need to address in my work, is the clear judgement I have in my own mind about being poor.  Let me be clear, I do not feel that there is anything wrong with being poor, nor do I feel that it says anything about you as a person ~ as most people do not choose poverty.  The negative connotations I hold with being poor are because the time in my life where I was fighting so hard to just to get by, was of the worst times in my life.  I associate poor with unhappy, and unable.

So to sum that up: Because I associate being poor with being unhappy and unable, I do not wish to feel poor. Because of this, I made choices to purchase things I could not afford.  Having purchased things I could not afford, made it harder to pay my bills, which made me actually poor.

As you can see, this ‘shadow’ around money, has been causing a me to make decisions that were not working in my best interest.

Many of us have issues around money, so this may be a great example, or a horrible example.  You may have a huge issue with money, and look above and be like, I have no problem with “keeping up with the Jones’”.  The thing is, this is an aspect of my Money Shadow that is easy to talk about and many people will understand.  The more you look at one of your shadows, and finding its source, and trying to grow past it, the more you will see that the shadow runs deep and has many facets.

I tell you all of this because I have been working with so many people as of late who are so burdened by the shadows they carry, that moving forward on a day to day basis is feeling impossible.  Whether you are exhausted, peopled out, too damn broke, overdone, pent up, oppressed, or whatever.  These are ALL real and true issues, do not think I am minimizing your struggles.  But we are our own worst enemies, and frequently, the way we think, feel, or experience these issues, make them a larger problem than they are.  Your feeling, thoughts, and experiences are COMPLETELY VALID.  It can still be smaller than it seems.

You are the person who can deal with your shadows.  If you would like, I can help you to see them.  Know that I can hear you. I can hear your work, and your pain.  And because I have been working so hard on my own shadows, I will not judge you or yours.

We all need help sometimes, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Introspection

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Magic is one of the most amazing things in the worlds.  As a shaman, I find that I am constantly working within the arena of magic, but as is ‘par for the course’ most people neither see, nor understand what magic is.

When I try to explain, people are dumbfounded at how tangible magic can be for everyone.  I would like you to acknowledge now that the words “Hocus Pocus”* and “Abra Cadabra”** (themselves) have nothing to do with magic.  Magic can be most strongly manipulated by changing yourself, and affecting the world around you.

For example: Today, I made a comment about an interaction with someone.  I later realized that I would be mortified if the person involved had heard it.  It would only make them feel bad about a situation they could not control, and perpetuated a larger and darker feeling that they must be holding because of that same situation.  I realized that this statement was not about them, it was about me. (This is something I often do: When I have a hard feeling about someone or some action, it is a response to something in myself I find lacking.)  The comment was about someone monopolizing a conversation. So, I asked myself, what about myself is true, that makes me put that on them.  And I realized that I have concern and issues about longing for a connection with another person that is often hard to make tangible.  Acknowledging that the action that caused me to make my comment, really was an emotion within myself that derived from my own self consciousness about connection to others.

Think about that… By acknowledging something that I felt bad about, thinking about what it means to me, around something I can control. I was able to tell myself about a shadow that I carry, that affects making connections with people.  It is a concern, that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

But being brave enough, to be introspective, and acknowledging that I can do work on myself, I have changed my own perspective of the world around me, and allowed myself to improve the connections around me.  I am doing something intangible to others, that drastically changes the world around me.  Introspection is a form of Magic.

Hocus Pocus*: Before the protestant reformation, there was a lot of mystery around the priests work of the Catholic faith. There were inner buildings within churches, and basically, your rank within the church would dictate how far into these buildings you could go. (AKA the highest level priest would be the only one to go into the inner most building. ~ I learned this in a world religion class at EMU.~ Some of the more peasants would try to listen into these buildings so they could recreate the magic of the priests. And from a distance and through a wall, they interpreted, Habeas corpus  (Latin for “you [shall] have the body”) to be Hocus Pocus.

Abracadabra**: This was actually a phrase that is first documented as part of a amulet prescribed by a doctor (or what was equivalent to a doctor of the time) to get rid of any diseases.  The triangular amulet looked like this:

Abracadabra

Shadows

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There are so many aspects of myself that I have spent years finding new ways to look around and avoid.  What I have learned so far on this path, can really be summed up to a single act.

Find, acknowledge, accept your own shadows.

What is a shadow?  The definitions are slightly varied here or there, but the core of it is this: A shadow is any aspect of yourself that you avoid.

Need examples?  Some of my shadows I have found are these…

  1. My cruelty
  2. My Ego
  3. My hatred
  4. My anger
  5. My Recklessness

These are aspects of myself that I had avoided for years.  And after spending some really difficult time sitting with those feelings, learning to accept them as part of me, and moving forward, I feel something important has shifted.  My understanding.

I have always run away from the aspect of myself that was cruelty.

But I realized that Cruelty is only one end of that spectrum  The other end is Generosity. And many problems in my life have fallen into line, by simply accepting the balance that swings between Generosity and Cruelty.  Remember, only acknowledging one of the two, leaves you without balance, and out of control.  Accepting the aspect that my value judgements dislike, I have found that the skill I have that makes me so efficient with my cruelty (my tongue, and ability to say exactly the right words to hurt someone) is actually a skill that is equally as strong with Generosity.  I learned that I also have the ability to say exactly the right words that someone needs to hear, to allow themselves to heal.

I have so many shadows. The 5 above are simply the ones that are the loudest, and somewhat more simple to deal with for it.  But there are so many other shadows that overshadow aspects of our lives.  And some are far more profound than others.

This past weekend, I did some hard extremely hard work, and encountered a shadow that I didn’t realize I was holding onto.  When I was 16, I moved out of my parents house.  And there was a physical altercation that was the trigger point for me leaving. The physical altercation did not actually cause this shadow.  It was the fact that while I was ‘facing-off’ with my step-father, my mom was standing over his shoulder, not doing anything.  I completely accept that she was probably terrified.  But that moment, told me that she didn’t care enough about me or my safety, to overcome her fear.  I realized that it put her in almost a paradox, where every direction she felt like she failed.  I left home, because of that.

It didn’t end there though. This past weekend, I re-encountered this experience, again.  This is not the first time I have looked at this shadow, and found a new dark spot.  I felt that deep sadness. It sat right over my heard Chakra, and was a black-hole density of sadness.  I let myself go into that feeling to work through the problem and I cannot tell you the challenge it held for me.  But I came through it.  And I saw things much more clearly.  I saw that I have the ability to cut my caring almost as clean as with a blade.  Just like I felt from my mother that day.  I found that I fear that my kids will one day see that I didn’t care, so I model myself after this “ideal” i have where my efforts can be so forced as to feel in-genuine.  That made me feel sick.  This insidious shadow snuck into the core of who I am, and could have possibly ruined my goal of having my kids remember our time together as happy, and knowing that we could be authentic and true with each other.  Realizing what that one shadow, thatI didn’t even realize I still carried, had such a profound affect on who I currently am.  And how holding on to that memory was such a strong item causing self-sabotage made me realize that I need to look so much deeper to clear the stigma of my shadow self, accept me for me, without the burden of those stigmas, and to grow.

I feel so much lighter, and I feel so ready for the challenge.