Monthly Archives: January 2015

From Shadow to Light

I used to live in the shadows.

There was safety in the shadow. It was a place of seeming comfort and quiet where I was seldom noticed or heard. Sometimes I felt like I could talk on and on and not be heard, just a little bird making background noise to somebody else’s life. At other times, I couldn’t talk at all. Noises would flitter out of my throat in an attempt to share what was really going on inside, but they would quickly die down and settle like dust on the ground. My words were a jumbled mess that couldn’t find their way out and neither could I.

Within the shadow, I could hide. On the one hand, it felt terrible to not be seen, but on the other, it seemed terrifying to have to show myself. I was stuck, and not only did I not know how to get out, but I didn’t want to get out. I was scared of this seemingly big, bad world.

As far back as I remember I was afraid of making a mistake in public, worried that I would be singled out for it in some way that would harm me. I recall being in a bike race as a young girl, maybe six or seven. I was winning but as we approached the finish line, I realized I wasn’t sure where it was, where the actual race ended. Instead of making a potential fool out of myself by not stopping at the appropriate point, I slowed to allow another to cross before me. That second place trophy was a constant reminder of my cowardice, my inability to take risks or show myself in any way that might not be perfect.

I don’t know where it came from; I don’t recall ever being pressured to lead an impeccable life, but it was always there, and if I couldn’t be perfect, it was preferable to not be noticed at all. I strove to excel at everything that I did, and if I wasn’t great at it, I just wouldn’t do it. I was incapable of showing myself as the girl that I actually and authentically was. Even as I shined for an accomplishment, I felt myself drift further and further away from the light and into the shadow. I was trying to capture it in those moments of “winning”, only it couldn’t be integrated as it wasn’t emanating from within.

As this happened, my genuine voice remained completely hidden. I could share with a few close friends only, and even then I kept pieces of myself tucked away, little mementos of my less-than-perfect self that created cobwebs in the corners of my heart. The critic in my mind continued to harp on my inability to be enough in any area of my life and I shrank and shrank until I almost disappeared.

Making my way back into the light happened in little spurts. I’d stick my toe out to see what happened. At first it was scary and I’d pull it back in, but at some point I just started persisting. The healing work started paying off. Soon I could stick my head out and then at last my heart followed. That has been the true blessing. My heart runs the show most of the time these days. Fear still crops up but I’m onto it now. I can give it a wink and smile at it. I’m not hiding from myself anymore and when I look in the mirror, I like the image I see reflected back to me. More people seem to hear me now and I’m pretty sure it’s because my voice is comfortable and confident rolling out of my throat.

For a long time, I played the blame game: If only (fill in the blank), I would be (fill in the blank). There were hundreds of scenarios and not one of them involved me stepping out of my comfort zone. But as I fell back into my body, as I healed and got to know myself, as I stretched myself in ways not before imaginable, I started claiming my worth. I finally understood it; I finally felt it.

Now, I just AM – every little bit of me, even the pieces that I’d sometimes rather not see or deal with. The light is stronger than the shadow and it always wins, it always pulls me out, it always shines right where I need illumination.


Settling Into the Possibility of Me

I’ve never been much for resolutions although I do adore intentions. Because of this, when a friend of mine suggested choosing a word that I wished to explore in the upcoming year, I jumped at the opportunity. And it seemed to be just that: a big, fat, juicy opportunity. My word immediately bounced into my consciousness: Expansion.

I loved the way it slid off of my tongue and the charge that my energy body got from it. Honestly, it felt delicious…I savored the chance to roll it around in my mouth, to talk and share about it, and to begin the initial stages of exploration of it. At the time a lot of very rapid growth was unfolding for me and I felt a little high, to be honest, and “expansion” felt like taking another hit off of a joint.

I enjoyed taking my word to bed with me every night and waking up with it every morning for about two weeks, until the actual New Year rolled around. And now here we are, seven days into 2015, and I am noticing that the fear has crept in and settled around the fringes of my word. I feel disorganized and confused, hazy, apprehensive, and pensive. It’s like a withdrawal, only I am the only one that can provide myself with the next hit and I just feel like a hamster spinning a wheel.

I have a list of things to do that seem expansive to me: organize finances, restructure my time, write every day (oh to finally get this one right!), and keep up my meditation practice (to name a few). All of a sudden, my beautiful word has turned into a big, scary resolution, and I feel like I’m floundering.

What I’m noticing is that I’m running five miles ahead of where I actually am. My mind is in the “what-ifs” of the future and already judging me for not doing what I may or may not be doing a week, month, or year from now. Already, I’m allowing myself to assume that I’m not going to follow through or be able to live up to my idea of expansion.

A balloon doesn’t go from empty to inflated in one breath. It takes time and perseverance and slow and steady breathing. If I go too fast, I run the risk of exploding or running out of air. It’s in this moment that I need to step back, settle into my body, and ask myself what the hell is going on.

I’m restless to be where I want to end up. I actually see – and believe in – a whole lot of possibility for me, which is something completely new to me. And now that I see it I want to leap to it. I have to remember to get back to where I am, which is right here at the computer with a choice: Do I open a Word document and put my fingers on the keyboard and write, or do I open the Facebook tab and take a look at what is going on around me rather than within me?

Right now, I choose to write. I am taking this road because I want to feel like I accomplished something important to me today. I’m not even going to look at the message that just popped up on my screen. I may not feel that way later today, and certainly I can make time to view the world around me. Expansion can be aided by the external, but I do realize that my personal growth, my intention, my drive is accelerated by the burgeoning strength within me. I want to continue to fuel the flame that was recently stoked, despite the fact that growth has historically scared me. I want to be present to the little victories as well – by noticing that I was courageously honest with someone I am beginning to care deeply about, and the fact that I’m enrolled in a teleclass that is helping me open to the vast possibility of me. I’m excited about the woman I’m becoming and in order to remain charged it’s important to meet myself right where I am, which is right here at the table, with my fingers clicking on the keyboard, grateful to be honoring what I feel to be my higher purpose.