At first read, this quote seemed like a sweet, carefree sentiment, conjuring up an image of a child skipping down the sidewalk on a warm sunny day, footloose and fancy free. But it got me to thinking about the shadows. Isn't there value to seeing the shadows?
I've done a significant amount of inner work around this topic, even going so far as to writing a novel (never to be released) during National Novel Writing Month from the perspective of my shadow. What I found was that all of those moments when I did something that hurt others or myself, it was ultimately because my shadow side was working behind the scenes to protect me. Because everything was behind the scenes, hidden by its place in the shadows, it influenced my behavior in unpredictable or inconsistent ways.
I might have recognized my inner desires and stepped out in confidence knowing I was speaking and acting my truth if I had been attuned to the hidden feelings and perspectives that I stuffed deep inside of myself because they ran contrary to what others said I was supposed to think or do.
I say might because even awareness isn't always enough to fully step into your truth. I heard another quote recently attributed to Tristan Walker that highlighted this point: “Only with courage can you practice the same values consistently.” It takes courage to break free from the cloud of conformity and live life completely on your terms. And I wish I could say that I've accomplished that, but I haven't. Not quite.
But what I have done is recognized the well-intended but often subversive role my shadows have played in my life, and invited them into the light by accepting them as a part of who I am. Not as shadows, but as those aspects of myself I had previously kept hidden under lock and key.
And that is a significant step towards igniting your inner spark, that part of yourself that you've packed away because at some point you decided it was better to hide than to face judgment from others.
Rumi said, "the wound is the place where the light enters you." And I completely agree. By exploring my shadows I have been able to bring to light the qualities and strengths obscured by them. Perseverance, resilience, grit, independence, adventure, creativity, quirkiness, powerful metaphysical gifts, intelligence, a deeply non-religious spirituality.
Stuff like that may have never surfaced as positives had I continued to ignore my shadows. If I hadn't embraced them, I may have lived life ashamed and embarrassed by things that have since become very significant parts of my of life. Is that even really living?
Sometimes we can't fully value the sun because we've only ever experienced it under the cloud of our shadows. It's hard to know how bright things can really be until they've dissipated. But it IS brighter. And freer and more lighthearted, just as that child skipping down the sidewalk, because you've embraced a crucial part of yourself that you'd previously rejected.
Self-acceptance is the light on the other side. And even though the journey can be stormy, the rain will subside, the rainbow will appear, and you'll be able to revel in the comfort and warmth of your own personal sun.
Questions: What have you hidden away because of fear of judgment from others? Do you feel embarrassed or ashamed by these things? If so, why? What hidden strengths can you find hidden within them?
If you're ready to move through your shadows and on to the sunny side of life but aren't quite sure how to do it, Magical Mind - a 4-week online program currently in the works - can help. Or if you'd prefer some 1:1 guidance, give Detanglement Coaching a try.
Change is always easier with support, so if you've got a change in the works but aren't ready to commit to a program or coaching, please find people who can support you in a positive and uplifting way, to help make your transition a smooth and positive one!
Mindset Monday is a weekly blog that consists of a quote, a comment and one or two questions. It is intended to be short but sweet while providing you with something to ponder related to mindset as you begin your week. Mindset is a choice. Make yours an amazing one!
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