Navigating the Dark

I seem to be apologising a lot lately! My shadow side showing up and getting projected out on to others. Perhaps it’s a quick cutting comment, or an energetic withdrawal and being cold, or more easily being in conflict. Sometimes it’s a sense of inner turmoil and feeling down, with self-doubt and addictive or self-defeating patterns showing up. Bleh! I don’t like when this is going on. I feel my body tense and a bit numb to emotions. I feel my vibrations low. I can sense I’m being protective or defensive. My mind is not trustworthy.

It’s a bit like walking through a bog (very Irish analogy), trying to tip-toe through, yet every so often dropping in up to your knees, or even falling flat on your face in the mud, and then blaming someone else rather than laughing out loud and rolling around in it!

Does any of this resonate for you? I’m hearing it from many people these days.

Navigating the dark, (c) Georgina Peard

Navigating the dark, (c) Georgina Peard

But of course!! Of course it’s so strong right now at the time of the Samhain, as we move into the darkest part of the year. We also had the dark new moon in Scorpio last weekend. Nature is always reflecting in and through us.

There is a blessing here folks! Oh yes! If this is showing up for you now, or whenever it does, it’s because you are being invited to acknowledge and love these shadow parts and the powerful energy they contain. No-one is whole without their shadow integrated.

You can try to fight it, hide it, ignore it, deny it, throw it away, and clean it up, but this will never work. Instead, own your shadow, name it, befriend it, dance with it, harness it and then channel it through the heart.

The dark holds your greatest gifts and power.  

The stronger the energy for you, the stronger the initiation. Congratulations, its means you are ready for this big transformation! This energy locked in the shadow is ready to be revealed. Are you ready to step up and be more of you?

When our shadows show up, it’s so easy to allow negative thoughts take over and feed a self-depracating inner dialogue. Our actions can exaggerate the situation, like not getting enough sleep, always staying busy, over-eating, spending too much time on the internet, or snapping at loved ones.

These thoughts and actions stem from a deep pain – the pain of feeling that, because of these shadow parts, we are bad, fake, and undeserving of good things, like love, community, success and happiness. As a result we choose the safe path in life and not to show up fully or go after what we want (in case we are found out and rejected, abandoned, humiliated etc.).

This is our core unworthiness and, the good news is, we all have it. 

The relief comes when we realise we are all the same, we all hold shame around these shadow parts, and so we step out of the fear of this unworthiness and we dare to face and befriend the shadow.

The extent to which you can take full responsibility and hold strong self-love for yourself when working with shadows, is the gauge of your personal growth and awakening. It’s not that they never show up again.

Navigating your inner landscape, and especially the dark, with love and compassion, humour and humility, is key to your freedom and happiness. 

BRING MORE CONSCIOUSNESS AND LOVE TO YOUR SHADOWS :

  • Make time to be still with yourself. Listen and feel what is really going on for you.
  • Love yourself and the shadow parts, like a mother unconditionally loving a child.
  • Give your shadow a name (mine is Gertrude) and role play with her/them.
  • Acknowledge your deeper pain and your needs.
  • Share your shadows, pain and needs with someone who can love you there.
  • Practice apologising in a way that you take full responsibility for your part.
  • Get more rest and sleep.
  • Take walks in nature on your own and open to her wisdom. Sing, dance, breathe.
  • Get clear on what you have learned.
  • Celebrate your progress.

Thank you
Finally, thank you for doing this work and bringing more consciousness to your shadows. Here I am just touching the surface of this subject, but it is, in my opinion, the most important ‘work’ we can do to transform our lives, our relationships and our communities.

Be gentle with yourself. All healing has its time. The first step is just to love yourself and know that all the way to your core, you are good, all good, and you are loved.

 

Listen deeply
Live courageously
Love fiercely

Georgina x

Sunrise meditation (Navigating the Shadow – part 2)

In my last post I wrote about navigating the shadow, and this beautiful playful dance between light and dark in ourselves. In this post I want to share a nice simple practice to relax and to let go in those moments that feel sticky or heavy, and to allow yourself fill up with the light again.

Talking to a very special mentor of mine this week, she described so eloquently the ebb and flow between our light and shadow parts, just like day and night. They are such integral parts of who we are. They come and go with the natural flow of life. There are times when we are consumed in the dark night of the shadow and other times filled with bright light. Just like day and night, we cannot and do not need to control them. Every day the sun rises to flood the landscape with its rays of light. Every night the sun sets and the darkness falls. Nothing can hold back this natural cycle.

So it is ok and totally normal to find ourselves going through times where we are in deeper conversation with our shadow, just as it is to sit wide awake on a dark night. In fact, these can be very profound, revealing and intimate moments with ourselves, when we are not in resistance to them and we can trust that the light will naturally reappear again, just as the sun is sure to rise the next morning.

sunrise meditation

Sunrise meditation
You might like to try this simple exercise when you have a moment to just close your eyes, even for just one minute. Ideally you can practice it for real outside in nature at sunrise, but you can do it by just closing your eyes and using your imagination, perhaps in the morning before you start the day, or at any moment that it feels right to allow more light in to your being.

  • Imagine yourself sitting, standing or lying outside, perhaps in nature where you feel safe and comfortable. It is early morning before sunrise. You are turned to face East, with a clear view in front of you of the horizon. Maybe it’s a lake and mountain tops, trees and grassy fields, the open sea, the desert or the rooftops of the city.
  • You settle in your body and get still. Tune-in to your body sensations as you relax more and more. Feel yourself letting go of all holding and tension. Notice the free-flowing rhythm of your breath.
  • Gradually the sun starts to rise over the horizon. Imagine the light starting to flood over the landscape. The sky, your body and all that is around you is gradually being lit up. Imagine the colours emerging. Nothing can stop it or slow it down – that light is coming no matter what. It is like a warm glow. Relax as you feel the warmth touch different parts of your body and notice the changing light and colours in your eyes.
  • Feel the light of the sun filling you up, healing, awakening and re-energising every cell in your body. Fully surrender your mind and body to this flood of light and feel your own light starting to react and radiate outward in reflection. How does it feel?
  • As you let go completely, acknowledge that you do not have to do or be or achieve anything more to receive this light or to be a source of radiant light. This is what you already are.
  • When you feel complete, give gratitude to this amazing sun, source of life and light.  As you move out of this practice into the rest of your day, let the light glow out through you all of your being, through your eyes, your smile, your heart and your whole body, so that simply being in your presence can light up all those around you.

I hope you enjoy this practice. Please let me know how it feels? I feel so radiant just writing it out here!

I'll just be happy

 

Navigating the shadow

Does it feel like you are rehashing old patterns and tossed around with gloomy thoughts or negativity about yourself or the world? Does it feel like more effort to stay in a state of love and light, even though you thought you were done with those old thought patterns? Are you internalising a lot, feeling tired and wanting to withdraw from the world? Are you noticing more conflicts, internal and/or external?

Fantastic! You are being gifted the opportunity to work with shadow. Here it is. Slam bang in your face! Bleh! Ugh!

The question is, do you say “Yes” to this opportunity?! Are you ready to upgrade to the next level of love? Are you ready to meet it all and welcome it all? The universe thinks you are!

Do you chose fear or love?

The shadow is what we fear. That which we keep in the shadows to avoid it being seen. It’s the “what I don’t want you to know about me”, and even more so, the “what I don’t want to accept about myself”. It is what disgusts you. We often have it so well hidden we don’t even realise it ourselves. I am not judgemental. I am not a jealous bitch. I am not evil.

To be that would be to be unlovable, to be rejected and abandoned. And that would feel like being left to die.

We compensate by emphasising the opposite (e.g. being super nice and always accommodating to others) or avoiding situations that awaken this shadow in our own consciousness or that might show it up.

We tend to internalise harsh and negative dialogue with ourselves and compensate with actions that can be self-harming, like addictions or situations not aligned with our truth. Perhaps it comes out all ugly in a passive aggressive way, projected on to others. The internal battlefield is externalised and you are in battle with the world. We also try to ‘purify’ and rid ourselves of these darker parts through all sorts of cleanses and spiritual practices and exercise and doing good. Or maybe we outright deny and suppress them.

Light and shadow

The fear of the shadow being uncovered, however, and all that you do, often unconsciously, to keep the shadow hidden, is a major driving force in your life.

The good news is that in the shadow lie your greatest strengths. Once owned and channelled through the heart that energy leads to powerful transformation. The release and directing of that energy is absolutely phenomenal. Seriously! I have witnessed and experienced this so many times.

Let’s take some very simple examples to illustrate where shadow = strength when the same energy is channeled consciously through the heart:

  • I am jealous = I am inspired to be a greater version of myself and create a better life
  • I am judgemental = I have a great ability of discernment
  • I am arrogant = I am leader
  • I am cold and lack compassion = I am level-headed and can see the big picture

So I beg of you, please, please stop trying to cleanse or meditate away or exercise away or suppress or get rid of your shadows. You can’t anyway, no matter how much you try. This would be like losing your juice!

Instead, shed light and love on your shadows. Tease them out with understanding and compassion. Create safety for them to be seen. Acknowledge their power and potential. Connect with their energy and give it direction for positive impact.

The exploration of my shadow has become an important regular, and even, dare-I-say, joyful practice for me. Not always easy, I would say that is the most empowering path I have ever taken. And I get to witness it again and again happening for others in my work.

To realise that you are still loveable and perhaps loved even more – you WITH all your shadows and fears and strategies to hide them – is the most liberating experience!!! Suddenly you are free to be and express and create all that you are meant to, and I’m pretty sure that you have something unique and important to share.

Hide and Seek – Catch me if you can!
As I reflected on this topic one early morning last week by the lake Geneva, my attention was drawn to a large tree. Two dark red squirrels were playing hide and seek around the trunk. Each one trying to see and catch the other, they were scampering around this tree with such speed and agility and glee, changing directions, left and right, up and down. I burst out laughing. That’s it! That is my light and shadow parts at play, doing this all the time, it is the constant dance.

So is it like this for you?

“You can’t see me! I’m the shadow!”
says the dark to the light, “You can’t catch me but I’m going to catch up on you and get you – run, run!”

Or is it more like this?

“I am going to see you dark one,” says the light to the dark, “and I’m going to shed all my light and love on you – you can’t hide.” 

Can you just enjoy the game? Can you relax in the dance with the dark partner?Which one is leading in your life right now in any particular situation?
Is it holding you back in some way?
Are you ready to direct that same energy through your heart? 

Now this is a big area to discuss, so in my next blogs I’ll write more about how I like to consciously and joyfully navigate the shadow.

I’d love to hear about your own experiences with this. Please do share your comments. And stay tuned for more.

It’s not enough to meditate. We need face-to-face heart-centred group practice.

I may rustle a few feathers with this!

It is not enough to focus on an individual practice of personal and spiritual development alone! We need to also practice opening our hearts, listening to, following and communicating from our hearts in relationship to others.

We can only evolve from a disconnected, heady, materialistic, individuated society to a connected, heart-centred, compassionate, abundant community when we actually are that in relation to each other, face-to-face in real life!

We can only shift from a state of half-awake (half-trapped) satisfaction to a state of expansive, joyful, vibrant aliveness if we feel free to be fully ourselves in life, in relation to and while being witnessed by others.

stand out in circle

Your presence, simply being you and expressing your true self in the now is absolutely enough, and so the practice is not being and becoming that alone, but it is being and becoming that in the presence and with the support of others, in the messiness of life, in the face of apathy, abandon, adversity or applause.

We rarely learn or practice this at school, at home, in the workplace or in our individual practice. Therefore, we need to start practicing this together so that we can start to shift gear from just sharing inspiring quotes on facebook, to actually connecting through real, heart-inspired words and action face-to-face!

The limitations of individual practice

I imagine you are someone who has been interested in your own personal growth and development for some time. Perhaps you have a regular personal practice like yoga, meditation, Qi Gong or tapping (EFT). You look after your body through exercise, massage and healthy food. You believe in the law of attraction and you are taking responsibility for your life, your health and your happiness. You are basically doing your best to be and become the best version of You and to enjoy life. I love this about you!

Most personal and spiritual development practices focus on You, knowing your Self and connecting to your own divinity…… alone (at least at first). You need to know and love yourself before you can truly love another. If someone triggers you, you can work more on you, etc.

Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. Indeed I believe strongly that we still need more emphasis on personal responsibility. My own journey with yoga, bodywork, shamanism, stalking nature, astrology, the law of attraction, human design and so forth, is hugely enriching and essential for me, every day. It brings me energy, safety, peace, joy, clarity and dare I say, inspired wisdom! I admit that this is also more my comfort zone.

This kind of personal practice is, however, solely vertical. You connect to your body, your energy, your emotions and ultimately your higher Self or a sense of oneness with all. The risk therefore is that we check-out or reject the human level or parts of it to avoid pain, hurt and the messiness of being human – this is the “spiritual by-pass”. I know this one. I have definitely gone for the spiritual by-pass at times!

A true yoga practice, one that really follows the ancient yogic philosophy, brings yoga off the mat and into life. Yoga, and in particular the Tantra lineage, is in fact the art of living and embodying our divinity. The Yamas and Niyamas (which I have written lots about in the past) are all about being true and authentic in relation to self, first, and then others. But it is not enough for these to be known concepts, they must be practiced…… with others!

Trapped in a boxWithout a conscious practice with others you will likely at some point feel like you are stuck, that there is still something holding you back, that your relationships are not thriving, that abundance is not flowing, that there are too many downs, triggers and difficult emotions, and that your joy is limited.

Sound familiar? So what solution?

We need to complement our individual practices with conscious group practice; that is to complement our vertical practice with a horizontal practice.

We are not islands. We cannot do this alone. We are communal beings and conscious community is the path to massive transformation and accelerated awakening!

Why we need others to move toward our personal joy

The primary goal of life is to enjoy it, to experience it, to feel vibrantly joyfully alive. Simple, right?! So what holds us back?

You and I know that it is an illusion to seek joy outside of ourselves, through others, through doing or acquiring material things. But even when we turn to find the joy within, we get tripped up. We might blame our thoughts, our limiting beliefs, unconscious conditioning etc.

The root cause is actually something that we all have. It’s called core unworthiness.

As you reach for your joy you confront the part of yourself that feels unworthy to let all that joy in. You feel unworthy to show up that bright, that great, that successful, that much loved, and that happy. Thus you hold back and limit your joy, freedom and expansion, consciously or unconsciously with all sorts of clever strategies.

Your core unworthiness is created at a very young age. No baby or very young child seeks to hurt, wound or traumatise itself intentionally. The primary disconnect from your light, your innate goodness and greatness happened due to experiences with others, when you were made wrong or lesser, or you were hurt, abandoned, betrayed, rejected or violated, whether that was intentional or not, whether your interpretation was correct or not. It may have been in relation to your parents, siblings, schoolmates, teachers, religious figures, and so forth.

Since others were involved in your disconnection, others are critical to your reconnection.

It is so easy to get caught up in trying to hide or fix or remove your core unworthiness, or to focus on the past, and this is where we usually get stuck in ‘old school’ personal development and in an individual practice. It is not possible or even desirable to fix or get rid of it.

Here lies the power of group because these shadows will come up for you the more you dare to claim your joy, witnessed by others, just as you are in life. The key is to become aware of your core unworthiness as it comes to the surface and work through it, in the presence of and with the support of others. You then create new positive, healthy experiences and memories for your mind and body in relation to others, and you get to consciously choose your path in life, no longer controlled by the limiting beliefs. And yes, this becomes a practice, for the rest of your life!

Walk your truth

Many people shy away from group because it feels scary. I keep hearing things like, “I am not ready for group work. I need to do some more work on myself!” But of course you can’t get ready for group work alone!! It is in group that you learn to navigate group dynamics, just like it is in life that you learn to live. It’s just not possible to work with these type of shadows and feelings of core unworthiness alone – you will stay stuck with them until they can be seen, claimed, loved and digested.

As we focus on our joy and learn to use the group to overcome fears, doubts and limiting beliefs, we can harness the power of the collective to literally propel us toward our joy and our fullness. As Christian Pankhurst, the founder of the Heart IQ™ Method says, “it is like flying to Beijing instead of walking to Beijing,” the difference is that big to doing this alone.

After spending hundreds of hours this past year in heart-centred group practice, to complement my personal practices, I can say that I have no doubt whatsoever that we need each other to come into our joy and our greatness. I am blown away at the power of circle every single time and how this practice helps me to expand my awareness of myself and my true nature so that I can experience more freedom, joy and connection.

Whether you believe we are human beings having a spiritual experience, or spiritual beings having a human experience, we need to combine the two, and celebrate both! At this meeting point we reveal charisma and depth; authenticity and empathy; embodiment and stillness; wisdom and creativity; safety and belonging; love and JOY!

Group practice

Join me for heart-centred group practice!!

To find out more about opportunities for heart-centred group practice with me, check out my calendar of workshops, retreats and community gatherings – The Path of the Heart Warrior. 

 

In sharing this post I would like to acknowledge Christian Pankhurst for the inspiration, mentoring and training on joy and group practice through the Heart IQ™ Method.