Time With The Deepest Darkest Shadow
Jan 08, 2021
During this time in our world, there’s been a lot of opportunities to be in Solitude. Seeing it as being in solitude rather than in ‘lock-down’ – there’s a difference for me – even in the energetic quality of those words.
When I take time to be in solitude, I’m taking time to matter to myself, to be reflective of my life, and to be in choice in how I engage with myself, with others, and in our world. During this time, I’ve had opportunity to dig a little deeper into what makes me tick.
We can start to notice patterns of behavior, patterns of thought, and patterns of our knee-jerk reactions. So, I’ve had the opportunity to do quite a bit of that exploration, and for that I’m grateful. Because, as I continue this journey in life, I want to show up fully. I want to have the freedom to express who I am, regardless of the environment I find myself in.
So, I notice what quality was keeping me small? What was the pattern? When would I start to withdraw and shrink inside? When I was younger, I would literally think I could disappear by doing this. I know it’s not true now. But, when we are younger, we have beliefs that we do believe are true, and unless we have the courage, and are willing to be vulnerable and transparent, and start to trust others to accompany us, we can stay really small and limited in our expression of who we are. We need to be able to develop trust from the inside out, it’s so important.
One of the deepest shadows that I’ve gotten to know in my life, has been the shadow where auditorily, I would hear a certain tone of voice, along with the visual triggers of how I would perceive the facial expressions of others. There was a tone where I was just supposed to listen and not ask questions. That really got my attention, and I’m grateful that it got my attention at a different level of awareness.
Noticing from the inside the pause that would happen, it was more of a freeze response than a pause. Because, I practice pausing. When I practice pausing it’s to self-connect with my heart, my soul, with who I really am, so that I can be in full choice. This pause was slightly different. It was more of a freeze response. It was more like, “There’s a rattle snake close and I’ve got to be really quiet, so I don’t get bit.”
So, when I noticed that happening, I took time for some self-reflection, to do some process work. I noticed the predominate sensations and feelings were contraction and I was also really alert. I was on guard, just by the tone of voice. Taking time to be with that and tune into what are the shadow beliefs that underlie this experience. It was the sense of not being enough; a sense of lack, as well as a fear and anxiety around what might happen next and feeling totally inadequate and powerless. Those are all pretty heavy affect into freeze.
Taking time to breathe deeply and go into my heart, asking my body’s wisdom to reveal to me, what’s underlying this partial freeze and those shadow beliefs. There were a couple different memories that came up simultaneously; so, there was a bit of an entanglement inside.
One of the experiences was being really young and being told that some kids I knew were going to start doing some drugs. I got really alarmed and scared and told them, “I’m going to tell on you, because that’s really not good for you!” So, then they changed their story and said, “Oh, we’re just kidding. We just wanted to see how you’d act.” I believed them, so I didn’t tell.
But then what happened was; those same girls set me up to go out and end up having some harm done to me by others. There is something there around after the harm happened where I didn’t have a voice. That’s where the freeze happened. So, untangling those entanglements is exquisitely delicate work.
It’s not so much about ‘doing something’ or ‘fixing something’ as it is having a container that can hold that tenderly, honestly, authentically, and acknowledge the truth of what it’s like to be you, IN that experience, that allows the unfurling to happen. Because, that younger self within me had no voice because there was an overpowerment. I had to be silent and accept what happened, that was the belief that I developed.
But the needs that were unmet in that moment also need acknowledgement. It did not feel safe; I needed safety and security. I needed to know my worth; we are inherently worthy by being here. When we know that is true then we have a sense of empowerment that allows us to stay present, even in the face of such enormities.
This provided me with the opportunity to tune into a contract, an unconscious contract. It was, “I Gloria Mae, solemnly swear to you, my Essential Self, that I will never let myself show my anger. It will never be revealed. I will diminish myself and stay silent, in order to stay alive. No matter the cost to myself or those I love.” Because my experience as a younger girl was that if I spoke up it was too dangerous.
So, taking time to be with that and then checking in with a little inner parts dialogue. Having that inner conversation with my Essential Self, asking, “Did you hear the vow that Gloria Mae made to you?”
“Yeah, I did hear that. Do I like this vow? No way, I do not like this vow.” Visualizing my younger self, I speak to her saying, “Gloria Mae, I release you from this vow, and I revoke this contract. I give you my blessing in its place. I bless you with the capacity to express your anger with grace. To speak with clarity and precision. To stay engaged in conversations, even when it’s uncomfortable. To access your intuition and your inner knowing and to be empowered to make a difference; in your life and in this world. And so it is.”
Taking a moment, then, to check in and see how it is, what is it like after all of these years, to finally receive that acknowledgement of the truth. Acknowledgement of how it’s been to hold that in my body all these years, to never be revealed. Well, breaking that vow of silence is important, and allowing yourself to experience the whole range, the gamut of emotions. They are there because they serve a purpose.
I don’t want to rage blindly, and I do not wish to stay silent and frozen in immobility. I now have the freedom to express my anger with grace, and I have the freedom to extend mercy. There is enough love for everyone, and it’s important to have clear, authentic limits as well. Everyone’s voice matters, so let’s learn how to stay engaged in conversation.