I had a blog about freedom for this week, but a topic came up glaringly this past weekend and I wanted to address it now.
There are so many more conspiracy theories going around. Again I ask: do you choose to believe them and feel powerless, or do you choose to find the deeper lessons in this global reprieve and own your power on a more profound level?
Conspiracy theories help make sense of what feels out of control. We are birthing a new world. It is unknown, therefore not something we can control. That’s scary. It makes sense to think bad people are doing this to you. Yet, “if you make someone the villain, then you’ve made yourself the victim.”*
If you believe there are dark forces out there, maybe it’s time to do some deep shadow work on your own dark. As the world is excavating its collective shadow, you need to excavate yours.
I tell you to be the light, but it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. There is darkness and ugliness on this planet. We live in a duality- the lightest light and the darkest dark.
You have to heal yourself FIRST, and that means looking at your own dark: your rage, your fears, your prejudices, your entitlements, etc. Do you forgive, or only when it’s convenient? Do you have compassion, or only with people who think like you?
Healing those first helps you be more of the light.
You are no victim. In any scenario you can control your response, thoughts, actions, and beliefs. That is creating your reality.
Let’s talk more about your shadow, because I’m doing a disservice if you don’t realize you have one.
We all have a light and dark shadow: the things we shove aside and don’t want to look at or deal with. In the dark shadow are, as I said above, your rage, your control, manipulation, self-pity, shame, etc. Now you may be aware of these and are actively working to overcome them. If so, great, they’re no longer in your shadow. The shadow holds what you don’t want to, or refuse to, look at.
Here’s an example: let’s say for Sally it’s easy to cry, that’s a safe emotion. She was taught to never be angry or maybe she saw an angry relative and vowed to never be like them. So whenever she gets angry, she cries. Or she smiles sweetly and either apologizes for getting upset, or acts as if everything is fine. All three of those options discount the truth that she’s furious and can’t acknowledge that. Where does the fury go? Into her shadow.
Vowing to, “not be like them,” either an angry family member or another authority figure, only holds that emotion like glue in your space.
Left unexpressed, the shadow gains in strength. Then Sally worries that if she were ever to express anger, it would be so ugly and destructive, that it's better to keep suppressing it. At some point, either she may become depressed, or have no motivation and be resentful. Maybe she does lose it and destroys her relationships, or more terribly, an illness gets created.
On the opposite side of that, let’s say Sally, in her anger suppression, is super sugary sweet and says she can’t even hurt a fly. She is so out of touch with herself that while she may not overtly hurt you, check your back for a knife. Again- shadow. She can’t show anger but boy will she harm you covertly given the chance.
Here’s another example: Joe was taught the opposite of Sally, that’s it’s manly to be angry and domineering but crying is weakness. So he goes through life getting more and more cut off from the people around him because he’s angry all the time. Through every loss, through all his fears, he can’t speak them because vulnerability is the enemy. He rages instead and pushes people away. Like Sally, the consequences could be severe, or seemingly benign yet filled with tremendous pain: a lonely, unfulfilled life, or, a seemingly successful life externally with all the trappings of success, yet without truly knowing love and inner peace.
Obviously there are gradients to how it plays out, the point is, a shadow unexpressed and unexplored is destructive and fodder for your negative ego. That which you shove aside both comes at you from the world and the people around you, and your negative ego will use it torment you. That’s actually a good place to look: what kinds of negative/upsetting situations do you continually find yourself in, and also, what is the nasty voice in your head telling you? You may get clues there as to what you’re not owning.
How many people do you know controlled by their anger or their martyring (sacrificing) themselves? Maybe they’re controlled by their need to control or their victimhood. The choices are endless, what controls you that you won’t look at? What’s the truth below it that’s waiting to be excavated?
You have to acknowledge and release your emotions, safely; i.e.: journal them, rage bubble them, take a pillow and beat the bed, go for a run while venting- you have to move them out.
Just like in the world, we’re all capable of the lightest light and the darkest dark. When you own that, it can’t have power over you. You know what you’re capable of and choose to respond responsibly and accordingly. And by the way, this is how you create greater self-trust and greater self-actualization. When you do that, you not only heal yourself, but you heal the world.
*Quote from Eileen McKusick
Last night there was a moth in our bedroom. I’m not talking about an ordinary moth, I’m talking the size of a butterfly, and I am not exaggerating in the slightest. This moth was desperate to get out, but while I had opened the door to the light outside, it just kept bashing around the ceiling over and over. It seemed to refuse the very thing it wanted most, it’s freedom. It preferred to smack against the ceiling, even though the door was open, and the light was right there.
How often do we do that in our own lives? The answer is there, the doorway is open to change, but we prefer to smack our heads up against the ceiling of our own limiting and stuck beliefs, thoughts, attitudes, and habits. It’s safer to keep beating up against what we know, than simply walking through that open doorway into our light.
The light can be scary, even though rationally we say we want the light, because the light is filled with our beauty, our gifts, and our radiance. We’ve been so trained to believe that we are our struggles, our lack, and our limits. What would happen if we dared to walk through that open door? It’s right there, just shift where you’ve been focusing and change your perspective.
Maybe “up until now,” brilliant phrasing by the way, it’s always been ..., but what if today, you approach it differently? You own your light, your radiance, your expansiveness, and then you decide how it’s going to turn out. You make a new choice and move forward with faith.
Now, sometimes when you do that, that negative ego voice is silently stalking in the background, just waiting to say- “see, I knew it wouldn’t work!” So don’t give it the opportunity. Before you start, own that this time will be different and consciously release any part of you waiting to prove yourself wrong for wanting to expand. Wanting to prove that you were right all these years for holding onto that belief etc. Gather your courage, tell all parts of you that you are stepping through that doorway, forgive any part of you in resistance, and take a step. Imagine all the wondrous things you can discover in the light. Let that motivate, versus scare you.
You deserve a life of your dreams. You deserve complete happiness. Make a new choice today. Shift your perspective. Stop beating your head against the old ceiling, it’s time to turn and walk out into your new life. As for that moth, he finally made it into the light, and so can you. Freedom awaits.
As I write this, I have just found out that Anthony Bourdain committed suicide. That’s two well-known people in one week, and who knows how many countless others.
The thing I loved about Anthony Bourdain, was how he would shine a light on atrocities and injustices that the collective consciousness may not have known about, all the while, doing it over food; a seemingly benign topic, but one that could open the door to deeper, more philosophical issues. But for all that light he brought, he still battled his own inner darkness.
I do not claim to be any sort of expert on suicide; so instead, today we will talk about our own inner darknesses as a way to bring them to the light, so that we can be healed.
It is so important to acknowledge your shadow and your own inner demons. All the positive affirmations in the world won’t make a dent if your inner darkness has more weight. The biggest culprit to that darkness, is your negative ego.
The negative ego, while being a part of you, is just that- negative. It would destroy you if it could. The negative ego wants you to feel that you’re special, and it puts that specialness in the guise of telling you that you are more spiritual then others, more sensitive, that you are too sensitive for this world, or that you are so unique that nothing helps you and that your issue can’t be fixed. Specialness is a big tell that your negative ego is at play. Again, even if that specialness stems from how damaged you are; that you are more wounded then the next person.
Conversely, it tells you that you’re not enough, you’ll never be enough, you should just hide in the corner because nobody cares what you have to say, you’re less than others, and unworthy. It’s the nasty voice in our heads that whispers that our deepest fears will come true: we’ll be humiliated, punished, abandoned, etc. It guides us towards self-sabotage, flames our resistance, keeps us in fear, distracts us from positive actions, and likes to create problems where there are none.
That’s why it’s so important to learn to take your power back from it, and say things such as, “cancel clear,” when it says awful things or, “I refuse that thought,” and then replace it with a new, positive one. Sometimes I’ve even said, in a non-attached way and with no emotion, “Shut up, I’m not listening to you” when it gets too loud. If you engage it in a loud shouting match, then it’s won, so you need to be detached. The more cognizant you can be that that voice is your negative ego, and not your true self, the more empowered you’ll be in your life and the more you’ll be able to shine your light.
The last thing it wants is for you to shine. It wants you to stay suffocating in the darkness, so it might tell you that this blog doesn’t apply to you. And when you do start shining, it wants you to think that you are so special and better than everyone else. So stop giving it that power. Stop giving it the power to over-elevate, or diminish you.
Start to observe it, see what messages it uses to keep you stuck, and realize that’s not the truth. You have to be hyper vigilant with your thoughts so that you do not succumb to it’s call.
My friend Holly Higgins is brilliant at teaching how to recognize and overcome the negative ego. At the bottom is a link to her negative ego video, and she also has a blog post and PDF on that page for further reading. I cannot recommend it enough.
It’s time to end your codependence with your negative ego and to take your power back, so that you can create an empowered life, while diminishing your dark. Remember, nothing changes until you do.
Me, just sharing ways to make you the best you can be!