February 24th, 2023
It has been awhile since I wrote to the community. I’ve been in my “winter cave” these past months feeling the energy of hibernation with little desire to poke my head out into the world.
Winter is the season of going inward. I have been using the energy of winter with its fewer distractions in my online course RECLAIM to help students (and myself) work in the depths of our shadow, or unconscious mind.
Shadow work is some of the deepest work I know, and some of the most liberating. As Rumi says, “the moment we go inward, our ignorance disappears.” We start to own and see both our messy human ways and our divine expansive ways.
One of the first questions I posed in this course was to think about 5 qualities you admire in someone and then 5 qualities you really dislike about someone. After everyone made their list, I shared that these are the qualities of ourselves that we have pushed down into our shadow, so we project them onto other people around us. Look to what you love and hate in others, and you see yourself.
As we move closer to Spring, I believe the nature of shadow work shifts. Instead of our focus being on the dark aspects of self that we push away (i.e., jealousy, rage, fear, betrayal, shame), it is time to work with our “light shadow” or the positive aspects we push away. We can learn, grow and evolve as much from reclaiming our positive qualities as we can our negative qualities.
It doesn’t stay winter forever! We don’t have to stay indefinitely in the hard stuff or feel as if we have to suffer an eternal uphill climb toward ‘something better’. We are meant to experience more love, more forgiveness, more compassion, more stillness, more fun, more reverence, more faith, more optimism, and more miracles. This is the time of year to be reminded of this!
So, as the light returns and Spring inches closer, here are things to contemplate:
- What dreams do I have?
- What is inspiring me lately and can I follow that path?
- What is flowing in my life?
- Can I make more space for pleasure, for fun, for lightness, for joy?
Sometimes it is difficult to be joyful in the face of all the pain, injustice, and sorrow in the world and within ourselves. Yet as Rebecca Solnit has written, “joy is a fine act of insurrection”.
Your joy matters.