facing the shadow

I’ve been exploring my ‘wild woman’ within these last few weeks in my travels to places that are known to have high energy in the land. 

The land in Asheville, NC was potent! And felt deeply feminine.

Being in the mountains surrounding the city took me even deeper down into my wild woman within. In the past the parts of me, that I could name as the archetypal part of me that is ‘Wild Woman’, have seemed so tied to so many of my perceived shadows parts and so I hid her away from myself in shame. 

In the unconscious we not only suppress the shadow but we also suppress the sublime.

When we face our deepest pains/shames/fears/anxieties we also create access to suppressed joy. When we release the difficult in order to honor it by seeing it, we also let loose our trapped joy and even our wildness giving us access to more of ourselves.

This is the question I asked myself which brought me closer to my inner ‘Wild Woman’: What if entertaining your ‘nightmares’, giving them some ‘screen time’, is actually just a deep need welling up from within to explore the edges of yourself? The want to be allowed to explore extremes and contrast and chaos. What if those fears that come in the night are simply possibilities for expansion? For becoming more of yourself?

I wanted to remind myself how to live in the depths of all that exists within me. Reminding me my capacity to expand THROUGH contraction. 

We’ve learned to tame ourselves to fit in. To more easily find our way in social engagement. The problem with this is that we end up locking part of ourselves away and we forget the wisdom in our edges. Then these parts of us become shadows because they aren’t allowed to be seen and they show up as chronic emotional and/or physical discomfort.

The word shadow can sometimes feel overwhelming. It gets thrown around and used in so many different ways.

I think the ‘shadow’ self is an important component of who we are. As I get to know my own shadow more and more she’s not actually so shadowy or scary or broken or wounded. 

She’s wise. 

She teaches me how to reclaim myself every time I come up against something difficult. 

She is my inner wise woman. My crone. And my wild woman. She is my guide. She is me. 

And she’s the parts of me that have been hurt. That’s why she’s so wise. She has always had access to the emotions I didn’t make time to feel or at times didn’t believe I had the capacity to be with. 

My ‘shadow’, this She I am referring to that is me, only became a ‘shadow’ because there were too many times in my life when I refused to listen to her.  

She only became the ‘shadow’ part of my BECAUSE she is wise enough to know when my feelings have been hurt. She knows the moments when I overrode myself. When I didn’t listen to what I actually WANTED. When I couldn’t ask others for what I wanted. When I didn’t receive the love and the care I needed from myself or others.

Mine in particular just wants to dance. To sing. To be with trees. To swim. To sleep enough. And most importantly to be allowed to practice her magic without judgement. To be allowed to speak without judgement. 

She really doesn’t ask for much, but when she doesn’t get it —- then comes the stress. The joint pain. Muscle tension. The anxiety. The overactive mind. Feelings of confusion and just a general sense that something isn’t quite right. 

It’s been time to listen to her… to help me reclaim the fullness of myself. Without regret. Without confusion. 

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