As the end of 2016 draws to a close I’ve been in quite the reflective place. I’ve also been looking forward too… keen to plan/see/know what the future might hold. That’s how I ended up chatting to a psychic this weekend!
Not your average woo-woo, Stephen Paul is a down to earth trucker cap wearing dude who, when not tapping into his intuitive super powers, stunt doubles as a labourer on building sites. It was awesome.
More of a motivational coaching pep talk than a ‘your long lost relo has a message for you’ or ‘in five years you’ll [insert generic dream here]’ style convo, one of the strongest themes to come through our wide ranging one hour chat was the value that can come from stepping in (and up!) to completely embrace your dark side (or ‘shadow’, or any of those things you hide about yourself from the world).
I recently did a stocktake of all the self care Sunday, mindful Monday and other meaningful content I’ve posted here in the last two years. That the total amount of words I’ve typed on these topics is on the way to a PhD thesis blew me away!
I’ve loved these weekly writing exercises I set for myself for many reasons, but my chat with Psychic Steve today reminded me that even if the reason behind them is important to me, it’s still so easy to ‘curate’ your online life in a way that shields others from your reality.
I love photography and there’s so much power in telling stories visually, yet in our hyper-connected modern reality, whether through motivational memes, elevator selfies or Photoshopping/filtering images to reflect what we want to see, we control the view into our lives that others receive.
Weekly people reflect back to me their impressions of me from professional and personal interactions with me, and occasionally someone will say ‘wow, it looks like you’re doing amazingly from your ig/fb page’. Most of these interactions leave me shaking my head in disbelief: how can these people not understand that it’s my job to portray my brand values of wild, wise, wellness? For them to not know, as the saying goes ‘I do yoga to burn off the crazy’?! I totally do!
And sometimes when I tell people how I really feel about things, they’re shocked because they thought I was ‘nice’ (just ask Santa, he can verify I haven’t made that team for years!), or they just don’t know how to take it when I say something other than positive motivational cheerleading.
Or, bless -when I stop trying to protect everyone else’s feelings and ask for what I really need, people get offended and call me unyogic. That’s my personal fave! Hot tip from the teach: yogis are people too! We live the same lives, make the same mistakes and have to learn the same lessons as you…we’re all in this together and when you graduate from yoga teacher school -sadly-you don’t get a free ticket absolving you of being a total a-hole sometimes! We’re still on our L plates for life too! We’re not gurus, definitely not perfect! We’re just seekers along the convoluted path to knowing ourselves more deeply alongside you. We’re doing our best too. But I digress…kinda.
All the above examples serve to illustrate the essence of the reminder I received today: that in order to fully embrace yourself, YOU have to accept both those light, happy, fun bits (and we all know that’s easy, right?) AND those bits that are broken, crooked, twisted, askew, confused, in turmoil, ashamed, vulnerable (etc. you get the theme!) And this bit is HARD – this is our work. What all the yoga, fitness, goal setting, meditation, reflection is for. To learn to love those bits we’d rather extricate from ourselves, pretend aren’t there, don’t exist, don’t influence us…except until they do…
Like when you lose your shit for no apparent reason over the littlest thing, when the envy monster rises mysteriously, when the shame or the fear or the pain overcomes you and you’ll do anything to avoid it – eat, sleep, shop, yoga, run, lift, phone a friend, watch Masterchef.
What ever it looks like is individual to you – what’s not is that we ALL experience it. Some have mastered the lessons of self care and love, and evolved into a place of non-reactivity. Others are still blissfully ignorant of their base programming…others – like me, opened a door somewhere along the way – that led to the path of painful enlightenment. And after a few lessons learned you begin to see that just like removing a bandaid, that the faster you rip through your trauma/’stuff’/address and accept the dark, the faster you’ll heal…
Just like this stunning image I snapped in a Canberra cafe yesterday illustrates, the Raven – spirit messenger, dark like those parts of your soul you’re still hiding are – has a gift for you. And it’s beautiful, if only you’re willing to receive it.
I’ve been working on my dark side all year in 2016. With butt kicking coaching ably complemented by practical exercises in the form of shithouse life lessons, relationship and communication breakdowns, business failures and bucketloads of bad decisions both personal and professional. So even without the social media thesis, it’s been an educational year!!
And there’s plenty more lessons left to learn!
So here’s your Sunday evening reminder that despite what you might see in my social media feeds, just like you, I have shite days, bad days, sad days, broken days, ungrateful days, lazy days, dazed and confused days and fab days, glad days, proud days, ecstatically happy days, joyful days, playful days, memorable days, inspired days too.
Know that wherever you’re at, someone close to you has been there too. And if someone is being an a-hole, maybe cut them some slack, know that you too have a-hole within you and that with a little love and understanding we can all evolve together.
I basically got called out today on not applying my rules of engagement to myself! My work for 2017 is to love myself more-positive and negative, light and dark-they’re both me- and both worth equal lovingkindness 💖. And to let go of some of the fear about just being who I am… And giving waaaay less of a damn who likes me exactly how I come…unfiltered, organic, imperfect – but fabulous (obviously!). And finally to be gentle with my badass self too.
I hope 2017 holds much the same for you! Namaste.