Dancing with Your Shadows

Do you ever feel like you have to pretend to be happy or ignore your feelings of depression, sadness, anger, fear or shame?

As beacons of light in the world, we tend to avoid our shadows or act like they don’t exist as if that will make them disappear.

A few years ago one of my wife’s friends asked her if I was always so happy and positive. Renee told her that I am normally, but it’s not easy being married to “Mr. Sunshine.”

I have always been an optimist. Sometimes to my own detriment. I prefer to focus on the positive and firmly believe that where attention goes, energy flows. I never want to be a victim, a “poor me” or a complainer.

I also realize that avoiding a problem does not always make it go away. I know people who are suffering, but will not go to a doctor because they are afraid of the diagnosis. Physical wounds that are ignored tend to fester and worsen. Emotional wounds do the same, but they are easier to burry and hide.

Imagine if you could face your darkest fears and even savor them knowing that all things work for your highest good. You can.

The challenges in your life, as much as the victories, offer you growth and opportunity to serve others. My last two notes compared the “Path of a Messenger” to Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero’s Journey.”

It begins with the “Departure” phase of responding to your calling. Once you heed the calling of your soul, you move from the “Departure” phase into the “Initiation” phase. There are five stages in the “Initiation” phase; “The Road of Trials,” “The Meeting with the Goddess,” “Woman as Temptress,” “Apotheosis” and finally, “The Ultimate Boon.”

Campbell wrote about these stages over sixty-five years ago and while they are still quite relevant not only in stories, but in our own lives, I am also learning that we are evolving and outgrowing this paradigm, especially as light workers and inspired messengers.

After having my heart broken as a teen, I shared my first love poem, “Love is a Bird in the Hand” with my mother. She said it had a very sad ending and recommended that I write an uplifting follow up. Maybe that was her planting the seed of optimism in my heart. I did write, “Waiting for Another,” and included both in my book, Maximizing Your Human Experience.

After I wrote the following blog and shared it with my spiritual mentor, who I will be introducing in our upcoming workshop series, she suggested, “We no longer need to learn or teach from the shadows. As beacons of light in the world, it is up to us to demonstrate a “new way of BE-ing” which does not require pain, suffering or fear. We can now BE love and help others from that place.

I am very curious to hear your thoughts on this. How do we create a new story for the “Hero’s Journey” to reflect an evolving paradigm firmly rooted in Love?

Here is my summary of the cycle from which we are currently emerging:

The first stage of the “Initiation” phase is “The Road of Trials” or the school of hard knocks; a series of tests that you must undergo to begin your transformation. It’s the personal challenges and obstacles you overcome that forge your tools for personal growth and service to others. You may not pass the tests on the first try, but you are persistent and gain strength and courage with each attempt.

In the second stage, “The Meeting with the Goddess” refers to discovering Divine love, a guiding force throughout our journey. This is when you experiences a pure love that has the power and significance of the all-powerful, all encompassing, unconditional love that a fortunate infant may experience with his or her mother.

Stage three, “Woman as Temptress”, symbolizes your temptation of pleasure. You might even become so distracted you stray from your quest. Woman is often used as a metaphor for the physical or material temptations of life, since the hero is often tempted by lust from his spiritual journey. For me, it was material wealth. I stayed at a j.o.b. for 12 years because I got complacent and comfortable.

One of my three major themes for this year is “Surrender,” which is represented in stage four, “Apotheosis.” Letting go of our attachment to ego and control allows us to live in spirit and move beyond the pairs of opposites to a state of divine knowledge, love, compassion and bliss. Realizing that Divine Intelligence has a much better plan for you than you can possible imagine with your human mind creates a sense of release and freedom. This step provides a period of rest, peace and fulfillment before you, the hero, begin your “Return.”

Finally you reach the goal of your quest in stage five, “The Ultimate Boon” of enlightenment and Divine connection. All the previous steps serve to prepare and purify you for this step. In many myths the boon is something transcendent like the elixir of life itself, or a plant that supplies immortality, or the holy grail.

The “Initiation” phase can be dark and scary with many demons to face. Once you are on the path you already know there is no turning back. No matter where you go or how well you hide, the initiation will haunt you until you take it on. There is no place you can hide from the intention of your soul. The reward you receive is greater than the trials you must overcome. To receive the fullness of your bounty, you must learn to “Dance with your shadows.”

Does it REALLY have to be that way?

How do we co-create a new way of learning, growing and BE-ing without the fear and pain?

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