"It's all about the shadow-work ultimately isn't it?" he said.
Truth be told, I didn't really know what he meant.
But he was darkly handsome and seductive. Acting as if he knew. As if he carried the keys to the spiritual riches I so desperately wanted.
And I believed him.
Let myself be led right into the heart of darkness with him. Confusing paradox to find myself there. Thinking we were both seekers of the light.
And yet it was SO DARK.
Sexual deviance. Heart-ache. Abuse.
Self-abandonment. Self-loathing. Self-destruction.
That was 14 years ago.
When the call to awakening came - some 6 or 7 years before that, I really hadn't a clue what people meant when they talked about their "shadow".
But once I took the red pill, so to speak, the shadows emerged thick and fast.
I wish I'd had a framework for understanding what was happening.
At first I thought it was everybody else.
HOW could THEY do/be/think that?!!!
WHY were they doing/thinking/being it???
WHAT had I done to deserve this?!!!
Then, when I began to realise, this was about me, I felt too ashamed, guilty and afraid to admit to my ugliest traits.
Which, I figured were far worse than everybody else's.
Oh yes, it was a feel-bad field day. Not only did I have shadows. But mine were absolutely the worst. Bad bad me!!
I imagined everyone would judge, hate and reject me.
I guess I judged, hated and rejected myself.
Over time and after a LOT of spiritual practice, enquiry and personal development coupled with teaching and facilitation, I softened, opened, healed and integrated.
Coming to see shadow-work as beautiful, empowering, a gift.
The kernel of life's invitation to awakening.
And vital, actually, to any kind of wholeness, wisdom or growth.
It's become a crucial ingredient in my work and I'm adept at digging for the gold I just know is hiding in the confusion, blame, shame and pain.
Which I'm compassionately able to hold and penetrate. Because I've been there.
Today, as I sat in sharing circle with others on my Venus Sequence course, it really struck me:
As each of us spoke of our enquiry into our shadows, we lit up. The field of authenticity opened our hearts.
Fostered connection and compassion.
Enabled us to see and feel the we in me.
How funny, I mused.
We've been schooled to feel ashamed of our "sins" and to deny them.
And yet they are the key both to our ultimate potential and our hearts.
It's another one of those inversions of mainstream/religious conditionings, that has it all topsy turvy.
Our dark is not to be feared, but embraced. It offers us life, not death.
If you are stuck in the shadows just now and wishing for some gentle yet laser-sharp transformational support, reach out.
I see you.
I love mining the deep stuff and getting to the heart of the matter with you. I love loving you in your vulnerability and forgetting, whilst reflecting back to you your innocence, agency and magnificence.
The flip, relief or insight can come surprisingly quickly in that field of compassionate, embodied presence.
And - if you want them - I've got both a huge toolkit of practices and actions to draw upon, as well as intuitive and channelled guidance to offer, in support of your embedding the shift.