Hi there friends!
Well once again, I’ve fallen off the grid. I’ve promised regular content and connection and I’ve broken that promise. And more than that, my Sankalpa for this year was ‘Connection’. After a year of building one very vital connection, with Quinn, I decided that it was time to reconnect with the world and with my own passions. Well I have to say, sometimes I feel like I’m failing big time at this!
I sat down over the weekend (edit: last weekend - i am slow at typing haha) during the Winter solstice to take a moment of reflection on my life and my year so far. This is something I like to do in the depth of the darkness. So, culturally here in Perth, we mostly just get excited when the Solstice is over because it means we are out of the darkest day of the year, which means we inch towards Summer again. Sure, I am totally guilty of this! But there is way more potency to the Solstice and this is an invaluable time for introspection and reflection that we can harness.
What of the Winter Solstice?
Not only is this a perfect midway point in the year to reflect on your life in a broader sense, it runs deeper than that. The real magic lies in our darkness. The Winter Solstice is the moment in time (around June 20-23 over here) where we experience our longest night, or the most darkness in our calendar year. When it is dark outside, nature guides us to look inwards. The step further than this is to see where the darkness also runs internally. In other words, when it is dark outsifde, where too is the darkness within (because we are all just nature right)?
What of my darkness am I embracing and what am I rejecting? We all have light and dark. Just as we are masculine and feminine, solar and lunar, yin and yang, we are equal parts darkness and light. So, if we say for example, ‘oh I am so grounded in my feminine’ and this is the image we consciously project to the world - the part of us that is passive, nurturing, fluid, what we often find is that we are rejecting or suppressing our masculine self. It would be easy to think that this is the right way to go - embracing the wild feminine is all the rage - and a very important movement if you ask me! HOWEVER, it is our masculine self that has drive, that is ‘straight-up’, astute - these (and many more) are qualities that we also need to embrace- they can be vital to getting shit done!
Another example is someone who wants to be known to the world as being incredibly altruistic - so much so that there isn’t a selfish bone in their body. Well that is great, but if that is the image you are working hard to project, I can guarantee, there is that other very human part of you that is yearning to take an extra helping at the dinner table - that greedy little part of you that is being neatly tucked away. The more we deny a part of ourselves that we don’t want to accept, the more we keep it in the shadow, the more it will appear and re-appear in our lives, in a painful, shameful, ugly way, in spite of our greatest efforts to avoid it. This acceptance and avoidance of ‘the self’ is mirrored in our physical body and there is a lot we can learn from our yoga practice, from our patterns of tension and injuries - particularly recurring ones as to what we are ‘forcing down’ in the shell of our body.
I highly recommend that you spend a few moments, cocooned in blankets with a hot tea (or a wine) and take a few moments to think about your shadow. This is not easy work - it is deep, dark and messy - and for the most part, our shadows and demons exist in our subconscious so recognising our shadow can be very difficult! But for the sake of our own growth and evolution - which we all yearn for, I highly recommend it. Oh and it is certainly not too late! The solstice, like my publishing deadline, may have passed, but as i look outside at the sky cloaked with grey clouds and a scattering of hail on our lawn right now, I figure, we are well and truly in the depth of Winter! I would love to hear your comments on this. What part of your shadow are you ready to bring into the light?
You can also look at how your yoga can support you in ‘fleshing out’ your shadow. Are you looking to re-connect with that masculine part of you? Get sweaty in a heating, empowering vinyasa practice. Are you avoiding your ‘lazy’ self? You need some yin! It is also a great practice to try incorporating the yoga poses that you dislike immensely into your regular practice - learn to give those stiffer, more painful parts of you some air time- I promise that in time, your most loathed asanas will become your BFF.
So, how am I working with my shadow?
Well, it is clear to me that I am avoiding connection and communication because deep, deep down (neatly and quietly tucked away in my sub-conscious) is this part of me that doesn’t feel worthy of that connection. A voice inside that keeps me busy doing chores so I don’t have time to sit down and write to you all. A part of me that says ‘you stink! You’re a rubbish yoga teacher and you have nothing to offer.’ Rationally, I know that this is not the case.
By acknowledging this to be the case, it becomes a lot easier for me to recognise the resistance that I create. I am very good at poo pooing social media so that I have an ‘excuse’ not to use it. But if i’m honest, I crave that connection. There is a part of me that feels like sending out a post with a little pearl of wisdom into the world is a little act of kindness to the world- helping others like me to remember that we are not alone on this journey. So now when i realise that it is the end of the week and I have posted a big fat zero out into the world but I have a very small washing pile, i recognise this little busy pattern I have. I now pledge to drop the chores and do some of my work - it is vital for my evolution, and in some way, for everyone else’s. It is important to remember that we are all here with a specific Dharma. We all have a light to share and we actually owe it (think of it as a karmic debt) to the world to share that light and make our contribution in our small time on Earth.
So, please excuse me while I withdraw from the world a little. I am still working away, making big plans. Finding ways to share my authentic self with you all - embracing all sides of me and helping you do the same. Stay tuned for updates!