Hello, everyone! How are you on this rainy morning? It may not be raining where you are. Maybe it’s sunny and cold. Maybe it’s sunny and warm. Maybe it’s snowing like gangbusters! Whatever it is, I hope you’re having a peaceful morning, even if you’re scurrying to get ready for work or school or daily tasks.
This morning I finished P.M.H. Atwater’s book on near death experiences, Beyond the Light. It was very good but I’ve reached the end of my interest in that topic for now and am ready to move onto the next one. For some time I’ve been veering toward the thought of the human shadow and have been picking up references to it here and there, so it seems as if that’s the next set of books I’ll delve into. I have two in front of me now, A Little Book on the Human Shadow by Robert Bly and Meeting the Shadow: the Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature by a whole passel of wise folks. I already had these in my personal library, so isn’t that handy? I’ll start with Bly’s book because it’s shortest and will be a quick but impacting (hopefully!) door into this newish area of study.
When I was young, and I mean up until my early forties, I had a vision of myself as a world-changer in some way. This mission was important to me; I was ambitious and very tied into my society and the people around me. I still am to a certain point, as evidenced by a dream I had the other night. It was set up in three sections: without going into details because that can be mind-numbingly boring for anyone but the dreamer herself, I’ll just say that the first section revealed the incredible freedom I’m experiencing now as a whole person… when I’m by myself. The second and third sections revealed the struggle I still have with losing myself when I’m with others, identifying too closely with their thoughts, desires, energy, to the detriment of my own. The “detriment” was illustrated by the end of the dream, when I walked through steel doors at the end of a field, and found myself alone after they clanged shut behind me, and sick in spirit at the way I’d compromised my own beliefs to enter into those of others, because I wanted to be loved, to be found worthwhile.
By myself I’m a conscious, awake, aware, vibrant, quick-thoughted, energy-full being of light and love and joy, replete with enthusiasm for life and whatever I’m learning!
With other people, not so much. Sometimes not at all. Sometimes it’s the opposite and I’m completely in the dark and drag the atmosphere down because I can’t seem to bridge the gap between what I feel inside and what I convey to others. It can be very frustrating. This has been an area of great pain to me lately.
But what I’m trying to do, what I need to concentrate on doing, is shut out everything around me and take one step at a time, as it comes to me, no matter how off the beaten path those steps take me. I know I’m off the beaten path. I like that about me. I like who I am a lot. Not my personality so much because that can be a righteous mess sometimes–but I like my I, my soul. I love my soul.
I hold daily therapy sessions with my soul, which I envision in either male form or female form, depending on which attributes I need at the time. A quick example, though not of the therapy aspect: before the drive to my sister-in-law’s house, an hour and a half away over busy freeways, I asked my male Higher Self to be in charge because I needed the more aggressive, external-based energy that is typically considered a male characteristic to get me there confidently and in one piece. It worked beautifully. When I was almost there, I invited my female Higher Self in so that I could be emotionally and intuitively present to Sherrie while I was with her. That worked beautifully, too.
These are, of course, simply forms of active imagination that I’ve come to view as helpful to daily living; they’re as real as I make them, that’s all. Meeting with my soul, male or female version or both, journaling, contemplation, and prayer are the most effective means to happiness I’ve found because they emerge from within myself; they’re not dependent upon people or circumstances, which are always changing. I talk about happiness a lot lately, have you noticed? The reason I’ve become such an evangelist for it is because it’s so new to me, and I continue to be in awe that I can feel this way after a lifetime of low-grade unhappiness, a thin drone of despondency that’s run through my mind since I can remember, since I was tiny. I no longer have that and haven’t for around a year and a half. I went through an emotional trauma, my own near death-like experience, and came out on the other side, transformed. It wasn’t a quick transformation, except for relatively, but it’s been steady and sure. I’m not the only one who’s noticed; I’ve been encouraged and gratified to be told by many people that there’s a glow about me, a peace and gentleness, that wasn’t there before. Believe me, I am so grateful for this. Thank you, God. Thank you.
It’s weird though, this happiness. In some respects, life has become harder because of it. As I said, trying to bridge the gap (it actually feels more like a chasm) between my inner and outer experiences has been incredibly difficult. On the one hand there’s contentment and wholeness, but on the other, major confusion and disappointment when it comes to friends. Friendships were never hard for me before. They are now. But it occurs to me, as I’m writing this, that I determined quite awhile back to start at the beginning of my relationships, in the middle of the circle, and work my way out because I’d been doing things backwards, focusing on friends and neglecting my family. So I started with Scott, then moved to my children, my parents, my brother and sis-in-law and nephew, and am trying to be open to other family members, though that’s harder because they live further away. Still, I’m aware of them now, think about them, pray for them. My point is, I’m concentrating on my family because they’re here. They’re the foundation. It makes sense that friendships are a little wobbly right now, since I’m still smack in the middle of working it out with family. I can see that it’s going to take some time to get things in order.
So, patience, which is what it always comes down to! Being patient and kind with myself, allowing my process to flower at its own rate–and like a flower, to die down and lie dormant for certain periods before it rises again to reveal a brand new flower, and hopefully even more abundant, bright, and fragrant flowers than before! Life is not a race. It’s a slow awakening to experience, a loving gentle stroll through warm sun, soft rain, green pastures, beside still waters. Psalm 23, possibly the most beautiful piece of poetic prose ever written, the way I say it to myself:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
May you find your own peace today! May you feel the love that’s already there for you, in you, all around you! You are exceptional, just as you are. Love. xo