Integration of the self
I am both man and woman
Angel and demon
Sun and moon
Light and darkness
Yin and yang
Earth, wind, fire and water
Are the constructs of my keeping
I carry within me a song as old as all creation
Which I hold in safe keeping
For a time of revelation
Whereupon I shall step fully into the arena
Unfolding my true colours
I will lay me down to die
So that others may live
So that humanity can grow beyond
Its self-made boundaries
Towards its destiny
Give me the powers of the king but for a day
So that I can show you the way
(….I have learnt to live, in the wild woods, far from the captive masses. This decision has created my own space, enabling me to live outside the cultural enclosure. Each day I swim in the clear crystal pool of the wood and turn gold from head to foot. There my wounds are healed by the earth father; there I am at one with my white shadow, who is my other self. I need no tools to do my work, nor heat to keep me warm. Here I am not lonely for all creation is at my side…..)
Sometimes we don’t know which way to turn. We have a decision to make, a project to start, a relationship or job to end. How do we know what is the right choice to make? One way to discern this is to imagine making one choice and see if you feel lighter inside or a sense of heaviness or dullness. If something is for your betterment, your inner guidance will respond with a good feeling, a sense of relief.
How does your world respond to your efforts? When doors open, you meet others that reflect positively your interest, you find information showing up, and you feel uplifted exploring it, then you are getting a big yes! That’s the basic feedback that I look for… If it feels like I am trying to push for something to happen, then I know that either the timing is off, or I am not really aligned with it.
A subject viewed from a bad mood will rarely lead you to experiences that you will look back on with pleasure. Sure you may learn something about yourself in the process. But choosing to raise your vibration to a higher level before looking for work, making that important phone call is one of the most fundamental and useful practices that you can embrace. The range of options open up exponentially when we are in a positive state and changing our mood is far more in our control than we sometimes admit.
Ask yourself what you most want, to prove your pity story, or to live the life of your dreams! If you are ready to move in the direction of more ease and pleasure, then check in, what action could you take right now that would feel good. It could simply be a bath, a walk, or putting on some uplifting music…As you begin to feel better, you now have access to a new range of options that you couldn’t have seen from your lower energy.
I liken it to a department store. Ground floor is neutral, fairly peaceful, not much going on, but drop in mood and you go down a floor, at this level there are old ideas and negative beliefs on offer, not very useful tools, grumpy assistants and it’s all rather grey. Go even lower still and the scene is worse, on sale now are stories of impossibility, hopeless views, apathetic compadres and you can’t find the exit! Victim Central! There’s only one way up from this floor and it’s by remembering it’s an illusion, a holodeck! Breathing into the awful feelings in the body will lessen their hold on you, music helps enormously too. Maybe it’s something angry, loud or mopey that will help you express. Facing what you actually feel and being with it with acceptance will soften its’ all suffocating hold on you. If all else fails, simply taking a nap can break the spell. Just remember, when you awaken feeling better it’s up to you to keep reaching for positive thoughts..
Once you feel some relief creeping in you are on your way up the elevator. Keep assessing your choices and reaching for the ones that feel lighter and you will find yourself in the department of hope, where a bright ever changing range of opportunities display in front of you. Higher still is the restaurant where you will meet others who have taken actions like you, the music is to your taste and reflects your happiness and conversations happen that open doors regularly to the higher realms above! How high you can go in a day is up to you, the first step is to recognise where you are.
When you notice something in a person that deeply activates you, triggering a negative emotional response, do not judge it, do not deny or abandon the feeling, move towards it, open your heart to that person, empathise with them, embrace the feeling.
The activating person is not the cause of the emotional response, they are but a mirror into your psyche … for what you see is a lost aspect of yourself, that wants to be invited back home to you, your greater self …
If you can recognise, welcome and even love this dark or shadow self, learning to accept it, then the healing can flow and growth can ensue.
This is regenerative shadow work – only in the shadow, will you find the missing parts of yourself that are essential for the journey ~ without integrating them, you will arrive at your destination, bereft of your wholeness.
If you are anything like me, when you first started hearing the phrase ‘you gotta love yourself’, you thought well how on earth do I do that? Obviously if we are hearing it, someone thinks we aren’t doing a good enough job of loving ourselves already! How do they know…what do self-loving people do differently and were they born like it, or do we all have to learn how to do it? I think many of us do need to…
I’ve been on a journey with those questions…probably like most of you reading this. I’ve learnt that to me self-love means being honest with my preferences, saying yes and no when that’s what I mean. I also feel self-love when I nurture myself well. Eating lovely food in an enjoyable environment, taking time to stop and celebrate the rolling hills and sunsets, expressing myself through my clothes and music and developing friendships that are mutually satisfying and enriching.
I take a look around my life in a 360 from time to time and look at all my reflections. What do my home/body/work/relationship life/health/friendships tell me about my self-awareness and self-love? It is really wonderful to be able to ‘own’ the reflections when they are pleasing, to trust that anything good in my life is there because I attracted it. I see my life as my art and I love to see it all as a glorious work in progress. It is hard going too when a glaring area of lack is suddenly brought into focus. Yet it is in those moments of contrast in our lives that we define our choices. We choose what we do want through the experience of what we don’t.
I’m learning not to fear the contrast, but to pick up my ‘brush’ and start creating the next details. Here is where I must love myself in whole new ways…there is so many aspects of us that want to join the party! As we become more true to ourselves, these aspects have a disconcerting habit of showing up unexpectedly and demanding entry and no amount of resistance is going to make them go away. In the end we must simply open the door to the lovefest and invite them in!
I start by facing the embarrassing new arrival, whom I may not be willing to sit down to tea with just yet and breathing into my feelings. Sometimes I pick up a pen and ask what it has to say and let it rant or weep…Other times I can sense the age of this part of myself that feels unworthy of love and this helps me to open my heart and invite little me back in. It’s really amazing how good this feels, to integrate a little part of me into my heart, very tangible and warming. Try it- you’ll like it! Imagine your mini-me climbing into your arms for a cuddle, wrap your arms around yourself and breathe deeply. Ask if there is anything he/she wants to say and answer back inside like you would to a sweet child. Because that is what you were and still are in parts. We only get to fully grow up when we take our inner child with us. Afterward doing this somehow you can sense that you are now more ‘solid’, which can certainly help when you meet other peoples’ inner kids!
I’m going to tell you my other favourite tip for self–love….Every time we allow love to flow through us we are loving ourselves too. As it pours into us and out from us, we get the blessing of its’ flow. Love is what we are and by being true to what we are, then every aspect of our lives are blessed. We express what we came here to do, which is have fun, explore, give our gifts, grow in capacity to exude our essence and anchor our light here on Earth. It sure feels good to simply be our own true self.
Many of us know of the Yin-yang symbol of Taoist origins standing for the masculine and feminine – but how much do you notice the principles it points to in your everyday life? The symbol shows two interconnected shapes, one black, and one white, with a dot of the opposite colour contained in it. Do you recognise your masculine energy (yang) in action? Do you feel and notice the feedback of your feminine (yin) energetic sensitivities? They are fantastically helpful to be aware of and can bring great balance between our masculine and feminine and understanding to our relationships and life in general.
Yang predominates as an energetic force in males, but is also a force that we females use too. It is our go-getting, manifesting, make happen, creational energy. It defines our interests, our focus, protects our concerns.. Yin is our stillness, the responding, feeling, receiving aspect of our consciousness. It is the all watching, noticing, quivering with feeling part of us that is most often recognised as a characteristic of females, but as the symbol shows is inherent in males too.
It is clear looking back over the last century in particular, that women have been developing a deeper connection to their masculine energies, taking over farming, manufacturing and commerce during the wars, rolling their sleeves back and feeling their accomplishments. After the wars came the backlash from the group psyche, having re-established safety in their countries, men in their many thousands crashed and burned, relaxed with a joint, dove into the many arms of the feminine and discovered how they really felt about warring and being expected to act as puppets for the government policies..
The massive movement ever since into self-knowledge, therapies, philosophies and healing from our stories has been all about the clearing of our feminine feeling states. The impulse to learn about all this has led to an emptying out of the ‘muck’ in our ponds, letting more clear ‘water’ come in and allowing a higher vibration to develop as our chosen way of life. What use is all that powerful yang energy if it runs wild into problems, killing and controlling anyone in our way. Only when we have tended to our fearful, divisive killer instinct and transcended this reactivity can we truly serve life..and enjoy it.
It is the natural order of things that the feminine inside of us be still regularly, receive from the Divine, be in-spired then allow our masculine energy to arise to action, to determine, define, lay structure and make it so.
With regular inward visits to feel the reverberations that move through the inner feminine systems, to breathe, to sound, to allow all reactions to settle, we can ‘land’ back in connection with ourselves, deepen our trust in the Divine reorganising principles. We will get the aha’s, the completions, the insights, the recovery of what we thought we’d lost.
Then we can sense where to put our attention and efforts. Everyday gives us myriad chances to practice this, even as I type now…I feel a pause, notice my senses, birdsong, breath, rising and falling…then my next words flow.. from yin comes yang, comes yin…comes yang…
Will you make a practice of pausing for inspiration, openness.. ‘a breath free of opinion’ I call it. Then your next actions will be filled with more presence, more potency, less need and fear. This is a wonderful practice for all people regardless of their gender and will lead to greater harmony within and certainly then all around.