A Tale of Two Wolves: Shadow Work & Embracing our Darkness To Lead From our Light
Life certainly isn’t always rosey and positive. It’s not just the times of light that teach us but also times of darkness. I will be sharing the importance of faith in dark times, the power of transmutation and healing through our darkness. A powerful portal exists between the void of darkness and light. Most of us here understand that being on a Spiritual path doesn’t prevent us from facing the darkness, but it teaches us to use the darkness as a tool to grow. Many of have and will face hard times, whether that be the loss of a family member or friend, an illness, an injury, a breakup, loss of a pet, a difficult experience, or any traumatic event that has caused us pain.
During these dark times, it really makes us stop and think. We often re-evaluate everything. It’s easy to get stuck in that darkness and pain. Many of us struggle deeply with the meaning of life when things don’t go our way. Another way to look at this is to ask yourself during these times, “What is this pain here to teach me?” Depending on how firmly we hold onto the past determines how well we can move towards the lesson, a brighter future, and deep soulful healing. When bad things happen to good people it isn’t fair. Sometimes we can get caught up in the “Why me?” or "Poor me!" The thing about pain, loss and trauma is that it breaks us open and our energy becomes more fluid. While in this state we are capable of tremendous growth. This is the tremendously healing meeting point between the dark and the light. Here we are often forced to re-evaluate everything we thought we knew about ourselves. When we hold tightly to our past pains as victims, we limit ourselves and our healing. When we hold loosely to the idea of victimhood, we open a portal of tremendous healing growth. I can’t emphasize enough the power of the question, “What is this pain here to teach me?”
In 2015 I was in a bad car accident that shattered my left leg and ankle. Before the accident I had been very physically active. I enjoyed sled dog racing, skydiving, bodybuilding, mountaineering and running. My injuries were so severe that I spent 3 months on my couch healing because I couldn’t walk up stairs, drive or work. I had three surgeries during that time, a staph infection that threatened to take my leg and was out of work for over a year. It was a very dark time. During that experience I deeply grieved the loss of never being able to do any of those activities again.
Spending time out on the trails with my sled dog team was a special kind of medicine for me. It broke my heart to realize I would never be able to do this again. Skydiving for me was another source of pure joy and freedom. I grieved deeply that I would never again fly and soar with eagles in the sky and feel that pure freedom that jumping out of a plane gave me. It also broke my heart that I would never be able to go on long runs to clear my mind and condition my body. I gained almost 30 pounds and felt like a wounded alien stuck in someone else’s body. I spent a lot of time thinking like a victim and was angry at God for allowing this to happen. I was also angry at myself for allowing this to happen. The more I fed into that energy the worse I felt.
About that time I started getting into meditation. It helped me begin to understand that I am not my thoughts. It helped shift me away from “Why me?” thinking towards, “What is this here to teach me?” thinking. Even though it is true that I will never race sled dogs, skydive, or run again I learned to let go of my attachment to needing those things. Buddha said, “Attachment is the route of all suffering”. It’s 100% true. As soon as I got away from thinking that life had to go back to the way it was so that I could be happy, the shift began. In this sacred healing space I became more aware of the thought processes that told me I needed to do all those things to be happy and fulfilled. But the truth is I didn’t. Once I released my attachment to needing to do those things I found tremendous freedom.
As I began to go deeper and ask myself what is the blessing in this experience? Why do I feel like I need to do those things? I started to realize that it helped me get away from pursuits of ego and led me towards pursuits of the soul. I started to realize that my Mediumship abilities had grown tremendously as a result of the accident. This was a blessing! I started to realize that all of my past struggles were transmuting into experiences that brought me deep wisdom. Nothing is lost, nothing is wasted. We can’t go back in time and change bad things that have happened. But we can make the best of it. Through faith we can gain the courage to face the future head on.
Sometimes the route of many of those attachments resides in the ego. I thought I needed to do those things to be happy, but through deep soul searching I discovered that I didn’t. This lesson led me to ask myself many questions. They included, “What is it I am here to do?” “What is the meaning in all of this?” “What do I need to release to feel more fulfilled on my path here at Earth School?” “What is the lesson from all this pain?” I discovered that through our pain, we can find our Light. By releasing these attachments I found my higher calling. That darkness taught me to re-evaluate my life and find the deeper meaning. Sometimes in our falling we find ourselves.
As this world is a mix of dark and light, so are we. We all have a shadow self and a light self. We never completely do away with the shadow self. But every day we have the choice to lead from our shadow or our Light. The Shadow Self forms part of the unconscious mind and is composed of repressed ideas, instincts, impulses, weaknesses, desires, perversions, ego, and embarrassing fears. Under every rock, you can find darkness, but light and darkness need each other to come into existence. Until we learn to embrace that darkness within yourself we can never fully pursue the light of empowerment, understanding, and self love in a balanced way.
When I talk about embracing or integrating your shadow self, I am not suggesting that we indulge in all dark desires within. Instead I mean that indulging your anger will simply result in more anger. Indulging in the ego results in self serving, low vibrational behaviors. Indulging in victimhood results Spiritual and healing stagnancy. Indulging in loss results in an experience of lack. By embracing your inner darkness I mean that it is necessary for you to “accept” it and look at the deeper meaning. Accepting and not running from our darkness allows us to take responsibility.
Once you truly acknowledge dark traits instead of avoiding them they’ll stop having control over you and your life. By being honest with ourselves and accepting our shadow elements, it frees us up to truly witness the uncharted areas of our subconscious minds. Allowing ourselves to see that we are not these elements, but instead are thoughts, feelings and drives that come and go. One cannot simply go beyond hatred, judgement or racism if we don’t first admit to ourselves that we possess those feelings. If we hold judgements and prejudices we often remain stuck in that vibration. Quite often these things are taught but can just as easily be unlearned.
We cannot overcome our pain by remaining in victimhood. We cannot walk in our power if we are committed to re-creating the past. If we are able to honestly look at the question, “What is this pain here to teach me” we begin to walk forward in our Light with an empowered Spirit.
To fully experience healing and understanding we must learn to experience our Shadow Selves, and voyage into the dark, murky waters of the unknown courageously. Otherwise, every time we condemn other people for their shadow traits we’re in essence condemning our hypocritical selves in the process.
The void between dark and light is powerful. The Curanderos, or shamanic healers of Peru, perform an ancient inner balancing ritual. This balancing ritual is a rite of passage that is passed down to all those who are interested in the ways of the living energies of dark and light. During this ritual, the Curandero works from behind his table which is an altar for healing ceremonies. This table is then divided into three different sections. The right side is filled with “light” elements that exist as objects such as the crucifix, feathers, flowers, photos of saints and khuyas (gemstones of power). The left is made up of all the dark elements of life, such as knives, weapons and any item that carries destructive energy. The middle of the table between these two opposing energy forces is said to be where the healing happens.
When deep healing occurs our light and dark must overlap. It’s not light or darkness that creates the healing, but the meeting point between where they both touch. This idea of a meeting point between the two strongest forces of life is not limited to shamanic healers and has been known for thousands of years.
It is quite necessary to seek the light within the darkness and recognize the darkness within the light. This notion is also at the heart of Taoism, or belief of Yin and Yang. A profound error that we make in the West is to view the Yin Yang symbol as static. It is in fact moving, constantly blending and balancing. Not separating our darkness and light. The meaning of this symbol encompasses how, when combined as one, these two opposite energies create harmony and balance within the universe. These energies exist in all living matter and are the basis of life since nothing can exist by itself. The Yin Yang symbol is an excellent interpretation of life and how each action, characteristic, and aspect has an opposite that is its equal. One cannot exist without the other. This requires a positive and a negative to complete the whole.
Personal growth is our contribution to the vibration of life, the collective consciousness and our higher self. When we are able to use our darkness as a tool to grow we can transcend and create an entirely new vibration. As Winston Churchill said, “It is often darkest before light.” The space between dark and light, the shadows of uncertainty and the beacon of awareness disguise or reveal the character and nature of the person. Others can point the way, but only you can illuminate and navigate your own path.
Sometimes obstacles seem insurmountable. We think challenges are not worth the risk. Only you can decide whether the pursuit is worthy of the reward, and only you can begin to chip away at the impediments to your forward progress. By facing our darkness with brutal self-awareness we can powerfully transcend. Our hard times can break us open to show us the deeper meaning. The space between dark and light, the void, the shadows of uncertainty can become a beacon of awareness through our struggle. Spirituality can help us find deep lessons in those struggles, and find the higher meaning. If you are going through dark times, I encourage you to ask yourself:
“How can it help me grow?”
“What is this experience teaching me about myself?“
“How can I walk forward with these lessons?”
“Is there something I need to release?”
“How will this help me along on my journey?”
The void between dark and light is a magical place of transformation. In this sacred space we can learn deep lessons about ourselves and our greater purpose. Between our Yin and Yang lies the possibility of finding our true self and purpose. If we are courageous, can go within, and seek these deeper questions we can unlock our highest potential. In every dark time there lies deeper meaning. When we can trust in the Universe and the Great Spirit during this journey, deep magic happens. In our darkest hour we can find our greatest Light. Next time you are struggling with some darkness ask yourself, “What is this here to teach me?”
~Christina Dawn Eagle