Updated: Jul 6, 2021
My granddaughter had a piece of bubble gum yesterday. While she was chewing it, she started coughing and coughing. She spit the gum out and exclaimed to me, “this gum is cursed.” So starts a misguided belief system based on fear.
I used to believe the same idea that darkness is outside of me and finds me when I’m not looking. I’ve since learned to understand, my shadow side is the opposite of my light. I embrace both.
“Imagine there is a part of every human being that has the power to be our teacher, our trainer and our guide, leading us to strength, creativity, brilliance and happiness. Imagine this part of us is just waiting to be seen, to be heard and to be embraced. But it is not patient, and when left unexamined and ignored, this part of us has the power to sabotage our life, destroying our relationships, killing our spirit and keeping us from fulfilling our dreams. So what is this mysterious part of us, buried deep inside our consciousness? It is our human shadow.” – Debbie Ford, What is the Shadow
We enter this earth as a shining light with a desire to grow into who our soul aspires us to be. We are affected by our circumstances that inhibit our light, which brings out our fear side, that brings out the shadow side.
“There are only two emotions: love and fear. All positive emotions come from love, all negative emotions from fear. From love flows happiness, contentment, peace, and joy. From fear comes anger, hate, anxiety and guilt.” - quote by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Fear is contagious and like a virus it spreads from person to person appearing to be an outside entity infecting randomly those unlucky to be in its way. Truth be told, every event, reaction, circumstance and negative emotion holds the essence of fear that may be buried deep down beneath all the qualities of the shadow side. We hold the essence of both.
When I become fearful, I become immobilized and refuse to change for fear that something else bad will happen. Debbie Ford says it best:
Fear keeps us rooted in the past. Fear of the unknown, fear of abandonment, fear of rejection, fear of not having enough, fear of not being enough, fear of the future-all these fears and more keep us trapped, repeating the same old patterns and making the same choices over and over again. Fear prevents us from moving outside the comfort-or even the familiar discomfort-of what we know. It's nearly impossible to achieve our highest vision for our lives as long as we are being guided by our fears. - Debbie Ford
I believed my struggle was separate from me, the bad guy so to speak, so it’s easier to avoid it. By educating myself on my shadow side, I learned my shadow actions are based on fear. When I am functioning from my fear, life is not tolerable. So I call upon my Higher Self to remind me I learn better when feeling supported, cared for and loved.
I write down my fearful thoughts and feelings, and I discover so much hiding based on those fears I chose to believe. I listen and ease up, ease my fear. We don’t have to do it alone. Just like we find a supportive loving presence in our Higher Self, we can also seek support from our Higher Self with our shadow side.
Together we create a loving supportive space as we listen to our fears, trusting as we face our perceived darkness, we release its hold on us.
Otherwise, to resist is to persist. To deny our feelings keeps the pain hidden. The pain represents our stuckness based on fear. It’s a loop unless we intervene with love and gentleness.
My mind went back to the Robert Louis Stevenson poem entitled My Shadow. At the end of that poem, the young person realizes that, when he gets up so early, the sun isn’t up. He can’t see the shadow. I think we need to know the light and the love in order to be able to see the darkness, see the shadow. I was reminded as well after the Boston Marathon bombing, we were reminded of quote by Martin Luther King: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
I wanted to say I finally got the book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Dr. Susan Jeffers off my bookshelf. It really got through to me about fear this morning. In reflecting on the internal blocks, it really comes down to fear. I’m committing to read it.
Thank you. I mentioned several times about the dreamwork I’ve been doing. I am present with my four-year old self who went through a significant trauma that I’ve been carrying with me all my life. This has influenced decisions I’ve made my entire life and this fear has been driving some decisions I’ve made. Right now, I am visiting a place from my past and there’s a lot of energy here, and I just had a transforming experience yesterday from another realm that was very powerful. Thank you for listening and for acknowledging the power of fear and the dark side.
I feel saturated in fear. I am saturated with fear with my severely ill family member. I don’t know how to push forward through it, and it is based in reality. I get such comfort from my cat, and my cat is also not well. I don’t know how to move through this saturation.
Shirley answers: It’s important to remember as you affirm you are saturated by fear, you could also affirm you are saturated with love even though you don’t feel the reality of that yet. It reminds me of a red-hot electric burner on a stove. We know it’s red hot. We can see it and know it is hot. We can also affirm we are safe. We wouldn’t touch it because we see the hotness, but we can affirm we are safe. It’s the use of the words that can soothe ourselves in the saturation, so that the fear doesn’t overtake us. We affirm we are saturated with fear as we face the huge challenges. We are more present to face the challenges. I hear what you say, the reality of the illness is real. We can help ourselves through the process by affirming with love not with fear. Love means love. Fear means fear. If you say I am saturated in love, the word love holds the energy of love.
Often when I feel saturated in fear, I remember it’s not who I am; I’m much more. If I imagine a lot of space around that fear, I can separate myself from it and I can say I am way more than this fear I’m feeling. That seems to really help me a lot.
Shirley answers: Choose to listen to what words you are using, what words your mind is using. We can use our minds also with the intention of love as well. The mind is so easily triggered. It’s like a well-traveled road that is used to focusing on fear. We can use the same road to create the solace instead of the fear. It’s either/or. We have a choice.
I was thinking of the insidiousness of darkness and fear. How do I be more present so that when there is darkness that is not easily grasped, it gets in my way. If I just ignore it, I can’t do anything about it. I want to see it and practically deal with it.
Shirley answers: I have to say from my own experience, as a child I didn’t understand at all about boundaries and they were crossed and stomped on and taken and violated. I didn’t have a sense of where I began and where I ended. As an adult, I nurture myself, care for myself, and as I start healing, the boundaries emerge. It’s all a process of learning from the inside. Once we reparent ourselves, the boundaries emerge and the foundation becomes stronger.
I’m just getting a grasp on the shadow self. A very close friend pointed out some behavior I was doing I thought was cute and funny, but they were uncomfortable with it. I am so grateful she pointed this out to me. She suggested this behavior came from my shadow self. We have been able to talk about it. I sat with the conversation for a couple of days. It deeply affected me. I now realize what was behind my behavior and I’m much more consciousness about it. I crossed some sort of threshold in my awareness. Recently, in my time with my friend, I feel lighter, full of love and freedom that had not been there before. Truly, we don’t always see the shadow self. When we bring the shadow into the light and learn from it, it can be freeing.
Thank you for this—lots to contemplate. It became a little clearer today that my first response is anger and then my chore is to get beyond the anger to my fear. That’s the challenge for me.
Shirley answers: That is so true. There’s an animated movie, Moana, a story of a young girl finding her power. It all comes down to love or fear. A beautiful story, simple and enjoyable. A battle between love and fear.
Shirley answers: In all my teachings with Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, I always look at it as a ladder that goes in the opposite direction. We have our reactions at the top of the ladder. If we step down a rung and look under that reaction, what do we find? It might be anger. Let’s step down another rung and look underneath that rung. What’s there? It’s usually fear. It always comes back to love or fear. The ladder metaphor is an amazing tool I use to question my reactions and also reactions of others.
Thank you for your ears and eyes and hearts being present. This is such an important topic. Like EMTs working in extreme situations, they learn to focus through the crisis. We can do that with ourselves to focus as we deal with our crises. Blessings to all of you. be gentle with yourselves.