Why Warrior? We are all fighting something, aren’t we? This world is full of things to push against us and create conflict. The word ‘warrior’ invokes images of bloody battlefields and regimes rising to fight the injustices against their people. Historically this word carries a masculine trait of fight and fury.
However, for me, the word warrior holds a different meaning. We are at war. We are constantly fighting against ourselves. We get pushed out of our comfort zones, dared to travel beyond the furthest reaches of our reality and it’s tempting to be complacent, numb, and play small. This is why we hear “ignorance is bliss”. By staying in our comfort we get to be in denial of the work ahead of us.
I feel like the Universe, our guides, and our own internal wisdom want more for us though. Not from a place of judgment, where these wise voices are saying we are less than what we are. But from a place where they believe we can be more than just being comfortable. They know we are capable of stepping boldly into the being we came here to be.
It is our ego that would have us be small. It would wish us to stay in our comfort zones because it can calculate the danger in the world. But that is the place where dreams go to die and passion wanes. The ego fears for its survival, therefore will see anything uncomfortable as dangerous. It views you taking risks and daring to go further in life as danger to its existence and will work ever-so-diligently to talk you out of such fantasies.
‘Warrior’ speaks to me, it says “have courage, push past what you fear and see the magnitude of all that you are.” It means standing up after falling down, dusting yourself off, and getting back into the game even when every limiting voice is screaming in your head telling you to sit back down.
Yes, we are all fighting something. But the warrior rises to the occasion and dares to have more.
Carl Jung said it best when he stated:
There is an interesting rumor going around that says if we just stay positive everything will be ok. So many people think that if they smile through the pain, the pain will eventually go away. But what if the pain you feel is really a message? And what if that message is more valuable to your whole being than a million fake smiles? Pain, sadness, and even anger aren’t at all “bad” like we’ve been taught to believe they are. And it doesn’t make us bad people for feeling them. It makes us a whole human.
And isn’t that what we’re all striving for? Wholeness? Spending every waking minute focused on the light doesn’t make us whole. Yes please, strive to do good in the world. Care for others, help when someone is in need, act from integrity, yes. But pretending to be happy does not make one happy. We know when we’re BS-ing ourselves. We must be willing to acknowledge every part of us if we are to achieve the wholeness we seek. That includes addressing the shadow within us all.
So let’s talk about that untapped resource called the shadow.
What is the shadow? According to Jung the shadow refers to an unconscious aspect of our personality which is unknown to us. It is a psychological term for everything we can’t see (or choose not to see) in ourselves. Typically it is the aspects we don’t like about ourselves, therefore we hide them away so to avoid the shame in having them. We hide them so that others won’t judge and condemn us for having them. In fact we hide them so deep down that we ourselves aren’t always conscious of their existence. And yet, there they sit. Festering into the wounds that drive our everyday choices.
Because we tend to reject or remain ignorant of these least desirable aspects of our personality, the shadow is largely negative. There are, however, positive aspects hidden simply because we don’t feel worthy of them. Low self esteem, anxiety, or having false beliefs about our worth in the world cause us to push down these positive qualities. And anytime we carry around feelings of being unworthy we tend to sabotage the good in our lives. It is a catch-22.
According to Wikipedia: The shadow can include everything outside the light of consciousness and may be positive or negative. “Everyone carries a shadow,” Jung wrote, “and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.”
He goes on to say that the shadow is the unknown dark side of the personality.
Because the shadow is instinctive and irrational, it is prone to psychological projection, in which a perceived personal inferiority is recognized as a perceived moral deficiency in someone else. These projections insulate and harm individuals by acting as a constantly thickening veil of illusion between the ego and the real world.
In other words, when we deny our shadow we will see it in someone else. We will project our own “dark traits” onto others in order to keep ourselves distracted from our own wounds. As long as we are pointing our finger at someone else’s shadow we think no one can see ours.
It’s an ugly game. And all humans play it. Because let’s face it, it’s scary to look at our own shit. We distract, deny, and justify…all just to get through our day in the hopes that people will like us and think we are swell. In the meantime our shadow is there, asking for our help so to heal what is wounded. It’s time we stopped acting like it’s not there and fully give it the attention it deserves.
Where do we start?
The first step in doing shadow work is to get over the addiction of judging yourself for having it. Shut that inner critic’s voice up and stop punishing yourself for “being a bad person” We are not bad people because of our shadow.
Secondly, our shadow is a gift. It holds within it all that we have denied throughout life. The good and the not-so-good. This is an opportunity to sift through the garbage and reclaim all the beauty, talent, intelligence, and pizzazz that you have but thought you didn’t deserve. All those times when you were proud of your accomplishments but someone made you feel ashamed for it and you threw it away…yeah, you get to have that back. Anytime you did something well and someone was jealous of you so they decided to hurt you…yes, that’s there too! Anything and everything that made you amazing in this world but someone made you question it, you threw in the trash. You stuffed it down because it hurt just too damn much to have it. Well guess what, you don’t have to pretend to be “normal” anymore.
And what about the not-so-great things about you? Those are the things that simply want to be acknowledged and forgiven. It’s in the awareness of those traits that give us navigation to be the people we want to be. When we make a mistake we now know how to navigate our choices to do better. So “mistakes” aren’t really mistakes. They are experiences in knowing self.
We aren’t perfect. And we’re going to screw up from time to time. But wouldn’t it be better to just accept it, allow it to be forgiven, and learn from it rather than to hate it and hide it away in the basement? It never heals when we do that. That wound just sits there and rots. But nothing can stay hidden long. Eventually it will want to be acknowledged and will come up to the surface.
Shadow work is a proactive step to opening the doors of the basement and sifting through the garbage. It’s being brave enough to face all you’ve hidden in there. It’s about being willing to clean up your own shit so that you can reclaim your integrity with yourself.
Everyone makes mistakes. But what you choose to do after the mistake makes or breaks your character.
Be brave enough to see who you are. Who you REALLY are. To be whole is to embrace the entirety of your being.
The beautiful. The ugly. The brilliant. And the mess. YOU!
Scared to take the first step? That’s ok, I’m here to walk with you!
Go to My Calendar and schedule a Complimentary Consultation and we’ll create a powerful plan that will get those basement doors open!