Soft Pink Underbelly

puppy

Okay let’s all take a moment at the beginning of this post to just bask in the cuteness of puppy.

I chose this photo deliberately to highlight a point for me. When dogs lay on their backs exposing their soft pink adorable bellies it is not because they are trying to be cute, it is an act of submission. They are exposing their most vulnerable parts and pretty much doing exactly what this photo says, yelling I surrender!

I was thinking about this today as I processed some feelings and got to know a new shadow that surfaced. The feelings were anger and frustration.

Personally I do not see feelings as anger and frustration as “true” feelings. I think they are masks. They are protector pieces that show up for us so we don’t have to experience the true feeling underneath that is much more vulnerable and in turn, painful. Anger and frustration are the dog snarling and barking as a way to protect it’s delicate pink underbelly.

When I peeled back the first layer I saw what my anger and frustration were trying to distract me from: rejection. In that moment I had so much gratitude for the feelings of anger and frustration I had been feeling because rejection is a lot harder to sit with. It is much easier to get angry and frustrated and blame others and ignore the rejection all together.

Admitting that I feel rejected hurts. It is painful. Why?

I peeled back another layer and found shame. When I am really sitting in my true feelings around rejection then anger and frustration and blame fall by the wayside and what I am left with is shame.

Shame when I consider things such as was I not good enough? If that is true that means I do not deserve this. Then come questions like, What is wrong with me? and What could I have done differently?

Rejection is no fun at all. I am ready to be angry and just stay there, that is safer, it is less painful.

There is clearly more shadow work to do around rejection, and shame, and even entitlement (which absolutely shows up with rejection).

Right now I feel like the helpless little puppy. My pink underbelly is exposed, I have let down my guard, I surrender to these feelings and am open to the lesson they hold.

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Reclaiming Righteous

mask

It was as if a flood gate opened in me yesterday after I wrote about my intention to work on my relationship with my shadow pieces leading up to soul camp. Suddenly a million voices rose ti my surface ready to accept my invitation to be seen. The first in line, self-righteousness.

Apparently some of my shadows are very open to a relationship, it was just up to me to send the signal. So I spent the day with self-righteousness yesterday listening to my own inner wisdom and exploring my truth a little deeper.

I started my relationship with this piece here, where I explored my initial reactions to the word righteous. Towards the end of the post I spoke about reclaiming the word righteous, and I still have that intention; getting to know my own self-righteous piece has helped me understand there is more work to do before I am able to get to that point.

First things first, get out of victim mentality. I wrote that post with an outside perspective. “I am uncomfortable with this word because of others”. That is true, but it is a partial truth. A fuller truth is I am uncomfortable with this word because of my own sense of self-righteousness. I have to be able to see myself in all of this to fully embrace this shadow and reclaim this word.

Here is where I am going to start..

When I started this blog 5 years ago I was absolutely caught in a trap of dichotomous thinking patterns. I was judgemental of others while unwilling to process the source in myself where the judgement stemmed from. Therapy helped me with this, so did being in the two social work programs. I recognized something though while I was spending the day getting to know self-righteousness; while I may have moved away from black and white thinking and judgement into the gray area of AND there is still room for judgement to exist here in the form of self-righteousness.

This kind of judgement might even be more toxic actually than the judgements I was casting previously. I remember when I first started back in college I was making observations and judgements about all kinds of stuff, “these millennials and there addiction to their cell phones”, “her clothes are not professional”, “that professor isn’t qualified”. My professional piece is a pretty judgemental piece I admit. I really had to reign her in.

Now as I have been waking up to my higher spiritual self and my own truth I cast aside these judgements and have been much more open to different ways of doing things and allowing each person to be as they are rather than as I think they should be. At least I thought I was doing this.

Apparently my spiritual piece has some shadows as well; enter self-righteousness. I sat in front of a man the other day who was caught up in his own victim mentality and I judged him for it. That is my truth whether I want to see it or not. My thoughts were not “this guy is bad or wrong”, no my self-righteousness does not pass those kinds of judgements. My thoughts were “this poor man doesn’t even realize he has the power to change this”. My self-righteous piece passes judgement disguised as pity.

I look around and see a world full of people that have not woken up to this thing or that thing that I think they should be waking up to and I pity them. I pity them from my place up here on the top of the mountain of enlightenment. And while I just tried to say it is not a judgement of right vs. wrong or good vs. bad, that’s a lie. It totally is. I am up here and you are down there, and I am right and you are wrong.

This is why people do not like to do shadow work. It is not fun to be this honest with yourself. We like to let our happy flag fly, and our freak flag fly, and our I’m-a-great-mom flag fly.. However, we certainly don’t want anyone to see our judgement flag, or our manipulation flag, or our I’m-over-here-being-a-jerk flag.

Well that is the flag I am flying right now. I’m over here being a jerk.

My truth belongs to me. It makes me feel good and centered and connected. The things that makes me feel this way may feel like utter torture to others. I do not need tolook at others and pity them or judge them in order to feel sound in my truth. If the words I am speaking are truly my truth they should make me feel this way on their own.

Old habits die hard. I thought I was shedding judgement and instead I was just dressing it in new clothes.

I am grateful that my own self-righteous shadow piece rose to the surface and accepted my invitation to build a healthier relationship. I will definitely being working with this piece while at soul camp. I am curious to see what a little unconditional self-love will do for my self-righteous/judgement pieces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soul Camp Part Two

soul camp

I got the email today confirming the second soul camp and it was like a bright light at the end of the tunnel. Soul camp takes place right after I finish internship and it is that something extra to look forward to as I wrap up my time as a student.

This time around we are focusing on shadow work which means we will be embracing or dark parts, our manipulators, our liars, our pieces that maintain victim mentality etc. I am sure it will be a struggle for all of us. I wouldn’t even be surprised if less women sign up this time around. I went to a workshop last year where we were processing our relationship with money and how shamey it can feel, of all the people that originally signed up only myself and one other woman showed. It ended up being one of the best workshops I have been to. At the beginning of the year I did another workshop where the same thing happened.

We were doing vision boarding and processing the barriers we create that stand in the way of us meeting our goals (it was essentially about self-sabotage). Only two of us showed. I get it. The dark stuff is scary and most people do not even want to admit they have darkness, let alone spend a day with it, or worse yet an entire weekend where you are being held accountable for engaging with it.

Shadow work has been where I find my truest self, my deepest truths, my purest love for myself. Personally I love shadow work. I love shadow work AND it is super painful. It is absolutely more thorns than roses but they are all part of the same being. You don’t get the rose without the thorn so learn how to love that thorn.

Here is the other thing I am learning about shadow work and learning to love my darkness; it is not scary when you get to know it. I am less afraid of the dark now, literally and figuratively speaking, than I have ever been in my life.

I am can’t wait for everything on the horizon and the fact that day by day that horizon is getting closer.

Shadows and Reflections

triggers1

Over the summer when our soul friend was visiting she and I stayed up most of the night her first night talking about everything. I was thinking about her today while I was on campus.

There is a colleague in the program who seems to be triggering a lot of people, at one point I was included in that. I feel like once a week at least I am hearing something about him, there are lots of stories swirling around. At first I really struggled with him as well but I processed it in therapy one week and realized what the trigger was for me, since then it is much easier for me to have compassion for him. Each time someone is venting about him I encourage them to figure out what their own work is around him. We are not triggered for no reason, he is bringing us all our work and that is what this post is about.

When I am triggered I usually know it. My feminist piece shows up, or I might become more sarcastic, or I might curse more, or I get really passionate in general however that manifests.. Look at the last post I wrote before this one, it is a perfect example. I know I was triggered while writing it, you can feel the energy shift in a post like that versus a post where I am processing something from a less emotional place.

There is nothing wrong with being triggered, it happens to everyone. When it happens for me I look at it as an opportunity to do my work. For example, I may have already written about this I do not remember, with this colleague.. I processed my being triggered by him with my therapist and realized it was specifically his insecurities that I was being triggered by. I was triggered because this aspect of him showed me a piece of myself that I do not love or have a great relationship with. I am insecure too and do exactly what this guy does, I try to hide it or overcompensate in some way to make up for it.

That is how triggers work. Our triggers show us what we should be working on. If someone triggers us it has less to do with that person and more to do with us, whether we want to admit that or not is a whole other thing. When this happens it is usually time to pause and ask ourselves what is this person showing me about myself that I do not want to see right now?

triggers

This happened to me today which is why I bring this up. I was walking between classes with a colleague and this colleague was sharing the latest scandal with me about this other colleague (the one who triggers so many people). Apparently he said something that offended a lot of people, it sounds like he was passing judgement based on his own biases. She was upset about it and I was thinking to myself, that is probably where her work is.. I do understand how what happened is upsetting and offensive, I also understand that part of the reason we get upset and offended in these kinds of situations is because they remind us of pieces of ourselves we do not want to be reminded of.. Our shadow pieces..

Shadow pieces are the darker sides of ourselves people hide and try to deny they have.. They are our manipulative pieces, our jealous pieces, our judging pieces, etc.. Everyone has these pieces, some maybe larger or smaller etc but they exist in everyone and we REALLY do not like to be reminded of them which is why people like Donald Trump trigger so many people. We do not like to be reminded that we all have a little inner Donald Trump in us somewhere. Go ahead and deny it, but he is in there buried in all of us.

So for my friend I was thinking about how she might need to work on her relationship with the parts of herself that judge other people because right now those pieces are being super triggered by the judgement they witnessed this colleague pass.

This work is not super fun I am going to be honest with you. No one is super interested in getting to know their manipulative parts, most people want to deny they even exist. It is so much easier to walk around being offended and triggered and not having any ownership over it. I am not even saying there is anything wrong with it, it is how most people function and who am I to question that. I am merely pulling back a curtain to reveal something a little deeper that is there beneath the surface for anyone who is interested.

Take away from this what you want, even if it is nothing.

triggers2