In the Shadow of Anger

afterglow-art-backlit-556669Can shadows be tangled? Or are they more like a web? Waves?

What is the nature of your shadow?

The recent full moon and eclipse had my shadow running wild. Like all those aspects of myself that I pretend aren’t there or don’t like, and the worst possible beliefs about myself all rising to the surface. Instead of subtly running the show from those places where I attempt to contain the shadow within, it has had more power lately.

Memories of past trauma that I had thought truly was healed arising. Fierce ancient anger populating my heart and forcing it to crack wide open day after day. A momentary day or two dip in mood and constant chatter flying fast fueling (and fueled by) all that emotion. Chatter around relationship and feelings of loneliness trying to prove to me that nothing will ever change. That I don’t know how to build relationship. That everyone will leave me. That I am not good at it. Memories of every conflict in relationship and realizing that somehow I believe once there is conflict, that person on the other side doesn’t like me anymore. The relationship, logically, needs to end. Or never even start. The collected anger built more and more strength so that it felt as though there was a massive unknown conflict in my near future and I should just stay away.

Stay quiet.

Instead of expressing the anger. Instead of yelling and screaming and throwing a fit. Instead of going back in time and telling those people who have hurt me that it wasn’t okay. Those who I hurt, saying to them, it wasn’t okay. Instead, separating myself until the intensity of emotion passes. Not bringing it up. Not saying it. Who wants to be around that much emotion? If I don’t even want to, then who else would? More thoughts devised to help be believe I’m different. I don’t belong. Separate. Others get to have relationships that are close, but not me. A stream of examples of other people and what they have and I don’t marching steadily through my mind.

I could feel the energy tearing into myself and, in the past, this would have launched me into some sort of depression or mania or both. Walking on both edges of imbalance, striving to contain it all. A bit of that did happen and, amidst the intensity I was also stable within and able to remember that none of those thoughts are true. They are just trying to tell me something in shadow-language.

I discovered a pause and all of that energy, reaching its peak and width, paused too and transformed. Instead of letting the feelings and thoughts take me over and drown me, they shifted into two intentions.

It is my intention to give and receive love.
It is my intention to forgive myself.

Underneath all that wild internal ride within the shadow of myself, this is what is being called out for.

Seeing those intentions, my heart softened. The sharp edges I had been experiencing melted away. Not denying the anger that deserves a voice, actually saying to it, I hear you. I hear you and love you. I hear all the hurt. I feel you. Let me feel you. I’m ready now.

It was the first time I could stay with the emotion, in all its intensity and watch it move through stages every day for about a week. Confusion and attempting to deny it at first (as per usual), then feeling it course through every cell of my body until I was livid, and, lastly, in a yoga practice, allowing it to transform into big sweeping tears and fall around me onto the mat. Releasing.

Emotion is just energy in motion. It’s water. Even the fiery intensity of anger that I continue to learn how to be in relationship with. The more I don’t express it in relationship with others in a healthy way, the more I feel inauthentic in those relationships. The inauthenticity now feeds the loop of ending that relationship (because I start to believe the relationship is what isn’t authentic but really it’s my strong desire to deny my anger) to avoid conflict and reject the emotion because I still don’t know how to safely communicate it to others. Without fear of retribution or, what I’m realizing now, is the fear of my own ability to inflict harm with my anger. Belief in rejection has been easier, or I thought it was. Turns out that it’s not about those other people and whether they like me or not, even though that’s what my shadow likes me to believe.

It’s that years of denied, then deeply repressed anger is moving through the process of coming into the light. It knows that I have the skills to let it through. It knows I have the ability to process it now. The tools, the practices, the ability to give it the light it has always craved. That it hasn’t received because I’ve tried to keep it hidden, as I also hide myself from others instead of showing it. (Knowing now they can see and feel it anyway).

My shadow may feel like a wild ride of a wave when it surfaces with such focus and force. It may feel like it’s knocking me off my feet or down, trying to take everything away and leaving me feeling directionless and without and really, it’s quite methodical. All it needs is for me to say, I see you. I hear you. I love you.

I forgive you.

The fear of expression isn’t cutting it any more. It served me as a kid, and I’ve used it to cope, and now that elusive shadow pushing itself up to the light is saying it won’t remain locked down any more.

It wants its time to shine and I’m the only one who can let it.

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