The paint follows the paintbrush across the white of the canvas; a glare from the sun sits atop the liquidity of it, as if trying to warm it dry. It becomes a trance. No thought. The painting begins to paint itself through me. I feel like I am a translator for the colors and patterns to come to life and to be seen and felt. There is no thinking about what color to use, it has already been chosen and the fingers instinctively know how to find it. There is no thinking about how to paint it; the heart knows how to direct the movements to make it. I am in the middle of a new frequency painting today. In the midst of the dark night of the soul, this frequency has come to tempt me from the chaos of the inner turmoil. It is a commissioned piece, a frequency drawn for someone else. But it will effect and influence me as I draw it. It will affect all those who come into contact with it before it reaches its final destination on the buyer’s wall.
I have put myself on a month long project. It is time to actively apply my own teachings to my life again. I have a master creator’s mind, rich with the gifts of obsession. It is both a gift and a curse. In the dark night of the soul, it is a curse unlike any other. The momentum of the expansion of my consciousness is so fast and strong that when it is headed in a negative direction it can be very dangerous to my life. So I am backing off on shadow work for the time being and instead, I am aiming that momentum in the opposite direction. I am focusing my attention in every spare moment towards something that feels a bit better and a bit better until it becomes habit for the mind to focus on something that feels good. I am answering my own SOS call. I think it is beautiful that I have chosen to rescue myself in this way given that I have been teaching lately about discovering needs and then meeting them. The deeper I dive into the remnants of my childhood trauma, the more I become aware that I have always wanted to be rescued. And in truth a part of myself must grieve for the fact that no one did rescue me. I had to rescue myself. It is at once lonely and empowering.
I have been sensing a lot of confusion in people about how to ‘balance’ the seemingly contradictory yet complimentary practice of shadow work and positive focus. Tonight, I went to dinner with Justin Olaguer (a more distant member of the intentional community). And he illustrated a way of thinking about it that I think is worthy of sharing with everyone… Think of three bubbles. One bubble represents self-love. One represents shadow work and the other represents positive focus. Now imagine the self-love bubble on top and the other two on bottom side by side… If you draw lines from self-love to each of the other bubbles, you end up with a triangle. Self-love should be the criteria by which you decide whether to do shadow work or positive focus. It is the highest power. And self-love is held up by both practices.
If you ask yourself the question, “What would someone who loves themselves do?” You will have your answer. For example, sometimes we are avoiding our inner child and ourselves by not doing shadow work and so it is self-loving to do shadow work. Sometimes, we are denying ourselves joy by doing shadow work and so it is self-loving to do positive focus exercises. See them as two tools; either is to be used when it would suit us best to use that particular tool. We just have to be very honest with ourselves about what is self-loving for us at the time and if we don’t know, we can ask our heart and if we can’t hear our heart, we can wing it by taking a guess.
I was asked in an interview two days ago, why I have chosen to sacrifice my seat on the pedestal as a spiritual teacher by exposing my own shadows to the world. Those of you who have followed my work for a time, already know the answer. I could be like nearly every other teacher and conceal them from the world. When I enter a dark night of the soul, I could just take myself to a cave in a mountain somewhere and call it a transformation upon my return. But this doesn’t do much good. It is only a half-truth.
The birth process looks beautiful from the post delivery room once the new baby is born. The sheets are white. The baby sleeps peacefully in its mother’s arms. Everyone is all-aglow. There is a state of unparalleled peace. But if we rewind back to the delivery room, there is blood. There is doubt. There are moments when the labor seems too difficult to continue. It appears to be a trauma. People look harrowed because they are. When we rebirth ourselves through the layers of all the various things that prevent us from being an embodiment of our truest selves, the process is much the same. Some seasoned mothers are adept at birthing without distress. Some seasoned people are adept at rebirthing themselves without distress. But I will tell you that just as easy, natural childbirth is not yet the common experience among mothers, rebirthing the self with no distress is not yet the common experience for spiritual people walking the earth. There has been too much trauma in our lives for our rebirthing process to be that absent of resistance.
Most spiritual teachers close the delivery room door to those they teach when they, themselves are experiencing a re birth (and they do). We will help everyone else through their birth process, but we would never dare let anyone watch us scream or bleed. And honestly, who blames us? Can you imagine going through a birthing process and simultaneously having people say “wow… she’s way out of alignment right now… not what I want as an example for how a spiritually transcendent person is supposed to be.” But that’s just the thing. Unless one of us opens the delivery room door, every time a person enters a rebirthing process, they will be judging themselves according to how they think a spiritually transcendent person is supposed to feel or act when they face a challenge. They will end up finding themselves inadequate and in that moment, they will lose their self esteem and also their connection to the very thing they need… which is source. You will always fall short of the guru, because the guru doesn’t exist.
The guru is a performer. The person you meet back stage will not be the person sitting on the pedestal in front of the crowd. For thousands of years, we believed it should stay that way. We believed we should represent the promise of what could be. The promise that life can feel easy and good all the time... if you just follow these steps. And it is a beautiful promise. Until it turns into the standard that you hold yourselves to and the standard we hold ourselves to. When you do that and when we do that, anytime we are having a “less than that” experience, we are eaten alive by shame. We miss the opportunity to teach from that space and you lose the opportunity to learn from that space. Most importantly, in the moment we feel or act less than how we expect ourselves as spiritual people to feel or act, we are temporarily separated from our connection to ourselves as spiritual beings. We feel separated from our spirituality. Suddenly, everyone else looks more spiritual. Everyone else seems to be doing it right. It isn’t truth. It’s an illusion we have all maintained because we did not feel ready to own up to life. We used spirituality to escape life for thousands of years without realizing that life is the pinnacle of spiritual practice for the soul.
The teachings that come from the dark night of the soul, which are usually revealed to students long after the dark night is over… and in much less detail, are the ones which will help others through the process of rebirthing themselves. Midwives know that there are some times (like full moons or during storms) when it seems like all the mothers in a town will go into labor at once. Just so, there are times of the year when it seems like nearly all people go into the process of rebirthing themselves at once. We are in the midst of one such cycle. And for those of you who are experiencing the difficulty of this re-birthing process, often the very comfort that is needed is the knowledge that you are not alone. You are not the odd one out. It’s just that every one else has kept the door to their delivery room closed. But I refuse to be one of them… I’m keeping it open for those of you who get why.
Today, I find that it is self-loving for me to listen to guided meditations. With no effort on my part, I can listen my way into greater ease and greater alignment. If I need to, I listen to one on repeat as many times as I need to repeat it to maintain a good feeling state. Then, when I feel like I can maintain that vibration without the meditation, I begin to write lists of things I feel gratitude for. Then I decide to take a walk and sit in the sunshine. I can feel the energy flood into my being. I can feel relief. I come home and I draw paint across the canvass. I feel like a snake. Exhausted and shaky, I feel as if I have shed my old skin and am now wearing a new skin. A new skin that is raw and tender in its newness. In time, I will grow to own it. I will present it to the world. In time, it will feel like me.
Nothing remains as it was. The further we embrace this truth, the better we become at giving birth to the new and the better we get at beginning anew.