Tag Archives: truth

Year of self compassion #4 Shadows

pexels-photo-414523.jpeg

There is a terrorist lurking in each of us – fear fueling flames – seduced by the fake news that we are in control. The fact check is in – we’re not. Shit happens to all of us and we can’t control all the elements as much as we would like too. We are fragile, imperfect creatures – so lighten up, laugh and be joyful every chance you get – they are deposits in your resilience bank and you never know when you might need to make a withdrawal.

A healer told me this week to worry less, laugh more, enjoy my prosperity, let my family look after themselves, take my creativity to the next level, look after my health, embrace my inner Empress. I am not unhappy with this litany, now to put it into practice.

The shadow we cast can never leave us and it takes its form in dark and light (don’t forget sunlight is the best disinfectant). Keeping the light in front of you or behind you will cast a different shadow. Dappled light will give a smudge of a shadow. Back lighting creates drama, while being lit from the front will be crisp and clean and possibly a bit boring (and maybe there is a lot to be said for boring). I can live with a little less drama and while facing into the light isn’t always easy, to hide and lurk in the shadows has its own seduction to not face facts.

I was watching a couple of young people hearing some difficult news this week and they turned completely away, each looking in a different direction not able to face into the news they were receiving. I kept thinking of all the times I don’t face into the light, the truth, the crisp, clean lines. It’s hard to swallow the idea that the truth will set you free, it’s often easier to smudge and fudge, hide and slide into the dark corners and not see clearly what is in plain sight.

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (1Cor13:12)

We can’t unlock the clouds from their celestial rotation, their movements change our shadow even if we do nothing at all. We are not in control, we can choose though how we are controlled – to take an improv version of life – a yes and, not a yes, but. To take an approach to welcome every offering to play and the eternal invitations to include, embrace, grow.

There will always be shadows and our own is biggest challenge, dancing its way with us and never leaving us for another, wedded to us for all the elements to shine through to keep us on our toes.

We are all confronted with horrors and disappointments – we each have our own hells and cowardice to hold us back and keep us in the shadows.  Turning to the light and facing the truth is the only option to progress our journey to wholeness and healing and to leave the terrorist beckoning inside of us to be born. We turn towards the light and face facts. We turn away and are back lit so only our silhouette is visible on the landscape.

When we turn to the light, our shadow comes too, and melts away fused by the amazing power of light itself. Self love and courage are our aids to face the light.

A blessing

With love in your heart, a song in your step, a laugh in your throat

May you be blessed with a light on your face

so you will glow and grow

with the truth

you are already free.

Dancing with speeches #14 Gandhi

Gandhi began a journey to the sea to make salt with a speech. It was a declaration of war with the most powerful of weapons – nonviolence.  It was a call to leadership, duty, responsibility, action.

A Satyagrahi, whether free or incarcerated, is ever victorious. He is vanquished only, when he forsakes truth and nonviolence and turns a deaf ear to the inner voice.

Each step in the journey to the sea is one towards vastness, openness and with a focus on the horizon is a rare clarity – but once seen can’t be unseen. Swaraj (Hindi: स्वराज swa- “self”, raj “rule”) was used as a synonym  for “home-rule” first by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati and then by Mahatma Gandhi, and in turn became synonymous with Indian independence from  British colonisation.  But at it’s heart, swaraj is to be accountable to your true self and that is all about self discipline. It is the quest of the satyagrahi, a  person is dedicated to the campaign for truth.  Like the Quaker maxim to speak your truth to power based on the eternal Christian biblical reference of the truth will set you free” (John 8:32), the quest to be true to yourself and to be truthful with others is indeed a discipline. To speak and act nonviolently requires a deep compassion of yourself as well as others.  Gandhi understood these acts require community and a campaign and a confidence if you felled then others will rise up in your place and carry on the journey.  Civil disobedience in the public domain, begins with accepting your cooperation with your oppressor. Nonviolent direct action of sit-ins, strikes, workplace occupations, blockades, or hacktivism is organised, disciplined and focussed on the result. This must be matched with a personal practice to support your well-being and to bring no harm to others.

So many systems, in our first world are enslaving the poor in our country and in turn our first world enslaves the third and fourth worlds. Colonisation has deep roots in systems, hearts and minds – we have to be honest with ourselves. I live on land where there was no just settlement and no recognition of the land as mother, I consume more than my fair share of energy and calories and moire often than not,  I often fail to change my behaviour even though all the evidence is in about climate change. Behaving as if I am not connected to others of my species and other species is delusional – we are all connected.

Withdrawing our cooperation from what oppressors us is at the heart of this quest for truth.  What is the truth that sets you free? Removing yourself from what holds you back or worse holds you down, and keeps you enslaved takes just as many steps as Gandhi took to travel to the sea. Each step towards the sea is one more removing you from what is holding you back.  Just as Polonius gave his blessing to his son as Laertes stepped out with humility.

The steps towards our truth are blessed in nonviolence and taken in good company, the path made easier by those who have gone before us and are taken in confidence, knowing others will follow.

Polonius:
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!

Laertes:
Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.

Hamlet Act 1, scene 3, 78–82