Behind every radiantly posted, framed and displayed picture there is a familiar shadow cast not visible to every eye. We get snapshots into people’s lives. We don’t get the whole picture. Generally we see the smiles, the victories, and the bliss. Rarely do we see the snapshots from the belly of the beast – the underworld.
In the underworld, we find our shadow selves. Our shadow selves are parts of ourselves we don’t take snapshots of and put on display. We don’t talk about shadows very much in our day-to-day life, yet our shadows serve a profound purpose in our life. Our shadows are fuel for soul regeneration.
Take a seat, sit back, look through the window and catch a glimpse into my shadow world. Perhaps you will notice a little piece of your own shadow. One thing I have learned on my journey is to not be ashamed or feel guilty of our shadow selves. Our shadow selves teach us great lessons. Without connecting to our shadows or the shadows of our loved ones, what is it that we are learning? What is it that is pushing us to let go so we can recreate? Why do we hide the shadows in our closet?
Perhaps you saw a picture the other day of me smiling or we met face-to-face and I was beaming with equanimity. These snapshots of my life don’t show that a few hours before the picture was taken or perhaps our before our conversation happened, that an old friend sent me a message in a moment of anger and attacked my character leaving little wounds in my spirit. Or the snapshot of me and my son smiling in perfect unison, yet moments ago, my son lost his temper and instead of breathing he decided to throw something and went into a rage. Perhaps I triggered his rage when my buttons were pushed so far that I raised my voice to an uncomfortable level.
Our shadows were rising like tidal waves in the ocean and crashing down on each other’s hearts. When we (mainly me, since I’m the one with the more organized brain) are able to stay grounded in our feet and breath, then we can ride the waves with grace and meet each other at the shore to regenerate ourselves and our relationships. That’s shadow surfing. We ride the waves, instead of letting the waves crash into our hearts and disconnect us.
The wounds and repressed emotions embedded in the deep trenches in our psyche push us to bring our shadows into existence. Our shadows typically rise in close relationships with others. In our close relationships we learn to shadow surf. We ride the waves of our unconscious that crash through our conscious awareness. Sometimes there is no warning and sometimes the energy builds wind upon wind until the wave forms out of our underworld and white caps into our existence reminding us of the mutability in our lives.
Shadow surfing guides us to walk in the wobbliness with ease without clenching and retracting, which always leads to closure and a feeling of being stuck. When we allow the dark wave to rise, the more we can stay steady in intentional breathing also known as conscious awareness, the more we will embrace the wobbliness of our existence and our identity and invite the unconscious memories and characteristics of ourselves to surface and run a healthy course.
This means that if we ride the dark wave of our shadow with grounded feet and intentional breath we will find ourselves at the shore of Reality, the edge of our existence where our psyche meets spirit. This is the point of integration, regeneration, and re-creation. It’s where our unconscious crosses the threshold into conscious or where our manifest aspects of life cross the threshold into the unmanifest or absolute. These moments are yoga, literally to yolk, or to join.
In this edge at the shore, we obtain our soul nutrients that will give us the fuel to ride triumphantly through the next shadow wave, which will bring us to a higher point of integration, regeneration, and re-creation.
The winds passing through our soul, birth the shadows to surface as waves of transformation in our life. There are no waves without the winds. Without waves, we are like a placid lake whose contours are never challenged, redrawn, and re-nourished. In that kind of state, we will eventually wither away.
We have an internal wind energy and external wind energy. Sometimes we create the wind from within, and sometimes it’s necessary to harness and use the energy externally. When we are clouded by the depths of our own shadows, we retract into the dark crevices of our psyche and fester. We become disconnected from our internal wind energy – our conscious breath.
We can’t shadow surf alone all the time. We need our soul warriors. Soul warriors are our external wind energy.
Soul warriors are the winds at our backs. Soul warriors are the people in our lives that remind us to breathe in the light when we feel we can no longer breathe or when we feel we can longer walk one more step on our true path. They stay with us through the darkest most challenging shadow waves and guide us in our weakest hour to the shore so we can meet the edge of Reality with our own breath and breathe in the new contours of our life.
Yes, sometimes we must ride the shadow wave alone, but sometimes we need our soul warriors to guide us with their conscious breath. Whether we are riding the shadow wave alone or in soul warrior company, we must learn to shadow surf with steady feet and intentional breath to be able to ride the waves to the shore of our transformation.
Om Shanti Om ~ Athea