Browsing Tag

shadow work

Ten Thousand Days

Persephone will be a little bit late to the Party

April 3, 2018

Day 1315 – Day 1320

If you celebrate Judeo-Christian traditions then you had a feast day over the weekend.  For me, I recognize that is is again the time when the world begins to bloom.  I’ve been feeling under the weather and I have a little bit of FOMO and frustration at not being able to get out and about as much as I wish I could.  I look back at my winter and I wonder if I have been more busy with activity than I had been in the prior year.  I travelled a fair bit in winter of 2016/17 but 2017/18 was filled not only with travel but several weekly activities on top of weekend adventures.  I’ve been burning my candle at both ends and unfortunately my candle is a lot shorter than it once was.

If I won’t listen to my body, my soul will tell me.  I’ve had a series of dreams – irritating dreams – that feature a person I’d rather forget.  Rather than fuss about what the dream might mean in terms of any unfinished business between us, I’ve decided to look at the dreams in terms of collective symbols and metaphors.  And what the dreams are telling me is that I need to be kinder to myself and protect myself – even from myself.  I push myself.  I always have.  You don’t get a Masters Degree from an ivy league school when you are a slow reader unless you push yourself.  You don’t three times earn professional designations whilst working full time unless you push yourself.  And yet pushing myself has not been good for my health.

I’ve always liked the metaphor of Persephone.  In my mind, she is the maiden that does not wish to grow up, and,  she is taken into the underworld by her husband where she must spend the winter apart from her mother.  She is allowed to return to the upper world and her mother in the Spring but she must first eat the pomegranate seeds that bind her to return to Hades every year.  And while her return ushers in the bloom of spring and summer, the other half of the year, the land must lie fallow as she returns to the dark underworld.  In all spiritual and psychological journeys (and to me this is the whole point of being embodied) there comes at least one period where we must leave the oasis and venture into the desert, leave the community and enter the forest, alone, leave the bounty of summer and go underground.   In order to grow, we must all go through a long dark night of the soul.  It is a time of going inward and of dealing with the fecal matter of our lives.  It is the time when we might feel pain, loneliness, loss and mortality – all the things we never want to face.  But only in facing that darkness and accepting what is there, can we find the way to the light and out of the hole from Hades.

I did a lot of what we might call ‘shadow’ work very early in my life.  But growth and development has a habit of presenting itself as an awkwardly wrapped opportunity again, when circumstances of life reveal new things with which we need to grapple.

My dreams are telling me what I will not hear from my body:  it is shadow work time.

And so, when I might normally be preparing to arise into the summer, I’ve had to take a break from the outer world of activity and buzz.  My body and my soul need tending.  I hope that it will not take too long, but in matters of the soul, I think its best to let them take the time they take.  They will take that time anyway.

I’m going to be a little late to the party that is the promise of spring and the energetic fruition of summer.

And so it is.

I’m grateful for my irritating dreams.  I’ve decided not to rail against the face that my unconscious mind slaps on my inner masculine because maybe that annoyance is exactly what has been needed in order to get my attention.  The dreams are rich in symbolism and much of it is not too difficult to decipher, even if the message is not something I want to hear.  But the sooner I surrender to it, the sooner things might transform.

I’m also grateful that listening to their message led me to do a lot of painting this weekend.  There is a piece that I started just under a year ago.  I gave it to someone to do a collaboration with me but it came back to me with bad energy despite no further work being done on it.  I have painted and repainted and made marks upon it for months and nothing seems to have worked to transform that piece.  Finally, I surrendered to the circumstances of the painting.  It became one of my most beautiful pieces.  Just this morning, when I looked at it, I saw a symbol I had not seen in it before:  it was my power animal. That transformation is complete and that part of my dark journey has come to an end.  For that, I am truly grateful.

The artwork is entitled “Dear John”.  It is Acrylic, oil pastel and coloured pencil on 30 lb paper stock. iPhone capture.



I feel – if not joy – at least lightness in the growing sense of possibly moving beyond some things that have been creeping around in the darkness of my psyche.  There is also a growing sense of being able to get past the resistance to the circumstances and particularly the people that have brought about my being right here, right now.  If not a sense of Oneness, I am beginning to feel a sense of indifference and a touch of benevolence toward the people involved.

Last night a friend was sharing her sense of loneliness.  Holidays can highlight that for people.  What stood out to me was the way in which she was regretting decisions she made more than a decade ago.  I had advised her not to make the decision that she did, back then, because of the consequences, but she chose that path anyway.  In retrospect, the consequences were far worse than she had anticipated.  I did her the service of not saying ‘I told you so’, but of reminding her that we’ve all been in that situation.  If you are still in your first three decades of life – I’m sure that is yet to come.  Nobody makes all the ‘right’ decisions because we cannot anticipate all of the outcomes, and eventually we run out of the safety nets that our parents place beneath us.   And just as I’ve had to do in my own life, I advised her to stop lamenting a decision and an outcome that is already done.  All we can do is go forward, and find our purpose and make meaning of what circumstances we find ourselves facing.

There is an old saying that if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.  So, we are where we are.  Sometimes we think that’s a pretty good place.  Sometimes we think things didn’t go as planned.  Sometimes we just have to look at that fecal matter and accept it.  Sometimes it is life shattering and we can’t reverse the decision that shattered our lives.  At that point, if we ever hope to rise, like Persephone, and bring the party of Spring and Summer into our lives, we have to stop digging, accept our circumstances, and look for the light that shows us the pathway to climb out of the hole that is Hades.


For what are you most grateful, today?