We all have one! Yes everyone! It’s great, easy and comfortable to believe we are only good, only have one side, but it’s not true. It’s lying and hiding from our full authentic messy, dirty, wonderful, amazing selves if we choose to believe otherwise, or choose to hide it from others.
This past Saturday I went on the second of a series of Inspired Adventures on beautiful Bowen Island. The series is being led by a mentor of mine and an inspiration herself that you may have seen mentioned in a previous blog or two. Her name is Kiley and she is the creator and leader of this series and of the Vision Program that I took with her over a year ago.
The first Inspired Adventure was back in Nov 2015 and was all about saying YES to life! I’ve certainly being doing that. Showing up for life no matter what it presents to me is a new and wonderful mantra I’ve been living by (ha, I mis-typed “living” as “loiving” – perhaps a wonderful slip that combines loving and living!). 🙂 So there was no hesitation for me to say YES to Kiley’s second Inspired Adventure – Embracing Your Dark Side.
I love this quote that was shared as part of the work we did:
I am your shadow, your dark lady. I am your protectress. I am your warrioress. I am your deepest power. I am your fragility. I am all that you fear in yourself. I am here to show you the way to your own light. I am part of your light. I love you and am seeking you. I am here to be known by you. What you are seeking is wholeness. You are seeking me. ~Nandi Hetenyl~
We started out by engaging in an awareness practice. It’s a little difficult to embrace your dark side if you’re not aware of what it looks like inside (and outside) of you. The first question we discussed and contemplated was “What does it mean to have a dark side?” My answer included that it is a part of being balanced and whole but that it wasn’t always easy. Another part that came forth is fear and shame, sometimes feeling both about that part of myself. I think most of us feel both those emotions when it comes to other people truly knowing us, and about truly accepting all of ourselves.
We also discussed and wrote about “What is your current relationship with your dark side?” and also “In what way does your dark side serve you?” For me it included avoidance and impacting the balance of me, and the balance of/in my life.
I’m not going to share the whole program here partly because it’s not my intellectual property and also because I don’t want to make this blog too long. The last part that I’d like to share is the benefits of embracing our dark side. Once we walk through the fear, once we move towards acceptance and also towards love of our dark side, a whole bunch of amazing things manifest in our lives. For example:
1) Freedom! Freedom to be at ease with ourselves in all situations. Freedom to be real.
2) Releasing Fear! When we release fear we blossom, we grow, we become real.
3) Regaining Energy! When you look at your dark side you realize how much energy it takes to keep that side hidden and pushed down, especially from ourselves. When we accept and integrate with our dark sides, when we love it as part of us our energy for other things, for life becomes almost boundless! It requires much less energy to be real.
4) Allowing of other peoples dark side! Like I said at the beginning, we ALL have one. When we’ve accepted and love our own it is easy to allow others to have their’s. To accept theirs without judgement and to love all parts of them.
5) We become real! This if my fave part, my fave benefit. It’s hard work, and often depressing to keep any part of ourselves hidden, especially from ourselves. We may tell ourselves, and it is partly true, that we are hiding for fear others won’t like our whole selves, but mostly we are hiding because we don’t like our whole selves. Somewhere at some point in our lives we were given the idea, directly or indirectly, that part of us, the dark side, was not likable, lovable or wanted. Over time we internalized that and believed it down to our soul. We believed that, from our own view and forgot that it was (most likely) someone else’s view/opinion that started that belief. We decided at some point that it was true even for ourselves. When we embrace our dark side, when we love it, and accept it and look at it without judgement THEN we become real in all our dirty, messy, glorious, beautiful selves!! We become truly free!
Come to the dark side, we have cookies! 😉
*The photo was taken by me. This is one of the spectacular views we had on Saturday as we hiked around Kilarney Lake on Bowen Island. The weather had started out pouring rain but by the time we started hiking it had stopped and the sun poking through the clouds and the mist playing at the edge of the water created this incredible view. I’m coming to love that island the more I visit it and could see myself living there.