Dancing with your Shadow


The dance of your life
Even though you prefer to do it quickly
and only for a short while
Because it doesn’t please you
What you see
and feel
And deeply touches you
in places
Where you have never looked
or didn’t want to see
And you allowed yourself to be deceived
by the beautiful sounds
of a song
A melody
that took you
to a dance
in the beautiful illusion
Where you softly
heard the whispers
of your shadow

As a child, you live life with an open mind and happily dance with your own shadow. It’s a part of yourself that you naturally accept and embrace. Even as a child, you play games with it.
As you grow older, you no longer pay attention to it or play with it. It now touches on completely different emotions that you may not find pleasant or enjoyable. Things that are uncomfortable and unpleasant are often ignored and pushed aside. We have been taught to do this. We are taught not to show these things. Most importantly, not to look at them.
Is it because of feelings of fear, judgment, or simply denial? Or is it a combination of these?

Been there, done that! And it’s still something that is evolving. Now, with more compassion and love. But it still remains a challenge to dance this dance. It also takes a lot of patience and time. If you haven’t been able to look at it for years, it also takes some time to be able to look at it. And to want to look at it. Maybe you can, but don’t want to? Or maybe you want to, but can’t?
It’s not the same as taking a quick look at yourself in the bathroom mirror in the morning. There is no light shining on your shadow sides, and it takes courage to want to look there and walk through this process. And even this comes with ups and downs and requires a lot of patience.

The first time my shadow showed itself was during a dreamjourney. I saw a dark figure in our bathroom and fear gripped my heart. This precense touched something within me. Something I didn’t dare to look at, but it was an invitation to look deep within myself and my shadow.

During my journey, I had the opportunity to see and embrace my shadow. It was an inner process where I could travel back to the past and confront uncomfortable situations and behaviors. This was not always easy or didn’t go very smoothly. However, I learned to look at them for longer periods of time and embrace the feelings, no matter how uncomfortable and confronting they may be. Through this, I learned to look at myself and my shadow aspects with more compassion.

Often, we are confronted with these shadow aspects when someone enters our lives and reflects them back to us. Instead of judging, I tried not to look at these aspects that also exist within me. It was easier to blame the other person rather than looking at myself. It was a challenging moment of realization to allow myself to see this. To choose to look at it and embrace it, both the good and the “bad”. I had chosen growth, change, and transformation. It was a process I willingly embarked upon and couldn’t evade.

I started looking at the behaviour I exhibited and condemned with others. For years, I declared that I didn’t want to become like my mother, only to find myself exhibiting certain traits of hers anyway.  Just because I felt unheard and unseen. I saw that I could exhibit dominant behavior because I believed I had to shoulder responsibilities at a young age and make decisions for others with the best intentions. I saw that I had the feeling to be strong above all else and harbored the illusion of maturity because I lived on my own early on and took care of myself. I have experienced what it is like to manipulate others but felt such guilt that I vowed never to do it again. I saw that I could also judge people for the most trivial reasons, which led to feelings of arrogance. I saw that I excluded people and could also exhibit egocentric behaviour.

I saw that I constantly adapted myself to fit others’ expectations, hoping to be loved, seen, heard, and valued. By playing different roles for years, I never learned how to be true to myself.I could see that I had incredible low self esteem while everyone around me had the impression that I was a strong woman. I too was that “strong” woman who preferred caring for others rather than facing her own shadows and emotions. Always looking ahead and pushing forward. Continuously staying in motion. I saw that I didn’t know what is was like to make myself vulnerable or  stand in my feminine power.

At some point, I couldn’t ignore it anymore. My body disagreed and put my life on hold. The well-known Burnie-Out showed up, despite me telling a friend just days before that I wasn’t cut out for it. Imagine the surprise!
It turned out to be an invitation to go even deeper and look furhter. Beyond the behaviour and the patterns, but the trauma and emotions behind it. Which I had put away and didn’t dare to look at. 

The trauma’s and hidden emotions that slowly revealed themselves. Anger, sadness, fear, pain, disappointment and so much more. These needed to be embraced so that the healing power of love could flow once again. I was allowed to experience the emotions again and shed the tears that I hadn’t cried. Not pushing away my shadow, but changing my perspective.

By ceasing to fight and judge so hard, I found solace and was able to make a change without getting stuck in the emotion. Taking distance and choosing to do things differently. To stand more in my power by not being the victim.

This didn’t happen overnight and required time, love, courage, compassion, and patience. And it wasn’t always pleasant, but oh so necessary to get closer to myself. And necessary to see what lay beneath.

By going through this process, I learned to dance with my shadow again. I have received many gifts during this ongoing process.
You can read about what gifts it has brought me in Lost & Found.