When I was 37 my Beloved father died of a massive heart attack and by beginning CPR on him, his last breaths were my own. When I was 47 my Beloved husband died in my arms of cancer. My constant companion of 14 years, my beautiful Heart-of-a-Wolf, Alaskan Malamute, died in my arms when I made the choice to end her too painful life. My mother disappeared into Alzheimer's, her Heart remained closed until her last breath.
Like everyone of us… I could continue to tap on this computer and list the countless other ways my Heart has been broken (open) in small and not so small ways. It is quite simple…
Love and you will grieve.
In January, a man who I loved dearly, and who I was turning toward a partnership with, left me abruptly. This sudden loss of being loved, the sudden loss of sharing love, ripped the sutures off all of my old wounds.
In that moment of time, I reached a choice point: I could sew my gaping Heart closed (once again) or I could surrender and allow the process of my Heart breaking-open to continue. To find the Shadows living in those wounds and invite them out to dance. To turn my Heart… Inside Out.
I will always choose to dance.
The Shadow Journey is a Spiral Dance. It begins with the surface pain… The most recent loss. Then it spirals around and around… To places of experience and feeling that are similar, yet different with different faces and stories. It begins with the most recent face/story… Then spirals through a lifetime of stories and the faces that are part of those stories.
Slowly all of the different hurts, all of the losses… Distill into one ultimate pain… One ultimate fear. Our deepest Shadow. This Shadow/fear is the key component into the operating system of our choices, actions and reactions. Knowing and understanding this Shadows is a necessary step into integrating it. Integration is how it becomes our ally and no longer the place we stumble.
I have taken this Journey into the center of my Heart… Through all the faces and experiences of ‘done me wrong’. All of the abandonment… Of not being valued, not being seen, not being loved and cherished. (Notice a country song in the background). What is at the very center of my Heart?
At the very center of my Heart… I find a mirror.
In the mirror I see all of the ways I do not love, cherish, see and value… Myself. All of the ways I self-defeat… All of the ways I hesitate… All of the ways I hide.
A couple weeks ago, I found my own little girl, the young Leonie, to cherish and to mother. It has been easy to do so as she is a delightful little girl. Then one day while looking in the mirror together 'little girl Leonie', said to me: "What about the 57 year old woman holding my hand? Love her... Cherish her... See her."
This feels a quite bit harder.
I have been dancing with the Redwolff, my Shadow of relationship with other people. It is now time to dance with the Blackwolff, my Shadow of relationship with-myself. The places I stumble. The places I self-defeat. The Blackwolff includes the face of my addict which has been awake the last few months. In my lifetime I have indulged with addiction to many ‘things’, right now it is eating addictively.
Then next: At some point, it becomes necessary to turn from the mirror… To look back at all of those ‘done me wrong’ faces... And forgive.
Yet to find an even deeper integration... The choice can be to shift perspective. To explore, recognize and feel… What I have withheld… The pain I have caused… The love I have only given with condition. To continue the Spiral Dance of Shadows… Outward.
To move beyond forgiveness.
I have only one clear and steady intent for the rest of this lifetime and it is this: