Dualities can and do exist. As our world grows seemingly smaller and virtual connection is easier and faster, spiritual information can be shared at great speed. But so much emphasis is put on “love and light,” and not enough on the shadow and its needs. Both energy streams are critical toward healing and balance in life.
Shadow work is the process of looking at the difficult-to-love parts of ourselves, reconciling them, and learning to love them. Spiritual growth is about the duality of this reconciliation between light (what we want to embody) and shadow (what we’d rather ignore). Daily human life is the process of ebbing and flowing between the two. We cannot live solely in the light or the dark – each one has its place – and we go about our lives in the gray area. Shadow work is the true depth of healing. When we do the work of the shadow (often around Samhain, or All Hallow’s Eve when the veil between the worlds is thin), we can truly grow to embrace our light. When we are shamed into happiness – ‘Cheer up!’ ‘Smile more,’ ‘Just be happy!’ – it encourages us to deny the darker parts of ourselves and push it down deeper. Spiritual awakening is recognizing the shadow within yourself, and honoring yourself enough to look at it directly in the eye and say you will not run from it, but rather, embrace it.
Duality is at the very core of human existence. Life is neither black nor white, but varying shades of gray. We are always striving for balance between the two. We can disagree with someone’s viewpoints and still hold a place in our hearts for them. We can be grateful for all we have, and still fight for a better world and future. We can enjoy a meal with our friends and family and still work to end hunger. When we can accept that we exist with multiple facets, we can relieve ourselves of shame, and feel renewed vigor to wake up each morning and be of service to others for another day. And another. And another. Remember to honor yourself as a whole, flawed being, growing, and failing, and healing in your own way.
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