In late July I participated in a weekend-long training to help clients integrate shadow aspects of themselves (see this page for an explanation of the shadow). In integrating (accepting and owning) our shadow aspects we are able to live from a place of wholeness and deeper connection with others and ourselves. We also unlearn old lessons that previously held us back, and therefore, can live a more fulfilling life.
A few days before the training I was asked to set an intention for the training. I decided to set the intention to embody Empowered Clarity. I chose this as I can think myself in to a corner quite easily and I not only wanted more clarity, I wanted to have the power to move into action (or not) once I was clear.
On day one it was such a relief to see that I was among many strong women who were in various stages of owning their power. Some women struggled with claiming it, others claimed their power and struggled with other’s reactions this, others felt alone due to being in touch with their power and did not have other people who they could engage with in their respective places of power. As for myself, I was in a place where I feared losing people if I step into my power.
Since our trainings included practice-coaching sessions, we were able to explore these issues and many more. Through the practices, I came to understand more about my history of losing people when I step into a place of power. When I was 19 I moved away from home and gradually lost connections with close friends. At age 24 I became engaged and soon after my mother died. When I moved away to graduate school at age 26, my fiancée left me. When I moved to the town I am in now, I lost everything I knew as familiar.
Sure enough, as the training proceeded, I began to get more clarity on my fear of stepping into my power. I also began to understand that, when you step into your power you will lose some people. However, you will also move closer to your integrity and be connected with others on the same journey towards their authentic lives.
When I came home on the second night, I felt exhausted and renewed. I was ready to step into my life on a newer empowered level. Soon after arriving home, my boyfriend talked about breaking up. Right on schedule. It was a long tearful night of talking, silence, and being alone. I was ready to let go and face the fears that began to surface.
The next day I walked into the last day of training completely spun out. I was overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy and fear. A support coach helped me to shift through the experience using the shadow and light integration process. It was extremely painful and dizzying, and in the end, I had a foundation of compassion for very young parts of my psyche. I faced some deep level of well-traveled self- criticism, and learned how to love them so they can help me be more whole.
I came home with a lot of stillness in me. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I came home, yet somehow I know I would be okay. My boyfriend and I didn’t break up after all, and I was able to let my needs be known. The upheaval of the last three days has shifted my life in such subtle ways, despite my life looking exactly as it did the day before the training. Sometimes, internal changes are like that.