Here’s some inspiration just in time for our spooky holiday, Halloween! This is my first article published on Elephant Journal – one of my favorite online spiritual blogs. Overcome your fears, explore your Shadow, honor your ancestors, and more! Read here to make this Halloween meaningful and spiritual!
Have you felt stirred up in yourself and in your life lately, as if all your issues have come to the surface? You’re not alone. The powerful archetype of the recent eclipse has brought what is ready to heal and transform out of hiding and into the light for all of us.
Last month was the first time I had ever seen even a partial eclipse here in California. This juxtaposition of the moon in front of the sun shows us how our unresolved issues and blocks to our growth – represented by the moon – can conceal the light of our True Self.
An eclipse casts a shadow, and our own personal shadow is a collection of the parts of ourselves that we don’t like to acknowledge or to be seen. When we are met by this great archetype, or powerful symbol, of the inner shadow through such a potent example as an eclipse, it’s common for our own shadow material to rise out of the darkness for us to recognize, embrace, and heal. Continue Reading
Everyone deals with difficulties in life. Sooner or later, something scares us. It may be the aging process, a snake, the fear of rejection, or a dwindling bank account.
Gone are the days when we have to worry about lions chasing us (unless, of course, you live in Kenya). Fear has become more subtle. In the words of Kristin Neff, PhD, author of Self-Compassion, now our fears arise not just from dark alleys or sounds that go bump in the night, but from “threats to our self-concept” – the idea of who we think we are. Yet, they end up causing similar levels of stress in the body as that lion chasing us. The fear that runs us, day in and day out, is the fear that we’re unlovable, of being bad, wrong, or a failure.
React or Respond
When we are faced with fear, we have two possible choices: react or respond. When we react, we allow fear to run us, to control our emotions, our actions, our words. But when we respond, we transform a moment of fear into a moment of empowerment.
What is a fear reaction? When we are exposed to a traumatic situation, there are three reactions that occur: fight, flight, and freeze (see Waking the Tiger by Peter Levine). The kind of fear I’m referring to, however, isn’t life or death situations, although learning how to respond rather than react in those is very helpful. In our day-to-day lives, it is the little fears – the perceived threats to our self-concept – that disempower us and cause us to react.
It is in these little fears that we have the opportunity to change our lives. And we see three similar reactions to those little fears: fight, flight, and freeze. Continue Reading