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I’m going to be real with ya’ll, I have not been myself these past few days. I am experiencing some intense vertigo and had to revamp my daily routine. I am a creature of habit. I thrive on daily routines; it keeps me sane. This week has been one of adjusting and learning to ask for help more. I have never experienced vertigo before; it is a humbling experience.

There is a bright side to this. Instead of my normal 60 minute yoga routine, I spent more time journaling, meditating and bonding with my cat Pepper, who is more of a loner. I began the process of really tapping into my dark side or shadow side, as some would say. You know, that side you don’t want to show, that sometimes comes out and can be ugly, even embarrassing. We apologize for these moments, then tuck it away until next time. But to embrace it means to examine the why. Your shadow side will not go away, it’s not about removing anything but about shining a light on it.

Observe vs. React

There are parts of my personality that I would rather not show, yet there are moments that these traits come flying out. People, things and situations trigger us and we react. It is natural to react. For most of us, including me, this is our first instinct. These knee-jerk reactions are deeply ingrained in our personalities and although they may not be the best way to handle a situation, they are a part of what makes us who we are. I am not here to tell you to change, dismiss or bury any emotions. It is the opposite.

Learn to observe instead of react. When the emotions come bubbling up, instead of blurting out a hurtful sarcastic remark (this is me), breath and ask yourself; What am I upset about? This is the beginning of the process. I had to ask myself this question so many times before I had an answer to it. In fact, it required digging deeper and asking even more painful questions. It’s important to be open about this, I have had to catch myself from saying something and admit to my partner I was going to say something sarcastic and I decided not to. Here’s the thing, you can blame other people for your actions, but you are the only one you should blame. You S.O. doesn’t make you lose your temper, you lose your temper. Next time, try to stop and ask yourself: “Why am I upset?” Instead of reacting in the heat of it.

The tough Questions

To examine was the first step. The next step was asking myself tough questions. What about myself am I embarrassed about or don’t like? I journal about this, then meditate; sometimes stopping while in meditation to journal some more. Here are some examples of prompts I used:

  • I use sarcasm to guilt people into feeling bad for not giving me things I am afraid to ask for because…
  • I use silence as a punishment when I don’t get what I want because…
  • I point out what others do wrong in an argument to avoid saying sorry for my part because….

These are questions I have had to ask myself. A wise person once told me; “React to the injured bunny inside, not the angry hornet on the outside.” He was talking about how we deal with other people, but I urge you to say this to yourself too. My dark side, the parts I want to hide and not admit to are there because I have an injured bunny inside. We all do.

Why do it?

Your shadow will never separate from you. If you don’t examine it, it will always haunt you. Instead, shine a light on your shadow. This takes a lot of work and self-examination, but I assure you the pain you willingly rake yourself through is worth the effort. You are worth the effort. We all have scars from our childhoods, even when they were good. At times doing this work has made me feel like I moved backwards in my healing because it has brought forth so many emotions. But it’s OK to feel this way, it’s OK to make mistakes from things you thought you healed from already. Keep going, you are worth it! It’s a process.

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