We are nearing the completion of 2015. 2015! I remember when that seemed some impossible distant future full of futuristic things, and now here we are at the end of it. I am not ashamed to admit that 2015 was a hard year for me. Heck, every single one of the past three years has been the toughest period of my life. This is why it is so important for me to be present with gratitude. Gratitude heals, it forces us to look at what is good, rather than what is wrong. A large part of the past three years for me have been about facing fear over and over and over again, which is why I write about it so often and specialize in helping others with it. If I apply my gratitude to my fiercest teacher, fear, I can be thankful for the deep lessons I have learned by facing my it consciously.
I have been working with emotions on a very deep level and have had an opportunity to explore all the unpleasant emotions in particular – fear, grief, shame, anger - since they have been coming up in multitudes for various reasons. Deciding to be with them consciously has allowed me to understand them on a much deeper level. It seems a funny thing to be grateful for, but I am. My path is to be a healer – a soul healer. How could I possibly be good at that if I didn’t experience all the emotions that come with trauma and loss myself? When I look out at the world, I see daily the impact of trauma and know that we humans need healing on a very deep level and I am called to do this work. Fear (fear of grief), shame, anger, these are all the things that seem to get in our way. It is more accurate to say that our avoidance of them is what gets in our way. We don’t need to seek them out, but avoiding them doesn’t work. Each one of these emotions is related to loss – loss of someone or something vital to us. Fear is one side of loss and grief is the other. Shame and anger dance with both. It’s interesting how four out of five of our core emotions are unpleasant or uncomfortable, but that is exactly how it should be. Anger and fear shouldn’t be easy or comfortable, otherwise they don’t work as effective warnings – either of a boundary crossing (anger) or of imminent danger to our life(fear). Shame has a purpose of de-escalating potentially hazardous interactions, so although unhealed shame can become toxic, it does play a role in our survival. Grief is the shadow side of love, but it also makes our love whole. Accepting that we will experience grief throughout our life and choosing to love anyway allows us to bloom into our full humanness. This is courage!
Here is the nugget of gold in all this; the fact that we experience all these challenging emotions works to enhance our joy. They make our joy magical. That we can have joy despite our pain and suffering is magic in and of itself. It is the mark of who we are on a spiritual level, for we are all part of the Divine. Each one of us is an aspect of God and joy is our reminder of that. We canexperience joy in the midst of all the other emotions. It is the sweet in the bittersweet. It exists eternally in our core and all we have to do is remember to tap into it, and in doing so, heal ourselves and those around us.
So here is my suggestion for the holidays; do something deeper this year. Can you find gratitude and appreciation for the darkest spaces in your life, and for your shadow side? Once you had done that, then tap into your joy from your depths? You might be amazed to learn more about who your truly are. I know that you are a divine gem inside that human skin. Do you?
May your holidays be blessed!
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