Making Room For My Shadow
As a child my shadow fascinated me. Every time I saw it, I would strike a pose, jump, dance, twist and turn, like I was on stage. In reality, growing up in East Africa’s oldest art gallery was a huge stage, full of mesmerizing characters: artists, writers, poets, refugees from East Africa.
The daily adventures initiated my teen years into a world where my imagination ran free. I was the favorite guide to tourists from all over the world, telling the stories of the rich catalog of art exhibited at the gallery. And the annual festivals - from Resurrection Easter to Mother Christmas - were the best of all! What a lucky girl I was, growing up in Nairobi, the City in the Sun, where my shadow represented regularly.
At 21, I arrived in America. I dealt with the culture shock (i.e. the abrupt ways of New Yorkers). I dug in my heels and blended into the melting pot. I bit into life and kept going; gritting my teeth, holding my breath, bracing myself when necessary. I used avoidance theories when dealing with difficult emotions like fear, anger and pain. It was the practical thing to do. My beloved husband and I ploughed through raising beautiful ones, teaching them about their grandparents and the sacrifices they made for us, teaching them about hard work, integrity, love and compassion. They are all grown up now, sowing seeds and reaping their own harvests.
Now, I am at the stage where I have time to write, yet I continually suffer from the writer's anxiety block. Somewhere along the way, I forgot about the recipes of my childhood, where living close to the earth, breathing creativity at the gallery, we all came to terms with life: artists and family alike.
It was only after I said YES very strongly to my mental, spiritual and physical health that I rediscovered the path. Let me say that dealing with menopause and aging gracefully is not for the non-committing type persons. For me, healthy choices in diet, adding exercise and all natural plant based supplements was a major key.
The fact is, it all begins with me. I practice guided meditations which ushers new understanding. I devise new ways to access thirty-year-old dreams and bring them to life. Often in meditation I return to the art gallery in my mind's eye, a safe space with its own magic. I identify what Eckhart Tolle calls pain-bodies (The Power of Now) and how to dissolve them. I face that from which I want to hide. I know that my shadow is a powerful part of me and together we can achieve the greatness waiting in the wings.
I last saw my shadow on the beach in Savannah, GA in August 2017. (It has been such a long winter). That day, the high tides held court, and for the short period that it was visible, my shadow looked small and oblong blending into the sand. Before then, I saw my shadow on a visit to Nairobi in June 2017. It extended sideways and stretched long and narrow. Being on the equator factored in, but these are simple reference points for me.
I intend to bridge the gap between the smallness (what I fear most and what holds me back) and the greatness that is waiting to unleash.
To move beyond blind spots
To steer out of comfort zones
To make room for my shadow
To surrender to the demands of my deepest source.