And After I Saw My Shadow?
“Through the process of embracing our shadow, we find the light of our own personal awakening." - Deepak Chopra
During my life coaching practice this year, I uncovered another deep belief formed when I was very wee. Here is the quick story: I have an older brother and a younger sister who could have very well been members of Mensa, an international high IQ society. Their ability to remember anything baffles me, and I quickly learned I couldn’t keep up. Why bother playing Trivial Pursuit with either of them, unless they are on my team? Report card day, they got questioned on their 98% test results, and I was encouraged and congratulated every time I scored over 70%. From this, the belief I developed was, “If I can’t be as smart as others, I will produce more than others. And if I do not produce more than others, it means I’m insignificant and of no value.” So, I run around doing about four times as much as an average person, in fear that I will be discovered for my triviality. Shitty, hey?
But here is the thing: now that I am aware of this belief, I can take its meaning to task.
Is it possible that I am insignificant? Absolutely not! No one is. Each of us is a part of the whole; without any one of us, there would be a void, and the Universe abhors a void. Conclusion, it is philosophically impossible to be insignificant.
From a cultural perspective, I am a mother to three fine young men and a grandmother to three brilliant granddaughters. I have even more proof defying the validity of my old belief...
... but I know you get the point.
So now what?
I’ve noticed it’s extremely difficult for me to create space in my life. Lying in the sun, watching the moon rise, sipping a cup of tea with my husband—all create incredible unease within me. This discomfort is the result of a false belief rattling around in my head. If only I could meet the day with ease.
In discussing this topic, I came up with the metaphor of driving a car. At first, all the details of driving this big piece of tin down a road, within the lines, and avoiding other moving vehicles, is incredibly overwhelming. But, over time, driving becomes second nature. And if you are like me, you can leave the house to get groceries and not have one conscious thought about your driving. Look up the biology of this, it is a thing. The same goes for those of us who can type without looking at the keyboard. We all have so many skills that have transitioned from requiring active effort, to becoming unconscious. The same holds true for unwanted beliefs and habits. They are so subtle we don’t even know they are there.
A long time ago, I learned that to be smart was everything. I think Edward Viljoen is a clever speaker, so great, that I began using his Sunday talks for my small Centre on Vancouver Island. No surprise, my presentations became stilted and lacked authenticity. “But he is so much more quick witted than me!” Sighhh. Last week I shared my use of ChatGPT. Feedback began, “What happened? This doesn’t even sound like you. I don’t like it any more.”
Ah! I took the feedback well because I have been working on this belief for long enough that it has come from the recesses of my mind to the prefrontal cortex. Right away, I knew what was operating within me. I was trying to be smart, be something other than who I am.
Now let’s be clear, I don’t really believe that I am slow-witted; there is too much evidence to the contrary. But even as I type this sentence, my inner voice shouts, “False claim! If you really knew me you would really know my huge limitations.” All I can say is, I am a work in progress.
So, this is me. This article is all of me. I have spent hours with coaches, therapists and friends unveiling the hardest lesson of my life. I am learning to be okay just the way I am. In fact, people like me even when I am not doing anything, just being. Who would have thought?
This freedom is why I am so passionate in helping others break through, digging deep into the basal ganglia part of the brain to reveal unwanted programming. I want to take us all back in time to the brilliant, innocent, marvellous children we were, rediscovering our passions, and our genius, bringing our own special selves to this world. In this way, as we transform, the world will transform right along beside us.
ACTIVITIES for TRANSFORMATION
1. Journaling for Self-Reflection:
Set aside time each day to write about your experiences and feelings. Use prompts inspired by the blog, such as:
"Which activities tend to create anxiety or stress? What exhausts me the most?"
"When do I feel most authentic and at peace with myself? What activities or circumstances bring out this feeling?”
Through regular journaling, you may begin to identify patterns in your thinking and behaviour that stem from unconscious beliefs.
2. Mindfulness Meditation:
Spend a few minutes each day in quiet meditation, focusing on your breath. When thoughts arise, observe them without judgment and then gently bring your attention back to your breath. This practice can increase your ability to notice when you are operating from a place of unconscious habit or belief. You can also incorporate the following into your meditation:
Affirmation: Create a personal affirmation that counters any limiting belief. For example, "I am valuable for who I am. I bring my own light to every occasion and it is good.” Repeat this affirmation during meditation.
Both exercises aim to make the unconscious conscious, allowing for recognition and transformation of deep-seated beliefs. By practicing regularly, you can start to shift these beliefs and the behaviours that stem from them.