This past Sunday, John Bradshaw (he of the many wonderful PBS offerings) was a guest speaker at my Unity Church’s service. He’s just come out with a new book entitled Reclaiming Virtue. In Sunday’s talk, John spoke from a very personal point of view about his darker side, his shadow side if you will, and the polarities he vacillated between that kept him from living a virtuous life.
I’ve thought often about my own emotional extremes. In my younger years, I definitely careened between opposite states that left me exhausted and confused, caught in a life of imbalance and black and white thinking. Just today I received an email from a friend who told me about a new DVD called The Shadow Effect by Debbie Ford, with appearances by Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra and others. The movie discusses “the mysterious shadow self—the hiding place for your most disliked thoughts, emotions, and impulses.”
Watching the trailer got me thinking about what Sophia might say, so I thought I’d ask her about our shadow side. Here’s what came through:
Many of the conversations we have with you are about cultivating balance. We encourage this because it creates peace in your lives. It’s what you deeply desire and where your world (as we see it as this time) is absolutely headed. And it happens one person at a time.
When you are able to experience more and more of the peace that comes from deep inner connection, the struggle simply ceases. You make peace with who you are and how you are and have been. Nothing exists in your spectrum of experience that cannot be forgiven.
If you were to wake up today and simply know that you are a child of God, that you are the spitting image of the Creator, that would certainly help, wouldn’t it? That’s why we speak to you in these ways—to help you realize just that. It’s time to stop pretending otherwise. And it can begin by being honest with yourself.
You have within you an inbuilt sense of right and wrong—not right by what your society dictates, but right by what your higher self, your divine self you call your soul, knows to be true. When you are quiet, when your mind is still and your breath is flowing evenly throughout your body, energizing your higher mind, and when you then listen to it in tandem with the emotions that echo forth from your heart, you always know the right choices to make. Purity of soul, one of the definitions of virtue, becomes a given.
It is black and white thinking that often leads to your internal struggles and which manifests in external extremes. You work most of your days to be what you think others expect of you, and now and again, you rebel and behave in ways that are completely counter to that, literally bouncing you off the walls of what you call good and evil. But we say to you that you can transform your life so that it is far calmer (free from drama) and lived in connection and peace.
Here’s something you can play with, if you’re willing to spend a bit of time on yourself:
You’ll begin by making a list (you may groan, but please play along!). Note all the ways you think you are bad, wrong, less than, or failing. Be honest with yourself. For some of you, the list will be quite long, but keep to the task. Simply list those things that remain in your energetic memory, including behaviors that continue today that you feel are out of balance.
Keep your list in the present tense. For example, if you were rude to someone recently, say your friend John, write “I am rude to John.” If you exploded in anger yesterday while you were driving, write “I explode in anger when I drive,” keeping to the present tense. For each of the things on your list, leave the punctuation open at the end of the sentence (no period at the end of each statement). Leave a blank line between each of your listed items.
Once you have your list completed, look it over and see if there are any other statements you might add to it. Remember, all your statements are in the present tense.
Now leave this be for one day. Do nothing more with it. Your list will be there tomorrow.
Once tomorrow arrives, pull your list back out and after each statement, write “and I forgive myself now and always.” Once that’s done, read your list to yourself (aloud, preferably). Take your time. Feel each statement. Then, leave your list for the day and go about your business.
When the following day arrives, take out your list once more, and for each statement that begins with “I am (rude, mean, fat, angry, jealous, etc.), write a new statement on a new sheet of paper. For example, where you wrote “I am rude to John,” on your clean sheet of paper write something like “I am at peace with John.” Where you wrote “I explode in anger when I drive,” write “I am at peace when I drive.” Find a way to use the word “peace” in each of your new statements. Once that’s done, read that new list to yourself. Feel each statement as you do so. Then leave the process for this day.
On the fourth day, take the list you first created (the one with all the statements of regret) and toss it away. If you like, you can burn it, tear it into little pieces, ball it up and dunk a basket, or simply fold it up and put it in the bin where you recycle paper.
Now take your new list—the one filled with statements about who you are as a peaceful being—and keep it somewhere nearby, where you can reflect upon it in times when you find yourself teetering. Tape it to the wall or mirror. Make a copy and put it in your purse. Bring it to work with you. Pull it out and review it periodically. If there is one area in particular where you feel challenged, simply write that one statement on a small piece of paper (like a fortune cookie insert) and carry it on your person. Pull it out and reflect upon it as needed.
Right now our channel (Maria) is struggling with the exercise, wondering: How will this simple exercise really change me or anyone else into a more peaceful person, free from states of extreme thinking and behavior? And we say to you, it’s in the language, dear ones. You will see. Your language will help you cultivate true states of peace, ease, gratitude, reverence, acceptance, forgiveness and love.
If you do this exercise and stay present with the emotions it surfaces within you, always in a state of forgiveness, you will realize that there is relief for you right now. This simple process will help you be present and in that state, you are automatically connected with your higher self (your God self) and you live the peace that is the natural result.
You are pure of soul—virtue personified. Claim that.