Shadow Side

I have been feeling very raw, incredibly vulnerable. Every interview I do I cry. Every time I perform, tears fall. I don’t know why this feels new to me, it’s not. I’m a very emotional woman and it pours out of me through any form of creative expression. Though lately, there has been a raw quality to my tears. Something I haven’t been able to put my finger on until recently.

One of my dear friends and mentors, Lisa Lister not long ago said to me, “you have a powerful sound current in you. Use it to move energy. Use it for YOUR healing.” I guess I hadn’t thought about the power of my own voice for MY healing. I’m very comfortable using it for the healing of others, but for myself… Her words were just the reminder I needed to reconnect with my voice and its healing power for my own body and soul. I had a chanting practice that I let go of several months ago, but decided to devote myself to it again.  Finding the tone that feels good in my body and letting myself experience its vibration throughout my body with a clear intention and connection to my spirit has been incredibly soothing and empowering. It’s exactly what I have needed to soften a bit of the hardening around my heart. A hardening that usually stems from me closing off to myself, to my shadow.

We all have a shadow side. The shadow is the parts of ourselves that we like to shove down or push away because we feel if others were to witness these pieces of us, we would risk abandonment, rejection, judgement or shaming. We come into this world as precious, whole beings that express every emotion freely, but soon, we are taught to categorize feelings and the expression of them into “good” and “bad.” We begin repressing weaknesses, impulses, instincts, fears, desires, rage… anything that we feel is unacceptable to our parents and later on, to society. We then begin to start wearing masks. We present one version of ourselves to the world while secretly suppressing our “darkness.” We become fragmented, disconnected from our wholeness. For me, this fragmentation was magnified times a million. Growing up from the time I was very young with the spotlight of the world shining brightly in my eyes, I felt I had to be the version of myself everyone expected of me. There was no room for mistakes, outbursts, opinions, expression of desires. There was only the sweet girl, walking around pleasing everyone. What we don’t realize is that eventually, something will trigger what we think we’ve gotten so good at hiding and the shadow will be illuminated. And when it is, it will shake us to our core. Our heads will spin, trying to figure out WHO THE HELL IS THIS PERSON RUNNING THE SHOW! Where did WE go? I’ve had many moments of this in my life, and without awareness of what was going on, I felt overwhelming shame that I still can’t find words to describe. There are days I still feel it. Days I have run in’s with pieces of my shadow that are just now being made conscious.

This is where self LovE and deep forgiveness is so crucial. I’m still learning how to LovE all my dark places, all my mistakes, all my shame. For so long, I’ve wanted to kill that girl and destroy all the pieces of me that I thought were constantly ruining my life. What I finally realized is that she needed to be held and LovEd more than anything. She had so much to say, so much to express, so many gifts hidden away within the darkness. So, I began sitting with her during my meditations. Witnessing her, all of her. What I saw was a little girl in tremendous pain. What she was needing was validation, not from the outside world, but from me. She needed forgiveness. She needed unconditional LovE. Once again…. working on it. On most days, I have come to a place of great compassion and empathy for her. She survived the almost unsurvivable. She’s a fighter, a warrior and for that I am grateful. Beginning to witness the totality of myself and not identify with my darkness as flawed, shameful and label those prices of me a “bad” person, but instead see them as wounds that are in need of LovE and tenderness in order to be healed and alchemized into the light and truth of who I am, has softened me. It’s softened the critic in my head. It’s softened the walls around my heart. And it has brought up a new challenge… truly being seen in that wholeness with deep authenticity and vulnerability. Here is where the raw, vulnerable feelings have been kicking in.

I’m beginning to feel more whole and that feeling is bringing with it a host of emotions. I’m feeling freedom, that’s for sure, but also overwhelming sadness, realizing all of the years that I’ve felt like half a woman, half a soul. At times, I’m experiencing fear, still holding on a bit to the old belief and programming of trying to please everyone and worried what others may think of my truth. Little by little though, choosing to speak the words I’ve only dreamed of saying, even if my voice quivers, or cry the tears on stage or in an unlikely place or at an “inappropriate” time, or voice my anger with LovE and without blame and not hold it in my body to manifest as illness, or saying no to the things I truly don’t want to do because they don’t bring me joy and trusting that the universe will take care and abundantly provide for my every need and desire, it’s all helping me come home to my true north, my soul’s blueprint and calling. Every day, I am choosing more and more to trust myself, my instincts, to not abandon myself and hide behind what I think will make others happy or LovE me more. More and more I am choosing me, to LovE me, to use my voice for me and in return, I am becoming a more powerful voice for others.

As we come into slower, darker days, I invite you to explore what it feels like to come into your wholeness and contemplate these questions for yourself. What parts of you are you afraid to admit exist? What stories are you telling yourself about these darker shades of gray you are suppressing, afraid others will LovE you less? Are you able to truly LovE you while still in hiding? Do you see that hiding is what’s keeping you from loving you and keeping you chained to looking outside of yourself for the LovE that you are so desperately wanting from YOU? Where can you dance with your shadow? How can you create a safe place to explore the sides of yourself you’re afraid to witness? I’m still on this journey with you and these questions are a daily inquiry for me too. Be gentle with yourself as you embark on this journey and know, I LOVE YOU!


  • So much to think about – thank you for sharing. The shadow is the other voice in our head and yes, we do try to push it away.

  • I feel personally the more you open up, the more you love, the more we just express a pure desire to be the hugging arms of acceptance, the more you are pushed away because people are not use to being without someone saying how they should be. If you walk the streets and hug everyone you meet you will end up in jail or slapped or taken as a wierdo. When what you are is loving without a question to validate your hug. The expression of the hug is god in you, the pure love, with no questions. You need not know anything about the person to hug them and say I care for you. You do so with an empty mind and kind heart.
    There is no them there is no you there is nothing but love and a hug. A saying I don’t see you as anything but a one to extend my love to. You are in my arms as nothing but as all that is. If this makes sense lol. I’m pretty sure you understand. If you didn’t why would I be writing this. Why would I be reading what you write. Sounds kinda insane lol ikr

  • Oh, LeAnn .. tears are falling as I type. I love you so so so so so much! You spoke so much of what I’ve been feeling all my life. The little girl in me still is in so much pain. I had cancer when I was a baby and it ended up changing me physically, permanently. I got me back as much back as I could. I wasn’t the same though. I couldn’t be. I have had to fight so hard to get to this place in time and honestly sometimes I am so tired I want to quit. I think, “I want to go home” when I am in fact home, but maybe, just maybe that is my head’s way of reminding my heart that this life isn’t all there is. My struggles are constant. I fall and I struggle to get up. I feel helpless most of the time because I see my loved ones in pain and I can’t go to them and I can’t comfort them the way I want to. I am stuck with words, and seriously, what good are words when that’s all you have and they aren’t enough? When all you can think of to say is “I’m so sorry.” Even when it’s not your fault. I have a lot of friends with children in heaven, due to cancer, and it’s just heartbreaking. So your post above resonates. Yes I want to put the girl inside me out of her misery, because maybe then I will have some peace. But maybe not. Maybe I’ll just be empty, if I didn’t have her. Maybe she fills me up, maybe she’s my fire, maybe she’s the reason why I am fighting so hard today. I believe she is pushing me to fight so that one day, no other child will be her, will be me. It was so unfair what ended up happening to her, to me, and I acknowledge that and cry abut it every now and then. If I don’t the wound will fester and grow bigger and wider and bleed more instead of less. I saw a quote a while ago that said “I am blooming from the wound where I once bled.” I do not know who said it, but it got me in the heart. I was like yes, this is me. This is a part of my story. And I’m owning my story, just like you are owning yours.

    LovE you so so so so much!

    XOXO Danielle`♡

  • So true. My shadow is my loving and expecting that others will love as I do. Not being able to express fully my care and heart because people aren’t use to being treated without some form of judgment, so I hide that part of me most of the time. Then I suffer abandonment issues, when people don’t understand me and leave me, I think I did something wrong by being to nice. But don’t understand how being nice or caring truely makes people freak out. Being in the spot light makes you live through the eyes you think are looking at you. You don’t think as you, you think of you as you think others see you. We live in the minds of those on the outside looking in, our own mind is pushed back in to a box screaming to be let out. I you we live not from our own heart mind, but from the outside looking in. We get close to people and don’t dare open the lid of our box fully because we’re comfortable in the place we are, we don’t dare lose that comfort or those friends because that is a safe space to us. It it’s not our pure place but it’s a safety net that we can fall on. Rather fall on the net than spread wings and fly high. We have never learnt to fly, only to bounce.

  • It is so difficult to share the kind of thoughts you’ve shared but know that it touches each of us. Thank you. You are an amazing woman.

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