Over the years I have sat in many ceremonial and healing circles where folks are sharing aspects of story or experience.
There is a power to sharing and naming our experience, our truth, our stories; which happens most deeply when we share not from our heads but from our beings; power in naming and claiming our light and in sharing our shadow as well; power in being witnessed without judgement and accepted for who we are in that moment. And there is power in witnessing and honoring others who are doing this.
There is an art to listening in these situations, to releasing the mental need to figure out what I am going to say, trying to rehearse it, worrying about how it will stack up with everyone else’s contributions. So much room for the ego to play. The ego spinning comes from the many versions of “I am not good enough”, of self judgement and competition, and in the end a lack of faith in myself. My mind doesn’t trust that its OK to speak in the moment from my heart and gut, but wants to be clever somehow and say the right thing.
You know that this isn’t true. It’s obvious as a listener when someone is speaking out of the deep places inside them or when they are composing something mentally, or relating an old story that they have spoken many times before. Even if the words are good, there is a lack of vitality. It is important to trust that what comes through us in these circumstances is what is most appropriate.
The mind wants that measuring tool though. In some circles it is the brightest story, in others the darkest, but it has to be the best of whatever is going around. The mind wants to do well at the game whatever it is. So we sit on our light when others are in shadow, and we sit on our shadow when others are in their light.
I once sat in a sweat lodge naming intentions for healing and clearing, and watched myself looking for the juiciest shadow piece to name and work. But spirit whispered to me to look for what was most fearful, and it was something small and shamefully insignificant, very “unenlightened” and yet I knew it was powerful in my life. And so I released the mental measures and named this small shameful little thing.
There is a saying that what we avoid and fear to look at or name is what rules our lives. Consciously or unconsciously we limit our thoughts, our feelings, and our actions so as to stay away from it. These may be hard things to discover and unpack, but they are great gifts to welcome when they do show up. Welcome them, find neutrality or forgiveness and transform.
Today I was being held in a space that allowed some old fearful parts of my self to surface. I watched as a higher level of Self came to greet them, and knew that they were not judged, that they were all Love, as we are all Love, as everything is Love, even though they had forgotten and judged themselves in their separation.
Trust that what rises is what is most useful for you to name or share. It may be glorious light, or deep and fearful shadow, or small, weak and shameful, but when it steps up, trust your Self, welcome it as a part of you, unashamed and allow it to remember that it also is love.