Have you ever wondered about this obsession we have with presenting only one side of ourselves to others? Nothing and no one is so simple. Nothing and no one is so black and white. And thanks heavens! Can you imagine how bored we would all be if that were the case. No movement, no conflict, no learning, no change. No passion. Complexity is a beautiful thing.
So here I am saying proudly: I'm a bitch.
And I'm not ashamed.
In fact, I'm even grateful.
Say that again?!
I openly admit that I have been many people before becoming myself. Today, every part of me has a place at the table, a voice. I am both everyone I have ever been and fully myself. I have not become someone different, someone "awakened" and flawless - quite the opposite actually. I simply reached a point where I am bluntly honest with myself and others about who I am, where all versions of myself work cooperatively.
We work in teams. We live in families, in cities, in communities. How can we expect to be cooperative within our tribes, when we have yet to foster cooperation within ourselves?
Cooperation is my mantra. My bitch works with my healer to help me navigate this world and all various situations, all of its intricacies. My bitch has stepped up and protected me when I needed protection, she helped me through seemingly impossible life situations and traumas. She has taught me that the actions of others are one their shoulders and that I need not carry their burdens, she reminds me daily the importance of self care. My bitch loves to dance, she is a bit of an exhibitionist, is confident, and is the strong presence supporting my gentler self. She's amazing and I am so grateful for her!
You and I, we are paradoxes of dark and light coexisting. We are this way for a reason. This world and the societies we live in are dynamic, changeable, both cruel and giving all at once, and in order to navigate them we need to have the capacity to understand all aspects of them, and to protect ourselves and open ourselves up to connection, respectively.
I realized early on that my life was centered about learning to appreciate the beauty and intricacy of the feminine. You may not know this, but in many spiritual traditions, the divine feminine is represented as both creative and destructive. In mythology, goddesses create at will and wreak havoc at will. How accurate and beautiful that is, don't you think! From a physiological sense, chemically women have triggers that allow the capacity to protect themselves in threatening situations. Estrogen is actually a powerful stress hormone, and many of the common womens "issues" such as PMS and PCOS are in part a response to its chronic dominance. The key word here is chronic - these are amazing and necessary acute physiological stress responses that are meant for survival. They have are role, we would not be here without them, but admittedly they should not be manifesting physiologically chronically (but that's a whole other article on its own). The take away point here is: the ability to go completely crazy and unstable, to be bitches, is a brilliant adaptation for survival. Your bitch is here to protect you! How cool is that?
Clearly, fully stepping into the divine feminine and womanhood means embracing both the creative and destructive sides of ourselves. It means being angry when you need to be angry, rather than repressing it and lashing out later. It means feeling deeply whatever is there. Enjoying it. Swearing full blast with a wicked smile on your face. And then turning around and being the nurturing, giving, and selfless. ... Osho has been known to say that he used anger and joy equally as tools. While I do not resonate with the term, use, as it is very mechanistic, I do agree with his focus on honouring all aspects of our experiences.
For the record: Gentlemen, you too experience a similar duality. You're jerks and you're lovers. You too have the capacity to go batshit insane. That's cool.
Bottom line, we are all two faced. There's no way around it. We are vessels - we create and transmute and transform energy. Energies come in many forms and so it makes sense that we must have the capacity to understand and experience them all, as well as protect ourselves from them when necessary.
Sure it can be scary. In my early years, ego ruled. I was quite the insecure competitive intolerant little bitch. Looking back, it's clear my ego stepped up to lead because the other sides of myself had yet to be developed. Later on, I consciously chose situations and relationships that allowed me to be generous, supportive, kind, a caretaker of sorts. I did so consciously, I did so with purpose. I have a history of identifying my discomforts and leaping full force into them. I grew from it. I reached a point where I was able to reintegrate and embrace all parts of myself. Everything I have lived and everyone I have been have played a part in this.
Today I am here. I'm flawed. I get ticked off. I am immature. Intolerant. Competitive. Judgemental. Ambitious. I am petty and silly and spazzy. I am also wise and insightful and strong and loyal and courageous. Empathetic. Strong beyond measure.
Mostly what I am now is genuine. I am openly myself. No excuses, no holds barred.
Recently, I had the opportunity to take a huge risk and make a big career change that put me in an environment that in the past would have swallowed me up and snuffed out my sense of self. I would have fallen into my ego driven old patterns. For a few palpable moments I was fearful, but then, as I am known to do, I took a deep breath, and leaped into the fray knowing that I would be fine. And guess what. I was right. Not only do I love my new environment, I am excelling in it. I can be competitive, ambitious, strong, directed, while also being personable, caring, genuine, openhearted, and empathetic. My bitch and my lover are out to play.
I am (and you are) creation and destruction embodied. Surrender the Shame.
I get it. Believe me, I do. Shame is familiar. It's a blanket that has protected you from the temptation of your darkness so long. You might even think of it as your superhero cape - it's this thing that prevents you from your whims from ruling you. What would you be without it?
You'd be yourself. That's who! Entirely so. Shame played it part. It gave you space and time to develop the more vulnerable sides of yourself, and now you can confidently let it go. Experience the ups and downs, and learn that you can go up and down without ever losing your balance. Once you have stepped into the darkness and emerged, you will know for certain that not only is it as scary as you thought, but more importantly, that it loses the power to overwhelm you as soon as you shine some light into it. It's not some monster. It's just a part of you. When you reach that understanding, you will see your darkness as a familiar friend, a companion, a valued member of your life team that helps you relate to others, to feel deeply, and to truly live.
Light your life on fire, feel as the flames rise up, envelop, and transform you.
You're a beautiful mess. Life itself is messy, confusing, raw, and sweaty. You're confusing, raw, and - realistically - often sweaty too! Going against that is akin to loudly ordering the tides to stop. They're there, they will rise and fall with or without your permission. Life is happening all the time, without your permission. Your darkness exists with or without your permission. You get angry and jealous and judgmental whether you admit it or not. If you place yourself in opposition to the forces of nature, you will be constantly in a losing war. And man, is that draining.
I get the sense many of us think that there are only two choices - fall into "sin", or live a martyred existence as you do constant battle with yourself.
I'm sorry. But both of those options suck.
Sure, separating yourself from the mess is a way to go. In fact, many spiritual practices suggest that. They teach austerity, control over the physical and the emotional, they insist that you witness. But get this. You cannot witness and learn from something you do not understand. I'm not saying I know better than a whole collection of spiritual teachers and gurus. I am simply suggesting you think it through. After all, how well has that worked so far? We live in a world full of hidden taboos, of repressed emotions, poor communication, of people "screwing up" and being punished.
Alternatively, you could also just loudly tell the world to f*ck itself, get a running start, and dive into the taboos full steam. Tempting. Pleasure and self interest would be your constant companions. But you would also be ostracized, lonely, and disconnected, and you would live with a constant sense of dread that the darkness would reveal the softer sides of you.
In either scenario - would you be happy? Fulfilled? Nope.
As with everything, you have another choice. It is the more challenging path, granted - it requires you to be honest with yourself, to not write off or ignore emotions or other responses, to sit with the discomfort, to admit that you are not all fun and rainbows. It requires constant adaptation, change, introspection, a healthy dose of humility and a heck of a good sense of humour! But it's worth it. Because it results in you stepping into the fullness of yourself. In you being genuine.
Join me. Chuck those expectations of flawlessness, make a paradigm shift, and dive into the rawness of life. This. This is living. This complex, confusing, changeable, sweeping experience.
Go love someone. Go feel deeply. Go cry. Go get angry. Go sweat. Go dance. Go be grateful for the gift of experiencing such a variety of emotions. GO GET MESSY. And don't be ashamed!
What about being positive?
There is this huge push in spiritual thought today towards living the positive. The words love, light, and positive are everywhere. We are reminded loudly by motivational quotes about the power of the mind to shape the future - that positive thought results in positive outcome. That we should always look on the bright side of things.
I could not agree more with these notions. Neurology and spirituality are two of my passions, and there is a huge cross over between the two. We truly do have the power to manifest our dreams, to heal our bodies, to change whatever we wish. And positive thinking is part of the equation, yes. I would like to argue that that the best kind of positive thinking occurs when we feel empowered - and that happens when we have faced and overcome our greatest challenges. That begins with admitting that they exist. It's that moment where you look your demons in the face and do a little you-can't-get-me-if-you-try booty shake and they join in! (Why yes, everything in life is an opportunity for a dance party.)
The reality is, fear and pain exist and will continue to exist despite our wholehearted efforts to deny them. Everything in the universe is reflected within itself - it's a holographic existence. Fear and physical pain are, after all, simply two sides of the same coin. Both are a call to action, a reflection of a disconnect between the way things are and the way we feel they should be. Just as pain occurs outside of your conscious control, it is in the purview of your nervous system, so does fear. You can be positive and think positive thoughts all you like, but there are still many disconnects happening, and fear is a very real part of your life.
Darkness and fear is not the problem - the denial of their existence is. Ignore the action signal, and you will get burned.
Remember - Manifesting from a place of fear, especially unconscious fear, is akin to playing broken telephone with the universe. Manifesting from a place of raw often uncomfortable truth, however, aligns us closer to our intended paths. Be present to your fears, your inherent duality, and amazing things happen.
Yes, we come from a place of unity and unconditional love, but here on this earth, duality is the name of the game. We broke from unity, and are living in separation to reach unity once again consciously. Learn to surrender, to trust all aspects of yourself. Each is here for a purpose. Each has a role to play. Allow them to work cooperatively, stop fighting, and for the first time you will experience inner peace.
Dive in: You're egotistical, and kind. You're short tempered, and patient. You're graceful and clumsy. You're strong and weak as a kitten. You're selfish and selfless. You're negative and you're positive. You're powerful and powerful. You're a bitch (or a jerk) and you're a lover. You're limitless and limited. You are all those contradictions and more, interacting together.
To quote India Arie - I have found that the art of simplicity simply means making peace with your complexity.
It's time to leave the self hate at the door and celebrate every version of yourself. Give your darkness and your light a place on the dance floor, and grind like everyone's watching!
Sing it with me: I'm a bitch. I'm a lover, I'm a child, I'm a mother. I'm a sinner, I'm a saint.
I am NOT ashamed.