Shadow Boxing In The Dark…

Do you remember the scene in Disney’s Peter Pan where he loses his own shadow, and quietly sneaks in to Wendy’s room at night to hunt, fight and pin down his shadow with all his might?

This seemingly minute scene is a huge hint at something most of us may not even be aware of:

Shadow Boxing in the dark…

petershadow

The idea of Shadow Boxing came to me on the 3rd of December, ’14.

That night at 8pm, he left me for the desert. His eyes told me he’s going off on a fight.

I saw the seething rage beneath the calm. In an instant, I knew.

He’s going shadow boxing.

This time, the punches will be hard as steel and soul breaking.

It made me want to cry out. “Don’t hurt yourself! Please, be patient with yourself…”

And then, as real as it felt, as quick as it came, the vision in the night vanished into thin air.

It left me wondering who’s the one Shadow Boxing?

Him. Or me?

It could be my projection.

I could be the one, left behind, left to face a most unforgiving fight.

And you may wonder, “But how can one hurt themselves if they’re only shadow boxing? Aren’t you just fighting with… air?” Indeed, Wiki states that in shadowboxing, “only one person is required to participate; the participant throws punches at no one in particular.” – Wiki

But the shadow boxing I had in mind last night was a little different… It’s the fight we have with our own Shadow.

“In Jungian psychology, the shadow or “shadow aspect” may refer to (1) an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not identify in itself. Because one tends to reject or remain ignorant of the least desirable aspects of one’s personality, the shadow is largely negative, or (2) the entirety of the unconscious, i.e., everything of which a person is not fully conscious. There are, however, positive aspects which may also remain hidden in one’s shadow.” – Wiki

I went Shadow Boxing with a group of strangers last night and it was quite an experience.

We sat in a ring. Lights dimmed. The master was on her raised meditation cushion. And then, with a nod, one by one, the fighters took turns to get into that ring, Shadow Boxing, freestyle.

As each of them shared their story and struggles, the master, with eyes as sharp as an eagle, mind ten paces ahead, and experience twice our lifetime, is listening. Every uttered word paints the flow and the movement of the Shadow. She’s quick to catch and redirect, with tough-loving suggestions here and there.

Each fighter returns to his or her seat a little weary but much stronger in Awareness.

Some, like A and I, continued our shadow work even after the sessions were done. Her piercing insight, now that I think of it, was kind of like expertboxing.com‘s guide to improve shadow boxing.

“If something feels too difficult, you’re probably doing it wrong. Your shoulders shouldn’t be hurting during the hook. Your back shouldn’t be aching when you slip. You shouldn’t be falling off balance when you move around. If you’re getting tired shadowboxing, how can you expect yourself to have much endurance during a high-stress fight with an opponent?” – expertboxing.com 

‘Cos I was saying things like, “I’ve been trying to be patient, trying to be understanding, trying to be open-minded, trying to be loving…”

A responds, “Trying this… trying that… trying, always trying… trying means you’re not there yet… you’re not patient, not understanding, not… you get the idea? You think you are but you’re not. If you are, you wouldn’t be trying… you’d BE.”

And she ended our session with the one word I needed reminder of: ACCEPTANCE.

Until we see, acknowledge and understand our own Shadow, coming to a point of Acceptance, we’ll find it hard to Accept others, as they are.

“The shadow personifies everything that the subject refuses to acknowledge about himself” and represents “a tight passage, a narrow door, whose painful constriction no one is spared who goes down to the deep well”. 

If and when ‘an individual makes an attempt to see his shadow, he becomes aware of (and often ashamed of) those qualities and impulses he denies in himself but can plainly see in others — such things as egotism, mental laziness, and sloppiness; unreal fantasies, schemes, and plots; carelessness and cowardice; inordinate love of money and possessions…” – wiki/Shadow_(psychology)

Shadow work is scary and uncomfortable, but so necessary.

Perhaps when we gradually slip into Acceptance, we can do less Shadow Boxing and more, as cgjungpage.org puts it, “Shadow Dancing.”

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

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Love Is Allowing Yourself To Feel

Originally posted on theloveculture:

Originally posted on 28.06.12:

“We must not numb our pain.

When in sorrow, sorrow.

When in anger, anger.

FEEL IT.

It’s the only way to go through it.” Paul said to me, as we were discussing the problem of alcoholism in Finland.

His main language is Finnish. So when he speaks in English, it’s very simple. But I get it. And I love it. It comes out sounding like a poem.

Paul is saying we must go through the process of whatever it is we’re feeling. So when we’re in sorrow, then allow ourselves to be in sorrow.

Having spent many years working in a rehab for alcoholics in Helsinki, he’s seen how desperately people try to numb their pain, instead of dealing with the root of that pain. In the end, the only thing they create is a bigger mess, ruining their own lives and the lives of their…

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Moving Mondays: Letting Go of Expectations

Originally posted on Moving Art by Louie Schwartzberg:

“What screws us up most in life is the picture in our heads of how it is supposed to be.”

Have you ever heard that phrase before? Too often we wish we had the power to control everyone and everything in our lives. Sometimes we even think we can. The truth is though, we have to learn what is within our power and what is not. Once we learn to focus on ourselves and know we are doing all we can do to make ourselves a better person, the next step is to learn to let go of any expectations we may have of the people or things around us.

Sometimes even after all the best planning in the world, things don’t turn out like we hoped they would. But when we let go of any expectations, we are in a better place to find happiness and contentment which how things…

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“Relationships never offer a guarantee. And they always require work. And therefore they don’t work for people who are not willing to work… without a guarantee.” – Leo Buscaglia

“Relationships never offer a guarantee. And they always require work.

And therefore they don’t work for people who are not willing to work.

And they don’t work for people who aren’t willing to work without a guarantee.

We’re always waiting for the right person to come along.

And we say that when they come along we will live happily ever after.

Doesn’t that make you wanna puke? I mean how old do we have to be before we realise that’s the most distractive myth? There’s no such thing as happily ever after anything.

And you’re waiting for the right person! I guarantee you’ll wait forever! There is no right person. You become the right person!” – Leo Buscaglia

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

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What do we know about Loving Relationships? Invest 45 Amazing Minutes with Leo Buscaglia for an expansion of perspective… “Life is a celebration of ALL relationships, not just the limitations of a man and a woman and a marriage…” – Leo Buscaglia

“There’s so many myths about relationships… the minute I talk about loving relationships, everybody immediately flashes on MAN-WOMAN-MARRIAGE.

And we forget that that’s only ONE relationship in our lives.

Think of a myriad of others. Think of mommas, of pappas, of sisters, of brothers, of neighbours, of friends, of in-laws, of co-workers and they go on and on and on…

And life is a celebration of all those relationships, not just the limitations of a man and a woman and a marriage… If that’s all you do, you’re going to be lost.

You’ve got to go out and bring in these others, because they feed you, they nourish you, they make you healthy…” – Leo Buscaglia

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

Moving Mondays: Holding a Grudge

Originally posted on Moving Art by Louie Schwartzberg:


With energy tied up in the past, we don’t have any left to take care of the present. We’re human. And sometimes we make big mistakes. What we forget is that by holding a grudge against someone who has hurt us, we only hurt ourselves more in the long run. Holding a grudge consumes our energy and diverts our attention away from the present moment. Because we’re tied up in our anger or hurt, we may miss the fact that in the present moment, we’re actually doing okay. Moments of peace and contentment elude us when our thoughts and feelings wander to past wrongs.

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is the right thing to do. When we make mistakes ourselves, we hope for compassion and understanding. When someone else hurts us, it serves us well to emulate what we would hope to have shown to us. Letting go of a grudge…

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“Hope can sometimes be an elusive thing, and occasionally it must come to us with pain.” – Gerald G. May, ‘Addiction & Grace’

On the seventh day of this month, we took a long walk to our destination. On our way there, we encountered a stray, of the human kind.

From afar, I was struck by his skin, smeared in black, and the way his torn t-shirt was draped to the side like a monk’s orange robe.

The scowl on his face and the way he was striding forth commands you to get out of his way.

Even so, a part of me wanted to stop him and to speak with him. But I traced his right bared arm to his hand, clenched tightly around a bottle of liquor, now empty. I feared he could hit me with it.

So I stood aside, he stalked right by, and the sudden stench of sewage overpowered the air, trailing his misery.

STRAY
I slipped my hand into the hand of the one I was walking with, and held on tight.

“Why, are you scared? Do you fear that man?” he asked.

No. I was looking for comfort. I was thinking about how tightly that man was holding on to his bottle. An empty bottle. It was his lifeline. His only way of numbing his pain. I feel pity for him… his outer condition is a reflection of his inner condition, and it’s clear he’s in a very, very bad state…

Google defines Pity as “the feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the sufferings and misfortunes of others.” I believe this feeling of sorrow and compassion can only arise from having once recognised ourselves, in them.

I remember only too well, a time in my life when I, too, felt lost and “homeless”. In my time of wandering, I identified with the beggars and the strays on the streets. It was a humbling time of transitioning, where I was brought to my knees by the awareness of my own ‘drunken stupor’ from my various addictions.

I was a human in need of grace.

“Grace is the invisible advocate of freedom and the absolute expression of perfect love.

…grace seeks us but will not control us. Saint Augustine once said that God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive them. If our hands are full, they are full of the things to which we are addicted.

And not only our hands, but also our hearts, minds and attention are clogged with addiction. Our addictions fill up the spaces within us, spaces where grace might flow…

…we may not be able to make our hands completely empty in order to receive the gifts of grace, but we can choose whether to relax our hands a little or to keep clenching them ever more tightly.

…simply relaxing one’s hands may seem too passive. As we shall see, however, this simple choice may be the greatest kind of struggle any human being can face, and it may call forth the greatest courage and dedication…

…We may go through a great deal of humbling, if not outright humiliation, before we come to this simplicity of hope. We do not like admitting defeat, and we will struggle valiantly, even foolishly, to prove that we can master our destinies.

God, in whose image we are made, instills in us the capacity for relentless tenacity, an assertiveness that complements our yearning hunger for God. But most of us overdo it; our spirit of assertiveness quickly becomes a spirit of pride.

We will never really turn to God in loving openness as long as we are handling things well enough by ourselves. And it is precisely our most powerful addictions that cause us to defeat ourselves, that bring us to the rock bottom realization that we cannot finally master everything.

Thus, although in one sense addiction is the enemy of grace, it can also be a powerful channel for the flow of grace.

Addiction can be, and often is, the thing that brings us to our knees.

…it is possible that at some point in our journey with addiction and grace, we might even come to see addiction as a kind of gift.

…Addictions teaches us not to be too proud. Sooner or later, addiction will prove to us that we are not gods.

Then we will realize that we are our own worst enemies; we cannot beat ourselves. At that point, when we have exhausted all the available false repositories for our hope, it is possible that we will turn to God with a true sense of who we are, with an integrity that is both humble and confident, with a dignity that knows itself because it has met its limits.

Hope can sometimes be an elusive thing, and occasionally it must come to us with pain.

But it is there, irrevocably. Like freedom, hope is a child of grace, and grace cannot be stopped. I refer once more to Saint Paul, a man who, I am convinced, understood addiction: “Hope will not be denied, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts.” – Gerald G.May, ‘Addiction & Grace’.

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

Flow

Life is movement… in every moment.
Even in stillness, we can kiss the sky.

…Fly

…Flow

…Go

“…Breathe, breathe in the air.
Set your intentions.
Dream with care.
Tomorrow is a new day for everyone,
Brand new moon, brand new sun.
So follow, follow the sun,
the direction of the birds,
the direction of love.
Breathe, breathe in the air,
cherish this moment,
cherish this breath…

…So which way is the wind blowin’,
and what does your heart say?” – Xavier Rudd, ‘Follow The Sun’.

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

Moving Mondays: Ready to Learn

Originally posted on Moving Art by Louie Schwartzberg:

Every person we meet has come into our life to teach us something.

Too often when we meet someone, we’re concerned with telling them who we are or what our story is. Rather than look at what we can learn from someone, we feel like we should be the one teaching.

The truth is that every person we meet has something they can teach us. Whether someone is older, younger, richer, poorer – the differences between us truly don’t matter. When you’re standing in a long line and encounter a cranky person or when you meet someone who frustrates you, they, too, have something they can teach you. Be open to the possibility that each person you meet has crossed your path for a reason.

Reflection of the Week: Are you open to the possibility that everyone you meet has something valuable they can teach you? Do you feel you are ready to learn that lesson?

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Vulnerability

Vulnerability

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

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