Alignment: Balancing light and shadow, positive and negative
This column seeks to educate our community about emotional healing through grief. People may write questions to Golden Willow Retreat and they will be answered privately to you and possibly as a future article for others. Please list a first name that grants permission for printing.
Dear Dr. Ted:
Your last few articles have discussed trying to be balanced within the many emotional triggers that bombard us daily. You have written about holidays, families, historical traumas, politics and other stimuli that seems to be waiting to wreak havoc if one chooses to buy into the negative stimuli that is presented. How do you keep balance in the midst of so much negativity?
You are right. It is daunting that there is so much that can bring you down daily within each of our lives.
You ask, how do I keep balance? Well, like everyone else, it is a daily practice with some successes. Other days I don’t succeed very well and have to get up the next day and try my best once again. What I have found is that in trying to be conscious of your internal world emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually, you will have a better chance of navigating the icebergs that loom ahead on your path.
Being conscious of your alignment with yourself can decrease potential triggers because you will react less to potential emotional obstacles. Being aware of your enlightened side as well as your shadow side is always a good start.
Most people walk with certain biases, resentments, insecurities, rage, guilt and shame as well as many other complex aspects that can be thought of as negative. You also walk with positive aspects such as love, caring, empathy, kindness, gentleness and other characteristics that also make up your internal world. Those are then portrayed out in the external world.
Honoring both elements within, and working with what you wish to nurture and grow, while gently working to decrease tendencies that don’t serve you is the practice of how to work with the outside world as well.
An ongoing pressure to be perfect persists. Well, I know I’m not, and I haven’t met anyone who has mastered perfection in all parts of their life. Due to this pressure, we have a tendency to ignore the “negative” aspects of our internal worlds.
The problem is ithat when you ignore a part of you, it becomes agitated and acts out more and more usually in a negative manner that does not serve you, and then exasperates more guilt, shame, self-loathing and depletes self-esteem within your psyche. You may even find that the way you perceived yourself internally is then exposed externally.
Observing your internal world and truly choosing to honor rather than defend your shadow side, while nurturing your light side, can bring a balance in your internal life. As you do this, you may start noticing more of the positive characteristics in the world around you rather than growing a garden of negativity.
Becoming balanced within yourself by honoring all aspects of yourself will help your behaviors be more aligned with your humility and love rather than the destructive defenses derived from irritation, shame and guilt. As we enter December, may you and everyone honor the difficulties in our world and at the same time attract the light through kindness, compassion and love. This balance begins with you and then can resonate to the outer world.
Thank you for the question. I wish you well. Until next week, take care.
Golden Willow Retreat is a nonprofit organization focused on emotional healing and recovery from any type of loss. Direct any questions to Dr. Ted Wiard, EdD, LPCC, CGC, Founder of Golden Willow Retreat at [email protected]