Are you afraid of the dark?

Happy Halloween folks!!

I know I’m a little early…but I thought I would get a little seriousness in before we begin our indulgent festivities of eating (more) sugar and spooking each other out!

My favourite thing about Halloween is the costumes. I love the effort and creativity people put into them and the childlike wonder they tap into even as adults. In the last couple of years I have heard a lot of people say it’s their favourite celebration – more than Christmas. I ask why and many people say, “Well it’s because I get to be someone else. Or I get to be something I’m not.” I find this very interesting,…because I think costume is about people finally getting to display an aspect of themselves that wants to be expressed. We all have a little bit of a superhero, rock star, princess or demon in us. Halloween is just one night of the year where we give ourselves permission to unleash an aspect of who we are and ridicule it at the same time.

But what if we could do this every day? What if we could let ourselves feel the different archetypes within and not be attached to any of them, understanding that we can be different ones from moment to moment, and that this doesn’t compromise the essence of who we really are? What if we allowed others to do the same?

This sounds exciting, but I think we are often afraid to experience the darker aspects of our characters – the monsters in our closets.  We all have demons and darker parts of our psyche that we try to squash. We spend so much time trying to pretend they’re not there or running away from them. As a society we are condemned for expressing so called “negative” feelings such as anger, fear, lust or anything else that isn’t “good.”  As children we were told to “be good” and stop crying, shouting, or being inappropriate. We then learned to judge ourselves for feeling these darker aspects and then lie to others about how we feel – and then lie to ourselves in the process. But the truth is these feelings are there and are just being suppressed, which in turn leads to illness, crime, addiction, and all sorts of other harmful or deviant behaviour. The reality is that we are humans and so therefore we are here to experience duality – masculine/feminine, good/bad, light/dark, hot/cold, etc. Although it can be difficult sometimes, everything about life on this planet is about polarity – and our goal is to hold space for ourselves and each other while we negotiate our way through all of these experiences.

This isn’t to say that we should stay sitting in these murky darker places. Let’s face it, they don’t feel very good and we want to be positive, loving individuals surrounded by goodness. Yes of course. But that other stuff is still there. So let’s not swallow it. It’s a bit like trying to swallow your own vomit! Yuck!! So let it come out. Let’s give it some space to breathe before it gets out of control. Let’s examine it, let it be heard, send it some acceptance. The irony is that once we do this quite often the so called “negative” feeling loses its hold over you and slowly begins to dissolve. And then you are less likely to punish yourself or take it out on others.

I am always surprised when clients ask me, “Is it okay that I’m angry?” I think the more important question is, “Why are you angry?” Let’s go into why certain situations or people are triggering certain aspects of your being. Have you ever experienced the feeling of jealousy, and then named it, and then told the person? It’s amazing just to say to a friend, “I think sometimes I am really jealous of you because of….x,y or z(whatever it is).” It’s such an empowering thing to do. If it’s a good friend you can usually have a good chuckle with them about it, or they might be really honoured you had the courage to share that and offer ways to support you. But then you might be angry they are trying to support you, (or not support you, in which case you need to look at that relationship?) so then this is another layer you get to look at. What’s your anger about? Is it sadness? And so on… And yes this process can be difficult and painful sometimes. But this is movement. This is power. I’m not suggesting you always have to express your angst to the source itself. But at least come clean to yourself and try to get a safe support system.

Your path to empowerment begins as you stop being afraid of those deeper hidden parts within you. The evolved soul isn’t the one who only embraces “goodness” and light, but the one who acknowledges that we are all  on a path to wholeness. We are beautifully human and wonderfully flawed and that’s just perfect. We can all be a bit witchy and mean and we can all behave like monsters sometimes. At other times we are awed by our own capacity to give and inspire others. We must integrate all these aspects of ourselves with courage and love knowing we are all doing the best we can, and that these darker aspects bring greater depth and clarity to the lighter ones.

One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”― Carl Jung

So my suggestion for Halloween is this: When darkness hits, open that creepy closet that is your consciousness. Climb right in and see what’s there –  your old costumes, things you didn’t even realize were there that are just taking up space. You might be surprised that the lingering ghost at the back you were afraid to look at is just a harmless old sweater that stinks and should be thrown out like a dirty habit, but harmless nonetheless!

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