As we move into fall, I invite you to explore what is best for you.
Notice what makes you feel good. Explore new foods, types of movement and creative activities. Notice how you show up for others when you take the time to do you?
This exploration, of course, means you will actually need to try on new things or to engage in former activities. (Things you used to do before children or a partner or the work promotion.) And, as you may have noticed in a recent Shakti in the Mountains’ Facebook post, quite a few women feel stymied to take the time.
One of the biggest reasons women give for not making time for themselves is guilt. Guilt that they are letting someone down. Guilt that important things won’t get done unless they do them. Guilt that they chose themselves over a loved one.
Let me tell you something about guilt. It is a mind f*ck.
Guilt is a tool used to manipulate folks into doing something other than what they want. Is that how you want to be motivated? Is that how you want to be controlled?
My guess is no. It is not how you want to live your life.
My guess is you would rather make choices based on what is in your and your loved one’s best interests.
My guess is you would rather not feel guilty at all.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. A life without guilt is possible but it requires two things:
- You take full responsibility for the decisions you make.
- You choose to put yourself first.
Right about now you may be saying to yourself:
“How in the hell am I supposed to do that? Put myself first, yeah right. What kind of mother/wife/partner/friend/daughter/colleague would I be if I did that?”
Well, there is only one way to find out. Isn’t there?
To find out exactly what kind of person you would be, if you put yourself first, is to do it and see what happens.
My guess is a lot of fears will come up. Fears about what kind of person you REALLY are.
I want you to know that these fears are normal to have and possible to allay.
These fears, in psychological terms, are called the Shadow because we regulate them to the dark and like to pretend they don’t exist. And they are no less real just because we pretend they are not.
I remember the first time I was invited to explore my Shadow. I was enrolled in a yoga therapy program and asked to explore the parts of me I was afraid to see.
My first instinct was to deny.
“What are you talking about?” I said, “I am not afraid of myself.”
When my ever patient mentor only remained calm but firm, my second strategy was to avoid.
“I’ll get to that later. Right now is not a good time for me because fill-in-the-blank-excuse.”
This strategy went on for several months and delayed my graduation from the program by half a year.
Finally, after much support and a desire to graduate from the yoga therapy program, I took the plunge and began to explore my Shadow – the parts of me that I considered ugly, mean, bad or wrong. The parts of me that I attempted to control through guilt and lots of negative self-talk.
I am so glad I did this work. I am so glad I found the courage to look at my Shadow.
This work is what allowed me to:
- Take responsibility for my decisions – all of my decisions – even the hard ones.
- Put myself first.
Shadow work, which I still do, liberates me from the chains of guilt. I now know that if I am feeling guilty about something (It can still happen. I have years of enculturation to overcome.) that it is a sign to explore an unexamined fear or two.
I also know that Shadow work is best done in community. Realizing that you are not alone, receiving non-judgmental support and having folks to celebrate your wins makes overcoming these fears SO much easier.
For this reason alone, although I could easily name others, I have decided to offer a special class this fall called: Shining a Light into the Dark: Finding the Treasure Buried in the Shadow.
This four-week class is an opportunity to explore what you fear, to understand the needs that drive those fears and to recover the parts of yourself that were regulated to the dark.
That’s all. No biggie.
Ha! It is a biggie which is why I am limiting this class to 8 women.
I want to create a tightly woven cocoon in which this big work can happen. I want the women who come to feel held and supported as they throw off the chains of guilt and self-degradation.
If you are ready, then reserve your spot by clicking here to register. The class will begin on October 15 and no late registrations will be accepted after we begin.
I invite you to listen to your soul and respond to what is needed. If now is not the right time for you, then honor that. There are plenty of other ways to feel held and supported at Shakti in the Mountains.