On the journey of finding myself, I realized how little I knew myself. I was a daughter, sister, friend, wife – fragmented into these many roles, these labels that were all a part of me. But underneath those labels, who was I?
I remember, in a moment of despair, tearing up a photograph of myself into pieces and sticking them down randomly to represent the fragmentation that I felt within. That was one of my lowest points, around 12 years ago.
As I struggled to put those pieces together, the thing that helped me the most was writing. More specifically, writing morning pages – a practice I picked up from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. She recommends writing 3 pages, longhand, first thing in the morning. No thinking. It’s not a journal or a diary or any creative or literary masterpiece. It is, quite literally, a dump – a brain dump.
All the gunk and junk, the rage, fear, anger, hopelessness, despair, blocks, criticism, whatever it is – just vomit it on the page. And then stick those pages into an envelope or a folder and don’t look at them again.
Writing my way back to wholeness
When I started this practice, all I had was rage, despair, and hopelessness. For a long time, that’s all that I wrote. And then, one day, there was a small crack in that darkness, a tiny pinprick of light. Towards the end of one of those morning page rants, I wrote something about forgetting the way to my heart. The next day, a memory from when I was younger made its way on to the page. After that, there were more tiny insights that came up within the pages – memories of how I buried myself, hid pieces of myself, denied my yearnings. All of those tiny little pinpricks through the darkness helped me to slowly start to find my light. It still took me a long time to accept some of my yearnings, to fully embrace some of the mysterious callings of my heart. But it is from that practice that I started to knit myself back together again.
There’s a lot more to spirituality than simply focusing on healing and energy. It’s not simply about love and light. It’s also about confronting the darkness within us, what Carl Jung called the shadow self, accepting it, working through it and bringing it up into the light. It takes work and time – it’s not a linear journey – you spiral in and out through it, but as you walk this winding road, the fruits get more plentiful and sweeter.
I’ll be sharing more about the shadow self and shadow work next month. Sign up for my monthly letters if you’d like to stay in the loop. You’ll also get cool subscriber exclusives, access to the growing Wanderer’s Library, and a monthly oracle card reading delivered straight to your inbox on the first Saturday of each month.