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Dancing in the Shadows and Light Emotional Work

This week I’ve been feeling like I’ve been dancing through realms.

One minute I am up, the next I am down; holding it together to just make it to the car to curl up sobbing with an uncontrollable rage.

I honour this process as I know it’s honouring the parts of me that are triggered and cranky. The parts of me that are looking at my past experiences and fearing they are going to merge into my present. At the drop of a dime, it all floods back in and I am left sitting and crying and putting together the pieces of the puzzle that fell apart.

Though the puzzle never fell apart to being with.

I’m just being offered a new perspective. I’m being shown that the pieces never fit together in the first place and I get to discard them and go out and find the ones that fit.

You see, I have been entered into a back to work program and I feel rushed and pushed through pain that I can barely stand. As someone who has had quite the journey with physical ailments over her life, you’d think I could ‘grin and bare it’ and show up positive and happy.

Though I am worn down, I feel pushed against my natural healing process and quite frankly my teenage rebel is showing up and saying a good ol’ fuck you to the system. I want to do it MY WAY. I don’t want to be commanded and demanded and told what to do.

In addition, my body holds onto the treasures of my soul I don’t want to process or deal with. So when I don’t do my emotional work, she takes it on. It will pop up in stiff muscles, tense shoulders, a gimpy knee or a twisted ankle and leaves my digestive tract a mess. During my recovery, I show up to all the holistic practices to bring her back to health. Though there are two things I haven’t done consistently up to date: exercise and preventive measures.

Ever since I was a kid, I haaated exercise. Don’t get me wrong, I loved playing volleyball and basketball and I could swim for days. Though when it came to doing laps and lanes, drills and sprints I couldn’t stand it. I never felt encouraged to do better or be better, I felt it was demanded of me and if I didn’t show up then I was letting other people down. I never felt encouraged in reaching my personal best, I felt compared and shamed when I didn’t stack up to the other members on my team. We all knew the slow ones were benched.

So anytime I enter a gym, I override my emotional scale. It’s like I’ve stepped through the wardrobe to Narnia and I’m in survival mode. I’m pacing back and forth, focusing mentally on what I have to do and push through. The voices of my coaches start popping up in head and I get stuck in the zone. “Suck it up buttercup! You can do better than that!” “Push yourself!” “One more lap, one more rep, I don’t care if you’re tired, do it!” “Crying won’t get you anywhere!”

I enter a state of pure primal exertion. Doing anything to override the little girl within who is hurting and wants to cry. Yet the teenager doesn’t want to appear weak, she doesn’t want to be judged so she hides it all inside. Pushing, pacing, fighting back that which wants to emerge.

The difference between ‘her’ and me, is that I now know that I need to process this emotion so it shows up as soon as I leave the gym. Yet the learning curve is that I shouldn’t have to shut down this part of myself in this environment. Heck, every yoga teacher I know celebrates it when their students have emotional releases; yet I don’t give myself permission to go there. I gulp it down, hold it back and walk it off.

If I don’t transform this, I will injure myself again. Plain and simple. It’s the behavioural pattern I have run ever since I was a child. I spent more time on crutches than off during my senior years in high school and have no desire to go back there.

So I need to do the emotional work and I need to do it now.

I’m not bringing this forward with a simple step process of how I am working through it. Mainly right now, my process consists of breaking down crying, uncovering what’s beneath this anger and fear and going from there.

I emerge each time feeling lighter and brighter, then it hits again like another tsunami taking everything out of it’s way. Yet this time I get to ride the surf and stay on top; breathing, honouring and releasing. It’s a process. One that I know will pass and one that needs to be honoured now. It’s the dance between the shadows and the light. Constantly shifting, changing and growing. I am never pulled back in, it’s always in forward momentum. Lighting me up and aligning to what I am here to do.

I know more than anyone that we can’t have one without the other.

So why not find beauty in the parts that are hiding too.



~ Richelle


P.S. The image I chose is the view from my bedroom tonight. I was thinking about the shadows within the light and walked into my room only to have my breath taken away from the sparkling light cast between the city and clouds. I love my Angels, they always know how to delight me.

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