"I Am One Who knows that healing begins to take place
when you bring light to your dark places."
~ SoulCollage® card found online
As the days shorten and we head towards the Solstice, the darkest day in the year, let's remember how to find the light. This article was written in November 2022.
Finding the Gold in the Shadow
Fall brings the dimming of the light; we can feel the darkness growing. Yet I love the dramatic autumn skies, especially the dark background stark against the rays of sun bursting through. Gold and Shadow, right in front of me.
I don’t think I even knew what the term shadow meant before I found SoulCollage®. I enjoyed the chapter in Seena’s book, [SoulCollage® Evolving] but it took me a while to make cards for those challenging parts. She describes shadow as energies that are either too much or too little, energies that are out of balance. This made it easier to understand, rather than labeling them bad or ‘negative.’
I found out about SoulCollage® by tumbling down a rabbit hole online in 2011. After spending a summer making cards, I became a Facilitator the next year. At the time, I was leading journal-writing workshops for women from my home, focusing on themes like midlife, what it means to be a woman, the dark and light side of the family, and the cultural heritage that shapes us. Once I introduced my journaling workshop participants to SoulCollage®, they loved it!
I began to be brave enough to explore the scary or shadowed parts. It seems that as soon as I name a part and claim it’s energy as mine, it stops biting me in the behind! This is because I am becoming aware of and acknowledging its existence. For instance, after I became a mom, I struggled with feelings of anger. It used to be easier for me to cry than to express anger as a child. Once I had two kids, I felt myself losing my hold on explosive emotions. Fatigue and exhaustion made me more reactive.
My childhood role as ‘little mother’ gave me certain skills, but it also placed an unfair burden on my shoulders. As an adult, I took many parenting workshops to learn how to deal with anger. Therapy and the SoulCollage® process have helped me understand where the anger was coming from. Naming and claiming are big parts of SoulCollage® for me; I find it so therapeutic.
I Am One Who has a hard time reining in the tornado of emotions running through me. I grit my teeth and try to bear the discomfort but it gets away from me and rips off the roof..
Recently I spent over a year in therapy– my mother had died and old baggage resurfaced. I felt stuck, unable to move forward with my projects. The therapist used SoulCollage® to help me see the split between my mind and body – how the mind seeks to be perfectly in control, while the body simply feels what it feels.
Inside of me there was a frozen child with mummified hurts, crying out, I won’t and I can’t. My mind was pushing me to get back to work, to be productive, to have it all together. But the heart of the child first wants and needs to feel safe, to be loved and cherished, to be seen and heard. I am learning how to listen to my body’s need for rest, to allow down time, and not see myself as a failure if I stop pushing the river.
I Am One Who quietly takes care of everything–house, children, meals, laundry, and social engagements, plus my own work or projects. I feel overwhelmed and alone. I have trekked a long journey carrying a heavy burden, unable to meet my own needs without guilt. I soldier on until I fall, exhausted.
When these cards pop up in readings, they shine a light on my vulnerabilities and allow me to ignore self-doubt and practice self-compassion. I begin to hear and accept that frozen child and her feelings. I rock her and listen to her.
Allowing myself to be vulnerable, to acknowledge what my body and heart needs, not just what my mind wants, is becoming easier with practice (and age). I need to remember to mother that inner child, not scold her. If I slow down to the pace of what my body feels and my heart longs for, I can begin to be gentle with myself.
The beauty lies in shining a light on the darkness, on the parts that feel neglected. To witness my shadow in card readings is difficult, but it always ends up bringing me closer to peace. With practice, resilience grows, and I allow healing to happen. I make cards for my difficult emotions. I also make cards for being just “enough.” I call on my Good Mother archetype to help me mother myself,and see the sun peeking out behind the clouds.
Jennifer Boire is a poet, author, SoulCollage® Facilitator, and Facilitator Trainer. This article was previously published in the KaleidoSoul Kindred Spirits member newsletter, and can be found here: https://conta.cc/3ixqrPD. KaleidoSoul is a SoulCollage Playground run by Anne-Marie Bennett: https://kaleidosoul.com/
World of SoulCollage® is a community of practice where we seek to deepen our understanding and experience of SoulCollage®, so that we know ourselves more fully, express our unique gifts, discover our inner wisdom, and change our worlds together.