Okay, so I’m reading Debbie Ford’s book. Honestly, I’ve known about it for years, but I’ve avoided it like the plague. Why? There is a wonderful Dana Ivey quote that sort of applies here. On the 80s television show Easy Street, her somewhat self-involved character Eleanor is struggling to show compassion and empathy for husband Quinton (played by the awesome James Cromwell). At one point, Eleanor shows her true colors:
“I know that in the past, I have not been very sympathetic to your needs. That’s because I didn’t want you to have any.”
Well, in the past, I’ve not been very sympathetic to my dark side. That’s because I didn’t want to have one. But, as Eleanor found out about Quinton’s needs, I do have a dark side and I do need to pay more attention to it.
All you have to do is look around to see that our culture here in the west is becoming more and more polarized—Left and Right, Conservative and Liberal, Faith and Secularity. And while it’s lots of fun to play Us vs. Them, deep inside we know that all this divisiveness is not good for the country, society, or the world.
So why do we do it? Why do we insist on the illusion of separateness?
Last night, I saw this amazing video online that states that every single atom in our body changes about every five years or so. Atoms don’t go away (unless they’re split, with unavoidable repercussions). So what happens to all these atoms that are no longer in our bodies? They recycle, of course. Now, where on Earth do you think all those new atoms that you get every five years or so come from? Maybe I’ve got my science wrong, but I don’t think we’re constantly creating new atoms. Nope, our bodies are shopping at the Atom Consignment store.
We’re using used atoms for the construction of our own lives.
You are within me, and I am within you, and we are all connected to this Earth we live within, which is then connected to the sun that we depend upon, which is part of the galaxy that created it, etc., etc.
Everything. Everything is connected.
And that sort of makes the whole polarization thing kind of—well, for lack of a better word, stupid.
If we are all connected, all part of an enormous entity experiencing life together, how can we be polarized against each other? Do the nerve cells mount campaigns against the encroachment of blood cells into historically nerve-occupied territory? Are the arms afraid the legs are getting too many jobs and asking the brain for sanctions against new leg development?
Of course not.
But we, as humans, forgetting our connectedness, fight each other all the time.
Light vs. Dark
It only takes a hop and a skip to bring this argument to the battle of Light vs. Dark. We’ve been conditioned in our lives to seek Light and avoid Dark. I have, you have, the guy down the street has. The things in the Dark are scary, ugly, uncomfortable, and we all want to be happy, beautiful, and relaxed.
The thing is, what we push against pushes back, and becomes stronger with the effort. What we embrace becomes part of us, and all of us become stronger. As long as those of us seeking light and wisdom push hard against darkness and ignorance, those forces will only continue to push back (and grow stronger).
But what if we stopped pushing? What if we just said, okay, there’s darkness and ignorance and cruelty and inhumanity in the world? What if we stopped fighting and just started accepting?
I don’t know what the long run answer would be, but I know that in the short term we’d have more energy to focus on what we love. We’d have more energy to do what we feel is right and good if we stopped worrying about what The Other People are up to.
This is all good and fine for the outside world, but what about the inner world? How much am I pushing against what’s bad and dark and uncomfortable within myself? And by pushing against it, how much power am I giving it?
- I’m stupid (sometimes)
- I’m gross (sometimes)
- I’m annoying (sometimes)
- I’m ignorant (sometimes)
- I’m petty and mean (sometimes)
- I’m lazy (sometimes)
Ford tells us to look at the things that annoy us the most—the personality quirks that drive you crazy in other people. These are the shadow aspects of yourself that you are denying, pushing against, giving power to. And the Universe is going to continue to bring reflections of this shadow into your life until you embrace, accept, and even love that aspect of yourself.
So I’m digging deep. I’m watching my reactions to see who drives me the most crazy, and why? And then I’m turning it inwards.
It’s an uncomfortable process. I’m pretty sure I’m not enjoying it much. But I know at the other side of this, if I’m brave and persistent, I will find a sense of wholeness and peace I have not known for years.
What pisses you off, FaFa? What annoys you the most? Do you have the guts to ask yourself where these traits reside within you? Do you dare look inside your own shadow and see what’s lurking there?
Hope to see you there!