Day 4 10:10 PM

Earlier today…

7:38 AM…Great, I fell asleep yet again while watching another video on YouTube. I have to take out the trash before they pick it up at 8. I have to feed the baby, and get us both ready to go to our baby massage class. I’m meeting my ride at 9:10 in front of the station. The need to do shadow work is great, but I cannot do everything before 9:00, which is when we must leave the house to get there on time. When I get back from taking out the trash, I ask the question. The answer, “Do shadow work, now.”

7:55 AM

Sit down to do shadow work. Although my son is cooing contentedly next to me, I’m worried he could start crying in the middle of my meditation. I stop everything, go wake up my husband and ask him to take care of our son while I do shadow work.

8:15 AM  Set 20 minutes on the timer

Finally, settling in and getting ready to meditate. After a time, I have a breakthrough. I ask myself how I feel. Negative thoughts cascade across my mind, and instead of silencing them I use them to get at the emotions behind them. The thoughts are that I am being selfish waking my husband and making my ride wait so that I can do shadow work. That’s a judgment, what is the emotion behind that?  A feeling of sadness lies just below the surface of my consciousness. How do I feel, I ask again. My face crumples, tears streaming down as the words I feel worthless break through.

I feel worthless, worthless, worthless

The words break down the barriers I have so carefully built around this core belief I have held for as long as I can remember. I stay with the emotion, tears streaming down my face, dripping off my chin, my body trembling from the force of the release of years’ worth of caged tears.

What is the emotion behind this judgment? Sadness. Deep, deep sadness. What does this sadness look like? Like a black hole sucking in all light, deep, dark, and cold–the pull irresistible, the depth bottomless.

When was the last time you felt this way? Silence. When I Skyped with my family on Easter Sunday. The sadness overwhelms me when I realize instantly that this is how I feel when I am around my family. It is the first time I have been able to articulate this. It is liberating to finally name this demon I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. This calms me and a peace comes over me.

When was the first time you felt this? Silence. Nothing.

Beep Beep Beep

I fumble for the timer turning it off with my eyes still closed. But the damage is already done. Try as I might I cannot get the answer, and creeping up from the back of my mind is the realization that I am going to be really late. I hate being late. Struggling with what to do, I ask the question. The answer: Continue with the shadow work.

I argue with myself. It is unacceptable for me to keep someone waiting, and I will be keeping them waiting for a long time if I continue. What’s more important, reintegrating this part of your Emotional Body thereby changing a vital core belief that has been the source of immense pain for most of your life, or honoring your commitment with a perfect stranger? Of course the shadow work is important.

I continue, but for naught. My thoughts were thus.

It must be 8:45. I am completely here with you now. I can’t stand being late. How do I feel? How am I going to explain myself? Sadness. Worthless. I’ve gotta get the emotion back so that I can get this over with so I won’t be late.

I open my eyes. I break my promise to myself. I make it to the meeting place about ten minutes after the appointed time. I feel like absolute shit.

Over the course of the day, the disappointment fades as I lose myself in the day’s tasks. I go home, get a bite to eat, clean up after lunch, sign my daughter up for swimming lessons, open a gym membership, and get home in time for my first ever root canal.

All the while, a civil war plays out in my head thus:

 I abandoned myself yet again, and in such a crucial point in time. How am I going to recover from this? Will I ever get a chance to reintegrate that part of myself again?

Well, let’s get real. I’m a social animal, and I am hardwired to prioritize social bonds. In Japan, being late is extremely rude. I’ve also spent most of my life putting myself last if at all, so it will take time for me to get used to the idea of putting myself first.

All excuses. All lame. You broke a promise to yourself yet again! You’re a coward.

Finally I call a cease fire, and I ask the question (What would someone who loved themselves do?” The answer “Forgive yourself and move on.”

And so I have.

Final Thoughts

To receive love, I must be perfect. This is another one of my harmful core beliefs, and I believe this is what played out with the shadow work incident. I was trying to be perfect. I should never have started the shadow work this morning, and I will not do shadow work unless I have plenty of time. For I am not only a social animal, but I am also a learning animal. I learn from my mistakes. Tomorrow will be a better day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 March 30 9PM

My last post was rather long, so I’ve decided to keep this one shorter. I’ll begin with the highs of my day, touch on the one low, and end with final thoughts.

Making Connections and the Law of Attraction

The Law of Attraction does not depend on my or anyone’s belief to exist. So I’m behaving as if it does; although I have yet to gather enough evidence to believe that it does. I do however have faith that it does. Today I happened upon three people that I believe has something to do with the change in my outlook and the shadow-work I did this morning.

First, one of my daughter’s kindergarten classmate’s mother approached on the train platform. She didn’t speak English, so we conversed in Japanese. I was in an open enough space to enjoy the conversation and be fully present. The mother began opening up to me about how difficult childbirth was for her. She had complications that lead to a C-section, and she also suffered from severe postpartum depression. I was touched by her story because both my children were born early, and I had emergency C-sections for both my pregnancies. It was the first time I had had a conversation about the pain that comes with not only being robbed of the chance to carry your babies to term, but also the trauma involved in being cut. The conversation ended when the train arrived and we went our separate ways. I asked myself if I should pursue her after I arrived at the station, and when I asked the question (“What would someone who loved themselves do? hereafter referred to as the question), the answer was No. I was at peace with that. Perhaps we were only meant to connect for that brief moment.

When I transferred to the next train, I ran into an old and dear friend. We caught up on the train, and he has since sent me an email invited my family and me to lunch at his place. We hadn’t spoke in almost a year, so I am excited we will be able to reconnect.

When I got to work, my closest friend, who has just gone on maternity leave and recently gave birth to a baby boy, came to the office to turn in some paperwork. I was so happy to see her. I had wanted her home address, so I could bring over some hot meals for her and her husband. She and her husband are expats like my husband and I, they are both far from family, so I wanted to reach out to them and help them in any way that I could. I was hoping I could get her information from our mutual friend that day, but he surprised me with the wonderful news that she would be in the office.

This might be the Law of Attraction working in my life. I am so grateful to those people who have made connections with me, and who value my friendship as much as I value theirs.

An Opportunity for More Shadow-work

So, this morning before I left for work, I visited Teal’s website. I read the section on the 365 Days of Self-Love and I noticed there were comments. Normally, I don’t leave comments for fear of ridicule and rejection. But this time when I asked the question, the answer was “Leave a comment.” So I did and went to work. Before leaving, I checked the website again to see if anyone had replied. My comment was not there. I felt dejected.

The pit of my stomach fell, and I felt as if someone had distinguished the light within me. My first instinct was to talk myself out of it, but to do such a thing would be self-abandonment, so I sat with the feeling. I walked down the hill to the station, with the thought in my mind. I asked the question and the answer was a gentle, “Cry.” I have a hard time letting myself cry, so I could not, but I stayed with the feeling. There is a stream that goes along the road leading to the train station, so I stopped and walked along the stream. I saw a beautiful white crane. I stopped to admire its white feathers, its long graceful neck, and its thin black legs. I watched as it nimbly rooted around the brush on the river bank. I decided to go closer to the river, remembering Teal saying that water is the closest to Source energy. I allowed myself to sit by the water. As I gazed into the cool, clear water, and listened to the gurgling stream, I felt grateful for this opportunity. Obviously the feeling I felt was a mirror of a childhood trauma. I will focus on this feeling for tonight’s shadow work. Now, thanks to that experience, I can reintegrate another part of my emotional body. The Law of Attraction working yet again, perhaps.

Final Thoughts

It’s still really early in this process, and I have had my doubts. My usual negative thoughts have bubbled to the surface–feelings of worthlessness and fears of failure and public humiliation compel me to run and hide, give up this endeavor and just admit that this is an elaborate game I am playing with myself. But when I ask the question, the answer is “Press on.” And so, I press on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Laid Plans

7:07 Wednesday, March 30

So much for writing another post yesterday evening. My husband and I watched a video of a Standford lecture, and I fell asleep, so now I’m going to write about what happened yesterday…today’s happenings will have to come later and with any luck it will be later today 🙂

Little Changes Big Deal

Yesterday, I noticed some little changes in my behavior. Normally I like to be as unassuming as possible. I want to disappear, and especially because I live in a Japanese speaking environment and my Japanese is not as good as I’d like it to be, I avoid spontaneous communication at all costs. Yesterday, this was not the case.

I was amazed how easily I was able to meet my needs in almost all situations. I won’t bore you with every situation; just the ones that really stood out.

Obachan (pronounced Oh-bah-chahn)* on the train

A section of the seat on which I was sitting on the train had a swatch of fabric with some newspaper peaking out of it, so everyone was avoiding it like the plague. At the next stop the train filled up and the person next to me gestured to a little obachan offering her the seat next to him. This was the spot with the swatch. The little obachan took one look at the seat and began muttering to herself “What’s that newspaper? Is that someone’s newspaper?” She did not like the look of that swatch, so she opted for standing.

I didn’t like the idea of her standing; she could barely reach the handles dangling from the ceiling, and she looked so tiny and frail, plus she clearly wanted to sit down. So, I got up and offered her my seat with a gesture. She was reluctant to take my seat, so I sat on the swatch. She then felt obligated to sit where I had been sitting. She was of course apologetic, but I told her to think nothing of it, and we fell into awkward silence.

How was this a change? Well, in the past I have seen situations in which I could offer a seat or do something to help someone on the train, but I have not taken action for fear of not being able to communicate. In this case, I saw a problem, I did my best to offer a solution, and did not worry too much about whether or not I perfectly made myself clear. It was a great feeling.

Standing By My Decision

Normally when I make a decision about something I believe others will disapprove of I put a spin on things in such a way that the listener will approve of what I am doing, or I keep it a secret.

Yesterday, I met with my counselor. I’ve been seeing her for about a year, and we have been working on my self-esteem issues. She is also agreed to work with my husband and I in couple’s counseling. My plan was to tell her that I no longer the one-on-one sessions and that we could start the couple’s counseling next time.

So, naturally, I would need to tell her why I no longer needed the one-on-one sessions with her. So what do you think I did?

I told her everything. I told her about finding Teal, and about the Law of Attraction, and how I was open to the idea that it might be a fact. I heard myself telling her with passion in my voice about shadow work and what I had learned watching Teal’s videos. It was the first time I had been honest about my own truth. I stood by what I believed even though I was afraid my counselor would think I’d lost my mind.

So, were my worst fears realized?

Not at all. In fact, she seemed affected by my enthusiasm. She smiled and said she was happy for me. When I told her about this blog, she said she would be interested. It was a great experience.

Telling you readers about my experience isn’t nearly as scary as telling the people in my life with whom I interact on a regular basis. So, this encouraged me to continue to be honest and to be open to the idea of people actually responding positively to my story, and to be willing to stay with myself when they responded negatively. A negative response could result in my getting upset, so that means its an opportunity to reintegrate the parts of myself I abandoned long ago.

Two Firsts at the Stationary Store

So, I went to a stationary store to get among other things, I notebook and pen to keep a journal to document my shadow work. I had a particular notebook in mind, and I was excited about purchasing a special notebook in which to record my shadow work. I located my notebook and the other items I had come into the store to get, and proceeded to look for a pen with which to write in my notebook. At first, I looked for the usual ballpoint pens, but another pen caught my eye. It was colorful with a silhouette of a girl with a cute hair style. I immediately wanted this pen. Then I discovered that it was a fountain pen. I have never written with a fountain pen. Normally, I would have just put it away and settled for something similar but more familiar. But when I asked myself, “What would someone who loved themselves do?” The answer was clear, “Buy the pen. Learn how to write with a fountain pen.” So that’s what I did. I was so excited. I also had to communicate with the shop clerk, who kindly showed me the ink I should buy and how to insert the cartridge into the pen.

When I was checking out, I noticed that the greeting card I had bought for my daughter was for the wrong age group. Normally, I would just buy it and not make a fuss, but then the question came up again, and of course the answer was, “Speak up and politely ask to exchange the card.” So that’s what I did. When I left the store, I felt so empowered. I felt as if I were walking on air and that all was right with my world.

To give you an idea of what a big deal the last thing was for me, I’ll tell you how I would have acted in that situation perhaps a week ago. I would have been standing at the register thinking to myself that I needed to exchange the card; I would then make an inventory in my mind of everyone standing around me and gauge whether or not my exchanging the card would inconvenience any of them, I’d also gauge whether or not the cashier was friendly and accommodating enough to make such a request. My tongue would feel thick and immobile. My mouth would feel as if I it were wired shut. A voice inside my head would be screaming, “Exchange the card, you idiot! Exchange the card.” But I would not dare risk inconveniencing anyone despite the fact that it would result in my purchasing a card I could not use.

Delving into the Shadows

I’m not sure how to describe the shadow work I did this morning. I cannot find the words to describe what I went through. It was unlike anything I have experienced in my life. I reintegrated a part of myself that was without language. I experienced everything as a sensation in the body and a voice in my head, and there was another level of sensation I have never felt before; it was akin to the feeling you get when you receive a much needed tight embrace.

I began the process at 5:19 in the morning. I began by closing my eyes and breathing in through my nose and out through my nose making sure not to take any unnecessary pauses. The mental chatter and auditory distractions were a constant challenge for me. My mind is always racing with thoughts, so it is really difficult for me to sit in silence inside my mind.

During this time, emotions flitting in and out of my perception, but I could not latch on to any of them, until finally, I felt fear. I grabbed on to that sensation and I stayed with it. I asked myself, “How do I feel?” I focused on how it felt. My heart beat fast, I felt tension on the tops of my arms, and I felt paralyzed.

After a time, I asked myself, “When was the last time I felt this exact feeling?” I was able to answer that question quickly, but when I asked the final questions, “When was the first time I felt this exact sensation?” it took some time. Until finally, I started feeling tension in my neck. I knew it wasn’t related to the present, so I stayed with that sensation. I couldn’t visualize anything, all I could do was focus on the sensation in my neck. Sitting there waiting for more information, I asked “What do you want to tell me?” Time past and then I had an urgent need to yawn. I supressed the need thinking it was a way to distract me from what was going on, and then a voice said, “Yawn.” So I did. The feeling in my neck transferred to a raw burning sensation in my throat. I yawned again. I could feel tears on my cheeks. Time past, and I yawned a third time. The tension in my neck and the burning in my throat persisted.

I asked “What do you want me to do?” I felt a need to relieve the pressure on my neck. I didn’t know what to do so I just imagined taking the tension away. Then I asked again, “What do you want me to do?” The voice said, “Hold me.” So, I did, but it wasn’t a sensation like wrapping my arms around something, it was more the sensation I get when someone gives me a really tight and loving hug. Then the voice said, “Embrace me. Absorb me. Take me in.” This sensation was indescribable. I sensed or perceived a light that swelled to fill my field of “vision” and then I opened my eyes. I was overwhelmed. I took several deep breaths saying “Wow,” several times. Then I wept with joy. “Thank you,” I said. Moments later, I uttered the words “Welcome back.”

It was a lot like a homecoming. It was such an awesome feeling. I wrote in my new journal with my new fountain pen, and I felt good. I felt and still feel a sense of peace.

Final Thoughts

This is the beginning of something entirely new for me. It has been so long since I have actually focused on myself, my needs, and my desires. I’m optimistic, but I can’t help thinking of all the what ifs

What if…

This whole thing is crap. Afterall, I found it on YouTube, how legitimate could it be?

People think I’m a total nut, and therefore lost respect for me?

A decision takes me to the wrong place?

I lose the people and things most precious to me?

I humiliate myself?

I end up the same person with the same issues, problems, and unanswered questions?

This is just a placebo?

To these doubts I reply,

Whatever comes of this journey, it is a lot better than just standing still.

 

Bringing In The Light Delving Into The Shadows

I am really excited about this journey! For the first time I feel like I can visualize and thus realize what it means to love myself. I’m just going to jump right in because my background is in the About page. If you feel lost, please skim that for any information you might be lacking.

This will be brief, but I am going to post another  longer post later today, but my six-year-old is waiting very patiently to play with me and I have been keeping her waiting for some time. So, here goes.

When I found Teal’s video on healing the emotional body, I was like, “Yes! That’s what I’ve been missing. That’s why I could never feel like I was loving myself because I was disapproving of parts of myself. I need to embrace all parts of myself!” This process, shadow work, is a godsend. Thank you Teal!

So, in the subsequent posts, I will be chronicling my 365-day journey in which I ask the question “What would someone who loved themselves do?” (kind of like “What would Jesus do?” huh?) This suggestion came from one of Teal’s videos. I will link all of my references to Teal and her suggestions/teachings as soon as I get a chance. In the meantime, just search for her on YouTube if you can’t wait for the links.

I have to go, but I’ll be back later with a more coherent and substantial post. Take care.