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.”
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.
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.