Finding True Integrity and Embracing Shadow

Observations over the last year from Equinox 2008 to Equinox 2009 from shaman work and personal life.

To say the last 12 months was eventful is of course the understatement of all time. I’ve often been slow to fully acknowledge and/or act on the obvious in my personal life, and I let go of shaman sessions as soon as they are finished, so it has taken until now to make some sense out of this last year and the new paradigm it has ushered in.  Maybe, like many of you, this is because I’m innately visionary – looking at the very broad picture in space and time and giving too little notice of the nitty gritty – and/or my innately high level of endurance keeps me blind to a contrasting situation that needs addressing.  As a great friend and mentor would often say, “we’ve all got a hitch in our giddy-up.”   As a personal example, for several years I pushed my amount of massage work well beyond what I could sustain comfortably physically and emotionally. And finally towards the end of last year I recognized the several ways in which the overworked situation wasn’t serving, and finally chose to take a break for a time, and focus mostly on my shamanism practice – possibly my greater gift and service to the world. In any case, now that I’ve finally pieced much of what’s been happening together and brought it to light in myself, I feel that it is worth sharing.

I’ve observed two major themes in my client work and personal life that seem critical for all of us to understand and adjust to going forward through this shift.

1)  We can no longer get away with being out of integrity with our core personal truths.  For example, if someone’s core gift and service for the world is teaching, and instead they are working as a banker, the difficulties in succeeding in that profession will have grown.  It used to be much easier to get away with working at something that is not on your greatest destiny path and make a living, or even a killing.  And although it was easier or doable, there were often side effects of being out of integrity that caused difficulties in other areas of our lives, i.e. physical and emotional health, relationships, and etc..  Kind of like squeezing a balloon in one part, and having it pop out somewhere else.  But over the last year, it seems to have grown to not only cause side effects, but to be nearly impossible to get away with at all.  Another example is if someone’s core personality and role is to be big, strong, and forceful in their expression, and instead they are trying to be mild-mannered and meek, its creating physical, psycho-spiritual, and relationship collapse.

The global financial turmoil is but one way that many are being forced to deeply examine their true gifts and service in the world.  Listening to the teachings of a gentleman named Robert Ayres recently, he emphasizes the difference between work versus service, and making a killing versus making a living.  The wording alone seems so obvious, I don’t even feel that I need to elaborate.  I will allow you to find that one, and how it relates to your life, on your own.  It is a worthy and ultimately actionable contemplation.  I’ve seen plenty of examples in regards to finances as well, where we may actually already be aware of our true gifts and service, but don’t think that we can or should make a living with them.  So instead, we try to make as much money as we can doing another kind of work, so that we can then do our service for free, or just as hobby, or after we retire.  I think it is worth asking the universe for the experience of doing what we love to do, our true gift, our true service, and be able to make a living with it. And likewise in other areas in our life, ask for the ability to express our true gifts and roles in a way that we feel great about it, and others around us support it.  I feel that this is the sustainable trend that this shift is bringing us anyway.

Whenever teachers or preachers would speak of “integrity”, it came across to me as simply “doing what you say you are going to do, or telling the truth”.  But I realized that it is much broader and deeper than that.  It is that, and knowing and following your deep inner truths and desired experiences.  How can one speak their truth, or “the truth”, when they aren’t entirely sure exactly what it is in the first place? I find in my work that it takes quite a bit to dig down to what is our true desire.  We tend to get caught up in the manifestations or mechanisms or ways in which we can accomplish a goal that we think is what we want, instead of determining the core experience that we want, and allowing the way and the manifestation to come in any form, and ideally that form that comes with the greatest ease and grace.

So are we first able to know our true desired experiences, and then speak them to others and act on them.  This is what we are being called, and even forced in many ways to examine. This is the way of putting the feminine first, the inner journey and “know thyself” first, and all the great wisdom teachings, the yin taking the lead over the yang, the head following the heart, or the gut.  This is the shift that my Q’ero teachers call the Pachakuti.

2)  We have been, and continue to be, also called to become integral in another way: namely, embracing shadow.  Equinox is a perfect time for shadow work and integration of all aspects of our personality.  Shadow work requires a complete suspending of judgment internally first, then externally by default.  It is a full embracing and appreciation/love of all contrast: light and dark, pain and pleasure, nice and mean, enlightened and ignorant, easy and difficult, and etc… Of course, most people have a propensity, and are encouraged, to lean toward the light, nice, pleasure, enlightened, easy, and etc. side of life.  And I would want that to be 99.9% of my life and yours as well.  The trick is that in order to keep the .1% of contrast at a minimum, we have to love it, not judge it as bad, not hate it or do battle with it, or try to kill it, both as manifested internally or personally, as well as externally or interpersonally in our relationship to everyone else in the world. It is a paradox, and often not easy to stop pushing against and instead embrace something that we want to experience less of; but, it is the only way to really get it done.

And it works in the other direction as well.  Plenty of people have the propensity and encouragement to create more dark, pain, mean, ignorant, difficult, and etc. in their lives because of beliefs around worthiness, redemption, karma, and so on.  They believe that they deserve more of the punishing side of contrast for one reason or many others.  So there we have to actually embrace, love, not judge, do battle with or try to kill that part of our personality, or its external forms.  This for example is when we put someone on a pedestal, and think that we can never reach or exceed their level.  We have to see and love that positive shadow in us as well.

It is time to put down our judgment and internal weapons and get on with life.  By default, our external judgments and battles will cease as well, and in every way making a living will replace making a killing (or being on the other end of that).  Letting go of the old habits and ways in which we have gotten away without examining and honoring our integrity, or doing our shadow work can obviously be very challenging, so we can simply do the best that we can and hang in there.

An integral approach to healing, such as the shaman work that I and many others do, is proving to be extremely helpful in being able to come into our integrity and embrace our shadow.  It is a perfect time to focus on this work as the external world and influences continue to shift through to the end of the year, and some say to the beginning of 2013.  I hope that my observations, personal example, and sharing have been helpful to you, and that my service will continue to be helpful to you.

I’m continuing to focus on the shaman work and making more aware of it.  My wife and I have opened a small office here in Monterey to that purpose, and, I continue to travel monthly as well as doing shaman work at Cavallo Point, and shaman and a little massage work at the Post Ranch Inn and privately.  I will soon create some recordings of my meditations, journeys, and lectures to make available for download from my website.

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