Tag Archives: Deepak Chopra

What to dooooooo? Working with our shadows

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What can we do to avoid historian’s predictions of Holocaust-like-history repeating itself? As individuals? How can we tap into the loving, expansive, inclusive, generous parts of ourselves and humanity instead of giving into fear and loathing?

Yes, there are petitions and demonstrations.

But what about the rest of our lives? The gazillions of thoughts and beliefs we rarely even notice but which contribute to our experience and the way we relate to others?

Apart from sending Metta to places we feel helpless around, we can take a look at our own shadow stuff.

I read an interesting piece by Deepak Chopra today on Donald Trump being a manifestation of America’s shadow.

We all have our shadow aspects and they’re not easy to recognise when we’re caught up in them.

Just as we all have the potential to do amazing things with our one, precious life, we could find ourselves in unimaginable circumstances and be capable of the worst, least imaginable acts.

When we notice them, we can integrate them by owning what we’ve been repressing in ourselves and projecting onto the other.

Something we can all do is pause before posting or speaking or lashing out in any way.

Notice where our shadow might be in that moment.

Who are we most angry with right now?

What does he or she represent to us?

What hidden aspects of ourselves resonates with what they’re doing?

How does it feel to own that feeling? To acknowledge that at some point, we’ve all felt homicidal?

Again, I’m not at all advocating acting on such feelings. Oddly, making this more conscious means we’re less likely to act out aggressively. 

It can be scary.

I’m a pacifist by nature. I wish we could all just get along. We’re all the same. Where we were born had nothing to do with us. Hippie, peace, love, blah…

Years ago, I learned that trying to send peace and love to people who were annoying me was, frankly, beyond me. I think Metta’s wonderful but even that varies day to day. This was years ago and I eventually realised that owning the fury, the rage, the anger and the despair was freeing.

Obviously, I’m not talking about acting on any of this. But recognising however we’re feeling and letting that be OK actually enables the feelings to move through us more quickly than when we try to deny them.

So writing this, thinking about certain politicians and their seemingly bullyish ways, I can either judge them and pretend it’s all about them or be open to acknowledging that bully part of myself.

The part that I don’t want to acknowledge I have yet that I realise of course I do, otherwise it wouldn’t upset me so much to see it in others.

Once I’ve done this, I can better see how I am connected to, for example, a politician. Or someone who votes differently to me. Or a terrorist. Or a serial killer. Or someone who puts his or her feet on the seats on public transport. Or child or animal abuser. Or any number of people I don’t want to think I have anything in common with.

As with everything, it’s a practice. But the more I do this, the less likely I am to add fuel to the emotional fires of the world right now with mean, small minded, unpleasant posts (I’m deleting A Lot).

Embracing our shadows not only helps us integrate and be more whole ourselves but we’re better able to reach out to others with compassion and kindness.

And this depends on us embracing our shadows (rather than beating ourselves up for not being saints, having said shadows).

Who are you most angry with right now? Who do you hate?

How does it feel to own that hatred and fury in yourself? (If a lot is coming up, you might want to work with a therapist – use all available support.)

Personally speaking, just through drafting this post, I’m feeling something closer to empathy for certain politicians than I’ve previously been able to feel.

How about you?

Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve x

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Love and ‘My mom has a saying that behind every successful child is an astonished parent’ ~ Cory Booker

 

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Cory Booker with Trevor Noah (right) on The Daily Show

Wishing all the mothers a Happy Mother’s Day for Sunday – I thought Cory Booker’s mother’s quote was just delightful.

He was being interviewed by Trevor Noah on The Daily Show and appears to still be as humble and service oriented and brave and kind as he has in every other interview I’ve read or seen with him.

Years ago, I remember reading that when he was Mayor of Newark, New Jersey (I felt an affinity as I lived in Newark, Delaware for a year as a kid), someone had contacted him about snowplows being needed and their elderly parents being snowed in. Next thing they knew, the then Mayor was out shovelling the snow himself.

I don’t remember all the details but this man – now Senator and, hopefully (after Hillary and Kirsten Gillibrand? I don’t even get to vote, this is seriously none of my business) a future US President – has literally saved lives. When Jon Stewart interviewed him years ago, I think he was compared to a superhero. He just seems so kind.

In the interview I saw this week, he was doing his best to think of nice things to say about people on opposite sides of the political spectrum.

And then he talked about love, in the widest sense. Easy to say, challenging to do:

‘Love everyone. Love seems like a soft word but I preach against tolerance because that is held up as some kind of ideal in this country, that we tolerate each other. But that’s a cynical state of being that says that if you disappear from the face of the earth, I’m no better or worse off. Love says, “I recognise that you have worth and value and I need you.” There’s an old saying, “If you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far, go together… we need each other.”’

I adore this man.

When we feel safe, it’s easier to hold that sense of love for our fellow beings. When we feel threatened, we view the whole world with suspicion. I always tell my yoga students and clients that just as some days we’re physically stronger and more flexible (and other days less so), sometimes, a Metta (loving kindness) meditation can feel amazingly heart expansive and empowering. Other times, it’s just too challenging to send loving kindness to ourselves, let alone people we’re struggling with (who am I kidding – it’s often hardest to send it to ourselves). Love is expansive. Fear makes us contract.

The theme continued in a yoga class I attended today. Sometimes I cover classes for the lovely Emma Turnbull but today I got to enjoy taking her class. She used Deepak Chopra as inspiration re pranayama, asana and meditation and encouraged us to give to everyone we met all week. While this can be an actual gift, Emma suggested kind thoughts and well wishes.

I’m used to doing my morning Metta meditation (sending loving kindness to various people and groups and the world at large) but have, so far, found it both lovely and challenging. First off, it’s so easy to forget. And then (already!) transformative.

Cycling home, popped into the Post Office – crazy long queue and one poor cashier on her own. Normally, I’d have sighed and pulled out my book. Today (also partly inspired by Dorothy Nesbitt and Art Giser :)), I was happy to just stand and be, sending well wishes to all the others in the queue (and the cashier, of course).

This is probably one of those posts where I forget quite quickly after writing but it’s a practice I want to play with more. Of course we’re human and it’s not always possible. But it’s so much more empowering to walk through this world from and expansive, open, loving place.

What helps you feel expansive?

How have you found Metta and similar meditations?

Do you agree with Senator Booker that love is better than mere tolerance?

Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve x

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