The Magic of dancing with Shadows

Dr Seuss said "You can find magic wherever you look”... Last week I found magic in shadows. In both my inner and my outer world. 

I felt stuck and isolated and alone. I felt frustrated and like I should “know better” than to be in that situation AGAIN. I was judging myself, a lot. I was not being my own best friend. I was ignoring my shadows and the parts of me that I would rather “didn’t exist”. 

I was stuck in shame. I didn’t want to go out because if I did, people might ask how I was, and I would have to answer them with the truth or a lie. The truth would've sounded shitty and negative and I didn’t want to be a downer. The lie would be just that, a lie, and those never feel good either. 

So I stayed at home, declined invitations and avoided people. I thought I was protecting myself from the judgement of others by keeping my shadows to myself. But it just felt lonely and dark and shit. 

I forgot for a while that shadows are a part of our human nature. I neglected to realise that shadows exist because light exists. 

Being human means being a part of nature, and although I have my own unique reality, the feelings I experience are shared. Other people feel it too. 

I've learnt we are all unique… and the same. We all meet and experience our own shadows in life. The parts of us that sometimes we keep hidden because they make us feel ashamed or imperfect or unworthy. 

All it took for me to remember that I’m not different, and that I am not the only person in the world to experience this, were the three words. “Yer, me too”. 

A friend asked how my week had been, and I said “interesting”.. and gave a brief run down of events that had occurred and how I felt a bit shit and confused about it all. She listened, hugged me and said “yer, me too” in a “them’s the breaks” kinda way. 

Suddenly I felt ok. Like I wasn’t broken or different or “less than”… I remembered that I’ve been here before. 

I remembered that this is a part of my growth in learning to love and accept all of myself so that I can better love and accept others. Because if everyone has shadows and shit, then when I judge myself and mine - I'm judging others too. And this judgement doesn't help me connect or grow, but understanding and acceptance will. 

So I'm learning to dance with my shadows and to see the magic in them. I'm accepting them as an important piece of a much bigger, beautiful picture. 

Pole Dancing... and the art of effortless decision making.

Often when we make plans or decide to do things we think, imagine and fantasise about what it will be like. From this imagining, expectations arise. We start to believe that the thing we are planning to do is going to be like this and like that. Sometimes (most times) the thing isn’t quite how we imagined, and it’s either surprisingly better, or we find ourselves feeling underwhelmed and unsatisfied - as the reality of the thing didn’t meet our (most likely unrealistic) expectations.

Last night my little sister text me at 10pm to invite me to join her pole dancing class this morning (at 7am). My first thoughts were - "am I fit enough for that?" and “but there’s nowhere open for coffee that early?!?!"… My next thought was - “my sister is asking me to go and spend the morning with her doing something she loves and that I have never tried before but always wanted to have a go at…” I began thinking more about the experience, spending time with her, trying something new and having a laugh.

So that’s what I did. I made a rather quick and confident decision to set my alarm and swap sleeping in for spinning round a pole.

I love making spontaneous decisions these days, because I don’t have enough time to keep talking myself in and out of something (I used to do that a lot, mostly because I afraid of new things and looking like an idiot). Now instead I just decide and then do it. There’s no time to imagine what it will be like, so I just go do the thing and enjoy the experience. Even if I don’t totally love it, at least then I know for sure and can put that thing to bed knowing that I’ve given it a go. This also helps clear the mind cluttered list of “all the things I want to try one day” and discover hidden talents. In the past I felt lost and confused. This doubt and indecisiveness occurred because I had no idea what was  really important to me.

Making effortless decisions used to be really hard for me, before I got to really know myself. It usually involved talking myself in and out of things, writing pros and cons list and asking a handful of friends what THEY thought I should do...  

Getting clear on what I value has helped me understand myself better and make decisions that I feel confident in.

My decision to go to this class supported my values of being active, experiencing variety, having fun and connecting/spending quality time with loved ones. This means that even if it turned out that I was completely shit at pole dancing, that there was a really good chance I’d still enjoy the experience because it fits with what’s important to me.

The next time you have to make a decision (in business or in your personal life):

1. Have a quick think about whether the activity supports what is really important to you and what you stand for.

2. Avoid letting fears of “not-knowing” or fear of judgement talk you out of it. Likewise if it’s something that goes against what you believe for yourself, use that as a guide too and trust your gut. 

3. Then commit to that decision and clear your mind of “what’s it going to be like” thoughts… Set an intention to just enjoy the experience - how ever it turns out!

The more you use this process and the clearer you get on what you value, the better you'll get at make effortless decisions. You’ll begin to feel more comfortable with the choices you make and doubt yourself a lot less. You’ll also have a lot more enjoyable experiences in your life and may even discover that you’re not such a bad pole dancer after all ;)