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FEATURE - October 2017
The Darker The Shadow, The Brighter The Light
by Stephanie Red Feather
She was born to unwed teenage parents and wore potato sack dresses her grandmother made. She was molested at age 9, then again at 13. At 14 she gave birth to a son who died in infancy. She was literally dirt poor, repeatedly abused and discriminated against.
Today, Oprah Winfrey has a net worth of over $3 billion and is a leading philanthropist.
Her journey is but one example of what is possible when you experience incredible trauma, overcome the odds, do your inner work, reclaim your life force energy and direct it towards your passion and purpose.
There is a direct mirroring relationship between our dark and our light. The depth to which we must excavate to find the rejected, unloved and hurting parts is the height to which we can soar once we reclaim that aspect of self and, with it, reclaim that priceless life force energy.
Though it may seem counterintuitive, the amount of life force, passion and creative energy that you have access to is directly proportional to the amount of inner personal work you do. Said another way, it is proportional to the amount of transformation and self-acceptance you gain from the conscious understanding of self, which can only be acquired through courageous and dedicated psycho-spiritual work.
How is this possible?
Because it takes a massive amount of effort and energy to suppress, deny and hide. It's like trying to keep multiple beach balls submerged in a pool. Lose your focus and one of those suckers will pop up and break the surface in a heartbeat. The deeper under water you hold the ball, the higher above the water it shoots up when released.
Yet this is how we treat our deepest woundings, traumas and pain. We tie up a huge amount of life force - every day - to keep our unresolved issues under wraps, to keep our secrets hidden, and to pretend that everything in our world is just fine. And the stink of it is, we don't even know how much energy this practice steals from us each day because we have been investing this energy since we were children. This energy drain has become "normal" and, therefore, goes unnoticed.
At some point as a child (actually, multiple times throughout childhood and even adulthood) we experience a trauma that we never want to experience again. It is too big and painful to process in its entirety, so we create a belief about ourselves to explain why it is happening and then send the unresolved, unprocessed parts of the experience underground. It becomes a wounded part of our psyche, often called the wounded child. The Sufis call this the sacred wound.
The wounded child's job is to feel all the stuff you didn't want to feel when the traumatic event occurred. It gets to live with those emotions on a daily basis so you don't have to. The wounded child actually performs a critical job by taking the emotions into the unconscious so that you can function on a conscious level. It lives with the pain every day, in the shadow, so you don't have to.
This wound then sets up the development of the ego structure and personality. We all have multiple core wounds, and our ego develops personality traits and defense mechanisms based on these major experiences. This is nothing new, and it is common to all human beings. Yet what we do from there is most definitely not the same.
This is where the courageous and dedicated psycho-spiritual work comes in. When we go poking around in our wounds, our shadow, our unresolved issues and triggers, the ego sounds the alarm. Danger! Danger! Keep out! And we start throwing up defenses like we're boarding up the house in a hurricane.
Yet the very defenses that were designed to keep us safe at one time actually hold us back and prevent us from achieving our dreams and goals. Our internal protector parts can even sabotage us, all for our own good they would say. "Don't stand out. Don't make that much money. Don't be too ambitious. Don't fall in love. Don't trust him." Have you ever experienced your own psyche sabotaging your dreams? There's a wounded child in there, and she's petrified.
When we live in a space of fear, constantly being regressed by emotional and environmental triggers, we stay fixated in lower chakra consciousness, especially the first chakra. The first chakra is about security, safety, physical needs, a roof over our head, money, food and other daily necessities. It is home to our primal instincts. When we are unable to evolve past our core wounds, there is little chance that we will have the energy, focus or wherewithal to pursue higher level passions and dreams.
When we persist - with love and compassion, not force and intimidation - we eventually begin to uncover the parts of ourselves we have relegated to the shadow. We recover the disowned, denied, unloved parts of ourselves that desire more than anything to be loved, understood and embraced. This is the path to wholeness - loving, understanding and accepting all of ourselves. Not cleaving off and banishing the parts we deem as wrong, unacceptable or unworthy. This judgment only creates more fracturing, more pain. And saps more of our precious energy.
When we integrate lost parts back into the whole, we no longer have to spend energy protecting, defending or denying them. We have looked at the part, accepted it, loved it, and reclaimed it. And no one can terrorize us or use it against us again. Tremendous energy is freed up that we can now direct towards more grand and fulfilling purposes. We can shine our light without fear.
I use the example of Oprah because she is well known, but you know people in your own community who's dedication to their inner work - and subsequent exuberance - inspires you. Use that inspiration to fuel your own transformation, to unleash your life force. Sometimes we need examples because it is truly difficult to trust that opening the Pandora's box of our unresolved issues is actually going to create any kind of benefit for us.
Trust. Do your inner work. Reclaim your life force. Shine your light.
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Stephanie Red Feather is a shamanic spiritual healer, teacher and life coach who has been serving the Kansas City metro for over 10 years. She offers private sessions as well as multiple workshops, trainings and products to support deep transformation and spiritual growth. Her specialties include shamanism, divine feminine mysteries, thriving as an empath and embodiment. Visit her website: or call her at 913-515-3271.