Facing Shadow


Energy workers in the USA have had a rougher week than normal. If you are one, then this is not news to you. Whether you believe in voting or not, the energy that has been whipped up and let fly over the last year has been overwhelming at times. Many progressive souls, not just energy workers, have been struggling since the US election to make sense of what just happened.

I get the argument that both candidates were flawed. I do not buy the idea that this made them equivalent. Almost half the country voted for someone whose stump speeches and rallies were peppered with blatant misogyny, racism, xenophobia, and self-aggrandizement. Just WOW.

After the results came in, I heard people try to comfort themselves with statements like, “They got through 8 years of Obama; we can get through 4 years of Trump.” I believe that, too, is a false equivalence — as comforting as it may be to some. White, Christian, straight, middle-class or better, and male? You will probably be okay, as long as you keep low and don’t anger the powers that will soon be in office. (They have shown a tendency to hold grudges.) However, the more of those descriptors that do not apply to you, the greater the risk.

That isn’t hyperbole. It is a projection based on past behavior. It is not just about what laws they hope to enact, either. One of the things our leaders do for us is to set the tone for what constitutes acceptable behavior. The bar was set pretty high with the Obamas, and we did not live up to it. However you felt about his policies, President Obama was rather consistent in appealing to our better nature. That will no longer be the case.

The new President has shown a penchant for encouraging fear, then letting people know that he is “the only one” who can make it better. His own history of bigotry has already let loose behavior that we haven’t seen in a long time. The skinhead, KKK, and Neo-Nazi groups in the USA have always been there, but they have been mostly silent for decades. That all changed with a blatantly racist candidate going mainstream. The members of these groups are emboldened with the idea that their time has come.

In that sense, a Trump presidency has forced us to face ourselves, our shadow. We, as a nation, have refused over and over again to deal with the bigotry that lies at the heart of the concept of our American version of “exceptionalism.” It is a bitter pill to swallow, but perhaps a bit of purpose can be extracted from it? As James Baldwin told us, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” We must face this in order to heal it. We have to look our collective bigotry in the eye and find the path to heal that fear of the other that is at its root.

This is not going to be easy. It will be the equivalent of cleaning up after a violent spring snow storm.

“What?!?” I hear you ask.

As we progress through the seasons, everyone knows that the cold weather doesn’t begin on the first day of winter. It generally starts getting unpleasant while we are still in autumn! As the first day of spring comes around, it doesn’t mean that the warm sun and gentle breezes automatically become the forecast for all days ahead. Just as we have that last gasp of summer in the fall, we always have a few spring snowstorms. And they are often quite painful! Things just starting to grow, bloom, or leaf up get killed off or damaged by the heavy, wet snow and colder temperatures. It doesn’t last, but it sure can make a mess of things. We mourn the losses we suffer, but we also take a small measure of comfort from the fact that a storm like that may delay the onset of the warm growing season, but it can’t prevent it.

In a similar way, the evolution of our planet takes place across cycles, and we are coming to the end of one “season,” and the beginning of another. As this plays out, observers note that we are in the process of an energetic shift. Across the entire planet, people are working to raise the earth’s collective vibration. As energy workers doing this work, it is easy to forget that the old paradigm is not just going to dissolve in front of our eyes because we want it gone. Like the seasons, it will hold on as long as it can. It will sputter. It will rage.  It doesn’t care that spring is coming. Winter is its thing. It’s what it knows. There is always overlap of the weather patterns. Always. Seasons progress along a gradient, not clearly delineated lines.

The old cultural paradigm is like winter seeing the advent of spring. The warmth of agape (brotherly love) melts the barriers between us and that is not very winter-like. Scary. Unity is perceived as a threat to individuality. Leaving hibernation means waking up and doing the work of spring. That doesn’t sound like fun either. Spring is about awakening, growth, and change – while winter is about going within and shoring up our strengths. They simply can’t fully coexist.

So, what now?

If the analogy holds true, the first thing is to try to contain the damage while the snow is still falling. When we get a spring storm in Wisconsin or in my home state of New Hampshire, I try to cover my tender plants, shovel walkways, put sand on the icy walk. We need to find ways of doing that kind of thing for each other. If you are unsure of what to do, try to look at the groups out there doing the work of the Shift. These will be anti-racism groups, lightworker groups, progressive churches, mosques, and synagogues, healers, and earth protectors, to name a few.  Make sure they have what they need to be safe. Talk to them. Ask. Then, assess what you feel you can do, and offer it.

Once that is done, it will be time to assess the damage and start to make plans for fixing what we can. We aren’t there yet, though. The storm is still raging, and we don’t yet know how much snow and ice will fall. I have been thinking on how I will approach these next steps, and I will reach out to some groups as well. But, I will also be trying to get into as strong a place as I can. I will be practicing Ho ‘Oponopono to heal myself and my worldview. I will practice metta meditation to pour love out where it can be absorbed. I will continue the work of anchoring light from the Akasha to the Earth. I will try to be even more mindful as I walk through my day, bringing that intention to the events around me. As I think of other things I can do, I will do them.

Many of these things are simply working on myself and my own shadow, because I truly believe that we ARE one, and what is shadow out there in the world is also reflected in me, or is a reflection of what is in me. I can’t help the world heal if I am not willing to let a “new and right spirit” grow within my own self (Psalm 51:10).

Namaste, beloveds.

“Your own Self-Realization is the greatest service you can render the world.”

 ― Ramana Maharshi


One thought on “Facing Shadow

  1. Just a note: I said that “almost half” the country voted for a blatant racist. That is not quite true. Just under half of the people who voted did so, but that was not half the country. It was estimated that about 66% of those eligible to vote did so. This means that somewhere around 30% of the country felt aligned enough with his energy to vote Trump into office. Almost 1/3. Think about that. 1 out of every 3 people thought this was a good idea.

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