A New Unexpected Meeting With My Shadow

As an explorer, I am dedicated to navigate through all the corners of my psyche. It is self-healing. It is fascinating. I already wrote about self-discovery and integration of a childhood trauma. Among other tools, I rely on ayahuasca, a psychoactive brew from the Amazonian jungle, to unlock and get access to unconscious material buried deep inside my psyche.

And during another ceremony with ayahuasca, I met a new part of my unconscious that was brought up to my consciousness.

Something deep, cold, and dark.

But the ceremony initially started on a very bright side for me. I got in touch with strong inner sexual energy. It was luminous, it was moving like a thick and warm, sticky energy, inside my body. It was expanding and dancing. It was so juicy. It was so yummy. It was playful. My sexuality is meaningful.

Until a point when some slow and dark music started to take more and more space in the room. The music was intentionally played by two “warriors” who were facilitating the ceremony. And it is worth noting that in these altered states of consciousness, psychedelics-induced, the emotional and vibrating imprint of music has a tremendous impact on your psyche. So, it is no wonder that an intense and dark music might lead you to dive deep into your inner darkness.

And that’s exactly what happened. I started to feel unease in my body.

I ended up again in this big garden of my childhood, in one of these distant countries where we were living with my family. I am about 7 years old.

One year ago, I had already ended up in this very garden during a previous ayahuasca ceremony. But it didn’t get any further, and I remember very well the feeling that my process actually didn’t go all the way at that time.

But now I was ready to process. My body had the resources for it. And the invitation to dive deep into the uneasy feelings following the flow of the music was appealing.

What was hidden behind these dark feelings of mine then?

It was scary. Not to know what I would find out there. But I had to know. To find out my truth. I had to. And I consciously decided to dive deeper.

What was there was my little 7 year old self. I am on my own, hidden behind the wall of our small garden house, under high and thick bushes all over the place. I remember that I was used to isolate myself there and play with a maze I had dug on the ground. It looked like a network of small canals that I used to fill up with water. But the scene is not playful at all. It is so dark to watch now. My body is completely filled up with this dark persistent energy, it feels extremely uncomfortable, physically painful. But I want to stay there, to see what’s behind the scene. So I let go even more, and surrender to the pain. The branches of the bushes become long and thin black tentacles, slowly moving up and down, and covering all the space around my little body. I am crouching under this dark and organic bubble surrounding me. It is so scary. It is SO fucking dark.

I feel so lonely. So disconnected from the rest of the world. I am wondering why.

And the black tentacles appeared again, but in a different scene. It takes place in the stairs of this house now. I remember this story. It was at an age when we were drawing in 2D on regular paper at school. But on my own, I had come with this fucking brilliant idea to create 3D collages instead. I had created several 3D landscapes to experiment with this revolutionary idea of mine, using paper collages that I had cut out and glued. I was so proud of the results that I decided to organize an art exhibition in these very stairs, for which I invited my parents. It was large stairs with alcoves in its walls. Each alcove had a piece of my 3D art. I formally organised a tour with both my parents, during which I gave them explanations about the art pieces. At the end, I offered them my art. It was a big success, everybody was happy, and I was very proud of myself, and so glad for the recognition and validation I got from my dear guests.

But at some point after this great exhibition, I don’t know why and how, but it turned out I ended up in our garage looking inside our huge wheelie bin.

And I saw my art pieces inside.

It had been turned into garbage.

The heavy pain I was feeling in my body during this process with ayahuasca was the pain I had felt when I saw my art in the garbage. It was so heavy. It was so painful. And I couldn’t get rescued and relieved from it at all, since both my parents where “responsible” for it. I had nobody to talk about it. The only way to cope was to isolate myself in these bushes, for hours.

At that stage, I had enough of my process. I was grateful for ayahuasca to have showed me the whole story, I thought I saw it all. I thought I got the message, and wanted to hang up. And to stop feeling this pain in my body.

But these two warriors continued to play their dark music. And it went on, and on, and on. Like if they were telling me, “nope buddy, there’s something more to learn, keep watching”. I couldn’t escape. I couldn’t run away from the pain. I had to come back in the bushes, and feel even more of this dark energy within, to feel these black tentacles all around again.

I stayed there for a long while. Just watching. Just feeling the pain. Without putting labels on it.

Trust. Let go. Be open. Just feel.

Until I realised.

Until I realised that I was actually watching one of my deepest, and still very active, shadows. My shadow of isolation. My shadow consisting in voluntarily isolating myself, withdrawing from the world. To withdraw from love. My willingness to feel lonely. To avoid connecting with people. It was actually patterns that had been all the time part of my adult life. Unconsciously. 

Until I realised that I had to take full responsibility for this shadow. Now that it had been brought up to my consciousness, I couldn’t afford to bury it again deep inside my psyche, ignore it, and let its power to unconsciously sabotage me again. Nope. I had to create a new conscious relationship to it. I had to acknowledge it. I had to embrace it. I had to love it. I had to reframe it. I had to rechannel it.

Yes, rechannelling darkness into gold. That’s it. That’s the work. Because there is a lot of energy in this shadow. I felt it in my body, very strongly. This strong and dark energy from my old childhood pain, that has been used so far to withdraw and isolate myself. It doesn’t have to continue being used that way anymore. I can consciously decide now to use this energy for something constructive, for connecting even more with the world instead. For consciously choosing to come back to love instead. For consciously deciding to feel the old childhood pain when it pops up again, and continue defusing its imprints in my body, instead of avoiding it and hiding from it. There is so much to do with it. It is fascinating. It is healing.

But the flow of my process got interrupted again when I started to feel a heavy taste of blood and pus in my mouth. Not a big surprise since my mouth had actually been a mess in the last weeks prior to this ceremony. Some weird infections were going on. And I made a potential interesting connection here.

Indeed, it turns out that I realised about a year ago that I had been struggling with chronic mild infections in my teeth for so many years. In the past, I had made several attempts to treat them with a dentist, but without success on the long run. And I started to hypothesize the fact that these chronic teeth infections could actually be one of the root causes of my chronic disease I have been struggling with for so many years.

Interestingly, I decided recently to spend a lot of money on a quite heavy surgery to extract several teeth and clean my jaw from potential persistent pockets of infections in there. My surgery is scheduled for very soon.

And during my process, I asked myself this very weird question. Would it be possible that my chronic teeth infections which have been around for so many years were a physical manifestation of the negative influence of my shadow in my reality? Indeed, chronic fatigue has always been a very legit excuse for me to withdraw from the world. Since when I am too tired, there is nothing I can do but to isolate myself and rest. In that sense, the old dysfunctional belief from my childhood could go on and on again in my adult life, in order to continue self-validating its dysfunctional patterns.

At that stage, it would be foolish to completely believe in this interpretation. But it would be equally foolish to not consider it at all either. I don’t know. There is a lot of mystery and unknown around the connection between unconscious and toxic momentum built up over time in our psyche and its somatic manifestations in our body.

My surgery is approaching now, so I might get some concrete answers very soon anyways.

And so, what’s next?

Coming back to consciously taking care of this shadow of mine now, I have several ideas to implement.

I am thinking about sorting our small rituals on a regular basis to remember and honour these events that took place in the dark bushes of my past. It can be as simple as contemplating the scene from now and then, and potentially connecting back to the old pain without judgment.

From now and then, I could also use the strong scent of ‘palo santo’, this wild tree from south America, that some people during these ceremonies like to burn and spread around. Indeed, for some weird reasons, its scent bring me back to this very distant country I was living in, and connect me back to this old childhood pain of mine.

I am thinking about taking conscious actions in order to counter-balance the negative, and still active, influence of this shadow on my adult life. It can be implemented in many ways.

I am thinking about rechannelling the energy that has been used until now to feed my unconscious shadow into something else.

Finally, I am also thinking about going back to this country where it all started. Indeed, I feel that I have now a little disgust about it because of what happened there. This is unfair and childish. So, I need to bring back my adult mature self there and reframe these feelings. And I am sure that there is more gold to find out in actually going there as well. I feel it.

This work is SO fucking meaningful

It is worth noting that childhood emotional traumas don’t have to be that violent to leave an unconscious negative imprint on your adult self throughout your life. The one I described here is just based on a tiny negligence from my main caregivers at an age at which I was very vulnerable and very dependent on them emotionally. And who the fuck knows the real story by the way, maybe I found my stuff in the garbage one year after my exhibition because our cats had just ruined it, whatever. It doesn’t matter, and there is absolutely nobody to blame, it was not at all a voluntary act from anybody to hurt me here. Just life circumstances. It just happens. But it had most likely contributed to a chain of other traumatic events, like the one I described on this post about a past PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) of Abandonment, and aligned with the concept of COEX coined by Stanislas Grof also briefly described in this post. When these traumatic events add up in your history over time and get too strong momentum, the more negative impacts on your daily life they would have, and holding you back.

So, yes, bringing consciousness to my inner deep shadows is SO meaningful.

Consciousness. Consciousness. Consciousness.

It can be painful though.

But I have to do the work. Seek for my truth within. There is no other way.

That is the way towards self-healing, towards self-love and self-acceptance, and eventually towards self-realisation.

That is the way of the integrated man.

That is the way and the simple truth of the warrior: Pain Is Inevitable –  Suffering Is Optional.

One of my dear brothers drew this picture several days after the very ceremony from this post. He was there as well. It says: “You need to grow your root deep in hell, in order to reach far up to heaven“. So fucking true man!

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