July 17, 2020

I’m learning to Dance with my Shadows. {Poem}

“This is the summer I will remove what is dark.”

I thought to myself as I went to work weeding my new flower bed. With every weed I pulled, I envisioned myself becoming more pure and full of light.

I ruthlessly swung at the ground with my hoe to violate the unwanted growth and turn the soil. My forehead dripped with sweat. My arms tired and began to ache. I needed to be only light. I was only allowed to be light.

This was summer of 2018. I was on a mission to be a good person and get rid of the shadows in me once and for all. But like all renounced parts of one’s essence, the shadows crept back slowly—and as strong as they ever were.

But then I started a new journey, one that included compassion. I thought, “I’ve got this! I’m great at compassion! I put others before me all the time! It’s my career, after all!” Then came the twist: compassion for self. “What?” This was new to me. “You mean I’m supposed to befriend the parts of myself I’ve been trying to be rid of?”

I was unsure about how to begin. Working with the mind is tricky. Emotions tend to overlay clear thinking, and I didn’t yet believe in the power of meditation.

I started slowly, one step at a time. I began to gain appetite and curiosity for more. My soul was begging to be seen in a loving and nonjudgmental way, and after years of practicing the opposite, I knew this was going to take some time.

It’s summer of 2020 now. I’m learning to dance with my shadows and question their needs instead of closing the door on them where they eventually vine out. I’m learning that within the uncontrollable parts of who I am, there is a direct connection to my passion and creativity.

I’m learning to share my creativity through poetry and movement. I’m watching myself grow into a more natural version of me. My shadows are native to me. My weeds are native to me.

I picked up the shovel,

shoved it into the ground.

My heart felt intruded!

But would not make a sound.

I fell onto my knees!

And begged the Lord, “Please!”

Laid down on my belly

and stared at the weeds.

At first they were ugly.

I was told they don’t belong.

But I looked at them closer

and could faintly hear a song.

“The bluegrass is lovely!

It’s cared for and kept.

But me? I’m of other.

I’m hard to accept.

I grow as I please!

I’m tenacious and free!

It’s in minds of control

I’m seen as a weed!”

My heart went soft as I laid there.

I knew just how they feel.

I, too, am of other.

I’m not conformed and ideal.

I smiled at my new friends

and put away my shovel.

I bowed to the earth

and made a vow to what’s natural.

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