Our journey towards more conscious living is to become wholehearted about ourselves and our circumstances, accepting our full range of humanity – both in ourselves and in our community. Part of the heroic life journey, as CG Jung outlined, is to face into our shadow and recognise that we’re all capable of both the good and the evil we witness, and holding compassion for all these aspects of ourselves.
Shadow work means being willing to meet what we do not accept with care. The poet Rainer Maria Rilke advocated for kind curiosity of our most resisted parts and experiences, writing “Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love”.
Wholeheartedness asks us to open to all of ourselves and our community with wisdom and compassion, sincerely holding a space to honour and unite parts that have been banished. This is the hero or heroine’s homecoming, the return from the underworld, having released the beasts and demons of our inner labyrinths to show their true faces as dishonoured and misunderstood parts of ourselves.
This homecoming is a return to the heart’s centre. It deepens our capacity for true justice rather than judgmental and punitive ‘justice’. Accepting our limitations and our unvalued gifts and strengths brings us closer to wholeness and the peace, clarity, and joy that is to be found there.
When we can wholeheartedly welcome whoever, or whatever, appears in our psyche, we are no longer in conflict with ourselves and we are on the way to cultivating what is now known as earned secure attachment. We now know that even if you’ve had a traumatic start in life and have not known what it means to trust and feel secure, you can develop this safe harbour through practices of openheartedness and compassion.
How do we do this? We need to be still and quiet so we can hear the voices within, or sense what stirs. We need stillness to hear and see our inner selves without distortion. And we need spaciousness to hold what we find there with kindness. Sitting quietly for a few minutes each day, consciously breathing and tuning inward in solitude helps us be peaceful with what we discover. The rest of the process happens naturally as we willingly open to accept whatever arises.
It’s been said that what we resist persists. The antidote is acceptance and kind curiosity about each new aspect of ourselves or our community that emerges in our awareness. It’s an attitude of befriending. Each recovered aspect restores a piece of our wholeness and wellbeing, once we’ve stopped resisting what we don’t like to see, acknowledge or feel.
With you on the journey. – Violet