SHINE: Awaken By the Spirit — Accept Your Shadows, Awaken to Your Light!

SHINE … By The Spirit™ with Tonya M. Evans

Accept Your Shadows, Awaken to Your Light!

© 2013 Tonya M. Evans

April 28, 2013

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” – Brené Brown

Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW has spent the past decade studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame. Brené’s 2010 TEDx Houston talk, The Power of Vulnerability is one of the most watched talks on TED.com, with over 8.5 million views. I blogged about her conversation with Oprah Winfrey on OWN TV a few posts ago.

Recently, I’ve poured over the pages of her book The Gifts of Imperfection, which I believe is an essential text for anyone — like me — recovering from the crippling dis-ease of perfectionism. Dr. Brown describes perfectionism as another very toxic form of fear and as a major obstacle to our ability to live with the type of authenticity only possible when we are vulnerable to the very things that perfectionists spend all of their time and attention avoiding … like the plague.

But what I’ve learned from my own spiritual journey, and what Dr. Brown explores and explains in her work, is that embracing the parts of our “life stories” we’re afraid and shamed of is the only way to experience love and belonging and joy in all of their spiritual glory.

Dr. Brown  discusses with Oprah 2 of the 10 qualities people living a wholehearted life have in common. Watch to find out why Dr. Brown says inauthenticity is contagious and why perfectionism is really another form of fear.

Much of the wisdom underneath her well-written, well-researched, accessible and plain old hilarious words reminds me of Debbie Ford’s work about embracing the “shadow self”. The shadow is that part of you that you hide because you’re afraid if others knew they wouldn’t love you. The shadow is where shame takes root; where the truth and light of who you are is obscured and where perfectionism thrives.

But the shame shadow is not something to defeat, fight or obliterate. In fact, it’s not even possible. Trust me, I’ve tried. The shadow of “not good enoughs”, shame, blame and judgment of the self and others is actually to be acknowledged, observed with curiosity and love, tested, embraced and learned from.

Instead of running, hiding or denying, we should be curious about what our imperfections can teach us.

What I’ve learned is that I’m not alone, I’m not broken, I don’t need fixing. My worth is not tied up in my accomplishments,  what other people think of me or what the idealized version of me might be, say, do, believe or think (whoever she is anyway).

What I know for sure, to coin an Oprah Winfrey phrase, is that pretending to be something other than who and what I am — which is perfectly imperfect — takes waaaaay too much energy and doesn’t actually keep me safe, happy, healthy, wealthy OR wise.

I don’t want to be the wizard in Oz (big booming voice, but alone, hidden and afraid). I want to be Dorothy, the one skipping and singing down the road with intelligence, heart and courage.

Dorothy never turned back even when she was afraid. She shared her story and intention and kept dreaming and believing beyond what her eyes could see even when she experienced missteps along the way. She allowed herself to be vulnerable enough to press on, to ask for what she desired and required, to connect with others and to remain “present” throughout the journey until she found her way back home and realized she always had the power within.

Read an excerpt from The Wizard of Us, by Jean Houston that explores the spiritual lessons from The Wizard of Oz

AWAKEN to and embrace your imperfections. Breathe. Reflect. See your imperfections in the light of LOVE as an invitation to SHINE in the fullness of who you really are. Whole and complete just as you are; a divine light that never really ever goes out. BELIEVE that love, belonging and joy are just an embrace away.

Today’s Resource: See Your Imperfections as an Invitation by, Kate Northrup

About SELF-ACCEPTANCE as opposed to SELF-IMPROVEMENT.

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Read about Tonya’s 100 days of Wisdom™ Project

Follow her on Twitter @WisdomWhispers and the hashtag #100daysofwisdom for more reflections on life, love and the wisdom of Spirit!

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[About the BTS Authors] [Editor and By The Spirit™ Blogger-in-Chief Tonya M. Evans]

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