Tag Archive: shining

Our shadow as the source of our shining

Shadows are a beautiful thing. They shade us from the sun; add contrast and interest; protect our eyes from the intensity of the light.  Our own shadows are beautiful too: they show us where the sun is relative to us. They also show us the direction we’re going.

Those shadows I just talked about are real ones, but the inside shadows we carry are exactly the same: the shadows we create and inherit can protect us (for a while), can show us where the light is, and the direction we’re going.

What if, for example, you were from a strict family, where your father was the authority. That may be a cultural shadow, or one simply held within your own family.  Either way, it’s convenient if you don’t want to bear responsibility for making decisions. At least for a while, until you happen upon a situation where you – and only you – have to decide. Then, if you’ve always relied on your father to make the decision for you, you’d be in a tough place, because you wouldn’t really know what to do beyond mimicking him.

That’s an example of an inherited shadow. Here’s one of an inner shadow. Let’s say that you learned to deal with a strict father by keeping your thoughts to yourself, never really showing your feelings. This would certainly keep you out of trouble and out of the spotlight. But then as you mature and get your own life, this ingrained habit of not showing yourself means that others don’t really know you. They don’t connect with you and “see” you in any meaningful way.  You end up feeling like an outsider. And lonely.

This seems pretty grim. How could I possibly say they’re beautiful?

Well, first of all, they did keep you safe when you needed it. They served you well, in the past.

And now they are a part of you; they’re an integral part of your character. For the rest of your life. Whether you like it or not.  And as such, they can serve as beacons to show you the best way to deal with any situation.

For instance, that person who grew up in an authoritarian home and now keeps her opinions close – she’s probably a fantastic thinker and planner, because that’s how she was able to work around and through the authority she was faced with.  She’s possibly learned to hang onto an issue until she finds the solution. And in that way, she’s invaluable to others.

It’s become part of her shining.  That doesn’t mean the way she reacts isn’t a problem.  The “problem” with what she reacts to is that it’s really an automatic response to what was dangerous a long time ago, but isn’t any longer. It’s automatic. Unconscious.

But it doesn’t have to remain that way. She – all of us – can learn to develop an awareness of when we’re about to react, and use that urge as a way of understanding a situation at a much deeper level, then choosing our response based on that awareness.

In other words, it too becomes a part of our shining.

And that’s a beautiful thing.

Eckhart Tolle’s Way

Quote of the Week
We all must deal with our shadows the best we can. No one can conquer them for us. – Anna Lee Huber

At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .


Make Visible your Shining

Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.

-Robert Bresson

I spent time with a dear friend of mine today – Jane Mactinger.  She’s a Shamanic Healer – unique in her own way, and very powerful. One of the things we talked about was becoming visible. So many of us – Jane and I included, shy away from making what we shine in visible to all around us, fearing we might offend someone.  Even deeper, fearing we might be exposed as some kind of phoney, even though, for people like Jane and myself, we have more than enough credentials and training to back anything we claim. Perhaps it’s more a Canadian thing, but I know there are a lot of us out there – in hiding.

I listened to Martha Beck recently talk about self healing, and in her talk she mentioned the name for Hawaiian healers – Way Finders.  When children show a natural talent as healers, these children are trained in navigation, and eventually earn the title of Way Finder.  When I heard that, I knew what I was, because that’s exactly what I teach – how to find your unique way to live a life filled with joy. My training in Gestalt and other psychotherapeutic modalities, my studies in ancient philosophy, my training in shamanic healing techniques and ways, and my experience in being what so many of my clients strive to become – uniquely qualify me for that title. And yet, I hesitated in applying that term to myself.

Then I listened to many others, and read the above quote, and realized that I, along with Jane and so many others, are depriving not only ourselves but also others by remaining hidden in the bushes of false modesty.

Each of us has something only we can offer the world, and in openly offering it, we can’t help but enrich ourselves and our community.  If you’re not yet sure what yours is, try this:

  • What brings you joy? Find a place where you can safely explore this question without interruption. It may be your own space in your home, or it may be a park where you can walk and explore. Once you’re there, close your eyes for a few breaths and let go of the day, the week, of anything that might distract you. Then, begin to remember times where you were happy, content.  There’s a shamanic tequnique called recapitulation, where you begin by noticing how your body feels when you experience a certain memory; then you travel back to the last time you felt that physical sensation, recalling the event that went along with it; then the time before that, and so on, until you can’t remember any others. In this instance, begin by noticing how you physically feel when you experience joy – a warmth in your belly, and sense of rising or lightness – whatever it is, take note of it. Then begin recapitulating all the times when you experienced that feeling – what you were doing, where you were, who you were with, etc.. All the things that made up that event, learning the kinds of things that bring you joy.
  • Make joy a priority. Now that you have more knowledge of what brings you joy, make a commitment that you will make this experience a daily priority. It doesn’t have to be big, or take long.  I love sitting quietly every morning with a coffee, watching the morning unfold.  This simple pleasure brings me joy and sets my mood for the rest of the day. I make sure that, no matter what else happens that day, I do something that brings me joy.
  • Make it real. Bring it into your life, starting today. You might be surprised how this simple change will begin to re-color your life.

I want to mention how this newsletter is structured, because I’ve discovered some confusion with some of my readers.  The newsletter is in three parts: the first part is my contribution; the second is a video I’ve found that relates to the topic in part 1, but most often is not referenced in part 1 (it offers a different point of view); the third is a quote. I hope this eliminates the confusion, and that you enjoy all three parts.

Earth, Wind and Fire – Shining Star


Quote of the Week
You’re a shining star
No matter who you are
Shining bright to see
What you could truly be (what you could truly be)
-Earth, Wind & Fire – Shining Star
At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us. I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co