99 Pathways of the Heart

Pathway 16 – Flexible Strength

“When you are guided to this pathway, take the opportunity to feel a flexible strength that can adapt to any situation and yet remain rooted in, and moving toward, the purpose of your life.”

This pathway came at just the right time for me to integrate many of the lessons that I am learning on this journey. I’ve talked before about distraction and how sometimes being an empath can mean that you get absorbed and pulled in to everyone else’s stuff. We can feel resentful because our full focus is not on our own mission.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been consciously looking at how I get pulled away and distracted and I’ve made a lot of changes. The first thing that I want to say is thank you to all the true friends that have understood that I’ve needed me and my work to come first. It’s appreciated more than you know.

One of aspects of this pathway is developing strength from the way that we look at the past. For those of you that know me, you’ll know I do a lot of work with the shadow aspect. The shadow is all about looking at all the things that you’re not so comfortable with and I feel that it’s a way of breaking down the ego.

The pathway talks about forgetting the past and just keeping going. I find this really interesting and I don’t take that literally. I think there is much to be gained by understanding that you can’t just put your past in a box and pretend that it doesn’t exist. Part of shadow work is to revisit some of the more uncomfortable parts and to work through them and with them in a way that allows us to learn more about who we are. This process helps us to accept parts of ourselves that we may have disowned because of shame or anger at the way we behaved. Learning love and compassion for yourself means that you have to go in and be able to accept all of this to be whole.

We all have parts of ourselves that we don’t care to name and shame because it is deeply troubling. These parts usually are distinguished as the judgements we make about others. It’s hard to accept that that’s ourselves being reflected back at us. I know when I first started working with my shadow aspects, it sent me in to deep despair and it was so easy to let those things bring me down. That was because I didn’t fully own them and I hadn’t healed from them and so they still had a lot of power of me as a person.

It is easy when we face adversity to act out old shadows. Sometimes it is that inner child surfacing and being able to face yourself takes courage. It means being able to feel pain, shame, anger, fear and know that it has a place within you along with everything else. The spiritual journey isn’t all love and light and rainbows and unicorns! There are times when it is deeply uncomfortable getting to the truth. And the truth isn’t always fashionable enough to wear so we wear a mask instead. All of this starts to become apparent as you work with the shadow. It takes courage and being human, sometimes my courage fails but I think even approaching your shadow is a good start.

I do this because I want to be authentically myself. Sometimes authenticity can get lost in politeness and people pleasing. You’ll notice how that feels in yourself and I know that I don’t like it. I don’t like letting people down but when it’s a choice between that and letting myself down, I’ve learnt that it’s not always easy to choose me. It’s something that will take time to master and there’s a lot to work through.

There is darkness within all of us but part of our inner work is to face it and begin the alchemical process of transmuting it and learning to shine light on it so that it becomes something more than just a painful memory. From this process, we develop the flexible strength that this pathway is teaching us about. A person is more than the sum of their parts. When we identify all the parts, we become that something more. This is what I’m talking about. It isn’t the easiest thing to name those parts and become that something more.

When you know yourself, you are truly resilient in the face of adversity. When you are reluctant to face all aspects of yourself, you’re likely to be triggered. I think it always goes, “Trigger first, lesson later!” We need time to ponder and reflect and life is amazing in the way that it presents the lessons to us on a plate. Each trigger is an opportunity to learn and grow. Sometimes it starts with a bitch and a vent, but as you work through it, you realise that you need to own that judgement that you’ve made because it’s showing you who you are. When you’re at peace with it, you’ll experience it without being triggered. This is true strength.

There’s “who we like to think we are” versus “who we actually are” and the ego likes to hold on to it’s ideas about our identity and how we define ourselves. We have deeply set ideas, some so deep set that we’ve yet to see them.

There’s always more to do in breaking down the ego and it can sometimes feel like you’re treading water and that you’ll never be free of it. Even that is an acceptance in itself. You are in the actual process when you acknowledge it and try to make peace with it. It always feels better to me to acknowledge that I am on my way to something. It’s the process that’s more important than the outcome. When we focus on the outcome, we realise that it’s too big. When we focus on the process, we see that we’re taking steps towards something. A step in the direction you’re choosing feels better than perfection.

It’s always interesting to say the least working with the shadow aspect. We start to discover just how many lies we have told ourselves – more than we care to admit. It’s a level of honesty that you can’t really be ready for when it hits you. It makes sense to do it though because you arrive at a truer version of yourself than the one you are now. Constantly moving and evolving to get to the truth of who you are is meaningful work and it grows you.

And once you start on the quest for truth, you can’t stop!

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