Shadow Dancing: Making Peace with Our Darkness.
What do we do when we are invited to the deepest darkest recesses of our soul?
Your higher self’s Come hither finger beckoning you to a party you didn’t even realize was being held in your honor, for your highest good?
What do you do when you’ve heard all the whispers and did not go?
What do you do when you’ve felt all the taps on the shoulder and did not go?
What do you when you’ve been tossed to the ground by the Universe and kicked in the head a couple of times until the tiniest bit of blood trickles from your nose and she is looming over you saying, “Would you like to come to the party with me now, of your own free will, or does this have to get really ugly?”
Do you go to the party then? Do you concede, raise your white flag, put on your big girl pants, then respond to the Universe, “Okay, fine, I’m dressed. Let’s do this. Oh, and make it snappy because I have a blissful life to get on with?”
That is what I did from rock bottom, with the tiniest bit of blood trickling from my nose. I raised my white flag, put on my big girl pants and went to the party.
Waiting for me at the party was every bit of my darkness starting with the first lost 10 years of my life.
I don’t know if there was punch or cake or balloons or confetti at this party, because all that was beautiful at this party, and actually in life, was obscured by thick, black, stinky, sticky, all-encompassing darkness. This party, my life, no matter what I tried, could not be escaped from.
All I could see at the party were those who violated me throughout my life, a lifetime of pain reflecting back at me over and over in all the human faces lining the dance hall.
I can’t say I was excited about this party, but rock bottom definitely let me know the time had come, “It’s time. Let’s get this party started.”
“Hey buddy, can’t say it’s good to see you again, but come on, let’s get this over with, let’s dance.”
The first dance, when you’ve never been to this kind of party before, seems to last forever. It’s a process to learn the steps. It is a challenge to fully show up, to be present, to fully feel all the pain that had yet to be acknowledged, and to understand and embrace the feelings of your toes being stomped on, relentlessly, over and over and over again.
I won’t pretend the dance is fun or pretty or pleasant in any way, shape or form. It is just necessary.
You have to learn to trust that this learning process is taking you to a better place, that once you learn these foundational steps, subsequent dances will be easier, and that, ultimately, after the infrastructure is complete, you will have the skills, power and the freedom to utilize your newfound gifts to design beautiful, blissful, artistic, creative expressions.
But first faith, following the knowing deep inside of you that this is a means to an end, and that the only way out of the party is to fully embrace all the festivities going on around you.
Grab your first partner, and let the shadow dancing begin.
“Good God, for how long do I have to check with you until this song is over? The song drags on and on and on.
Seriously, how much longer?”
“Until you see me. Until you hear me. Until you fully feel me and until you learn to love me,” responds my dark dance partner.
Are you kidding me?
Faith… you’ve got this.
It takes everything I have. I muster every ounce of courage. I am trembling from my core. I could die. He could kill me, at least that’s what they told me when I was a child. I raise my face anyway, almost in defiance. I can take you. I’ve got this.
Then I stare deeply into the eyes of my shadow partner, and say, “I love you.”
A golden ray of light bursts from my core, my heart chakra, exploding and illuminating my dance partner.
He gives me a nod of respect and acknowledgement, does a little twirl, and is peacefully, quietly released from the grips of my soul.
He grabs a cup of punch and sits in the chairs along the wall, to watch the rest of the show and wait patiently until the dark night is completely aglow.
My next partner calls to me from the corner. I look over, it’s the family friend who lived in our house and used to come to my bed at night.
This song is familiar now. I’ve had some practice at this. The steps are becoming easier. I hold him close. I breathe in his scent. I gag. I cry out. I scream and I claw at him. I release all that I could not as that 11-year-old child who had her innocence stolen from her every night under the pink canopy of her white princess bed.
Then I take a step back, I see that he and I are the same. We are all just stomping on each other’s feet in the darkness, flailing around, hurting one another over and over and over again.
Where does it end? When does it stop?
I focus on the music for a moment. The words, the truth deeply resonating in my soul.
“Learn to dance with the darkness,” sings the ever present melodies of Source, “just as you do with your light. Love it without condition. Your power, your gifts and your freedom wait on the other side of learning these sacred steps. Trust that the discomfort holds the answers.”
In that moment, I hold my dance partner at arm’s length. I look at his distorted face with the deep knowing that pain breeds pain and it ends with me. I kiss him on one cheek, then the other, and whisper I love you as I look sincerely into his eyes.
With that, a brilliant light fills the dance hall, illuminating every corner, all that was dark is set ablaze.
In that room, with all that was hiding in the dark now unobscured, I see the truth of all that hides in the pain and in the darkness. I see that we have to feel to heal, fully embrace all that hurts, dance with our shadows until we make peace with all that is dark and fill it with light.
I see that we are all the same, and that only when each and every one of us learns to dance with our own shadow, becoming intimate with all that hurts, only then can we heal our way back to the unconditional love of the Divine.
The truth is in the music. Wake up. Listen carefully and get to dancing.
Christie Del Vesco is a College Administrator and Professor, a Universalist Minister, a member of the RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) Speakers Bureau and single mom. She’s a children’s advocate, a survivor of many forms of sexual violence, and a voice for the survivors who have yet to find their own. Chris is a firm believer that we go through what we do, to help others when they go through the same. She also believes if we would all just “be the change,” we can change the world.