How do we love more openly, honestly, and completely? How can we love others fully without first and foremost loving our self- the good and the bad? It happens as we open ourselves up to our own truths. We hide and deny these parts of ourselves that we are not proud of, and are often not even aware that we are hiding from them. These unlikable parts of ourselves are our shadow.
The shadow self is often known as ego, our shadow feeds our thoughts, and prevents us from living fully. Our shadows hang out in our subconscious until they are provoked and can no longer hide.
My shadow has shown up in my relationships, friendships, at the grocery store, and on the yoga mat. That disturbed feeling deep inside me, when someone says something that irritates you or feels unbearable, this is my shadow peeking out at me. As I began to understand the manner in which the shadow appears, I began to see my own shadow. As I have become increasingly aware of my shadow self, I have been able to begin to own up to my own crap. I have come to see more of my true self, which keeps leading me closer to a complete love.
About a year ago my husband and I were going through a rough patch in our relationship. I was in a negative downward spiral. Everything he did was “wrong”… he was not “good enough.” This negative spiral almost destroyed my marriage. My heart chakra was blocked; there was no room for energy to flow through including love. My shadow was smacking me in the face but I was closed off. I didn’t want to see it. It was me who was “not good enough.” I had told myself this lie over and over for years, and it became my story. How could I be open to accepting love when I was unable to love my whole self? I created a new personal mantras: “I am good enough”, and “relax and release.” It was time to finally let go of the story, it wasn’t serving me anymore, nor was it true. Slowly, I began to embrace a deeper self-love that I had never felt before, and everything around me began to fall into place. My husband and I reconnected; the negative spiral began to turn directions. My children got all of me, I started to feel present to my life, and I knew I could hold a safe space for my students to help them explore their own shadows. My shadow will always be a part of me, and I am fully aware that it will continue to show up in different forms. I know it will constantly keep me on my toes, and as long as I stay open and aware of it I will be okay. I still wake up every morning and remind myself “do not close, stay open,” and “in order to receive love and to give love completely I must first and foremost love myself.” I encourage everyone to tap into their shadow self, so they too can live and love fully!
Rachel Goldberg is the co-owner of Be Yoga and co-Director of Be Yoga’s 200 Hour Teacher Training Program in Marietta, Georgia. Rachel holds a Masters degree in Social Work from NYU and merges her knowledge with her life experiences and teacher trainings at Peachtree Yoga Center- 200 hour, Baron Baptiste– Level 1, and Seane Corn. Rachel’s favorite things to do are playing with her children, husband, spending time with her husband and in nature, reading, and hanging out with friends. She feels so much love and gratitude everyday for the people that allow her to share her passion of yoga with them.