Years ago, in one of my women studies texts I read someone talking about how we learn how to glorify and imitate our oppressors. We see so much of this in everyday life. We look at behaviors, actions, and language we would never use, or so we say and then we do. I remember friends of mine who are black and gay going to look at an apartment. The landlord, also black, once seeing them said we do not rent to your kind. The your kind here was them being gay. Yet this was language that was once, and sometimes still is, to deny service to non-Euromericans. This landlord was imitating his oppressors.
This ability to do so can become a part of anyone’s life. Jae Woong Kim, in Polishing the Diamond, Enlightening the Mind, shares the following story. "Long ago, many bandits roamed the mountains, and they often captured monks. It was said that, less than three years after their capture, the monks began to commit the same crimes, crimes to which they once had been vehemently opposed. Read More
During this month of practicing acknowledging and embracing our shadows, I have been moved by so many people who have shared their stories with me and of those who have talked about how they have and are learning how to Dance with their Dragon . Recently, the following story was shared with me. about how we can use our shadows to walk in the fullness of who we are. The story in its fullness can be found on The Huffington Post, but here is what Royce Young wrote on his FB page.
The other night, before I left for New Orleans, I was watching my beautiful wife sleep peacefully on the couch.
I looked at her laying there, her belly big with our daughter kicking away, a daughter that won't live more than a few days, and it just overwhelmed me of how incredible this woman is. I'm a writer so when I'm feeling something, I tend to have to write it down. So I pulled out my phone and started writing what I was thinking. Read More
Guru Mayi, the leader of the Siddha Yoga Foundation tells this simple story which is fitting for a time when we are practicing accepting the best and worst in ourselves.
The ruler of a prosperous kingdom sends for one of his messengers. When he arrives the King tells him to go out and find the worst thing in the entire world, and bring it back within a few days. The messenger departs, and returns days later, empty-handed. Puzzled, the King asks, 'What have you discovered? I don't see anything.' The messenger says, 'Right here, Your Majesty,' and sticks out his tongue. Bewildered, the King asks the young man to explain. The messenger says, 'My tongue is the worst thing in the world. My tongue can do many horrible things. My tongue speaks evil and tells lies. I can overindulge with my tongue which leaves me feeling tired and sick, and I can say things that hurt other people. My tongue is the worst thing in the world.' Pleased, the King then commands the messenger to go out and find him the best thing in the entire world. Read More
Recently, a friend shared a song called Secrets with me. It is sung by Mary Lambert. She begins the song by acknowledging some of her secrets, some of what some might call her dark side. The parts of ourselves that we do not always want to like or own. As Lambert says,
“They tell us from the time we're young
To hide the things that we don't like about ourselves
We are all aware of our dark side. We know when we have had dark thoughts, dark actions, or dark behaviors. I can remember in my own life thoughts, actions, and behaviors that I am not proud of. Like Lambert sings, I was taught to hide those secrets inside myself.” Hiding our secrets, our shadows, our dark aspects only strengthens the power of the darkness in our life. Read More