Tag Archive 'shadows'

Jul 01 2010

I Am Willing – Issue #54

My chemo and radiation treatments ended 3 weeks ago and tomorrow my doctor will examine me to see if the tumor is gone or still remains. The radiation continues to take effect 3 weeks after the treatment stops, so that’s why the wait.

This waiting period has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. I’ve found myself fully in the Now at times, and at other times in the future where I sometimes imagine the worst and sometimes imagine the best. It’s been difficult to think positive at times when I feel uncomfortable in my body, feeling my innards scorched by the radiation, feeling queasy and fatigued from chemo.

Right now I’m in a place of willingness – I am willing to be present with whatever comes up. I am willing to feel whatever feelings are here. I am willing to experience complete healing. I am willing to experience death. I am willing. What got me to this place was the realization that a part of me was NOT willing, a part of me was resisting and resenting.

Recently a friend of mine, who is very in touch with her light, has been exploring her shadows (those disowned parts of herself). She never thought she had shadows, so this is a new exploration for her. I started looking at how I see so clearly her shadows and her resistance to them, and I wondered if she was reflecting back to me something in myself that I’ve been resisting. As I told her, I believe that if it’s in your life then it’s in you. The people in our lives that push our buttons and stir our judgments are mirroring back to us our disowned parts. How nice of them! The goal is wholeness – owning all our parts makes us whole.

I told my friend that a strong indicator that someone is reflecting back to us our disowned feelings is if we feel victimized by them (anger is often cleverly disguised as “victim”). As I explored this in myself, I was not aware of feeling victimized by anybody in my life, but I affirmed, “I am willing to see my shadows. I am willing to see every part of me. I am willing to be whole.” Just then it came to me…I don’t feel victimized by any body in my life…just my OWN body. I realized there is a part of me that feels let down by my body, disappointed, sad, mad and scared. I did everything I could to be healthy, I ate well, took supplements, felt my feelings, connected with my spirit, loved myself and others, and yet I got cancer. Now I’ve been resisting taking supplements, thinking, what good did it do me? I’m seeing my cynicism, seeing that my surly Cynny persona has been operating from the shadows.

As I connect with the feeling of being betrayed by my body, I let myself cry and feel the disappointment and sadness, I let the emotions move through me, ventilating my feelings. I welcome my cynicism and disappointment and sadness to the party, I invite them out of the shadows into the light, and I feel lighter, I feel whole.

I’ve found that the best way to anchor myself in this place of wholeness, this place of openness and willingness to feel it all and be one with it all, is to ‘TAG’ myself. I created the acronym and practice over a year ago when I first discovered I had cancer. It goes like this:

TAG – Trust, Acceptance, & Gratitude

I TRUST that I am loved, guided and watched over. I trust that things happen for a reason. I trust that my life is purposeful. I trust that everything will work out.

I ACCEPT that this is what’s happening. It is what is. I breathe and allow it to be. This moment is perfect just as it is. I surrender to it. I become one with it.

I feel GRATITUDE for the many blessings in my life: my loving friends and family, my fellow journeyers (you) and learning buddies, my wonderful husband Tom. I am grateful for this opportunity to cultivate more awareness, love, trust, and wholeness in my life. I am grateful that I remember that this is what is most important to me.

I feel scared to hear what my doctor has to say tomorrow. But I am willing to be present, to breathe, feel my fear, and face whatever life presents to me. I am willing.

It is the next day and I just got back from my exam. The doctor said that there is still something there and it’s about the same size that the last CT scan showed. The tumor shrunk to a quarter it’s original size, but apparently did not shrink any more in the remaining weeks of treatment. He said that there’s still a possibility that it could shrink more…or not. It could also grow back…or not. He suggested we wait and see and keep an eye on it. I don’t foresee any further treatment. So here I am, willing to be here one breath at a time. I think I’ll go have a good cry, eat some chocolate, and then TAG myself.

In Trust, Acceptance and Gratitude,

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Dec 12 2009

Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain – Issue #35

I’ve been following with interest the current tale of Tiger Woods. Women are coming forward exposing intimate details of secret affairs with this super private man. The cat is out of the bag — Tiger has been a horn dog, and now his chicks are coming home to roost, and he is in the doghouse, big time! This swinger of golf clubs has been revealed to be a swinger with women and he has now swung with great velocity from fame to disgrace, praise to blame, and pleasure to pain. He’s demonstrating what happens when we try to hide our secret shadows — pressure mounts until the shadow finds a way to seep out, leak out, or leap out like a caged tiger.

Robert Bly talks about the shadow as the bag we carry on our back, containing all that we repress and deny about ourselves. The more we repress, the more the bag fills until pressure builds to a bursting point. I believe that there is inherent within each of us an impetus towards wholeness and those repressed parts of us seek a way to release and relieve the pressure and restore that wholeness. Tiger Woods was fairly blatant in his infidelity and promiscuity – he left hundreds of text messages. It seems that his persona of perfection created a deficit with ‘balance due’ – in other words, some part of him set himself up to blow his cover in order to ultimately create balance and wholeness.

I attended a workshop recently with tai chi master, Al Huang, who taught us a move called, ironically, “Embrace tiger, return to mountain” (he wrote a book by that title years ago). He told us to embrace our tigers, our challenges, our shadows — look them in the eyes, face them head on. Once we have done that we can return to the mountain, return to balance, centered on solid ground, resting in wholeness, with nothing to run from, nothing to hide from, no secret shame dogging our heels, no crouching tigers hiding in the shadows waiting to pounce.

This is a lesson for all of us, reminding us to be inclusive of our whole self, to invite all our shadows to the party…or else…they will crash the party. Tiger’s shadows have come crashing down on him. But like all the calamities in our lives, it is an opportunity to be honest, reveal all, and come into the wholeness of our authentic self. It is a great relief to be open and honest and real. As Mark Twain said, “Always tell the truth, that way you don’t have to remember anything.”  And that way we don’t have to lug around that heavy bag anymore!

Do you hear a growling sound behind you? Have you faced and embraced your inner tiger? It may be time to let the tiger out of the bag and face it head on.  Once you do that you’ll soon be feeling grrrrrrrrrrrreat! Like a whole in One!


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Mar 25 2009

Mr. Toad’s Wild Elevator Ride! 3/25/09 Newsletter #5

A friend said to me recently, “You are on Mr. Toad’s wild ride, and you’re managing to enjoy the scenery.” That made me smile. It has been a wild ride, but I’m experiencing it more like a wild elevator ride that goes up and down and every floor has a different view. The bottom floor is a limited ego’s eye view; the top floor is an expansive eagle’s eye view.

Sometimes my elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top; but when it does I can see the big picture. I can see how everything fits together perfectly. I can see how I am connected to it all.

When my buttons are pushed I often descend to the lower floors. Going down……..Thump! On the bottom floor there is worry, what ifs, whys, regrets, blame, danger, drama, duality, me versus them. On the bottom floor I am in the thick of it all.

Yesterday my elevator plummeted to the bottom floor. My sister told me she was examined by her gynecologist this week, who was concerned about some unusual bleeding. The doctor right then and there in the office took a sample from her uterus to biopsy, just like that! Her doctor said under her breath that that is what my doctor should have done over a year ago when the abnormalities first came to his attention.

When I hear this I am stunned! My elevator crashes to the bottom floor! Whys and what ifs rush in – Why didn’t my doctor biopsy mine a year ago? (They did ultrasounds instead, which showed an apparently benign polyp, so nothing else was done.) What if it has spread? What if I have to suffer through chemo and radiation (or worse) because they didn’t do the biopsy right away?

A flood of tears and fears and old pain bodies enter the scene saying, “The world is unsafe, people can’t be trusted, I am in danger!” Anger rages on board. “They should’ve done it differently!” A girl named Sue stomps in, pumping her fist, chanting, “Sue, sue, sue the incompetents!” The elevator is getting very crowded!

Fortunately there is room for one more…my Compassionate Witness. She holds the space for everyone who shows up. She encourages good ventilation by saying, “It’s ok to feel angry, sad and scared. Let yourself feel it. Feel it deeply. I will hold you.” She does not try to tell me, “This moment is perfect just as it is.” This is not a time or place for that. This is a time to Be where I’m at, in the thick of it, feeling it fully, shining the light of awareness on it. (I know from experience that if I try to rise above my feelings, that just positions me better for them to bite me in the butt!)

These feelings deserve to be heard and honored. If they are not, then they take up permanent residence on the bottom floor, spinning round and round in ain’t it awful stories like a dog chasing its tale of woe. My elevator was stuck on the bottom floor for many years – until my Compassionate Witness came to live with me.

When I rest and release in this spacious loving awareness, I am naturally elevated to a higher perspective. Going up……I begin to get glimpses of how I collaborated with how it was done and the decisions that were made; I had been happy to minimize the abnormality and make it all go away. I can also see my doctor more clearly as someone who was caring and concerned, not a bad person out to hurt me.

My elevator ascends higher and I can see how on the lower floors my mind’s tendency is to seize on the what should’ve beens of the past and what ifs of the future. From this elevated vantage point I am aware that there is only Now, and right Now I am fine. I am more than fine. I am experiencing a treasure of learning and inspiration, as well as the great joy of writing and sharing my experience. If this had been nipped in the bud a year ago would I be having such a rich, full-bloomed experience now?

I am seeing how it is perfect that this is bringing up my pain bodies; on the lower floors they are a torment, but elevated in awareness they become pain buddies, here to help me heal deeply imprinted fear and trust issues.

I can see that this is the healing that is most important; healing the belief that the world is unfriendly and I am its victim; loosening my ego’s tenacious grip on feeling wronged; learning to forgive and let it go. As James Ray (The Secret teacher) says, true forgiveness is being able to say, “Thank you for giving me this experience.”

Right now, as I am peacefully perched on the top floor, I can see how it all fits together. Now I can hear and let in these words, “This moment is perfect just as it is.” From this higher view I see and know that I am One with it all. It is my movie.

I also know that I will continue to ride the elevator up and down; but with my Compassionate Witness along, I am enjoying the scenery. There is no good or bad, right or wrong experience; just being with it with curiosity, compassion and a willingness to learn from it all. That always elevates me to the top floor.

“Just go into the room and put one chair in the center.
Take the seat in the center of the room, open the door
and windows, and see who comes to visit.
You will witness all kinds of scenes and actors,
all kinds of temptations and stories, everything imaginable.
Your only job is to stay in your seat.
You will see it all arise and pass, and out of this—
wisdom and understanding will come.”
Achaan Chan

What is the view from your elevator right now? I hope that your Compassionate Witness is by your side helping you enjoy the scenery on your wild, wonderful, wisdom-gathering ride!

In Love,
Jan Jacobsen

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Mar 24 2009

The Wonderful Wisdom of IS! 3/18/09 Newsletter #4

The mind is like a crazed acrobat, tumbling from thought to thought, leaping to conclusions. I’ve been witnessing my mind tumbling about trying to figure things out and find answers. It wants to know, how did I end up with uterine cancer? Could it be the occasional sugar? The dairy? The aspartame? Or is it because I’m uptight; or more accurately, downtight? (as in anal retentive.) – did I block the flow of chi down there? Or could it be that my laptop sitting on my lap is frying my innards, doing the lap dance of death!?

Who knows why things happen. The only thing I can know for certain is this…it happened. It is what it is. I am open to learning and seeing my part in things; but I am becoming more interested right now in learning the fine art of acceptance. Now is all there is, and this is what’s Now. There is no right or wrong – just Isness, Suchness (not suckness). Buddha called this state Tatata. I want to live in this state. I am packing up my baggage and moving to Tatata, the golden state of harmony with whatever Is!

I’m leaving behind self blame, trying to figure things out, and regret. They are not useful. Much suffering is caused by resisting what is happening. It’s like trying to resist a tornado – it’s only going to mess you up! When I accept what is happening and say, “Oh, this is interesting – I wonder what I can learn from it?” I come into harmony with it and it lands me in the wonderful land of Is. When I’m focused on learning and growing, then every experience is perfect.

This morning I had my anxiously awaited appointment with the oncologist to consult and set the date of the operation. When I got there they told me that they don’t have my name down! At first I cried – it felt good, it released tension. Then, I could feel the downward vortex, circling the drain energy, wanting to poor me down the drain, wanting to blame and complain and shame and call names (stupid gyno said he made the appointment!)

Instead, I took a detour from the downward drain. I talked to myself, “It’s okay to feel scared and angry. Let yourself feel it.” Then I was ready to return to the state of Is – It is what it Is. Breathe. Accept. This moment is perfect just as it is. (This ended up being a perfect Is example for this newsletter! And they rescheduled me for later today.)

The mind always wants to know, “Is this a good thing? Is this a bad thing?” Byron Katie has written that when people used to say “Namaste” to her, she thought they were saying “No mistake”.  My appendix burst seven months ago. That could have killed me…or it could have saved my life. The CT scan they did for my appendix showed that my uterus was abnormal. That led to the discovery of the uterine cancer.

My brother found out he had an inoperable brain aneurysm.  He thought his life was over. It had just begun! He quit his job, bought a sailboat and now, 8 years later, is enjoying life on his boat in the Caribbean Islands, thriving and living his dream.

“Just when the caterpillar thought its life was over, it became a butterfly.”

My husband Tom is cultivating rich soil in his garden plot. It contains compost from rotted produce and horse manure. He treats these ingredients like precious gold. He knows they will help his garden grow the most nutritious, delicious food. Cancer has composted a rich and fertile soil for me, from which is sprouting much creativity, inspiration, and learning.  (It’s a fertile time or it’s a shitty time; same substance, different attitude).

The best part about being in harmony with what is, it hooks me up with the Universal flow. Once I am in the energy of acceptance, I am in a state of grace where things I need flow to me easily, and everything works out better than I could imagine. Rich gifts are coming my way: the love of friends, the best doctors and nurses, financial assistance, and powerful learning and healing on a deep level.  Open is open. When I let go of resistance and open to what is, I am open to receive love, guidance and miracles.

Brick by golden brick I’m building my home base in Tatata. I sometimes take little side trips to Self-Pity City, and am hijacked occasionally by little cyclones of anger, sadness and fear. Accepting what is happening includes accepting the feelings that come up about it. These feelings are like bulls in a pen, snorting and pawing the ground – when they are accepted as part of what is and allowed to be there, then the gate opens, freeing them to roam the big spacious field of awareness, where eventually they calm down and become one with the field.

“Out beyond rightdoing and wrongdoing, there is a field; I’ll meet you there.” (Rumi)
Right Here and Now there is a field of awareness where everything is welcome; there’s plenty of room for All that shows up.

Are you living in the golden state of Tatata? It is a beautiful, spacious place to live. (And it’s so much fun saying Tatata!)  To get there, just click your heels together, take deep slow breaths of acceptance and say, “There’s no place like Here. There’s no place like Now.” That will always bring you back Home again.

In Love,
Jan Jacobsen

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Mar 24 2009

Bright Light – Dark Shadows! 3/11/09 Newsletter #3

Seven months ago my appendix burst and was removed. Now my cancerous uterus is about to be removed. What’s up down there? My internal organs are jumping ship! I can’t help but wonder, have I done something wrong? I’d always thought that this couldn’t happen to me. I take good care of myself: eat healthy, don’t drink or smoke, I exercise, ingest a fistful of vitamins every day, express my thoughts and feelings, connect with my spirit, and have loving relationships. I thought I was safe. Now a part of me feels like I have failed in some way.

Cancer is such a violent thing to have inside me. It is something shadowy, dark and dangerous that will kill me unless I kill it first. This has stirred up my painful old core belief which says I didn’t just do something wrong, I am something wrong; I am fundamentally damaged; and bad things happen to me because I’m bad. The pain of that core belief has set me on a spiritual path for the last 30 years. I have read a great multitude of spiritual and personal growth books and attended more workshops that you can shake a talking stick at. I have grown and healed tremendously. Yet still…cancer.

Feeling sad and disappointed, I lay in my husband Tom’s arms, crying, “I am flawed. After all these years and all the work I’ve done on myself, I am still deeply flawed.” Tom smiled and said, “Me too.” We both laugh. I have done something right to have this blessing of a man in my life! He has helped me put the fun into fundamentally flawed. Just looking at him reminds me that there is much light in my life now. And, there are still shadows. Tom says, “The brighter the light is the more clearly defined the shadows are.” Yes. The light is brightly shining in my life and I’m seeing my shadows very clearly. That is a good thing.

One way the Universe very clearly reveals my shadows to me is through the people in my life. They are wonderful mirrors – I can clearly see in them how they are defensive, judgmental, victimy, and oblivious about it (as much as I try to point it out to them!) These people can be irritating to be around. When I try to remove them from my life, they just keep showing up in different bodies with new names!

My shadows are clearly defined and they are clearly following me! Wherever I go, there I am. I’m learning that if it’s in my life, it’s in me. More importantly, I’m seeing that it’s all about Love. These shadows keep showing up to be faced, accepted and loved in me, and in those who are mirroring me.

I am facing and accepting that I will never be perfect. I lose my temper, I stress myself out, and I like to indulge in a fine whine now and then. I’m learning to shine the light on all that I am, to love myself As Is, warts and all, and now cancer and all. I’ve even written a song, with my friend Nicola Gordon, about loving all the many me’s – “the meany, moody, messy me’s – all the me’s I see’s.” It’s called I Loves Them All.  (To see video, click the link below).

Life is not about being perfect – it’s about being whole. As Carl Jung said, I’d rather be whole than good. Loving All of me is loving myself whole (minus a few body parts). This is more important than being perfect.

I feel compassion for that part of us that gets lost in the shadows. I feel such love and appreciation for how we keep striving for the light, sometimes floundering towards the light. How brave we all are to be here on this journey on planet earth, fallible, flawed and perfectly imperfect.

We are right where we need to be. This moment is perfect just as it is. This cancer is perfect just as it is. Healing and learning are happening. My dearly departing body parts are leaving me with this wonderful parting gift – the reminder to welcome every part and parcel of me to the party. I welcome cancer as my teacher

What people and circumstances keep showing up in your life, shadowing you? You haven’t done anything wrong. Life is simply reflecting back to you what wants to be faced and embraced.  It’s All about Love.

Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. (The Desiderata)

In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

Click here to see Jan’s song “I Loves Them All” on Youtube.

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