Okay, I'm finally (sort of) giving in to the Valentine's Day madness, though of course in my own typically rebellious fashion. And I'm not writing this because Friday is Valentine's Day, but for whatever reason, when I sat down to write this week, this is what came up... Recently I've embarked on a new journey with a beautiful tribe called the Totemic Arts Apprenticeship in which we learn about our personal animal totems, how they correspond with the chakras, archetypes, zodiac signs, and numerology, and what this means for our own healing process, our businesses, lives, and those of our clients. I've been exploring my relationships with my known animal totems (wolf and snowy owl) and how the wisdom and medicine they bring to us can empower our lives and bring clarity to obstacles we love to put in our own way. There's lots of fun research and intellectual headiness that the nerd in me LOVES, but throughout the program there's lots of opportunity for play, art, creativity, collaboration, and receiving support and love from the tribe.
It all sounds great, right?
And it is!
AND THEN alllllll your shit comes up. Stuff you haven't dealt with, looked at, sat with, or even acknowledged because it's dark and scary and ugly. And who wants to feel those ugly emotions and see what kind of shadows are lurking underneath that lovely, mostly put together exterior that we put up? Not me.
But the thing is, your soul doesn't give you anything you're not ready for. So when things started stirring, I knew it was time. And I'll just tell you now, the last couple weeks have been SO UNCOMFORTABLE. Like I wanted to crawl out of my skin. Old, small, invisible Katie would have bailed in a second. But I've been preparing for this. I've been feeling a major shift coming for the last year, and here it was. And you know what it was that triggered me so badly? My inner Lover archetype. The one I had been ignoring most of my adult life. The one who is terrified of being unloved and unlovable. The one who, at times, has lost her identity in order to please others. The one who is afraid of being alone or in relationships devoid of intimacy. Whose shadow consists of jealousy, attachment, and fear of being undesirable. Even now as I write that I wince ever so slightly. But there it is. Truth laid bare.
So I sat. I cried. I fell apart completely, not knowing how the pieces would fit together again. I was exhausted, emotionally and physically. Totally burnt out. Like too tired to speak. I spent a whole day hibernating, listening to Tom Waits and Nick Cave (yeah, it got dark) and drawing, getting to know this Lover with her medicine of passion, sensuality, creativity, and desire, while acknowledging and forgiving the shadow side that has occasionally made herself known.
Now I'm beginning to come out the other side and I feel as if I reclaimed my power, self-love, sharp instincts, and a piece of my wild soul. And the message I got from deeply listening to this part of my soul is this:
Love isn't "nice." It isn't all pink hearts and chocolate and roses. It's gutsy, uncomfortable, gritty, and isn't afraid to reflect to us where we need to work on ourselves. Love itself can feel like heartbreak. Like struggle. Like we're stepping off the edge of a cliff and have no idea what's going to catch us.
And the same can be said of Self-Love...maybe even more so. Because that's where it begins. How can we truly love another if we don't have the foundation of love for ourselves? How can we show up for someone else if we're constantly abandoning our own heart? We gain the confidence and ability to love ourselves when we have the courage to softly open our hearts when we're scared shitless, speak our truth, honor our process, and let down our walls. And that's what Love for another is too.
Let's not just honor each other one day a year. Seriously. Happy Un-Valentine's Day (aka every other day of the year)!