Stephanie Red Feather
Shadow Speak
The Universe Isn't Saying No

It has long been a teaching of mine to my students and clients that life travels in a spiral. It was one of my earliest epiphanies during my spiritual awakening. I landed upon this understanding through many years of frustration, feeling like certain themes kept arising for me to contend with over and over. With a string of profanities and plenty of self-condemnation, I would grouse over the fact that I dealt with this 10 years ago, or eight or three or however long ago it was that I slogged through that particular issue. In my spiritual adolescence, I didn't realize it wasn't a "one and done" kind of undertaking.

DiagramThink of it this way: Draw a circle in two dimensions, with a point depicted somewhere on the circle representing your repeated pattern or issue (the green dot to the right). Then you trace your finger around the circle. Every time you come back around to that point, it would seem that you have gotten nowhere and are literally trudging over the same ground repeatedly. Along with that perspective comes all the judgment: "Here I am again! I thought I dealt with this the first time. What is wrong with me? I must not have done it right because now I have to do it again. I'm never going to get past this."

However, if you take that circle and expand it into three dimensions, what do you have? A spiral!

The Spiral

When you trace your finger along the spiral you begin to realize that each time you make a pass, you are not landing in the same spot each time, but instead you are arriving at the next deeper level. That you aren't there again because you did it wrong last time, but that you're there again because you did do it right. Furthermore, the work you did before paved the way for you to be ready to address it at the next level.

One of my teachers, Linda Star Wolf, says of the spiral path that the shadow always comes first, then the gift. I have also heard this characterized as "first the breakdown, then the breakthrough."

On this planet of duality it often seems we get the opposite of what we ask for. I see this progression simply as the necessary removing of blocks. For whatever it is we seek to experience, accomplish or manifest , our first challenge is always to remove whatever is in the way of achieving it! It is clear to me that confronting — and then clearing — old beliefs, patterns, mindsets and points of view have accompanied anything significant I have ever undertaken. This, combined with my understanding of the spiral path, helps me recognize what is happening and to move through each iteration with much more grace and compassion.

For whatever it is we seek to experience, accomplish or manifest , our first challenge is always to remove whatever is in the way of achieving it!

Furthermore, when people don't understand that the shadow comes first, they can misinterpret the signs and deduce it to mean the Universe is saying "no" to their request. I have done this so many times myself! Huge amounts of unnecessary doubt, confusion and despair could be saved if only we would recognize the progression of events. This appearance of the "opposite" of what we seek is an inherent byproduct of growth and expansion. If we didn't have goals, dreams, desires and longings; if we weren't driven, ambitious, curious and seeking, then we would never have the opportunity to become aware of and move past our limitations and resistance.

The appearance of the shadow is actually a gift. A chance to heal and grow; a chance to challenge ourselves; a chance to clear our own resistance. It shows us more clearly than anything that we are on the path.

So when you set an intention or commit to a goal, know that you are also illuminating whatever is in your field that stands in your way of achieving it. Whether your own fears, limiting beliefs, old patterns or external influences, you now have the exquisite opportunity to transform them.

Suggested activities:

1. Notice your patterns: whenever you have tried to make a change, call in something new or set a goal. Does the "block" or resistance seem to take the same form? For example, every time you try to look for a new job, your old tapes about not being worthy start playing. Or, every time you make a change, the people in your family initially question you or don't support you. Remember, anything that shows up is about YOU, not about them.

2. Acknowledge that obstacles will be illuminated when you choose to raise the bar. It's just the way the energy of it works. If you can recognize this inherent order of events and stop relating to it as you doing something wrong, you will move through the obstacles and on to achieving your goals with much more grace and ease.

3. Be compassionate and gentle with yourself! If this is hard for you, it always helps me to think about how I would treat someone I love dearly (like my sister) if she were going through the same thing. What would I say to her? How would I treat her? This gives me access to how I need to treat myself.


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