Finding the Unique Star that Shines Within
I am balanced, successful, insightful, intelligent, and aware. I’m a little quirky, but not weird. I’m not thigh slappingly funny, but I have a sense of humour and I am willing to divulge some of my secrets – just enough to make me appear interesting, and make you feel like I am letting you in. I do yoga, I meditate, and I am conscious of what I put in my body. I am the voice of contemporary spiritual lifestyle articles.
A while ago I read an article about a woman who had submitted her writing to a spiritual lifestyle hub and had received several rejections. The piece was about what she had learned from her experience; it was well written and insightful. However, what particularly struck me about it was ‘that voice’. I wondered if it was because the author had honed ‘that voice’ that she was finally accepted into the fold. It occurred to me that even in alternative spiritual circles, where authenticity and uniqueness are apparently celebrated, there can still be a sway towards conformity.
Mainstream society is renowned for being stifling. From a young age we are encouraged to fit into a socially constructed mould in order to be accepted. Conformity and standardisation are hallmarks of our education system. The media, through carefully selected icons, dictates and reinforces societal ideals of what is and isn’t desirable. Socially, our friends, and sometimes our families use shame and ridicule to ensure that we don’t stray too far from the flock.
Often it is this desire to break out of the rigid mainstream framework that acts as a catalyst, propelling us to seek out and explore alternate ways of being. But I believe that if we just swap designer bags for yoga mats and coke for coconut water, while we will undoubtedly be healthier, we risk missing out on what I feel is one of the most important gifts that comes with spiritual awareness.
That gift is who we truly are beneath all the facades and social programming.
When I began turning my attention away from all the external distraction and looking within, what I initially discovered wasn’t pretty. I found parts of me that were broken, parts that were wicked and enraged, parts that wallowed in shame, and parts that were paralysed with fear; in short I found my shadow.
At first I thought I was a wounded freak in a population that was mainly healthy and successful. With time however, it dawned on me that we are all broken inside to some extent. I realized that successful types in western society were often just those people who had mastered the ability to mask and gloss over their wounds. This is a civilization in which we learn to conceal our flaws and weaknesses; it is normal to invest a huge amount of energy in trying to convince everyone around us that we are ok.
Facebook has taken this phenomenon to a new level. I am sure everyone is either directly or indirectly familiar with the Facebook illusion of the perfect life. It is as if many of us think that if everyone around us believes that we’re happy then we’ve made it. However, surface shine might impress others but in order to really feel good we need to truly shine from deep down in our core. A true sense of wellbeing comes from within, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
When I realized that in our world flawlessness was often only a skin deep illusion, I found it easier to accept the less desirable aspects of myself. I began to take time to work with these aspects that for so long I had tried to hide from myself and the world.
As I explored these dark inner spaces I discovered some incredible treasures. First of all I discovered that most of the elements I had classified as dark actually had two forms of expression – a positive, and a negative form. When aspects are rejected and repressed they naturally unconsciously affect us in a negative way. But when those same elements are accepted in love and integrated they can become allies, working with us rather than against us.
I also discovered that hidden away with all the parts of myself that I was not comfortable with, within the extreme darkness that I contained, were all my brightest and shiniest elements. In my attempts to fit in, not only had I shied away from that which I deemed unsightly, I had also sacrificed my unique beauty. By acknowledging and owning my darkness, I began creating an inner foundation that was real and solid enough that my radiant, exquisite aspects began to feel adequately safe to be expressed.
A crucial part of this process is learning to recognize, accept and honour our vulnerability. Being able to be vulnerable is a crucial key to being authentic. If one is not able to be vulnerable when appropriate, it becomes necessary to manipulate the truth to avoid exposing our fragility. If we are not able to be vulnerable, we cannot be in our integrity at all times. Once we learn to embrace our vulnerability we can cease pouring so much of our valuable energy into defence and instead channel it into that which brings us joy.
The journey towards authenticity is not glamorous. There are inevitably messy moments, awkward moments, and ugly moments ... and that’s ok – they are indispensable parts of a process that is leading us out of distortion, back towards our true centre. I have found that with every step I take I am becoming more confident and willing to be myself, to speak my truth, and to honour my feelings.
I am finding that learning to trust my own internal navigation system is empowering. This internal navigation system is independent of the sway of ‘group think’ what ‘they’ say. It is perfectly attuned to my needs and true desires. By following this navigation system I may not look cool or trendy to others, but the more I tune in the less I care because I find myself guided towards aspects of life that make my heart sing and my spirit shine.
I think the more we explore ourselves, the more we align with our soul expression, our true purpose, and our unique voice, the more we discover who we really are, beyond who we are told to be, or who we think we should be. I believe this ability to be authentic and distinct is the ultimate gift we can give ourselves and the human collective. As more and more of us turn away from the external droning of the shallow, middle-of-the-road reality, and find our own inimitable voice to boldly sing out with, the richer, more true, and more soulful our individual and collective reality will become.
© Christina Lavers 2015
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