Shadow Work VS Shadow Worship

SHADOW WORK VS SHADOW WORSHIP

To me, there is a massive misconception between ‘shadow work’ and ‘shadow worship’ going on in society. The shadow, to me, is self love hiding in unconsciousness waiting to be discovered. Shadow work for me is facing my unconsciousness, meeting it with understanding and allowing my shadow to transmute into its true form- love. Meeting my shadow is powerful, intense, private work in which I move through whatever unconsciousness has come into my awareness for me to make healthy choices. Therapy is shadow work to me. A space where a studied professional can hold a retainer of self love and self acceptance reminder while being a powerful sane advocate for my health.

Shadow worship, on the other hand, to me is not meeting the shadow, it is a clever parade of avoiding the shadow. Shadow worship in my experience, as I have spent quite a large part of my life doing just that, actually enables the shadow to stay shrouded. When the shadow calls out to be heard and is not only ignored, it is praised, then shadow runs the show and does not get to reach it’s true form. Praising/avoidance of shadow is to me the abandonment of shadow. The abandonment of shadow is the abandonment of self. Abandonment of self is the root of acceptance of deep abuse consciously and non, including self abuse. In my experience shadow worship, because it was a fanfare of shadow avoidance, actually enabled a conversation in my body of not being worthy of the love that was waiting for me in facing my shadow.

In my eyes, BDSM is shadow worship, rather than shadow work.

In leaving the BDSM world I now choose to do my work rather than disrespect the path of my shadow by worshiping it. The shadow’s purpose to me is to show me the diamond in the coal to remind me I am worthy of love. To remind me, I am love.

 

*To be clear, the context of this is based on philosophy, not religion.

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The Strength Of Self Love

I think people misconstrue my conversations of exploring self care and self love as me being broken perpetually looking to fix myself or being weak. No. I am not broken, nor weak, I have nothing to fix, I am enjoying me. I am savoring diving deeper into my own love. Being present to self care and self love is so powerfully beautiful to me. Saying ‘I love me’ is not me being hopeful, it is me doing the hard work and living it. Self love is mighty. Love is vulnerable strength. Me being honest does not make me broken, it means I trust myself. Saying ‘I love me’ is not a pleading, it is not a victim cry, it is a stand as much as it is a relaxation into the truth of my being.

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Triumph.

What’s present for me is the exploration of diving deeper into self care. Allowing myself to step further on this already present journey, into layers I had not dared touch with love. I sit it in the strength of self trust which is powerfully present and gently present for me. Delving deeper into self listening what I am finding are more questions, as there will always be, and more curiosity toward challenging what I have known and bringing this to light in triumph. Smiling I surrender to relentless self love. It feels like a fresh breeze through my heart and soul.

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THE EVOLUTION OF A DOMINATRIX

BDSM is not necessary. I will tell you why. What I am about to share is based on my personal experience and I am speaking solely for myself. I am not coming from a space of judgment on what others choose. I was a Professional and personal Dominatrix for a total of 13 years. I also was a submissive and Switch. A Switch is someone who is both Dom and sub.
This is what I have found for myself.
After over a decade of being in BDSM it no longer touched any passion in me. I became bored with BDSM. This is not a statement of arrogance, this is a statement of real experience. Not bored in the sense that some may think, that I desired – and in so required – something more intense. No. I recognized that what lit my passion came from the heart and presence. Love and presence. Not just in romantic engagement, in life itself.
With self work and expanding my self care through meditation, I found that what I had been seeking all along was myself. I realized when I sought BDSM I was seeking my own love, seeking to connect with my own body and seeking to surrender to a higher power or what others may call higher or authentic self.
It dawned on me that every single reason I had supported BDSM, actually had nothing to do with BDSM and could be accessed without ever even touching on BDSM.
I had supported BDSM because I thought since it seemed like I had re-awakened connection in my body, which I had disconnected from because of trauma, then BDSM must be beneficial. This was a misinterpretation. What I seemed to have awakened in my body was a hypersensitivity reacting to the pain. There are kind ways to reconnect with the body rather than misuse pain to force a hyper-connection from retraumatization. Trying to use pain to connect with the body is the shadow side of ‘body connect’ which is not the root of body connect it can actually create more disconnect through hypersensitivity. This is not to say that a person who is hypersensitive is disconnected from their body. Every person’s sensitivity is unique and there are biological reasons beyond trauma for sensitivity including the makeup of each individual’s central nervous system.
What I am saying is in my experience forcing hypersensitivity through the misconception that this forcing is ‘body connect’ can hinder and repulse authentic body connection because of the process of retraumatization. If you are being caned, you will connect with your body but it will not be a sustainable body connect, it will be your body reacting out of survival. The impact will be there, however, the full impact will be there and that includes teaching the body to stay alert rather than move into the deep body connect of relaxation. If this is still obscure think of it this way, I am speaking of the difference between punching someone in the face to leave an impact or giving them a hug. Which one do you think is most likely to create a loving basis of a relationship? It is less likely to create a trusting bond with someone right after punching them in the face. This is the same process of creating a loving basis in relating with self and body.
BDSM can also create a confusing relationship with pain itself. Pain is the body asking for attention. Physical pain alerts the mind that something is wrong and must be corrected. Emotional pain alerts the mind it is time to take care of self and listen to the pain that is present. I found that the use of BDSM can create a punishment relationship with pain. Pain is not a punishment, it is a call to awareness and self care. The feeling of pain does not exist to tell you that you are a bad person or to praise you, those are the stories our identities attach to pain to prolong its effect. Pain is simply a physiological response that is based on survival. To create a punishment relationship with pain can have the effect of learning to turn away from pain or beginning to numb out or not listen to pain. BDSM at times also uses pain as a reward or praise. Pain misused as a reward or praise does not create a supportive relationship with pain as being just a visitor that is serving its purpose to pass on. Pain is not an enemy, it is a sacred conversation of the body asking us to self care.
In Shibari, Japanese rope bondage, the rope touches on the meridian points. The misconception I held onto in supporting bondage is that bondage is a vital access to the meridian points. It is not. There are many ways to access the meridian points including acupuncture, acupressure such as reflexology and Qi gong to name a few. Qi gong which means ‘Life Energy Cultivation’, is the ancient Chinese practice of channeling Qi [Chi], life force energy. Qi gong is a practice of working with life energy and teaches ways to gently touch on the meridian points through one’s energy alone. Qi gong can be done in sacred space with self. Qi gong is a nurturing way of connecting with the body and bringing awareness to the body through presence. Body connection is important for physical, spiritual, emotional and mental health. Through body awareness we learn to be present with self and present in life. Tender loving body connection creates a friendship with the body and a friendship with self. This friendship expands to create a friendship with life and the gratitude of being alive.
Submission would be the surrender aspect of BDSM. Later in my years as a Dominatrix I realized people were not coming to submit to me, even though they insisted it was so. People were coming seeking to surrender to a higher power that was not me. That higher power seeking could be God, Source, Universe, Love, Higher Self. I was just an icon nor was I a conduit. I actually could have not been there at all. I disappeared. People were coming to surrender to themselves. A lot of rope and theatrics just to ultimately let go. Let go of the illusion of control. Take away the theatrics, surrender is simply done through meditation. Surrender can be done simply with a breath, simply with a stated intention to do so, simply through a smile. All people wanted to do was to not be in control. The reality is- we never are. You don’t need BDSM to tell you that. It’s just what is so. There are very few and minute things we can control to an extent and that all comes from self work. BDSM is a faulty bandaid at best as all the work a Dominatrix does cannot make up for the inner work that is needed to have sustainable experience of surrender and at times BDSM can actually create a wall towards true surrender.
People thought they were coming to BDSM seeking pain. No they were not. People were seeking the moments in between the pain, they were seeking the nurturing after the pain. People were seeking to be held with tenderness, to be held as precious even if for a moment and they believed they needed to suffer to be rewarded with nurturing. Well, no. You do not have to suffer to feel nurturing. You do not have to feel pain to feel release. You do not have to hurt to know kindness. What is wild is, all of the pain seeking in BDSM in my experience is actually avoidance of pain. Pain already exists to be looked at, BDSM can actually fetishize the pain so that it does not have to be dealt with. Through turning past trauma into a fantasy, it can stay a fantasy being relived parading itself in bravado. To me BDSM is a lot of bravado of not facing what needs to move on. An elaborately festooned party for trauma that is not being met. In the end, the pain must be faced in order to be free. Professional support such as therapy is crucial. Therapy is a powerful support which guides the unconsciousness into awareness. Self work is a vital aspect. Meditation and mindfulness are not just buzz words, they are life changing tools that when used from a space of humility, self kindness and authenticity can be transformational. Exploring the many ways of nurturing self care is an important commitment to health as well as self kindness.
Seeking nurturing through pain is a habit. It is often an enforced lifelong habit that when faced with tenderness can react incredulously. How could tenderness, nurturing without punishment be real? It is real. It is what is the most real in my experience. Now, of course, there is the pain of working out, the pain of not feeding an addiction. In these instances, as long as the workout is in regard to being in body awareness and not pushing to the point of harming the body, pain is showing us progress through healthy habits. The pain after a workout signals the body strengthening. The pain of the ego or inner child not getting 5 donuts can trigger things linked to such intense feelings such as abandonment feeling alone. However, this is the opportunity for self care. Therapy, for one, and self work done on one’s own as well. This is pain showing us again, where to self care.
It became clear to me that abandonment and feeling alone was the act of when I abandoned myself. Social interaction is important and is a very healthy necessity when feeling alone comes up. And, it can be easy to feel alone in a sea of people. That aloneness can only be sated by me. That feeling of abandonment, of self abandonment, was born each moment I chose inauthenticity. Each moment I chose to not self care, to not hold myself with precious love. This is not to shame myself or punish myself for not always holding myself as this, rather just a tender nudge of awareness in practicing not abandoning myself. It is inevitable I will abandon myself at times, as I am human and unconscious and yet, I can choose to face that impulse to self abandon and choose to practice not abandoning myself each time I am aware. Abandonment is defined as the action of completely surrendering oneself to a desire or an impulse. For me personally, speaking only for myself, I abandoned myself in BDSM. I do not speak that as a shaming of sexuality, lest it be misconstrued as such. I do not feel BDSM is sexuality though it finds itself presently entwined in the social conversation as such. To me, sexuality does not restrict. Nor am I shaming myself for having lived BDSM, nor am I shaming others for choosing BDSM. To each their own. I do not support my words here being misused for mob mentality of hating those who choose BDSM or shaming those who choose it.
My conversation here is to expand the conversation beyond BDSM not to create a conversation of restriction. What I am saying is BDSM is not a necessary step in the ladder. It is not even a part of the ladder. To me, BDSM is a side path that if not taken does not hinder and further more can be beneficial to not take such a path at all. Again, it all comes down to choice. I am sharing information that is not available to most through the eyes and experience of an ex Dominatrix who has known this world for over a decade. And it is a dark world filled with pain, do not kid yourself by pretending or fantasizing otherwise. BDSM is rooted in pain and even without the SM [sado masochism] aspect, there is often a lot of hiding and pain dealing. There are many who use the shrouding of BDSM to get away with hurting people. I was one of them. Albeit often unconsciously, believing I was doing a service. It is not a coincidence that when I began deep work to face and heal the abuser in me, that BDSM lost its interest in my body. I am not speaking for any other Dom but myself. This is what has been true for me.
For those who use exploration of the shadow as a reason for BDSM, this is a misunderstanding of the shadow. Seeking awareness and doing the hard work of self sight is awareness of the shadow. We can see our own shadow in how we address another, or how we address ourselves. In our inflexibility, in our lack of boundaries, even in that beautiful experience we will not allow for ourselves. Facing the shadow is a facing of self that can occur with just the will of seeking. The shadow does not require an ambassador, it is already present. Embracement of the shadow is not a praising of the shadow, it is embracing shadow as a shunned aspect of self that is crying out for compassion and understanding. It does not mean to act out from shadow, rather to understand and transmute to embrace what the shadow is truly calling out for- love. Ignoring the shadow actually creates living from the shadow. Praising the shadow does the same. The shadow is a little alarm or a blaring horn that is simply a call for the inner journey to remember what is held deep in its folds, the love of self. Ego creates shadow as power, the shadow is not about power, that is ego game. The shadow is pure asking me to please remember love. In this, to me the shadow is self love.
To those who have feared the shaming of being called ‘prude’ or the gaslighting of being told they were bullying by not engaging nor entertaining BDSM, you are missing nothing by choosing to not be a part of BDSM. No one should ever tell you that you must support BDSM or engage in BDSM to be ‘sexually liberated’. No. No one should ever tell you that you need to do anything to be ‘sexually liberated’. Whatever that terminology is supposed to mean or means for one individual is unique to that individual. A virgin can be sexually liberated just as much as a sexually active person as it all comes down to authentic choice. Terms are not what is most important to me.
What I have found after 13 years of exploring BDSM is that everything I experienced in BDSM I could have experienced in meditation and more without hiding from my pain through forcing physical pain. Through tender actions of self care, through choosing to not abandon myself, through being relentlessly compassionate toward myself even in the face of my identity that wants to say I am not worth that, I find the spaces that I was seeking in between the pain of BDSM. Those loud powerful spaces that I muted through BDSM that without the hindrance, pour forward into my body awareness and self love. Those loud powerful spaces that I gave credit to BDSM but were actually not a part of BDSM at all. Those loud powerful spaces are simply me. Me unencumbered. Being a Dominatrix was a puny mimicry of trying to force my innate power. When the reality is my innate power does not need forcing, it just is. My innate power is not a control of outer circumstances nor people, my innate power does not know control, it is too big for that paradigm. My innate power is simply a being.
I will say again, I do not support the words I am saying here being used to ostracize people for their choices. Rather this is an opportunity to understand why some people seek BDSM who may not be aware something so much bigger and more readily available is right in them right now. I do not suppose to know people’s reason for choosing, rather I am saying this may be one of the reasons. I create this conversation to stand in possibility, to stand as an awareness for those who may feel they must choose BDSM or must stay in BDSM. BDSM is not necessary. There is another way and you are it.
As I choose to do the hard work of self love and self care -sometimes when I face my addictions it’s a downright inner war- and also open to the gentle tenderness of self care and self love readily available simply in a conscious breath, I am choosing to not abandon myself. In choosing to not abandon myself, I am choosing integrity.
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Painting by unknown.

First Men’s March In History

Today the first men’s march in history was organized by female antifeminist Sydney Watson in Melbourne Australia. Hundreds of supporters men and women marching to support awareness for the human rights needs of men including raising awareness for prostate cancer for men, male suicide, parental alienation, and more. Prostate Cancer UK was there as well.

Hundreds of police officers were necessary to keep antifa and violent feminist protesters away from the men’s rights marchers. Antifa was attacking those trying to attend the march.

The two men the media is highlighting that were arrested were actually male feminist protesters opposing the march showing up with knives.

We have a long way to go in the conversation of men’s rights. It should not be dangerous to support human rights. However, the fact stands, hundreds of people showed up to support awareness and stand for the conversation that men’s rights matter, that men’s lives matter.

The problem with the media is it keep speaking of men’s rights as ‘opposing view’ in regards to women’s rights and it is not. There is so much misconception that must be clarified in the conversation of men’s rights. Also, the conflation of everyone who speaks on men’s rights must be an MRA or part of the MRM [Men’s Rights Movement] or antifeminist or insert any other assertion. Calling people who support men’s rights ‘nazi’s’ is grotesque on many levels. To have the audacity to say the #HumanRights conversation must be inclusive of all human beings, that means Men’s Rights, is not fascism rather the opposite.

I stand by we can all work together. Many more conversations must be had to face this violent blindspot aimed at men. We must face this blindspot as it is costing men. We must open our hearts, the cost is too high.

#MenToo

https://www.9news.com.au/national/2018/08/25/08/22/sydney-watson-march-for-men-melbournes-cbd

Unhooking From The Violence Of Victim Narratives

Sometimes we can get so hooked on victim narratives that we enroll others in victim narratives. In comes the savior to destroy, even those who are benign. When we are in a blind ‘justified’ rage we cut even those who are aligned with us and even those who love us. Is it worth it? For what? The rush of feeling righteous anger? Righteous anger is important, yes, it has its place to challenge blindspots. Yet when it is activated from the space of the ‘savior’ archetype we have a duty to be mindful that this is happening. Or we will find our loved ones in the fallout. The ‘savior’ is a hiding mechanism, I would rather share awareness and open conversation with the intent of living in possibility.
When justified righteous rage is misused and abused for faulty purposes, or to support our hateful stories of each other, even stories we are ‘so sure are true’, what are we really seeking? What drives this shadow tribalism to protect even at the expense of our relationship with people? Tribalism to me is powerful in that it creates community, there are times when yes protection is necessary, it creates a functioning society and interdependence and more. Yet tribalism has a shadow side as well that fosters codependence, violent independence, destroys human connection, feeds paranoia and so forth. The shadow side of tribalism begs consciousness.
What drives this desire to ostracize as punishment and to dominate? When I ask myself this what comes up for me is pain. There is deep unmet pain there and often times fear of loss. In that sense, the rage can be an avoidance and in this, the rage can be an addiction, chasing a high to not face reality. Again, there are times where rage is vital and anger can be a beautifully powerful and important ‘No’ to injustice. I would never shun anger and rage as it is powerful and necessary in the stand for clarity, love and human connection. While I do not limit anger as the only way of communication, I honor it as one of the many important ways to create a clearing for change.
And there are times when rage and anger are misused to hide rather than break free. To restrict rather than expand. To silence rather than challenge. To keep from having a relationship with pain and fear that is calling me to accept and love myself.
I know I have work to do on this and making this distinction for myself between righteous anger with the purpose of expansion of possibility and the setting of necessary boundaries versus anger used to hide, restrict and kill off possibility.
Are you conscientious to be mindful when anger is authentic or do you hurt those you love to stand in your addiction to rage and avoidance of pain? I don’t do physical violence, I keep my hands to myself and personally, I don’t think I can ever be so conscious as to never emotionally hurt anyone ever in my life. That’s not humanly possible and that is just another mechanism to hide aka perfectionism. What I can do is my own work to face the abuser in me and support my own health by being aware of when I misuse the sacred emotion of anger.
I can be gentle and kind to myself and compassionate with myself with awareness to see when the rage is guiding me to hold my inner child with tenderness. When my anger is a call to love myself relentlessly and challenge any stories I hold that tell me I cannot, that tell me I am not worth it. I can hold myself as sacred and precious and acknowledge I am doing my best always to come from my heart. I can be aware when I falter, and get up and try again. Which is life’s practice, which is why I am here, to remember who I am. To remember I am love.
I choose to do my work to unhook from the violence of victim narratives and stand in my self responsibility of self love, self care, self compassion and self tenderness. The way I learn to hold myself with care, is the way I learn to listen to you. The most powerful form of activism is self love and the most powerful form advocacy is self care. This is the root of change, starting with doing the work within me as I am a part of the whole. Community begins to heal with the work of one.
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We Rise, We Rise Together.

I have very strong political opinions, that’s pretty clear, & I would not allow politics to get in the way of me being human with a fellow human. I have said this many times & I will say again, I do not care how anyone identifies I believe we can work together.

We cannot unite in politics. It’s not possible nor necessary. We will each always have our own politics, differences are important that’s how we grow. We unite in the choices we make to be respectful in disagreement. It’s a challenge for me too & I keep trying.

I have to remind myself to step back from the political ring at times & remember who I am & what I stand for is people uniting. That does not mean I take on insults, zero tolerance for that. It means doing my part to bring respect to the conversation.

And if I cannot bring respect to a conversation, reminding myself to end the conversation & respect the disagreement. I want to be right, that feeds my ego, but my ego does not make a difference in this world. There’s plenty of that already.

When I do not respect that there will be disagreement, then I am not giving space for differences. Then I move into a totalitarian mindset, which is really not something I am interested in. It limits me & it limits my listening & possibility is missed.

Also, if I’m leading the conversation with ego it is no longer a conversation, it is instead just a show. I’m not here for a show, I’m here to share awareness & that is a conversation bigger than me. If I am committed to raising awareness, I must remember this.

A massive issue is the social blindspot aimed at men, which is a compilation of misinformation, habit & the challenge of doing one’s own work. This conversation is confronting for many because it calls one to look at self. I know I chose to & I continue to.

The reality is as a society we do not hear when things affect men unless they are in relation to affecting women. This is a horrifying truth that leaks into the violent blindspot aimed at men & boys. Which often keeps male victims from feeling safe to speak up.

The good thing is, a blindspot can shift into awareness. Sharing information, having conversations I do believe we can continue to make progress in making people aware of the blindspot aimed at men that is costing men their health, safety & lives.

I believe that human rights issues stand on their own, regardless of how anyone identifies we can move past the ‘you’re the devil because you don’t believe like me’ & actually make strong progress for all people to feel safe. People are counting on us.

I say people are counting on us because yes, your voice matters. Somewhere there is someone too dejected to raise awareness. Every voice counts, every voice matters & I don’t mean just the voices who agree with me. We can all work together, sans absolutism.

So, however you choose to identify, lets find where we do agree. Where we know we can work together & get to work on those issues. We already know where we disagree that’s easy, but what do we have in common? Let’s start there.

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