Hidden Pieces by Renee Bedard

March 20, 2016


Trust… Surrender… Embrace light… Forgive… Love… Release… Heal… These are practices we willingly choose to accept and incorporate into our lives as we walk our spiritual path. These concepts are intense. They are life changing. They are profound. It can be uncomfortable as we work to heal. It can leave us feeling raw, naked, exposed, and vulnerable. However, when we come through the other side, there is a sense of freedom, peace, and liberation that we can taste for the first time. It is a wholeness that we can embrace in order to continue on our path another day. With each step we take however, we know that we will meet our hidden and wounded pieces again when we are ready. It is with this knowledge, I am ready to embrace the process all over again.

I have been exploring the depths of my shadow a lot over the years. It is choice that I have consciously made. There was a need to go into parts of my life that I wanted to keep hidden. My memories were uncomfortable. They made me feel dirty. There was shame, guilt, fear, confusion, and unworthiness. In my past I did and said things that I was not proud of. We all have been there. Scared and confused, I was a kid who turned into an adult that secretly wished to be invisible. I pulled away from some people and closed others out of my life. I was unhappy, angry, and confused. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why I felt that way. So, as a result, I smiled and laughed when I wanted to cry and hide. I pushed people away when I so desperately needed to have a hand to hold and a comforting hug. Clinging onto toxic relationships, I played the ‘game’. I kept a home and family. By working small jobs, I was able to be connected to the outside world. It gave me a sense of accomplishment because I thought I was doing my share of the responsibilities for my home. I met some very special people who became friends while I was perusing my creative interests.

Despite all of my tasks and responsibilities, I felt there was something keeping watch over my heart. I felt haunted. There was a darkness or shadow that I didn’t want to accept. If it wasn’t for my daughter, I’m pretty sure I would have kept lying to myself and continued to spin out into the void I was creating. I couldn’t understand or more realistically, didn’t want to understand what my sadness was. For many years, I lived the belief that the past was the past and I didn’t need to go back there. These places that I have kept locked away for many years were dark and scary to me. There were reasons why I wanted to keep them locked away. I did not want to relive them. The thought of revisiting them took my breath away and chilled me to the bone. I chose to live the life of denial. It was a willful ignorance. That was a choice that was not going to work out for me at all.

Many years ago when I started on this journey, I thought the spiritual path meant to think positive. I wanted to embrace the light and be the light. I wanted to heal my heart and soul. I wanted to let go of what was holding me back from my full potential. I wanted to learn to love myself. I desperately wanted to feel joy and peace. Thinking about positive things made me want the negative to fade quickly. That is the objective of the spiritual path, isn’t it? No. It’s not like that at all.

In the beginning, I could not and would not go deep into the realms of the forbidden memories. Those places were off limits, or so I had thought. Moving along my path, it felt like there was something watching me… It was like the feeling you get when you think you are being followed. You can feel someone there, but you can’t really see them. Well, it turned out that someone lurking in the darkness was me. It was my shadow who was following me around, begging me to acknowledge her. She was the reason I would cry when I saw suffering on the news, watched a sad movie, or listened to sad songs with thoughtful lyrics. Commercials on TV with tender moments between family members would send me into a freefall of emotions. It became somewhat of a joke. “There’s Renee, crying again over the ‘Clearance Puppy’.” I felt it all. I felt everyone’s sadness, anxiety, pain, and anger. Whatever it was, I felt it because on the emotional level, I knew what it felt like. The cast of characters and the plotline may have been different, but the core emotion was there. It was my shadow’s sadness and her separation from me that made it possible to feel so deeply. It was difficult to be in a crowd with people I loved, or alone. Her pain would slowly bubble up to my surface and spill out giving me no choice but to see her. I had no idea what to do, so I chose to ignore her. I felt like I was Pandora’s Box and the emotional chaos within me was so great, it was forcing its way out to wreak havoc in my world. So, I tried to choke it down. I put a smile on my face and denied the storm that raged inside me.

Because of my denial, I couldn’t stand the silence that surrounded me. My thoughts and memories screamed at me when I was alone without the TV on or some kind of music playing in the background. The battle that raged within me ultimately meant that I had to listen to the thoughts in my head and the heartache in my soul. I needed to recognize my past and be responsible for the part I played in the memories.

The time finally came where I could no longer keep my thoughts, feelings, memories, and emotions locked away in the darkness – in my darkness. That was the day I decided to follow a stream of light into my dark depths. I clasped the hands that trembled and begged me for love, compassion, understanding, and acceptance. I was ready to offer her the shelter she desperately needed… that I so desperately needed. I finally realized in that moment that I had been denying myself love the entire time. I was working to heal myself to become whole but I pushed away the pieces that needed me the most. In that moment, I decided that I didn’t want to be incomplete any longer. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Looking back, it was that moment that changed my direction and perspective. I would not sidestep on my path anymore. I realized that in order to move forward, I needed to embrace all of my pieces, no matter what they looked like. Being spiritual is like every part of life and nature. We need to have many sides, the dark and the light to fully understand the cause and effect of our human experience. We need to accept what happened in our lives and take responsibility for our actions, whether we had good intentions or not. We uncover the hidden messages and learn our lessons so we can grow and evolve. It takes resolve to keep moving forward. The beauty of the process is that we discover that we do have the strength to keep forging ahead. Step by step, we make it through. We learn, understand, heal, and release. In my opinion, it is a great act of self-love to do the shadow work. But you must be ready. There is no half-way with this process. I was willing to do the work because it was time for me to peer into my shadowy depths with love and acceptance. I also have an amazing close circle of people I love and trust deeply. I am so grateful for their love and support. I am happy to say that I am one those people.

So, when you walk along this path, take the time to listen to all of your voices. Accept and love yourself for all that you are. Reclaim everything you have experienced with an objective, unconditional, and loving heart. The masks will fall away. The restrictions will no longer apply. You can finally let your guard down, because you no longer need to hold someone else’s ideals to define you. You can accept your light by embracing your dark. Of course it will be a difficult road at times. And yes, I have second guessed if this was the right way to go. The best way to understand something is to look at it in the eye with no judgment or shame, no matter what you see. The past has come and gone. What you can do now is make peace with it. From where I am standing, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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