Me and My Shadow

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For me the shadow are those aspects of ourselves that hold us back, keep us in negative patterns, in stagnancy, in lack of growth.  I deal with addiction issues, feeling abandoned, feeling alone,  irresponsible, dishonest.  These are some of my shadows I sense hovering nearby (there are others too!).  When shadow runs your life, life can really suck.  It can feel oppressive and hopeless.  But if I can have compassion for my shadow, hold those parts of myself that feel less than whole, than perhaps I can heal, grow, move with love.  “I love my shadow as I love myself,” is a new phrase I have learned in my priestess practice.

I am also beginning to understand that sometimes shadow involves existing in a hell realm.  Something that seems unbearable to endure.  I have been there, and so have you.  Sometimes being in a hell realm has nothing to do with shadow.  But inevitably, being in a hell realm, shadow rears its ugly head anyway.  Such as feeling like a failure, abandoned, depressed, worthless.  This is where having compassion for oneself is essential.

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Diana Ray/April Aronoff

Photography By Diana Ray

September Flower Bowl

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Slipping in right at the end of September with my flower bowl.  After writing weekly all summer, I find myself with low creative energy.  I feel good in so many ways; I’m contented, notice beauty around me, feel soooo ready to let go of old patterns of living.  Yet my addictions rage on, clearly prepared to put up a fight.  I know I have to be patient through change; its highs and lows, agonies and ecstasies.  I am about to sit in ceremony with the Queen of Death, whose job it is to guide me down, down, down to the underworld of my own shadow.  It is through sitting in shadow that I know I will find ecstasy, for to sit with shadow is to show compassion towards the darkest parts of self.  There is a deep part of me that dreads this process.  Another part is expanding and making space for light.

Diana Ray/April Aronoff

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Part of Me

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I feel so much potent energy brewing beneath the surface.  Like the rushing sound of my two garden fountain’s, Cerridwen’s Cauldren hard at work.  Part of it feels epic and life changing, the full knowledge that I have the capacity to plug into my own beautiful, crystalline, grid network.  The rest of me is terrified, feeling completely the challenge that lies between here and there.  Part of me wants to up the ante, to expect more from myself.  This is in stark contrast to the present me who accepts any and every kind of vice.  I give myself over to the Goddess, at my worst and at my best.  I always shoot for the best, even when I’m at my worst.

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Diana Ray/April Aronoff

Photography By Diana Ray

Dream Awake

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This is the picture of my dream-awake catcher.  Initially it was my house catcher, as I had used it to catch a new house we bought a little over a year ago.  Now I am using it to catch new work and/or bring creative ideas into fruition.  I have re-named it my dream-awake catcher, and plan to use it as often as I need throughout my life.

I made the dream-awake catcher from branches from a large shrub I took out of the front yard of our old house.  This was a few years ago.  As I was cutting the branches off the shrub I felt and heard a strong message that I must keep the branches.  So I did.  Some of the branches went to make this Gods-Eye that represents my ability to have second sight.  Later, the branches made the house catcher.  Now they are to catch new livelihood.

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I wrote down my desires for change, as specific as I could be.  Then I buried this paper in the Earth beneath the catcher, which lives in my meditation garden.

I gave the ritual to the Dreamer-Weaver Goddess, also known as Grandmother Spider in Native American culture.  What I wish to weave is the story of my own contentment and happiness, through creating new livelihood.  I also wish to weave my writing further into the world (more to come on that one).

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I find the Earth so incredibly powerful, its sheer benevolent energy so wanting to help someone who wishes to connect.  No matter how much I vacillate between tapping in more fully and running away, I am always present with this energy, always plugged in.  Even in the hour of greatest challenge it is continuing to shape and mold my outcome towards what is brightest.  This is what keeps me grounded in knowing that even if I fall, someone will be there to catch me.

Diana Ray/April Aronoff

Photography by Diana Ray

Desires and Hopes

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One of the biggest challenges I face presently is balancing the needs of each of my children, alongside my husband, my job, my blog and my sanity.  I feel a bit fearful when I think about it, as I feel depleted by my job, leaving little energy left over.  But I am highly committed to both my boys and need to give them all I got.  My older ADHD+NVLD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder+Non-Verbal Learning disorder) son needs me as both advocate and guide, as he navigates what are sometimes challenging social situations (this has improved incredibly).  He needs me to be patient and compassionate as he struggles to control his body and language (again, so much improvement).  My younger son also needs me as advocate and guide, as he is a child who learns differently at school.  He needs me to be patient and compassionate as he manages having intense anger at the age of 8 years.

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There are a lot of appointments going around.  But this is how it is.

I want to stay grounded and give to myself as much as I can.  I’m going to take more days to myself this year.  I’m going to do things like go to Hot Springs Places or go for a hike with my husband while we both play hookie.  I’m going to take the time to sit in stillness, to let the Goddess/Spirit flow through my veins.  I’m also letting my addictions rage a bit, recognizing that they’re a bit helpful right now, and I don’t have the energy to make a change anyway.  I’m going to make this next year of job creation active and alive.  This might involve some ass kicking, as I can let myself take forever to get crap done!  I promise to myself to keep at least one foot moving swiftly.

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I have just started seeing a therapist and it feels really good.  How all the myriad of weekly mom/kid appointments will affect me will soon be known.  Next week my older son starts school and my younger son begins play therapy, an official start to the fast pace that will be my life for the next several months.  Wish me well.

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Diana Ray/April Aronoff

Photography By Diana Ray

August Flower Bowl/Here

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 (dahlia, pansy, dianthus, heliotrope, wallflower, snapdragon, viola, scabiosa, peppermint, spearmint)

Ok, so I am here.  Here is a place I hate to be.  It’s a place of burn-out, of fatigue, of extreme sensory sensitivity.  Traffic noises that did not bother me a year ago when we bought our beautiful home are now driving me crazy.  I am completely burnt out with my job and know that needs to change.  I have wild fears around that, as I barely manage and have no commute and my summers off.

This reminds me completely of an earlier time in my life, when I was also going through a different spiritual crisis that left me tortured by noise.  And there was more noise, as we were living in apartments.  We moved 4 times in 3 years, until finally I found some peace in a small rental house.  I was also delving deep, doing intense therapy and drawing tarot cards, asking myself “why” I was so noise sensitive.  Eventually it became clear:  I sat down and wrote my parents a letter addressing all my unresolved issues with them.  In addition, I also went back to a time in my life when I was an adolescent and in love with the family next door.  They were a close, loving family, who were practicing Jehovah’s Witnesses.  For a spiritual, love hungry junkie like me I was fixed, and over time I adopted their religion.  When my parent’s found out many years later the sit hit the fan.  I was forbidden to go next door and we moved within a year.

This was brought into my awareness by my then student husband who was taking a radio broadcast class and wanted to tell my story on the air.  So I did.  My husband narrated the piece, with live clips of me talking about my experience.  We used pseudonyms.  I was nervous, but it was very healing.

What happened with my parents and the letter was not so healing.  My mother cried and ranted, although in the end said she loved me.  My father pulled away from me completely, as I said some pretty damning things.  This lasted for a few months, until I conceived my older son.  My father loves his grandchildren almost more than his own.  It was the bridge that brought us back together.

So what is the connection?  What am I to gain from knowing that I felt compelled to tell this story of my past?  For it rumbles within my present.  What I went through before was something I called “soul work.”  (A whole other story itself).  I sense deep down I am being called to this again, to soul work.

I have been through this before, and know the gig.  The only way out is through the shadows, into what is most challenging on a soul level.  Now I know why the butterfly appeared 2 years ago; I am finally ready for metamorphosis.

I know I will need to find stillness within myself, which will involve hard choices.  Not something I did so well back then, which is intimidating.  But as my Shaman tells me, “You are stronger than you think.”  I can only hope that in the act of reinventing myself, my senses calm.

Not sure what happens next, but I do know is this:  I must continue to lie on the Earth, to allow her strength to both nourish and relive me.  I have been doing this in the backyard, under a passion-flower vine.  Although my back-yard is loud (quite a quandary for me, as this is where my garden is, and I am an Earth Keeper) that is where the sweet spot is.  May I find peace soon :)

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Diana Ray/April Aronoff

Photography By:  Diana Ray