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Madeleine Eames

- Psychotherapist
- Mindfulness Teacher

How Uncovering Your Story of Shadow is the Path to Your Light

In a world gripped with social media, false news and AI, it is even more crucial to hold onto your truth. 

Your truth is your own story. Your authenticity can be discovered through it, the simple act of putting it into words, and maybe sharing it.

Your story does matter. To you and you will find when you open it, it matters to others. For too long we have held our stories in shame and yet, we see women all over the world who are not only subjected to horrific violence and death, but then led to believe that these stories are their fault, a tactic so they won’t tell.

Each time I tell this story, a new portal opens in myself and in the person I am telling. This is the magical healing of stories.

When I was 18 I was hospitalized with a serious eating disorder. And I have probably spent years, if not decades unpacking why.

The things that stands out the most is just how unconscious it all was. I can see it in girls I have. worked with, they just can’t see it. 

How do messages get so firmly planted under the skin that the need to control weight outweighs the need to live? 

How can one be so dis-embodied that you live in a paper-thin ideal rather than the flesh and blood of the skin you are in?

Easily, it turns out. As so many girls and women do. I could talk about the internalization of patriarchy and body shame and the need to control, but we all know that. 

But what I want to write about is how do we reclaim who we truly are, our natural animal self, and reclaim our survival instincts that follow intuition, emotion and the senses. 

How do we give up the facade of being pleasing or nice, for being real?

I believe it is through our shadows, the things we have held in darkness or shame. 

Because when we have turned ourselves inside-out, even if just to ourselves, we are free. 

We are in control. We have access to the messiness of angst, anger, rage, lust, lazy, money, jealousy, fear, shame… all the lovely energies we have labeled as such. But they do not control us from the shadow.

This might not sell in the healing spaces, but it sure is selling in the entertainment and real life spaces. 

I remember lying in my bed one night and feeling the little mound of my belly, probably where my organs were trying to live. I felt disgusted, I felt so fat, and a nasty voice came in and said “You better do something about that.” I can’t imagine now the internal violence I inflicted on myself without even realizing it. 

If I could go back to my younger self, I would say the following, even if I know she would never listen: 

Breathe deeply into your body. You are alive and beautiful.

Feed yourself well. Your heart muscle is suffering.

All of your “bad” feelings are actually good. You were born good and you can’t change that. 

Be honest. At least with yourself and perhaps one other person.

You don’t have to know it all. You don’t have to have a plan. Just take the next step.

Think of yourself as a plant. Just feed and water and you will be ok. Keep it simple. 

You are loved. You are so loved.

As I tell women about my experience, they can often fully relate, or at least partially. We have all been affected by the subconscious programming and still are in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. 

That’s ok, one thing at a time, start to notice what you might be holding in the dark, what is a secret you hold, or something you do not want others to know about you?

Acknowledge it, see it and hold it. Let it know you care about that part. This might be exactly what you need to come into your own wholeness. 

It hold the light you cannot see.

 

 

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