Shadow Boxing

There's a blog subject I’ve avoided for some time. It’s part of a list I call “future blog posts”, and invariably when the time comes to choose a subject I avoid it like the plague — which as you will see is kind of ironic. Thing is, in the past week, I’ve been coming across that very notion in unrelated ways. I’ve learned that coincidences are never a fluke and quickly understood it was time to write this blog post. I’m happy to finally share this with you because since I’ve changed my approach towards it, my life has taken a bound forward. Although, it's important to note each day brings its own new challenge, but enough introduction let’s get into this.

Living with your shadow. The dark thoughts that we don’t understand but sit in the pit of our stomachs. The voices in our heads that undermine each one of our actions. Ever since the shadow revealed itself to me, probably around eight years old, I’ve tried to fight it. Make it go away by ignoring its existence. Telling it mean things to make it go away. The strategies were varied, but I think you get the gist, it did not leave my side. What I didn’t understand was that this darkness, these voices, the weight in the pit of my stomach, were a part of who I am. I came to the realization that the darkness doesn’t come from the outside, it's created from within. The shadow is a manifestation of my unlived potential. The voices are the parts of my psyche I’ve ignored that are trying to come out. The weight in the pit of my stomach originates in unfulfilled promises I made to myself. All of it is a part of me, and from the moment I accepted that as a fact, my life changed.

Maybe you’re wondering why I’m writing this in the present tense if I say that I’ve come to terms with the existence of my shadow. That’s because it’s a moving target. I still get down on myself for trivial things, like spoiling a recipe with too much salt or forgetting to record a TV show on the DVR. In the past, I would have spun down a dark tunnel of self-depreciation and anger, but now I understand that when this happens, there's something I need to do. A part of me is fighting to get out. It can be words on a page or something important that needed to be done yesterday, but it can also be a past moment in my life and the emotions tied to it I have yet to deal with. If it’s the former, taking action is the only solution and usually leads to high levels of flow. Acknowledging my need to write is something I have and still fight with. For no other reason than self-doubt. But if the anger is coming from a past emotion or long forgotten moment of my life, it’s a little more complicated. The lens we look through to see the past is rife with inaccuracies and it’s important to let some things go and forgive. Whether it's yourself or someone else, what has happened is over and there's no reason for the past to still have a hold on you. For this to work properly, forgiveness must be complete.

My uncle committed suicide some years back, and when it happened, my mind immediately started trying to erase his existence. After some time, I still couldn’t forget him. The moments we had together were real and no amount of disdain or anger would ever erase that. One day I decided to forgive him. At that same moment, I felt a wave of tenderness. All the memories we had together once again filled with love and my stomach muscles loosened their grip.

The next time you find yourself fighting an invisible enemy that weighs down on you, look in the mirror. You might be battling yourself. For me