“Mirror, mirror, on the wall…”
The mirror does not lie. And in the mirror, we can see the beauty and we can see the warts. The light and the darkness. As we are our own worst critics, it is not easy for many of us to look in the mirror and truly love ourselves. It is, in fact, transformative to look in the mirror and say “I love you” to the reflection. Even more so to gaze at my reflection for several minutes, affirming that I love and accept myself exactly as I am. Warts and all.
I’ve been doing this work for several weeks, after having some energy work done when I was feeling depressed and blocked. And it has been transforming and I’ve been feeling great. But progress is still slow and I’m feeling impatient.
As a tarot reader/intuitive, I read for myself regularly for guidance as well as a way of continuing my study of the tarot. The last few days, number 15, The Devil, has come up a several times. One of the scarier cards in the deck. In some decks it has other names, such as “Temptation,” “Chains,” or, my favorite, “The Big Bad Wolf.” When a card keeps appearing, I sit up and take notice, look for the message, an important lesson. The Devil might point to an addiction or addictive patterns of behavior, it may advise us not to be chained to our fears. It speaks of a darkness in hiding. D-e-v-i-l the opposite of l-i-v-e-d. In the Inner Child Cards by Isha Lerner and Mark Lerner, the 15th card is “The Big Bad Wolf” and depicts a bleak, dark, scary pathway, with a wolf in hiding. The path leads to the tower bathed in the light of the moon. This is the darkness inside of ourselves. The shadow that we don’t want to see.
The message from The Devil card is that it’s time to shine your light into the darkness. It’s time to look at your shadow self and love that part of you. You’ve looked in the mirror and seen the beauty there. You’ve grown in self love. Your imperfections, your shadow, the darkness in you, your wounds, the places where you are broken need your love and acceptance the most. When you deny your darkness, it grows in fear. When you shine your light on your darkness, you heal the broken parts of yourself and transmute it into light.
It’s time to look at the parts of myself that I don’t want to see. It’s time to SEE and LOVE my darkness. Eek. I don’t know. It’s pretty scary down there. Is my light enough?
Fear. Funny, I’ve also been seeing a lot about facing your fear, feeling it and going forward anyway. I know I’m not alone here. I’ve been working on this for a while. Feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Stepping out of my comfort zone. The past few years, it seems like I’m doing this all the time, going outside my comfort zone, expanding my comfort zone, not being chained to a life not being lived.
But for all that work, I was feeling stuck, frustrated, and depressed. My dreams and desires just out of reach. I’ve come so far, and everything I’m working for just a breath away. But that breath might be a million miles because I still couldn’t reach it.
I knew in my heart what was blocking me, but this one was big, The Big Bad Wolf.
Writing this now feels like I’m walking the bleak and scary landscape of fear. I’ve walked this path alone and now I’m taking you with me. Into the shadows.
Deep in the darkness, I find the part of myself that decided a long time ago that I would do this thing called life alone. Because, well, fear. Because that’s what strong people do. Because, control issues. Because, what if I’m not really worthy of THAT much love? I built a wall and subconsciously kept people out, at the same time, I longed to not be alone.
Deep in the darkness, I find the anxiety that has controlled my life. The anxiety that put up a wall around my heart. The anxiety that told me I was unworthy.
I honestly don’t know how far back my anxiety goes. I never acknowledged it or talked about it until I was 40. I’m sure I can find instances of illness or unexplainable behavior that may have been panic attacks. But the thing I don’t remember being without are the constant critics, the mean girl voices that come with anxiety. I lived a good part of my life with a constant voice in my head telling me I’m wrong, I’m bad, nobody likes me, I’ve done something terrible (I have no idea what) and everybody is going to find out. It’s called anxiety and is caused by a chemical imbalance.
I thought this was normal until I sought help for depression when I was 40 and was prescribed an SSRI anti-depressant that was mostly for anxiety. I was told it could take weeks for the drug to take effect. The very first day, the mean girl voices went away and I felt free and happy. I didn’t stop talking for three months, I had a lot to say. Things calmed down after that, but I set a number of things in motion that were the starting point for amazing transformations (and some amazing mistakes) in my life. After a few years, I weaned myself off the medication and committed myself to a diet and supplements that would keep my chemistry in balance and keep the mean girl voices away.
The real work began. Here’s the deal, the medication made me feel good for awhile, but ultimately, I was not working on my shit and I would have eventually needed more medication. My body, my inner guidance, and my drive to fulfill my purpose in the world told me strongly it was time to get off the medication and work on my shit for real. I got the mean girl voices under control, but they had already wreaked havoc with my underlying belief system and my confidence.
My work on myself and my work in the world has been about self love, about looking in the mirror and seeing the beauty all of us have within us. My work on myself an my work in the world has been about seeing ourselves as beautiful, as every one of us is. My focus has been on body image, but the work needs to go deeper than that.
Loving and accepting ourselves exactly as we are is not just body image. This is going deep into the dark places and loving ourselves there. It’s about accepting the shadow. It’s about the knowledge that we deserve love NOW. We are worth as we are. We don’t have to be perfect to be worthy of love and abundance and realizing all of our deepest desires. We are human and beautiful in our imperfection.
I’m again looking in the mirror every day, now for five long minutes, affirming my love for myself exactly as I am, the light and the dark. I had some energy work done, which got me started and lifted the depression. I saw hope again, the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m tearing down the wall that I built around my heart, brick by brick. The magic is happening and it seems so effortless in the moment.
Some days, I’m still walking in the dark, in fear of the Big Bad Wolf. But I see the stars and the big bright moon. And I’m no longer walking alone.