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Shine Light On the Shadows of the Past: Learning to Heal From Your Fears and to Surrender

A has been a Reiki Master for over 10 years. She is an avid reader and student. She is s a homeschooling mom to four wild and free boys.

View from diamond head, Oahu

View from diamond head, Oahu

Fear sabotages all. We must learn to embrace our fears.

My grandfather died last year and thus began my shadow work. What is shadow work? It is embracing the darkest part of yourself. It is shining light on to the darkness. It is learning to love our self. Our whole self. It is healing the wounds of the past. It is bringing to the surface suppressed emotions of the past. It is dealing with the past so you can focus on the present. In essence, it is healing.

My trip to Hawaii in 2005 was a life changing experience that made me the confident, goal oriented person I am today. Now, I know what you are thinking. How can a place full of beautiful beaches and palm trees change a person and make them better? That is the beauty in my story, it is the unexpected turns that life takes that lead you to the place that you want to be. You will find out that I boarded that long fourteen-hour flight a scared child, and returned a confident adult.

What on Earth am I talking about, you must be thinking? Well its not as simple as black and white, its not as easy as PB&J, its more like trying to slice a bagel in perfect halves or trying to set hot curlers in your hair at just the right temperature. My story is cute and innocent with stories within stories of snorkeling and climbing volcanoes, but what is most interesting is my story of courage, a story that an unobserving eye might miss.

It all started early on a misty April morning. I had awoken late, and my irritated mother and I were rushing to my friend Christine’s house, where I would leave for the airport. It had been almost five years since I had been on a plane before, and quite frankly I barely remembered the previous times I had taken planes in my life. I was a bit nervous, but the plane was not what I was scared about the most. I had been riding in planes since I was born because my Dad’s family lives in CA. I knew that planes arrived to their destination more times than not, and I knew the chances of getting hijacked were slim. So why when I was waiting in the line that seemed to last forever to got through security, did I have an overwhelming feeling of dread come over me?

You would think a story involving Hawaii would be sunny and cheery. Well, I am sorry to disappoint you, but my story is about to take a twisted turn of fate. As I stood there in line, I couldn’t help shed the feeling that I would never see my mother alive again. I am sorry to be the damper on good moods, but I have always had this fear about my mother. Because you see, she has lupus and has been in and out of the hospital my entire life. My childish fear was because I was going to be away from home for over a week, something might happen to my mother.

The excitement and adrenaline that went along with landing in Oahu, lead my thoughts away from my mother for a while. The first day there, we were exhausted from the long flight and were not up for any high energy activates, so we just lounged by the beach and boy shopped. The second day we went to Diamond head, a large inactive volcanic crater, where the view on top was to die for. I must have taken hundreds of pictures that day. It was serene and by far the most amazing landscape I have seen before my own eyes.

If you were to ask my friends about me on that trip they would say crazy, or obsessed even. I called my mother constantly. I was never one of those children who had over protective parents that made you call in for check ups all the time. My parents trusted me, and for the most part I was allowed to do what I wanted. I probably called my mother 100 times in the short four days that I was on the island of Oahu. No one could understand that I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t call her and something happened to her. By the sixth day I only called her a handful of times, by the seventh two, and by the eighth day I didn’t call but once! This might not seem a feat worth mentioning to some, but to me it was monumental. I realized that without obsessively checking in on my mother, she would be ok. I also realized had she suddenly turned ill, she was only a plane ride away.

My trip to Hawaii was the first time I had been away from home for an extended period of time. In the separation of thousands of miles between my family, and myself I learned a lot of valuable lessons about life. I learned that I couldn’t live my life in fear, if continued to live that way I would miss out on many great opportunities in life. After returning to Rhode Island, the next Monday in school I picked up an application for the University of Rhode Island. Up until my trip to Hawaii, I had planned to go to community college and live at home, because I was afraid of leaving my mother. Because of my trip to Hawaii I learned that my mother would be ok if I am gone from home. And if she isn’t, it’s because of no fault of my own, and that is how fate intended it.

I have brought to the surface many memories such as this. Ones that I have not overcome still remain buried. All of our wounds are rooted in fear. At least mine are. Fear sabotages all. We must learn to embrace our fears. I was so afraid of my mom and my grandfather dying. Last year one of those fears came true. Guess what? I am alive. I am here. I am growing. I am strong. We can survive almost anything life throws at us. Emotions are not to be feared. Emotions have the ability to heal us. Step and lean in to what is uncomfortable. Work on yourself. Embrace the shadows. Dig deep into the memories of your childhood. Heal the wounded child. Love yourself. Forgive yourself. Let go.

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© 2021 A DeAngelis

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