Most of us spend our lives avoiding contrast instead of embracing the innate wisdom embedded in what it teaches us.
Contrast is the state of being that is strikingly different from something else.
Black versus white. Poverty versus abundance. Dark versus light. Emptiness versus fulfillment.
For the majority of humanity, our time on this planet is essentially moving from one side of the continuum to the other all in search of that elusive sweet spot for abundance, love, freedom, peace and health.
Unbeknownst to us, we often start off our life navigating the gradients of duality where our gifts are born in contrast to our shadows.
Debbie Ford wrote a lot about Shadows and was known for her books, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, Spiritual Divorce and The Secret of the Shadow and The Shadow Effect.
As noted in a message from Debbie on the Ford Institute website (www.thefordinstitute.com):
“The evolution of one’s own soul is a process. It’s not a quick fix. It’s not a five day workshop. It’s a lifetime process where we let go, discover and then allow for futures to come into existence. Through connecting to our soul, to our collective heart, we can become congruent with our deepest values and our life mission. We can then allow for the realities which are always available to us to unfold. As we all have heard, love is the answer. Indeed it is, but it’s not just the loving of our good self, of our good qualities. True love is embracing our dark impulses, our imperfections, our mistakes and our heartache. That is when one reconnects and experiences the love that is truly the answer.”
A lot of people, especially in the personal and spiritual development industries, pursue manifesting more, changing outcomes, shifting out of contrast and finding purpose without any real regard to understanding how ambition or purpose were birthed to begin with.
We’ve been taught to think that simply shifting our place on the continuum will bring us all the bliss we desire.
News Flash: This is not true! It changes our GPS location but it doesn’t change the core of who we are.
I’ll use myself as an example. My present day life could not be more different than my childhood. My youth was filled with struggle, doubt, lack of self-worth and seeing the world through the perspective of there not being enough to go around.
My current reality is filled with abundance, flow, confidence, purpose and love.
From an outsider’s perspective, it’s all there. Check, check, check. From my perspective, I have different experiences but my gifts and contrasting shadows remain. I truly understand the value of both sides of the continuum.
Let’s say I’m working with a shadow of seeking validation and I grow up to be an achiever. Just because I achieve the perfect husband, beautiful home, advanced degrees and abundant life doesn’t mean the underlying shadow disappears. It’s still there for me to learn from!
We are frequently caught on a hamster wheel of wanting the exact opposite of what we’ve already experienced and not really knowing the why behind it. We are building our lives in reaction to something instead of creating from a pure desire to have a new experience. I see this all the time with: relationships (new partner being an opposite personality of the last one), career (shifting from corporate to entrepreneurship) and health (wanting to finally take care of the body because an illness has shown up).
Using contrast to find our sacred truth is a beautiful gift if we are open to its universal presence. We don’t have to be a yo-yo…
Personally, I think we can look at the continuum for the rich knowledge it gives. There are fascinating modalities that delve deeper. Enneagram typing system is one (a few examples below). You can take a free assessment here. Another one that I feel drawn to explore is Gene Keys.
Not Enough Perfectionism
Need to be Needed Helper / Selfless
Seeking Validation Achiever
Conflict Avoidant Peace Maker
Regardless of what you explore and I recommend more rather than less, take some time to really connect with your personal ‘sliding scale’.
Are you pursuing your path because it’s the opposite of where you currently are? What do you expect will change when you finally ‘arrive’?
Contrast is simply part of our life. We can only embrace the polarity of what we seek because of its opposite. Seeing the challenge as the gift unlocks amazing new perspectives for us.
In our ever so grand universe of complementary contradictions: “Enlightenment begins on the other side of despair.” – Jean-Paul Sartre
Ready to learn more about your shadows and gifts? Reach out for a complimentary discovery session.