you & me

Wrangling with Our Shadow Side.


I can’t wait for the day I can finally write about renewal and new beginnings that make my heart swell with so much love that it overflows and spills into our world.

But that ain’t where I’m at! Currently, I’m in that dark dark place of wrangling with my shadow side, and it ain’t pretty at all!

We’ve all heard of the dark night of the soul, and this isn’t my first time here. Everything that I have done in the past to move through heartache is not working this time. The wound is too deep for me to move myself out this personal hell with any ease or quickness.

I have been filling my days with the activities and people I love, not as a distraction but because this is how I wish to spend my days. And yet, this formula that has worked so successfully for me in the past will not budge my fear or anger or confusion this time… it’s not working.

I’m falling apart again, and having to guide myself slowly through each day with as much love and kindness as I can muster. I’m holding in my body so much anger and humiliation, and I’m lashing out at the one who hurt me. There is a real confusion in my heart as to why we found ourselves in this place. I have lost confidence in who I am and my place in the world.

My aliveness and energy for life that was so huge and expansive just a few short weeks ago has been completely destroyed. I’m sad, very sad.

We all have our turn in life; no one escapes the experience of being pushed to our absolute edge of sanity and beyond.

My upfront advice is: seek professional help if you can afford it, and ask for help from family and friends. However, most of our hours, days, weeks being in such pain will be done alone — alone in the early hours when every fear and insecurity screams louder at us than at any other time.

These are the hours that we need a small plan of how to move through safely. How to keep ourselves emotionally safe when all that we are is consumed in overwhelming pain and fear.

I always start by getting up and taking a little walk around my home, no matter the hour. Movement helps. A few minutes on my Yoga mat helps. Deep breathing helps. I sit with pen and paper, and let it all pour out. It helps to calm me, it helps me move away from the abyss of my dark emotions.

I’ve started to see this time around that crushing pain sometimes just needs our quiet attention. Intuitively, I know we should slow down, go within and the answers will be there waiting.

It wasn’t until I hit a point of pure exhaustion that I sincerely gave my soul time to share her wisdom. She told me I had to sit and listen to what my shadow side has to say, stop fighting her but also stop letting her rule my behaviors. There is a message for me in this suffering, and a space within that needs healing.

So I have tried this and discovered some interesting little gems of wisdom. My shadow side is the pure expression of my hurt, rejection and loss. She is defensive of me, and in her own strange way, was trying to protect me from further heartache. But she doesn’t go about it the right way, she just lashes out — angrily, randomly, carelessly.

So I have gone back to my soul work so I can try to heal the depth of damage that has been done.

So far, this has come through…

You had done such a great job previously of giving yourself love and light that your shadow side had nowhere to hide when this current situation occurred.

You have to love the parts of yourself that you hate. You have to send them love, and work with them to heal.

You have to trust that who you are is exactly who you are meant to be, despite the flaws you think exist within yourself.

You have to let go of the things/people who no longer bring your life joy. You have to let go of the person you were so heavily tied to.

You have to take the time it needs to heal — no self-judgment, no expectation it should be quick.

You have to hold in your heart the reasons you are working so hard to break free from this pain.

My reasons are love and freedom. I hold them dearly in my heart, and use them as my mantra throughout these current days of hardship.

It’s messy work, but ultimately this should be a beautiful process of clearing out old unwanted energy and hurt. It is essential to growth, to real love and freedom. It is why despite all of my fears, I am facing these dark places within. Love and freedom are my goal and my constant beacon of light in the dark places of my heart.

My hope for us all is that we can go within and trust what we are being guided to do. My guidance is saying: Walk away from this now, and embrace the beautiful new and extraordinary experiences waiting for you.

I’m hopeful this is true. I’m certainly not processing this hardship with any grace or quiet calm. I was sure I would be that person if once again presented with a difficult situation. I am, however, discovering a deeper and more relevant self that, in time, I hope will be my constant point of strength and wisdom.

If you are also in pain now, I wish this strength and wisdom for you as well. Please be gentle with yourself, show yourself love and kindness, and stop wrangling with your shadow — show her love instead.


Rachel Fry is a writer, illustrator, mother, traveler and adventurer. She is currently embarking on a new career in writing, both non-fiction and children’s picture books. Rachel is passionate about sharing stories, writing, travel, children’s education, cultural diversity, art, sustainability, music, and contributing in any way she can to add more love and beauty to our world. You could contact her via her website or Instagram.


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