Embrace your shadow self and you’ll emerge more empowered than ever, says Lisa Lister
I’ve been working with the goddess Kali Ma for over a decade. She’s a manifestation of the divine mother and is one of the most well-known Hindu deities. Many think she is the goddess of destruction, but she only destroys so she can recreate. She’s wild, untamable and a fierce force!
As I was writing my new book, big questions came up for me about my experience as a wife, businesswoman, lover, potential mother and all the other titles we are given as women in the world. It stirred up a mixture of fear and rage that had been lying dormant inside me, so I decided to dive into the muddy puddle of feelings and get connected with Kali Ma.
Many of us are afraid to delve into the grit of our emotions – we’re worried what might happen if we allow ourselves to feel anger and grief for as long as we need to. We’re fearful of poking around in the darker and more difficult parts of our personalities.
Yet the whole point of descent is to work through our problems, integrate what we learn and then to rise happier, wiser and a little bit more amazing than we were before. It’s the heroine’s journey and female initiation into womanhood. Unfortunately, ancient female rites and rituals have been replaced with saccharine-sweet tales of happily-ever-after fairytales. We live in a culture where emotion is often labelled as dangerous and irrational, and so we put a distance between ourselves and what we actually feel.
We find our favourite ways to switch off our feelings (mine is sugar and reality TV). We push down our shadow side because we’re told to ‘think positively’. We go off looking for ourselves in exotic locations or in relationships with totally inappropriate people, carrying designer handbags and wearing pretty shoes while we’re at it. We turn down our light and are nice and likeable. We’re told that if we express ourselves fully by shouting or screaming, we’re wild and hysterical. But the truth is, we have been tamed. It’s why we talk about periods and pleasure in hushed tones and why we don’t trust our gut instincts. What my metaphorical mud wrestle with Kali Ma taught me is that I need to fully experience my emotions. I will cry, scream really loudly during sex and take time off when I bleed each month. And, it’s OK to fully express the rage of my lineage.
The world is missing women who are willing to live life belly-deep in the reality of their womanhood. Invite Kali Ma into your life – she plays rough, but it’s with the love of a great nurturer. Once you do, you’re on your way to knowing who you really are.
Lisa is author of Love Your Lady Landscape (Hay House UK, £10.99), out now and available from amazon.co.uk. She’s also the founder of The Sassy She, which explores ancient feminine wisdom for the modern woman. thesassyshe.com