One of the things that living in quarantine does is it makes us have to face our inner issues. Without the distractions of the outside world, there is no where to run and hide. I have been joking that it’s as if Mother Earth sent us to our rooms and said, “Now think about what you’ve done!” That is certainly true in terms of we are having to consider the damage we have been doing to our poor planet. It is becoming evident in the cleaner air, clear skies, wildlife returning etc. But there is also a deeper “think about what you have done” message happening here. We can all remember being sent to our rooms as children, or being grounded. What did we do? We were forced to stop and think. In doing so we were forced to FEEL things! We got mad at our parents, we got infatuated with a boy, we denied having done anything wrong. We threw a ball at the wall, or wrote in our diaries, until finally, we understood our part. We could see clearly what we had done, and what we had to do. Usually this was to apologise and own up to our behaviours. Owning up to your behaviours and your part in every relationship you are in (and we are all in relationship to everything in the world) is a large portion of what shadow work is. Its called “facing your shadows.”
In the “grounded” analogy we understand that the time away was necessary to “digest” the information and experiences. We can’t just turn to our shadow and shake hands with them and all is well and balanced again. We have to have time to come to some deeper understandings of what exactly IT is, and how it serves us and doesn’t serve us in our daily lives.
My own personal quarantine “flavor” has been about intimate relationships. I’m being forced to unpack some baggage in that department. So it’s only fitting that this is a heart. I’ve noticed in intimate relationships there is a lot of balancing and re-balancing happening. There is first of all a balance of power; when one partner feels empowered the other may feel less so and vice versa, it’s like passing a baton. The same goes for other things. I remember years ago hearing about this from a couples counsellor. When two people are ‘together’ (in whatever capacity) they can and will express all things between the two of them. So it’s as if there are a bunch of stones lets say, and each one is a different thought or emotion. When one partner is holding one stone say “sadness” at the moment, than the other partner doesn’t have to hold it. Because it’s already being held by someone else. But they may be holding the “anxiety” stone or the “responsibility” stone and so on. All the stones have to be held at all times. They can pass them back and forth to each other, and mix them up, but all possibilities must be represented at all times. It’s an interesting theory and I have definitely seen some of it play out in my own relationships throughout the years.
In the Yin/ Yang heart I wanted to show that there are clearly two divided sides, but that they are semi permeable. There are breaks in the birch branch that divides them, so that the energy from one side can leak into the other side, and vice versa. Yin/ Yang, Fire/ Water, Earth/Air, night/day, masculine/feminine, logic/ emotion, black/white, there are countless qualities we can use in this equation.
No matter what gender identity you and your partner are there are going to be times one is expressing more “masculine” qualities and the other more “feminine” qualities. This also fluctuates over the course of a relationship and sometimes even day to day or moment to moment. Relationships are always a balancing act.
When I started this creation I chose a place where the light and shadow were perfectly lined up with the two halves of the heart. By the time the piece was actually finished the light had shifted. How do we stay true to ourselves and our own needs while also honouring our partner and their needs? I think it’s a constant recalibration, and just like anything else in life there is no final destination. There is no point of “arrival,” it is ever shifting, ever changing, like the light and shadows.
Later in the day, after the Yin/ Yang hearts construction, I wound up watching a Ted talk by Brene Brown about vulnerability. She says that people who feel “connected” feel worthy of connection. She nickname these people “Wholehearted.” When I heard that I knew what I had to name the shrine! Her talk was informative, and in the end speaks to how vulnerability and tenderness are important in any relationship. I thought this fit in with my heart shrine too in that it takes vulnerability to embrace your “whole” heart; both the dark and the light side. It takes vulnerability to share your whole heart with someone, to even allow them to see it in it’s entirety. I love it when things “line up” in my life like that, to me it means I’m on the right track and doing exactly what I need to be doing at the time!