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Where My Wild Things Are

Where My Wild Things Are
The great transpersonal psychologist, C.G.Jung calls the shadow side, "the negative side of the personality, the sum of all those unpleasant qualities we like to hide." Of course I've been exposed enough to Jungian psychology and basic Taoism to know that to be happy, healthy and whole, my wild things must not be hidden, but rather fully integrated into my Self. I find this to be way more easily said than done. For integration inspiration, I look to the great gods of India, including Kali, Shiva, and Durga, who gracefully manifest opposite poles in a single being: benevolence and malevolence, creativity and destructiveness. Perhaps Jung was also learning from the Hindu Gods when he declared that "there is no light without shadow and no psychic wholeness without imperfection."

How do I integrate these imperfections? How do I not only accept but also actually love these bitchy, whiny, childish parts of myself?

One formal structure I was exposed to this summer comes from a local Buddhist teacher, Lama Tsultrim Allione, who developed a practice to deal with negative emotions, fears, and self-defeating patterns called Feeding Our Demons. Her premise is that if we fight our demons, they only grow stronger, but if we feed and nurture them, we can free ourselves from the battle. Cognitively it makes sense to me. But practically I find the exercises too basic and catch-all. For me, at least, the process of truly loving my wild things will probably be a life-long journey, and therefore calls for something more subtle and long-lasting. Pema Chodron, author of The Places That Scare You, speaks sweetly of this journey, saying "transformation occurs only when we remember, breath by breath, year after year, to move toward our emotional distress without condemning or justifying our experience."

So, with the help of teachers, Kali, Shiva, Jung, Pema and my main man Max, I hope to continue to move towards accepting the shadow and let out my own wild things. Watch out world!

In what ways are you loving and embracing your wild things?

By Elise Fabricant
Elise Fabricant has been practicing yoga since 1993 and sharing her love of it by teaching since 2002. Her friendly, down-to-earth approach to teaching has helped make it accessible to hundreds of people of all ages and abilities. It is her aim as a yoga teacher to encourage her students to become body-aware, to establish a relationship with their breath, and to develop a compassionate and joyful attitude towards themselves and the world around them. Elise teaches many styles of yoga, but is especially drawn to teaching Yin for its sweet, nurturing qualities. Elise believes that Yin Yoga can help balance her students in physical, emotional and mental ways that no other yoga practice can. Elise takes the Yin principles into her massage practice, too, and joyfully offers bodywork out of her yoga studio.

Find balance with Elise's Yin Yoga class:

Yin Yoga – Elise Fabricant

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