08/10/2017 by Kori Burkholder 0 Comments
How To Face and Embrace Your Dark Parts to Break Free
We are complex human beings with many parts of ourselves. Some we accept while others we alienate and bury deep down into the crevices of our soul because we think it’s better that way. We put up a front so people won’t see our darker parts, the anger, resentment, fear, lust, bitchiness, etc. or our so called "weaknesses". Denying our dark, hidden parts can create chaos and disharmony.
I’m always intrigued by the two "opposing", sides of self, both light and dark. For example, I spent many years torn between staying safe in my cush job and wanting to quit and start my own business. I looked at one part as good, Safe Kori and the other part as bad, Risk-Taking Kori. They both felt very compartmentalized.
When attempting to silence or ignore parts of self, they can often get louder and even stronger, more forceful, sometimes it can even show up in the form of challenging people, patterns, circumstances, even in in physical form as stress, anxiety, depression or sickness. In my case, in the last year at this particular job, I was experiencing heart palpitations and couldn’t understand why because I didn’t feel stressed or anxious, I just felt numb.
Find Out Who’s In the Driver’s Seat
I realized that the Part that had been in the driver’s seat for the last 9 years was Safe Kori. She made sure everything stayed even keel in both her career and her home life. She loved making a nice and steady living, building up her 401K, saving money and enjoying her paid time off. She didn’t want to entertain the idea of losing it as she feared we’d fall flat on our face, wither away and die on the streets of New York City. She kept us safe even if it meant dreading Monday through Friday.
Dialogue and Meditate With the Alienated Part
Learning to dialogue with these alienated parts of self helps to diminish its power and become our ally. I use a methodology on myself and with my clients to go deep into Parts of self, which is the key to our liberation. In my case, I wanted to touch base with the alienated part, Risk-Taker Kori, so I went into mediation and she told me the following:
"I’m sick of living in this shoebox. Why have you sentenced me here? It’s dark and I’m suffocating. We’re wasting time, we’re uninspired, we’re disconnected. We’ve done riskier things and we’ve prevailed, we’ve won. Trust me. I am asking you to trust me again.
The meditation was enlightening. At first she was pissed for feeling like a prisoner for so long. She was living in the pit of my stomach, wearing a white nightgown with a pair of scissors in her hand. She was pacing back and forth barefoot, with wiry blond hair, mascara streaming down her face as if she’d been crying. She resembled a psych patient. But, as I shined the light on her and gave her time to be seen and heard, she became lighter, excited and thankful that she got to say what she needed to say.
It’s shining the light on the difficult or alienated aspects that allows us to understand, grow and evolve into our best selves. This is the start of the healing process. When we can connect with it and give it space to say what it needs to say, it lightens the burden and we can physically breathe easier. As we gather more and more information we can become more empathetic to ourselves as we begin to understand the pain and suffering and we can start to unify the Parts.
How To Do Parts Work on Yourself To Break Free
Find a quiet, private spot where you won’t be interrupted and have a journal close by to take some notes afterwards:
- Choose the target Part – in my case, I wanted to get to know Risk-Taker Kori
- Close your eyes and connect with your breath
- Notice any concerned Parts (Safe Kori) to kindly step back as you narrow in on your Target Part.
- Begin to notice where this part lives in your body (pit of my stomach)
- What does it feel like? (facing back and forth)
- How heavy/light is she, in pounds, what shape/form is she, what color?
- Do you notice anything else about this Part? (white gown, psyche patient)
Now, Ask this Part:
- What do you do?
- How do you do it?
- What are you afraid would happen if you didn’t do your job?
- What else do you want [your name] to know about you?
- Do you like your job?
- What would you rather do?
- Ask this part if there is anything else she’d like to share
- Once you both feel complete, thank Parts to complete the process.
After exploring one part (Risk-Taker Kori), go through the same process with the opposing part (Safe Kori) to begin to bridge the gap between them. How can they understand each other? How can they work together for the greater good?
Integrating Light and Dark Parts
The goal in doing Parts work is accepting and integrating the darker, more hidden parts of self into your daily life. Carl Jung once wrote of the shadow,"To confront a person with his shadow is to show him his own light. Once one has experienced a few times what it is like to stand judgingly between the opposites, one begins to understand what is meant by the self. Anyone who perceives his shadow and his light simultaneously sees himself from two sides and thus gets in the middle."
This process is by no means is an overnight solution. In fact, I had been exploring these 2 sides of myself for a year before taking the leap from employee to business owner. I had been working with my own Parts coach, doing meditation, healing mantras, chanting, journaling from each Part’s perspective and through my own artwork (seen below). It was my own unique journey towards self-love, as yours, too will also be empowering and unique.
Do you have opposing parts? Which one has been in control and which one has been suppressed, buried, ignored and hidden in a shoebox?
If you’d like to explore your Parts, please contact me to learn more the process or to book a private session.