Little Fires Everywhere: How We Can Regain Who We Really Are

Little FiresI recently watched Little Fires Everywhere, a 2021 Hulu original series. As a very compelling drama, it spoke to issues that have been highlighted in the current events of our collective experience. It is one of those shows that hits you in the face and makes you think. It keeps you interested with superb acting including Reese Witherspoon, and brilliant portrayals by Kerry Washington, Lexi Underwood and Megan Stott.

From my perspective the overt themes were racism, prejudice, extremism, sexual choices, life choices, supremacy, white privilege, male dominance, gender roles and probably others. But I really saw the main theme as the shadow self.

What is the shadow self?

It is pieces of ourselves we suppress because they are too difficult to process. Little Fires shows a particular process in which the shadow self takes control. As a result of suppressing, we hide our raw feelings. Honesty and integrity take a side line as way to protect our vulnerable self. Blame takes the course and shifts our uncomfortable position to ease the tension for a brief amount of time until we can suppress our emotions and feelings even more. Overtime we lose sight of who we really are and succumb to a challenging life of strife and conflict.   

How can we regain who we really are? Isn’t there more to life than having a source of income? Necessary for sure, but have we as a modern society lost our true identity? Are we living an illusion that is based on what someone, then many agreed to? An illusion that life is difficult and you must work hard to succeed? What is success?

As I thought about the movie and how life is often portrayed in the media as dramatic and difficult, I came back to my “knowing” of what most of us really want. Freedom, the ability to choose our path and then the peace and contentment that accompany that choice. When we look at what we really want, we often see something that is just outside our reach, it is like a vision of sorts. It is in our mind and sometimes our heart. We feel it and know there is something more.

How can we regain who we really are and live the life that offers peace and contentment, the more? 

To thy own self be true. One must get to know the “real” self. The one that carries your body around. Yes, it’s true, you are not your body. Your body is a vehicle to experience life on the physical plane called Earth. Maybe you espouse this or maybe this is a new concept. But one thing I have learned from observation and through my life is this:regaining the true self takes work. However for some it may be easier or difficult; however it is a choice to be made at some point along the path.

So here is the predicament, on the Earth plane; life can be messy. Yet, with some tools, a choice and some time, it can also be peaceful in spite of the mess. Maybe a mess becomes irrelevant at some point and “fires don’t have to be lit” to get someones attention.  

These days where the mass media cries, “Look out, it’s terrible out there.” We can turn from that noise and look elsewhere for wisdom and sage teachings. The number of people that understand and live beyond the illusion of suffering and being a victim is growing! You can as well. If you have read this far, then you may be searching for the right way or for answers. Maybe you just need the question. Just know, everything you need is within you. That may seem too simplistic, especially since I just mentioned it takes time and work, yet it is a true statement. 

Remember everything you need is within you. When you really get this concept, then work is not work; it is a passion.

Where to begin? One way is to sit quietly, preferably alone and undisturbed. Take some deep breaths, holding a few seconds after each as you can, letting them go slowly and then ask: What am I to know right now? You can also ask to be guided to someone, a teacher, or a book that can lead you. Have you heard? When you are ready, a teacher will appear.

We all have been conditioned through our environment, education, family to believe certain things about life. I love the line in new book, The Boy, the mole, the fox and the Horse, “I wonder if there is a school of unlearning?”Yes, there is! That is what takes time. So, when one is ready, the teacher appears. That teacher resides within you and sometimes we need a little help from our friends to reach that teacher and learn the beautiful truth. We do have every answer to any question or solution to any delimma tucked right in our heart, the seat of our knowing. 

I encourage you, get to know the “real” you. It will be the best relationship you have ever experienced. 

Julia Parsell is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor with an emphasis on the intersection of science and the sacred.  She writes from experiences and transformative understandings that have led her to an authentic and peaceful life. She goes by these names:  wife, daughter, grandmother, mother, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, and friend. As home educator of her three children, she also developed/ran cafes, and maintained various leadership roles within her community.  Her greatest desire is to encourage others to live life fully.  Her passions are family, art creation, writing, and trail blazing. She is happily married in Western North Carolina.  

Consciousness Hacking | The Ideal Self as Tool For Growth — Higher Self, Ideal Self, Ego Self and Shadow Self (Video)

By Justin Deschamps | Stillness In The Storm

Mastering the self is arguably the most important thing we can do in life. Through self-mastery (knowing thyself) all doors that can be opened to us will be. In this video and article, we’ll discuss four aspects of self: the higher self, the ideal self, the ego self, and the shadow self. In particular, the ideal self can be used as a tool for healing trauma, creating better habits, revealing deleterious subconscious programs, and manifesting our higher nature.

In psychology and philosophy, we have different conceptual tools that help us in working with consciousness. The hierarchy of self, so to speak, is a model I developed for my own self-work that has helped me greatly in overcoming hurdles, growing as a person, healing emotional upheaval, and integrating my shadow. This model is partially based on the Law of One scheme of understanding consciousness and growth, which I outline in the below video.

PS: I wrote a short ebook about this method, which I will be releasing soon.

 – Justin

About The Author

Justin Deschamps has been a truth seeker all his life. He studies physics, psychology, law, philosophy, and spirituality, working to weave these seemingly separate bodies of information into a holistic tapestry of ever-expanding knowledge. Justin is a student of all and a teacher to some. He humbly seeks those who are willing to take responsibility for making themselves and the world a better place. The goal of his work is to help himself and others become better truth-seekers, and in doing so, form a community of holistically minded individuals capable of creating world healing projects for the benefit of all life—what has been called The Great Work. Check out his project Stillness in the Storm to find some of his work. Follow on Twitter @sitsshowFacebook Stillness in the Storm, and minds.com.

This article (Consciousness Hacking | The Ideal Self as Tool For Growth — Higher Self, Ideal Self, Ego Self and Shadow Self (Video)) originally appeared on StillnessintheStorm.com and is free and open source. You have permission to share or republish this article in full so long as attribution to the author and stillnessinthestorm.com are provided. If you spot a typo, email corrections@stillnessinthestorm.com.

Read more great articles at Stillness In The Storm.

How to Deal with Sexual Shame + 3 Kinds of Divine Union

tantra statues

By Mateo Sol | Loner Wolf

What if instead of an obstacle, sex was a pathway toward a spiritual life?

Those of us who have been raised with religious backgrounds have often been taught that sexuality and spirituality are opposing forces, that you cannot be virtuous if you have sex because sex is a “sin” or is “unspiritual.”

Prior to dogmatic ideologies, sexuality was respected for thousands of years as a sacred expression of nature’s life force and the mystery of creation. Although I’ve written about the value of Sexual Transmutation or sexual abstinence in the past, I want to make it very clear in this article that sex can also work as a catalyst for cultivating spiritual well-being.

To lead a spiritual life you need to embrace and respect your sexuality just as much as any other part of your nature. Although sex has been linked to many dirty and “perverse” ideas, the act of lovemaking can truly be something sacred and profound.

Related Article: A Simple & Fun Guide on How to Have Sacred (Tantric) Sex

How to Deal With Sexual Guilt and Shame

Sexuality is a taboo topic in our society because it is one of those primal forces which we consciously or unconsciously feel powerless to control. Deep down, we sense that it is connected to that unknown universal source of energy from which we came from and continue to exist within.

The feeling of shame is one of the biggest obstacles most of us face in learning to embrace our sexuality. In a culture that has infected us with the notions of virtue and shame; where a murder scene on television is more “viewer-friendly” than a lovemaking one; where women were once thought of as incapable of experiencing an orgasm, it becomes apparent how difficult it is to openly accept and acknowledge this life force that exists within us.

Shame is an emotion that we’re taught by our families and communities. Since a very young age we’re taught what we “should and shouldn’t feel bad about,” and as a result of this, we develop the capacity to experience guilt. Through guilt we begin rejecting sacred aspects of ourselves and repressing them deep into our Shadow Selves; our sexual desires, quirks, attractions, and fantasies.

I’ve even seen some people deny their sexuality, dismissing it as a “lower physical instinct/vibration” or claiming to “rise above it” as if there is a division between “lower” physical cravings and “higher” spiritual functions when we are seeking wholeness. Sex forms the base notes of your Spirit’s musical melody.

Of course, you are more than solely a sexual being: your sexuality doesn’t define you, but it is a part of you. But it’s by denying it as a part of you that you create blockages of energy within your body that perpetuates the fragmentation of your soul, keeping you incomplete and restricted instead of expanded and whole.

Related Article: 5 Ways Tantra Can Heal Us All

Ironically, it is the sexual orgasm that gives us a taste of soulful expansion, of transcending our limited selves, and feeling boundless for the first time in our entire lives (if only a momentary glimpse).

Spiritual Sex: 3 Types of Divine Union

Many of us haven’t been taught that sex is actually a powerful tool for transcendental development. In fact, spiritual sex is the quickest and easiest way to have something resembling a mystical experience.

The powerful thing about sexual energy is that it’s one of the few instincts within us that can rarely be completely “civilized.” If you are tired at home from work and a friend offers you to go out to watch a movie you may pass on the offer. But if you were to meet an attractive person instead of who was to make him/herself available to you, it would arouse a deep energy within you that you weren’t aware existed.

Any type of ecstatic experience – like sex – is an ideal starting point to begin cultivating spiritual moments of “no-mind” and bringing them naturally into our daily lives. In my experience, there are three main types of sex that you can benefit from:

1. The Alert Union

Most first time sexual experiences with partners fall into this type of union. When we make ourselves vulnerable, intimate, exposed and “work” toward that mutually pleasurable moment of bliss, our conscious awareness becomes heightened by the novelty of exploring the other person’s body.

This union is not so much a mindful awareness but an alert awareness that instinctively takes over. Our feelings of vulnerability and excitement make our natural adrenaline mechanism stimulate alertness making the experience much more primal than spiritual. This type of sex is very addictive as the novelty of pursuing new sexual partners rewards us with that momentary “god-like” state of consciousness.

2. The Conscious Union

It’s typical however that as our sense of vulnerability and stimulation weakens so too does our desire for the first type of love-making (The Alert Union).

In The Conscious Union, we learn how to cultivate a more balanced form of spiritual sex, one that creates harmony between the passionate animal and the sensually playful sides of our sexuality. In The Conscious Union, we listen to our sexual desires, explore our bodies and those of our lovers, build deeper intimacy through eye-gazing, sensually caress, and follow our deepest forms of sexual expression. These often generate intense feelings of union and love that briefly take us beyond our sense of self.

It is through this practice of conscious union that we can reach the next stage of soulful union.

Related Article: Tantric Intimacy & Sex: Why It’s Important


Are You Playing the Smoky Mirror Game? Do You Pass the Test?

Soulful Eyes

The Smoky Mirror — Picking Out in You What’s in Me

The ‘smoky mirror’ is a concept that most people, at first, feel a strong repulsion with because they may not fully grasp the notion. I discussed it briefly in my book ‘Divine You’ but, for those of you who have not read it, I’ll recap:

Our Actions Reflected — The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

When we find ourselves annoyed or upset with someone it is usually because we are mirroring the same behavior in some way.

It doesn’t have to be wrapped in an identical package — there may be a similarity in what is annoying you within yourself. It’s generally quite hard to weed out what it is though, I’ll give you that.

We have to look out for the good ‘ol smoky mirror and take a long penetrating stare into it’s milky glass when necessary or we could be fudging an inherent issue within ourselves that needs alignment.

Related article: Integrating For Growth & Healing: How to Illuminate Your Innermost Shadows

Deep Cleaning or Surface Cleaning — Which Will You Choose?

When you sweep any rising issue(s) under the rug, you are merely postponing the inevitable. If you surface clean your house, mark my words, you’re going to get steam rolled by a giant dust bunny at some point!

“When you own up and take the responsibility to steer your life in the right direction, you will find that life becomes a grand adventure.”

The choice is yours whether you have the courage to look at your shadow self full on in the face or save it for another day. But take heed — just like the above-mentioned dust bunny — when you avoid your issues now, they tend to grow and start manifesting as dis-ease in your body.

Let’s face it — we’ve got to get real about our actions and feelings if we want to move onwards and upwards.

We all came to earth (well, most of us) for personal growth. When you own up and take the responsibility to steer your life in the right direction, you will find that life can become a grand adventure.

When you find yourself criticizing others, or getting angry about their actions, take a look at what may be hidden in there for you to look at.

  • When you look into this metaphorical mirror are you reflecting the same problem (albeit on a bigger, smaller or slightly different scale)?
  • Or are you a deflector? Picking out faults in others because you know (subconsciously or consciously) that you harbor these traits?

When we continuously do a ‘patch-up’ job or play games of dodge-cars — we are side stepping our problems or issues and this will never solve them. When we face up to some deep cleaning, we grow in leaps and bounds.

I know some of you may say, ‘well, I get annoyed at seeing people killing people on the news — it doesn’t mean I’m a back-seat murderer?!’

No, it probably doesn’t. But are you out baying for their blood? Do you believe in the death penalty for murder? Do you believe in retaliation and retribution?

Or can you see that all the above is just a vicious circle, chasing-our-tails kind of game?

If you can, then you most likely can view distressing events with a sense of great compassion and empathy. Maybe you can even send a little prayer to those involved. You are not engaged in the smoky mirror.

Can you see the difference?

Related article: Love vs Fear: Which One Are You Going To Let Win?

What’s on the Telly?  Who Turned the Radio Off!?!  Where’s my iPod?…No!  Not Silence, Please…

We have so much to distract us.

When we don’t want to face the silence, which usually gives rise to inner questioning, we turn on the TV, surf the internet or turn the radio on.

This has to be curbed in order for us to evolve to the next level of human consciousness.

Another Example of the Mirror

So, with the smoky mirror, we gain reflective insight.

Notice how you feel when someone gets your back up. Is there something in them that you may not be addressing in yourself?

Be honest with yourself.

Let’s take an example: There is a certain someone who triggers anger in you because they always assume who you are and what you’re about. They never give you a chance to explain yourself or to even show them you have changed because they’ll always see you as the same person from your school days.

Here is your chance to reflect:

  • Are you assuming something about them or others?
  • Are you judgment free?
  • Do you seldom see things from a different perspective or point of view?
  • Do you stereo-type people — especially the ones you’ve known for a while?
  • Do you truly listen to what others have to say?
  • Do you give people second chances?

When we can look at our own behavior, without judgment — just assessment and awareness — we are on the path of least resistance and a greater sense of inner learning and spiritual growth can emerge.

Be Honest and Keep That Heart Open for Learning

The next time you feel annoyed with someone, will you be able to step aside and assess why it is that you are still feeling this way? Ask yourself:

  • Is there still room for improvement in this specific area?
  • How can you better stop yourself from taking the same action with another?
  • Can you at least become aware when the problem or emotion arises?
  • Then can you take action to either stop yourself from judging another or unconsciously complaining about their perceived faults?

With this knowledge in tow, you have the ability to notice when you are stepping off course with your better judgment.

Even if you have already fallen into the trappings of the smoky mirror but noticed it afterwards, this is a step in the right direction. You cannot change something if you are still not accepting or acknowledging that there is a problem.

Every person that engages in this dance of life with you, has a teaching for you. Remember this and accept the teaching next time it is presented to you — no matter what package it comes in.

When you practice this it will enhance your life with the addition of peace in any circumstance. You are in control at all times. Reaffirm this daily.

Question time!

  • Is there someone in your life who pushes all your buttons but you can’t seem to see the same in yourself?
  • What has been your most surprising moment of realization with seeing yourself in others?
  • Are you able to freely assess yourself when you feel annoyance arising within you when you are in the company of another?

You can leave any feedback in the comment section below 🙂

Cherie Roe Dirksen

Cherie Roe Dirksen is a self-empowerment author and multi-media artist from South Africa. To date, she has published 3 self-help and motivational books and brings out weekly inspirational blogs at her site www.cherieroedirksen.com.

Get stuck into finding your passion, purpose and joy by downloading some of those books gratis when you click HERE. Her ambition is to help you to connect with your innate gift of creativity and living the life you came here to experience by taking responsibility for your actions and becoming the co-creator of your reality. You can also follow Cherie on Facebook (The Art of Empowerment).

Cherie posts a new article on CLN every Thursday. To view her articles, click HERE.

Facing Your Dark Side

Pathwalker | trans4mind.com

Ah, I remember way back when I was curled up watching one of the Star Wars movies. This was the one where luke is training with the great Yoda and confronts what appears to be Darth Vader, whence luke defeats Vader, his helmet falls off revealing luke’s face as the one he was battling. For me, this scene represents how many of us view our dark side, the part of our nature that we must vanquish if we are to walk the path of light and righteousness. I does seem on the surface like a good idea, to face our dark half and destroy it in one strike of our proverbial lightsabers. However in my experience if we are seeking freedom from our egos this is a counterproductive method.

Our egos are in fact strengthened by attempting to eliminate the negative aspects of ourselves. If we are to view our dark sides as something to be separated from, we are giving weight to our own identification of self as something that is ‘not bad’. Also the reverse is true, if we are to ignore our positive qualities, preferring to view ourselves as a ‘bad’ person then we strengthen the ego in the other direction. At this point you may be asking yourself, “what’s so ‘bad’ about identifying with a sense of self that is ‘good’?” To this I reply there’s nothing ‘bad’ about it per se, but if we are seeking to become elightened, we have to overcome viewing things as dualistic. It is a fact of the material world that there exists duality, within us we have been blessed with the gift to recognize the duality within us and around us. Kierkegarrd the famous existential philosopher in his work entitled, “The Sickness Unto Death” talks of how man is a synergy of duality – within us exists both the infinite and the finite and many other dualities, he noted. So why is it that we believe we are anything less that both the light and the dark sides?

To truly be able to be complete we must embrace our dark sides, including our thoughts, feelings and opinions if we are to truly open up to the real reality that exists all around and within us. With this simple meditation I hope you all will be able to realize as I did, that everything is the same and that all duality is united through the Divine love of our hearts. Ok so let’s begin the meditation shall we?

Sit comfortably and focus on the breath, letting it seep deep down to your root chakra, and to every other chakra including those above the heart.Now sit with your thoughts and simply observe, letting all thoughts just pass through you as though you were a sieve.

Call upon your own memories of the past, or perhaps present feelings of negativity and general darkness, everyone has them so don’t be afraid letting them be there.

Now this part is a little hard to describe so bear with me. Open your heart and gently allow yourself to feel fully what your dark side feels like. You will feel an initial aversion to it, but just be there with the darkness and allow it to flow into your heart. Bit by bit allow it all into your heart and say to yourself that you accept the inherent dark side of your nature completely and will always allow it into your heart.

Next reverse the situation and allow all the positive memories and present feelings to surround and then enter your heart. Don’t worry, your heart can handle it!

At first when this meditation is done, you may notice that the dark energy seems aversive and yet at the same time oddly powerful, remember at this point that clinging to either the light or the dark side will make your ego stronger and belittle your true nature. Now it may take some practice of this meditation before your heart becomes a large enough container that it can take it all in, I mean we are so conditioned to put barriers around our hearts that it becomes so difficult for us to open them.

Read the rest of the article…