Posted by: drjamm | September 20, 2009

Eagle witnesses my Shadow

I witnessed the eagle witnessing me.

jamm @

bald eagle (centre photo)

I have had a deeply spiritual day today but not because I felt uplifted into the Light of the Great Spirit but rather because I felt the UGLY DRAGON of my own Denied Shadow writhe in my guts and demand attention. Oh, my day started off with very good intentions. I got up early, laid out my yoga mat and dedicated three candles to loved ones close to my heart. I even lit incense (nearly smoke-less, made from pure lavender) – a first in my unscented, hypo allergenic home. As I settled in place for meditation, I was immediately able to focus on my breath and heart beat – something that is very difficult for me at the end of a busy day. “Cool, this is easy,” I thought as I mentally gave myself the thumbs up sign.

After a while my daughter woke up and came downstairs. She chirped a happy “good morning” and set off to finish a creative project she wanted to share with her Unitarian Sunday school class. We were both happy and cheerful. “Aaaah, aren’t Sundays lovely? This meditating first thing in the morning is really, a snap,” I said to myself with no small amount of pride.

And, as we all know, “Pride goethe before The Fall.”

Not long after our angelic morning greeting, my daughter and I were YELLING at each other: she at me because she had run out of time and cold not have her art project done in time for Sunday school and that was somehow MY fault; and me yelling at her for yelling at me and wrecking the peace of my Sunday (a truly disturbing and illogical response on my part). Our argument escalated along with the volume of our voices. Eventually, and thankfully, harsh words were followed by apologies on both sides, and we hugged to try to calm down our mutually frayed nerves.  As always after my ill-considered blasts of anger, I still have lingering remorse over my lack of self-control.

No amount of meditation, yoga, silent retreat, or years of praying can reveal the true spiritual dis-ease in me faster than my own child. A mere handful of minutes after lighting my meditation candles, I was battling my Shadow, feeling it alive and  writhing in my guts, wanting to SCREAM, and shame, and hurt. For that moment, my Shadow was Ugly and HUGE. I experienced a powerful rising up my spine that was more like a vengeful valkyrie than a kundalini-rising phoenix.

This is what I learned today.jamm @

  1. When I sit down to my yoga mat – I am inviting my whole Self  to be present; the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly are all illuminated in the light cast by my meditation candle.
  2. Ignoring the presence of my Shadow side by pining for peace instead of working toward peace, is never a good idea.
  3. One reason my child is in my life is to call my spiritual bluff. One of her pre-teen tantrums can “out” my Shadow faster than any psychotherapy session or spiritual retreat ever could. It is a well-known Cosmic-joke-and-Great-Truth that our children are our Greatest Gurus, programmed by the Beloved to pierce our inflated egos with laser accuracy. Our children are little Cosmic Chefs who regularly and gleefully dish out generous portions of abject humility, well-seasoned with bone-deep wisdom, to parents brave enough to show-up for our children’s spiritual lessons-du-jour.

This morning I “played” at spiritual enlightenment and went through the motions of meditation only to have a full blown, face-to-face battle with my Shadow. In the late afternoon, I was sitting outside in the forest, with my fingers fumbling on my laptop keyboard trying to make some meaning out of my day (let’s pretend it’s “normal” to write blog posts in the forest, OK?). In that moment, I realized that my Light and Shadow would be best served if I “fess-up” and shared — rather than hid — my dark shadow side with you.

And just like that, Grace and Beauty came to me in the form of a bald eagle that landed in a nearby tree.  While I intently observed the eagle, I consciously breathed in the forest air. I consciously kept my mind and heart focused on that gorgeous bird. I witnessed the eagle witnessing me. What must I look like to that perceptive winged soul? I saw myself — my whole Self — Light and Shadow — as an eagle would from a tree, and re-affirmed for myself that I was another natural creature in this complex and mysterious world. A full 10 minutes past while I allowed my Self to relax and come under the sustained and non-judging gaze of that Magnificent Eye.

This was my true mediation today: By consciously recognizing and shedding light on my Shadow, I was gifted with the knowledge that there is a loving home for my whole Self  in the company of the Natural Mysterious Presence that abounds on this beautiful Earth.

May you find yourself at home with and embrace by the Natural Mysterious Presence as you journey through your week. Amen.

*******       bright heart singing                              credits and links             *******

Photo credits: Photos by jamm at I am grateful to my daughter who spied today’s eagle landing high in a nearby forest tree and ran to get my camera for me.

bright heart singing, copyright 2009 – jamm. Creative commons attribution, non-commercial sharing only (translation: feel free to quote me in context or use this entry but please always credit me for my work, thanks.)


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