“I’m friends with the monster that’s under my bed.” – Rihanna

Maybe it’s a stretch to look for wisdom in pop culture, but I think one is as likely to find it there as anywhere else. So, whether you want to take it from Rihanna and Eminem, or the Buddhists, the message is the same: it’s important to be comfortable with all the parts of yourself.

There a strong tendency in spiritual community to focus on the positive. While that’s not a bad thing in itself, the difficulty arises when we push away the darker aspects of ourselves. Or when we try to avoid dealing with perceived negative emotions, like anger.

Really being at peace with yourself means being able to embrace your own shadows and darker tendencies. To acknowledge them and allow them to co-exist with the other parts of you. Rather than hunt them down and attempt to eradicate them (or cover them over in positive thinking).

What you resist persists. And what you can be with transforms. (So say the Buddhists.)

Sometimes the amount of energy I spend avoiding things is monumental, compared to the amount of energy it would take to face them head on.

What’s tricky about this is that the monsters really do seem, well, bigger and more monstrous than they actually are, when we can’t seem them clearly. They are all the more scary, when they reside in the shadows. But when we shine the light on them, well, that’s when it starts to get interesting.

It’s like a snowball: It’s rolling downhill and as it does, it seems to get bigger and bigger. When it catches up with you, you think it’s going to run you over, and just completely demolish you. But instead it just breaks over you, and dissolves.

“When your demons come, offer them a piece of cake.” – Sara Eckel


For our own good

Sometimes the things we want aren’t good for us.

This message has come to me in various forms, from several different people, in the last couple of years.

I think it has to do with the way we want to see ourselves, and the difference between how we want things to be and how they really are. And maybe even the difference between who we want to be and who we really are.

For example, for a very long time I’ve wished I lived in a warmer climate. I imagine how much better I’d feel if it was warm year-round. And perhaps it’s true. I might feel fantastic.

It’s equally possible that I might not appreciate it the way I imagine I would. Now, I value each day of beautiful weather, because I know it won’t last. But if every day was perfect weather, I doubt it would have the same meaning for me. I probably wouldn’t spend as much time outside as I do now.

Another example would be having the desire for personal space, and the ability to make everything just the way you want it. What if, when you get exactly what you want, you find that you miss the company of others, and you would rather things be a little bit messier, but a little more lively? On the flip side, what if you’ve wished for years for companionship, and when it arrives, you realize how much you miss the quiet?

Over the years, I’ve learned that things in our lives are the way they are for a reason. It’s often an opportunity to learn something. If we can stop resisting what is, we may be more able to see how a current circumstance or situation can be an opportunity to grow.

What if everything is as it should be, right now?