Befriend Your Demons
How do you face your demons?
This may seem like an odd question, but many women struggle to look directly at their own suffering - let alone get support or share what's happening in the realm of their darkest struggles out of fear or shame or, in the hope, perhaps, that if they ignore their demons they will disappear. Rest assured that without facing our demons directly, they will bring us to our knees, insisting on our attention in some form or fashion that we will not like.
The devil and I.
When I was 4 or 5 years old, I had just learned about the concept of God's enemy, the devil. Knowing that God is pure love, I reasoned that really, the devil was the one that I wanted to cozy up to. I remember distinctly that I had taken a decision to pray to the devil each day so he wouldn't tempt me or make me do bad things.
I also remember distinctly that I was learning to tie my shoes at the time and, one morning, sitting on the stairs of our porch, I was chatting with the devil and tying my shoes. I got my shoes tied by myself for the first time (woo hoo) and, running off to play, my Grandmother asked me who I was talking to. I explained that, since God loves me and wants to take care of me, I had decided to get on the devil's good side -- I mean, why pray to God, when it's the devil who is going to lead me into evil??
My Grandmother nearly had a heart attack and told me in no uncertain terms to NOT pray to the devil, but instead to trust that praying to God was going to keep me safe. Even at the time, I remember being puzzled by this idea of ignoring a fundamental aspect of life (evil, darkness, temptation, etc) and relying on God to keep me safe.
Though this is an adorable story it also points to an essential piece of my character that has heavily shaped my own life and shapes my coaching. As a woman and a coach in recovery from alcohol addiction, as a woman and a coach who has struggled with money and finances, as a woman and a coach who has dealt with trauma, depression and anxiety, hell, as a woman and a coach who has struggled with so many darn aspects of life I can say with a lot of certainty that befriending the demons we grapple with is a far more effective, and kinder approach than denial, fear or shame.
Courage to befriend your demons.
Though I'm no longer a church-goer nor do I believe there is an entity called the devil, on a metaphorical level, my 4 year old self was right: understanding and befriending our demons is wise. And, whether women know it or not, they tend to arrive into my circle seeking support in facing, and embracing, their own demons.
This sounds so hard. It sounds so horrible. It sounds so.... unfun, right?
In moments, yes, of course it's hard. But mostly, it feels like freedom and joy to be fully present and not only face your demons, but to consciously work with your challenges. Because really, let's consider how much energy goes into denying something. Even when you might not be actively thinking about something that you struggle with, the fact is, that somewhere in the background: in your energy, in your beliefs, in your day to day actions, that particular demon is draining energy and shaping the trajectory of your life.
To make the choice to befriend your demons and work with the truth of who you are is the easier choice. That is ground truth, no matter what the fallout may be because the easier choice is the choice that frees up your energy and aligns your actions with your deepest wisdom. When you choose to befriend your demons you are saying yes to living truthfully and committing to living into the woman you are meant to be: joyful, free, fully alive and beautifully human.
We are built to handle this exquisite range of experience.
The Role of Sacred Practice in Befriending Your Demons
We are always practicing - however, Sacred Practice is on purpose, with an eye to conscious choice and transformation.
So, imagine if you will, an infinity loop (an endless figure eight flipped onto it's side) - my experience is that there are two kinds of Sacred practice: like an inhalation and an exhalation, like expansion and contraction - there are inward-facing practices and outward-facing practices and they not only work in tandem, but are amplified by one another. This is the nature of Sacred Practice.
On one side of the infinity loop, you have the exhalation, the contraction, the proverbial stillness of the winter: you have Inward facing Sacred Practices. These practices bring you into a state of intimacy with yourSelf: your pain, heartache, demons, yes, but also your divinity, your wisdom and your light - however, without welcoming and working with the darkness, you will deny yourself the incredible potency of your light. Your demons and your divinity go together and, to access your full wisdom and therefore, a life of meaning, you need both. Welcoming the entirety of yourself and your experience in this realm is the very basis of self-trust and wise action in your outward facing Sacred Practices.
On the other side of the infinity loop, you have the inhalation, the expansion, the blooming and the growth of summer: outward facing Sacred Practices are the actions that you commit to with your spiritual resources: the rest you give your body, the way you tend your money, marketing your business consistently, cooking nourishing meals for yourself, speaking the truth with loved ones, sitting down to write on a regular basis... these outward facing Sacred Practices are shaped by the clarity we receive and the healing we do in our inward facing Sacred Practice. Outward-facing Sacred Practices, done in alignment with our inward facing Sacred Practices, shape and mold the trajectory of our lives no matter what our circumstances.
Both types of practices are essential - they feed each other and make our lives, our work and our experience rich and meaningful as they teach us to trust ourselves and our capacity.
This is the heart and soul of conscious transformation.
We know it's working when we see the results of our healing (debt being paid off, financials up to date, we wake up rested, our right clients begin arriving, our relationships become richer and more satisfying) and sometimes we know our Sacred Practice is working because situations and ideas and relationships crumble as we come into integrity and alignment with our own deepest truth. It may not be easy, but it is the easiest choice. It is the life-giving choice. It is the path of growth and transformation.
In a world that rests on the false promise of instant transformation and instant results, Sacred Practice offers a reliable way to be your own healer and guide as you keep showing up with fierce commitment for the woman you are, and for the woman you are becoming.
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