‘Be proud of your scars. They have everything to do with your strength, and what you’ve endured. They’re a treasure map to the deep self.’
― Clarissa Pinkola Estes
In part 1 of my three-part article on my 11 Day Writing Challenge, Enter the Dragon’s Cave, I explained that the Dragon represents the force that holds our power, this includes the people or situations in our external reality that trigger intense or explosive emotions.
In part 2 I described how exactly to take the journey into our caves, our unconscious, the shadow realm, to take back our power.
In this final piece of the quest to awaken the Shero within, I share what it means to return home with the treasure, which we’ve claimed from the Dragon.
In my last article, The Dark Cave of the Unconscious I explained how to create a path through the darkness. My solution is ‘conscious embodiment’, the main feature of this is expressive writing.
In my recent survey I discovered that many people are daunted by the idea of writing.
If we look deeper at this fear, it may not be the fear of writing itself but what’s behind the practice—the fear of confronting our truth—of being honest with ourselves. Beyond this, there is the deeper fear of actual change, which is why I encourage free or ‘no-judgement’ writing. Just write as if you were an eight-year old child. Draw as if you were too! I know I do! Just practice. This is all it is.
Just as in every hero myth, during the 11 day quest you’re likely to be tested; you’ll want to to give up just after the halfway mark just as your treasure is in reach. This is where many people choose to go back to sleep, choose to fall back into their limiting beliefs and habits.
When the going gets tough, we give in to the easiest choices rather than the ones that best serve our growth and vision.
It is precisely when the desire to ‘give up’ arises that we must allow our metaphorical deaths to occur. It is a signpost that shows us that the time is ripe to give birth to a new way of seeing and a new way of being.
Cultivating the qualities of the warrior, of determination, resilience and consistency in maintaining these new pathways is key.
Indeed you need the spirit of the warrior when you embark into the depths of yourself, as collecting wisdom from the dark feminine is no less than a heroic feat!
Your emotional body landscape, the feminine, is the map that will lead you to your treasure. These messy emotions that you feel are your portals to self-discovery.
What is the treasure or elixir that you’re setting out to claim?
Here’s a clue: first, what is the greatest theme that threads through your challenges and obstacles, the consistent struggle that affects your life which the Dragon too represents? Is it Betrayal, Self-doubt, Worry, Guilt or Fear for example?
Choose your personal theme. Now think to what the opposite of this is? Let’s say it’s Self-doubt, then you’re elixir is Self-belief!
My theme was Betrayal and so my elixir became Self-loyalty. Remember that whatever triggers us on the outside is a huge clue to what needs to be healed on the inside. I was constantly betrayed by my ‘Dragon’ and most people around me. I had to go within and nurture loyalty towards myself in order for it to stop showing up in my reality.
How do we stop the wound from manifesting over and over again?
Many sensitive souls I work with have a hard time saying ‘No’. A solution to this is to carve a boundary around you with your metaphorical sword! Your sword of self-knowledge and wisdom. Express your truth. Failing that, you cut them out. Let them go. You choose YOU. End of that story! Didn’t I say a warrior’s spirit is required?
You then go in and tend to the emotion, let’s say it’s guilt. Where does the pang of guilt show up in your body? Where does the mental story of, ‘I can’t say no because…’ express itself physically? We then reshape these stories and feelings through our presence, movement and imagination.
Through yoga, writing and art—conscious embodiment—we can heal the guilt, the pain—the disempowered feminine, the parts that we are disconnected from.
To awaken the Shero within, we must slay the dragon in the real world – cut off the toxicity! Say No. The next step is to befriend it on the inside, go in, experience the guilt fully and like the warrior amidst battle, stay present and choose you.
Through conscious embodiment I discovered that the guilt I felt in saying No was actually guilt at betraying myself for every time I didn’t speak the truth and say Yes to me! The overarching theme, or ‘Dragon’, became Betrayal. In this instance, Self-betrayal transformed into Self-loyalty became the elixir that nourished and cleansed me!
Follow your treasure map, the emotions that you resist, lean in and you will find the gift.
Become the warrior and reclaim your power through a metaphoric ‘battle’ with these emotions. Fight. But fight only to win them over!
I call this entire process ‘the art of fighting, without fighting.’ (A Bruce Lee reference from Enter the Dragon, in case you didn’t get it!)
How can you afford not to take the journey through the Cave to face the shadows and your Dragon and collect the treasure that is your birthright?!
What form our treasure takes can and should change over time, as we are always in process, our work is to keep on clearing the path so that we can align with our unique visions. Healing and transformation is therefore always an ongoing process.
The final key to staying the path and moving forward is to have support!
Either by way of a network of people who help us rise and shine, or by having a mentor or coach to support us in maintaining the consistency in breaking old patterns of behaviour that limit our growth.
My 11 Day Writing Challenge gives you a taste of this containment, consistency and support!
If you’re a sensitive soul, that means you’re kind and empathetic, gentle and compassionate, please join my Facebook group, Warrior Training for the Sensitive Soul for community with like-minded people, especially during the quest! Or consider booking a coaching session with me to receive guidance with your specific challenges and obstacles.
The warrior is she who shows up for herself. Only when she is fully awakened and embodied, can she fully show up for others. She can say Yes from a place of confidence and self-trust rather than from a place of lack and depletion.
Cross therefore, this threshold into your caves, armed with your magical cloak of sensitivity, your sword of self-knowledge and your strong spirit as your shield!
Show up as fighter, creator, destroyer and healer, awaken all the facets of the feminine!
Integrate the Dragon, bring the shadows to the light, nurture them with your care and attention and return home with the medicine. Return with the elixir that restores your feminine power. Come home with this potion that you’ll keep forever in your heart, for the ultimate treasure is the deep knowing and trust in the love that you have for your Self. This love that will be shared with all the World.