Caring and kindness: Shadow Work


I wrote this during a gathering of the Soulful Journal Writing Circle. My inspiration came from my circle sisters and from Joy Harjo’s beautiful poem (see below).

Caring and kindness: Shadow Work

We must take the utmost care and kindness in all things. Especially in the ways we see ourselves, know ourselves. 

Inner caring and kindness is the true beginning. 

From that beginning a flow starts. First a trickle, then growing into a stream, moving into a river. Even an ocean and beyond, into other realms of caring and kindness and compassion that aren’t yet known to us.

Caring and kindness. Light and shadow.

For so long, for so many years, I have said we are all of it. 

Sun and moon. Up and down. 

(Many others said it before me.)

But right now, I feel so deeply, so urgently, the caring and kindness that we must bring to our journeys into the light and shadow. 

The light and shadow of us, of me, of you.

The one whole voice that is in me and you.

I think it’s far bigger than we could ever imagine, the multitudes in each of us. And there’s so much of our multitudes we hide for fear of unkindness.

But what if caring and kindness and compassion reigned?

What if we did not fear the other in ourselves?

What if we did not fear the other in others?

What if, with caring and kindness, we laid our souls bare and knew with utmost certainty we would be loved and embraced?

* * * * *

Eagle Poem

To pray you open your whole self

To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon

To one whole voice that is you.

And know there is more

That you can’t see, can’t hear;

Can’t know except in moments

Steadily growing, and in languages

That aren’t always sound but other

Circles of motion.

Like eagle that Sunday morning

Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky

In wind, swept our hearts clean

With sacred wings.

We see you, see ourselves and know

That we must take the utmost care

And kindness in all things.

Breathe in, knowing we are made of

All this, and breathe, knowing

We are truly blessed because we

Were born, and die soon within a

True circle of motion,

Like eagle rounding out the morning

Inside us.

We pray that it will be done

In beauty.

In beauty.

-Joy Harjo

* * * * *


Patty Bechtold

Patty Bechtold

I help women find their way back to their deepest wisdom when they feel like something’s missing in their lives or themselves. On my blog I write about the stories, insights, ideas, and wise words I’ve picked up along the way. Thank you for being here.