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Exploring the Darkness Within

Written by Kayla Reetz, Yoga in the Schools Instructor

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. It is that we are powerful beyond measure." - Marianne Williamson

My husband and I went to see the new movie “Black Adam” today. Yes, we are movie buffs- especially those in the fantasy/superhero realm. And as far as a review, we thought it was really good.

But what struck me most from the movie was this quote: “The darkness in him is what allows him to do things you cannot.”

Not to spoil the movie, but it was in reference to a hero versus villain mentality commonly seen in this movie genre. I’ll say no more for those that still want to watch it.

But this phrase is something I never considered.

In yoga, we are all about balance. Balance in the mind, balance in the body, and balance in the soul, right?

Yet, what I have focused on for much of my time as a yogi so far is my light. In fact, I knew I had a lot of light to share, but I still battle with my darkness.

How do I define darkness?

The common behaviors and missteps that lurk in the shadows. Things I am aware happen, but things I don’t necessarily choose to dwell on.

I am sure things come to mind for you as well.

Psychologist Carl Jung pioneered the study of the Shadow and referred to it as the repressed and undeveloped aspects of the personality.

But have you ever considered we need both dark and light? I don’t think I ever have.

I also never thought that my darkness can be as important as my light. Come to think of it, I think I have always been taught to repress one and lift the other.

Jung also described the Shadow as those dark, unwanted, and unrecognized qualities of the ego that were deemed negative and ultimately repressed. For example, have you ever been criticized for talking too much or having too much energy? But who decides what is allowed and what is not?

One recent article I read pointed out that light does not exist without dark and dark does not exist without light. We need one to characterize the other.

There’s food for thought.

Bringing your Shadow into the Light

So, it’s all about balance, right? For me, my darkness allows me to plan ahead. It allows me to think on my feet, be resourceful and it allows me to understand how people may feel and anticipate what they might need/want. In using this, while not 100% correct (I mean, I am not a guru), I know that I am able to help others feel seen, heard, and appreciated. And those are all associated with light.

So what is your light? Have you ever taken time to list it out? How about your darkness?

One helpful way to integrate light and dark is through your emotions. By honoring the emotions that are present, you allow yourself to be fully seen for who you truly are - not necessarily who you're supposed to be.

Take a few moments today to honor both sides and give gratitude for lessons you have learned from both. Give each its space, as together, it makes a beautiful person that is unique to the world. There is no other like you and that is pretty amazing.

Thank you for reading this blog post and taking the time for yourself.

I wish you peace. Peace in your mind. Peace in your heart, but most of all, peace in the rest of your day.


~Kayla Reetz

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