May 192010

For as long as I can remember, New Age gurus have been telling us to “stay in the light.” They tell us to meditate, generate and emanate positivity, warning us that we create our own reality and negative thinking begets negative results.

But if you’ve ever found yourself cringing before all that Spiritual Correctness and wondered what was wrong with you, I am here to tell you that you aren’t broken and you don’t need fixing.

As an Ambassadress of the Darkness, it is my duty to sing the praises of wrath, rebellion, grief and destruction. I am here to champion the wild, unapologetic  power of nature. I am here to urge us all to drop our composure like sandbags and get stirred up into the real storm of living.

While the New Age movement has awakened many to the power of creative intention, it has simultaneously pathologised the negative emotions, striking them from our social palette of acceptability and is driving us all into repression.

First of all, what if those negative emotions aren’t wrong, but totally right? What if the real problem is the misguided attitude that we need fixing in the first place?

When we try to live up to impossible images of spiritually enlightened, all-knowledgable, selfless superhumans, the dark side of our nature just gains in power. Like shoving a beach ball under water, you may succeed in disavowing your unsavoury bits for a while, but it’s so destabilizing that, when you least expect it, that ball always bursts out from under you.

Negative emotions don’t cease to exist because we’re ignoring them. They just find other ways to express themselves. Sometimes we lash out inappropriately, have confusing crying fits or feel protractedly numb. Most commonly, we slip into depression and, if left to fester, become prone to accidents, physical disease and crisis.

True creative responsibility for one’s life involves more than positive visualisation and action towards our dreams.  It also means destroying that which is no longer relevant.  Destruction is the counterpoint to Creation and, like the day setting into night, summer falling into winter, life circling towards death, for one thing to be created, another thing must be destroyed.

In the Hindu tradition, the Goddess Kali is worshiped as both the creative and destructive, womb and tomb aspects of the Great Mother. In one of her four hands she holds the head she’s just severed, which fills a goblet with blood. She is often wielding a scythe, surrounded by a snarling fire,  adorned with bones, and dancing on a bewildered corpse.

Far from the flaccid suggestion that when something isn’t working we must “let it go,” Kali is the ruthless power behind ‘negative’ emotions which clears the way for new life.

She is the boundaries Anger wants. She is the pounding of Grief’s river, rushing us to new lands. She is the freedom Anxiety shakes for. She is the siren of change that Boredom signals. She is the bliss that Fear promises.

Owning Your Destroy means not only taking a metaphoric machete to the outdated stylings of your stuckness in present time, it also means rewriting your stories of loss. Those things you feel have been taken away too soon, done to you and never been your privilege, are places of untapped power.

As we clear even excellent things from our lives which no longer serve us, we are preparing our possibility space for the unimaginable blessings waiting to be born there.

Just as fire can transform food from its raw form into something digestible, our darknesses are radical transformers. Instead of airbrushing our personalities, they coax us to exaggerate our blemishes, lean into our stagnancy, wounding and limitation.

If we really want to evolve, all we have to do is be exactly where we are. It’s only once you can own your sad, stifled, regretful, pissed off self, that you can blaze up your loving ferocity and have at ‘er.

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A writer, artist and tender of dreams, Toko-pa has been interviewed by CNN News & BBC Radio and her writing has appeared in publications around the world. Thanks to Skype, she works with dreamers internationally in her Private Dreamwork practice, based on Salt Spring Island in Canada. You can find Toko-pa on Facebook or sign up for her mailing list to receive news about upcoming events.

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  41 Responses to “Dreamspeak: Owning Your Destroy”

  1. How refreshing and creative. Wonderful reading. Louise

  2. I felt a puff of smoke leave my chest. The deflation feels great!

  3. Right on!!! Let´s go out and kick some ass!!! FEELINGS ARE FACTS – and facts don´t go away, .so why not paint your life with all the beautiful/ugly colors on your palate?
    Also: What you own up to doesn´t control you anymore.

    • Fabulously written, witty, charming, provocative, and most of all-refreshing! Thanks so much for this interesting and fun article…appreciate it much. You’re a brilliant writer, with great insights-and I had a huge sigh of relief when I realized that it’s OK to be angry, and feel negative once in a while. I mean, for heaven’s sake, we’re not robots, and we can’t take happy pills all the time and just go around pretending things we don’t feel…we have to be ourselves-and the manifestation will then follow once we clear up the negative energy by releasing it. 🙂

      • Yes – I think you’re exactly right – once we can ‘yes’ our anger/sadness/irritation/discomfort, it begins to feel valued and can begin its shift into something more productive. Thanks so much for your generous comments!

  4. Dear Toko-pa,
    I love your willingness and courage to speak your truth. Your words are a breath of fresh air. Thank you.

  5. Thanks Toko-pa! I so enjoyed reading this fresh perspective. Your voice reminded me of the quirky radio-show host on Northern Exposure (don’t know if you ever watched that show in the 90s). He had great philosophical insights into all kinds of things and expressed them in this fun, freeing kind of way. No wonder you had fun writing this!

  6. toko-pa you are such a kindred spirit,I quote hereby – ‘it is neither a weakness to be in the irrational realm, nor to use it as a source of knowledge, to the contrary it is a weakness to be unable to face this aspect of life’

  7. hi toko-pa: this peice reminds me of the early work i did with my shadow self back in the early 2000’s and a dream that i had, that to this day remains elusive in its exact meaning. in the dream i am watching a knight dressed completely in black armor ride up to me on a black horse. he is a large man and i feel the substantial power of his presence. he dismounts close to me, and while taking a few steps towards me unsheaths his rather large sword. i am apprehensive but not in outright fear. he swings the sword around and now only a couple of paces from me, places the tip of the sword on the ground between us. and that was that….i forgot to mention that his black armor has a line of silver outlining it, moonlight silver…
    i know this is not the place for therapy, just thought i’d mention this dream as i had forgotten it till i read your piece…
    overall, i feel the dream is saying that my darkside, shadowself, is present and available to me…as a champion knight of great power.
    being a poet, the ownership of my dark side is all important. similar to the male/female dichotomy…
    thankyou for your insight and communication…
    cheers, bernard

  8. […] to affirm those emotional shifts within ourselves. If you haven’t yet heard me talk about Owning Your Destroy, check it out. The gist of it is that anger, boredom, grief and irritability can be powerful allies […]

  9. RAWR! just what i needed to be reminded of this week! thank you! i really love your work.

  10. Wow! What freedom ! Thankyou Tako-pa for your amazing work … I feel I really needed to hear your insights especially today….there is a place for so called negative feelings, they give power and energy to change …. not to be stifled. thankyou so much … my day feels lighter already!

  11. this is the first time i have ever really met myself. thank you

  12. thank yo for supporting my choices to wallow in my shadow even when I have the awareness of other grace. To be root chakra and explore the expression and choose to not suffer under my own self judgement and to then choose to support my fellow human kind to actuate their spiritual independence. To explain why some judge me as stuck ( my self) and the wisdom to realize I just AM.
    Love and Light!

  13. Thank you so much for this enlightening piece. I have been hearing over and over from friends that I am not being positive enough to bring the “good” things into my life. I have been thru some pretty tramatic things this past year(still going thru some) and people who aren’t living my life have no idea how hard it is to be the “happy” positive person they expect at all times. There are times that I need to vent and let it out. How refreshing to hear it is okay to be angry, sad, or just downright hateful of life for a day. I do feel like when this is let out, I can go back to being me the next day! How powerful the saying “I’m not broken and I don’t need fixing”!! I am HUMAN…we have these emotions for a reason, right?
    Again…thank you.

  14. My feet feel like lead weights when I am faced with the instinctive flow of this piece. Surely something so obviously right shouldn’t feel so HARD. Feels like I need a rebirth to be someone who can absorbe this willingly instead of screaming and kicking over edge. Such a beginner I feel, and I’m 50! X

  15. Hahaham hmmm… how did you know I felt sad, stifled, regretful and PISSED OFF? When I read that sentence, I felt elated, because that’s exactly how I feel, and I when I get around everybody looks so happy, and there I am pissed off and malcontent… But how do I own those feelings? How do you all work that out?

  16. Nothing to do, no where to go…only to feel what’s risen up from within to feel. No one ever had to teach a child to do that, only how to NOT do that. Now we are the parents in charge again of our own selves. We know how to do this instinctively if we don’t think we need to wait for the masses to agree that it’s okay to do so.

  17. Ok. Now, how to take ths from theory into practice? It seems my Destroyer Kali has been cuttng me to pieces for 24 full years, but keeping me alive so I can be fully be aware of her blade crushing my flesh and bones.
    How to understand the pain? I can’t. How to bring about the change when there is no Village to support you and carry you when your legs fail you on the path?
    I need to reclaim my life. Need to take the responsibility to live, even if there is noone around me.
    Pray for me.

    • Angelino. Embrace the pain. It is part of you. acknowledge and love it, be soft and kind with it. If there is anger, connect to Kali. Use paper to write your pain on then destroy paper safely, be angry safely and harm no others. Find your inner power, it is there. Ask for help, you may not get a village, but it will come. sending love and healing

  18. I LOVE this post.. All oracles I have consulted re the new cycle year moon are all saying get out that metaphorical machete !! And I’ve just been diagnosed with liver issues so I am delving into Anger.. Meeting her / me where I am …

  19. In the child, whose needs-fulfillment is the responsibility of the parent/carer, emotions arise out of the id, the instincts, and emotions are thus the indicators of instinctive
    needs. The parent is the receiver of the need-message, and then the problem-solver. If good care is given in response, the child swallows the good parent whole and later in life when it becomes the responsibility of the adult to meet his/her needs, emotions then can be internally listened to for intrapsychic indicator that action needs to be taken by the adult for the adult. Connection to others and to society is enabled by effective wagering and negotiation; ie, if I am angry, I notice it, ask what I need, and ask “what is the best way to get this need met?” I don’t necessarily express my anger directly to others as this passes the responsibility for problem solving to them. But it changes who I resource in my life to those who cooperate in win-win negotiations!

  20. I LOVE this. Our culture is laden with messages that encourage us to numb ourselves out and glitter over the darkness – usually by buying, eating or drinking something. It’s only when we look at deep into they abyss that we can get righteously pissed off enough to create the change in ourselves/world that will fill the void in our souls. It’s a circular process.

  21. Yes, this resonates. As I allow myself to feel the pain, grief, and loss that has built up, unheard and unwitnessed inside of me, I feel my broken body responding and beginning to heal. It seems to me at this point in healing my brokenness of body, soul and mind, that it is a dellcate dance that involves 3 partners in me: My Self, my darkness, and the sweet light of my love and joy.

  22. this is SO awesome to read. I had a LILITH altar for channelling my fury, and energy, when abused and harmed, and made good friends with my Kali, recently she came out roaring, safely angry for the first time in years , publicly, no less. Was heard. amazing. Thanks, always feel better acknowledging the wrath goddesses..they heal as well as love and light, are part of us all. Blessings Nushka

  23. “Negative” emotions gain control when denied. When brought into the light, they can serve you. That’s not to say “positive” emotions should be denied. Life is much more rewarding in full color and not just black and white.

  24. WOW!!!!!!!!! I don’t even know what to write right now! This couldn’t possibly summon up what I have been feeling for the past few months or so, and as recently as today discussing with a friend. I’m not necessarily sad, angry, or in a dark place… but I’m not necessarily feeling all perky and sunshine either. All of which I’m okay with. There can’t be light without dark, right? But my frustrations have come from how we’ve come to this constant borage of “enlightenment/affirmation/lightandloveblahblah” daily! Whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (I’m sure I’ve left out some others), and everyone is all about being so damn positive every damn second! Not to say, I’m not guilty of that sometimes. Now, god forbid you say you’re in a funky, angry, sullen, sad, or mischievous mood… and you get a Rumi quote (whom I love, by the way). But, now I find myself wondering if there’s something wrong with me for wanting to embrace my shadow self. Trust me when I say, I am an aware, enlightened, and old spirit. And with that, I’ve always known that it’s okay and very healthy for us to embrace the shadow side of our spirits because it brings a healthy balance, which makes our light shine brighter.
    I couldn’t have come across your page at a better time. I did ask, and the Universe listened!
    Oceans of THANK YOU for writing this! The kindred voice I needed to hear : ) Really… THANK YOU!

  25. Yes, I was feeling a bit alone out there. Finally, mother of darkness arises and beckons us to follow the truth, thank you. This is cool fresh water to the parched deserts overbearing light.

  26. Thank you. Lust greed are so powerful. I have caused so much destruction in the past it is hard to not let them take rise to action. Which might be acceptable or needed.
    All in all I become small or ordinarary to become more. More loved, more lonely. Enough.
    Yet pain never totally goes away forever. Nor does love. This is for “Eternity” who destroyed all I thought I could hold or give and found it empty. XxMh

  27. Right ON, Toko-Pa! You articulated so well what I have been saying for a long time! I don’t believe any emotion exists for the sole purpose of repressing it. I have been in a situation where a woman was expressing herself, in a raw and emotional way (crying, raging, letting it OUT) and when it got too uncomfortable for someone else present, the expressive woman was told to “put it in the Light” when her expressing was EXACTLY what that was: taking something hidden in the Dark, something painful, and letting it loose into the Light. Personally, I think “putting it in the Light” means staying authentic, choosing expression over repression, being HONEST…because isn’t it so true that the Truth will set us free, and honesty is the vehicle for that Truth. It doesn’t mean directing/projecting our anger on to someone else, it means owning it, looking inside at why one feels angry (and it’s usually because an important personal boundary has been breached in the past, and the present event is triggering that unresolved trauma). Mother Theresa allegedly once said in response to the question of how she is able to take care of so many people, “because I am in touch with my own inner Hitler”. It is what kept her grounded. Everyone of us owns a portion of the worlds shadow, and I think our responsibility is to own it and transform it. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom! I’m so grateful for your work-Thank You.

  28. fucking wow. yes

  29. my husband was the one that introduced me to Zen and Alan Watts and that was the first time i heard that the idea of fixing yourself is ridiculous. i’m STARTING to get my mind wrapped around why–this article totally helped! it also gave me a new insight into why my fiery personality isn’t a drawback and why i’ve always been drawn to Kali. i used to think it was her raw power and the awesome imagery (tho i’m not generally terribly dark). thank you Toko-pa, again–it’s been such a blessing to have met you online! 🙂 namaste!

  30. ah, the medicine of Kali is so very freeing , we have passed on the road many times…and there we have seen the light and the dark passages….and let them visit with each other ..

  31. I think this article talks of things that could remind us that we are all that we are, and that all that we are has value, not just the pieces that we or other people proclaim to be good.

    If we do have aspects of ourselves that we don’t believe represent our very best, we may want to look more closely at that belief. Are parts of who we are second-rate pieces of that infinite whole, or does everything that exists have equal value?

    Over my entire life, I have felt myself growing, expanding and changing. Each change happened in me because I more fully entered into myself and who and what I am. If I only do that with the light and bright within me, my light and bright parts will grow, but the parts of me that this article discusses are “dark” in part because they have been repressed and not included in that growth and self awareness.

    Our angers have value; Martin Luther King was angry at the ways some people were treated in the US and the world and used his anger as a tool to give him courage and strength. Fear can also be seen as our own uncertainty that we will succeed. A sadness is really a joy that wants to be alive. There are so many ways that our “dark” side can also be allowed to grow into being more, just as our light side is doing.

    We can find that potential in us only by owning and being all that we are. I love the ways that this article points us in that direction

  32. I both agree and disagree with this authoress. Anger has its usefulness, but I don’t think it should be used as a justification to hurt others, as in “I’m just being honest, authentic and sincere, so I can vent my wrath wherever and whenever I want.” I’m 77 and have looked at this from many angles. I have been a victim of that kind of anger. On occasion I have also sourced it. My current truth is that the true spiritual warrior is detached, even from his own “justified” anger. The deepest truth for me at this juncture in my life is the enigmatic statement from A Course In Miracles: “There is no cause for anger or for fear.” I take this to mean that anger is just a feeling. I have a right to my feelings of course, and they should not be suppressed or denied. But learn the true cause of that anger. It does not come from without. It comes from within. If there is, in the final analysis, only fear and/or love, then anger is living on the fear side unless coupled with something many have called “righteousness.” Like a double edged sword, it can do great damage in the hands on one who has not yet surrendered to the highest possible power. Let him or her who wields that sword know him or herself, discipline him or herself and submit and surrender to a higher faith, purity and justice, and humbly pray to be used as an instrument of righteousness. Like the concept of Jihad in Islam, this is a tricky proposition. The naive Jihadists are darn tootin’ angry and feel justified in destruction of the enemy. The true Jihadists temper their anger, and use it to slay the demon within, the lower self, the only enemy who counts.

    • well indeed! of course anger can lead a person to challenge the thing/person that has angered them, promoting a good thing that had invoked the anger. on the other hand, anger can be used negatively–all things have a positive producing and negative producing possibility to them. i think the article kind of implied or assumed that her readers would understand that aspect of the more fiery emotions.

  33. Just coming home to go back to my basement and continue to pack/sort all of my belongings into keep/give/recycle/garbage/burn categories. Thanks for the life giving truth.<3

  34. I love this so much!!! Here is one way I do it – Wild stomp dancing, yelling on the beach with the surf pounding and the wind howling! There is nothing better. Thank you for encouraging us!

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