There was a wise little acorn who fell off an oak tree. He found himself among all the other little acorns who were also laying on the ground. Each little acorn had a feeling that they were destined for something special, but they didn’t quite know what. So they set about working hard to develop their potential. They began doing all they could to become shiny… They were attending workshops called ‘Make the Best of Your Shell’, where they learned how to wipe away dust when it settled on them. The little acorns felt wonderful with bright, shiny shells for a few days… until the next heavy rainfall came, splattering them with mud and making their shells dull again. So they went about finding the next shell-development workshop which would remind them how to shine their shells again… and the process would repeat over and over again.
The wise little acorn watched this endless game of shell-shining, and then one day he sat down with the other acorns and said:
“Do you see the oak tree above us? Well that is your potential. But to reach your potential, you have to dig deep down into the dirt beneath you, crack open your shell, come face to face with the dirt and the rain, then allow your journey to begin. Your real growth begins from there, not from shining your shell. You have to break through the dirt to reach the sunshine. Then your foundations can become firm and your branches will keep expanding until you become a mighty oak. Rain, wind and mud cannot harm you there, because you’ll be stronger than you ever imagined possible. Simply shining your shell won’t achieve anything other than making your surface shiny until the next heavy rainfall”.
The other acorns looked on at him in amazement, some of them felt incredibly angry at this suggestion. Surely this can’t be true!
We all know this to be true. Yet very few people are willing to dig down into the dirt, coming face to face with their hidden shadow-side. After all, who wants to crack their ego open and even admit to, never mind take ownership of, their own egoic behaviour? Today’s positive thinking movement encourages us only to focus on the positive, which is great, except that if you’re having to force yourself to focus on only one part of life whilst blinkering out the rest in order to remain happy, then you’re not learning how to remain strong through all the situations of your life, regardless of whether they are considered positive or not. When you reach the stage of knowing you can handle the truth of ‘what is’ and remain at peace with it, then you will become steadfast and strong like a mighty oak.
Denial of your shadow side, or ego, pushes it deeper and deeper into your unconscious awareness. It’s here that it enslaves you, because your patterns will be running on auto-pilot regardless, following you into every relationship, whilst being kept firmly in denial. The ego is a very powerful entity, yet extremely fragile at the same time. So you’ll be living life at the mercy of your ego’s reactions to situations. Yet this is not the real you. It’s not your truth. It’s the illusion of what your ego assumes is true.
You may often wonder why situations keep recurring in your life. In many cases it will be because these patterns keep re-surfacing and playing out. Others will see the behaviour that stems from them, but while you remain in denial, you remain blind to them. Others may sit in judgement of your patterns, and that is only because they can’t see their own. This is how it works:– not seeing one’s own ego makes an individual feel somewhat superior and entitled to judge others, and so of course they do. When an individual comes face to face with their own ego, they are far more forgiving towards others, simply because they can actually see all their own ‘stuff’ too. It really is an awakening…
Many are living their lives in this way, at the mercy of their ego. This brings with it an addiction to pain, drama, anger, righteousness, judgement… you name it… as your ego fights to be right and justified in every situation. There can be no peace when we’re at the mercy of this. In this way we spend our lives looking outside of ourselves at everyone else, whilst missing ourselves entirely.
All of this can change. When Andy and I work with clients, we take them right into the core of their shadow side, their ego behaviour, so they begin to see and understand the patterns they play and the motivation behind those patterns. This enables them to idenfity their triggers and reactions to situations, and understand what’s actually driving them. We then show them how to move beyond those patterns, freeing themselves from them.
We take you deeply into the truth of who you are, no holds barred. Once you can see and understand these patterns, it’s only then that you have the power to take charge of them, to change them, to show up differently. It’s here that you have the power to stop being at the mercy of your ego’s reactions to situations too. Instead you can stand back and see things for what they actually are.
You cannot change what you cannot see, so until you’re willing to face this side of yourself, authentic and lasting change can prove difficult or temporary. It’s important to understand that no one escapes. We all have an ego, whether we like to admit it or not, and that same ego is fighting a battle on our behalf.
We are so blessed that the clients we work with allow us to hold them fully accountable. They do this because they know they are not being judged. Instead they are simply being seen. The lack of judgement allows this to unfold. When the ego is not fighting judgement from others, then it can become open and vulnerable. We share our own journey through our shadow sides first, so they can see us fully before we expect them to take that journey too. An environment of trust and vulnerability cannot be created when a mentor is pretending to be perfect and a client feels ‘less than’. No one is ‘less than’ anyone else, no matter their stage in the journey. The fact is that it’s only the ego that wants to be ‘more than’. Because we know that no one comes without a shadow side, and we are no longer fighting to protect our fragile egos, we are used to talking about ours openly and honestly, and can share the journey we’ve both been through.
Taking you into your truth can hurt. In fact it’s called ‘truth-ache’. But it’s meant to hurt. You’re taking your mask off after all. Facing your ego is not a shiny experience… no, facing that side of yourself is not comfortable, not if you’re truly facing it that is. Yet, once the hurt passes and you begin to understand it, it’s utterly liberating. It’s like climbing out of a box that you didn’t even know you were in.
It’s uncanny how each of the ego types actually behaves in such a way that their own behaviour ensures they have to face their own fears over and over again – each and every type does it. In reality, it’s sheer brilliance, because we either have to face ourselves or live our lives running whilst manifesting our fears over and over again. Here are two examples of how just two of the nine ego types self-sabotage in this way:
One of the ego types is pain avoidant and dislikes drama a great deal. So they use humour as a way of deflecting discussions away from having to deal with painful or serious situations. This works against them though, because those who need to be heard will not feel heard when humour is constantly used to deflect and make light of the situation. This will quickly spiral into drama as the other person begins to cry louder to be heard. If this particular ego type were to stop trying so hard to avoid pain, and allow others to be heard without using humour to deflect, then the drama would cease. So in other words, when they stop running from what they’re trying so hard to avoid, then they no longer have to keep running.
Another of the ego types wants nothing but peace in their lives. They will do anything to avoid conflict (very different to the one above, as they don’t use humour to achieve it). Everything is done at their own lackadaisical pace because their ego has them believe that nothing is urgent enough to act upon quickly. As a result, one of their behavioural traits is that they are exceedingly slow at communicating, if indeed they communicate or respond at all. This inability to move fast or communicate with any urgency drives the other more fast paced ego types into frustration (all the other ego types are faster paced). This means that communication with other faster paced types soon becomes fraught with conflict. This is exactly what they are trying to avoid most.
See how it works? This is all going on subconsciously, so the individual is blissfully unaware that their own behaviour is manifesting these responses in others.
Having both done many years of personal development before being brought face to face with our own shadow sides, we were astonished at just how blind we were to our own ego patterns. It took me a long time personally to get my head around the real understanding of how I’d spent so long simply shining my outer surface, whilst failing to look within at who I actually am, at what was actually driving me, and at what I was taking into all my relationships with others. Just as in the two examples above, my ego was working hard to avoid certain situations, which brought my fears into play, thereby ensuring that I had to face those fears time and time again. I cannot find words to describe how liberating is was to be able to release all of that, once I became aware of it.
The clients we work with feel the same way about their journey too. One client wrote to us just this morning after having been through his Breakthrough Experience a couple of months ago.
Thank you again Diane and Andy for all that you’ve taught me. There’s not a day goes by now when I don’t use what I’ve learned about my ego and it’s changed (and still changing) my life and the lives of those I love. The biggest realisation for me lately has been how much I DON’T want what I thought I wanted when I was younger and that I can see those things that I deemed important or ‘vital’ weren’t important and still aren’t. It’s almost like turning 50 and having you ‘wake me up’ simultaneously have radically altered the course of the second half of my life. For this I am truly grateful to you both.
We love our work, but we also know that our purpose as mentors is not to convince our clients to love us. In reality, them liking us is not even part of the equation. Our job is to enable them to love themselves. Taking someone by the hand into their shadow side means that a mentor cannot fear rejection, anger, challenge, being disliked, not as the one who is leading them in. The mentor is going to be pushing all kinds of buttons, triggers, bringing pain and patterns to the surface which have been in denial and used as a defence mechanism for many years. This is going to bring about reactions which it’s essential that our own egos don’t get in the way of. Our part is to share and reflect the truth with clients as it is. Not to judge it, condemn it, praise it… but to simply speak it as it is, then show them how to reach the light through it.
It’s absolutely fascinating, because in reality this creates an amazing bond between client and mentor. Both are completely open and honest; no little lies are being told to fan the egos, no admiration is required… all of those ego driven mechanisms fall away. Instead it’s a place of pure truth, one heart totally open and honest with another. All I can say is that for clients, after they get over the discomfort of coming face to face with their shadow side for the first time, the liberation they feel is magnificent. It’s like they throw a shackle off their backs to free their souls.
Stepping in to your own truth is the crumbling away of all your untruths.
It’s from this place that one then has the ability to begin growing into their fullest potential, spreading their roots and standing steadfast in their authentic truth.