all images and stories are the property of Catherine Beerda-Basso and are not to be used without given permission...thank you

Friday, 16 November 2012

As it comes to an end...SouLodge

This year
the word that chose me
was Vulnerability
with that in mind,
as we journey out of the Shadows
with White Tailed Deer
as our gentle guide,
I have decided to share the two
Shadows that I faced
during this session of
I do this because I believe in the power of bringing things to the light and that is what Shadow work is all about.
When things of our lives, stay in the dark
the chance of healing is very very slim.
In the dark shame, guilt and fear take hold
In the dark the feeling of hopelessness arises
In the dark, we feel alone...
So here, today continue to bring these Shadows to the light
They may not be Shadows you know and face, but the feelings and experiences remain the same for all of us...
May you find courage in my vulnerability...

The first one already began to reveal itself when I was on retreat with my Sisters of Light. It was during this particular meditation when something deep began to emerge for me in a way I had not seen before. 
Like a lot of other women, as a young girl, I struggled with a positive body image. But I never really looked at when it began, it just always was. Though I knew there were times in early childhood where my body was the last thing I was thinking about as I played and carried on as young girls do; I needed to find out when this shift happened and why...

The guided meditations intention was to align us the our Higher Self/Spirit and find out what obstacles were blocking us, hindering us, on our journey.
Key things that were given to me were:
-self critical
-self love
-body love
My Spirit had me looking at myself naked...something I did not want to do. And knowing that the Shadow we were going to be facing was how I felt about my body, I could feel resistance bubbling up inside. I was not comfortable with it at all. 
My younger self stood in front of me and could not even look me in the eyes. Her shame was so great, her shame of her body, herself. Even as I saw her standing there cloaked in the pain of shame, my logical/denying self tried to minimize it all. "Such a silly shadow to be facing, aren't there more important things to be cultivating right now?"
It was then I was brought back to the moment when the shame for my body began. I was walking home from school with my then best friend...we were in grade 5, and a boy that lived in her neighborhood was teasing her. Me being somewhat of a tomboy and a mouth that I used, stood up for her, forcing the boy to back off...literally. In the course of this the boy lashed back and called me a 
Big Fat White Pig
On that particular day I was wearing white hand me down jeans from my older sister (who was model gorgeous) and  her white hand me down letterman's bomber jacket. To me, that outfit was to die for, because all that had been my older sisters was gold to me. But of course wearing her clothes did not make me her....and in that moment that boy had no idea how he brought that reality home for me that day.
I never wore white jeans again....only once in my thirties did I have some white jean clam diggers, but I made sure they were very baggy....
That day, those words cut into a piece of me. Of course that boy had no idea, and really, neither did I. but during that meditation I clearly saw that was when I decided my body was not good enough and I was FAT.
The saddest thing about this was what I decide to do with this new found information about myself. I used it to fuel many dangerous years of self loathing. Other factors played into the self loathing, but for now, this was the one that was revealed, this was the one I would be facing. And so into the Lodge I went knowing where I would be going. What was birthed from this self loathing was a lifetime companion I picked up along the way in my early teens. Bulimia. 
She was my steady a faithful companion through those years and continued on with me into my twenties. Though she was no present daily, she was still there. Into my thirties she still made her appearance, you think I would have know better at this age, but she had become fused inside me by this time, and I was so unaware.
As my healing began in my thirties, her appearances grew less and less, and I thought it was no longer a "problem".
And now in my forties, I thought that I was free of her, even though she still showed up somewhere in my life once every year. 
Truth is that day during the meditation I realized she still had a hold on me, maybe even as much of a hold as when I was making her a daily practice in my teens. Truth is 
she still conducted how I felt about myself, how I saw my body. Though I had come far from those days and self love was the modo I lived by, there was till more to do.
That day, my Spirit told me clearly:
"It is not enough to accept yourself is not longer enough. You must LOVE yourself...even those things you find unlovable."
As I continued working with this Shadow in SouLodge I made the decision to share with my Sisters of Light my struggle with Bulimia. It came as a surprise to them, but they honoured the importance of bringing this shadow into the light. The truth is, no matter how others see you, it does not hold much meaning until you can see that in yourself.
So that has been my journey these past few weeks;
a daily reminder to love all of me, to no longer be held back by the lies of Shame.
transforming my shame into the gift of Grace.
My relationship with Shame has given me a softer heart, allowed me more Grace for others and learning more Grace for myself. Shame has given me a gentler tone. 
I am still walking this one out. My Spirit has committed to walking through this with me, has assured me we can do this, that I am enough....I believe her.

The other Shadow was the Shadow birthed by religion
I wrote about it here

Religion saw in me the Light it longed for
Saw in me the Love it needed....wanted
Saw in me the pure innocence of being
Saw in me the Longing to be connected
into something bigger than myself
Saw in me the hunger to be Free
Saw in me the determination 
to live...
not hidden, 
but out in the open
for all to see
Religion saw in me Compassion and Knowing
saw in me the Deep Magic that was there
before time began
Saw in me Life Times of 
Freedom Fighting...
a Soul that was constant and true
Religion saw in me all that it feared
saw in me all that would transform it
to something else
and so
it tried to steal my Essence
it tried to trample my Being
it tried to stomp out my Knowing
it tried to take my Freedom
it tried to rape my Love
it tried to cover my Individuality
it tried to break my Spirit
it tried
it tried 
and it tired again
and sometimes
I conceded
too tired
too inexperienced
too exhausted and 
longing for peace
I would give in
So it would stop slamming up against me
So it would stop making me feel less then
So it would quiet the voices
But it would never last...
and soon
My bright eyes would shine
My heart would need to soar
My feet grew roots that longed for 
the deep rich soil of Mother Earth
and I needed to respond
I could not deny the pull
I could not deny The Voice...
The Voice that comes in stillness
that holds the Love of the World
The Voice that gently guides me
Back to my place of Holy
Back to the place prepared for me
Back to my spiritual Home
Where there is no one hanging on the cross
And where the blood and horror has been replace by 
Love and Light
Back to the place where I was created to serve
The Voice is always call me back
The Voice is always calling you back
my Betrayer
Born by man
Fed by fear
Nurtured by control...
I forgive you
As we stand now
face to face
You my Shadow
Me your Light
I forgive you
thank you
For it was you 
who pushed me Back
you who sharpened my edge
you who burned off the residue
you who helped keep my longing alive
you are not what I long for 
and yet
it is through you
that I know what it is I am longing for
what it is 
I am going back to...
The other day I read something that resonated deeply 
"Religion needs Spirituality; Spirituality does not need Religion"
Shadow stalking this betrayer and transforming it into a helper has allowed me to feel free of those religious chains that bind...anyone who has walked this road knows what I am talking about...When I walked in the religious realm I was taught to hate and fear the enemy...little did I know that  the enemy was the religion I was being conditioned by...conditioning that had nothing to do with the Spirit of Love, but everything to do with men of fear.
I am grateful to be clear on that : )

A very long post
thank you to all who made it through
my heart on the page
keeping it real
ebbing and flowing on this spiritual path I call Life

thank you for bearing witness
Love and Light


  1. Mmmmm.. Body image is so integral to health. I never struggled too much until after I miscarried and then birthed my last. The weight has gone up every year and now I struggle. Figuring it out still as it is new to me. Your deep sharing soothed my soul and made me wish I could give you a hug. You are stunning you know. In pictures you look good but they do not capture the essence and young hip beauty that took me by surprise. I am glad you are journeying into seeing this.

    As for religion I felt the same and found my freedom from it years ago. Now in my private space I can talk about it freely which is so nice;) I am also glad you found your voice in this.

    Beautiful post that gave me a glimpse into your soul. I loved it and value it. Thanks for sharing!;)

  2. Cat,
    ....Your words on religion..right to my heart. I'm grappling with religion right now too. And your story about loving yourself,your body, I have my struggles with that too. I haven't gotten to a place of peace with it yet, but a little better than I used to be. Thank you for sharing ♥

  3. Oh my sweet friend, it seems we have shared shadows in this way. I struggled with eating disorders too ( although I wouldn't have named them at the time). I know the pain and shame you're talking about. It's good to bring it to light, you're so right. This was heartbreaking but also powerful and strong and vulnerable and I could feel the "moving through". A real testament of bravery and inspiration for us all. xo

  4. Cat, just wanted to say thank you for this post. You are always so honest, wish I could hug you. X

  5. Ooooh Cat.. the enemy was religion...woow!

    I literally feel speechless, but such a post deserves great honor.. and I so honor your courage to share this glimpse into your heart. Powerful awakenings and looks into your wounds... I am so looking forward to the beautiful fruit that is going to come from such hard and intense work in the gardens of your heart.

    woow. intense and so incredibly beautiful.

    Been catching up this morning with you... loving the poems and songs of your heart on your other page. I love you, Cat. You are so beauty filled, my friend.

  6. Catching up on your posts today...your vulnerability is are you!


Your voice is welcome here, your connection appreciated. Love and Light