Greetings! I taught a class on Halloween day in Cincinnati after my weekend workshop. My theme was “embrace your inner aliens” and just for fun, after the Om, I slipped on a green alien mask and offered everyone a Namaste. The class ripped up into laughter!
We all have inner aliens that scare us. These are our core-wounded identities and patterns of limiting thinking and behavior. In a sense, we’ve all alienated ourselves from our true nature – joy. We’ve forgotten our divine heritage and have separated ourselves from the Absolute. We walk around like ocean-less waves. Through self-limiting beliefs and layers of stress, we have dimmed and darkened the light within.
Brene Brown, renown psychologist and author, calls these aliens, “gremlins”. These are the negative thoughts we say to ourselves. In my experience, these “aliens or gremlins” can all be boiled down to one basic emotion: fear. But fear has many derivatives – worry, anxiety, doubt, frustration, anger, blame, and depression, to name a few. These shadow emotions are part of who we are, but not all of who we are. We forget that along with our core-wounded identities is our divine identity. We all have the DNA of the divine. Our divine identity recognizes and embraces the full spectrum of our being, both light and dark, both core-wounded identity and divine identity.
Halloween comes from the Celtic word samhain (pronounced “sum ween”) which is a time at the end of the harvest post summer where the veil between the two worlds, spiritual and physical, becomes very thin. As the myth goes, a threshold opens up where hostile spirits of the departed are free to roam and cause disturbances. To appease the angry spirits, the villagers would offer the finest foods, hence the custom of offering candy (which is not really the finest food!). They would also wear masks in order to blend in with the spirits so they wouldn’t be noticed as easily.
November 1st, the beginning of the dark cycle of the year, is All Saints Day or All Hallows Day and is the time we celebrate and honor our ancestors, teachers, spiritual beings, and mentors who’ve supported us. Nov. 1st is also a cross quarter day – midway between the Equinox and Solstice. There are four cross quarters in a calendar year: Nov. 1, Feb. 1, May 1, and August 1 which are mini thresholds or spaces good for setting new intentions.
Tantra is about accepting and embracing the parts of ourselves we have judged and thrown out of our heart. It’s about weaving back together all of the dispersed parts of yourself (aliens) into an integrated meaningful matrix of relationship. To become whole again, it’s necessary to embrace all of who you are – your light and your dark, your gifts and your limitations.
For as long I can remember, I’ve had a fear of showing up. I remember when I was four years old hiding behind my Dad and hugging his leg whenever we were in a social setting. I was so shy. My inner alien whispered in my ear, “You are not enough. You don’t have what it takes. You will fail.” It relates to feeling unworthy and being afraid that others will judge and reject me. I’ve traced this fear all the way back to my childhood and even before that. It’s like a primordial fear of being alive and reflects my need to source my own self-love and belief in myself. My focus was always on what others thought about me. I love the title of the book, What You Think of Me Is None of My Business by Terry Cole-Whittaker. Great teachings there.
I’ve tried for decades to get rid of this fear. As I do my inner work, follow my heart, and express what’s most meaningful to me, my fear has diminished significantly. But still, using a car analogy, my fear rides in the front seat of my car. It used to have its hands on the steering wheel. Then I got it to sit in the passenger’s seat. Now I’m able to put it in the back seat of the car while I drive. Life is like driving down the road in a car full of screaming kids. We have many voices in our head competing for our attention. As the parent, you have to set boundaries and take back the steering wheel. This has been the most empowering experience for me. Instead of trying to rid myself of fear, which I found impossible and disempowering, I now take my fear with me. But with much courage and compassion, I don’t allow it to drive my car or stop me from following my heart.
Yoga is about learning how to face, embrace, and love your inner aliens. Instead of trying to get rid of them, you manage them. You need to shine the light of your consciousness on them. Yoga is the process of illuminating your darkness, as says Carl Jung, “One does not become enlightened by imaging figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” When you accept your alienated parts, you begin the process of healing and making changes for the better.
When you embrace your inner aliens, you will discover your innate creativity and power. Your light will be authentic because it is well earned and well deserved. If you don’t embrace your shadows, they move into the subconscious where they wreak havoc on your life. We are all controlled partially by our subconscious. And paradoxically, that’s where our creative genius and passion is sourced. In addition, when you embrace your own inner aliens, you’ll more easily be able to embrace the aliens around you.
Recently I caught myself blaming my wife for something I thought she did. But really it was my own inner alien raising its head for attention. Due to a severe drought last winter and spring, our newly planted row of evergreens alongside our driveway turned brown. We were told to water them throughout the summer and fall and that maybe they would come back next spring. Ann took on the task of watering them. However, the way the water spigot is situated, we had to drape the hose twice across our driveway. Almost every day, several times a day, cars drove over the hose. Well, eventually the hose began to split and leak. No worries, Todd to the rescue! I love to fix things. So I bought the hose repair kit and fixed the hose twice. I was so proud of myself. Instead of putting the hose away each time after watering, Ann left the hose connected. This meant that the garage door closed down onto the hose every day.
One day I came home and noticed there were a bunch of sunflower seed shells spread out over our garage floor. I thought, hmmmmm, that’s curious. Where did those come from? Then Ann pointed out that a very big hole emerged in the hose, a new hole, right at the point where the garage door shut down onto the hose. I felt my blood pressure rise followed by a familiar feeling of frustration, anger, and blame. I said in a very authoritative tone, “I told you to take up the hose every day. Now the garage door made this hole and I’m sick and tired of fixing the hose.”
Well upon a more careful examination, I noticed that the hole in the hose had teeth marks as if a mouse chewed through it. Then a light bulb turned on in my brain. I recently bought two bags of black oil sunflower seeds bird seed and put one bag in the garage for storage. We’ve had chipmunk problems in the past. I now recognize that the hole in the hose was not caused by the garage door. But that the chipmunks, drawn by the scent of the sunflower seeds, chewed through the tiny space where the garage door closed over the hose. They had to bite through the hose in order to squeeze underneath the door. Then they feasted on the seeds and spread them all over the garage floor. As it turns out, I was the one who created the whole event of the hole in the hose. I apologized to Ann and everything was okay again.
In my capacity to recognize the alien of blame and embrace it allowed for this to be a non-issue. In fact, Ann and I both laughed about it later. I was amazed at how clever the chipmunks were.
- Don’t be so quick to blame
- Allow the first reaction
- Take a few deep breaths
- Then step back and assess the situation
- Gather up more intel and data
- Be quick to own your mistake and apologize as soon as possible
Your alien self has something to give you. It’s a gift in disguise. Listen to your aliens. They have wisdom to give you. They have come into your solar system for a reason – to be reclaimed. You must embrace them to get the lesson. Yoga is the journey of reclaiming the lost parts of yourself.
All aliens are embraced in the heart. The heart is the place for all of your shortcomings, as well as your gifts, to exist without judgment. In the heart, you are okay just as you are. Your limitations and blind spots are part of your unique character. They give you your individuality. Through the process of awareness and love, when you embrace your inner aliens you touch the capacity to transform yourself. Love soothes your anxiety and makes everything okay.
What are the inner aliens you need to embrace? How could you accept yourself more fully? What’s the message your inner aliens are trying to give you? How could you make peace with your shortcomings and make amends or heal your relationships?