"Light and Shadow" - Kathryn Pallakoff

"The portal of healing and creativity always takes us into the realm of the spirit."
Angeles Arrien 

Kathryn Pallakoff has traveled the world, studying the healing arts. She is a Certified Rolf Structural Integration Practitioner, Craniosacral Therapist, Visceral Body-Worker, is currently studying Acutonics - and is knowledgeable in several other healing modalities.
We have worked with Kathryn and can attest to her effectiveness.
Today, we received her newsletter - and with her permission, we share it with you.
Ciao Bella Gente. Happy Spring!
In this round, I'd like to explore the relationship of healing, forgiveness and letting go.  I've been receiving thoughtful inquiries from my clients lately, which seem to weave these themes together. As often is the case, it seems that many of my clients face similar issues at the same time.  Once again, a reflection of the larger patterns and synchronicities inherent in nature.
Just as Winter Solstice and the holidays around that time celebrate light, in recognition and reverence to the longest night of the year, so too are Spring Equinox and the myriad cross-cultural holidays near this time, a recognition of coming out of darkness into light.
Easter is the resurrection of Jesus, from death to re-birth.  Passover is the story of Moses leading the Jews out of slavery in Egypt into freedom.  In Hebrew, the word for Egypt is "Mitzrayim", which literally translates to "a narrow, restricted place".  From this perspective, the spring holidays are about moving from a stuck, dark, restricted place into light and freedom.
This is the story of nature herself.   At this time, the seeds, which have been buried in the damp, heavy, dark stillness for months, are mobilized from somewhere in the innermost recesses of their being to take a risk.  They crack open their own shell, push through the hard dirt, shake off any residual resentment, peek their little heads out, and find the courage to reach up toward the sun. They forgive winter, and the ground consoles with spring.
Whether we accept the literal stories of the holidays or not, we can relate to the dance of light and dark in our lives.  Everything is made of light and dark, yin and yang, emptiness and form.  Everything we eat created itself from light and dark.  Through photosynthesis, plants turn sunlight into sustenance. Cows (when free to roam), the big, strong, muscular animals they are, live only off of grass.  Grass, from a tiny seed and through the alchemical transmutations of nature, converts sunlight and dirt into being.  Magic.
What does all this have to do with healing and bodywork?  The path to healing is to face our shadows.  It takes a willingness to sit with sensations that we have buried deep within our flesh.  But how do we see that which is hidden in the dark?  By shining a light on it.  The light is our awareness.  This does not mean re-living painful experiences.  It means simply being present to what our bodies and souls are saying right now.  Moving to their song and rhythm--heeding their call.
Symptoms, whether physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, anxiety, worry, etc., are all expressions of our body-mind wanting to be heard- stuck energy trying to move.  Symptoms are unfinished business within the nervous system. They once were a brilliant coping mechanism (a distraction) that our nervous systems developed as a survival strategy.  Sometimes it is easier to deal with symptoms, as painful as they are, than to face the challenge of change.  The body-mind will often continue to talk to us through symptoms, louder and louder, until we listen.
Some helpful questions to ask ourselves:
What am I avoiding or getting out of staying stuck?  If I imagine being free, what sensations arise? Are we afraid of failure?  Of perhaps not living up to our biggest dreams for ourselves?  Can we forgive ourselves for holding on too hard to things that seemed to stall us? For feeling like we stayed too long in the mud and missed the call of spring?
Time is never wasted.  Wherever you go, there you are.  If we hadn't stayed in that relationship that we later regret, we would've found another way to learn the lessons.  It may have looked different, had a different name, but the essence is the same.  I tend toward the Eastern and Jungian idea that everything we perceive, what we call "reality", is a reflection of our inner state. The outside world is just a projection of our inner world.  So however we think and feel inside is what we experience, no matter what transpires on the outside.  Life's painful experiences are the soul's greatest teachers.  It is where we learn on a visceral level about compassion, empathy, love and forgiveness.
What is forgiveness? To for-give means to give as before.  Before what? Before we were hurt or wounded.  In indigenous cultures around the world, Shamans have a practice known as Soul Retrieval.  They understood that the spiritual root of all dis-ease is fragmentation of the soul. When we experience deep wounds, we lose pieces of ourselves.  In a soul retrieval journey, the shaman journeys on behalf of the client, to collect split-off soul pieces and return them to the client.  The origin of the word "heal" means "to make whole".  Shamans have practiced this for tens of thousands of years--helping the seeker heal by embracing their wholeness.
Healing is not about fixing broken parts.  It's about integrating all the parts of us into a functioning whole.  When we shine a light on our shadows, we are literally re-membering pieces of ourselves that we have lost along the way, that we dis-membered to protect ourselves.  We are accepting these pieces whole-heartedly, instead of shunning and denying them.  This enables us to for-give, to give as before we were hurt or wounded.
Judaism teaches that when a person shows remorse for wrongdoing, repairs the damage they've done and asks for forgiveness, it is our obligation to forgive them--for the benefit of the whole community.  The idea is that when we withhold forgiveness, the other person becomes spiritually stalled and thus we stagnate the community's collective evolution.  So forgiveness is a socio-political act.
Indigenous cultures traditionally do healings within the circle of the community.  Our personal healing is connected to the healing of the community.  Just as the fracturing of our spirits from ourselves can lead to illness, so too can the fracturing of the individual from the community.  Along these lines, the ancient Hawaiian shamans, known as Kahunas, taught Ho'oponopono, which contains practical tools for moving forward in all our relationships.  "To make things right" is the literal translation of Ho'oponopono.  They too recognized that guilt, resentment and anger are toxic emotions that can make us sick.  One powerful Huna practice is to, every night before we go to sleep, forgive everyone who's hurt us and forgive ourselves for everyone we've hurt.  It is important to enter dreamtime with a clean slate.
Shamans around the world are seers and teachers.  They dare to travel through the mysterious shadows in the periphery of our collective consciousness, to shine a light on what's hard to see, in order to help us access who we really are.
Sometimes we avoid facing our shadows, because it seems that if we go down that road, the feelings will overwhelm us.  Or we blame ourselves over and over again for the past. But the light does not judge, it only reveals.  If we are willing to stay conscious, we can use every experience as a teacher for personal and collective evolution.
This is the heart of why I do this work-because of the lure and charm of spiritual alchemy-- transmuting base experiences into metaphorical gold.  Learning to have access to and play with this beautiful, vertical polarity of energy between Earth and Sky that we call a body-- the dance and balance of dark and light, stillness and movement.
The gift of trauma and pain is the seed of transformation that they contain.  Healing is more than symptom relief.  It can be the means by which we shape-shift into our greater selves.
Kathryn Pallakoff's website: Sacred Knots


  1. This is a really nice article. To forgive someone that had wrong you is one of the hardest thing a person can do. I'm still working on that. I would like to share a link with you Steve.


    I think it is pretty insightful.

    Mike Yang


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