Just over one year ago, I threw my back out. Trying to be Supermom: wearing heels and carrying a 30 lb child, working inside and outside the home, preparing to present at an international eating disorders conference.
A Jungian colleague of mine asked what might be in my shadow that might “have my back,” or be “breaking my back.” In Jungian psychology, the shadow is aspects of the self that are unwanted, unknown, or “dystonic” (not familiar or owned by the conscious self). It often shows up through projecting one’s “shadow” parts onto others. Ex: “She’s so angry.” “He’s so greedy.” “Who does she think she IS being so full of herself?”
What had my back? Well, it turns out that the often quoted Marianne Williamson quote was true:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won’t feel insecure around you…
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
—Marianne Williamson, Return to Love Harper Collins, 1992.
It was fear of my own growing power. So I rested my back (as well as did all sorts of other healing modalities) and healed my back. Friends will often say “I got your back!” as a way to encourage you to move into and through something scary. What has your back? How can you support your back? What parts of yourself are you afraid to own?