Are You Willing To Travel In Both The Shadow and The Light

Written by: Valerie D'Ambrosio

“I have a vision,” I exclaimed, “I want to hold a festival in downtown Boulder. I want to help create a platform for up and coming teachers, raise the local economy, and raise the vibration of the planet.”

Six years ago, I was driving back from the 3HO Summer Solstice event in New Mexico with a friend. While on our drive home back to Boulder, I was elated to share the information I had received. Throughout the ten-day event, which consisted of mostly of meditation and yoga, I continued to have intuitive “hits” through visions (clairvoyance) and knowing (claircognizance). Feeling open, trusting, and very held in this safe environment, the visions and information continued to stream through me.  I felt as if I was the container, like the hose extending from a house, allowing the ideas like water streaming through the hose to its destination, bringing life to the grass and flowers.

“I have a vision,” I exclaimed, “I want to hold a festival in downtown Boulder. I want to help create a platform for up and coming teachers, raise the local economy, and raise the vibration of the planet.”  I felt so heard and seen because in that moment my friend saw it too. He connected to this as well, and for the next several hours, we brainstormed, dreamed and created.  From my vision to our sharing of ideas, we were in motion to create the Hanuman Yoga and Music Festival.

Over the next six months, I worked the hardest I had in my life (which says a lot because there were times in my life where I was already working 10-12 hours a day); I was intoxicated with hope, positivity, and possibility. The flame of my needs and values for growth, contribution, adventure, and connection was being fanned. I had never created a team before and launched something so big and inclusive.  I had never even put on an event before, or put myself on the line financially to that extent. It was a huge undertaking, and I was enthusiastically moving forward, with a ’no looking back’ mentality.

In early January we officially launched the site (enter a chorus of angels in the background…AHHHHHH), and we were set to launch the festival in June.  NOTHING like putting the pedal to the medal….which is kind of how I roll. If you are going to do something, why not go BIG?! This was HUGE for us.  I decided I wanted to head to The Yoga Journal Conference (YJC) in San Francisco, so I put out a message to my friend and teacher Seane Corn, asking if I could be with her as she taught. I wanted to see what being the behind the scenes was like. Throughout the four days at YJC, I saw a side to a yoga event that I hadn’t seen before and I felt as if my bubble had burst. Where I was in MY life, and who I was at that point in time, all played a factor in the way I observed YJC.

I saw too many teachers full of ego, walking around as if their shit didn’t stink, almost treating their students like they were peons.  Then I saw and heard some students put their teachers on extremely high pedestals; they looked at their teachers as if they were the be all end all (Oh and FYI…I have done this before). There was almost a holier-than-thou energy throughout the environment or a “keeping up with the Jones’” mentality, as if yoga was the cool, hip thing to do and if you didn’t partake, you were less than.  My stomach slowly became one giant knot; I felt sick.  ‘What was I doing? How could I contribute to this kind of an environment?’  My head began to spin with questions and with judgment of them, judgment of me, and with worried thoughts of the future. Feelings of shame, guilt, disgust, anger, and frustration began to fill my body.  These feelings and thoughts only took me deeper down the rabbit hole.

For the next 2-3 weeks, I found it hard to authentically speak about Hanuman Festival or stand behind my dream. I kept this fairly quiet and only shared my feelings with a few people.  And during my meditation one day, my guides gently said, “Light and shadow exist in everything, my love.  You have a choice of where you want to put your focus.”  In that moment I felt spaciousness, a space I hadn’t experienced in weeks…. compassion, grace, softness, a tinge of possibility entered my consciousness.

I began to voraciously write in my journal, processing what was coming up for me.  I began with acknowledging and validating my emotions.  Authenticity is one of my values, so it makes sense that I was so triggered.  Hanuman is my baby, so it makes sense that I would be so worried about creating something that represented the negative aspects of the ego. I offered myself compassion. Then I reminded myself of a tool I use in coaching coined by one of my teachers, Tony Robbins, “Wherever your focus goes, energy flows.” My self-talk consisted of asking myself, “Where is your focus, Valerie, and where do you want it to be?”  It was on what was not working and what I perceived as wrong.  I wanted it to be on what was beautiful to me about the yoga world, AND that beauty existed.  The teachers I choose to study under are humble, real, and transparent. They allow their light AND their shadow to be seen. They are whom I choose to focus on.  My intention of WHY I chose to put on the festival was what I choose to focus on.  And in that moment, I felt my energy beginning to rise. It was almost as if the joy-meter in my heart started to rise and I could feel anabolic (positive energy) filling my heart.  It felt wonderful. Then what? I prayed in gratitude, “Thank you. Thank you guides, thank you God, thank you Spirit, for helping me shift my perspective and to keep my focus on what resonates with my Truth.”

Home Play: Noticing Judgment

*When, where, or who in your life do you notice you are judging—whether it is someone else’s decision, a way in which a person lives, a certain political party, or the way a community is even operating.

*What meaning are you giving it?  Become aware of how you might be taking it personally, feeling frustrated because you lack control and you think it ‘should’ be.

*What meaning would you rather give it?  Consider coming up with a meaning that serves you, and relinquishes judgment to the best of your ability, so you are not carrying any catabolic energy that is not necessary.  Remember, pain is inevitable. Suffering?? Well, that’s entirely optional. You have a choice of where you want to put your energy, your thoughts, and your time.

We are ALL on this human journey, experiencing our own level of pain. There is NO WAY that you can understand fully what it is like to be in someone else’s shoes. Ever. In addition, just because it is a way you choose to operate, who says that is the ‘right’ way?  It’s an opportunity to witness when we are playing ‘God’, and instead practice humility, grace, and detachment.  That said, you do not have to go along with someone or even be their friend. When we create a story around it, take on the energy or create a story about any situation, we are then carrying energy that burdens us more.

Feeling like you want support around this?? LEAN IN!! I am here for you.  E-mail me to set up a 15-minute consult to discover the best way to get coaching.

With big love and deep respect,


If you enjoyed this article

Valerie is a frequent contributor for over a year to SYJ. She uses it as a channel to share her work with more of the world as well as support the Shakti Tribe Community!

For over two decades, as The Connection Coach, Valerie has been guiding people to create extraordinary, conscious connection. She believes that ultimate joy is directly correlated to the kinds of relationships that you choose to develop and nourish. Her infectious nature encourages people to discover their greatness and play big. Working with Valerie you will re-haul your relationships with self, health, wealth, intimacy,friendships and Spirit, in order to create the thriving life you desire.