Our first day began the day after I arrived.
Arn thought it would be a good idea to start our journey with a hike down a narrow trail in the Gouna forests where he lived. After about a half of a mile, we come to a clearing with a small stream, where the trail takes a sharp incline on the other side, littered with large rocks. After crossing the brook, Arn instructs me to pick a spot and take a seat. When I do, he sits behind me and instructs me to close my eyes, take a few deep breaths, and then be still, focusing on the sounds of the forest.
However, it isn't very long after I do that I begin to hear that familiar voice in my head, telling me things to make me uncomfortable, wanting me to say very unpleasant things to Arn, things that, regardless of whether they were true, would insult him, shock him, and shame me, leaving me very embarrassed.
When I told him about the voice, he asked me to allow it to give it free reign, to say all the things it wanted to say. Now, I knew this moment would come. I somehow knew, from the previous day, the day that I arrived, that I would need to let this all out. And I did not look forward to it. I would have to give voice to those nasty things in my head, things that I never, ever spoke aloud, to anyone. Ever. But I knew I had to now.
As I allowed this voice's will to take over me, I felt it slowly taking over my mind, bubbling to the surface, just like the feeling I get when I'm about to throw up. There comes a point where there's no stopping it, where the vile just has to be expunged, and once I felt I had reached that point, I took a deep breath, opened my eyes, and glared at Arn.
I won't repeat what spewed out of my mouth, but I inwardly cringed as I uttered each sentence, all of my worst fears about myself shallowly hidden in them. This left me, when I was through, in the most vulnerable state I had ever allowed myself to be in. He could decimate me back if he wanted.
Instead, he simply summarized what I had said, as if taking notes in a corporate meeting or a college class. If I had shocked or insulted him, he knew how to handle it. I told him how frightened I was of letting this all out, but his non-reaction to my barrage made me realize just how good I felt inside, exactly the same way my body would feel after throwing up. I felt lighter, and now that I had let the cat out of the bag, so to speak, I had the ability to notice that there was a...thing...a part of me...creating these thoughts. It had been desperately wanting my attention, and because I had pushed it away for so long, rejecting it out of disgust for what it said and the cruel things it wanted me to do, its anger and hatred towards me only increased.
Arn equated it to an ignored child. At first, the child will beg and plead for his parents attention, but the more the child is ignored, the more destructive ways he will act to get what he wants.
This part of me, Arn dubbed my Shadow. This is the part of my ego that's been hurt beyond measure, whose only response is to act in kind, to respond with hate and a desire for destruction. In my mind, I saw my Shadow's cruelty, its hate and want of destruction, represented by a small, red seed, about half the size of a pea. The power that exists inside this seed is so powerful that it projects hate all around it, creating a world of fear and pain to reflect its own suffering. Such a small thing that contains so much power, so much evil. The devil inside me.
Arn and I then made it our mission to understand my Shadow's story, and to heal the seed of hate inside of it.