I notice a tendency to periodically going into less than optimal states, at least as defined by conventional views. I may stay up late and not get enough sleep. I may eat too much ice cream. I may not do much yoga or meditation for a while. And so on.
It seems that these phases are invitations to pick up the pieces. To find those aspects of myself I often and typically avoid, and bring these more into awareness. To allow the beliefs about these aspects to unravel, or at least be set aside for a while. To be with, meet, experience these aspects, simply, without the stories about them. To include them in my (human) identity. To become more familiar with this territory.
Of course, these come up no matter what, independent of engaging in meditation, yoga, good health practices and whatnot. But this is how it shows up in my life right now.
When I function more optimally, again as defined by a conventional view, I feel good. I don’t really want to face those things that seem to disturb this well being. I don’t really have to, when I feel good, most of the time.
So to meet the shadow, I engage in practices which are not optimal for my short term well being. And through that, I find another level of well-being, less dependent on content.
This is how our human lives seems to play out anyway. Most of us do some things that are (on a surface level) good for us, and some things that are not. So I may as well find some peace with it and enjoy it. And find the deeper level of well being that comes from just being with the experiences, no matter what they may be.