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I am devoted to helping people become more of what is possible for them. My commitment, actually my passion, is to help people become more fully alive.

Me and My Shadow

Try walking down a country road in the summer time without your shadow.  Denying it won’t help, it is a demanding task master.  Cross the road, it is there, walking backwards wont help; it is a constant.  Where there is light, there is shadow.  As well as the outside shadow we have an inside shadow often experienced by us as alien, a “not us” part.  The more split off from it we are the more uproar it can cause us in the daily living.

Some examples of the shadow showing up is in the compulsivity of addictions, adultery, lying, stealing, murder, easting disorders, depression, blaming etc.  Whatever form it takes the aftermath is shame, pain and crises.  Even if nobody finds out about our darkness, it still exacts its price.  We hear from the news about a respected minister who has used some of the congregations offerings to pay for visits to prostitutes.  A normally kind woman shows her shadow when she verbally attacks her child for errant behavior.  A client comes in distress saying she got drunk and had unprotected sex the night before. She has experienced her shadow.

How about a father who has denied his own feelings of vulnerability and cannot tolerate such feelings in his wife and children.  When they show feelings he cannot tolerate in himself he becomes demeaning and abusive.  He condemns in others what he won’t own within himself.

When you hear the phrase “the Shadow” what does it conjure up for your?  The tendency is to see it as the dark side of human nature maybe evil “not us” but “them”  What if we reframed “the shadow” and claimed it as the unknown part of us, the part of us that often rears its ugly head when we least expect it.  It shatters our mask or how we usually present ourselves to the world, in our families, careers, relationships.  Often people refer to the shadow in others as their blind spots.  Are you aware of your “blind spots”?

What we resist; persists.  When we deny or run from the fact that we are capable of darkness we give it more power to surprise us and do harm to self and others.  What if we became curious about the unknown parts of self and turned around to face them.  When we stop flinching and start examining  all of our parts, the good, and the not so good; we give up our one dimensional masks and become richer tapestries with more depth and understanding.  Only to the extent that we know ourselves and accept who we are, are we able to love and understand others.  In our fear and ignorance we project “out there” what we loathe within.  What if we embraced our shadow with intentions to transform, to grow beyond the present boundaries into to more interesting people.

If we don’t understand and integrate the hidden parts of our self we tend to make the same mistakes in thinking feelings, and behavior that bring us the same results.  It does not matter how  much we wanted things to be different, more of the same won’t work.  Who do you think is running the show when poor choices are made and bad results occur?  The port of you that is unknown, denied and pushed down.  It’s your shadow that’s sabotaging the game plant.  Hello!!

More next time on how the shadow plays out in our culture, work, relationships, etc.

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