In last week’s post titled Balance I concluded with: “What if we daily asked our darkness what it wants from us?” So this past week I tried it and although I may have missed a day or two, I am impressed with how my shadow informed me, made priorities apparent, and smoothed out my week. I also reviewed my notes from Dr. Philip Sternig’s 1997 class, “The Shadow Knows,” and found good reasons to keep an on-going dialog with my shadow.
Clarifying definitions and quotes from class handouts deepened my understanding.
- It is not an entity. It is more like a quality, a condition, an influencing force, a “coloring” element within the ego.
- Those elements, feelings, emotions, ideas, beliefs, with which we can’t identify, which are repressed due to education, culture, or value system.
- Contains psychic energy—constructive and destructive.
- Edward Whitmont: “When we can’t see it, it’s time to beware!”
- It is 90% pure gold. It keeps the Ego true to the Self. But when repressed it emerges first in a violent, bizarre, distorted form.
- Maintains the essential balance inherent in all that is.
I now better understand the deep struggle I suffered over my aging parent’s care needs was really a struggle with my shadow. My nightly writing during that difficult time slowly surfaced my real problems and eventually brought the grace to overcome them. The following from “God Never Hurries” is the dawning of my understanding.
“ A secret of life is suffering for profit. The profit in suffering comes in the grace in knowing something inside me needs to die so I can experience new life. What needs to die is the once easier submissiveness to tyranny. It is so odd to feel I must learn to do more for myself and die to denial. It is the opposite of all I’ve been taught. I should be rejoicing, but so much darkness has been masquerading as light, making this a truly ugly struggle. But this difficulty with myself I can offer up.”
And I finished re-reading Carolyn Baker’s “Reclaiming the Dark Feminine” where she writes of the importance of ritual and how returning to our indigenous selves reclaims our connection to all things and one another. I wrote “God Never Hurries” to always remember the sacred ritual times I spent in the natural world where I experienced Oneness. Baker also writes, “…the transformational process is never finished and the completion of one initiation is organically linked to the beginning of another.” What’s next?
What if we could all come to befriend our shadow?