Balance is not easy to achieve or describe and yet it is probably the most critical element of successful living, loving, means to world peace, and environmental wholeness. It is women and men coming to balance their shadow and light—their anima and animus—their male/female light and darkness. Darkness sheds light on needed change. Too much darkness over powers the light. Too much light denies change is needed. Imbalance in either leads to destruction. Creativity flows from balance.
In Carolyn Baker’s “Reclaiming the Dark Feminine” she writes:
“When women can develop a relationship with their feminine shadow, they are invariably empowered. When men dare to explore the negative and positive aspects of the anima, the courage to be vulnerable evolves, along with intention to protect and serve the vulnerability of all beings. Northern California author and soul-centered psychotherapist, Francis Weller, emphasizes that the darkness wants us to ask it what it wants from us. If we can actively, consciously engage with the darkness, we are transformed from victims into vital, autonomous human beings.”
Transpersonal psychology forms the basis for Carolyn Baker’s book that integrates psychology with spirituality. In looking up transpersonal psychology I learned it has only been around since the 1960’s. Outside of taking a class in 1997 titled “The Shadow Knows” given by Philip Sternig, a Transpersonal Psychotherapist, I can’t say I’ve heard much about it lately. It seems the learning it promotes would be of such value to the human race and our planet we would want to incorporate it in our teaching from grade school through college. It also seems it would be the basis of any religion worth its salt.
We have all inherited some imbalance. For me it came to a crisis with my aging parents’ care needs. After watching a video tape of my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary I wrote in God Never Hurries:
“But most amazing was seeing and hearing myself on the tape and how unaware I was. I began to realize the critical need to embrace my shadow. It is there to keep me balanced. But it was scary and hard to sort out because of the many bright masks my shadow had been made to wear. I understood it was those masks that help make abuse so systemic. And it seemed a clue to becoming aware of a mask is when there is only one answer or one way. I felt hope that if I continued to work on myself, someday I could come to honor both my mother and father.”
Life can be hard. There are choices to be made. Writing my story helped me figure some things out and pointed me toward more balance. Life is relational. We learn from our own light and darkness and the light and darkness of others.
What if we daily asked our darkness what it wants from us?