Reclaiming Our Shadows: Turning Our Disowned Aspects into Powerful Allies

October 13, 2018

“To confront a person with his shadow is to show him his own light.” (Carl Jung)

Whatever parts of a person are relegated to the shadows of his or her psyche become forces of unconscious behavior. In these orphaned impulses and emotions lies a potency that few dare tap into.

An abstract painting with large blotches of red, white and green on a black background.

“Nel mezzo…” by Laura Casini

In these disowned dreams and unloved identities lie some of our greatest gifts––the very keys to the most beautiful lives we can barely imagine living.

Until we embrace our shadows and reclaim the beauty and innocence of our whole self, we will move through life bogged down like a computer desperately in need of defragging. Until we can love these deep impulses we will dissociate from them in repression and sneaky shadow-games that cause harm to the body and the ones we love most.

When we companion each other across the thresholds of shame and fear that keep us small, and hold a deep and trustworthy space for whatever surfaces, immeasurable energy is unleashed. Profound bonds of comradery are formed. And the world becomes a safer and more vitally alive habitat for all of us.

People who know their shadows intimately, who have chosen to make them their beloved servants and wards, are people who no longer project them onto the world and battle them in their most intimate partners. They are no longer enslaved to their shame, and can walk unhidden and invulnerable to attack from outside forces. They also become magnetic and potent in their wholeness, capable of more than they have yet dared to dream.


One comment:

  1. john tucker

    October 14, 2018 at 9:54 pm

    Most of the people I know will totally disown their own shadow and blame those impulses on the devil, or on stress, or more and more often these days upon some elaborate label of “mental illness.”

    My own shadow plays pretty rough with me, quite often deliberately defeating some of my best efforts at life or success. Its not real nice to the people I cherish the most, either.

    Claiming it as an ally has taken me many decades of focused attention, first turning my whole life inside-out and then staying open for constantly learning and accessing new behaviors. Many of those behaviors turn out to be totally surprising to all of the people around me in this society. They will win the respect of some people but the intense fear and animosity of countless others.

    Many people in this society get along much better with losers than with winners. But ultimately we all walk alone, no matter how hard we try to fool ourselves into believing otherwise.

    Reply

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