Facing the Shadows

It dawned on me, out walking yesterday, that the world of The Shadow, or ‘The Shadowlands’, isn’t something that I can just briefly visit as a ‘self-development exercise’, not if I hope to learn anything from it. And I can’t just examine ‘my shadow’ in isolation either. Because it doesn’t live in isolation or come to life in isolation. It comes alive in response to situations and people that feel challenging to me and, I’ll hazard a guess, often in response to shadow activity and activation in the other person too.

So it’s going to take patience, courage and compassion to keep visiting this land of darkness. This land hidden from awareness (my own and other people’s) and to attempt, however clumsily, however ‘in-artfully’, to shine a little light of conscious awareness when I’m there.

It will take patience and perseverance to gradually stop ‘beating myself up’ when I stumble (as I inevitably will) and not to allow my inner self to feel beaten up when I meet passive or actively aggressive ‘shadow energy’ in others. But, rather, to gradually cultivate compassion for us both.

Because usually, and sometimes with the inscrutability of a Chinese puzzle, we’re all just doing the best that we believe we can in any particular moment…until we learn the wisdom and reward of ‘lightening up’ the shadows that we carry within…

…and now that I re-read what I’ve written I can hear how vaguely pompous it sounds. But ‘not liking the way a message is delivered’ doesn’t mean that there isn’t truth within it, as I’ve learned on many occasions in the past. And I’ve also learned that, if I can keep an open and non-defensive heart and mind with shadow work, towards myself and towards other people, then the more I do, the more I see.