No it’s not a dream and hopefully you are not living the same moments, scenarios, situations or decisions over and over, and over again. Welcome to Groundhog’s Day, that one, 24-hour period where each year, when highly trained scientists are upset that you have more faith in a prognosticating rodent, rather than your local TV meteorologist.
While I have posted this well before even the animal wranglers have risen and taken their cattle prod off the charger, in order to wake the fuzzy, obese cousin of a chincihilla , I can still safely affirm that no matter what Punsxawatawny Phil decides to do, the seasons will not change for another 6 weeks. Technically it is 6 weeks and 4 days until the Vernal Equinox, marking the official start of Spring.
Anyway springing ahead, the traditional concept of this hamster like gerbil relation seeing its shadow, or not, and then going back to bed, or not, shows some signs of “Becoming”.
The folkloric belief is that the critter is making a conscious decision based upon his vision and then taking a firm committed action whether or not to remain involved in what is going on in his sphere of influence, or just hibernate, hiding away, delaying any possibility of forward and upward momentum.
Which has me asking you, have you seen your shadow? Today we’ll examine our shadow sides and discuss ways to recognize, embrace and overcome them on our individual paths along the path of “Becoming”.
What is our shadow side or our shadow selves? These are the dark repressed thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and emotions which we have repressed and prevented them from being brought into the “light” . Much of the modern discussion around our shadow sides comes from the work of psychologist Carl Jung.
As Wikipedia elaborates, “In Jungian psychology, the shadow (also known as id, shadow aspect, or shadow archetype) is either an unconscious aspect of the personality that the conscious ego does not identify in itself; or the entirety of the unconscious, i.e., everything of which a person is not fully conscious. In short, the shadow is the unknown side.”
To those in the psychological world, your shadow is thought of as for everything we can not or will not see in ourselves.
However my earliest memories of these discussions cme from the traditional Cherokee teaching of the Two Wolves Inside. The short version is a grandfather telling a young boy about the two wolves that live inside each of us. They are engaged in a constant battle . One is good. The other evil. The child asks, which wolf wins,and the sage elder replies, “whichever one you choose to feed”.
Since most of us are at least initially unwilling to see or accept anything unattractive or negative about ourselves, most often we are likely to see the shadows of others befor our own. However opening up to the willingness and responsibility of exploring our dark sides has many powerful benefits including having a clearer focus, a better defined vision, improved relationships, a more accepting and acknowledging attitude, greater creativity, and a more awakened spirit.
All are tools empowering us along our paths towards “Becoming”. So quit putting it off and realize you must embrace yourself and accept your dark side. No more denying or hiding. You have a dark side. I have a dark side. We all have dark sides. The time has come now for us to admit it and free ourselves from it’s negative power and side effects.
Acknowledging your dark side does not mean you have to embrace it.
Now when you have those moments, when you feel out of sorts, not in balance and are reacting completely out of character there ways you can battle your shadow.
First find your center. Deep breathing, going for a walk, pray, meditate. Whatever works for you when you need to align yourself with your center. Then be aware of your feelings, acknowledge them, accept them and treat them with self compassion. Be honest about their existence and destructive potential then nurture yourself as you would another. Allowing for the light to shine over the emerging darkness.
Now that we understand what our shadow side is, acknowledge it and realize we need to accept and move beyond it here are “how-to’s”to add to your “can-do” lists.:
Release the guilt and shame.
Accept that you are not the only one.
Practice self compassion
Treat yourself with gentle self talk.
Share your fears or self-doubts with someone. Voicing victory over your shadow empowers your “Becoming”.
“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”-Carl Jung
Once you’ve had some time to process the darkness, tomorrow we’ll focus on shining brightly in the light as we’ll explore developing your joy, as you are “Becoming Today”.