“The Shadow, of course never dies; we always cast a shadow. But how we relate to it, and it to us, depends on whether it is known. Once known, we have inevitably lost an innocence that can never be recovered. What replaces it is a knowledge of the complexity of our nature. Sometimes we are fortunate, and this knowledge elicits a kindness and tolerance in us for others — even, perhaps for ourselves.”
No, I am not talking about your literal shadow here. In fact, I am probably not even talking about shadows in the way you think of shadows So what am I talking about? Why don’t I start with what I am not talking about:
That is not the kind of shadow I am talking about here. I am talking about the shadow part of ourselves that we don’t let the world see. The part of ourselves that we were taught to be ashamed of. Of course this isn’t a full list but rather just a taste test of a few.
We all have two parts of ourselves. Carl Jung called them; “The Persona and The Shadow Self”. You will see lots of people use these terms so what are they? And what do they mean?
The “Persona Self” is the mask we wear out into the world. In Latin, Persona, actually means, mask. As we go out into the world that is what we do, we put on the mask. This mask can change based on who we are with, our friends, family, our lovers and sometimes ourselves. It isn’t our true selves but rather the one we think the world wants to see.
Then there is our “Shadow Self” this is the part of us that is made up off all the things we don’t want the world to see, it is why we wear the mask. It is where we hide our secrets and our fears. It is the part of ourself that we repress, where our hurtful thoughts live and we are afraid to show to the world outside of ourselves.
If you have spent time with any small child, you will see that they don’t label thoughts as good or bad, or actions as holy or sinful. These terms and ways of being are taught to us, from whatever culture and religion we have been raised with. With each interaction we learn to perfect our “Persona Self” and learn that our “Shadow Selves” are to be hidden at best or ignored at worst. Which of course is an impossible task and leaves us feeling torn inside.
“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light,
but by making the darkness conscious.”
We are neither and we are both, we are the beautiful combination of light and dark. I have spent the majority of my adult life running from my “Shadow Self” and I Am Tired. I refuse to run from those parts of me that others or myself have deemed as wrong or evil. I will embrace all that I am, The Light and The Dark.
“We humans are made up of stardust. Our eyes reflect starlight.
And when we crack it escapes and shines through.”
If I am truly made of the stuff of stars, that means that my light is only visible because I have lived and been born from the darkness. My light is only visible when I remove The Mask and allow the Starlight To Shine! Instead of running and hiding I am going to breathe it, dance with it and celebrate it. There are gifts that live within the darkness of my soul.
When I was younger, I loved debate and solo acting. For one of my solo acting pieces, I picked, My Fair Lady, where I won first place. Have I mentioned, Pridefulness lives in my shadow? I am Embracing and Dancing, with My Light and My Dark. I digress, back to, My Fair Lady, I LOVE everything about the movie and about embracing her character, her accent, her learning to speak the proper way. But I also remember missing the her she was before the Professor made her change. There was this beauty, this rawness that lived there, that when swept away made her feel less real. That is what it is like when we don’t embarrass our Shadow Selves. We are less real and alive.
I have had many “light workers” say we need to transcend our Shadow Selves, to which I say Bullshit! Integrate Them, meaning to take ownership of, YES do that. I have yet to meet anyone who is currently alive who has transcended their Shadow Selves. I have seen them hide them and to do the opposite. The opposite of Integrate is Disintegrate, meaning to fall of to break into pieces.
Hello Pot, Meet Kettle moment for you: I am still fighting the integration of my Shadow Self. When life gets messy and I feel the tug of a million directions and everyone I know wants me to fulfill their Persona Version of me, I can quickly break into a million pieces.
I am not advocating that the next time someone pisses us off or hurts us, that we go all ninja, and hurt back. That is not Embracing, that is being out of control. Instead, of embracing false piety, acknowledge that we are hurt, betrayed, and feeling damaged from the way we have been treated. You have chosen to share this journey with them; Show them All of you!
“It isn’t something to run from. It isn’t something we should hide from each other. If our true desire is more peace in the world and loving kindness towards each other, we cannot get there until we look at our darkness. If I want you to know me, and all I show you is parts of me that are polished and perfect, happy and light — you will never really know me.”
There are few harder things to do than to do the deep soul-searching work that comes when you decide to come face to face with the shadow parts of yourself. I am not going to lie, this is a lifetime journey to Radical Love but first you must walk through Radical Honesty. You will be able to face the hurt, the fear, and the anger that at times feel like it will consume you but really when integrated and loved, this work will lead us on to the journey that is filled with more joy and hope than you thought possible, the dust of the lies will become the Glitter of Truth.
Radical Honesty will lead to Radical Love!
Are You ready to turn your dust to Glitter?
Are You ready to integrate all parts of You into Your relationships?
Are You ready for Radical Honesty?
Are You ready to Radically Love and to be Loved Radically?
Are you Ready to Dance With Your Shadow?
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