At this time of year many of us are reflecting on changes we would like to make in our lives. In some instances New Year’s resolutions can bring about dramatic change, but many of us have also had the experience of resolutions being broken after a few weeks or months, and our hopes of change being dashed as the stresses and strains of everyday life overtake us.
If we’re finding it hard to make changes in our life this can sometimes point to unconscious forces at play. We could be hitting up against a shadow we carry – a memory, or a part of ourself that we have cut off, repressed or denied – over which we currently have very little conscious control.
According to Carl Jung –
‘Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. At all counts it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intensions.’
‘The Shadow knows why good people sometimes do ‘bad’ things.’ If we’re finding it hard to make changes in our life – even seemingly small or insignificant ones – it is worth looking towards our shadow side to see if the answer lies there…. It is very difficult for us to know what is in our shadow, as it is deeply hidden from us. However, compulsive, hard to change patterns of behaviour can be pointers to where our shadow may lie, and exploring this may hold the key to greater self knowledge, and help us to become more powerfully effective in creating the life we want.
(Follow this link for a short talk on how we can explore what might be in shadow for us: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kExS68AjA5M&index=3&list=PLvgWYx0ae1cAqdaNvwB5k24DwEm-Rfs58)Connie Zweig and Steve Wolf also say this –
‘Beneath the social mask we wear every day, we have a hidden shadow side: an impulsive, wounded, sad, or isolated part that we generally try to ignore. The shadow can actually be a source of emotional richness and vitality, and acknowledging it can be a pathway to healing and an authentic life. We meet our dark side, accept it for what it is, and we learn to use its powerful energies in productive ways.’ Below I’ve included some of my favourite quotes and poems on the theme of New Beginnings.
I wish you an enriching New Year, where the changes you’ve longed for really start to happen, and the hopes and dreams you hold in your heart finally begin to unfurl…
————————————————————————————– ‘The soul does nothing if you do nothing; but it can light a fire if you chop wood; if you make a boat it becomes the ocean.’
I will not die an unlived life, I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which came to me as seed goes to the next as blossom and that which came to me as blossom, goes on as fruit.
‘The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. Unforeseen incidents, meetings, and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.’
~Erica Jong~ ‘Do not play for safety – it is the most dangerous thing in the world.’
‘Acquire the courage to believe in yourself. Many of the things that you have been taught were at one time the radical ideas of individuals who had the courage to believe what their own hearts and minds told them was true, rather than accept the common beliefs of their day.’
~Ching Ning Chu~
shore for a very long time.’
‘Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.’
~Louis L’Amour~ ‘To avoid criticism
‘The way we spend our days is the way we spend our lives.’
‘Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go
do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.’
‘Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.’
~John C. Maxwell~
‘Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes it is the little voice at the end
of the day that says “I’ll try again tomorrow.”
~Mary Anne Radmacher~
The Ten Invitations
1. You are invited to love yourself, others and life without condition
– trusting that, in an evolving Universe, everything is unfolding
2. You are invited to do whatever makes your heart sing and your
spirit dance. Only that.
3. You are invited to live fearlessly and passionately – to step into
your divinity, while embracing your humanity.
4. You are invited to treat yourself and others with extraordinary
respect and kindness – reaching out with love towards all beings,
and seeing the Light within everyone.
5. You are invited to honour everyone else’s beliefs, feelings,
values and choices – knowing these add to the variety of life, and
that everyone’s path or guidance is unique.
6. You are invited to honour the earth, your body and all creation
as sacred and divine – and to celebrate life in all its richness.
7. You are invited to choose your own mission or purpose,
expressing your creative gifts, talents and vision in whatever way
feels most joyful.
8. You are invited to listen to the inner voice of Love, which always
sets you free – knowing that your goodness and worthiness are
never in question, and that you can do no wrong.
9. You are invited to trust in a loving and abundant Universe. Ask
and it is given. Seek and ye shall find. Knock and the door
shall be opened.
10. You are invited to follow your dreams and desires – trusting
your feelings, and using your imagination, to create your own
heaven on earth.
~From LIFE IS A GIFT by Gill Edwards (Piatkus, 2007)~
Shadow Work coach and Group facilitator