Whatever aspects of ourselves we have hidden away, however unacceptable or destructive we may believe them to be, there is usually a kernel of essential ‘life force’ which we have hidden away too, along with all the ‘bad’ stuff that we are trying to avoid.
So, for example, we may have seen anger being used dangerously or abusively when we were a child and we made a very wise decision to hide our anger away and never act in that way. This was a good decision that is likely to have served us well. However, once we get to adulthood we find that in locking away our anger we have also locked away our ability to stand up for ourselves, to set our boundaries, to protect ourselves and what is precious to us, to be trustworthy and committed – these are the positive aspects that healthy anger has to offer. So it is with any other aspect of ourselves we’ve hidden – each has a golden side that we could really do with to help us get through life. We can see, with the above example of anger, that re-claiming healthy anger would mean we’d be able to set our boundaries more clearly and respectfully and stand up for ourselves with strength and dignity. This would lead to healthier relationships with others and ultimately we would feel better about the kind of person we are. As we gain conscious control over these aspects of ourselves we can discover the hidden value they hold and feel more comfortable and at home in ourselves.
A core belief that I hold when working with the shadow is that true joy comes from knowing, accepting, loving and blessing all parts of ourselves. This means knowing and accepting the parts of us that are in deep grief, or filled with rage, frightened, hesitant, hateful or full of shame or guilt. It means welcoming these parts of ourselves in to our conscious realm and tenderly caring for them and listening to their needs and the powerful emotions that they carry. As we come to know and accept more and more of ourselves we find we are more able to sit back, relaxed in our own skin, knowing there is nothing in us that we fear, nothing we need to hide. Sitting in this place colours all our life experiences. It gives us a deep confidence no matter what is happening around us and allows joy to arise even in the midst of life’s most difficult challenges. We lead ourselves through life from a foundation of joy which comes from knowing and trusting ourselves with all our varied and complex parts and coming to love and accept the person we truly are.
“It takes courage…to endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.”
“Become aware of what is in you. Announce it, pronounce it, produce it, and give birth to it”.
“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own soul. We do not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious”
“A human being has so many skins inside, covering the depths of the heart. We know so many things, but we don’t know ourselves! Why, thirty or forty skins or hides, as thick and hard as an ox’s or bear’s, cover the soul. Go into your own ground and learn to know yourself there.”
For further information about Healing The Shadow work, including details of individual sessions, group work, couple’s work and therapists trainings visit Marianne’s Website
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