Celebrate your shadow
Day 286/366 days Towards Self-Mastery.
Oh Sarah today made me laugh out loud as she reflects on characters that personify our shadow selves, the Absolutely Fabulous Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley, Thelma and Louise and our very own Kath and Kim to name a few.
We all have it, a term coined by Carl Jung, a shadow side that he describes as the parts of ourselves that we don't dare show to others, that are distasteful, shameful and negative aspects of our personality. Is there any wonder that mental and emotional health has such a bad rap with that description? I'm sure that was the last thing that Jung expected.
Thank goodness our understanding of our shadow side has deepened somewhat. It's an interesting reflection, a shadow of our selves. To me it's much more than a shadow, and more an embedded programme that is set to auto-run. I guess the intensity of that shadow might be determined by just how much coping with adversity we've had to do.
Our hidden parts are the ones that don't know what to do with themselves. We cruise along being a really nice person until something comes along and prods us and triggers a hidden or quiet part of ourselves that we'd forgotten existed or rather, had hoped we had completely gagged. We might find ourselves going into a rage, a meltdown, or even a sulk, and find ourselves pontificating and justifying something unexpected and upon us without warning.
Don't fret. Over the years we've learned to manage our impulses to make life work, but occasionally when they surface to face the light of day, they scare not only everyone else, but also ourselves. How did that cat get out of the bag? I thought I had that one resolved. You'll hear yourself trying to stuff it back in the bag before too many people notice.
The very best news is that by allowing that little critter to surface, and by spending a little time being curious about it, you can make review its purpose fairly easily. That means, curtail that impulse to stuff it back in the bag. Give it airtime. Explore.
When we are able to take those old impulses out and give them a mental and emotional health check you'll be surprised how impressive they've been at protecting you and keeping you safe all these years, or even decades.
Don't be afraid of your shadow. It's a healthy life-giving and sometimes life-saving aspect of your personality that split itself off to manage certain overwhelming circumstances. It loyally stayed on duty should another similar event or situation present itself. It is/was an important element of your protection arsenal, and is to be celebrated, then given a well-deserved break from duty.
366 days Towards Self-Mastery
When I considered my New Year's intentions for 2020 I had just one: To allow my heart to love what it loved...and let it lead me. (If not now, then when?)
I've spent months working on integrating my life. To live life more fully with my home life, my interests, my work, my responsibilities, all coming together, all connected. I want to give each the attention that they desire and need, and still have time and energy for the others. That means living and working from the heart.
As I was clearing out my bookshelf over the Christmas break I discovered Simple Abundance. I set it aside to explore it on New Year's Day as I lazed through another delicious day of nothingness. Sarah, the author, says this book is about living in grace. Living in grace I realised, is about Self-Mastery.
My thirst for understanding the human condition has driven me all my life, and hand-in-hand with self-mastery it has been a life-long goal. And seeing as I love to write, that living in grace is about self-mastery, and I love a bit of a challenge, then if I am truly going to let my heart lead, I really don't have any other choice. So scary as it feels, I'm starting out on a daily mission of leaning into the suggestions of this daybook and making a daily post to keep me accountable. If not now, then when?
I'm Josie. You can find out a little more about me here.
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
This book is written for the Australian and NZ market because it refers to seasonal changes. It's available on Amazon here if you'd like to follow along.