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Friday, August 14, 2009

The Shadow Dance

Things Are Not Always As They Appear

I think we can all relate to the shadow aspects in our lives and how they can offer us opportunity to grow to new levels with ourselves and others if we take responsibility for "them". If not, I know firsthand that they keep showing up anyway, so we might as well listen and take note, and in turn, heal from them. Funny enough, they sometimes do not turn out as scary as they were made out to be in our minds.
And sometimes they do. But with observation and awareness, even your darkest shadows can be turned into art.

Shigeo Fukuda, Lunch With A Helmet On, 1987

Throughout the article below, I have woven photos from the artists Shiego Fukuda, Tim Noble and Sue Webster that symbolize to me the beauty of the shadow once we are willing to look at "our rubbish" from a different view. Enjoy.

The following is an excerpt taken from an article on the Shadow written by Rebeca Eigen in Conscious Living Magazine Winter Issue 2000.

What is it that constitutes a good relationship? Is it getting along harmoniously, being loving, truthful, honest, supportive? These are certainly virtues and ideals that we all strive for. And yet despite our most valiant efforts, we continually come across problems and situations that puzzle us about our relationships.

Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Dirty White Trash, 1998

A very interesting thing about life is that it all starts repeating at a certain point and those of us who are willing to live a reflective life, have to ask ourselves some very important questions. What is this about? Why did I attract him or her? And why is this repeating in my life?

If we're honest with ourselves, we know that who we fell in love with at 20 can be eerily the same person at 30, and even 40. We also know that the same kind of person keeps showing up as our boss, as a coworker and even as a friend, even if we decide to leave and distance ourselves from their presence. We can continue to do that for a long time. We can leave one relationship and find another, and we can certainly leave a job, or a friendship, or even a sibling who we have decided is causing us pain. We can continue to blame others for our negative experiences, or we can muster up the courage to take a long, hard look at our own Shadow.

The Shadow, is a psychological term introduced by the late Swiss psychiatrist, Dr. Carl G. Jung. It is everything in us that is unconscious, repressed, undeveloped and denied. These are dark rejected aspects of our being as well as light, so there is positive undeveloped potential in the Shadow that we don't know about because anything that is unconscious, we don't know about.

Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Real Life Is Rubbish, 2002

The Shadow is an archetype. And what an archetype simply means is that it is typical in consciousness for everyone. Everyone has a Shadow. This is not something that one or two people have. We all have a Shadow and a confrontation with the Shadow is essential for self awareness. We cannot learn about ourselves if we do not learn about our Shadow so therefore we are going to attract it through the mirrors of other people. Taking Responsibility for Our Lives The first thing we have to do in order to begin to see our Shadowsides, is to take 100% responsibility for our lives.

This is a very difficult thing to do and no one does this overnight so we have to be patient with ourselves.
Being in the human experience, we have all had many painful, difficult experiences where it clearly looks like it is the other persons fault, or bad luck in life or whatever else we want to call it. So taking total responsibility for what appears to come to us is no easy task but it is well worth the effort because when we take responsibility for what happens to us, we can then learn and grow from our experiences and make new choices for ourselves.

Changing our attitude from blame to responsibility will change what happens next in our world. Our destiny is of our own making and what goes on inside of us will be reflected outside of us all the time.

I am very fond of this ancient axiom given to us by the alchemists of long ago: "As above, so below, as within, so without, so that the miracle of the one can be established." What it is saying is that what is within us, will also be oustide of us. Inner states of consciousness will be reflected in outer situations time and time again. If we are willing to look at the significance of these repeating patterns, we will see the synchronicity of events and situations and ultimately once integrated the miracle of the one is established as we become one with ourselves.

Be kind to yourself and others.
With love,

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