by Allen Michael Hart
What will it take to make our dreams come true?
It will take energy. But where will we get that energy?
Imagine how much we spend suppressing the parts of ourselves that we don’t want to be. That’s where. Imagine what it would be like to have all that power freed.
Be an empty cup.
The shadow is comprised of all the parts of ourselves that either we don’t know are there or have repressed– the part of us we don’t allow ourselves to see. (In my opinion, all that the shadow ever ends up being is a greater capacity to have gentle strength and compassion for oneself.)
It’s all the things we aren’t when we’re busy not being the things we don’t allow ourselves to be.
To begin to understand it you should know that, at its core, it is developed in our formative years as children.
When we are children our parental figures and the world around us impart upon us an image. Certain emotions, behaviors, and tendencies. Many of which are super non-magical and, to be crass, utterly useless.
We are taught that some traits are okay, some are worthy of praise, and others are wrong. (Truth be told, most of the useless anti-magical shit we learned was from being trained and manipulated to conform to the cultural status quo that informed the fears of our parents and society.)
As a way of managing our reality and maintaining a feeling of worthiness and connectedness to our caregivers, we began repressing and repelling the behaviors and experiences we learned to be “incompatible” with loveable-ness.
More simply and practically put: The shadow is that part of us that sabotages our efforts and undermines our intentions. It can rob us of energy, confidence, influence and charm.
Conversely, it’s also that part that might lead us to believe we’re more charming than we really are, or the part that has us acting a little more inflated than we really are.
Our shadow might be the part of us that refuses to grow up, to stop picking fights.
It’s the part of us that still gets triggered by pictures of our ex-lovers’ ex-lovers.
It might even be that part that hits the snooze button too many times and gets us fired from the job we’ve always hated, or the part that is convinced we need that red sports car now that we’ve turned forty.
It’s the source of all our magical and relational problems, and often times its the inspiration for our art (chew on that).
This highly simplified explanation is more or less a snapshot of how the roots of our shadow were formed in our nascent years, and how is reinforced and re-created every time we suffer shame, trauma, hurt, pain, alienation, resentment, and all those really shitty things that cause disconnection (and ultimately provide us with working material for developing our own power and compassion).
So ask yourself: What if there is a part of you that sabotages your efforts?
A part of you that undermines your desires, robs you of energy and self esteem, weakens your confidence and has you second guessing yourself… a part that makes you spill coffee on your shirt before the big interview or get sick before your date… the part that contributes to your negative thinking, that beats you up on the inside for your mistakes, and hits the snooze button too many times?
What if there was a source of all your magical and relational problems?
Whatever the case may be, this is the shadow and we ALL have one.
I both teach and practice two techniques that have been changing my life on a daily basis: Fear Inventory and Gratitude Inventory. These powerful linguistic stream of consciousness exercises, when worked over time, slowly take power away from the narratives, stories, and unconscious patterns that rob us of energy, power, and connectivity with others… and return that energy to us.
The positive effects can often be noticed immediately after completing the exercise in good form, and with regular practice can help completely dismantle the patterns and programs that have been running you for your entire life.
There are several other practices I teach and do in addition to these, and I’ll be posting all the information you need to get started on your own. If you’re interested in more free tools and information, then write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch and I’d be more than happy to have a one-on-one conversation with you to help you get the most out of these practices. They’re simple, free, and really can change your life.
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