Owning up to your “shadow” – not a bad idea, can be a difficult process though.  It’s the Holiday Season so get ready to face it, cause it is going to be in your face screaming a big “Fuck You”, which for me can easily mean, turning around and projecting it onto someone else (I mean wtf, this is the shadow – I ain’t gonna own it – that’s its point).
Tis the season to be with “family” and there’s nothing like family to bring out a little bit of my repressed features.  The bigger the jerk, the more likely I’ll project my disowned self  (hell, you should see me at work recently – it’s all – “I’m rubber, you’re glue”).  But family D-r-a-m-a makes  the  stunts pulled at drag shows seem tame (and trust me, those queens know drama).

If you head over to http://www.IntegralLife.com,  Kelly Sosan Bearer has written some great 101 articles on the Shadow.  Really worth taking a look – even if you’re like me and spent quite a bit of time examining this issue over the years.  “Hot on the Shadow’s Trail”  also includes an informative 10 minute video by Diane Musho Hamilton.   Here is an excerpt:

“There are several benefits to recognizing and working with our shadow qualities. For one, we are usually more effective when we are not projecting all over everyone and everything we encounter. By reclaiming our projections, we unburden others from our projections about them, and allow them to just be themselves, rather than as how we see them. In that way we gain more objectivity.
But possibly the most important reason to work with our shadow is that hiding our shadow from ourselves requires an extraordinary amount of energy. What could we do with all that liberated energy? Enjoy life more? Enjoy others more? Accomplish more because we aren’t being constantly triggered into a familiar drama? Maybe even make a developmental stage transition?”

I think one of the greatest benefits of examining and owning the shadow for me is that I have a great desire to open – and part of what the above excerpt points to –  is that we are able to be more objective when we own our shadow.  Wouldn’t it be great to say,  “I don’t ALREADY know how you’re gonna act”, because you’re making it about yourself (your shadow) rather than them?
So in the end whether they are a jerk or not doesn’t really matter.

(sure, easier said than done – but you gotta start somewhere. And you have to have a bit of healthy ego development and sense of self to begin to even look at your dark side, otherwise you’re gonna go neurotic or even psychotic – which probably explains why some of those family members will never try this process.)


2 Responses to “Owned!”

  1. December 7, 2008 at 6:12 am

    Is the “shadow” something like karma? The junk we are carrying around? The jumble of old stuff that messes with our present intentions and adds a subtext that we might not be seeing very clearly?


  2. 2 johnherberger
    December 7, 2008 at 9:22 am

    Yes very much so; the shadow is very similar to this, or perhaps a “type” of karma – or projected junk.

    It is so repressed that we have to project it on to another. When confronted by it we are so guarded against it that the only way we are able deal with it is to see it as a quality of someone else (usually a person we do not like). It is nearly impossible to see as a quality of the self. It is the stuff we can in no way automatically see as ours. In fact we very quickly and automatically disown it.

    The only way we can see it as a quality of the self is to first notice, who we are having an intense feeling about, and then not only own that we are judging without compassion, but own the quality as actually within us (not them). I thought the film “Fight Club” was a wonderful example of this (Moby Dick is also a great shadow projection story, let alone all the shadow elements in the Star Wars sagas, King Arthur tales and the Old Testament).

    I think history has shown spiritual leaders are most susceptible to not noticing or owning their shadows. Usually by making excuses for their hurtful actions in the name of spirituality – explaining that they “understand” or “see” the situation the way a follower can not – and are therefore not acting out their shadow repressions but beleive they are acting on some higher spiritual purpose. The owning of their shadow is almost like a spiritual leader’s greatest task.

    Anyway, all that being said. Breathing, Meditation, Mindfulness, the 3-2-1 process and honest friends keep me aware of my shadow . . .

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Live'n Aloha on Maui.
Lately just posting pics, artwork, vids, & music with just a headline (less seems to be more).
Into Wilber, Beck, Zen Stuffs, Spiritual Concepts, Philosophy and Humor (kinda geeky humor).
Currently attempting to strengthen my meditation skills (this has been a 20 yr process).
Thanks for stopp'n by and please leave a comment. Poz or Neg, all comments welcome.
"I don't like Spam" (said with a British accent)

December 2008
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