“It is by going down— Joseph Campbell
into the abyss
that we recover
the treasures of life.
Where you stumble,
there lies your treasure.”
“What can we gain— Thomas Merton
by sailing to the moon
if we are not able
to cross the abyss
that separates us from ourselves?
This is the most important
of all voyages of discovery,
and without it,
all the rest are not only useless,
“The process— H. P. Lovecraft
of delving into the black abyss
is to me
the keenest form of fascination.”
Today’s MotD reminds us that in order to soar like the ones we are meant to be we must be willing to delve into the abyss of our shadow self to uncover, release, and heal that which keeps us from soaring.
What is the shadow self? It’s composed of the parts of ourselves that we reject and store in our subconscious: the good, the bad, and the seemingly ugly. For example the “good” might be suppressing any talents we had because we were told that it’s not good to show off, or that we weren’t that good, or that particular talent was shunned upon. The “bad” covers a wide range of examples (made a mistake, failed at a project, guilt, shame, etc.). The “seemingly ugly” are mostly based on taking on as true someone else’s negative opinion about us or something we did or do.
Why do shadow work? It’s about bringing the unconscious to the conscious:
- “When we’re operating at an unconscious level, our shadow effectively controls us [ie: self sabotage]. So while, yes, facing our shadow is hard work, it’s also incredibly freeing.” Sarah Regan
- “for people with very low self-esteem, they’ll often put good things about themselves into their shadow because they don’t feel worthy of it” Dr. Tara Swart. “Shadow work offers us the chance to reclaim the gifts that make us who we are, which we’ve been hiding away.” Sarah Regan
- “To become the best version of yourself, you need to know what the bad bits are that are holding you back or are hidden.” Dr. Tara Swart.
We are encouraged to soar like the amazing beings that we are. Taking the journey into our abyss, our shadow self can be a glorious adventure of self discovery. We may be surprised to find that instead of revealing monsters, demons, or other horrible creatures, we are more likely to discover our own wounded inner child self curled up in a dark corner waiting to be hugged and loved.
For more, check out Sarah Regan’s article on shadow work or visit The Ford Institute’s Shadow Work (founded on the extensive shadow work of Debbie Ford)
The Mandala Lady
btw…started with this: (I experienced difficulty color matching both images)