Without doubt my greatest fear is my very-own shadow. Which is a bit of a bind as it seems to follow me everywhere I go and although most of the time i am not aware of it, all it takes is for someone to step on it and i am propelled into reactivity.
For years I doubted its very existence so skilled was I at blaming others, a skill I still possess in great measure. I would do anything not to realise the existence of my shadowy companion, yet wherever I went sooner or later it would turn up…like the proverbial bad smell.
Hiding it would seem my only option. To keep it safe and protected, out of harms way I might never let it meet another, this does have its merits as life is OK like this and i avoid having to face the dark companion. But, after not too long a time, I notice life is lacking in the unfolding dynamism that I so long for at the core of my life. I am back in my self-made prison. A place of quiet dullness and frustration.
Hiding has been my way from my earliest times and it was my main coping mechanism as a child trying to survive in a turbulent and blaming family atmosphere, ‘hiding’ did what it says on the can and i survived but i don’t want to live the rest of my life hiding when the possibility of a rich dynamically unfolding life is right here.
So what am i hiding from, what is that shadow made of? Why is it that when i am made to be aware of it i shudder and crumble inside? Why do I instantly want to blame another and distance myself from them, as if the fact that they stood on my shadow is their fault…yes they were clumsy but is my reaction to almost demonise them, to blame them and shut them out really the best answer….
There is another option. It is not obvious yet is has many bountiful merits. We can decide to refuse to be the victim of our shadow, we refuse to perpetrate our split, we refuse to side with ourselves against that dark and messy shadow. We refuse to condemn ourselves to hiding out and keeping safe from hurt.
In so doing we make a tremendous discovery, right there with that commitment to our innocence we discover a vitally important truth, we uncover our latent capacities for strength, courage and will, and we feel it unmistakably fresh and alive in the very moment of our challenge, in the moment we are called to face our shadowy friend and when we do not desert it we are touched and become aware of something extraordinary inside us.
It is unmistakable and once felt we know we cannot continue to live the half-life of blaming, distancing and hiding from ourselves anymore, sooner or later we know all the distractions, all the hopes for the future, all the strategies, in particular the spiritual ones, none of them can give us what we long for…freedom to be in all circumstances and situations, and most particularly when our shadow is stepped upon, when we are called to face our most difficult truth.
So, there it is. The reason why I find myself hiding, and blaming, and hoping…and yet I am fortunate enough to realise this shadowy form is also the doorway to greater completeness and reunification, the possibility of finding a deeper truer life, free of compulsion to hide from what is in fact my greatest opportunity.
So slowly, through experience, my shadowy friend is revealed as a treasure trove of the rarest and most beautiful gems. Finding courage to hold to my commitment to wholeness is never easy even after I have tasted the rewards, but it is possible and even the slightest effort is richly rewarded.
When life presents an opportunity to meet this place I used to instantly run, blame, and find myself back in my hiding place. I deserted myself over and over and I hurt those close to me. To those people I apologise, I apologise for my reactivity and fear of myself, and to my own un-lived life I apologise.
I still hide. I still have my shadowy companion. Yet to be honest, I am grateful for my shadow. I appreciate his innocence and vulnerability more and more. I deeply appreciate the tenderness and capacity to deeply feel he has brought into my life, to my shadow I am deeply indebted.