Turn Your Personal Shadow Into Fuel For The Future

By Gary Houck in Awareness on July 4th, 2009 / One Comment

Take a walk in a big city. It could be Chicago, Boston, LA. Smell the faint stench of sewer on a hot day, observe shadows of glistening buildings hulking over you.

People pass on all sides in waves of color, bearing with them their own shadows, just as you, when sunlight touches them and stretches around. They might be lawyers, prostitutes, clergy; no ethnicity is excluded. All are equal; they have shadows. It’s a law of nature, of the physical world; every material thing casts a shadow of its own.

Take a walk in the countryside. It could be in the farmland of Kansas, Iowa, Michigan, perhaps a forest of trees. Smell the fragrance of spring blossoms, manure fertilizing crops, observe shadows of trees rustling in the breeze.

But we call it shade. And is it any wonder that shade is another name for spirit? Ghost, ka, demon.

It was believed in many ancient cultures that the shadow was the soul. For this reason vampires were portrayed as casting no shadow. And so it is said that when we fight our negative desires that we have unconsciously created, those which we attempt to hide and inevitably display in dysfunctional ways, that we are “battling our inner demons.”

My first experience with ‘shadow work’ as it is called, was with Centerpointe Research Institute. Well, that’s almost true, but give me a moment to relate my experience.

My shadow work resulted around anger. Mine was the common dysfunctional family. A self-righteous father with an immense insatiable hole to fill, and a loving mother who was as equally repressed as I.

Boundaries were ever shifting. What was permissible one day was wrong the next, then allowed the day after.

I was abused verbally on a daily basis, told I was worthless and other comparable ‘content-value’ labels. I struggled with myself because, while most of me did not believe these things, part of me questioned my certainty, made me think every so often that perhaps I was worthless after all. I experienced depression and on several occasions seriously contemplated suicide.

Meanwhile our family was in significant debt even though my father made sixty grand a year. I was wearing his hand-me-downs which were too big around the waist and too short at the pant leg. When I got a job, he abused me to my friends, and took half my money for rent which only went to buy more things. He didn’t drink, yet we never could figure out where much of the money went to.

After I caught him with another woman, life was more peaceful than it used to be because he was no longer around, but six months after I discovered that, despite my best efforts and my vow that I would never be like him, I sounded like him. It was something my mother did, and though I don’t remember what it was, I remember that I was reactive. I heard Robert in that voice, in that sentence I never completed, because suddenly I realized I had been acting that way for the last several months.

While he was around to remind me of the behavior that I hated, I was so docile I let people walk on me, but now that he was gone, everything of I which I was not aware floated to the surface. I knew that practicing is preaching, but I never realized I had been affected so strongly until that moment. What you do unconsciously will effect those unconscious around you.

I told my mother that was being a jerk, that I was being just like Robert. I asked her forgiveness and asked her to tell me any time I was acting like him because I did not want that in my life. It wasn’t until a few years after that I discover what this was called, but I never made the connection until the last few paragraphs, that I had actually done some beginner ‘shadow work’ on myself.

The ‘shadow work’ with the Centerpointe assistant, however, was much deeper. At first I struggled with wrapping my mind around the concept of becoming anger, until I realized I couldn’t logically be anger, that I had to be anger intuitively.

It required me to feel what anger feels like and fall into it, without any sort of mentally conceived definitions. It was an abyss and I hated what I found there, I hated being anger, especially when I began to speak from that voice which I had repressed in my attempt to survive.

Before we can rid ourselves of these shadows (and we all have them), we must first acknowledge that we created them ourselves. It does not matter that another assisted us in producing them. It doesn’t matter that we conceived them unconsciously.

What matters is that we conceived them ourselves and that only we can be rid of them ourselves. All it requires for us to be is willing and early on, some quality guidance. We cannot just label them as our ‘demons’ as if they something outside our sphere of control; all of us must be responsible for our own actions, for our own lives.

This is what Debbie Ford is offering. Her work is essential for helping you discover your full potential. Throughout her video The Shadow Effect, she gives examples of celebrities and our perceptions of them that instantaneously arise to show us that we are in fact no different than them, or anyone else in that we can achieve, or fail, as they.

No matter how high of a pedestal one is put upon, they are still only human. Anyone could argue any political angle, in favor of one celebrity or against, but those points are moot beside the fundamental purity of her intention and the value she offers to you, the seeker. We all can disagree in any area, but the point is made clear that our potential is limitless and that we all require assistance, even if it means assisting yourself, to change that shadow into light.

More information about the movie: The Shadow Effect

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One Response to “Turn Your Personal Shadow Into Fuel For The Future”

  1. Jonathan Lockwood Says:

    Your story was moving–and interesting, Thomas. Thanks for sharing it.

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