The Shadow Dance

There’s a lot of talk about the shadow around this time. So my inquiry is what really is my shadow, can I accept it and love it as a part of me and when relevant, can I bring it forth to the light to be transformed.

Everyone carries a shadow," Jung wrote, "and the less it is embodied in the individual's conscious life, the blacker and denser it is’.

I wrote my shadow a letter this morning. I’ve been quite ignorant of it of late, perhaps my whole life and I wanted to let it know that I’m thinking of it, that it’s welcome and that though it’s company may sometimes feel

Difficult, ultimately it has my respect, and is both my learned teacher and devoted friend.

My shadow is the part of me I’d rather keep in the dark, even at the expense of my authenticity. My shadow is the part of me that lurches in my stomach and grips my breath and jaw tight manifesting as anxiety ,when I feel jealous of another, angry, unable to cope, ashamed, emotions I never learned to feel in entirety or at all and so it lives on trailing behind me hoping that at some point that I’d just turn around, face it, give it a smile, embrace it like the small child who is still longing for someone to say hey, it’s ok, come out and play, your welcome here, you never did anything wrong, or bad, hey you’re not perfect but you’re still welcome, all of you, come on Into the light. But ignorant of this simple invitation to parent my innocent shadow, I deny.

The more I ignore and reject my shadow the more I thicken the veil of illusion between my ego and the real world. Denial of my shadow, leads to me to project on to others my own grievances within, to codependent relationships, addictions and chronic pain. Denial of my shadow leads me to hide out in yoga studios getting high on soma vibes and mistaking instadenial for the real thing!

In this denial I am stuck in the past and afraid of the future, waiting for the boogy man shadow to strike and expose me at any moment. I project a false self into the present because I’m terrified to bring all of me into the light and to trust that all of me is welcome.

Denial of my shadow is denial of myself, a real person, a woman with heartaches and joys, memories and dreams, shadow and light!!

So yes, my manifesto on this darkest day of the year is to be brave enough to crawl into jall the darkest places of myself, to accept that I’m not perfect, that I am a human being and for that alone, I honour and accept myself. For this journey isn’t easy and I’d rather make friends with all of me along the way. I hope this little musing gives you food for thought and an invitation to love your shadow and that today you walk guided by the light, trusting that the dark will fall and again the light will rise and within the ebb and flow maybe you’ll be just a little friendlier with yourself.

Joanne King

Joseph Yanaku