A Shadow Story

My Story:  A Shadow Revelation on a sunny day.

So here it is, the morning of the first day of Summer 2015 and Patty wanted to show me where she had been doing some cleaning yesterday on the side of our house.  When she was showing me what she had done, she also described what else she plans on doing there to make it even more attractive.

I noticed that there was some discomfort coming up in me, a tightness in my chest, and a bit of "fight or flight" anxiety roiling around within me as I listened to her plans and desires.  When she finished I said something to her that I can't even remember, but I know it was a poor coverup for the feelings that I had going on. 

I came back inside to continue working on this Shadow page and I didn't like the slow boil that I was experiencing.  It dawned on me that these thoughts and feelings were fears, anxiety, "implied" responsibilities that I was taking on.  Perhaps it would be more precise to say that "It" was taking on. 

To be even more precise, I would say that "It" had taken this on some time loooong ago when this particular aspect of my Shadow realm had made some decisions about the burden of being required to do things that were too big, too difficult, too much for little me to handle. I thought I would have to do this to make mom or dad or some other grown up happy, so they wouldn't stop loving me, wouldn't stop taking care of me, so they wouldn't send me away or leave me behind. 

Were the feelings that I was feeling today in response to what was going on today?  Nope.  These were feelings and fears that I felt as maybe a 3 year old or a 5 year old.  Feelings that at that time a part of me took on to protect me, to keep me safe, to not lose the love, my place in my family.  I (or "It) decided that I must do whatever was needed to not lose that love, that security.

And "The Good Boy" was born and he's been running me ever since (along with other Shadow Voices).  And I've been bowing to these Voices all my life. 

My response today was not so much in a clear voice that said, "Do whatever is required or I will lose her love", it was more a set of feelings, physical and emotional, that knew the drill.  The words weren't really necessary, I knew what to do to keep the love.  Obey and Survive.  Pretty simple.

Though Patty never said that these were jobs that she wanted me to do, something within me was reacting to something that wasn't even there.  I knew the feelings well, as this scenario has shown up for me over the years, no matter what partner I've been with.

I was sitting at my computer, working on this page, feeling those feelings churning and chewing within, and I got up, went to Patty and told her that I had been taken over by my Shadow when she was showing me what she had accomplished and what she still wanted to do, and I could see and feel myself pulling away from her.

My Shadow was just aching to put it all "over there" on her, so I had someone or something to blame for these feelings and fears that had been put on me.  What an insidious loop:  She said something, I had a reaction -- not to what was said to me, but to something that happened a long, long time ago -- and I was blaming her for my feelings.  It was so clear that I was the victim here, that I was being controlled, that she blah, blah, blah....

To review the events:  Patty invited me outside to see what she had done to beautify our home.  She was speaking to her adult partner, sharing her pleasure, her excitement, and without even knowing it, she ended up talking to and being responded to by a 5 year old.  An angry and scared 5 year old.

Wow, what an extraordinary trip it is to be a human being.

This sequence of events that took all of 15 minutes became an opportunity for me to step into the cave, to battle a dragon of mine (to see what was actually controlling me, to reveal it), to bring it into the light, and to see this scared little boy that wanted only to be kept safe and to keep me safe as best he knew how, and then to know him and embrace him.  This is a part of me.  He's not leaving, and I have a feeling that he wouldn't mind relinquishing the levers of control, particularly if he knew that he was safe, that I would take good care of him.  That he can relax. 


Do I want to let him continue to let him run my life?  No.

In the simple fact of now being able to see him, to recognize how that set of fearful reactions feels in my body, I have created a possibility in my life that hasn't been here until today.  The possibility of being able to make a Conscious Choice between being run by or observing this Voice.  Now it has become a practice of choosing, where until now it was an unmanagble reaction, a being run by, with no choosing in sight.


What an extraordinary adventure today.
  As I'm creating the chapter of The Shadow in my book "Designing My Life", I create a Shadow episode by reacting to something that Patty said (as distinct from Patty trying to get me to do something that I didn't want to do).  Then, while sitting stewing in these all too familiar feelings, as I'm writing about The Shadow, I begin to see that I'm in the Cave of My Own Shadow, and in recognizing that I'm being run by my Shadow, not by Patty, I have created a "choice point", a place where I can step out of the familiar mire of feelings and separation, and into an Opening of "Having Shadows" but not necessarily "Being Run By My Shadows".  A new practice was created.

Being able to see my Shadows doesn't eliminate them, but it does allow me to embrace them as a natural part of me as a human being as I'm moving through this Grand Adventure of being a human being. 

What an Opening for Living My Life !!

Whew, that was a LOT!  Perhaps I'll take a little nap.

To get more information about The Shadow you can click on "Joseph Campbell", "Carl Jung", or "Robert Bly" on the left navigation bar.

To continue on to the next chapter "Joseph Campbell", click here.