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Shadow Work in Eight Easy Steps: Romancing the Dark Side for Personal Growth and Development

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Shadow Work in Eight Easy Steps


Romancing the Dark Side for Personal Growth and Development
Feb 4, 2009 Megge Hill Fitz-Randolph Shadow work aids in personal growth by working with archetypal energies. Individual work with shadow archetypes now possible using eight easy to understand steps. The shadow can sabotage the better angels of ones nature. The good news is that these darker aspects can be tamed. Carl Jung, who first detected the shadow, wrote that once recognized and understood the shadow can be used for good in a process of self-development. There are eight steps to this process as understood by Jungian authors Zeig and Wolfe. (Check out my review of their excellent book.) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Meet the Shadow Detect Early Warning Signs of its Arrival "Romance" the Shadow Trace the Roots of the Shadow in Personal History and Family Patterns Trace the Archetypal Sources and its Story Explore Your Choices Observe Your Resistances Realign with Voice of the Self

Meeting the Shadow, Detecting Warning Signs Learn to identity the behavior which is sabotaging you. This may be the greatest challenge as many people have so identified with their own difficult patterns that the first instinct is to reach out and blame others. Or they live in the comfort denial brings going peacefully on their way. To detect when the shadow has been activated, pay attention to sensations in the body such as stomach tightening, throat constrictions, headaches, an overall feeling of numbness. These are all signs that some pattern of behavior is overwhelming the psyche. Another sign is patterns of thinking or speaking that keep repeating themselves. Sometimes great feelings, sadness, anger, jealousy, or lust are enough to announce its presence.

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7/2/2011 8:42 PM

Shadow Work in Eight Easy Steps: Romancing the Dark Side for Personal Growth and Development

http://www.suite101.com/content/personal-shadow-work-in-eight-easyish-steps-a93444?template=arti...

It is crucial to remain grounded in a sense of self. Learn to recognize what is truly one's core self which is different from the small self otherwise known as ego. If this seems elusive or one is unsure, consider engaging in the many practices whose purpose is to reawaken the self. These include prayer, meditation, walking, swimming, yoga, singing -- any activity in which one feels greater wholeness. As one learns to recognize true self, the shadow begins to loosen its grip. Roots in Personal History and Archetypes Trace the roots of unpleasant feelings. Did others in your family of origin respond in a similar way? Who in your past acted out in this manner? What were the conditions under which these reactions arose? Working with a trained therapist can be immensely helpful in uncovering these family patterns in a safe and life-sustaining way. One of the trickiest things about working with least attractive behaviors is the intense shame and guilt they arouse. Identifying or giving a name to the shadow that has momentarily taken over the personality by naming it can ease the healing and lead toward forgiveness. Because archetypal figures from ancient mythologies can express themselves negatively as well as positively, it helps to keep them aboard. Such figures as Aphrodite, goddess of love/ beauty yet also lust and bodily excess; Ares, god of strength yet also war and rage; and sweet Mercury, god of travel and communication yet also god of sly tricks -- all can be of help when needing to name an emerging shadow. Exploring Choices, Observing Resistance One gains perspective by holding onto ones true self. This is identified in many world religions as the Christ or Divine Self. Through prayer and meditation one becomes accustomed to the location of this true self which in turns keeps one in a more balanced frame of mind. Observe, however, any resistances in yourself and others as the behaviors change. The ego/self can be quite disappointed if it has to readjust to a "higher" ruler and does not give away its ground without a fuss. Coming Home If one is able to choose to listen to the higher self over the ego and respond in a new way, energy pours back into the psyche. One feels revitalized and realigned with one's true nature. This is what Jung called using the "gold" inside the Shadow. It is always wiser to welcome rather than resist the Shadow for the lessons and insights it brings. For more articles on self-development and Carl Jung's theories read What is the Shadow in Jungian Psychology and The Collecive Shadow in Jungian Psychology. Sources: Romancing the Shadow: A Guide to Soul Work for a Vital, Authentic Life by Connie Zweig, Ph.D. and Steve Wolf, Ph.D (1997). New York: Ballantine Wellspring.

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7/2/2011 8:42 PM

Shadow Work in Eight Easy Steps: Romancing the Dark Side for Personal Growth and Development

http://www.suite101.com/content/personal-shadow-work-in-eight-easyish-steps-a93444?template=arti...

Copyright Megge Hill Fitz-Randolph. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

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7/2/2011 8:42 PM