How Close Are You To Living The Life That Truly Excites you?
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Maybe it’s just me? I remember very vividly, when I was a child, I wanted to get rid of my shadow. I was jumping high, and when I landed, my shadow landed with me. I turned and twisted myself, running fast, hiding behind a house corner … my shadow was present wherever I was.
In the evenings in bed, I started to accept, I engage with my shadow - I created with my hands shadow figures, and actually became quite good with that. I used my shadow creatively, constructively.
Fast forward, some 30 years later, I suddenly met my shadow on a new basis. I participated in an advanced course to become a coach. The trainer introduced C.G. Jung’s shadow concept to us.
Carl G. Jung stated the shadow to be the unknown dark side of the personality. According to Jung, the shadow, in being instinctive and irrational, is prone to psychological projection, in which a perceived personal inferiority is recognized as a perceived moral deficiency in someone else.
Further down the line, on a weekend coaching retreat, we were asked to role play in front of all the team members. Luckily after dinner, and at this time I still was drinking wine, and boy, this helped to express things on a deeper level.
In the afternoon we had time to prepare for our evening performance, and I struggled to find something to perform. The trainer gave us a hint: engage with what triggers you, what makes you angry or uncomfortable.
I saw unforgettable performances that evening. It was great fun, and actually very eye and mind opening.
With my coaching practice I’ve learned to engage with my feelings, and these days I process anger quite quickly. Back then it was easier to trigger me. Things that I couldn’t understand and agree with made me angry. I had a wide range of topics coming up, a wide range of topics to choose from. Maybe because I grew up in Germany, maybe because I already lived in South Africa then - I chose to center my performance on racism. Not because I was ever a racist (as least not in my eyes, at least not that I can remember) - just because it made me angry to see racism or even the ignorance towards it. (If you want to get an idea how racism feels, watch Jane Elliot's „Blue Eyes“).
The performance was well received, though I personally suffered on stage and was sweating like I was in a sauna. It felt so real, so real that I considered to maybe have been a racist in a previous life-time.
What I learned with this experience was to engage with what triggers us. Role play is a perfect way to do so. On stage, I wasn’t fighting a shadow, I engaged with it, I became what triggered me.
Many years later I engaged with the shadow concept on a different level. I understood that most people are afraid of their shadow. Maybe as a child you were afraid of darkness, or to go into a cellar, a cave or any other dark room. Maybe you feared that there is a dangerous monster waiting for you, a thief, a criminal.
FREE QUIZ: How Close Are You To Living The Life That Truly Excites You? Check Out Now
FREE QUIZ: How Close Are You To Living The Life That Truly Excites You?
In most of the cases there was nothing. I remember myself, that I spoke very loudly to an imagined person when I went down into our cellar - maybe my father forgot to lock the door, and someone is now there … never happened, but always afraid. I started to use a strong torch, and whenever I "saw" something dangerous, I put my torch light there, and it was gone. With that torch I started to understand that I control my experience, and the fear was gone.
Often I say: You either own your story, or your story owns you. That's why we started MasterStories.com - a platform for people to process their past, and step by step, story by story own their life’s story. Whatever you give power to, hand your power over to, owns you. Claiming that ownership back is a truly liberating process. The truth will literally set you free.
What we are afraid of, owns us. Fear and pain are the gatekeepers to our biggest joy and gain.
I actually never liked the concept of the Shadow Theory. So many people start to be afraid of their shadow. But your shadow is a part of yourself - so what will happen when you are fighting a part of yourself, or deny it, or even hate it? How can you develop a healthy relationship to yourself, love yourself, when you are afraid, deny or hate a part of you? Could it be that your shadow, your story, your trauma actually keeps you away from self-love?
Some time ago I changed the concept of shadow into the concept of colors. You exist of many colors and facets of it. Countless color variations. One day some colors shine stronger as others. (Observe yourself in your choice of clothes for the day - why did you choose today what you are wearing? What dominant color is yours today, and what variations and accents have you chosen this morning? What’s your message for yourself, what’s your message to the world?)
Some colors of yourself you like more, others less. All of these are yours, all of these aspects is you.
Engage with them, Embrace them. Develop a humorous relationship to them. Embrace the once that you like less even more - these colors are the ones that need all your love.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jay currently lives in Cape Town, South Africa. A place he calls home. Jay’s expertise is to support and guide inspired individuals to transition from a profit oriented business career to a purpose driven business career. He recently started MasterStories.com, a platform on which individuals can share and process their personal story. Most excited however he is about starting The Bridge with his nephew Henri, who currently resides in Prague - two generations, inhabiting completely different parts of the world, coming together for the mutual intention of uplifting three and more generations! - Check out Jay and Henri's FREE QUIZ "How close are you to living the life that truly excites you?"