Embracing Shadow: Step 2b

You have written down your C.D.N.T. at this point. If you’ve come in on this post, click here; otherwise, proceed.

Your Next Mission, Should You Choose To Accept:

You will find the Equal and Opposite Positive Trait (E.O.P.T.) of your CDNT. Below is a link to a list of those kinds of character traits:

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/character-traits-list.html

I’m sure some of you are wondering what I’m playing at, but if you remember from the Anatomy lesson, a Shadow is the flip-side of an admirable trait. You’re trying to get an idea of what that might be. I want you excited about meeting one of your Shadows because this positive trait is what your Shadow and you are capable of achieving when you work together.

Do your own research using your own sources if you like. Ingenuity is encouraged in creating a magickal life. Feel good about how you’re taking steps to grab the reins of your own speeding chariot of life.

That’s it for now, but I’ll leave you with another link that is tons of fun:

http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/Default.aspx

I took the Brief Strengths Test under Engagement Questionnaires and it was spot-on. Of the 24 Character Strengths assessed, Valor/Courage was my top strength. At the bottom of the list?

HUMILITY

I laughed so hard I cried because anyone who knows me well will tell you that there isn’t a humble bone in my body!  Good thing Sense of Humor was my #2.

Enjoy!

Next: Meeting Shadow

Embracing Shadow: Step 2a

Okay, so you’ve got your Negative Bucket List (N.B.L.). If you don’t, then click here for the previous post.

The N.B.L. is actually the reverse of the bucket list of fun things you want to do before you die. This is the list of mean, stupid or embarrassing things you’ve done up to this point. You have been very brave, Grasshopper!

What does your list include? Is it events? Feelings? Things you said? Characteristics you don’t like about yourself? I know that sometimes people interpret the instructions differently and that’s O.K. Regardless of how you wrote down your N.B.L., you will analyze the list for commonalities.

If you wrote down events, what is the most common element to all of them? Or if it’s feelings, which one appears the most often in your expression? And if it’s things you said, what is the most common context? You’ll translate these commonalities into characteristics. Once you have a list of characteristics, then you are ready to get down to business.

Your Mission, Should You Choose To Accept:

Pick the negative trait that seems to do you the most amount of collateral damage. I’m talking about the one trait that deviates the most from who you believe you are or from the person you want to become.

The link below will help you explore negative traits:

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/negative-character-traits.html

Using your N.B.L., learn what the labels are for your negative traits. This is like shining big, hot spotlights on your Shadows. They’ll appear blacker than ever but that’s a GOOD thing. You can’t address a problem until you know what it looks like from all the important angles.

Feeling discouraged or self conscious? Remember my Shadow, Motor-Mouth? This just goes to prove that EVERYONE has negative traits and that most of us agonize over one thing or another that we’ve said or done. Set self-consciousness aside with this simple technique:

Remember something you’ve said or done in the last month that causes you cringing discomfort (e-gads, that’s weekly for me!). If you haven’t done anything drastic that recently, go back a bit more than month.

Got it?

Now, think about something someone else has said or done that made you think they were a complete douche bag lacking in intelligence, couth, and coolness. I want you to be as hard on this douche bag as you are on yourself.

Got it?

Now, think about how easy it was for you to come up with something about what you’ve done wrong than it is for you to think about other people’s flaws. It was soooo easy for you to pick yourself apart, wasn’t it?  You are your own worst critic. You are meaner to yourself than others are to you – even the douche bags.

Truth is, most people have the same distorted perspective of themselves that you have of yourself.

<Choir of Angels sing as the heavens open up in a blinding cascade of brilliance.>

That, magickal people in training, is an EPIPHANY.

So what have you decided  your Collateral Damage Negative Trait (C.D.N.T.) is? Write it down.

Once you’ve finished that task, click here for your next mission.

Embracing Shadow: Step 1

Last installment, you discovered that you are a very complex holograph of personalities.  You also learned that Shadows are fragmented pieces of your holograph—blocked energies that will express through your subconscious if you don’t pay attention. Since you can’t banish or destroy energy, you’ll have to find another way to get your Shadows to toe the party-line.

Having dealt with my own shadows over the last 20 years and having experienced the darkest expression of Shadow (which can be likened to Possession), I feel I may speak with confidence on the subject. One thing that these experiences have taught me is:

You are what you believe.

Everything you think, whether conscious or not, weaves into your reality, but the thoughts that carry emotion pack the biggest punch. The thoughts you feel are your beliefs. To change either the thought or the feeling changes the belief. Changing the belief changes your reality.

With this pearl of wisdom comes an even scarier understanding that you are responsible for your own reality. Since you have the power to change what you believe, holding your Shadows prisoner by denying them voices to effect change becomes an indefensible act of self-sabotage. You are miserable (in some ways) because you choose to do nothing about it. Of course this is all part of being human, but I thought I should point out that as adults, we’re the authors of our own horror stories.

Now if you need serious therapy or have horrific experiences in your life journey, meeting your Shadows without the guidance of a qualified therapeutic professional is strongly discouraged. I am not a qualified therapeutic professional. I’m more a fellow traveler who has seen enough and done enough to share her experiences and understandings with like-minded individuals.

So, that caveat expressed, let’s get started with an exercise.

I want you to make a list. This is the negative bucket-list where you write down the worst things you can remember about yourself. Example: I remember one time in band camp, I kissed this boy. Three years later, after having people rag me about this kiss, which for the life of me I couldn’t remember and denied vehemently, I remembered it in all its earth-shattering horror. And it hadn’t been horrible because of the boy:  he was very sweet if a little forward. What had been horrible was that I had run my mouth without any consideration of what was coming out of it. Then my Shadow had deleted the event from my hard drive!  Shadows are sneaky. Luckily, she had forgotten to empty the Recycle Bin.

That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. One of my Shadows is a motor-mouth; I’ve come to an understanding with her. These days she has safe people to chat with and we’ve even made it a game to see how long she can keep her counsel, even with the safe people. Otherwise, she’s a great conversationalist and she’s getting really good at shutting up. I’m so proud of her!

So if you’re a motor mouth and it’s ruining your peace of mind, put it on your list. Other negative top-of-the-listers could be inappropriate and rampant sarcasm or the overwhelming need to be in a relationship despite the “winners” you’ve picked in the past.

That’s my list (XD), what’s yours?

Next: Embracing Shadow Step 2a

Call for Interaction

Call for Interaction.

I’m looking for ideas from my fellow writers. Come visit my blog and get a dose of magickal living to boot. Your comments and questions might open a whole new avenue of exploration in my project. Hold me accountable! (Because I am a complete procrastinator.)

Anatomy of the Shadow

This is a continuation from the Call for Interaction post. Please click here if you missed the beginning.

Excellent! Whatever you wrote is correct. Why? Because magickal people understand that you are the creator of your own universe. No one else has your perspective, your experiences, or your shadows. What you wrote, if you played fair, is a reflection of your truth.

So let’s get a few basic principles under your belt about the psyche and why shadows, plural on purpose, may be sabotaging your efforts to be magickal.

1. You are multiple personalities.

In no way am I suggesting that you’re crazy. Think about who you are with your best friend and then think about who you are with your supervisor or a client you don’t know very well. You have faces, or masks, that you wear with different people and each of them are You. Some of these faces you like better than others. Some faces are so unpleasant that you try not to let them out into public at all.

What makes you different from Sybil?[1] Sybil’s consciousness was so fragmented, she had a total of sixteen different known personalities that manifested. You have that many personalities in you if not more, but they are so well integrated that you only sense the shift as the people in your environment change. These personalities help us to adapt, and when well integrated they form a holographic personality that you know as You.

2. A Shadow is a fragmented part of your holographic personality.

Have you ever heard of shamanism?[2] Shamans are people who achieve altered states of awareness to interact with the collective unconscious. The collective unconscious is a structured place (i.e. there are worlds and levels of existence) that receives the knowledge, experiences, and awareness of all creation. Humans access this collective unconscious through their subconscious minds either in dreams or using shamanistic techniques.[3]

Some shamanic traditions practice what is known as soul retrieval. This technique is used to achieve psychological integration. The shaman enters an altered state of consciousness, searches for the missing fragment of the person’s soul, and when he finds it, he tries to lure the soul back home. That missing fragment is a Shadow.

3. Shadows are the flip-side of a desirable trait.

For example, vigilance is a very desirable trait for a soldier to possess, even to the point of ever-present suspicion, especially in combat situations because that vigilance increases the soldier’s odds of survival. But such intense vigilance can develop into a paranoia that is expressed in non-combat situations. Paranoia is often an obstacle to intimacy and can destroy a person’s peace of mind.

4. Shadows are blocked energies desiring expression.

Shadows are not alien beings that must be destroyed before they take over planet Earth. They are energies within your psyche that have helped you cope with less than pleasant circumstances. Often, the energy becomes a Shadow because the circumstances have changed and your psyche hasn’t quite gotten the message yet that the threat has passed. For example, Mr. Wrong, who always put you on the defensive with snide little comments wrapped up in innocuous statements, has been replaced by Mr. Right. Unfortunately, the pattern of searching for Mr. Wrong’s nasty pill of a put-down in Mr. Right’s genuine compliments just might drive the good guy away.

Shadows can express themselves in many ways, often without you realizing what’s happening. Magickal people know to look to their environments because what happens on the outside often reflects what’s happening on the inside. The same situations keep coming up: All your co-workers think you’re an arrogant [insert insult of choice] and it’s affecting your ability to get a promotion. You keep having to extricate yourself from Fatal Attraction relationships because, “She really seemed nice at first.” You keep reliving your source relationship with your mother (or father) with the women (or men) in your life.

Whether you like it or not, that Shadow is going to express itself. The goal is to direct the form of expression it takes.

5. Energy transforms but it does not go away.

In fact, the whole reason why you have a Shadow to begin with is because you tried to send this energy away and ignore it. You can’t banish or eradicate a Shadow.

Shadows are blocked energies and the only way to effectively deal with them is to absorb and transform them. People can argue with me all they want and tell me I’m full of hornswaggle because they’ve banished shadows and blah, blah, blah. Fine, but it is imperative that you, magickal person in training, understand one thing about energy:

All the Power that ever was or will be is here now.[4]

This means that all the energy that ever was or will be is here now, so deal with it. Stop hiding your head in the sand and look your Shadow right in the eye.

Next post: Embracing Shadow Step 1


[1] Sybil is a book about a woman with multiple personalities. This book illustrates a classic example of the dissociative mental illness.

[2] The Foundation for Shamanic Studies was founded by Michael Harner, a well-known and credible expert on the practice of shamanism. You can find good information about shamanism at this site and in his book The Way of the Shaman.

[3] Sometimes altered states of awareness are reached through the use of drugs, but the shamanic training to earn control over the experience is so long and intense that the practice is discouraged in many magickal communities.

[4] The Pattern of the Trestleboard. Courtesy of B.O.T.A.

Call for Interaction

Blogs require multiple posts to be successful, so I’m soliciting your input into the process. I need you to hold me, a writer/procrastinator extraordinaire, accountable for producing exceptional, and ultimately useful, product. You’ll also help me shake a serious case of the holiday blues.

Here’s the plan:

You, the audience and co-creators of all things bloggable, shall submit questions to me about Magickal Living. Now don’t worry if you don’t know anything about the aforementioned theme. There are no stupid questions. And if you do know what it’s about, erudite and snarky questions are equally welcome. Please make me laugh, make me think, and extricate me from the coma (comma?) that has become my life.

This is also your opportunity to bring your blog to my attention because if I like your question, I’m going to visit your blog. I’m going to post and friend you on Facebook and invite you to my LinkedIn as well. You have been forewarned.

In the meantime, here’s a li’l something to get your juices rolling.

Anatomy of the Shadow

I’m sure you’ve read about the Shadow Self in one psychology book or another, but how do magickal people view this prickly psychological construct?  I like to have a coffee clatch, imaginary of course but it works for me. Another magickal genius has board meetings, which is congruent with his high-powered lifestyle as an executive. My musician son prefers to audition his shadows and, if possible, hold a jam session.

So what is the Shadow Self? Take this moment to write down what you think a Shadow Self is. Write down some grist for your mill about this bogey (wo-)man of the psyche. Let it flow. Don’t worry about how it might read because you want to communicate with your subconscious mind. That means free-form, stream of consciousness. I’ll give you about fifteen minutes.

When you are done, click here.