Shadow is the unrealized parts of Self. The shadow is where parts of life are put away when they are unwanted. Elements of life associated with fear, shame, or anger are put into the Shadow. This is a manageable life plan for a time, but sometimes too much is put into the Shadow. In time the Shadow has the majority of ourselves, and there is not enough left to live a healthy waking life.
Too often the Shadow is described in negative terms. Why? The quality of the unwanted emotions, thoughts, and broken dreams taint the definition of the Shadow. This is only half the story. The Shadow contains many vital qualities that we can add to our life and strength if we are related to them in the correct way. Reclamation of the Shadow retrieves parts of us that were consciously and unconsciously discarded. Life is improved when the negative image of the Shadow is rejected, and the untapped potential of the Shadow is accepted.
In the meantime the Shadow will manifest in unconscious ways. Unconscious manifestations include victim-hood, self-sabotage, issue projection, and lack of vitality. We are much more likely to be overcome by the Shadow when we do not recognize it, for the unrecognized Shadow has a myriad of ways of asserting itself. How can a person's Shadow be recognized? Consciousness of our projections, dreams, and fantasies provide a map of what the hidden Shadow holds. Reconciliation of Shadow manifestations opens the door to acceptance of our Shadow.
Love is the key to accepting our shadow sides. The love I speak of is Divine love, not egocentric love. The ego's twisted view of good and evil gives us permission to maintain Shadow. Our ego tells us us lies about good and evil. These lies are our ego’s raging insecurities. Divine love is capable of quieting the false voice of the ego. Love is capable of rejecting those thoughts of good and evil that are not productive to our lives. Love accepts the parts of us that remain, allowing access and awaking. The previously untapped power of the Shadow is incorporated into the waking life through this spiritual acceptance.
I can now share a personal story about the Shadow. Darkness has a place in my creative process. I've tapped into the power stored in my Shadow. Around 2003 I was told that I should be writing. At that time I struggled mightily with thoughts of madness and death. Nearly forty years of building my Shadow had left me with little to live for. I told myself, "I cannot write of what I know. Who wants to hear about madness?". My steps towards embracing Love demanded that I make contact with a larger world. Thus in 2007 I forced myself to write on a daily basis. I was shining light into my Shadow. The exercise was a release, and gradually the energy in my Shadow was reintegrated into my waking world. The madness lessened. I still write, now more than ever. My shadow is still there, but the madness has now be largely replaced with sad wisdom. My fascination with death has become a desire to see rebirth.