Only The Shadow Knows

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 1 comments

The Shadows That Lay Within Us

Most all of us want to be good people, and to act with wisdom, dignity and integrity…three qualities, I know that, I strive for. Along with honesty, but then, I believe, that is a quality that is only a portion of the other three. But humans, as a whole, are less good than we want to be, or even imagine ourselves to be. I have written several times before about the different selves that make up our whole.

I can not argue with Dr. Carl Jung who believed that we have a “shadow” side. We all have one, albeit some of us show that side of ourselves more than others. According to Carl Jung, the “shadow” is the part of ourselves that a person has no wish to be, and is a part of our subconscious (as I always refer to it) and/or unconscious…anything we once were, but then pushed away, which can also be positive things.

“All that is unacceptable is, as they say, "in Shadow" to the degree that is us, or was us, and we deny it.”

Human’s are capable of the most horrendous of atrocities, but we humans have a tendency to turn a blind-eye to the shadow side of human nature, even though there is a part of us, that is painfully aware, that there is that side of us lurking in the shadows, waiting for the right opportunity to reveal itself. Take a look at my article “When Good Men Turn Evil, The Stanford Experiment”, for a good example, and the “Milgram Experiment”.

We know that the wildest and most moving dramas are played not in the theatre but in the hearts of ordinary men and women who pass by without exciting attention, and who betray to the world nothing of the conflicts that rage within them except possibly by a nervous breakdown. What is so difficult for the layman to grasp is the fact that in most cases the patients themselves have no suspicion whatever of the internecine war raging in their unconscious. If we remember that there are many people who understand nothing at all about themselves, we shall be less surprised at the realization that there are also people who are utterly unaware of their actual conflicts. "New Paths in Psychology" (1912). In CW 7: Two Essays on Analytical Psychology. P.425
There is a vast difference between who we are, and who we portray ourselves to be, and also who we are individually, and who we are within the collective whole of the human race, and our surrounding connections. Every person and every experience within our lives has formed some sort of belief, value, and perception connected to it, and continues to form how we scrutinize ourselves, and our surroundings.

Just like the dark figure that mimics our every move in the light, our shadow self follows us wherever we go. Many psychologists, philosophers, and the like, as well as myself, believe that until we confront the shadow part of ourselves it will continue to follow us, for it is reflected back to us in our interactions with others. If there is something that we like about someone, it is a part of ourselves that we like, and on the other side, if there is something we dislike about someone, it is a part of us that we dislike, all of which are mirrored back at us. We will continue to draw in the same situations and the same people, with different faces, that we have experienced in the past, until we meet, and come to grips with, those shadow parts of ourselves. Many times, we would rather die, than to say that we are like them.

Again, it does seem plausible to suggest that when we take our anger out on others, it can be difficult to admit the fact that we have, and difficult to admit that how we see ‘them’ is shaped more by us than ‘them’. And “No matter how obvious it may be to the neutral observer… [that this is such a case], there is little hope the subject will perceive this themselves.” ibid., p. 146.

When you come across someone in your life that irritates you for some reason, sometimes you can't even put your finger on why, but observe them, and try to see what it is about them that is bothering you. What is it that they do that you dislike so much? Then look within yourself, because according to scientists, this is an undeveloped, un-confronted, unresolved, aspect of yourself being mirrored back at you, that has been tucked neatly away in your subconscious, as you attempt to hide from it.

A man who is unconscious of himself acts in a blind, instinctive way and is in addition fooled by all the illusions that arise when he sees everything that he is not conscious of in himself coming to meet him from outside as projections upon his neighbour.
"The Philosophical Tree" (1945). In CW 13: Alchemical Studies. P.335
Dr. Carl Jung believed that our shadow self will slither its way into our dreams. Many times as an unknown, but same sex person, although this does not mean that every same sex person in our dreams, is our shadow trying to tell us something. Jung believed that you should not reject, accept, or try to become this person, but to try to relate to this person. He believed that your dreams not only reflected the problem, but also holds the solution.

Ann Wiseman, an author, artist and teacher for more than 50 years, has a method that she has used when working with children, where she would have the children draw a portion of a dream that they found to be threatening in some way, and once they did that, they were told to draw something in the picture, other than weapons, that would render the threat harmless. For example, putting bars in front of the threat. Then they were to talk to, and confront the threat, and listen to its response. Interact with it, to find out its true purpose.

Many times throughout my life, I have had a dream where I was urgently attempting to run from something, and would continually fall down, get back up and run a few steps, and fall once again. Another variation of that dream is one where I frantically try to scream in utter terror, and nothing will come out. In both instances, I was filled with sheer desperation. However, I never would know what I was running from, or why I was attempting to scream, other than the need for someone to help me, or to escape. I have learned now, that I need to turn around and confront my demon. Why is it chasing me, and what am I so very afraid of?

Only the shadow knows.
“The more projections are thrust between a subject and the environment, the harder it is for the ego to see through its illusions.” Jung, Carl, “Aion”, p. 147.
What an interesting, and challenging journey lays ahead, as I discover, meet, and become familiar "shadow".
"On a broader scale, recent history continues to show how it is easier to send thousands of ‘our’ troops to die at the hands of a ‘shadowy’ enemy, leaving a trail of death and destruction in our wake, than to introspectively ask hard questions of ourselves, and our society." Andrew S. "Amishtrasher".
Indeed, to Jung, such large scale cases of hatred were, in a sense, extensions of the personal level shadow projection. Quoting Jung, “Just as the addition of however many zeros will never make a unit, so the value of community depends on the spiritual and moral stature of the individuals composing it.” Jung, Carl, “The Undiscovered Self”, in Storr, Anthony (ed.), “The Essential Jung: Selected Writings”, 1983, London, Fontana Paperbacks, p. 363. Whole reactionary social movements, and many political careers have been essentially built people’s unwillingness to turn their gaze inward. The social pressure of either a movement, attitude or creed can be a large obstacle to overcome in shadow integration; especially where challenging such movements, attitudes or creeds may be an invitation to other people to project their shadows on to you.
These quotes are coming from an article about our "shadow", which is also integrated within the "collective shadow" of society.

Just as, for day there must be night, for good there must be evil, and we must observe both in order to appreciate the other.

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Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome Meets The "Wild Divine"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 1 comments

I was born with mitral valve prolapse syndrome (MVPS (also known as "click murmur syndrome" and "Barlow's syndrome"), which is the most common heart valve abnormality, affecting five to ten percent of the world population. I never knew I had it until after my son was born.

At first it felt like a thump in my chest that would cause me to gasp. At times in the middle of the night I would wake up rising to a sitting position with a gasp. In those times it felt almost like I couldn’t figure out whether I needed to breathe in or out, almost as if I was stuck suspended between somewhere unknown, and the present.

As time went on there were times when my heart would go into these extremely rapid beating palpitations, which feels more like the rapid fluttering of a butterfly, or rather more like a hummingbird. If you feel my pulse there is no distinct beat felt, just rapid fluttering. Although sometimes the symptoms differ slightly when this happens, there are times when I can’t get my breath; extreme anxiety like I would imagine a panic attack would feel like, and my throat would burn, as if I had been running a long way in cold weather; and my left arm will feel heavy and ache slightly. Many people state that they experience sharp pains in their chest and left arm; however, I have never experienced this. Another complaint by many is fatigue, another symptom I don’t experience, or at least when I do, I have never attributed to this ailment. It is said that people with mitral valve prolapse may have imbalances in their autonomic nervous system, which regulates heart rate and breathing, which may be what causes that particular symptom, along with depression, sweating, anxiety and panic attack feelings. Stroke is a very rare complication of mitral valve prolapse.

The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is a regulatory branch of the central nervous system that helps people adapt to changes in their environment. It adjusts or modifies some functions in response to stress. The ANS helps regulate...
• blood vessels' size and blood pressure
• the heart's electrical activity and ability to contract
• the bronchium's (BRON'ke-um) diameter (and thus air flow) in the lungs
The ANS also regulates the movement and work of the stomach, intestine and salivary glands, the secretion of insulin and the urinary and sexual functions. The ANS acts through a balance of its two components, the sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system.

I was told by my doctor that it is not life threatening, although it certainly feels like it when you have an attack. I can go on medication for this ailment, although I choose not to, although I am required to take an excessive amount of antibiotics about an hour prior to having any dental work done, including x-rays, and then another excessive amount several hours afterwards, since valve infection, endocarditis, is a rare, but potentially serious complication of mitral valve prolapse.

Instead of medication, I will take a baby aspirin and calcium when I have an attack. Calcium is a natural relaxer, and growing up was the only thing I could take that would touch my severe menstrual cramps, along with soaking in a hot bath. Since I feel like I may pass out, I will usually squat down, or get on my hands and knees, and regulate my breathing by breathing in through the nose, short pause and slow breath out through the mouth, and imagine all the tension leaving my body with each breath out. This usually works quite quickly for me.

I can go months and even years without a single episode, but when I am under a lot of stress, it will crop up quite frequently…sometimes several times a day. I would much rather work naturally with all my ailments, and I have purchased the Wilddivine Program, developed by Deepak Chopra and others, and this has taught me the ability to control my mind much easier. It is so beautiful, fun and enlightening, and powerful. Just watch the video. Your mind and body control the game.

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If You Don't Change Your Mind, Others Will Do It For You

Saturday, October 18, 2008 2 comments

Have you ever really taken the time to think about it? Control and manipulation are at the core of all our inter-personal relationships.

Control and manipulation, is a very vast subject. They are such ugly words, but we experience them everyday of our lives. People and institutions use our fears and our needs against us to get us to do what they want. We are being manipulated by our Government, Churches, TV, Stores, the media, and all the people we care most for in our lives. Either we are inflicting it on others, sometimes unknowingly, or they are inflicting it on us, in one way or another. When we do not think and behave the way the people around us want us to, the manipulation begins.

The Government uses our fears to manipulate us. One of the biggest ways it has been manipulating us most recently, is by monopolizing on our need to feel safe and secure, and our fear of terrorism. How many rights have we willingly given up recently, all in the name of security?

The people in our social circle monopolize on our need to feel accepted, and our fear of rejection and abandonment. All humans feel the need to be accepted and recognized, and will avoid rejection and abandonment at all costs, which leaves us wide open to control and manipulation by those around us.

Peer pressure. We think, as adults that this concept only applies to our children, mostly in their school years. We as adults are far too mature for that, right? It may start when we are children, but it follows us throughout our lives.

Stop and take the time to think about how many times as an adult have you allowed the world to control and manipulate you through peer pressure alone.

We go out and buy that expensive outfit to fit in at our office, (maybe we all should have to wear uniforms to work, so we can concentrate on our work and not each others looks). We buy clothes, makeup, cologne, jewelry, big houses, fancy cars, we have this sucked out, that lifted, this increased, that reduced, pierce this, tattoo that. All in an attempt to fit in and feel accepted by our peers. And don’t even get me started on gossip, rumors, lies, guilt…, but then they are just a few of the methods some of the less self-respecting people choose to use to control and manipulate others.

Worst of all...sometimes we even go against our own principles and values, just to go along with the crowd and be accepted. Then we are not congruent with ourselves, and everything goes out of whack. When we are not in harmony with ourselves we begin to become ill, both emotional and physically.

Congruent: harmonious - you are congruent when what you say and do and believe are all in alignment.

And we wonder why so many people feel the need to find themselves. Why are we under so much stress? Why are we no longer able to control our own emotions?

The truth is; we should be controlling and manipulating ourselves. We have to accept ourselves. Consciously we may try or want to change a bad habit, get over a fear, control an emotion or behavior, but it still continues to have a hold on us. The problem is, we are trying to change on a conscious level, but it all begins on the subconscious level. In reality our thoughts and beliefs control our emotions, behaviors and our bodies. Take back control of your mind.

If you can tell the world who you are and what you believe without breaking stride or hesitating, you are happy with yourself. Neale Donald Walshe

If You Don't Change Your Mind, others will do it for you.

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Uber Amazing Blog Award

Friday, October 17, 2008 4 comments

I believe everyone puts a lot of time, thought, and themselves into their individual blogs. For myself, whether I am writing from my heart, or about a subject that is more technical, which I do a great deal of research for…they all take me days to write, and get right.

Even using Entrecard, where you are assured many visitors, you have to wonder whether anyone actually reads anything on you blog, or is just frantically hunting for the widget to click on, while speeding toward their 300 clicks. Sometimes it takes me most of the day reaching less than half that amount, so my mouth drops when I read someone’s blog where they state that they can wiz through their 300 drops in an hour. In essence, many of them are on their way out the door, before they ever even enter. Since my articles take me so much time to write, I don’t have time to tend to my Entrecard duties every single day, let alone visit my favorites. So I am not one to do the 300 clicks, or even come close. I enjoy reading most of the blogs that I visit, even when I don’t take the time to comment, too much to begin to reach that amount.

So when someone gives you an award, it is the ultimate of compliments. You know that not only did they read what you have to write, but they actually liked and appreciated it.

Helen from the “The Inspired Self” has been one of those people, and she has given me this award. Thank you so much Helen. You too have an excellent, and as the name implies, inspiring blog! I hope you all will stop by there, check it out, and read what she has to say.

Uber (synonym to Super) Amazing Blog Award is a blog award given to sites who:
~ inspires you
~ makes you smile and laugh
~ or maybe gives amazing information
~ a great read
~ has an amazing design
~ and any other reasons you can think of that makes them uber amazing!

The rules of this award are:
* Put the logo on your blog or post.
* Nominate at least 5 blogs (can be more) that for you are Uber Amazing!
* Let them know that they have received this Uber Amazing award by commenting on their blog.
* Share the love and link to this post and to the person you received your award from.

Here are my nominations for the Uber Amazing:

The Esoteric Journey
Thinking Out Loud Blog
Lucy’s Planet Happiness
Creating Wealth and Health
Life Passionately

Please take the time to visit these blogs, and best wishes to you all.

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Communication is the Cornerstone of Our Lives

Saturday, October 11, 2008 2 comments

As humans communication is the cornerstone of our lives, and we communicate in so many ways, mostly subconsciously. We communicate through words, body language, smell, touch, sound. We use every sense, including our sixth sense, which would be subconscious, to communicate with one another. There is a continuous assortment of energy and signals being transported from each other at all moments in time.

But even when we are using our conscious level of communication, we usually mis-communicate, intentionally or unintentionally, with those around us. One of the largest factors that build the walls between us and others is our egos. But communication is essential is the lives of humans.

You need to realize that everyone’s, each and every gesture, tone, word, etc., no matter how minuscule, has some meaning, and some significance, for you and the situation at hand. Everything we do in our lives is transmitting some sort of communication.

The problem lies, most times however, like I said, with our egos. We are so consumed with what we are trying to get others to see, understand, and accept, and what we are trying to communicate, and how we are feeling about how they are absorbing and relaying that information back to us, that we never stop to put ourselves in their shoes, and try to understand what they are, in turn, trying to communicate back to us. For every action there is an equal reaction.

A person whose thoughts and opinions I admire and respect, once said to me, “When a finger is pointing at others, there are three pointing back at them.” Blame in one of the surest ways to stop all effective communication, and destroy a relationship. We all, at varying degrees, question ourselves, and feel guilt, or shame, whenever we do not live up to our own, or other’s expectations. When you lay blame on others, you are going to get a reaction, but it will never be a positive one. They will either withdraw from you, feel that they are wrong and have failed, and it can lead to them being passive aggressive. Whether in the current moment, or later down the road, are can rest assured, they will resent you. We usually, however, blame others to take the heat off of us, and do not have the right, let alone superiority, to judge others. “He who has not blundered cast the first stone.”

One of the largest things that we blame others for is the way that we feel. We alone are responsible for the way that we feel, and the way that we choose to react to the ways that we feel. Once you choose to accept that fact, the sooner, your responses and communication will begin to change more positively. Not to mention, that you will become and feel responsible for yourself. What more FREEDOM can you ask for? When you constantly lay down your emotional wellbeing onto others, you give them, all the power, where do you leave yourself, but to be constantly in control of everyone around you. Take back your power, and responsibility for your emotions, reactions, and feelings. You choose.

Like attracts like; vibration attracts vibration; thoughts attract things.

When you become defensive, the other person is always, going to believe that you have something to hide. Even though you may be reacting to their misplaced blame, and begin to question yourself, which is all human nature, they will consciously, and/or unconsciously interpret your defensiveness as you having something to hide, which in turn, draws an attack. They will begin to loose trust in you. Until one of you is able to show the maturity and emotional wellbeing enough to move away from attacking and towards the other in the atmosphere of reconciliation, there will be a hurtful sequence of attack and counter-attack.

Sometimes we have to acknowledge that we are not always right, and when we take the time to listen to another’s point of view, many times, we find out that we have something to learn. When you lean towards having to be right all of the time, you distance yourself from others. Not to mention, making them feel inadequate or that their views, feelings and opinions are of no significance. Everyone needs to feel they are valued, accepted, and heard.

Another thing that we rarely stop to realize is that when we are having a disagreement with someone, they too are having the same inherent emotions that we are, even if they behave otherwise. You are both fighting to have your emotional needs met. Many times, that realization alone, along with showing them the empathy, which you are also seeking, will turn a conflict totally around to the direction of reconciliation, and effective communication.

One of the largest and most important factors in good communication, in my opinion, is honesty and showing vulnerability, and I wrote an entire article on the subject, “Honesty and Vulnerability The Key to Intimacy.”

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