I started a few daily routines dedicated to the shadow work which i would like to share in the coming days. Intuitively, I feel that there is a lot of potential to engage with this practice. This is not only an intuition but also felt experience shows the benefits from a little confrontation with my own character traits. I feel I am getting the hang of a truly transformative practice full of potential. I must admit It excites me big time also because it includes a bit of pain along the way. Feels like this stepping out of comfort and internalising my own suffering makes me feel more alive and connected. Definitely I feel more centred and more myself.
But for now let's get back to the routines. First thing in the morning, before I get up, ideally still with my eyes closed, I try to remember my dream. Usually I don’t remember my dreams but I noticed that once I started to keep a dream journal, after only three or four days of taking notes, I can now remember at least a small part of my dreams. It surprises me every time how quickly the ability to remember dreams develops. Give it a try. To use my dreams in shadow work, I pick out a person that appeared in my dream, a situation or anything that comes to mind, that one way or another gave me an emotional charge. This response can be negative or positive, doesn’t mater as long as it touched me. I recall this person in my memory and think of the qualities that stood out. I first describe them in third person perspective, then second and eventually first person. Mostly these qualities are representations either of fears or desires and they can give a good insight into what is hidden from me.
For example, yesterday I was dreaming about Bonnitta Roy, I mentioned her already in one of my previous letters. She was hosting a seminar which involved a complex organisational structure. She looked very cool, collected, confident, on top of things. Surrounded by people, admiring her and following the instructions, listening without questioning. The space where it was happening was filled with sunlight, and the whole scenery looked like a brochure for fancy architectural agency. Isn’t it a wonderful insight into the world of my desired future? Confident, important, evoking change, able to carry out stress and complexity. When I woke up and did my shadow practice, first describing the woman I saw. She is so admirable, graceful, intelligent. Then I switched to second person perspective you are so admirable, graceful, intelligent. And finally — I am so admirable, graceful, intelligent. Writing it feels a little silly but believe me if you can see through the scepticism the gift of insight presents itself generously. Taking a first person perspective made me feel uncomfortable. I was certain I can’t think of myself like this. I am not allowed to think of myself as the woman I dreamt about. It is not accepted to think of myself in such positive terms.
The emotional discrepancy I experienced provoked an inner dialogue. On one hand I had the desire to be that person, I even identified strongly with her. On the other hand, a voice in my head was screaming Are you serious?! You are fooling yourself! You are a loser and never will be like her!
Practicing this exercise and observing my experience, getting curious about it, I noticed how isolated this dialogue was - both voices were strongly present but they where not talking to each other. And then there was I, standing in the distance, listening to both and trying to find a position. It all felt so constructed, rigid and inflexible. I sense that this fragmentation and distance is exactly what shadow work can solve. The gap between the two judgements is something that can be eliminated with shadow work.
Reacting with rejection to my dream, my caring shadow was managing my expectations to protect from future disappointments. I know that, I sense it but I also doubt the necessity of this protection now. You know, dear shadow, thank you but perhaps there is no need for such a tight grip any more. When we were younger, with less experience and less skills, dreaming big was dangerous. Perhaps I wouldn’t even be able to take in the disappointment and my ego would be crushed by circumstances. But now I feel like I can manage some of the ambition, why not give a little boost of confidence, loosen up a little and see if I can benefit form a little fantasy. And if we crash, I believe we can work it out.