This week I am focusing on shadow work in preparation for the Sunday’s session where I would like to propose to explore some darkness together. So to accumulate some experiences I throw myself into the void of my hidden side, which I usually keep away from my consciousness for reasons yet to be discovered, if at all. To bring a little clarity about what shadow is, the definition I feel most connected to is: shadow is me that I don’t know.
The idea behind shadow work is quite simple. Instead of projecting certain qualities on others, we take the projection back and realise that what unsettles us in others is actually what unsettles us in ourselves. I will be exploring shadow work in the upcoming week, so, be patient and in case you are not and are getting annoyed with me, perhaps, your shadow is showing already.
Before I share yesterday’s experience allow me to make a small disclaimer. The further I go with my journey in self-inquiry the more serious the discoveries become. It feels like my mind starts to feel more relaxed and open to who I am, so many uncomfortable insights come to the surface. So prepare for a ride, my friends.
I took part in a circling session the other night, which is a dialogue technique which is aimed at raising awareness and experiencing the potential of being together as a group. It is difficult to relay but the experience is truly powerful and unusual. You meet a group of strangers and have an honest exchange about how each participant is affected by the presence of the others. All shields down. It can get quite confronting and uncomfortable but perhaps that is what makes it so strong. You need to connect to your own experience and notice what changes when people say certain things or when you try to trace the feeling stranger’s presence evokes in you. It is magical to realise how we are all connected and affect each other with our presence without knowing it. And how easily we are affected by others without noticing it.
Yesterday I had an avalanche of insights that were triggered by one particular person. I’ll describe what was happening to give some context. I joined to the group of 8 participants. The session was framed as a more experimental one than usual. There were no rules, no agenda, nothing. Just eight strangers present together. Some people felt awkward, so we started with small talk: where do you live? and what is your job? We were going through this exchange and then one man said something like I hear you guys speaking, but I am not sure I care about what I hear. This group has the potential for a more real experience than small talk. I am in anticipation of something more meaningful. When I heard this I immediately felt the urge to fulfil his expectation and felt I must create something meaningful otherwise he would be disappointed. I got all tense in my body, started to feel anxious and uncomfortable. I told him that I feel obliged to please him so he would have a right experience. I shared my feeling of unsafety and discomfort. The format of the conversation presupposes acceptance and sharing so I could take a rest and speak it out. I found it difficult to tell him what I experienced, i think unconsciously his masculine presence was threatening to me. I experienced an obligation to satisfy a man’s desire, which is something that feels very present throughout my life. First insight. As the conversation was unfolding I got to know the guy better and it felt more comfortable to be around. him. And so I arrived to the second insight. When I first reacted to his comment experiencing the urge to please him, I wasn’t allowing him to be himself, I projected my own assumptions and didn’t give him a chance to be himself. My shadow revealed itself. I wanted to fulfil his expectations because I was afraid of him being unsatisfied and eventually a threat to me.
This insight shed light on the experiences I have in my life, desire to full fill expectations because I am afraid of negative reactions. It brings me to my conflict-avoidance nature. The circle is round. By being able to recognise the pattern and despite the discomfort I felt very good after the session. This shadow is not in the shadow anymore and, once I was able to shed light on it, my self becomes bigger.