Saturday, December 12, 2009
Embracing Your Shadow, in a nutshell - magical three-step exercise
I get a lot of questions about Shadow work, which I've written several articles about, most recently here on the Spiritual Seduction site.
This may be one of the most powerful and under-utilized methods of transformation that is available to us.
Your entire life will transform, rapidly, if you do nothing else but adopt this habit:
1. Every time you feel triggered by anyone or anything (meaning, you have feelings like this: annoyed, judgmental, irritated, disconnected, angry, ferocious, withholding), notice it.
2. Notice how the mind wants to make it "about" the other person (i.e., he or she is so needy, long-winded, critical, dishonest, high-maintenance, self-absorbed, etc.).
3. Immediately, as quickly as you can catch yourself, ask yourself: where in my life am I doing/saying/being exactly what I don't like about this person? Sometimes the answer is not immediately obvious (that's when the Shadow has the most power over us), but keep searching.
I can almost guarantee, because it works 90 plus percent of the time, that when you find the place in yourself that is doing or saying or acting like the person you're annoyed with, and you fully accept that you are no different from the person you're distancing yourself from, the other person will change. The "annoying" behavior will disappear.
So ask yourself, "where in my life am I being needy, judgmental, angry, unforgiving, cruel, critical, stubborn, annoying? where in my life am I doing or saying or being exactly the way I don't want this other person to be?"
If I want someone to forgive me, and they won't, where am I being unforgiving? If I am annoyed that someone is disconnecting, where am I disconnecting?
This little Shadow exercise is not "easy" because it requires full self responsibility for everything we don't like in the world, but it is possibly more powerful than anything else I teach on this blog. The "annoying" people in our lives will change, and we will change, because we will notice when we are not following the Golden Rule, and we'll change what we are doing.