We all have work to do. An old friend once famously proclaimed, “Hey, we’re all f****ed up.” It is all too human to doubt, to fear, to judge. These voices that come to unwittingly sabotage our happiness we have called The Ego, The Little Me, My Parental Tapes, the Wounded Child, and now – The Shadow. Shadow because this part of the self is mostly hidden, and often operates on a subconscious or unconscious level.
It is helpful for me to visualize and name this shadow-self. To me it is a "wounded child", and he is no longer dark to me. We have been in the process of releasing, forgiving, and blessing, starting with the most obvious items: those others whom we have imagined to have wronged us. I have been working to dissolve the outer layers, and every time I make a breakthrough, I discover something else hidden underneath.
At the bottom of the heap, I find the dirty smelly child. This is the culprit who has caused me so much pain throughout this lifetime. In the past, when he has raised his head, I have shoved him back down. I imagine the “Wack-a-Mole” at the amusement park. Repeatedly I have successfully pressed this presence down so it would not contaminate my conscious self; my thinking. I did not realize I was pushing him out of my consciousness into my unconsciousness where he could do as he pleased without constraint. OOPS!
How much better it is to hold the dirty smelly child in your consciousness (however disgusting he may be) where you can “notice” him and not be “ruled” by him. This part of me was born in my early childhood when I lived in a house full of women, Mother and sisters, and a Dad who did not have the capability of playing with me. I wanted someone to throw a ball, or wrestle, or play army games. No surprise that my dainty sisters did not oblige. I felt like they excluded me, but the truth is I wanted them to be boys; it’s not their fault they were so girly. And I did not have the intelligence as a little boy to even understand it; I was just hurt – wounded. This seemingly small thing morphed into a force that would negatively affect my relationships with others for years.
It is important to remember that children are stupid. Too harsh? Sorry. Yes, children may be wise beyond their years, but still we would not trust them to make adult decisions or even care for themselves. Yet we allow this force, developed in childhood to rule our lives. And we all have one of these. Even if yours is not so dirty and grimy as mine, you still have one. It’s not my sister’s fault that I felt lonely, or my parents fault for not noticing. I created this reality on my own and it exists ONLY in my awareness – between my ears – never outside of myself – and I have ultimate power over it. You would never leave it to an ill-informed, irrational, illogical child to make major adult decisions for you – but we do. Those are the fears that keep us in jobs we don’t love, in behaviors that rob us of our peace; that keep us in toxic unions and out of relationships that bless us; that keep us chained to patterns of belief that prevent a vital soulful experience in this life.
Today I know it does no good at all to push down the wounded child; to suppress it, to ignore it. I have to let it rise into my consciousness; into a place where it can do no harm. It will not go away if you simply ignore it. This is the hardest part, because this entity has hurt you mightily over the years and it does not love you; it cannot love you because that’s not where love comes from. True love comes from the divine through your conscious self, and this is the secret weapon you have that might start to “dissolve” the influence of this shadow-self. My friend recently described this action as holding the shadow close. Mine is dirty and smelly, but I hold it close. Little by little he becomes less disgusting. He is calmed by this attention; and the action of my loving and blessing here is transformative.
This kind of work is what Mark Pope calls alchemical. You transform yourself, and you begin to transform the world you perceive. In reality you are constructing a world that is kinder, more peaceful, more loving, and dog-on-it fun! Do you know this is the stuff we have in common with the Divine?! This creative potential and ability. That is exactly how we are created in the image of God! So why not create something amazing?