Meeting your shadow can be shocking at first – “That’s not me, I’m not like that.” Or “I feel so guilty that I said that.”
Or perhaps you’ll meet it in another person – “I can’t stand that about her.” “I can’t believe my husband did that.”
But this previously unconscious shadow is seeking the light of awareness, and it needs your help. That’s when romancing your shadow begins. When you romance your shadow, you seduce the shadow figure out into awareness and explore it – Who is there? What is it trying to tell you? Why did it form? What does it need?
If you do this individually, you may uncover secret desires, hidden impulses, even family patterns that you didn’t know before. If these patterns are sabotaging you, you can learn to meet the need of the shadow figure more directly, so that it doesn’t try to meet that need indirectly, when it sabotages you. (For example, you overeat because you can’t express a forbidden feeling, but the need to express that feeling is valid. You uncover the fear that makes you bury the feeling and express it in a constructive way, instead of eating destructively.)
If you do this with your partner, you may discover hidden parts of him or her that carry vital feelings, creative dreams, and potent fantasies. When you only know permissible parts of one another, your relationship can go flat because other parts are being stuffed into the darkness. And if these shadow parts are erupting in destructive ways (avoiding intimacy, addiction, criticism, distancing etc), you can romance them, uncover their deeper needs, and meet those needs more directly together.
Romancing the shadow means reading the messages encoded in daily life in order to make a conscious relationship with your shadow, and your partner’s shadow, enhancing your authenticity, deepening your intimacy, and living a more conscious life.
With Dr. Connie’s help, you will learn Shadow-Work practices:
- to center yourself to meet the shadow in you or your partner;
- to identify the cues that a particular shadow figure has appeared;
- to trace its roots in your family history;
- to communicate about it to your partner;
- to build a more conscious, ongoing relationship to it;
- to move from living in your persona to a deeper self-knowledge;
- to move from a persona marriage to a more authentic shadow marriage, which includes and honors the deepest parts of yourselves.
Eventually, you can consciously control a shadow figure so that it doesn’t unconsciously control you.
“Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.”
–Rainer Maria Rilke