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I'm tired of shadow work. Give me some llloooovvvvveeee ..... whitey-flighty-lighty sugar plum faeries and lovey dovey always sweetness and caring Goddess moments! How come all those fluffies get the good stuff? Where's my happy happy joy joy? Damn.

Ah well, I was doing shadow work decades before I found the label pagan. I actually used to think everyone worked on their shadows, confronted the dark corners of their soul in order to grow, to become, to be. How silly of me. So many are content to just drift on the surface of their life, surf the upper layer of their spirit, making barely a scratch in their fragile shell of self. So little a mark they leave they are even unaware of how fragile a nature they possess. Eh, so be it, that is their right, same as it is mine to face the nasty gnashing snarling beasties that reside within.

Onward.

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( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
droops
Mar. 11th, 2005 02:09 pm (UTC)
What brought this on?
Must have been a specific incident.

Also, what made you decide to start exploring shadows in the first place? I don't think I've ever heard the story.
pjvj
Mar. 12th, 2005 04:33 am (UTC)
Re: What brought this on? Long freakin' answer, if I'm unclear ask for clarification.
Nothing in particular in my life brought it on. Fatigue and winter blues if anything. Shadow work is forever work and I can accept that, but sometimes the Way of the Fluff™ looks awfully nice. ;-)

Come to think of it, something did bring this on. Reflecting on how far I've come surrounding certain life issues and realizing that people who don't know me well or didn't know me in my younger years wouldn't even know. That's a good thing because it means I've conquered a lot. It is only bad when people either assume you've slid easily through life or guess that you view yourself as better than or above others (quite inaccurate, but I can see how I sometimes sound that way.) And that is only bad on the days when you care what others think.

What made me ever work on my shadows? I can't remember a time when I didn't though as a child I may not have. Originally I did so in a very unhealthy way. I picked my soul apart to find what was so wrong with me that made my life such shit. lol. Tweren't me, but the ways I learned to deal with the shit created their own sets of shadows. So then I had to face the demons I hid from through my coping mechanisms. The coping mechanisms worked, for as far as they went, but I always wanted to be able to feel *everything* deeply, not just the crappy emotions.

Funny, Droops, one of the first big fights my dh and I had during the newlywed year was capped off by him, full of anguish, bemoaning how deeply I felt hurt by whatever he'd done/said. He wanted to know *why* I had to get so upset? I told him I feel things deeply, I couldn't help it, it's the way I was made. Then I told that how deeply I loved him he liked just fine, it was only the other emotions he didn't want to run so deep, and too bad you don't get one without the other. In the future even though the depth of my feelings distressed him, at least he understood.

Ok, here's the part that makes the rest of the post make sense and I'll just make it short and quick - I grew up in quite the nasty household with abject terror (from a child's viewpoint) in a good chunk of my childhood from alcoholism, sexual abuse, and threats of being murdered in my sleep.

Most of my shadows were handed to me as a kid courtesy of a fucked world and it's taking a lifetime to overcome the residual effects. *cough* I didn't sleep well at night for decades. Occasionally I still don't, but it is uncommon to be too afraid to sleep. I've come a long way baby. ;-)

Shadow work - facing your dark spaces, embracing them, understanding them, accepting them, changing them to something workable for you and if not that then letting them go. I can't imagine skating on the surface of my existence even if it meant I never would have had to peek in the shadows of my soul.

For me, my spirituality gives me a way to face my shadows and still have my world make sense. That's what my spirituality has always done for me or I'd be completely nuts or dead by now. I find comfort in the fact that volumes are written about how and why to face the dark self. And I am grateful to have found others who not only encourage it, but celebrate it, and also celebrate each other's efforts in that endeavor. That to me is one of the most beautiful aspects of my pagan path.

I was just whining. Looking for a bit of break or maybe someone fluffy would give me cotton candy and make it all sweetness for me. :P~
droops
Mar. 16th, 2005 09:47 pm (UTC)
I've read this
But was sick and didn't respond. I have follow up thoughts, will post later.
pjvj
Mar. 17th, 2005 05:12 am (UTC)
Re: I've read this
No rush, just heal. I don't know if I explained it clearly anyway. Seems rather rambly on the reread. You know, part of facing your shadows is facing the parts of you that you *truly do not like*. And I mean deep-down don't like or want any part of.

It's like when I see a personality trait in my kids that mirror exactly a trait in myself that I cannot stand. Takes all my strength not to smack 'em and yell, "What the hell is wrong with you? Can't you see how awful that aspect of you is?" I of course do not because I know it is present in myself. What I do is work on it myself and as change occurs approach the kid and explain why that trait may not be serving them as well as they think. And lots of times it quite twisted getting to heart of the internal undesirable aspect.

For example, I used to be a doormat, did anything/everything for anybody/everybody. (I wouldn't have used the term doormat at the time.) I thought I was a "nice" person. The people I let walk all over me didn't think I was "nice", they thought I was a sucker. They were right, I was. The thinking I was "nice" was really just an intense desire to be liked and an actual fear of *not* being liked by others. It's hard to face a fact that you want people to like you, just because... Well, hard when you've spent your life strutting around spouting how much you do not care about being liked. Hard for me to face what I considered a major deficit in my character. But I worked at it and now if I start to become a doormat I recognize it and stop myself. This allows me to be nice when it really is just that.

Oh, look. More rambly! :P~
droops
Mar. 29th, 2005 03:34 pm (UTC)
I've re-read this now
Question: Do you ever work on the light side of life? Shadow work is important, but what about the light?

I'm not trying to be fluffy here. What I'm asking is, do you have balance in your spiritual work? I can understand the shadows and why they're there. I'm just curious as to whether light falls to chase them away sometimes.
pjvj
Mar. 29th, 2005 04:18 pm (UTC)
Re: I've re-read this now
For as fully as I feel the negative side of things is as fully as I feel the positive side. Working on the shadow self isn't about working on it to be rid of it, it is about facing it to intergrate it into a whole self and accepting the whole self, not just the happy side.

But that wasn't your question, was it? Yes, I work on the light side. Empowering rituals, releasing rituals, amplifying rituals (to amplify the good in me), showing rituals ( to allow the "good stuff" to be visible, especially to me) - and I'm using the term ritual loosely. I have a Goddess Worry Box™ that I put slips of paper in with people's names on them, people I care about who need a little bit of oomph over a rough spot.

I'd have to say that I live the light side - every day echoes with laughter. Every rough time has me peeking around the next corner because I just *know* something better is waiting for me. I am the eternal optimist and at times that drives my husband nuts. Heh. I try to be balanced, but I'd have to say I'm probably not even keel balanced, more like I swing this way, then that way, and the median is balanced.

Droops said:. I'm just curious as to whether light falls to chase them away sometimes.

I don't use the light to chase away the shadows, I use the light to show clearly the shadows, so I can be more balanced. To me it's not about one chasing away the other, it is about embracing all. Because I lean to the optimistic side emotionally it is easier for me to embrace the light side than the dark side. I have to work harder on accepting the dark side of myself, so it may appear weighted heavily to that side because of the extra effort required for it, but that is only illusion.

I celebrate the light side almost daily with song as is evidenced by the chorus of one of my favorites that I sing on the way to work:
"So I call you to my circle now
Dance my children dance
In peace and love and togetherness
May you, dance children dance
Always, dance children dance
All things dance, children dance"

Lyrics from Spiral Rhythm's "Roll of Thunder" album.

Heh. Don't tell anyone I sing about peace and love and togetherness, k?

Seriously though dark work has been be predominant the past few months so I started pulling myself back to the lighter side and my shadow work rant was the beginning of that. And for all the things I wrote about working on in my other post remember that it was spread over decades as I am almost 44 years old. The really good work though, the most productive of it, has probably been within the last ten. And it wasn't all dark, but there was an awful lot of clutter that needed to be cleaned up.

Now, did I just confuse the issue more?
droops
Apr. 1st, 2005 03:03 pm (UTC)
That makes sense
No, it didn't confuse the issue more. That actually helps make more sense.

I will say that the light doesn't just define shadows. At noon, it chases them away too. That's only for a brief moment though, the rest of the time is spent with shadows waxing and waning.

44 eh? Youth is wasted on the young. If we had known at age 24 what we know now, imagine how much more interesting things would have been?

Sorry, I was about to fall into a lament. Bad me. :)
pjvj
Apr. 2nd, 2005 03:22 pm (UTC)
Re: That makes sense
>>> I will say that the light doesn't just define shadows. At noon, it chases them away too. <<<

At noon is when they are most clearly defined. They are at their most dense and most tiny then. I think of my child-like optimism as my high noon. :-) Remember that the shadows don't mean "bad", they just mean "hidden", and often hard.

>>> If we had known at age 24 what we know now, imagine how much more interesting things would have been? <<<

Geez, Droops, I don't think I could have lived through *more* interesting. :P~
pjvj
Mar. 12th, 2005 04:34 am (UTC)
Re: What brought this on?
And oh - you never heard the story because I never told it. :P~
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