The poem ‘For The Interim Time’ by John O’Donohue beautifully describes being in a place where we face our deepest fears and self doubt. Our place of feeling most lost and alone. Shadow dancing. What I love about this poem is it also invites us to consider the inherent value in being there. By facing our shadow…
‘What is being transfigured here is your mind,
And it is difficult and slow to become new.
The more faithfully you can endure here,
The more refined your Heart will become
For your arrival in the new dawn.’
I have written about my other shadow the Blackwolff, who is the archetype of my addict. It is where I self-defeat, it is a shadow about the self-directed illusion that, ‘I am not good enough’. In contrast, the Redwolff represents my external persona, who I am in the world of relationship. All relationships. Thus my fear is of being abandoned, of not being seen and valued, of being invisible. This is why in many ways the Redwolff is scarier than the Blackwolff. My Blackwolff dance is all internal, I am only dancing with myself. The Redwolff dances in the world… Opening me up to the actions and interpretations of others. This is where my 'love post traumatic stress' lives.
My fear of being invisible is not a fear of ‘not existing’. I do not fear death. Rather it is a fear of existing without meaning. A fear of existing without value. Can I diagram throughout my life, people or experiences that have reinforced these wounds? Of course. Yet, my life is full of people who love, value and support me. A profound realization in integrating our woundedness, is knowing this empty place can not be filled by others. This is where the spiral turns back upon itself… When I recognize the Shadow, the fear, the place I stumble… Wears my own face.
The eventual intention of shadow dancing is not to eliminate the shadow which is present for a lifetime, rather the intention is to integrate it. To invite it to work with rather than against me. To discover, as Joseph Campbell so beautifully stated, ‘where you stumble, there lies your treasure’. The ‘Redwolff’ was created out of my deepest wounds, my deepest fears… My Shadow. Yet shadows only exist with the presence of light and in the midst of shadow dancing it is often hard to remember our light. As we begin to leave the ‘interim time’ it is a fundamental step in integration to remember and embrace the light from which the shadow is created.
The intent is to balance the shadow and the light. The shadow becomes discernment. The ability to intuit the people, circumstances and personal choices that provoke the shadow. By having the understanding how the shadow operates, we have the ability to respond with clarity rather than to react unconsciously.
Conversely the light that creates the shadow reminds us of Who-We-Are. It is the expression of where we shine, our dharma or purpose in life. It is the ‘treasure in where we stumble’. While our light can be reflected in the faces of others… Just like the shadow, our light must eventually wear our own face. Integration occurs, when we recognize the light within ourselves that creates the shadow and in leaning towards balance, invite them both out to dance.
I have explored and learned to understand the shadow of the Redwolff… I am now perceiving the light. More on this discovery on my next post. If this is resonating with you and you want ideas on how to invite your own shadows out to dance… Stick with me. I am getting there!