Friday, May 22, 2009

Our Shadows at Midlife

The process of individuation (of becoming oneself) which begins the day we are born takes on a greater depth and intensity at midlife. It's from this place of accumulated wisdom and experience that we're most likely to come face to face with our shadow. Our shadows consist of those parts of ourselves that we've repressed, rejected, lost or abandoned -- the person I might have been, and the one that I chose not (dared not) to be. Psychiatrist, Carl Jung, called the shadow the "negative side" of the individual. I choose to think of it as the disowned self. It's the dark side, the silent witness who steps forward from time to time into the light to have its say. Its appearance, while unsettling, brings with it a creative force that offers tremendous opportunities for deepening and growth. If, from time to time, we move toward our shadows, rather than turn away, we will discover significant gifts from within our depths. Reclaiming lost and buried parts of ourselves will most likely require some excavation, however the buried treasures available to those willing to dig deep are well worth the dark journey into the unknown...

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