To engage the work of the shadow, to travel along the descendent current into the unlit places, is a radical act of courage and kindness. For when we re-embody to the unwanted – and touch it with curiosity, warmth, and attunement – we remove the burden from others to metabolize it for us, which they cannot do. We are then able to love them, and to set them free.
In this way, love is not something we urgently seek more of or even something we can “give” to another. Rather, we become the activity of love itself, in all our interactions with the phenomenal world. With other people, with the trees, the sky, the ocean, the sun, and the moon. Even with the colors, the sounds, and the visions that emerge here.
For most of us, the disowned material of soma and psyche is most vividly displayed in close relationship, especially as we take the risk of allowing another to matter to us, to make that journey with them into the unknown fires of intimacy. As nearly all our wounding arose within an interpersonal environment, it will be most powerfully activated – as well as untangled and transformed – within a relational field.
As the ancient beliefs, emotions, and feelings erupt out of the body, they do so seeking refuge and sanctuary where they can unfold and illuminate. While the visitors of the nervous system may appear to be working against us, they are emissaries of wholeness, harbingers of integration who long only for reunion.
From the perspective of the day world, they may seem dimly lit, darkened, and unclear. But from within the dream and the underworld, they are filled with light.
With curiosity, openness, and kindness as our guides into the depths, we may discover that the shadow is in some paradoxical way only love in disguise, come to re-introduce us to life, to the fierce power embedded within our vulnerability, and to the field of warm, tender, open space that we are.
I am a psychotherapist in private practice, working with individuals, groups, couples, and families. My practice integrates developmental, relational, and contemplative perspectives/ approaches to psychospiritual growth and healing.
Shared with gracious permission. Original at: A Healing Space
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