Dancing with the Shadow (part 2)



You know those times when you get really mad and judgmental  about something somebody else is doing?  So mad that it throws you off your game,  even and especially when it is someone you do not even know well… or at all… like a politician.  I hate to break to to you, chances are that the quality you are hating on is one you yourself need to embody… often in its whole form, not in the shadowy form we meet it out there.

Take a moment to recall one of these judgmental times and then we can do a fun Dance Spell to bring awareness and hopefully integrate that shadowy part. Like magic, the more we integrate, the less we meet it out there and the less it affects us when we do.

Yesterday, I was flying back from Orlando. I stood on my seat to get my blackberries out of the overhead compartment and I must have leaned on the seat in front of me because when I was climbing down the woman in front of me was giving my a really dirty look.  And I felt it in my gut, that she hated me. I was taken aback… hit with this feeling that I had done something wrong unawares and then questioning myself… I was careful not to lean on her seat, but had I? Maybe she was just in a bad mood or maybe she was just a bitch.  Yes, that word came into my head. And then I began feeling a mix of shame and anger and like I had been misunderstood without recourse because I felt I let that moment go, that moment when I could have apologized… but was there any reason to apologize?  And then I felt mad, like, this woman does not know me, I would never do something on purpose to  antagonize or disturb anyone. And why was I getting so upset about this? Why could I not hold on to my good vibe… aren’t I more enlightened than that?  All this happened in like, a minute.  Ultimately, in minute #2,  I was able to laugh at myself, to find the hilarity in it. Here are the shadowy parts what I teased out of the experience.

  1. Being a person who can make a mistake
  2. The Bitch
  3. The Reprimanded One
  4. The Unaware One

Here is  I how I work with these.

I  tune into each one of these shadowy selves and feel into them, acknowledging that because I felt them, they are part of me. What is the feeling that I feel when I am in each one, what is the part I projected onto this woman, what other times do/have I feel this way?

Let’s take The Bitch. When I felt she was being a bitch, I felt ashamed and afraid that I would get yelled at. What about me, what does it feel when I am being a bitch? What is the sensation there? I feel self-righteous and my jaw is set and uncompromising. And other times I have felt this way… me as a little girl and having my parents mad at me  when I had misbehaved without meaning to.  Trembling lip, breath held, eyes filing with tears.

Next, I put my ipod on shuffle and let it pick me a song and I literally dance those emotions. I feel them as I move, I exaggerate them with gesture and sound, sometimes, I even cry. I look for the full and real expression.  And then as I dance I feel my way to the other side. Often what is on the other side of everything is compassion. For myself, for The Bitch, for the woman in the seat in front of me, for my parents…

Each one of the shadowy selves above gets its own song. The nature of the Shadow is that there is always more, always something I do not see, always blind spots. However, doing this practice has helped me spend less time in the loops around the shadow.  It also often makes me laugh and nothing is better for the disowned parts than gentle humor. When the shadow arises, I have a reference point in my body, I sometimes can recall a time I danced that particular part. I am humbled when I find the me I am refusing to see.  And I get to feel more whole.


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