Quote of the day: SHADOW

September 20, 2012

To proceed toward wholeness and manifest the promise only you can bring to the world, you must investigate your shadow. It contains values and perspectives needed to round out your conscious personality. It contains personal powers you’ll need when you befriend or wrestle with the inner and outer dragons and angels encountered on your soul journey.

In the encounter with shadow, your conscious personality will sometimes be overwhelmed or shattered. Your ego might experience a death, but it will thereby be enabled to later rise from the ashes like a phoenix endowed with new powers….

Before being reclaimed, the negative elements of the shadow appear to the ego as disagreeable and frightening. They show up as scary dreamworld characters and as dayworld people onto whom we project our own negative qualities, such as greediness, cowardice, rage, weakness, arrogance, or cruelty. We project our negative shadow onto nature, too: hairy beasts, dark forests, swamps, tornadoes, bats, snakes, and volcanoes. Yet the negative shadow possesses beneficial attributes we need in order to mature. Without these qualities, our personalities remain unbalanced, fragmented, or otherwise incomplete….

The positive qualities of our shadow – qualities we would consider virtuous, elevated, or otherwise exemplary – are also projected onto others. These are the exemplary traits we see in others but can hardly imagine for ourselves.

Often we discover our shadow holds something sacred: our deepest passion. This may be a longing to dance, to create magic, to sing in public, or to love with abandon. Donna Medeiros, a teacher at an alternative high school, says that when we are young, we name our passion something else — so we can suppress it. We name it foolish, selfish, odd, crazy, or evil. This misnaming protects us from social injury, from being rejected or marginalized by our family or peers. Donna knows this not only from her own story but also from her daily classroom experience with teenagers whom she guides through the process of self-reclamation. When awareness of their passion begins to return, they don’t recognize it at first because it had been mislabeled.

— Bill Plotkin, Soulcraft

One Response to “Quote of the day: SHADOW”

  1. Sara Says:

    As someone who has covered his work previous, I am writing to see if you would be interested in receiving a review copy of Bill Plotkin’s new book Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche which we will be publishing this April for consideration. If so I would be happy to ask his publicist at New World Library to send you either the PDF or the physical book in March when we get them hot off the press. If this is of interest, please reply to this email with your mailing address, a direct link to your blog, and the format you prefer!

    Here’s more information about this ground-breaking book…

    What do we need to know and understand to help facilitate lasting positive change in our individual lives and communities? How can we revolutionize our understanding of what it means to be human and revive our abilities to realize our potential and transform our contemporary cultures?

    The enclosed advance reading copy of Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche (New World Library, April 15, 2013) by cultural visionary, author, and wilderness guide Bill Plotkin addresses and answers these key questions of our time.

    “We’re being summoned by the world itself to make many urgent changes to the human project, but most central is a fundamental re-visioning and reshaping of ourselves, a shift in consciousness,” writes Plotkin. “We must reclaim and embody our original wholeness, our indigenous human nature granted to us by nature itself. And the key to reclaiming our original wholeness is not merely to suppress psychological symptoms, recover from addictions and trauma, manage stress, or refurbish dysfunctional relationships, but rather to fully flesh out our multifaceted, wild psyches, committing ourselves to the largest story we’re capable of living, serving something bigger than ourselves.”

    In Wild Mind, Plotkin introduces a map of psychological wholeness that is rooted in nature’s own map of wholeness. The book offers an elaborate field guide to becoming fully human by cultivating the four facets of the Self and discovering both the limitations and gifts of our wounded, fragmented, and shadowed subpersonalities.

    I look forward to hearing from you about this possibility! Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions.


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