All systems seek balance including our inner and outer selves. We often become unbalanced when we suppress the expression of our hidden, or shadow, aspects. This suppression is learned during the process of being raised, as we are taught to deny parts of ourselves to fit into society. We cut ourselves off from our truest expression of self as a sacrifice for the safety of others (imagine society if everyone acted on every urge felt). However, the complete suppression of our shadows creates an imbalance in our lives until we choose to look within and honor these hidden aspects; even if only symbolically. This series will be about returning to a place of balance within by uncovering our hidden and at times golden facets.
Based on the work of Carl Jung, each person is a microcosm and thus represents each aspect of the macrocosm. Rumi reflects this in his quote, “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.” In other words, each of us contains all aspects of the whole, we are NOT parts of the whole…instead we are whole. The reason each of us has a different persona (personality) with requisite shadows (hidden aspects), is that we each have the same archetypes (personality traits) yet in different proportions.
To heal and become whole, it is imperative that we accept and allow each aspect of our personas and shadows to express themselves; even if only privately. As such, this does NOT necessarily mean that we act on each impulse. Instead, we can allow for the unique expression of our aspects through techniques such as active imagination, dreams, fantasy, and creative projects such as writing, painting, sculpting, dancing and acting. These are examples of how we can honor the aspects of ourselves that each need a voice and unique vehicle of expression.
Robert A. Johnson, psychologist and Jungian analyst, states that ego cannot tell the difference between fanstasies/dreams and reality. To the ego, all is reality. This reminds me of a conversation in The Matrix between Morpheus and Neo:
Morpheus: Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream, Neo? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?
Enter the Virgin (pun intentional)
Yesterday, in seeing my resistance to and desire to slow down and control the pace at which sex was being introduced into a new relationship, I saw where I have not honored the virgin aspect of myself. Today, I am sorting through ways that I can honor her. She is part of who I am regardless of how much I may want to be able to express myself as a vixen, without honoring the Virgin I cannot fully access the Vixen within.
There may be many reasons that the Virgin aspect is stronger for me than many of my same-aged counterparts. Years of sexual abuse, the “Church of Christ” influences in my household growing up (think Southern Baptist plus a standard deviation or two to the right), and even my birth sign of Virgo – which was named after the Virgin Mary whose birthday fell within the Virgo timeframe.
I find that when I feel rushed into sex that my body is slow to respond and does what it can to block the process. It can be frustrating for me and now I see a path of potential healing. Now to find how I can honor this aspect of myself. For to continue to fight against her is not helpful. In general, the more I am pushed, just like a river, the more I push back; even and especially against myself. One cannot kick a tree without it kicking back.
What aspects of yourself do you find you fight against? What are some ways that you can honor this part of yourself in healthy and non-harmful ways? The word holy reflects the wholeness (completedness) that we each wish to have, for it is in accepting ourselves completely and wholly (holy) that we regain access to our own happiness and inner peace.
In the book pictured below, Johnson speaks to the synthesis of our extremes to bring about the ability to rise above duality. It is, it seems to indicate, the path to enlightenment to allow each aspect of ourselves to exist – even if it means at the extremes. To disqualify any aspect of ourselves also disqualifies that aspect in others. We then project our judgments and insecurities outwardly onto others. Our lack of individual inner peace is then reflected in the collective. To heal the world, it is imperative that we become the change we wish to see.