The Shadow Knows

Feeling hopeful today, about this Presidential election that people are now voting on.  Okay, also slightly concerned as well.  I don’t want to focus-per say-on politics. Although it’s because of politics that I’m writing about this.

This whole election thing-and in particular Donald Trump, has really caused such an upheaval in this country.It/he has caused a huge amount of discomfort in many-me included. He has validated so many things that are abhorrent- violence, racism, demeaning people with disablities, sexism… and more.  So many are feeling the stress of this whole thing and in some cases, it’s effecting peoples’ health.

So, in spite of having a common dislike of the man and what he stands for-as well as the people that support him, there’s also been something else nagging me in the back of my mind.  I hadn’t been quite able to get there yet, but this morning I was reading a comment that asobermiracle  made to a response I had made to her on my last post.  She mentioned “the Trump within”.   And that clicked! In a collective, group way, he represents our shadow side. Our dark side.

We all have a shadow side.  Carl Jung described it as, “the dark side of human nature”. Some of us try to do the work and bring it to the light-some people are totally unaware of the concept and let it rule their lives. And while I can say that I am definitely not a racist or condone violence or demeaning people-you get the drift-I do have a shadow side.  I find myself getting really ugly thoughts about those people.  So what separates me from them?  We’re both hating-just for different reasons. The shadow side is made up of suppression and repression.  For instance, if we’re judging someone for their behavior, “I can’t believe they’re doing that!” That’s our shadow side.

And so, this brings me to drinking. Alcohol.  Being drunk allows the shadow to come out. You know how it goes.  At first, it tastes good, you get a little buzz.  You’re kind of the fun, happy, witty drunk.  As time goes on, and the Shadow side gets stronger, things may become exacerbated-like feelings of persecution, anti-social behavior, self pity.  Don’t know about you, but I have experienced all of those.  If we don’t come to terms with this shadow side, we become it’s victim.  Which is exactly what happens when someone has an alcohol problem-or any other substance abuse problem-or, gasp!, even a chocolate problem.

It’s scary to look at the dark side of ourselves, or our family, or our community or country-but it’s necessary to bring it to the lightand to learn from it.  Our Shadow side is shaped by all of these things and more. To be able to face the things that are scary to us and that are influencing us and keeping us from having the best life that we possibly can is such an important step in living a sober life. I know for a fact that it is not possible to live freely and joyfully through a bottle of wine-or vodka or beer-Drinking only allows the Shadow to grow. To over-shadow our lives.  I realize that this Shadow work is ongoing-or is if we want to continue to grow and live wholly.  I also believe that facing our darkest parts is empowering.  Life should be a conutinuous process of growth and personal excelleration.  Why would we want to be stuck in a deep dark place? Yes, the Shadow side is  scary.  But it’s a part of us! To be whole, we need to acknowledge all parts of ourselves.

I realize this may sound too deep or disjointed.  And I am certainly no psychologist- although I’ve had plenty of therapy over the course of my lifetime.  Even so, I needed to be reminded of the Shadow side. There’s plenty of things to read up on this-from Jung, to Freud and many more.

And, while I hate to say it (that’s my Shadow talking!) I have to thank Donald Trump.  For contributing to such a sense of discomfort in me that I went searching for the reason. And in searching and finding that reason, I am able to once again, confront my own Shadow issues and grow from them.

Ha! Take that you SOB!  (I said it’s an ongoing process! 🙂

 

 

Sweet Dreams

I’ve been into my dreams for a long time. I try to write them down when I can remember them. I am able to wake up, take the dog out, make my coffee and then go back into the dream and write it down. I’ve recorded dreams in the middle of the night.

I’ve spent hours thinking about and trying to analyze my dreams.
I look up symbols in my dreams on different websites-finding an interpretation that fits my circumstance.
I’ve gone to dream groups. I even had a Jungian therapist for a time, who as you may know, Jung was all about dreams and the sub-conscious.

Dreams have been of great importance throughout the ages. Many ancient tribes had people that only read the dreams of others.
Dreams have altered peoples lives.

So, I think that dreams are very important.
They can take us to levels that we may not go to consciously and they can have important messages for us. They can also be a kind of subconscious yard stick of where we are in our lives.
Sometimes they may seem silly-sometimes they can seem scary-other times almost inconsequential.
But, I’ve found that most of the time, after delving into a dream, that it means much more than is on the surface. What might have seemed negative upon awakening becomes positive after really looking at it.

An old boyfriend or girlfriend in a dream may not mean that particular person. They may be a symbol of the past. Or they may represent a part of us.
Water usually has a spiritual meaning.
Stairs can mean transition. And while climbing up stairs usually signifies ascent, going down stairs is not necessarily a negative thing. It can mean going deeper into a transition or revisiting a place that no longer serves us.
Cars have a lot of meaning-and whether one is the driver or the passenger is important. If it’s a new car or a beat up jalopy-if it’s out of control or at the speed limit.
A house can signify our psyche.
I do believe that when someone we revere-such as Jesus, Buddah, Mother Mary, Babji,or any of the Saints from all the religions- show up in our dreams it is actually them and a huge blessing for the dreamer.
All of these are symbols and can be used as tools for growth and insight.

I also believe dreams are extremely important on a spiritual level.
They can occur during a recovery process, before, after and during a major change in our lives, when we are becoming more aware of ourselves.
Dreams can signify emotional, spiritual changes that may occur and are occurring in our lives.

Dreams can point us in the direction that we need to go.
As I’ve pointed out, I’ve been into my dreams for a long time. Which means while drinking-because I was also into drinking for a LONG time.
And while my dreams were important then and many very significant, I am finding new meanings in the dreams that I am having now-sober.
I’m not talking about the “drinking dreams”. Although one theory is that drinking dreams are in fact, our brains helping us to reinforce our sobriety. Because most of the time when people wake up from a drinking dream their first thought is “Thank God it was only a dream!” So, in that sense it’s a reinforcement of our choice for sobriety.

My dreams now are showing me that the past is not giving me what I need (probably never did)
They are showing me that I am definitely where I should be and that this path of Sobriety is the right path for me.
Dreams come from that “Soul-u-lar” level and because we have created the dream, they are another facet of this very personal healing process.