What is your Shadow, and how can you honor it?
In Jungian psychology "the Shadow" is an unconscious aspect of our personality. The conscious ego does not fully identify with this aspect of self, however, our Shadow is often the seat of creativity. Recognition and integration of our “darker side” can actually be freeing and revitalizing.
While the analyst in us – the part that wants to “make sense if it all” and interpret the meanderings of our mind and psyche – means well, it isn’t always helpful. Sometimes it's important not to tame these “darker” parts, but rather to find healthy, fun, and appropriate ways of expressing them.
Here are 5 ways to express your inner wild thing:
1. Howl at the moon.
I mean it. Go outside. Feel your feet on the earth and take time to moon gaze. If you want to make a sound – do it. You might be startled to hear yourself and – dare I say it – even enlightened by these sounds, be it guttural or simply a whisper.
2. Messy your hands
Grab some acrylic paints or chalk pastels and simply play with mixing the colors, using only your fingers. Absorb yourself and delight in how the colors mix. Notice how your fingers slide over the paper when covered with the paint. Don’t worry. It isn’t “supposed” to be anything. It is just fun.
3. Dance unabashedly.
Put on a tune that you can’t help but move to. We all have at least one. I’m a little embarrassed to admit mine. They are The Lion Sleeps Tonight (listen to the original Zulu version) and, yes, ACDC Thunderstruck. Find a clear space where you can move as much as you want to. Let go. Your body will do the rest – if you let it. My inner head banger deserves to be let out on occasion, if only in the confines of my home. (This song actually came on during my partner’s and my first date. He said it was a “high risk” move to begin to head bang to it, but I literally couldn't help it. I’m glad he didn’t judge me – too much – for it.)
4. Free write.
This can be a bit tricky for people. It is finding time to disengage from your internal critic and allowing yourself to just write – about anything. There is absolutely no thought about grammar, spelling, or punctuation. Our 8th grade English teacher would hate this. You might even notice that your penmanship looks different. That's a good thing. You have tapped into a different part of your brain.
5. Go on an adventure.
It can be in as little as 5 minutes or much, much longer. Take time to not have an agenda and see what you might experience and learn. Have fun!
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