Good morning, all! It’s raining pretty hard this morning, which is a bit of a disappointment considering that around 8 pm last night it was dumping snow! But the rain has washed away all the snow now, and the outside air is actually kind of warm.
That’s okay. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot of snow this winter. I pulled my sweaters out from where they were stored under my bed and as I took them out, one by one, I could vividly remember folding them and putting them away, it seems only weeks ago.
It used to be that the days were long and the years were short, but now the days are short, too. Time is virtually speeding by. It’s so weird. I don’t mind, though. I think I’m finally at peace with growing older, at least appearance-wise, which is something I thought I’d never be reconciled to. The other day my friend sent me a photo from ten to twelve years ago, I’m not sure, and it shows me with super blonde hair, which I was lightening at the time.
When I saw the picture I was encouraged because it gives me an idea of how my hair might look when I’m an old lady. (My hair, of course, not the rest of me, but that’s okay. I’m reconciled, remember? If you don’t forget then maybe you can remind me on bad days.)
I’ve always thought old ladies with long flowing white hair were beautiful. I’ve never been one of those ‘chic’ sorts, and I can’t imagine myself starting when I’m sixty plus. Who knows though? Maybe I’ll cut all my hair off and go for the old gamine look. Anything’s possible. In fact, it’s possible that I won’t have white hair at all until really late in life because my mom, who’s sixty-seven, has caramel-colored hair like mine with only one persistent white patch that shows up between rinses. You may shake your head, but this is a little disappointing to me. :)
So, as you regular readers know, I’ve been working on my shadows, a la C.G. Jung and Associates, and it’s been illuminating, if rather heavy at times. I do the majority of my reading and thinking about it in the mornings and then spend the rest of the day taking care of various responsibilities, whatever needs to be done, which is usually a lot, you know, and reading novels. I need to offset the heaviness with lightness, and the novels provide that marvelously and keep me from feeling overwhelmed.
Thank God for slow revelations, because I couldn’t stand to see too much of myself at once. Among what will undoubtedly turn out to be many, the one shadow that has emerged most prevalently since I’ve started this work is directness. For many reasons–primarily family dynamics, and cultural, generational, and religious influences, I learned to stuff forthrightness down into the dark where it wouldn’t make people uncomfortable so they’d criticize or reject me. Little girls, in my understanding, were not supposed to be strong, or powerful, or ‘rebellious’, or have opinions that differed from socially and emotionally significant others; they were to be obedient, quiet, circumspect, perpetually encouraging and giving, sweet.
As I’ve said in previous posts, my dreams have been a wonderful support to me lately, bringing my shadows up from my subconscious into the light of my dreams, where I can latch onto them consciously and ponder them while awake. In Jungian philosophy, when we dream our shadows, they’re almost always in the form of a person of the same sex. A couple nights ago I dreamt of a young woman of the type I generally cannot stand: uptight, priggish, fashionably dressed in expensive tailored clothes, put together, obviously wealthy, privileged, and more than a little snotty. I was helping her do something at her house and asked if I could use her bathroom. To my shock, she said no, I couldn’t. I didn’t know how to react, so went into her bedroom, noticed the attached bathroom, and used the toilet anyway. As I walked out, defiantly buttoning my jeans, I told her I had used her bathroom and that she had no right to tell me not to, that she was incredibly rude, and basically just railed at her for a few minutes. Her face fell and she replied, “I know… I’m sorry. I don’t know why I do these things,” and after that we had a decently friendly interaction, though I still didn’t like her. I understood her.
In shadow terms, this woman represented an aspect of myself that I’ve stuffed down because it wasn’t valued and was even derided in my growing-up experience. But it’s very much a part of who I am anyway. Last night my dream was shorter. The only part I remember with any clarity was an old man’s voice proclaiming stentoriously, “It’s little girls who use too much perfume, not little boys.” Yes…. little girls, in general, are the ones who are taught to use sweetness to allure, attract, draw people to themselves, to manipulate in order to get what they want. Little boys, on the other hand, are taught to say exactly what they mean, to take what they want by the directest route possible. In the dream, immediately after I heard the voice, I saw a little blond boy in a hospital bed, weak and writhing in pain. He also represented me, the undeveloped masculine in this particular area, the unexplored “directest route.”
Once our shadows, our unconscious motivations, are brought out of the dark, we can hold them in our hands, set them on the table in front of us, turn them over and finally really look at them, and have the option of doing whatever we want with them. When we see them, we have a choice. When we don’t see them, there is no choice: they control us. My suppressed inner golden goddess would emerge when I didn’t expect her to and be twisted into a sharp-tongued harpy. Because I could neither see nor acknowledge her, she would wreak havoc in my relationships at high-pressure times, doing a lot of damage. Discovering her in many dream forms over the past week has been incredible. I now know she’s there. I know she’s part of me, she’s who I really want to be but never thought I could, and now I can begin to practice using her personal power in positive ways. Also, when I see a woman with those dream attributes in real life, instead of automatically hating her, I can view her from an entirely new perspective. I can see that she is me, and I am her, and ask myself what I can learn from her. It’s humbling and, once again, I am reminded that whenever I judge another person, I’m actually judging my repressed self. It’s eye-opening.
When I weigh the pros and cons of being direct, the value of becoming as real-ized as possible is like an ingot of gold versus a handful of tinfoil. There’s just no comparison, there really isn’t. The best thing we can do for each other is remind one another of who we truly are, underneath all the layers of stuff, good and bad, that’s piled on top of us throughout our lives. And what we are is unadulterated love and light–each of us a vast, deep, infinite ocean of it. That’s what we are at the core, and that’s where I want to get to when I’m with someone. No more meandering around in the mucky layers. Let your light shine through today! Love.