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Why Your Shadow Makes You Say And Do Things That Are Not ‘You’

We all do it.

Things are humming along nicely, then — from out of the blue — something triggers us.

We lose our filter. Honest feelings rise and pop.

We say or do something that surprises or shocks us, and everyone within earshot.

Someone gets hurt, and we feel lousy.

When this happens to you, you probably spend the rest of the day scrambling to fix the mess. “I’m sorry.” “I wasn’t thinking.” “I’m under a lot of pressure.” “I just wasn’t myself.”

You beat yourself up, vow to get a handle on yourself and never to let loose again. You don’t want to be like that, ever.

The fallout of your sudden outburst can be a hiccup or a hurricane.

A sarcastic comment, a disgruntled rant, and a punch in the face will each elicit a different response. As will a teary outburst, a jealous accusation, and a racial slur.

Those caught in your line of fire may easily forgive you, never speak to you again, or see you in court.

If you weren’t yourself, who were you at that moment?

Where did the other you come from?

That other you is another part of you. It’s the unwanted you — the part you keep hidden, most of the time.

You keep this part of yourself hidden because you find it unattractive, unacceptable, or abhorrent. It’s not how you want your family, friends, and co-workers to see you.

The unwanted you corrupts your self-image and is a blight on your ego.

The psychological term for the unwanted you is the shadow.

Your shadow is the refuge for all the traits, behaviors, feelings and impulses that your ego rejects.

How Your Shadow Is Created

“Everything that is, casts a shadow.”
― Neil Gaiman, American Gods

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Time For Renewal, But First – Clarity Of Purpose

Who you believe you are, how you relate to others and how you engage with the world around you is directly aligned with your life purpose or lack of purpose.

8 Things Your Life Purpose Can Do For You

  1. Your life purpose is the ‘why’ of your existence. Connecting with purpose reduces self-doubt, and increases self-esteem and confidence. When you have a purpose you feel useful, your actions are meaningful and valuable to yourself and others.
  2. Your purpose orientates both your inner life and your outer life. It’s the anchor that keeps you grounded, and the wheel that steers your direction.
  3. Your purpose creates experiences. The sum of these experiences creates your life.
  4. Your purpose takes you out of your comfort zone to courageously seek resources, education, mentors and helpers on your journey.
  5. Your purpose unifies your actions. Rather than being distracted, fragmented or unsure, your purpose gives you focus, enabling you to narrow your field of activity. You know the next thing to do, and the next.
  6. Your purpose is wise and ingenious. Once you make a sincere attempt to connect with it, your life purpose ignites your creativity. New ideas light up your mind, and you begin to think laterally and more creatively on how to fulfill it.
  7. Your purpose is not all about you. It’s bigger than you. Once you are aligned with and in flow with your purpose you realize that, rather than having a purpose, your purpose has you.
  8. Your purpose inspires you to bite off more than you can chew. Then, just as you feel overwhelmed by the task, purpose mainlines you into the cosmic grid and shoots a million stars into you.

5 Things You Can Do For Your Life Purpose

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7 Potent Ways To Live And Die Without Regret

Add up all the stories told from deathbeds; the regrets, confessions, sorrows, secrets, petitions for forgiveness, and desperate calls to turn back the clock, and we have an infinite library of tragedy.

I must change my life so that I can live it. Not wait for it.
—  Susan Sontag

Death’s Day is coming — today, tomorrow, or it could be decades away.

Good health and youth do not protect anyone from death’s decision.

When death calls your name, you must go.

In my late teens, I almost died in a car accident, but death let me off the hook.

Not long after, death called my best friend, then my father.

I pushed their deaths into the shadow and ran into the light but soon discovered that chasing light created too many fears and even bigger shadows.

Then I found a wise teacher and teachings that led me back to the darkness to befriend death. Since that time I have allowed myself to remain with the awareness of death and this has driven me to interact with life more purposefully and joyfully.

In this essay, I reveal the 7 things I have learned about regret and death:

  1. Take a leaf from the Top 5 Regrets
  2. Explore other cultures
  3. Break the silence around death in daily life
  4. Learn the skill of change and letting go
  5. Meditate on death
  6. Interact with myths, art, and symbols of death
  7. Express your experience of death

1. Take A Leaf From The Top 5 Regrets

What we can learn from those near death, is that regret is the greatest pain.

Nurse Bronnie Ware spent 12 years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She collected stories and published a book, The Top Five Regrets Of Dying.

My friend Ann Marie is a nurse who worked in palliative care for twenty years. She carries her patient’s stories so deeply that being with her is sometimes heartbreaking.

Together these nurses have thousands of stories, and yet their top 5 regrets are identical.

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{New Book} 10 Things Girls Need Most: To Grow Up Strong and Free

Foster The Wild Child
An excellent new book, 10 Things Girls Need Most: To Grow Up Strong and Free by psychologist Steve Biddulph, explores the trials and traumas of prepubescent and pubescent girls. The book targets parents of girls, however, it’s for anyone who wants to understand the difficulties girls of today face – our women of tomorrow. 

Just as Biddulph’s book Manhood, aimed at fathers and sons, was an informative read for women (I gifted many copies to women to better understand their fathers, sons, brothers, and lovers), his new book offers illuminating insights for women and men of all ages.

For me, the book offers visceral insights into the state of the feminine in current western culture. Regrettably, it ain’t particularly pretty.

 What are the 10 things girls need most?

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