Monthly Archives: March 2014
“A man is whole only when he takes into account his shadow.” ~ Djuna Barnes
While, of course, I find both Edward and Jacob very handsome, that’s not what makes me watch the Twilight series again and again. I admit I have the printed books, all of the movies, an Audible version and a digital version of each of the books. But I promise you, I’m not lost in teenage adoration. I also own many of the Ann Rice novels. The first in her vampire series, Interview with a Vampire started the whole obsession with all things vampiric and dark.
So what is the attraction for me? What truly excites me about the character progression in these novels is that to me, it indicates that we are beginning to accept that even “monsters” have souls. They quest for forgiveness, acceptance. We see them as the heroes.
Ann Rice brought them into the forefront of consciousness by letting us view reality from their perspective. Stephanie took it even further by creating monsters who desire not to give in to their baser natures, to actually protect those more vulnerable than themselves. In short, in my mind, it is the perfect illustration that we are beginning to be able to view, accept and integrate our Shadow Selves.
Jungian psychology identifies the “shadow aspect” of our personality as the part of us that we cannot acknowledge, and therefore, project onto others.[i] In Sigmund Freud’s, Case Histories II[ii], he states that “projection is the act or technique of defending yourself against unpleasant impulses by denying their existence in yourself, while attributing them to others.” In my viewpoint, the more upset you are with someone else’s behavior is a good indication that it lives within you and is screaming for your attention to accept, heal and integrate. When healing happens, the emotional charge you feel from their behavior simply vanishes.
Both Edward, the icy vampire, and Jacob, the fiery shapeshifter, have a very difficult time accepting their “monster” selves. In the Twilight movie, Edward says to Bella, “what if I’m not the good guy. What if I’m the monster?” In New Moon, Jacob says, to Bella, “I used to be good, once.”
And yet, they are both capable of deep love and in the end, through Bella’s love, they eventually find acceptance and harmony. And Bella herself chooses to live in Edward’s world as one of his kind. But she never saw the monster in Edward or herself. She saw the possibilities. By accepting her shadow self, finding the strength in it, she flourishes. She finds her true, authentic self.
Having worked very hard, and it’s an on-going process, at acknowledging and accepting my own shadow self, and having observed others who do the same, I can say that Bella’s transformation is the perfect illustration of what we can all achieve by integrating our shadow self. In my opinion, it is the key to living authentically. So can you find where Bella, Jacob and Edward all live inside of you? If so, you are well on your way to integrated wholeness. Bravo to you!
Note: If you feel inspired to investigate further, please see the suggested reading list below.
- [i] Young-Eisendrath, P. and Dawson, T. (1997). The Cambridge Companion to Jung., Cambridge University Press, p. 319
- [ii]Sigmund Freud, Case Histories II (PFL 9) p. 132
Abrams, Jeremiah, and Connie Zweig. Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature. Tarcher, 1991, ISBN 0-87477-618-X
- Bly, Robert. “A little book on the human shadow“. Edited by William Booth. Harper and Row, San Francisco, 1988, ISBN 0-06-254847-6
- Campbell, Joseph, ed. The Portable Jung, Translated by R.F.C. Hull, New York: Penguin Books, 1971.
- Johnson, Robert A., Owning Your Own Shadow : Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche, 128 pages, Harper San Francisco, 1993, ISBN 0-06-250754-0
- Johnson, Robert A., Inner Work : Using Dreams and Creative Imagination for Personal Growth and Integration, 241 pages, Harper San Francisco, 1989, ISBN 0-06-250431-2
- Neumann, Erich. Depth Psychology and a New Ethic Shambhala; Reprint edition (1990). ISBN 0-87773-571-9.
- Vandebrake, Mark. “Children of the Mist: Dwarfs in German Mythology, Fairy Tales, and Folk Legends” 135 pages. A work that interprets dwarf depictions throughout German history as shadow symbols.
- Chopra, Deepak, Marianne Williamson, Debbie Ford. The Shadow Effect: Illuminating the Hidden Power of Your True Self. HarperOne, 2010. ISBN 0-06-196265-1.
After nearly two years, I find that I am ready to get back into the blogging saddle again! My last posts were obviously motivated by grief for the loss of my brother-in-law to lung cancer in July of 2012. The following February, my mom entered Hospice. All of 2013 for me was about being fully present with her during her end-of-life process through her passing on June 27th. So began my creative hiatus.
Last year was full of intense emotions. There was fear, stress, sorrow as the Alzheimer’s dementia and CHF stole her away from us bit by bit; and of course, grief and profound sadness. But also moments of joy and absolute hilarity as my mom never lost her amazing wit and charm even unto her final days.
She passed away on June 27th and we held her memorial in August. I spent the rest of 2013 recuperating and dealing with my own health issues. Having been fully present in her final days and moments has inspired me to write a book about how the death process can actually facilitate miraculous healing. I feel our culture could use a little help in dealing with the whole death process. As I posted when my brother-in-law died, I will be forever grateful to the Hospice program for the love and support they provide in dying and death. It is even difficult to write that word. . . death. It seems we do everything possible to avoid it.
But one truth became glaringly obvious to me – that in the end all that matters is love; and all that’s left, if you allow for it, is love. It absolutely heals everything! I’ll keep you posted on that writing project. It’s been on my agenda, but until just recently, I’ve been too emotionally raw to relive the experience in spite of the peace, and even joy, I also felt. But this year, I’m launching into new beginnings! It’s Spring and my life is renewed!
Also new this year, I am working with a wonderful group of people under the direction of author, Richard Harvey and his associate, Robert Meagher. Richard is a prolific writer on the subject of emotional healing. His approach combines spiritual and psychological healing modalities. His works include Your Essential Self, available from Amazon.com and his latest release called Moksha Dawn.
Our group is co-authoring a project called Sacred Attention Therapy with Richard and under his direction. You may find out more about Richard (pictured at left) and the project by following this link: http://www.sacredattentiontherapy.com/. He also can be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/richard.harvey.735?fref=ts
So now that I’m back into the creativity and blogging mode, I plan on launching a new group of articles about what I’ve learned and/or observed from watching television and movies. There will also be informative, inspirational pieces on emotional healing and, I am sure, a gardening blog or two.
First up next week, why a 50-something is a Twihard!