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A book to help heal the effects of guilt and the shadow.


Posted September 2, 2000

Your Shadow Knows

Linda-Ann Stewart

I once had a friend who was very loving and spiritual, who saw the best in everyone. Wanting to sell some collectibles, she contacted an old acquaintance who had a store featuring items like hers. They agreed that the store owner would sell the objects. A month later, the owner abandoned her shop, and the landlord took possession of everything in it. My friend never got her things back, and was never paid. Why did this happen to someone who was so kind and gentle?

When a person is growing up, they learn that certain things are not approved of by their parents, friends, or their environment. For example, little girls aren't supposed to get mad, and little boys aren't supposed cry. What happens to those unacceptable feelings? They get shoved into the mental closet and the door is locked tight. But as children know, monsters can lurk in the closet. Those feelings may hide in the dark corners, but they will be expressed in some fashion. Combined, they become the "shadow."

The Universe seeks a balance and wants everything out in the open. Life will reflect back at you what you don't accept about yourself. The old saying that opposites attract is so true. A vulnerable, quiet person will attract someone who is domineering. A person who is chronically on time will attract someone who is always late. A pragmatic business person may be drawn to a spiritual person.

When you meet someone who embodies your shadow, generally you're uncomfortable and do to them what you do to your own unacceptable feelings. You try to suppress them, ignore them, put them down, make them go away. Oddly enough, you're not really responding to the other person. You're simply reacting to your own discomfort with yourself. The shadow is simply stored energy. And the more effort you use to repress your shadow, the stronger it will erupt into your environment.

Sometimes your shadow may be something like lying, cheating, manipulation or selfishness. Things that you have judged to be unacceptable. But the shadow can also be empathy, compassion, vulnerability or spirituality. Whatever it is, you'll get to bump into it in your life. It's the Universe's way of trying to get you to accept yourself fully. Spirit created you to be a whole person, and everyone has these elements within them. The object isn't to ignore them, or to act on them, but to simply accept that they're there. By doing so, you reclaim some of your power.

To figure out what your shadow is, just think about what makes you uncomfortable? Is there a pattern of situations in your life that have made you feel helpless? Think about the common denominator of these, and you'll probably be looking at your shadow. You've placed your power in the closet, and it's escaped through a trap door to loom over you. Once you open that door, you'll probably find that the monster is just a pussycat. Most of the energy that's been reflecting back at you has been the energy you've used to keep the door closed.

How does this relate to my friend? She'd never felt capable of dealing with authority figures. She'd chosen that particular store, because she thought the owner would take care of her valuables. Instead, the owner didn't tell her that the business was in trouble. And once the store was closed, a powerful person claimed everything in the store. She never objected. Why did she get into that situation? The Universe, in the form of her shadow, was trying to get her to be assertive.

Where have you given your power away? Your shadow knows.


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