Sep 292009

Wonder+Woman 225x300 Shadows of a Parent

          It’s Tuesday and we are talking shadows this week. Tuesdays are dedicated to our relationships with our children, parenting and just being a child. When we decided to discuss shadows this week, Tuesday became a very important day. Why you ask? Simply put, most of our shadows are created in childhood. Some of you are reacting to this negatively and are thinking, ‘Oh jeez, here comes the inner child crap’ or ‘why the hell would you look for a shadow?’ To these questions we say, are you comfortable living an unexamined life?

          Lee says: Parenting, in general, is a veritable cornucopia of opportunities to get to know yourself better. However, if you choose to eschew personal growth, therapy or just asking yourself ‘why the hell do I do this’ then you will always be at the mercy of the world. It’s the difference between a passive victim of fate and taking on the role of protagonist in your life. Are you the hero or are you leaving that up to someone else who will, I’m sorry to say, invariably disappoint you.

          On September 30, Patricia Heaton is starring in a new show on ABC called ‘The Middle’. The Warner Brothers promo department says it’s a show about an overwhelmed mother of three trying to get by. The opening scene of the premiere is the main character, Heaton, dressed as a superhero in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone reception. Since we’re talking shadows and archetypes, this scene just made me go all atwitter. Think of it, Mommies. A superhero? Lost. All alone. Nobody can hear you. Is anything resonating with Moms yet?

          Now in most of the family sitcoms or dramas, I tend to react to the Mothers who are over-involved, hovering and meddling. You know the type of Mom. Does Endora ring a bell? So what am I reacting to? I don’t like the fact that she violates boundaries and blames the others for her daughter’s situation. So, how is Endora my shadow? Easy, I am Momma Bear. Nothing makes me forget boundaries easier than having my kids or someone I love being hurt or have the potential of emotional discomfort. I become the chief conductor on the blame train and everyone is fair game. When I behave like this, I am totally entitled to my behavior, which I would normally find to be out of integrity, because I am protecting my babies or my family. This means if I need to call a teacher a bitch and be held down during a school meeting then that’s just fine (no, this hasn’t happened…yet).

          Normally I would never behave like Endora but my kids bring this out of me. Some parts of Endora are wonderful such as her fierce love of her children, her problem solving, feeling invincible and the outfits are fabulous. On the negative side, the lack of boundaries just goes against who I am and what I want my children to learn. In every shadow there is the dark and the golden. I believe the golden parts of Endora are so important in my role of Mom. The negative is more hindering than helping (that isn’t necessarily true in the case that someone really needs to get their ass kicked).

          I thank my self reflection or the consideration of my internal workings for these insights. Without that, I would stand there wondering what the hell was happening to me and blaming the world for my need to react so irrationally. That doesn’t sound so bad on paper unless it’s your arrest warrant or another law suit.

          Paul says: Non-participatory Dad’s bother the shit out of me. Nothing annoys me more than a father that sits, not lifting a finger, and complains to his wife about the children’s behavior. With shadows there is a rule of thumb that if something erks you on an emotional level then it is your shadow. So apparently I have a ‘lazy daddy’ shadow. Shit, I just figured that out while writing this. Maybe if I integrate this new shadow, I can start to ignore my apes. What do you think?

Sep 282009

nun 300x225 The Shadow 

         Welcome to Monday of a week that we are certain will be interesting. After being interviewed by the Miami Herald, with photo shoot and all, we are really tapping in to the deep dark fears that keep freaking us out every time someone says that they like our stuff. So, like we have been known to do, we have decided to make this week’s theme reflect our own inner turmoil as we talk about the weaknesses and shortcomings that we call the Shadow. (Ooooooh, scary.)

          Paul says: OK, folks, pay attention. I’m going to try and teach you about Shadows in two paragraphs so you may need to concentrate. If you have ever read any of the work of Carl Jung, contemporary of Freud and one of the founding fathers of psychology, then you know that his stuff is like listening to a marijuana enhanced rant from Yoda.

          The Shadow is one of the five main Jungian Archetypes. See, I lost you already. An Archetype, according to Jung, is a universal model of an idea. The Mother Goddess, for example, is an archetype of that you would see in every culture throughout the world. Mother Mary, Lakshmi, Isis, and Hera are all Mother Goddess images, imbued with magic powers of healing and proliferation. Psychologically, these are images that are part of our make-up and are accessible to us any time that we need them.

          The Shadow is an archetype of all of the fears, weaknesses and dark yucky stuff that is in each of us. It is the part that we do not want to see. We do everything that we can to repress and ignore this part because it is scary. And I am not talking about a little bit spooky. I am talking about Chucky meets Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction frightening. Think about it, if the Mother Goddess archetype is as grand and glorious as it is then the Shadow archetype will be equally…shadowy.

          I’ve identified a few shadows at this point. One is an ethereal creature that fills me with shame, tells me that I am weird and generally stops me from talking about myself and my inner thoughts. Obviously, this blog is a way for me to ‘work my shadow’ which is the point of identifying these monsters within us.

          Jung said that the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. The Shadow is like the Sci-Fi movies where the protagonist has some kind of growth that talks and tries to take over his life. If you do not know about it then it sits next to you and talks shit about all of the people in your life. It points out in others all of the ways that they are like your shadow, how they are like your darkest fears. This is called projection, by the way, because you are projecting your stuff onto someone else. I think that you can see how bad it is for you if, every time someone nice steps into your life, you throw fecal matter at them, metaphorically speaking, and you do not even know that you are doing it. By knowing your Shadow, you are able to say ‘Dude, cut it out’ and, surprisingly enough, it will.

          So, I think that that is enough of a Shadow primer. You did good. When I first learned about this stuff, my brain shut down for 3 days. If you are interested in this stuff, as I am because it is like Dungeons and Dragons with science, then do some reading up. There are volumes and volumes and volumes of info on Archetypes. And it is so cool.

          Lee says: When you are triggered (react) to someone else, this is a projection of your shadow. So the things you hate in others are really shadows within yourself. Woah, heavy. Like Paul, I also identified a few shadows in me and just the mere acknowledgement has made a difference for me. Ain’t no shadow in the light, get it?

          One of my shadows I call Sister Nazi. This shadow is a rigid, unforgiving, cruel woman who knows how all things should be done and shows utter disgust when it isn’t. The way you know she comes out to play is that I become very judgmental and believes no one can do things like her. She’s not very fun but then again most nuns aren’t.