I have been thinking about shadow a great deal this week.
I want to live in a culture where we can bring shadow forward. Where, instead of having to hold it in dark and silence, where it turns to harm against self and against others, we can allow it. Let it be – not to hurt, as it does when it is kept secret and hidden, but to be given space, allowing the shock or disgust or upset or anger it might engender, but also, and crucially, allowing the possibility of change, growth, hope.
We don’t live in that culture.
We live in a culture that wants us to hide, wants us to lie, wants us to only ever show our ‘best’ selves to the light, to anyone and everyone else.
None of us is only our best self, not even only our adequate self. We all have shadow.
This week, with Chris Goode’s death and the two year anniversary of the suicide of one of my oldest, dearest friends, and the too many others I have known and loved who have ended their own lives, what I see is a thread of shadow. Of hurt to self and hurt to others that ends in even more hurt to self and to others.
It may be naive of me to think that allowing air and light into shadow might dissipate it, cause less harm. But what I am sure about is that what we have right now does not work. It doesn’t allow the harmed and the hurt to speak out, it doesn’t allow the shamed to speak up, it doesn’t allow possibility for change or for restoration.
So many of my dear ones are in such pain right now, I send you love for all the reasons you are hurting.