Last summer, I mentioned the new flick by Debbie Ford, The Shadow Effect. Basically a film leading you to take a look at your dark side.
In our culture, we tend to take the Star Wars approach. Stay with the light or you’ll be lost to the Dark Side and never escape the evil power. Yet those ruled by the dark side were actually so because they HADN’T faced their dark side. That’s why it could control them. Unless we face our dark side, we will never be complete. This is not only true for our spiritual evolution but for our health and well-being as well.
From an energetic perspective, our dark side is associated with our lower chakras. If this is plugged up, we can be ungrounded, feel powerless, lack confidence, feel fearful, ashamed or otherwise unworthy, have trouble connecting with others and in intimate relationships, and so forth. These are the centers of our power, ability to relate, our feelings, our passion, and our physicality.
As I mentioned in the prior post, I talk of the shadow story, a sub-conscious back-story to our life that informs many of our responses to circumstances that arise. The only problem is, that story is usually one built on pain and resistance. We are thus running hunks of our life based on fighting what doesn’t work for us rather than working with what does.
Some may consider this sort of self examination as self indulgent. Others will find it quite scary or uncomfortable to look at. But it’s the old bogeyman under the bed thing. The fear we have of the shadow can be greater than what awaits there. That’s not to say it will be easy to face, but in facing it, we clear those obstacles in our lives that may have thwarted our happiness and success for years.
In many ways, this is an ongoing process. After we begin looking at our baggage, we’ll soon find we need a habit of stopping to take a look when a disproportionate or questionable response shows up. Where did that come from? With tools like this, we’ll find ways to look and release.
This not only fixes the tendency to react rather than respond, but it unloads the baggage we’ve carried that drains our energy, happiness, and ability to give. As we do the work, our experience of life gets progressively better and life responds in kind.
Others I know recommend Sedona Method or Byron Katies The Work. The second you can start free on her site. But I would certainly call this DVD a great introduction to your other side. I found it quite potent and surprisingly effective even though I’ve done such work for awhile. Just it’s unique approach gave me another perspective I’d not tried before.
You’ll want to get the Interactive version of the DVD. It consists of the movie, then on a second DVD, the movie interspersed with the exercises that help you see your own shadow. This way, you can watch the film and get familiar with the ideas, then watch it again doing the exercises.
For example, in one of the simple exercises we’re shown the shadow side of what we value most. A force in us that, unseen, can thwart our success and happiness. But it’s a force that is also “gold” if we learn to accept it as an aspect of ourselves.
In the film, there is clip of Marianne Williamson reading her famous quote that has oft been attributed to Nelson Mandela.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…”
I notice the Shadow Effect book is structured quite differently. I’ve not seen it. Rather than a conversation about the shadow with a wide range of speakers, the book is presented as being in 3 parts, each by Deepak Chopra, Ford and Williamson.
Debbie also offers several related on-line courses. 2 of them are available free on Oprah’s site. The 21 Day Consciousness Cleanse series as well as a 6 week Shadow Effect series.
Funnily enough, after you get a little practice at this sort of looking, it can actually be fun. Like a sort of hide and seek game. We’re getting to know parts of ourselves that our shadow has tried to hide. When we see them, many of the running assumptions we picked up as children can seem silly to adult eyes. But their effect on our lives can be surprising. And each seeing brings with it a tonic of relief. And a deeper understanding of who we are and what we have to offer.