Committed to the shadow work, I made sure I would not be walking into the dark forest entirely by myself but asked for a support of a dear friend of mine. We agreed on giving each other honest feedback and encouragement while opening this Pandora’s box. (I sure hope we will remain friends after! ) Besides, since it is the nature of the shadow to remain unseen to us, others might have more to say about those sides that we are hiding or denying from ourselves so it can be helpful to turn to people for some clues (probably asking the ex would not be such a good idea, at least not in the beginning 🙂 ).
One of the things that came up for me even before I started going deep was arrogance and when I asked my friend about it he acknowledged that I could in fact be quite righteous. I was prepared to hear an honest respond and was committed not to shy away from it but receive it and observe my own reaction. The first feeling was that of frustration and disappointment, “No, dear, I can be quite arrogant but not in that way. I surely leave place for other people’s opinions and welcome the differences!” I knew exactly what I meant by arrogance and he was talking about something else! Well, I was prepared hearing the bad stuff, but obviously the one that I thought was right. When I saw the thinking process unfolding this way, I paused in disbelief: wait a minute, what was I at the moment when I was reacting in this way if not something that could be discribed as arrogant and righteous?!
This was the first lesson: courage alone is not enough when meeting one’s demons. You gotta have some of that wisdom to cut through one’s habitual way of thinking and emotional reactivity that comes up as we start digging deeper and the ego is getting a fit. I laughed wholeheartedly at this unexpected twist and at how easy it is to get into this mind trap. I also see now that this work requires a state of mindfulness so we are not easily carried away by emotions or thoughts.
“The gold is in the dark”