In Oscar Wilde’s novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, a beautiful young man sees a painting of himself that is handsome and unblemished. He wants to remain that way forever, so he makes a pact with the devil: All signs of degeneration will appear on a painting, rather than on his face. And the painting will be hidden away, never to be seen. But his curiosity arises, and he furtively pulls the portrait out of the darkness, only to see his youthful face grow more and more hideous.
Each of us is like Dorian Gray, seeking to show a pure, beautiful, kind, intelligent face to the world. But, unknowingly, we push away those qualities that don’t fit the ideal image — hatred, rage, depression, greed, dependency, lust, addiction, aggression — and they are banished into the dark cavern of the mind. Like Dorian’s painting, they take on a life of their own, an inner twin, that is known in psychology as the shadow. Then they erupt, and we meet the shadow, leaving us ashamed and remorseful about something we said or did that does not fit our ideal self-image.
Our first response may be denial. We don’t want to see ourselves that way. So, we look away, trying to forget it. But the pattern repeats itself again — whether a harmful comment or a self-destructive behavior. And we feel helpless, hurting others or ourselves.
The shadow is the dark room in which our images and dreams lie dormant. Shadow-work is the process of development in which our images and dreams come back to life. We eventually learn how to uncover the gold in our shadow — the deeper needs within those rejected parts of ourselves. And we learn how to meet those needs directly so that they don’t erupt indirectly, in self-destructive ways.
This e-course explores:
- how we meet the shadow every day,
- shadow-making in families,
- romancing the shadow (forming a conscious relationship with it)
- romancing “the abandoned child” and “the addict,”
- shadow-boxing and shadow-dancing in intimate relationships,
- money/sex/power shadows in relationships,
- meeting spiritual shadow,
- shadow-work for spiritual abuse or disillusionment,
- finding gold in the dark side,
- and other themes.
This e-course can be scheduled at the pace you choose. You will receive:
- 12 e-mails in all, providing information, reflections, and stories about the shadow; and,
- selected spiritual practices to inspire and inform you to become a shadow-worker;
Connie Zweig, known as the Shadow Expert, has worked as a therapist for 25 years, guiding people to uncover their unconscious obstacles to a fuller life. She has a Ph.D. in depth psychology with two years of training at the Los Angeles Jung Institute. She is co-author of Meeting the Shadow and Romancing the Shadow. She extended shadow-work into the arena of spirituality with Meeting the Shadow of Spirituality. She is now retired from clinical practice and extending her work into late life with The Reinvention of Age: Mastering Late Life from the Inside Out.
This course is for anyone who seeks a deeper self-knowledge and self-acceptance or deeper intimacy in relationship. However, it is not therapy, and it is not suitable for those with serious mental health issues.
(choose your own start date and frequency)