Debbie Ford opened my eyes to the concept of ‘Shadow’, and my life has never been the same.
Here’s a powerful extract from her book, “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers”:
“In Love and Awakening, John Welwood uses the analogy of a castle to illustrate the world within us. Imagine being a magnificent castle with long hallways of thousands of rooms. Every room in the castle is perfect and possesses a special gift. Each room represents a different aspect of yourself and is an integral part of the entire perfect castle. As a child, you explored every inch of your castle without shame or judgement. Fearlessly you searched every room for its jewels and its mystery. Lovingly you embraced every room whether it was a closet, a bedroom, bathroom, of a cellar. Each and every room was unique. Your castle was full of light, love, and wonder. Then one day, someone came to your castle and told you that one of your rooms was imperfect, that surely it didn’t belong in your castle. They suggested that if you wanted to have a perfect castle you should close and lock the door to this room. Since you wanted love and acceptance, you quickly closed off that room As time went by, more and more people came to your castle. They all gave you their opinions of the rooms, which ones they liked and which ones they didn’t. And slowly you shut one door after another. Your marvelous rooms were being closed off, taken out the light, and put into the dark. A cycle had begun.
From that time on, you closed more and more doors for all kinds of reasons. You closed doors because you were afraid, or you thought the rooms were too bold. You closed doors to rooms that were too conservative. You closed doors because other castles you saw did not have a room like yours. You closed doors because your religious leaders told you to stay away from certain rooms. You closed any door that did not fit into society’ standards of your own ideal.
The days were gone when your castle seemed endless and your future seemed exciting and bright. You no longer cared for every room with the same love and admiration. Rooms you were once proud of, you now willed to disappear. You tried to figure out ways to get rid of these rooms, but they were part of the structure of your castle. Now that you had shut the door to whatever room you didn’t like, time went by until one day you just forgot that room altogether. At first, you didn’t realize what you were doing. It just became a habit. With everyone giving you different messages about what a magnificent castle should look like, it became much easier to listen to them than to trust your inner voice: the one that loved your entire castle. Shutting off those rooms actually started to make you feel safe. Soon you found yourself living in just a few small rooms. You had learned how to shut of life and became comfortable doing it. Many of us also locked away so many rooms that we forgot we were ever a castle. We began to believe we were just a small, two-bedroom house in need of repairs.
Now imagine your castle as the place where you house all of who you are, the good and bad, and that every aspect that exists on the planet exists within you. One of your rooms is love, one is courage, one is elegance, and another is grace. There are endless numbers of rooms. Creativity, femininity, honesty, integrity, health, assertiveness, sexiness, power, timidity, hatred, greed, frigidity, laziness, arrogance, sickness, and evil are rooms in your castle. Each room is an essential part of the structure and each room has an opposite somewhere in your castle. Fortunately, we are never satisfied being less than what we are capable of being. Our discontent with ourselves motivates us in our search for all the lost rooms of our castle. We can only find the key to our uniqueness by opening all the rooms in our castle.