Embracing Our Shadow

Are you challenged with Zoom and would like to know how to navigate it more? My friend and colleague Rev. Beth Head is doing a Zoom class that is sponsored by our Unity Eastern Region on Wednesday,, February 17 at 10–11:30 a.m. and again on Thursday, February 25 at 6:30–8 p.m. (same material at both dates). If you would like to learn more of the basics then I encourage you to sign up. The cost is just $10. Contact me, and I can help you get registered.

I want to give a shout out to Kate Brown. If you have had a birthday recently and we have it in our database, you have received a birthday card from the ministry. Kate is the one making that happen. We are so grateful for her and for the service she is providing.

This past Sunday was the fourth talk in the series Our Journey Through the Gifts of Winter. It was Embracing the Shadow. This is not a topic that you hear often in a Unity message; however, I believe it is a missing link that is important to embrace for us to return to our “wholeness.”

I used much of the material from Bill Plotkin’s book, Wild Mind. There is much I want to say; however, that would involve giving you the whole talk, which I am not going to do. What I am going to do is give you a few of the quotes beginning with this from Daniel Goleman: “The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice there is little we can do to change until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.”

Carl Jung identified the shadow as an archetype: “Everyone carries a shadow and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. At all counts, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intentions… One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”

This is Plotkin’s definition of the shadow: “The shadow is not what we know about ourselves, don’t like and keep hidden. Rather, the Shadow is what is true about us that we don’t know – don’t know at all – and if accused of it, would adamantly and sincerely deny.”

Robert Bly writes that we have a long bag that we drag behind us. We have spent the first 20 years of our live stuffing 90 percent of our wholeness into it and the rest of our life attempting to retrieve those items. So how do we retrieve those items and take back our wholeness…by descending into those dark places to retrieve the lost pieces of ourselves.

As Carl Jung said: “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

And lastly from Brene Brown: “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

I hope I have given you enough that you will watch the service from Sunday here… and get all the information that goes in between the quotes. It is really good stuff.

Next week will be The Sounds of Silence.

Susan Stein

Susan Stein

I want to encourage you to register for the workshop with Susan Stein on February 21. Here is a little of what you can expect from Susan as she shares with us Etty Hillesum. This is taken from a one-woman play Susan toured the country performing:

“Using only Etty Hillesum’s words, Susan Stein’s adaptation brings us to 1941 when Esther ‘Etty’ Hillesum, a young Dutch Jewish woman, is living in Amsterdam. Upon the recommendation of her therapist, Julius Spier, she began a diary on 8 March 1941 to help her with her depression. Hoping to become a writer, the diaries take on their own literary life, presenting both Etty’s growth as a writer and spiritual transformation. As deportations begin, she prepares for the three-day journey eastward, she digs deeper into her soul to understand this piece of history and root out any hatred or bitterness, believing that humanity is the best and only solution for survival. Etty’s words, insights and beliefs reach out from the Holocaust and allow us to see the power of hope and individual thought in the most extreme circumstances. In her gentle yet forthright way, Etty asks us not to leave her at Auschwitz but to let her have a bit of a say in what she hopes will be a new world.

“The mission of finding-etty is to use the writings of Etty Hillesum to promote social justice, to challenge prejudice by examining the consequences of genocide and to enable participants to explore their own personal stories alongside Etty’s, as they consider their role in the struggle for human rights.”

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey

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