What we don't own, will own us.
During the recent Olympics in Great Britain, Prince Harry, third in line to the British Monarchy, visited Canada House to mingle and encourage the athletes. A member of the Silver Medal rowing team asked the Prince where was a good place to go out at night in London to which Harry replied ""I don't go out anymore. I'm too old, I'm too old."
Well, sometimes that's just the kind of comment that stirs up our Shadow. And sure enough, the young Prince made headlines these past two days for his Las Vegas partying. If only Harry had understood the importance of embracing his shadow. He might have responded differently and not set in motion an embarrassing sequence of events. If only he had realized that there is no shame in admitting that he takes delight in enjoying some rambunctious, perhaps some would call 'wild', leisure activities. Instead, Harry did what so many have done before him, publicly deny, only to be publicly exposed (no pun intended) in a dramatic way.
Shadow work is a powerful process that helps us understand ourselves and others. I believe that whatever we admire or despise in someone else is also within us. Notice what judgements you make of others. And also notice what you are most defensive about. Is it being accused of gossiping, criticizing, controlling, or being insensitive? Are you challenged for being late, lazy, greedy or too talkative? Whatever you resist, will persist. Whatever you refuse to own within you will be pushing just as hard to get noticed. And unfortunately, just like Prince Harry, it will leak out at some inappropriate time.
The Shadow Work we do at the Women's Wisdom Retreat moves us through emotions and behaviours without a judgement of good or bad. We learn the light and dark side of all our feelings and actions. Shadow Work is a key component in self-acceptance and in restoring respect in our relationships. And wouldn't we all like that?