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only the shadow knows

June 21, 2010

The brief paragraph in Inner Work about a person’s shadow stayed with me, even after I read further about dream interpretation. Apparently, one’s shadow usually appears in one’s dreams as a person of the same gender. If one has a good relationship with one’s shadow, that figure is a guide or aid; if not, that figure is an adversary. So I immediately thought of both my sister and my mother.

Probably not a coincidence that I had a dream last night with my sister in it. Although when I woke up, I remembered very little of any use, mostly how I felt about it. But that was enough for me to puzzle out what I think dream-sister/shadow represents. And it does tie into inner authority, and my “voice”, in ways that make it obvious why I feel so conflicted about it.

I think my shadow is my desire for the spotlight, for an audience to attend to what I have to say. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my desire for visibility all my life. But when I was on stage, literally or metaphorically, no one I cared about seemed to pay any attention. I got little feedback, and it certainly wasn’t affirming or approving. So, I want to be there, think I deserve to be there, but then when I’m there … I dither and wonder if I belong, and if I have anything worth saying. Maybe it’s all trite and cliched anyway. Maybe I’d be happier behind the scenes. Maybe I’m not ready, yet.

Maybe I’ll never feel ready. But I think I am ready. So, let the show begin.

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