Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Week III - Day 2 - The Shadow of the Cup

The Shadow of the Cup
"Making friends with your shadow helps facilitate your acceptance of yourself as a less-than-perfect human being. We have a dark side; we are  not all light." ` William A. Miller

There are mornings I begin reading and after two sentences find myself trying to think of a way to simply skip this day's reading.

I do not think that much about my shadow...and I am suspecting that maybe I am happy not thinking about my shadow!

What is our shadow?  According to C. G. Jung, it is anything in our inner world that we do not know or that we know but refuse to accept. It is the part of our psyche, or self, that is in the dark. Joyce continues saying:
"The shadow can be a positive quality. It might be self-esteem in a woman who has never believed that she is of worth. It might be the gift of honesty in a man who has always felt compelled to practice deceptiveness. It might be deep compassion in one who tends to be self-centered.
"The shadow can also be negative characteristics that we refuse to believe are a part of us, such as stubbornness, greed, jealousy, lust, hatred or self-pity." (Joyce Rupp, The Cup of Life, p 72)
Joyce goes on to say:
"The negative characteristics of our shadow are not sinful any more than our flaws are sinful in themselves. These things only become sinful if we deliberately make them a source of harm for ourselves or others. Our flaws may simply be that part of us which consistently rises up unexpectedly in our lives and seems uncontrollable...If we are to grow in wholeness, then we need to know and claim our Shadow as much as we can."  (Ibid)
           Breathing in: Loving Presence...
           Breathing out:...I want to grow.

Set you cup in a place where it casts a shadow...
Gaze upon the cup and its shadow
Let what you see speak to you about your life.
Place your hand in the shadow of the cup.
Ask God to help you befriend your unknown realm and to learn from this part of yourself.

Scripture: Matthew 7:1-5
How can you say to your neighbor: "Let me take the speck out of your eye" while the log is in your own eye?

Write a letter, or carry on a conversation with some quality of yourself that you would rather not have.
As you reflect on the concept of "shadow," what are some of your key thoughts and emotions?
God of unconditional love,...

I process my thoughts and feelings as I write or type.  When I read this day's thoughts through the first time, I was feeling anxious and uncomfortable.  I truly did consider thinking of a reason I could skip this day.  Going back and typing out Joyce's words for this journal, I noticed things I had not seen before.

After the first reading I began thinking of everything "bad" about myself that I could hold.  I'm sometimes impatient.  I sometimes act from a place of scarcity rather than abundance. I sometimes react rather than taking a deep breath and responding. But then, when I sat down to reflect on my cup and to place my hand in its shadow...those were not my thoughts.  I felt an overflowing sense of love coming from my heart...which I dubbed as being "wrong."

Sitting with the image of "shadow" I realized that a shadow is not necessarily "bad."  On a hot summer day, I will sit down in the shadow of a large tree and give thanks for its protection.  Some of my flowers will be planted so that they grow in the shadow of my home.  They would not thrive in a full day of summer sun. So...there may also be grace within a shadow.  Taking it a step further...I think Joyce is reminding me that God''s love may also be found within my shadow.  San...remember the words of Psalm 139?

Sitting with my cup and my journal...I believe it is fear that resides in my shadow and that fear surfaces in so many different ways.  I work hard to keep it "hidden".  I work hard trying to ignore its voice.  And, all my efforts to ignore and to keep it hidden have in some ways only given it more strength.  Fear thrives in darkness and Joyce reminds me:
"These things only become sinful if ... a source of harm for ourselves and for others."

I would not have thought of myself being "sinful" by trying to hide or ignore the voice of fear that lives within my shadow. yet, fear does keep me from being and living in wholeness.  It goes back to my writing about trying to give Uncle Robert peace while he was in the hospital. How can I offer comfort to another when there is a "log in my own eye?"

God of unconditional love, help me discover you within the shadows I try to ignore, for these fearful shadows create a sense of doubt not only in you but in myself as well.  I have written it is difficult to trust others...if I cannot fully trust the God within me, then I am not surprised I struggle to trust others.  The shadow of fear  places a shadow of self-doubt that surfaces in the most surprising places and with only a little encouragement from the outside world.  I can see how this would be a sin, because it does keep me from living a your unique, gifted, and much loved child.

Today, God of me consider your love, every time I take a drink from my cup, from my glass, from a the liquid quenches my thirst, may I remember your Living Water quenches my thirst created by fear.

Shadows are a part of my life, because Light has to be present for a shadow to exist.  Light of the World...

God, grant me courage to face my inner enemies, those things that keep me from being fully present with you.  Help me to learn from them and then fill me with your light...fill me with love for who I am.  AMEN.

Today: Joyce suggests that I see the shadows of physical things, and to ask God for help to know and accept my inner shadow.

Many Blessings ~ Sandi

1 comment:

  1. I want to grow, but I am sure that I am not ready to go into the shadows. May God grant me the strength and willingness of spirit to get to the point of going in. I could relate to skipping this day. (I think that means that this is the day that I should repeat over and over.)