Tag Archives: shadow self

America’s Shadow: The Real Secret of Donald J. Trump


By Deepak Chopra, MD

There’s a powerful way to explain the rise of Donald Trump that most commentators have missed entirely or undervalued. The standard line describes Trump as a bizarre anomaly. Beginning as an improbable celebrity candidate, he has defied all the conventional rules of politics, which should have been fatal. Instead Trump has swept all before him on the Republican side. Possessing a “genius” for grabbing the limelight, he continues to dominate the scene in ways no previous politician ever has in modern times–so the conventional view goes.

But in reality Trump isn’t bizarre or anomalous. He stands for something universal, something right before our eyes. It’s an aspect of the human psyche that we feel embarrassed and ashamed of, which makes it our collective secret.  Going back a century in the field of depth psychology, the secret side of human nature acquired a special name: the shadow. Continue reading

Are You Ready For More Self-Respect, Self-Love And Success?

Last week I sent out the most-read message in the history of my newsletter. The title — Are You A Self-Violator? — called forth over 80,000 people from around the world to read it and pass it on. This tells us something we must take a very good look at. Too many of us are participating in the behavior of self-violation. It’s not a behavior that just some of us do. It’s a behavior that the majority of people do. It’s like a bad habit that we don’t even know we are doing, hidden out of shame and embarrassment, a habit we keep thinking and wishing will go away but yet continues to show up year after year. Self-violation perpetuates itself through our resignation and our inability to stop the negative internal dialogue that rants, criticizes, blames and assaults the very self we are designed to love.

If you’re serious about breaking through, I ask that you read this newsletter at least at least twice and take this message seriously because this behavior must stop, not just for one of us but for all of us. Until it stops inside of our own selves, those around us — our children, our nieces, our nephews, our siblings, our partners, our friends, our families, our co-workers — will only ever get to feel and know a small part of our ever-loving hearts. Instead, they get to know the unconscious abuse that comes out in our communications. They get to know our lack of self-love, self-care, and self-respect. They get to know our bad choices or the habits and behaviors that we’ve been stuck in for years. They get to witness our lost dreams, our heartache and our unused potential that will never be fulfilled because we can’t puncture the layer of self-abuse that keeps us limited and stuck in our stories.

So now I continue the conversation I promised you about how we stop this self-violation. Take a deep breath and a slow exhale and give yourself permission to take this in. Listen beyond the words in order to really grok, understand and take to heart what I’m saying. Listen like you don’t know, like you don’t understand, and like the words that I’m using have a deeper meaning.

To stop self-violation, you need true, 100 percent, open-hearted compassion. For most people, compassion is just a word with a definition instead of a feeling with a deep inherent meaning. The kind of compassion that I’m talking about is a spiritual feeling, a vibration, a connection to all that there is. Compassion is a feeling that can only exist when you are present to the whole of your life, to the joy and the difficulties, the wins and the losses, the tough, hard truths. You must be present to all that you’ve gone through, both the good times and the bad, the love and the fear, the joy and the misery. You must be present to those times when you were treated like a queen or a king, when you were honored or someone looked at you with loving eyes. And you must remember the times when you were treated like crap, the times when you were teased, left out, rejected and hurt.

It is only when you are present to all that you been through that a deep compassion develops inside of you — a well of kindness, gentleness, warmth and understanding — that allows you the freedom to stop picking on yourself, to stop abusing yourself, to stop limiting yourself and instead to become a compassionate warrior of love for the little girl, the little boy, the self that has been through so so much on its journey to become an emotionally whole, happy and loving human being. This is the self that only came here to love and be loved and found out that life is more than that, the self that discovered that challenges are something we all go through, that imperfections are something we all have, and that heartache and loss are just part of life’s journey. When your heart is fully present to the 7,000 times you were disappointed, hurt, betrayed, abandoned, scared, lost, confused, stuck, helpless, and powerless, your internal abuser — your self-violator — will cease to have to war against itself and your compassionate self can pick up the child that you are with a warm, loving embrace and treat them as they deserve to be treated — with kindness, gentleness, self-respect and love. This is your God-given right!!!

Transformational Action Step

1. Start a Compassion List. Write down 10 reasons why you deserve to be compassionate with yourself.

2. Identify 5 experiences, incidents or ____ that you still beat yourself up about or have a hard time letting go of.

3. Write them down and then, for each one, write the one-sentence reason why you think you don’t deserve to let them go.

4. Next to each one, write down why you deserve to forgive yourself and be kind to yourself.

5. Close your eyes and infuse these experiences with compassion.

With love and blessings

Debbie Ford

Guest Post By Tim Desmond: The Wisdom Of No Enemies

Working as a therapist, I have come into contact with countless forms of suffering. One of the most devastating is self-criticism. Nearly everyone has an inner-critic, but how harmful it is depends largely on how we respond to it.

For most people, the inner-critic is formed through the psyche’s eternal process of trying to make sense out of our experience. When someone treats us badly, the mind immediately begins attributing some meaning to that experience, generally outside of conscious awareness. In other words, some deep part of the mind is trying to answer the question “Why did this happen to me?”

I don’t believe it is possible for a human to go through life without anyone ever treating them with some hostility or callousness. It is an experience we all share. An inner-critic is most often created when some part of a person believes they were treated badly because there is something bad about them. As the mind tries to make sense out of why a negative experience happened, its best guess is that it must have been our fault. This way of thinking is particularly strong in children because they are wired to be dependent on the adults in their lives. If I am dependent on my mom for my very survival, it would be terrifying to believe that she might treat me badly even when I haven’t done anything wrong. So when my mom is stressed out from work and doesn’t have the support or the communication skills to connect with me in a positive way, I end up believing she yelled because there is something wrong with me.

Now it is years later and this part that has decided we are defective has stayed with us. What can we do now? The most common answer in the mental health world is to argue with or ignore that voice in us. While this advice can be helpful to some people, for others it causes huge problems.

It is my experience that people who turn their inner-critic into an enemy and develop negative feelings toward that part of themselves end up in a hopeless conflict they can never win. People who seek to make peace with the inner-critic can find their lives improving tremendously.


Reconciling with the Inner Critic

The process of reconciling with the inner critic begins by understanding that this part of you is trying to communicate something. If you can translate its judgments and demands into feelings and needs, communication becomes possible.

There are two main exercises I do with my counseling clients to this end. The first begins with going back into a memory of being treated badly as a child. Generally I guide the client to ask him or herself as a child, “Why is this happening to you?” The child’s response is just about always some version of “Because I am bad.” Then I guide the client to tell the child a truer explanation for why this thing happened. Some clients need help with this part, but there is always a way to convey to a child that something is happening because of the adult’s lack of skillfulness or support rather than any intrinsic fault of the child’s. Many clients experience huge relief after this exercise.

The other main exercise I use is guiding a client to ask the inner critic, “What do you need or how can I help you?” Often clients get a very strong message about something like taking better care of themselves or staying connected with a parent. When this happens, I guide the client to thank the inner critic for caring so much about their well-being. I explain that you don’t need to agree with the inner critic’s methods to appreciating their intention. For most people, as soon as they are able to listen to their inner critic and hear how much that part wants what is best for them, the war is over. Over time, people are able to feel compassion for the inner critic and find that part of them becomes less critical.

If we are able to treat ourselves with compassion, especially the parts we don’t like, we can grow toward wholeness.

Tim Desmond, LMFT is a therapist in private practice and director of a mental health day treatment center in Oakland, CA. He offers therapy and consultation through his website www.phonecounseling.net


Are You A Self-Violator?


 This weekend, as I’m leading The Shadow Process, I can’t help but be present to how mean we are to our most precious selves. My heart aches thinking about the years, months, weeks, days, hours, and minutes that we spend thinking negative thoughts, dwelling on painful experiences and repeating old patterns. If we truly are going for a better life — more love, more peace, more fun, more intimacy, more success, more money, more anything good — then we must unconceal what prevents us from feeling worthy of receiving the gifts that we all deserve. So today is the day when you can begin to admit the truth that you might be the culprit who is keeping yourself from having it all. 

Take this test:

  1. Do you say more than five negative things to yourself each day? 

  2. Do you think negative thoughts about your life, your body, your talent or your future? (Tell the truth!) 

  3. Are there regrets from more than a month ago stored in your body? 

  4. Are you carrying a resentment toward someone from your past who has hurt, betrayed or caused you pain in some way? 

  5. Do you keep your mouth shut when you want to speak up? 

  6. Do you say "Yes" when you mean "No" more than twice a week? 

  7. Do you eat foods that make you feel bad or have you wishing you had made a better choice? 

  8. Have you been working on a goal for more than a year with no plan, no support structure or no confidence that you can really fulfill it? 

  9. Do you spend more time dwelling in the past than living in the present? 

  10. Do you constantly wish for something that you don’t have?

If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, I’d like you to consider that you are participating in self-violation — crimes against yourself — mean, cruel, hurtful and dishonoring acts which cause you to shrink in the face of greatness and rob you of living a life you love. 

As a self-violator, you are the one who continues the self-abuse. You are the one who hurts yourself with your thoughts, your words, your actions or your non-actions. And you are the ONLY one who can take responsibility, take back your power and change self-violation to self-love, self-care self-respect, self-dignity and self-success. 

Transformational Action Step 

This weekend, while most of you will not be with me at The Shadow Process, you can begin your own by writing out a list of all the ways you violate yourself. Then make the commitment to begin the process of transforming self-cruelty into self-love. Next week we will continue this journey with what you can do to bring more love to that which you loathe.

 With love and blessings,
Debbie Ford 


Spiritual Solutions #4: Purify Your Shadow, Your Environment

 By Deepak Chopra and Annie Bond 

Purify Your Shadow Energy

Everyone has a shadow because of the natural contrast between darkness and the light. Negativity assumes its overwhelming power from the fact that it feeds off all these qualities at once:  A secret, dark, primitive, irrational, dangerous, mythical evil is much less convincing if you break it down into one quality at a time. No matter how evil your impulse is, it can be broken down into steps to resolve it. Darkness is dealt with by bringing it into the light. The shadow is subtly involved in everyday life. It is never so hidden that you cannot bring it to light.–Adapted from The Book of Secrets , by Deepak Chopra 

Purify Your Environment


There are deep, overarching markers that can clarify the whole picture of pollution in our environments. The central markers are the eternal elements earth, fire, water, and air. It is these elements that we, as an industrial society, have tried to transform into synthetic materials, and the result has been disastrous. 

Work with the elements rather than against them. Step by step. When the elements are true, it is most likely that the environment is in harmony and balance. For example, the pure elements in natural fiber clothing make us feel better and more comfortable. In contrast, the elements in synthetic clothing don’t function in a healthy way.

-Adapted from , Home Enlightenment by Annie Bond


The Wisdom of Brahama- Creating a Blissful Life Experience

Just wondering…  How many of you have ever heard of Conversations With God by Neale Donald Waslch or Abraham- channeled by Ester Hicks?  Are you aware that you are Source Energy in a phsyical body?  Have you been seeking inner peace about any subject, and are looking for an oppertunty to interact with Source Energy directly, rather than reading countless books looking for your one or two issues?

We have a wonderful oppertunity to do just that.  I am a new media and social web expert, helping Nancy and Pat McCleary in Boulder, CO get the word out about Brahama.

Who is Brahama?  Brahama is Source Energy.  Nancy channels Source energy, and the combination of Source and Nancy = Brahama.  Neale Donald Walsch called this energy God, George Lucas called it ‘The Force’, and Ester and Jerry Hicks call it ‘Abraham’.

I have a website up for them now-  www.brahama-mccleary.com, and you can also follow Brahama on twitter.

This has been a very wonderful journey for me thus far.  The experience of interacting with Source energy in this way is nothing short of exilerating.  My goal is to make interaction available to people all over the world using the internet.  We’ll be using the edufire.com platform, as well as conference calls, and I would even like to make Brahama available to twitter users who have questions- and provide video answers.

This is all in the works, but for now, come check out the website, and if you are in Boulder/Denver, come check out our next seminar in Boulder on the 22nd of September.  You will leave feeling like you spent a week at the spa. 🙂  That is at least how I feel after interacting with Brahama.

On a personal note, one of my deepest desires is to help people reconnect to Source energy themselves.  That is the goal here.  We do not want to breed dependancy, we want to empower.

It is fun for me to share this experience with all of you, because I believe all of us will interact with Source Energy directly in this lifetime if we so choose.  And it is fun to show the world what the process looks like for Nancy, as they have their questions answered.

If you choose- this can be one of the stepping stones you have been looking for on the journey back to yourself.

Would love to see some of you at the next seminar!  If you are not in Colorado, let me know you are interested, as I need some inspiration to setup an online video classroom. 🙂


10 Questions That Can Help You STOP Standing In Your Own Way!

What’s keeping you from doing what you want?

 Is it YOU?

If so the GOOD NEWS is you know who to talk to:))

The sort of ‘bad’ better said challenging NEWS is, how do I convince myself to LISTEN in a healthy way and take conducive action?
Often our thoughts become SHADOWS that we start to fallow. But when we do that we take away our own sunlight and stunt our potential our possibilities to grow in every aspect of our lives. We take it away from ourselves rather than GIVING ourselves all that we deserve!
10 Questions to ask and answer yourself to help you stop standing in your way?
  • Is this truly what I want for myself or is this what someone else wants for me?
  • If this is what I sincerely want then what exactly is it I am afraid of?
  • What could be the the worst possible outcome?
  • Did the UNTHINKABLE ever happen?
  • How am I going to find out if I never do it?
  • What have I got to loose that I already don’t have?
  • What do I have to gain!
  • If I can come up wit10 reason why it would NOT work then I can come up with 10 reasons why it WOULD/WILL work.
  • What would/will my life be/look like 6 months from now if I do or don’t take this chance?
  • If nothing could go wrong and I had to decide RIGHT NOW, would I do it?
What ever it is you are about to do or not do should first and foremost be for your own sincere benefit. I can’t make anybody happy if I’m not happy myself and all I have to do is "BE" it and others will benefit from just that.
I do!!!!!
love&laugh -Patricia

and if this was helpful, feel free to Tweet it. A bookmark on Delicious or Stumbleupon is always awesome and I appreciate it greatly! love&laugh :p) http://patricia-theartistmuse.blogspot.com/


What You Hate Most in Others May Be the Shadow in Yourself

The Shadow in ourselves consists of all the emotions and thoughts we repress as being socially inappropriate.  Jealousy, rage, that evil twinge that relishes the thought of your boss being called on the carpet?  That is shadow material.  The more we repress shadow material, the more of a hold it has on us.

An example?   I think this is most easily seen in homophobic people.  It is said that people who are homophobic harbor homosexual feelings themselves, or fear that they do.  So they erect what a Freudian would refer to as a defense mechanism called a "reaction formation" in which feelings, emotions or impulses which cause anxiety are suppressed and overcome by erecting an exaggerated spectre of the opposite tendency.  If you experience homoerotic feelings which you think are unacceptable, you suppress them and loudly and longly spew homophobic diatribes as a defense.  This is why you see politicians and televangelists who have spent years decrying homosexuals or prostitutes suddenly on the news confessing to the same behaviors they spent years condemning.

For a Jungian, the Shadow works in the same way.  What we repress and try to deny will come back to haunt us.  Jung described the Shadow as, "everything that the subject refuses to acknowledge about
himself and yet is always thrusting itself upon him directly or indirectly".  Shame, sexuality, rage, fear, weakness, jealousy, hurt and resentment can be shoved down into our unconscious and become shadow material.  A perfect example is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  Robert Louis Stevenson does a beautiful job of juxtaposing the entirely proper and socially acceptable Dr. Jekyll with his darker, shadow side, Mr. Hyde.  In the light of day Dr. Jekyll suppresses all of his shadow material and presents this picture perfect, socially acceptable model of behavior.  But at night, when no one can see, his dark side comes to life in Mr. Hyde. 

Robert Bly, the poet and author, describes our shadow material as "the long bag we drag behind us".  In Bly’s book, "A Little Book on the Human Shadow, he says the bag continues to get bigger and bigger as we age, for it contains all that we repress and deny about ourselves and about our lives, unless we actively work to bring the shadow into the light.  He writes,

Let’s talk about the personal shadow first.  When we were one or two years old we had what we might visualize as a 360-degree personality.  Energy radiated out from all parts of our body and all parts of our psyche.  A child running is a living globe of energy.  We had a ball of energy, all right; but one day we noticed that our parents didn’t like certain parts of that ball.  They said things like: “Can’t you be still?” Or “It isn’t nice to try and kill your brother.”  Behind us we have an invisible bag, and the part of us our parents don’t like, we, to keep our parents’ love, put in the bag.  By the time we go to school our bag is quite large.  Then our teachers have their say: “Good children don’t get angry over such little things.”  So we take our anger and put it in the bag.  By the time my brother and I were twelve in Madison, Minnesota we were known as “the nice Bly boys.”  Our bags were already a mile long.

Facing Your Shadow

What Do You Hate?

How do we identify shadow material within ourselves?  One really easy way is to look at people who we absolutely loathe.  They represent something we loathe within ourselves, our shadow material.  Example?

I once asked my mother what kind of people irritated her the most.  Her response?

"People who just go on and on and on and never make their point.  I just hate that.  That just keep rattling on and on, repeating themselves over and over again without ever getting to the point.  I just hate that.  Why don’t they say what they mean rather than repeating themselves over and over again?"

(She continued on for another 5 minutes, but I’ll spare you.  You get the point.)  I’ve noticed this about myself.  People who really annoy me are usually doing something I do.  Sometimes I’m aware that I do it, sometimes I’m not, unless I pay attention to what I’m "hating" in otherwise.  The more strongly I’m irritated by someone’s behavior, the bigger the shadow in myself. 

Have you ever seen someone with road rage?  Do you know who irritates them the most?  You got it.  People who drive like they do!

What Makes You Laugh?

Another way to identify shadow material is with humor.  What do you laugh at?  Sometimes we laugh from recognition.  I think of comedians as modern court jesters;  they tell the court what a lot of us are afraid to say and we laugh because we identify with what they are saying.  This can be shadow material.  I’m afraid that saying what Carlos Mencias says might be considered racist or sexist or homophobic, but when he says it I laugh.  He has exposed my shadow.  Andrew Dice Clay was popular several years ago for this reason. 

Comedy can also expose some of our evil or wicked little desires that we stuff away from the light of day.  There is a category of funny videos which often make it onto TV shows like America’s Funniest Home Videos which show people falling.  People falling off of trampolines, off skate boards, crashing into things.  It’s often obvious that this is a very painful experience, yet the audience laughs.  A person with a lot of suppressed anger towards others may find these especially funny.

What Do You Project?

Like an emotional movie projector, "projecting" refers to a behavior in which we project our own internal beliefs, feelings or experiences onto someone else when we feel they are inappropriate.  Shadow material is especially susceptible to being projected onto someone else.  Look around you?  Does you view everyone as a cheat?  A gossip?  A liar?  Does everyone around you seem angry?  Unhappy?  Fearful?  You may be seeing your own shadow projected onto others.

The Mexican culture has a wonderful saying which translates roughly into English as, "The lion believes that all are like him".  That about sums it up.

What Do You Dream?

The Shadow can also work on your dreams and your daydreams.  Just like shadows of light, psychological shadows get longer as the day comes to an end and appear in full force in the middle of the night, in our dreams.   The monsters in our nightmares may be our own Shadows fighting to come into the light of our awareness. 

What Do You Miss?

The Shadow is not necessarily evil.  It is merely repressed.  Many times we feel compelled to repress good qualities as well, such as; normal instincts (sexual feelings), appropriate reactions (i.e. anger or fear), realistic insights or creative impulses.  I was reading about a psychiatrist who was talking to a psychiatric patient in an ER ward one evening when a fire truck whizzed by.  The patient got up and ran out of the ER.  When he returned hours later, the psychiatrist learned that the patient had always wanted to ride a fire truck, saw the opportunity whizzing by, jumped on the back and road off to the fire.  Now this is impulsive and a bit dangerous, but not evil.  How many of us would like to ride on a fire engine?  How many of us would like to be so uninhibited that we could just jump on and go for a ride?  But instead we repress it for fear of being seen as "crazy" or "immature" or "irresponsible".  That childlike joie de vive often gets repressed alone with the anger, shame and jealousy.  Women may suppress their masculinity, their intellect or their power.  Men may suppress their femininity, their fear or their sensitivity.  These parts that have been suppressed are lost to us unless we search our Shadow, find and release them.

Reclaiming Your Shadow

Humans are only complete when we embrace our darkness and our light.  Our Judeo-Christian culture teaches us that darkness and light are polar opposites and that we must embrace the light and deny the dark.  We are beginning to learn that denying the dark only gives it more power.  Instead of us controlling it, it controls our thoughts, our obsessions, our desires, our dreams, our loves and our hatreds. 

The only way to "control" the dark is to embrace it, own it and take responsibility for it.  We only feel whole when we acknowledge all of our thoughts, impulses, desires, wishes and feelings.  We must look into the dark to see the light.

For more articles about mental health, please visit my blog at Kellevision.com.


Healing Our Shadow Elements


I am in need of some clarification regarding the dark-side/shadow aspect of human beings.  I am confused as to whether a person’s shadow side is a permanent fixture of their awareness—to be accepted and integrated—or whether it is something that is to be eventually transcended and/or dissolved through diligent meditation practice.  I seem lately to regularly encounter seemingly contradictory viewpoints on this matter where sometimes the dark/shadow side is spoken about in terms of past conditioning or accumulated stress and karma wherein the implicit understanding is that, given enough time and due diligence with meditation, one would eventually tread past their negativity and emerge into unconditional love.  Other times though it seems that the shadow is portrayed as being a permanent, inescapable fixture of the human condition (love and hate coexist always) wherein the goal is simply to acknowledge it, accept it, and learn to live with it.  If one tends to favor their positive aspects over their negative ones does that necessarily mean that they are denying and suppressing parts of themselves?  I can’t imagine not preferring love over hate.
Anyway, I can’t help but see the above two points of view as being utterly contradictory.  Do enlightened individuals really have the same dark aspects as everyone else?  If so, what is it exactly that makes them enlightened?  Or have they indeed let go of and moved beyond all negativity.  
When the shadow elements are accepted, integrated and healed, they cease to be in the dark. Reactions like hate and greed would vanish because the ignorance holding them in place would be replaced with self-awareness. So in that sense the shadow or negative  side is not permanent. What is permanent are those basic elements of our personality that were previously dysfunctional and repressed, but are now functionally working in concert with our spiritual aspirations. The strength and energy of that part of us that was previously cut off from us has been brought back into alignment with our higher purpose.
The ignorance, shame, guilt, and fear that characterize the shadow side are not   permanent fixtures of human awareness. When we outgrow those aspects of the psyche, then we no longer create these shadows. It is as if the contents of our consciousness then becomes fully transparent to the light.
The idea of a shadow side is a  different issue than what you have described later as   the need for contrast or opposites  to give meaning to our experience.   It is not necessary to have a hidden hateful part inside in order to love.  Being able to love and express the full range of human experience is  available to an enlightened person, even though he or she is no longer has a covert side motivated by shame, guilt or fear.


Question: How do we reconcile non-violent thought with embracing our shadow self?

Hello Intent Friends,

I just listened to Deepak’s podcast on embracing the shadow self (dated february 21st), and I would love some feedback on a paradox that does not yet sit comfortably with me.

The paradox is this: I would like to honor Deepak’s vow (to have at least 100 million people join me in taking a vow for non violence in thought, speech and action asap), but am not certain how I can make this commitment and still embrace my shadow self (a self I too often squash down because it sometimes communicates in angry, violent ways).

In terms of interacting with other people, I am quite good at non-violent speech and action…but how do I create space for my shadow self if I’ve vowed to not have any "violent" thoughts?

Thanks for your thoughts & best to all,  ~Anne


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