The Cave You Fear To Enter
It is by going down into the abyss
that we recover the treasures of life.
Where you stumble,
there lies your treasure.
The very cave you are afraid to enter
turns out to be the source of
what you are looking for.
The damned thing in the cave
that was so dreaded
has become the center.
You find the jewel,
and it draws you off.
In loving the spiritual,
you cannot despise the earthly.
This piece by Joseph Campbell speaks to shadow work.
”The shadow” in a person, are aspects of their personality that they try to hide, repress, or deny. This is most often done out of shame.
Growing up, most men have had experiences that informed them that certain behaviours or ways of being were not acceptable, whether through direct reprimand or indirectly, via modelling by our caregivers.
These things that were coming from a place of innocence now hold a stamp of negativity on them.
As a survival mechanism and an inherent desire to be accepted by the culture we live in, we learn to shove these things down.
Don't cry. Suck it up. Man up. Get your shit together. You're not a man if you're not getting laid, making enough money, if you're cock is small. Men are insensitive. Men need to be strong. Men are all predators. Men are responsible for the ills of the world.
Boys and men in our culture get hit from all angles with toxic shame based conditioning.With all of these shoulds and often contradictory ideas of what it means to be men, it's not surprising why so many men struggle to show up authentically in their lives, why so many men feel hatred towards themselves, and why men notoriously repress their emotions and self-expression.
Shame is the cesspool where the inner critic rules. Shame breeds in the dark. The more we keep it hidden the stronger it gets. It’s a deep energetic vacuum that can literally be running our lives incognito. It’s hard to know how much the weight of shame is pulling us down unless we can start to bring into our awareness where it has its grip on us.
Bringing consciousness and open acknowledgement to the places we feel shame can liberate our energy. Free us from the way it binds and distorts the way we show up and express ourselves. As we illuminate the shame it will cease to control us, giving us back our life-force that was submerged in it's swampy billows.
As we learn to live without denying parts of ourselves, we show up with more power and vitality. People trust us because we're not hiding.
Get curious. The places we turn away from in ourselves and in others may have gems that are hiding underneath what we most avoid looking at, or resist being with.
To turn towards these hidden or shadow aspects of our personality requires tremendous courage, yet the rewards are priceless.
All that energy being used to suppress becomes liberated, and allows us to shine on like the crazy diamonds 💎 that we all are.
Make room for all of you. Even the dark, dirty and ugly.
To practice loving what may be deemed unlovable will not only help you to relax more into your experience of life, it will also build a greater well of compassion and tolerance that you can bring to the world around you.
#compassioninaction #shadow#menswork #selflove