The Whisper my book of poetry starts with this dedication:
“ To the many and multitudes shining a light from the shadow
To the Whisper”
The Whisper represents the journey of self-leadership I had to embark on to become my authentic self. It is the journey of embracing the shadows and not only what stands in the highlight.
Often we are drawn to think or associate shadows with dark and negative. I instead think that shadows are dark because they have not been illuminated yet and not because they are bad.
Our shadows are the parts we neglect for fear of being rejected, not loved, not accepted. They are the parts we carve out in order to fit in.
In psychology shadow is everything we can’t see in ourselves. Everything we deny in ourselves becomes part of the shadow. Anything incompatible with our chosen conscious attitude about ourselves gets relegated to this dark side.
Our personal shadows become our disowned self, who we no longer claim to be our own. Disowning them doesn't make them go away, instead it makes us repressed and unconscious.
I am sure you are not particularly enjoying those terms, nor you see yourself as unconscious or repressed.
We learn to be good since young age so to be accepted and loved. This desire of being good prevents us to embrace the shadows. Just name one person you know that enjoys owning their flaws, weaknesses, their shadows. Focusing on our strengths is more enjoyable and life-affirming.
Exploring our shadow side, however, gives us tremendous opportunities for growth and development. Carl Jung said “ I must have a shadow also if I am to be whole”.
I believe that what he meant was that we cannot truly know our light until we deal with the darkness of our shadow. The integration process requires us to embark on a journey inward to connect with our true and authentic Self. Why is this inner work so important?
All of us have an outer self (ego self) and an inner self or true Self. Inner work allows us to get in touch with our authentic Self. It is a time that we give to our self for inner exploration. I call this the heroine’s journey as opposed to the hero’s journey that is in the outer world. It is within this inner space that we are able to identify and heal aspects of our shadow; attitudes, core beliefs, self-destructive and self-sabotaging behaviour. It is a way to reclaim our personal power and inner freedom and thus to live with integrity. Integrity to me is for most the feeling of being whole and complete. This inner work involves recognising and acknowledging the abandoned and disowned parts of ourselves to allow our inner light to embrace and heal them into wholeness.
The power of poetry in this journey of inner work has been transformational for me. I want to quote one of my favourite Sufi poet Hafiz: “Is it true that our destiny is to turn into Light itself?”
The poem Faithful Lover concludes with these verses: “Dear Moon, now that your love is maturing, we need to sit together close like this more often so I might instruct you how to become Who you Are!”
To become who we are authentically we need to sit with both light and shadows. I dedicated an entire chapter to the dance of hiding (shadow) and showing up (light) in The Whisper. I had to learn how to integrate them both into my life. It was a process of rebirthing myself. I had to give birth to the shadows to be reborn.
I now invite you to read this poem from The Whisper and shine a light on your own shadow.
Give birth to the shadows - poem from The Whisper.
The Whisper speaks my secrets
Only one will hear
I write to hear the voice of The Whisper
To witness the shadows
The courage of the heart
Two give birth to my own shadows
Exploring our shadow can lead to greater authenticity, creativity, energy, and personal awakening. My wish for us all is to have the courage to embrace the shadow.