Sunday, January 10, 2010

Don't Be Afraid of Your Shadow

Traditionally the days before my Jan. 7th birthday are often the darkest days of the year for me. I often get sick—which is rare—and any anxieties, worries or fears that might have been buried over the past year, surface like long forgotten relatives.

I used to cringes with discomfort when these feelings came on (I am an optimist and am blessed with a high “happiness set point” the majority of the time).

But this year, I sat and had tea with my shadow (a psychological term introduced by Jung that encompasses everything in us that is unconscious, repressed, undeveloped and denied; the dark rejected aspects of our being). And although I could have easily “justified” my unhappiness with a long list of socially acceptable woes, I didn’t even try.

Some of the gifts that came from this insightful--though not delightful--time, include:
• The opportunity to dive inward and experience deep reflection (essential for well-being and balance; you can subscribe and read more about balance from the inside out in my upcoming January life balance newsletter)
• The chance to ask for help—to be reminded we’re interdependent and help is always there if we just reach out and allow others to see our vulnerability
• A powerful opportunity to experience contrast—between really feeling good and feeling crappy—and to acknowledge gratitude for the ability to experience joy
• That this is essential housekeeping—clean out the old and make space for the new (my theme for the New Year is wide open—more to come on this in my January career strategy newsletter)
• It allows us—if we choose—to practice trusting and knowing that "this too shall pass"
• The opportunity to ask the question “what are we de-pressing that is trying to surface?" (my wise brother who navigates a wide spectrum of moods believes depression comes on when we're de-pressing something that is trying to come to light)
• We get to visit the most unpopular vacation destination known to man--“the unknown”--and realize that's it not as bad as the brochures lead us to believe
• The chance to revisit old stuck patterns and thoughts--repetitive worries or fears—and to ask if we’re ready to find a new dance partner?

Now on the other side of the moat, I realize that more than anything, I am grateful to have the opportunity to pause. To reflect. And to realize that if my thinking, perspective, relationships or career/business course is heading in a direction that doesn’t feel right, I have the ability to re-set my GPS and pick a different route. At any time. Thank God.

AN INVITATION: Interested in experiencing more balance in 2010 and tapping into the power of self-care? Learn how you can join or become trained to lead a self-renewal circle for women. And, view all upcoming events, including our highly popular, bi-annual Jan. 29th The Career Strategy Workshop here.

Also, visit Live Inside Out to register for our Jan. 21st FREE evening teleclass on Managing Your Energy and Saying No. And sign up to receive weekly tips on how to live more intentionally through our Live Inside Out Facebook Community.

The Journey, a blog about coach/author/entrepreneur Renee Trudeau’s personal journey to life balance and living life from the inside out, comes out weekly.

Photo: My son and I on top of Enchanted Rock (a giant pink granite dome in the Texas Hill Country) on Jan. 2nd, celebrating the arrival of the New Year.


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