I have a serious motivation problem. Every room in my house has a project that is half finished, or a mess of clutter which needs to find a home. A new (antique) dresser needs to be cleaned up before I can put clothes in it. Ditto for a new display cabinet. An entire basement needs to be cleared out before the contractor can come and remove the asbestos. As I've walked from room to room this week, I have felt overwhelmed, disgusted, and lazy. Until today.
Today I realized that instead of being upset at the state of my house, I should actually be celebrating the fact that my aversion and resistance to the mess is actually helping me with my spiritual growth. If it weren’t for the mess, I never would have discovered my shadow –my shadow self that is – that is crying out for attention.
The shadow is a repressed part of the unconscious mind. Carl Jung once said that the shadow "is the person you would rather not be." One of the most life changing books I have ever read is “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers,” by Debbie Ford. The book describes the shadow self in depth, helping to understand, embrace, and release that which subconsciously holds us back. How does this relate to my house being a disaster, you might ask? It all started with fracking.
I had a life coaching session today, and the discussion centered around things that are happening in my external world that are really affecting me. One of these things is my disgust at fracking (which is another blog post altogether). I realized that the traits I attribute to those that “frack” are greed, short sightedness, and selfishness, with selfish being the one with the most charge for me. So we started talking about being selfish, because that which annoys us in our outer world is a mirror for what we need to work on in our inner world.
I realized that I felt selfish about not cleaning my house. My husband had been at work all week, and I was at home. It’s not really fair that I have filled my week with writing, reiki sessions, and appointments, when I could have been cleaning the house. My husband never said a word to me about the mess, but I was feeling selfish because I was looking after my own needs all week, instead of taking care of our communal space.
The coaching session included some energetic work to release my attachment to being selfish. My homework was to think of the most selfish thing I could do today, and then go and do it. I worked on thinking about being selfish in a positive sense instead of negative. Selfish means taking care of self, and by taking care of myself, I can take care of others as well. I realized I was worried about appearing selfish in several other instances too, which seemed to vanish once we discovered I was resisting my shadow self.
By acknowledging my selfish shadow and working with it, I was able to change my viewpoint about the whole situation. Now I’m actually looking forward to organizing the house, instead of dreading it. But that will have to wait. I’m on my way out the door to give my shadow some well deserved attention.