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INTEGRATING OUR SHADOW: Internalization and being a fellow human being


                                                                                                When a person sees both their 
                                                                                             shadow and their light, they see 
                                                                                              themselves from two sides, and 
                                                                                                           hence become centered.

                                                                                                                                          C. G. Jung


Dear course participants,

If we want to become the person we really are in our lives, with all our dispositions and capabilities, the first step is always to develop the willingness to accept ourselves with our light and our shadow sides.

In a second step, it is then important to become aware of the repressed and split off areas. With the right techniques, shadows can become beacons that lead us to the light.

Our subpersonalities that we (or others) are unable or unwilling to acknowledge are linked to feelings of fear and rejection. Hidden in the shadow, they block our life forces and the harmonious flow of energies. As a result, we are then in the grips of paralysis when challenged to take action and feel incapable or otherwise untalented.

Yet such shadows are signposts that bring us to question whether we really lack talent or whether we’re merely convinced of lacking it. It is our beliefs that keep us in this “state.”

In order for trapped (life) energies to be released again and for us to shine our own light, we have to accept ourselves as a whole! This also includes the qualities that we prefer to “sweep under the rug,” including, especially, those qualities for which other people reject us.

Essentially, these resources still lie fallow yet are needed in order to express our values and visions and to uncover our WHOLE (holistic) potential!

As painters or photographers, we know very well about the importance of shadows. Without shadow, a space could not be rendered in depth, because our organs of perception need contrast. This phenomenon applies not only in art but everywhere in life.

We need two opposing expressions of polarity in order to experience a whole. It is only through evil that we can recognize the good, and only through egoism that we can understand altruism, et cetera. Such examples abound as this is a natural law underlying all phenomena.

I invite you to, in the following, take part in small perception experiment on this topic:


        Where there’s light, there’s also shadow

Set aside 10 minutes of your time, during which you can be undisturbed, be it while taking a walk or staying at home:

Yet wherever you are, focus your attention only on the light and shadow around you. Look around you. Observe that which you already know as well as that which is new to you, and then write down your observations, thoughts and feelings.


            Source: INDIVIDUATION – On the Path To and Beyond One’s Self
from the Beacon Series) by Linda Vera Roethlisberger. Page 34.



Our individuation goes hand in hand with the awareness of all our facets and subpersonalities. We do not have to fear the shadow, because it also belongs to us.

Upon examining and allowing the feelings that come with this, such as fear or anxiety, we recognize and experience as we feel them that they cannot really harm us. When we acknowledge the fear, letting it be and staying with it while we perceive it, we can observe how it transforms.

                                                                                 Energy cannot be destroyed, but it can be transformed. 
                                                                                                                              Principle of energy conservation, 1842 


If you’ve resolved to engage “head on” with your shadow parts, I would like to congratulate you and encourage you in every which way.

Note: Should you perceive your fears as too threatening or if you’ve been diagnosed with a trauma or anxiety disorder, I recommend embarking on your first inner encounters in the company of an experienced life coach or therapist.

May you, driven by an old or more recent realization, find the will and the courage to clear your obstacles out of the way. Once you do that, life will stop nudging you with unpleasant reminders that you would do well to address unresolved issues that are waiting for our attention.

May your path of individuation disclose to you many profound gems of self-discovery, especially via your shadow sides. As you tread on your path, your inner energies will be transformed from water into wine, thereby releasing life force that was previously bound there.


Linda Roethlisberger



P.S.  The song Durchgehen durch die Angst (Passing Through Fear) by Michael Hoffmann, from his Asurische Klänge (Asurian Sounds) series, encapsulates this process quite beautifully.
Listen and enjoy!  The words may be in German but the music conveys the message just the same.