Tomorrow Kinde Nebeker and I begin a three-session series on Engaging Shadow. Exploring shadow in self. Engaging shadow in groups. Evolving shadow in leadership. We will be a group of 12-14, meeting for three evenings, all within eight days total. The gift of some depth together in the month of December, which can often be lost to the pressures of commercialism.
With this series upon us, this means that the last couple of weeks for me have been about noticing the teachings I like to share and some of the exercises I’d like to create. There’s that one on projection — yah, that would be good. There’s that one on blind spots — yah, that would be good too. I like it best when design “arrives” to me. When it comes to me rather than me chasing it. Kinde is a good partner in this dynamic, encouraging it and calling that out in herself too.
My short list of first ideas quickly became a full whiteboard of smushed notes and inspirations. One of those inspirations was the simple image that helps me invoke and invite coming into relationship with shadow. Not fixing it. Not making it go away. Being in relationship with it. In my image, I’m in a large room, about 20 feet by 20 feet. It has thick, stone walls. It is underground, with only a tiny window through which daylight can shine. It is a dirt floor. In the corner of this room is a creature. In my image, it is a grand lion, a great cat. I can’t really ever see the lion, and for many years, haven’t even known that it was there. But now, I’m becoming aware of it. The lion is something I fear. Its presence is something I want to deny. The lion is both majestic and scary.
This series with Kinde and the others that will join is largely about coming into relationship with that creature, that lion in the corner. Coming to know that it is there. Coming to know more about what awakens that lion. Coming to learn a bit about approaching it, or welcoming it to approach me. Maybe coming to laugh with it a bit, and learn to scratch it’s ears in delight. This series is about all of that with something powerful, yet largely unseen. It may take more than three evenings, that’s true, but most good, essential things do, don’t they.