Lots of shadows in the House of Dreams lately, but before I leave this theme, an update from Toko-pa has prompted me to write a balancing article about the bright side of the Shadow.
I did mention the bright side in my article ‘It’s the seat of creativity – so how can you find your Shadow?’ but only in passing:
This is not to say the Shadow is only negative. Positive potentials which may have been strong in us can be lost. For example, a strong-willed child may learn to identify that strength as a bad thing, and grow to suppress and deny it.
The Shadow is everything we can’t see directly in ourselves. Toko-pa says 90% of that will be ‘pure gold’, but I feel the percentage will depend upon other aspects of your personality. A person with low self-esteem, for example, will be unconscious of many of their more positive qualities, strengths and potentials, whereas someone who feels they are ‘good’ may be suppressing or projecting out many of their own human weaknesses.
When we write, our protagonists express energies in our Self of which we may or may not be aware, and these are not only the dark energies of our villains but also the bright energies of our heroes.
In our heroes, we experience qualities we may not identify with in life, but which must exist in us because they are finding expression in our stories. My protagonists are usually resourceful, independent and brave, but I’ve only come to see where they are me through writing their stories. I used to think of myself as the very opposite of all that.
So there are bright lights hidden in these shadows which, if we follow them, can lead us into the most wonderful areas of the Self. The process may still feel challenging, because anything that shakes our beliefs about ourselves unsettles our world and forces a readjustment of both our memories and our future dreams.
And we have to walk this path lightly, not trying to understand or interpret, but listening for echoes, being aware.
Have you noticed key characteristics that run through most of your protagonists? Are they qualities you recognise in yourself?
Next week I’ll be giving my answer to a straightforward writing question: Is it easier to write for children?