Challenge #44: Owning Your Shadow

How can you fully embrace both the light and the dark?

When we find peace with the ups and downs we have experienced, we fully assimilate our light as well as our shadow and lead a thoughtful life. There is always conflict, and we always have to make decisions and often choose sides. But if we strive to be fully aware and make the best of our choices, we discover we have the power to be more accepting and tolerant.

Recognize the darkness you have inside, the fear, the secrets, and even the gold, and reflect on how you can embrace all aspects of yourself. In what ways do you deny your darker parts? What are you hiding in your shadow, and who are you hiding it from? What gold do you have buried inside of you? How can you own your shadow and define yourself?

Challenge #43: Standing in Your Shadow

Who is standing in your shadow?

There are people we overshadow and outshine as if life were a competition. It might be a sibling, a colleague, or even a spouse, and these people quickly get lost even though they are important parts of our lives. In order to understand both the dark and light sides of our lives, we must make ourselves fully aware of who is hidden in the darkness. Examine the events of your life to see how you have stepped on others or stolen the spotlight that wasn’t rightfully yours. By recognizing these moments and seeing clearly who was in your shadow, you are able to see both sides of the issues and see how you shine at the expense of others.

What are you most proud of in your life? Did you outshine and overshadow others at the time? Who do you need to lift out of the darkness? What can you do to pull them into the limelight and show them how important they are?

Challenge #42: Dark and Light

What do you expose to the light, and what do you hide in your shadow?

We have stories that we tell ourselves and different stories we tell others. Some stories are perpetuated when we tell them over and over again, and others are buried when we tell only certain people. Some of these stories paint us in a positive light and others in a negative light. We all have shameful tales of loss, mistake, and embarrassment, as well as, triumphs that fill us with a sense of accomplishment and pride. Give adequate time to explore both the dark and light aspects of your experiences.

What are your glorious victories? What are your agonizing defeats? Do you give these events equal attention? What stories do you perpetuate? What stories do you bury?

Challenge #41: Hidden Spaces

Where are the spaces that you tuck away the secrets of your life?

We all hide various aspects of ourselves, and we squirrel away our secrets. Some of our hiding places are psychological like “in the back of our mind” or “deep in our hearts.” Some are physical, like a dresser drawer or an old shoebox. As difficult as it can be to enter these spaces and face the secrets, we must find the energy and will power to dig through the darkness that dwells there.

Find the gold buried that you have buried in these places, and leave what needs to be left behind. Identify your hiding places and hidden spaces so that you can examine the contents of your shadow. Are these safe spaces or dangerous spaces? Is there pride or shame hidden in these places? What are you hiding in your secret spaces?

Challenge #12: Embracing Imperfections

Many of us exert a lot of energy in our quest for perfection, but accidents, change, and imperfection are a part of our lives. These things that are beyond our control can bother and stress us. They can gnaw at us and nag at us. Learning to accept and embrace these imperfections can be quite a challenge.

How do you embrace imperfection in your life? If it’s difficult for you, what is behind the difficulty? If it’s easy for you, why is it so? In what small ways have you or can you accept the accidental, the imperfect, and the impermanent?

Challenge #11: Change

Everything changes. It’s a natural law that objects, people, situations are impermanent and are always in a state of flux and change. At times, change is lightning quick and takes place in a flash. Other times, change is continental drift slow and seems to not be happening at all.

How do you react to change in your life? How have you changed over the course of your life? Do you anticipate change and actively participate in the changing world and your changing self? Or do you deny change and passively ride along as things change around you? How open or closed are you to change?

Reflect on the role of change in your life and how you react to it.

Challenge #10: Personal Tragedy

I originally posted this last Thursday, but Blogger had some issues, and it looks like this post was lost.

We get set into our routines and find comfort in our everyday rituals. Days, weeks, months, and years pass as we live out our lives. Every once in a while, though, we are jolted out our comfortable lives when tragedy strikes. Personal tragedies can be huge, life altering events, or they can be minor inconveniences. Either way, they are a disruption to the flow and movement of our lives having the power to alter the direction we are moving.

Reflect this week on your personal tragedies – big or small, and see how they have shaped and changed your life.

What are some of your personal tragedies? How did you cope? How did you get through it or are you still going through it? How do these tragedies still ripple through your life? What strengths did you find that you did not know you possessed? What lingering fears and doubts still pop up in your life? How do you respond when tragedy strikes?

Remember to share a link to your response in the comments.

Challenge #9: Perfectionism

In our quest to do anything, whether it is art, relationships, or cleaning the house, a sense of perfectionism can hold us back, cause us anxiety, and consume a lot of time as we work to get things just right. Fear can grip any of us. We worry what others will think, fear that we will not be good enough, compare ourselves to others, and doubt our own skills. The pressure to be perfect in art and in life can stop us before we ever begin or sidetrack us as we go along.

What grip, if any, does perfectionism have on your life? How does it affect you, your art, and your life? Why does it matter what others think? Why is it that you at times feel that you are not enough? Why is it that you can only see your faults and not your accomplishments? What would truly happen if your were not perfect in your art or in your life?

Remember to post a link to your response in comments below.