Spiritual Directors International

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Practice Challenge - The Dance of Shadow & Light

Guest Author: 
Steven Crandell


Try following these steps.

Let me know how it goes for you in the comments.

  1. Cultivate stillness.
  2. In that stillness acknowledge whatever pain, hurt, doubt, vulnerability, fear or other negativity you feel.
  3. Watch yourself and notice if you fall deeper into shadow by judging/blaming yourself or others - but do not judge your judging. Simply accept it. If possible, say aloud what you acknowledge. For example, "I know I am feeling vulnerable/anger/fearful because ... I feel I failed at work, or my spouse yelled at me, or my child wouldn't follow my instructions" -- whatever expresses your present feeling.
  4.  Discern. Use the same patience you would offer a person you companion -- witness what truth arises.
  5.  Consider asking this shadow self to dance, so you might know it better ... and then, when you are ready, let go of this shadow and end the dance.
  6.  If appropriate, say thanks for the dance, even though (and especially) you will be thanking whatever negativity you acknowledged.
  7.  Discern over the irony that it is often easier to release what you have first acknowledged and held.

Richard Rohr, OSM, was the inspiration for this practice challenge.

We are grateful he was a keynote speaker at Seeking Connection 2018.

Father Richard's full quote: "Human consciousness does not emerge at any depth except through struggling with our shadow. It is in facing our conflicts, criticisms, and contradictions that we grow. It is in the struggle with our shadow self, with failure, or with wounding that we break into higher levels of consciousness. People who learn to expose, name, and still thrive inside the contradictions are people I would call prophets."

May we all become prophets under this definition.

For more context, please see: https://cac.org/struggling-with-shadow-2017-09-11/  With thanks to the Center for Action and Contemplation for another spirit-sparking meditation from Father Richard.

Steven Crandell is SDI's Director of Content & Philanthropy. An author with experience directing strategy and messaging for nonprofits, philanthropy and business, he now guides SDI's storytelling and education. He has responsibility for our website, our blog, social media, our webinars, and "Discover" our free monthly newsletter. ( Sign up here: http://www.sdiworld.org/content/subscribe-discover-listen .) He also works under the direction of Executive Director Anil Singh-Molares to facilitate our fundraising.


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