The Shadow Knows

Integrating Our Unawareness into Self-Awareness

The Shadow was a superhero character made popular in the 1930’s with his most famous quote being, “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!”   Now I am not writing this blog to discuss evil or the nature of evil, but rather to talk about our own Shadow and how/why we sometimes make unhealthy choices.

Another word for shadow in this case would be unawareness or that part of our self that sometimes acts without knowing or understanding why.  This can come from either a good or bad place.   

Perhaps you find yourself always showing up 10 minutes late to everything, leaving others to either have to wait on you or disrupting the flow of whatever event is underway?   Or maybe you occasionally blindside your coworkers or friends when, without explanation, you bite their head off in anger?  Maybe you completely shut down in certain circumstances, or altogether disappear?  These are examples of possible shadows or unawareness in your life.  Another way to say this is that we sometimes behave in particular ways but we aren’t necessarily certain why?  But the Shadow knows and that Shadow side of ourselves is willing to teach us if we are open to his tutelage.

Here is an example to put it into context.  Perhaps I tend to become very bossy and controlling when completing a project at work.  Rather than welcome coworker’s ideas and offer compliments for work well done, I may become territorial and have only cutting remarks to offer.  If I take a moment to stop myself and check in with what I am really trying to get from my coworkers I may find that what I really want is for them to respect me.  Out of fear that they will not respect me I turn to the Shadow side of myself to try and control them and force them to respect me.  Ultimately though I get the exact opposite of what I seek – disrespect and disdain.

By allowing the Shadow to show me why I am behaving so poorly I am able to make a decision to now integrate what I’ve learned so that I can find healthier, more productive ways to earn my coworkers respect.  This is integrating unawareness into awareness.

Everyone has shadows or unawareness.  It is part of being human.  However it is what we choose to do with our shadows that define us.  If you don’t know where to begin not to worry – the Shadow knows.21

A Twice Blessed Week

Not since 1888 have Thanksgiving and Hanukkah shared the same week on the calendar.  Both holidays are an annual offering of thanks to G-d;  the pilgrims for seeing them through their first hard winter in the New World, including reaping a bountiful harvest with the help of their Native American friends, and the Maccabees for the fact that one days worth of ritual lamp oil lasted eight days in the Temple, just enough time for new oil to be pressed and consecrated.

In Judaism, Tuesday’s are considered twice blessed because it is recorded in Genesis that on the second day of creation G-d saw that “it was good” two times as opposed to once on all of the other days of creation, save the seventh day when G-d rested.

In our nation, we are more than twice blessed everyday.  But how often do we stop to regularly give thanks for the everyday miracles we experience?

In the beginning…of this holiday season, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah fall on the same week – a phenomenon that will not occur again for 79,043 years and that for sure is something we should acknowledge as special and give thanks.  Amidst all of life’s problems and pain that comes to us all, rich or poor, let us remember to stop and count our blessings and know that it is good. It is very good.

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