Romancing the Dark Side, From Shadow Boxing to Shadow Dancing

Connie Zweig

.......Without our knowing it, the shadow is at work attempting to recreate early childhood relationship patterns with a secret mission -- to heal old wounds and feel loved. We view this inevitable childhood projection as the first stage of romance, a kind of fusion that may feel like living inside of an egg shell, an enclosed form in which the couple feels nurtured and self-contained. Like two chicks in the shell, they feed one another on love, which speeds the growth and development of both. Other friendships may fall away as the partners imagine meeting all of each other's needs and fulfilling all of each other's desires......
Then, one day, inevitably the shell cracks -- and the relationship breaks down. The old rules, often unspoken, which previously provided security ("You are all that I need" or "I pay for everything so we have sex when I want it" or "You carry the feelings for both of us") no longer hold, and the partners face a crisis of commitment. Once the shell has been cracked, it cannot be put back together again. The partners may try, but they have entered a new stage of relationship: they are now too well developed to remain fused. For those who do not know that this is a natural developmental crisis, the relationship will end, and the partners inevitably attempt to recreate the egg shell with the next person. But for those who can negotiate the new rules, which allow for greater individuality and authenticity, the partners can go play in the chicken yard -- a larger psychic space with more room for individuality and clear boundaries -- and yet remain a couple. Then the relationship can begin again....
Without shadow-work, shadow-boxing is inevitable: as the partners reject their disowned qualities in the Other, they get drawn into painful, repetitive fights, inevitably ending up hurt and angry and perhaps separating from each other. In defending against the pain, we also defend against the love. But with shadow-work, a partner may rediscover his or her own rejected traits in the projections and learn to romance them. In this way, the sources of conflict can be viewed as sources of opportunity: the relationship becomes a means to find gold in the dark side both in ourselves and in our partners. As a result, our partner, who felt like an enemy, becomes an ally to our soul. And the relationship deepens.....................................complete excerpt here

This is an excerpt from 'Romancing the Shadow: A Guide to Finding Gold in the Dark Side'
Connie Zweig
"Romancing the Shadow enables you to peel away the layers of your soul and get in touch with the purity of Being that lies within you."
--Deepak Chopra
"A consummate and timely work . . . An exciting entry into the growing literature on the dark side of the soul. There is deep wisdom and nourishment here."
--New Age Journal

A few other fab books on working with the shadow:
Meeting the Shadow-collection of 60+ essays edited by Jeremiah Abrams
Inner Gold-Understanding Projection by Robert A. Johnson
The Dark Side of the Light Chasers by D. Ford
A Little Book on the Human Shadow by Robert Bly
Meeting the Shadow edited Connie Zweig
Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche by Robert A. Johnson

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