Dancing with My Shadow

“MAY THE MANSION OF YOUR SOUL NEVER BECOME A HAUNTED PLACE.” – John O’Donohue

“The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.” – C. Jung.

Everyone has a shadow; that which is hidden, kept secret, out of sight, out of mind. The shadow is an ingredient for light; necessary darkness. Last year, I was given the assignment to track my shadow’s patterns throughout my life. My child-self painted a fantasy world to escape loneliness; it was my first big creative project. I poured my curiosities into the woods, dirt, flowers, berries, wind, and grass, played fairies, worshiped the sun, and I never felt alone.

I WANTED TO REMAIN A CHILD

When I was old enough to leave the yard and venture out on my own, I met friends who also worshiped dirt and loved playing in the woods. I spent my childhood gallivanting through the West Virginia Wonderland of my backyard imagination. On my 14th birthday I was devastated by the realization it was time to go to high school; I wasn’t ready.  Shadowy messages clouded my mind, ‘I am immature, I have to grow-up, I need to be social, I’ve got to be cool.’ I thought my days of playing in the woods were through.

I TURNED THE MUSIC UP TO HEAR

I loathed the messages sent to my unconscious inbox from society and my own insecurities; be mature, adult-like, feminine, and sexy. I rebelled in every way possible. Playing in the woods was replaced with cigarettes and beer. My teenage rebellion was remarkably hellacious and I feel fortunate that my parents, friends, and I survived. When I was driving down those backroads listening to music, I never felt alone.

In my early twenties, the shadow dance became a mosh pit. The gentle shadow reflection that once guided me toward, imagination, love of nature, and my inner child, had begun traveling to darker forests. The newness of sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll lost luster. The lights and glitter weren’t providing the same high. The worse I felt, the harder my shadow pleaded for reckoning. No longer believing in creating my own fantasy world, I didn’t feel capable. I wanted out of the world I was in.

I KNEW THAT IT WAS TIME TO GO

Finding myself drowning in this new manifestation of shadow. Completely engulfed by loneliness, jealousy, self-loathing, and addiction, I was incapable of finding peace. I felt lonely in crowds. The lighthearted shadow that kept me safe as a child, capable of using my imagination to create joy, had transmuted into an imprisoning void of creativity that I needed to tango with. All the while, I believed wholeheartedly that I could run from it.

I used to love theatre, and ballet, but I quit in a fearful revolt against myself. I slapped on a thick persona of a Rock-and-Roll hard ass, but I will always be a tiny dancer singing show tunes, playing fairies in the yard. The facets of myself that love to be glitzy, graceful, sensual, and womanly have been guarded, protected, and kept locked away. I have a shield of pure-rock-fury that I cherish deeply to ward off these impish impulses. ‘Dancing with My Shadow’ is a representation of one Reckless Duality between two of the many parts of myself that I wish to dance with. We wait for dawn by the fire.

Filmed by The Creative Path  @  The Aldworth Manor

Special Thanks to The Crew, Fam, Spirits, Fairies, and Fellow Dance/Movement Therapists (and back-up dancers) Jessie Gaworecki and Jayoti Soor!

Love Always Never;

Briena Pearl

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