We know the shadow by many names: alter ego, lower self, the dark twin, repressed self, id. Carl Jung once said that the shadow "is the person you would rather not be." But even if you choose to hide your dark side, it will still cast a shadow, according to author Debbie Ford. Rather than reject the seemingly undesirable parts of ourselves, Ford offers advice on how to confront our shadows. Only by owning every aspect of yourself can you achieve harmony and "let your own light shine," she explains. "The purpose of doing shadow work, is to become whole. To end our suffering. To stop hiding ourselves from ourselves. Once we do this we can stop hiding ourselves from the rest of the world."
As threatening as shadow work may seem, it is often very effective in creating transformation. Ford's step-by-step guidebook is modeled on a highly successful course she developed about embracing the shadow. Ultimately, she helps readers illuminate the gifts and strengths that lie within the shadows. Although this works sound vague, clouded in dark metaphors, Ford manages to make it clear and specific. She has the writing gifts of a successful seminar leader--inspirational, trustworthy, and able to convey murky material with grace and ease. --Gail Hudson
From Publishers Weekly
Everyone possesses the entire range of human traits and emotionsA"the saintly and the cynical, the divine and the diabolical, the courageous and the cowardly"Acontends Ford, a faculty member of California's Chopra Center for Well-Being. The problem, as Ford (and Freud) define it, is that in growing up, people suppress those behaviors, thoughts, feelings and characteristics that are unacceptable within their particular environments. But rather than daily sessions on the couch, Ford advocates re-imagining and reclaiming lost aspects of self, urging readers to "unconceal" and embrace those traits buried in their "shadow," in order to find their "gift." She offers exercises designed to bring such traits to the surface, including directed self-questioning; listing one's characteristics for closer examination of positives and negatives; and "discharging toxic emotions" physically. Her advice is often drawn from anecdotes of experiences with friends and in workshops that she has taught or attended, and from her own struggles with various aspects of her personality. What some will see as disarming simple methodology may seem shallow to those with a more analytical bent. But even those not looking for the "Resistant Rita," "Lovegirl Laurie," "My-way Marvin" or "Competent Ken" locked inside them may find him or her in spite of themselves.
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