I met Connie Zweig, author of The Inner Work of Age: Shifting from Role to Soul at a recent Life Planning Network gathering. She has also written several other books dealing with shadow work. All of her work is available on Amazon. As guest speaker, Connie emphasized that as we become increasingly reflective with age, we have an opportunity and ability to let go of past tendencies and move into greater awareness of who we are, which in turn opens the door to greater fulfillment in life.
So many of us get caught up in the busyness of life that, at any stage of life, we fail to think about what we really want to be doing instead.
Are there times when you use the “shoulda, woulda, coulda excuse?
If so, Connie Zweig’s philosophy, which is called shadow work, is all about you. If you find yourself at loose ends or are dissatisfied with the way things are going in your life, you have the opportunity to use your dissatisfaction as a catalyst for change.
If your level of satisfaction drops, no matter your age, it may be time to confront the factors that get in the way of happiness. These factors are what Zweig calls shadows, and they can serve as your raw materials for IMPROVEMENT.
First, determine whether there is something missing from your life. What is it? Is there something that you have always wanted to do or be? What is getting in the way of fulfilling that dream?
That “WHAT” is your shadow! Name it.
By giving it a name, you pull it out of the context of your habitual resistance to it.
For example, say your shadow is procrastination. Call it Jelly Bean.
By calling it Jelly Bean, you switch your identification with procrastination into an unfamiliar entity, called Jelly Bean. In other words, you replace your old nemesis procrastination with a new friend, Jelly Bean, whom you can politely order to get lost. With time, the old shadow will have less control IF you respond in a new way to the hold it had on you in the past.
Try it out with other shadows, one at a time. As Connie Zweig forewarns, shadow characters will continue to emerge throughout life. It is up to us to build a relationship with it and put it in its place as new behaviors emerge. The more shadows we take on, the more authentically and abundantly we will be able to live.