Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Shadow Work (Accccckkkk)

Today tastes like the perfect peppermint mocha--that amazing alchemy of espresso, steamed half and half, peppermint schnapps, chocolate, and whipped cream. With a side of fried plantains, garlic, and crayons.

It would be easy to start out with an apology for not being here lately, but I'm sure you've read your fill of those already, so I won't waste eyeball space with another one. There's plenty I need to fill in before the rest of this post will make sense, so if you feel the need--sorry. Done.

Work on the book proceeds apace. We are coming up on 100,000 words--probably crack that barrier by the end of the week/weekend. Yes, I've slowed down some. Right now the Evil Plan is to complete the first edit by Halloween so I can do NaNoWriMo this year and replace the story I was telling about Rodentia that I lost in the Great Computer Cataclysm of Whatever Year That Was (and Finally Learned the Value of BACKING SHIT UP).

The knitting continueth, as always. I was able to hit a personal goal and have a shawl ready for EasterBirthday this year (being born in early April means an interesting convocation sometimes. As Li'l Brah says--Hallelujiah, the KNITTER is RISEN!) Pictures later, maybe. I'll have to look at the Pile of Finished Objects cross-reference it with the blog, and see where I left off.

Hokay, where to start this thing? If I start at the beginning, we'll be here all night with you scrolling down and down and down and wondering if Spike ever shuts up. If I cut to the chase, then you'll be sitting there totally lost and mourning the waste of bandwidth.

There is a genius woman by the name of Havi Brooks. If you haven't yet met her, click on the link and read her blog. Amazing. She's done me more good than an equivalent period in therapy. If I'd spent that long on the couch, which I probably wouldn't because sheesh, at $90 for a fifty-minute hour . . . and three years . . . that's a lot of moolah.

I joke that one day I'll go to the bead store and get some sterling beads (a W, H, a D, and a ?) and some Savarowski crystals and make a bracelet that reads "WWHD?" What Would Havi Do?

The thing that's got me going is the shadow work (ok, eeeeewwww, Jungian shrinkology. Deal, buttercup.) that she's been modeling on her blog for a while and now has a learning packet for. She thinks of it as "talking to your monsters."

See, all the talk about "embracing your monsters" just adds more should to the pile of bullshould. Monsters are . . . monstrous. Big and hairy with fangs and claws, or cold and slimy and tentacular, or wearing facepaint and handing out glowing skull balloons (wanna FLOAT?). And they're that way for a reason.

And then there's the other school which talks about crushing your monsters, conquoring them, vanquishing them, smashing them into itty bitty bits and then jumping up and down on the pieces and peeing on the dust. And that's not good either, because these monsters are just a part of you. That's cutting off a part of yourself and making it not be anymore. Which is where your shadow came from, after all, when you split off the parts of you that you decided were not acceptable and shoved them out into the dark away from the light of your attention . . . and set monsters to keep you out of there.

That's why monsters are scary, and you just want them to go away. They're there to keep you safe, from taking risks, from feeling pain when what you want and what you can get from where you stand are separated by the learning curve.

Problem is, of course, all the stuff you need in order to grow and become complete once more? That's out there in the dark, waiting for you to get past the monster and retrieve it.

So what do you do? You sit down and talk with your monsters. You find out what shape they are. You find out why they think they're doing the best job they can to keep you safe by doing what they do. You tell them what you need in order to take those steps into the dark to get the treasure there, and discuss how they can help you get there. And you renegotiate their job terms so they can do a good job (everyone needs to be proud of the work they do, even monsters) and you can work on integration with your shadow, the bright and the dark.

I've already thrown up a couple of conversations with my muse--who's shifted a lot since we started the book. He's less grabby, less likely to put a fist in my hair and haul me bodily to the appropriate forum. In return, I listen to him better, and am rewarded by having more flow, more ease in my work. Less of the tormented artist bit; less blood on the keyboard.

And yes, there's more to follow. Watch this space for details.

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