This is a related guest house visualization to the Chapter 5: My Shadow Protects Me. I used this visualization to name a shadow within me, which is Pride. More importantly, through learning the message from Pride, I am learning to allow a conscious integration of my shadow by simply letting it out, in a controlled manner - which I call a dance with my shadow.
The Guest House Visualization
I visualize myself tidying up the storeroom. It is a mess, and it is dark. We had been keeping what we needed for the daily functioning of the inn at the entrance of the storeroom but I had some time today and decided to enter the back, where we had years of clutter, and it was dark. I turned the light on and run through an old guest log.
The inn when we first started out, was a lot of trial and error. Some worked and some failed horribly. I glanced at the logbook and caught a glimpse of one of our earliest guests, Pride. He was a young man, the delight of his parents, and his parents took him for vacations regularly at our inn. It seemed that nothing he did looked wrong in his parents' eye. His parents were strict no doubt, they had rules but he mostly complied or managed to find a way to gleefully cross the line and usually managed to step back into compliance in the nick of time. Fearing his mother's fury, he skillfully navigated the family rules and grew to relish this cryptic rebellion with joy and playfulness.
Pride claimed recognition despite coming across sheepishly smiling each time he was praised. Deep down, he had built a belief in him that things would never go wrong for him. He always managed to get by and scrape the bottom of the barrel, but the barrel would be the top class in school, being reserve player on the school or class basketball team. He built a belief that with minimal effort, he could easily get by and if he wanted, always do a little more and thrive.
I connected with Pride because mostly, I observed him growing up and was there when he lost his mum. He lost the foundation of all recognition, she could see no wrong in him. Without her, his world became real, he was alone in a big wide world. He lost that edge, and over time that grew dark within.
Since the source of affirmation and encouragement left, Pride began building protective layers within him to grow in resilience. His thoughts, appearance and material possessions became what affirmed and encouraged him to do more. at some point, he started building novel ideas and thoughts which would wrap him up in a bubble of indefensibility. This was until in a decisive moment, that an opinion from a third party would judge and critic his views and he would feel lost and vulnerable again. That was when he befriended another guest, Anger. Anger was his protection, his armor.
The two buddies often went out together and they were close like brothers. At some point, I wondered where the young child I knew was. It was there in the storeroom, in my dusty guest log that I found this young child, sweet and confident. Always playful, ever willing to try and push boundaries but always doing so with the approval (or non-disapproval) from his mum and beacon of light.
As I reminisced the past, I paused to take a breath in, filling my lungs with the wisdom of this experience. The shadow of Pride was the yearning for ambition and recognition. It was a most innocent and child-like desire, nothing sinister nor malicious. I thought again to myself, that I would invite Playfulness back to the inn when Pride is around. That kid is extraordinarily bright, cheerful and always doing something novel. I wonder if his charm will rekindle Pride's shadow and let that child in him begin to gently shine once again.