According to Carl Jung our “shadow” is that part of our unconscious mind that holds our repressed weakness, shortages and unexamined instincts. By nature it carries the pieces of ourselves that are usually the hardest to see.
Yet in my experience our shadow also holds some of our greatest gifts. It is there that we find important keys towards understanding some of our greatest blocks and where we can unleash unimaginable streams of vitality and potential.
Today a family member gave me the “gift” of showing me a part of my shadow. I say “gift” in parenthesis because at the time it did not feel that way. In fact it led to a pretty big blowout at the breakfast table. But in the aftermath of walking away and as the emotions begin to settle down (when extreme feelings get stirred, you know you’re on to something!), I began to realize that there was more there to be explored.
My first reaction had been out of defense (and to be fair, her delivery was not the best, but then again, who’s perfect), and because of that we did not get very far in our initial exchange. When I calmed down and started discerning what was mine and what was hers, I asked myself the important question: what truth lies in what she was trying to say? (And I knew there was some, if not I wouldn’t have been so shaken).
What I came to was this- she was speaking to my money archetype of the Tyrant, the part of me that is rooted in scarcity and as a result tries fiercely to control. And what happens is when I begin to feel that there is not “enough” of things- not enough time, not enough attention, not enough of resources to go around, I react with anger and impatience and my delivery of requests becomes harsh. Anyone who knows me can vouch that I have been working on this for many years. I inherited this harshness from my father, and he from his father. (Yes, we do have financial DNA, and yes it can change. You should see my father with my daughter now- total melt!). This is contrast to my mother’s side of the family who was taught to inherently trust in the “plenty” of things.
If the Tyrant is not your main archetype is can be difficult to handle or be in relationship with. They can feel tight and controlling as if it were always trying to get their own way. In fact another archetype (like the Martyr, predominant on my mother’s side) may accuse the Tyrant of being totally self-interested and keeping everyone else’s needs at bay. In reality however, the Tyrant is the most fearful of all of the archetypes because they are masking a deep pain. Something happened in their past that internalized a belief in scarcity and not-enoughness. Whatever they experienced was too much to bear; what was an emotional wound got internalized as a material deficiency and as an adult the tyrant aggressively tries to constantly satisfy his or her needs, at the expense of relaxing and allowing life to naturally do this, in more unexpected ways.
The wisdom of this archetype is that it actually makes requests (or demands), and lots of them! This per se is not a bad thing. It’s great to tell the world and others what you need, but what I learned to today was that only is the delivery of these requests just as important as the sheer act of making them, but so is the place from where these requests are made. (Scarcity vs. Enough-ness)
Inner Economics is a big part of what I do personally and as a living. I am in communication with my different money archetypes all day long. I have worked with my Tyrant, I have cultivated my Fool (its total opposite) and I have chosen not to feed into my Martyr. As a result my relationship to money is much freer, ever embracing and more interesting than ever before. But what I had not realized was that my impatience, a natural way with which I meet the world, came from a place of scarcity and much less, that this was a place where my Tyrant still lived. It was a part of me that I still had not seen.
However difficult, I am grateful from this lesson today. It reminded me of a friend’s comment 8 years ago that also changed my life forever. This feels like of one those times. Life throws a curveball but they are meant to shake you up to loosen the habits that have been internalized and habituated for a long, long time.
May you too embrace what feels at times may feel hard and hurtful. I promise you there is probably something there. May it be gold…