A Little Book on the Human Shadow
Something to consider reading: A Little Book on the Human Shadow, by Robert Bly.
You may know Bly as the author of men’s movement tome, Iron John. He’s also a poet, public speaker, and engaged reader of lots of psych lit–particularly Carl Jung, Alice Miller, and Marie Louise von Franz.
Shadow reproduces a series of readings by and interviews with Bly, tied together with Jungian themes. Who or what do you hate? Take a careful look. It may be that the qualities you despise most are the very qualities you were encouraged (or forced) to refuse yourself as you were growing up–irresponsibility, carelessness, greed, rage.
Bly encourages reconnecting with these despised traits–to honor the items stowed “in your bag.” How? Art, expression. Especially helpful is an exploration of how these “shadow” dynamics play out in romantic relationships. Not unlike the longer, less poetry-filled, more widely read Getting the Love You Want, by Harville Hendrix. Take your pick.
Posted by Will Baum, LCSW