Since we had five participants with us, who were attending a retreat for the first time, we attached great importance to teaching the basics of shadow work during the first two days. Here is a short summary with examples:
Cleaning Up deals mainly with the repressed unconscious (quadrant top left). Qualities and abilities that were not desired in our past and thus were repressed can come to the surface in group work. This is often associated with a lot of pain and anger. An example: D. is angry with her father. He ignored her as a child and gave her the feeling of being worth nothing and unable to do anything. In the group she chooses a male substitute for her father. This confrontation enables her to direct her anger and pain about the "absent" father to him.
Growing up is about the ability to put herself in different perspectives (mainly quadrants at the top and bottom left). Our mental, emotional and spiritual structure dictates our world view. The further we develop and climb the levels of consciousness, the more comprehensive and deep our world view becomes. We are able to comprehend both our world view and the world views among us. We have integrated the levels below us. As an example see below the situation with G.
Showing Up can happen parallel to Cleaning Up and Growing Up or it can become inevitable as a consequence of development. From a certain point in Growing Up the individual becomes aware that it is not only about his own needs, i.e. his own isolated life, but that everything is directly connected to the environment as a system (all four quadrants). This is where CARE and the desire to take one's skills and competences out into the world is born. As an example see below the situation with C.
In the further examination of the shadow and our associated projections, we dealt with simple but still unknown basic knowledge: As long as we have shadows, we can only recognize what the original feeling is with us by means of our symptoms. An example: I feel sadness, but I have effectively suffered no loss that could justify this sadness. When I look out into the world, I experience anger. Real loss would cause compassion in the outside world. Translated back, this means that I am angry and I project my anger to the outside world. SAD=MAD!!!
Within a short time the perception of the participants has changed: When on the fourth day S. manages to let go of his anger completely in a physical exercise, D. sees the difference in his face very clearly. During the anger his gaze becomes clear and he is able to continue the exercise. As soon as he avoids the feeling of anger, his gaze becomes tearful. The exercise becomes almost untenable and he wants to give in. D. then reports that she has never seen this difference so clearly before. S. reports that from the inner perspective the difference also felt clearly distinguishable.
The next day the group bites its teeth at G. in the shadow session. Despite many attempts to bring him into the clearly visible feeling of anger/despair from the outside (physical exercise, provocation, shadow theory etc.), we do not succeed. We are helpless... A. brings us the solution. The development trap: in the course of the development there may well be a "pause moment". The ego can be fixated on More, Better, Higher, Faster, so that one can miss the fact that there is nothing more to "learn or feel" at the moment. The tools and the knowledge are there, everything is to be applied and the focus to be strengthened. When the penny drops with G., something in him lets go! He starts to cry and a great relief overcomes him. It would never have occurred to him that it could be ok to have a "development holiday".
Only a few hours later a "care-drama" with our cook C takes place. Visibly stressed and agitated she comes into the shadow session and lets her anger run free. V. has put edible vegetables in the compost while preparing lunch instead of processing them or putting them on the side. C. sees the connection between carelessness in detail and the bigger picture! She is the mother of a two-year-old boy and wishes for a world worth living in for her son. Quickly the connection between care, anger and
pain clear. Without the will to change something (aggression), no matter how much love, care and compassion is useless. And that is where pain must be allowed to happen...
After all these events, the theme of letting go crystallizes the same evening as the central theme of this retreat! The examples of D., G. and C. show it clearly. But what is it important to let go of individually for everyone? Where do we direct our attention when it comes to letting go? What do our avoidance strategies look like?
The very next day, this issue of letting go enters our consciousness again. We do an exercise called "Letting go of pacifiers". It is about asking yourself the question what or who is preventing you from personal development. Every person has a feeling for where their obstacles are. Inertia and/or fear are the only reasons why this obstacle is not removed. As soon as this is clear, this obstacle must be made concrete so that it can be overcome realistically and verifiably. Some examples: S. watches too much porn. He uses this channel to avoid his own anger and lust. He decides to stop watching porn until the end of August. He chooses R. as his control channel. He should ask him weekly how he is doing. K. has a basic tendency to focus her attention on unimportant things. She spends a lot of time on her mobile phone, in social media, in news portals, although she is not interested in them at all. She also likes to take a nap during the day... Since she is a body type (more on this in the next entry), it is of central importance for her to move around a lot. N. suggests her to choose a walk every time instead of a nap. K. agrees. N. should control her. Further topics follow: alcohol, smoking, fear etc. (more about this in another entry).
In this week we touched "by the way" the following topics:
Sex: divided into men and women, we looked into the question why we have sex. Unfortunately, it was not possible to put the results of the men and women together. So we probably already have food for the autumn retreat...
Love: stirred up by the whole care topic the question arises on the penultimate evening, what and where is love?! S. briefly outlines the different forms of love and the development of love through the steps (see https://www.integralworks.ch/de/produkte/stufen-des-selbst for an overview of how love changes through the steps). A subsequent personal round, where we experienced love, breathes life into this topic. Most of us have experienced love from our parents only indirectly through gestures. M. tells about how she experienced her mother when she stood up for the marriage of her daughter against her own family... On the day of her departure (M. came to Switzerland to get married), her mother presented her with the traditional wedding gift. M. knew immediately that her mother loved her.
The last evening comes... We gather around the fire and make a final round. Everybody tells about their personal highlight of the week: T. tells that for the first time they experienced a feeling of "I am at home here"... S. tells that it was the first time for her to be able to talk about love in a relaxed way.
The last day: before the cleaning action we make a little round again. A. turns our deficits around and emphasizes that from this perspective we don't miss anything at all, but we perceive more and differently what is happening around us. Many people are satisfied with what they have and how they live. This does not apply to everyone. It's not a bug, it's a feature!