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I bought this book when it first came out (some time at the beginning of the year).  A group of my Facebook friends were going to take the class that was offered via Oprah I believe, and I was going to do it with them.  Ya.  I bought the book, but I never made it to the classes, and I didn’t read the book until now.  And as with everything else in life, there is a timing for everything and I truly believe I needed to have a few more experiences before reading the book.  It is perfect for right now!  Exactly what I need at the exactly the right time.

This book intrigued me.  As a trained storyteller, I learned a great deal about “the shadow” as it pertains to archetypes in storytelling and how to use storytelling in healing the psyche.  This book seemed like a natural fit into my life and what I have already learned; it seemed like it would be a natural extension.

C.G. Jung tells us that our shadow is the person we would rather not be.  Marianne Williamson says, “We feel if we take a deep look at ourselves, we’ll be too exposed.   We don’t want to look at our own shadow, because we’re afraid of what we might see.  But the only thing we should actually fear is not looking at it, for our denial of the shadow is exactly what fuels it.”

Debbie Ford asks the reader, “Are you ready to embark on this journey of reclaiming all of yourself, the light and the dark, your good self and your evil twin?  Are you ready to return to the love of your true, total, authentic self rather than stay trapped in the judgmental angst of a disjointed human ego?”  If so, “Your job is to learn from the shadow, to integrate it, and allow it to evolved your thinking and expand the boundaries of your self-created persona.  Your challenge is to find its value and to bring the light of forgiveness and compassion so that you can defuse its ability to dismantle your life.  Your job is to bring its complex characters out from the shadow, and to use their power and potency as sacred fuel to become who you were meant to be in this lifetime.”

Wow!  That is a pretty big challenge.  There is a reason it is called “the shadow”.  It can be a bit scary to take an honest look at what we are feeling and why.  Isn’t it easier to sit in judgment and blame someone else than to take 100% responsibility for our own thoughts and actions?  Ya, I think so too!  But I have realized in recent days,  months, years that I need to take 100% accountability for everything that happened or continues to happen in my life.   Whether it’s the abuse I endured as a child, the issues in  my marriage, or what I perceive to be happening within the roller derby league I was practicing with.  This book reiterates what I already believe and that is that “thoughts are things” and we create our own world based on our thoughts.  When I think, “Well they don’t like me and are ignoring me and leaving me out because they don’t like  me” then it sets that “wish” into motion and sure enough I get more of what I perceived to be true.  This just shows  me that I am feeling separate from others….separate from my self…separate from God/Love.  Where there is separation, there is fear.  Where there is fear, there is the shadow.  Where there is shadow, there is dis-ease, pain, sadness.

There are so many great thoughts in this book that really helped me look at things in different ways.  If you are struggling with addictions of any kind, fear of any kind, lack of success…if you feel as though something is holding you back, then pick up this book and give it a good read.  At the end of the book there is a test to see how the Shadow Effect is playing out in your life.  I am happy to say that the shadow is not controlling me completely, and yet there is room for growth :).  My eyes are opened now, and that is a good thing.

I will close this entry with this last statement from Marianne Williamson:

“Ultimately, the healing of the world will emerge not from our changing and correcting others, but from our willingness to change and correct ourselves.  Since all minds are joined, our ability to self-correct has a corrective influence on the entire universe.”

Blessings!

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This book is not exactly what I expected, but then again, I am not exactly sure what I expected.  I picked up this book while perusing the bookshelves in the store.  It looked interesting so I picked it up.  Truthfully, I hoped it would help me take myself less seriously and encourage me to laugh more.  I’m not certain that was the result, but what I did learn was profound.

I have sensed a theme in the last 2 books and movie I have seen.  They all touched on homelessness.  They have touched on the judgment of homeless people and also on what it might feel like to be homeless.  I find this interesting.  If this keeps popping up, I can only assume, I still have something to learn on this subject.

From the Foreword written by Mike Meyers:  Del Close’s philosophy:  “..comedy equals truth and truth equals spiritual growth.  Plainly put, “ha-ha” is related to “ah-ha” the sound one makes upon the realization of truth.”

I can honestly say, I have a few “ah-ha” moments of my own while reading this book.  I will list a few……..

On Fear:

  • “Fear tells you that you aren’t safe.  But you are.  Thinking that you aren’t safe is an illusion.  If you believe in an illusion, you’re buying into a lie.”
  • “Just because something bad happens doesn’t prove Fear will never stop trying to convince you.  But when you choose to stop being convinced, you’ll be fearless.”
  • “As long as you live in fear, the world is a threat.  If that doesn’t matter to you, okay.  But living that way you’ll never know the joy of your own soul.

We rely on fear to stop of us from getting hurt, but how often have we done something that scared us (like riding a roller coaster) and not get hurt?   A WHOLE BUNCH!  Fear is a false indicator to try and make us stay safe, but if we never take risks and prove Fear is a liar, we will miss some of the greatest things in life.  It is unlikely that we would follow our hearts to try new things, start new businesses, get married, have babies, all sorts of things.  I know fear has paralyzed me a few times.  I just need to remember that there have been many time when I have looked fear in the eye and did it anyway, and the outcomes have been amazing.

On Ego:

  • “Ego makes you believe you are in control, that you will get what you want. After a while, your fear is put out of your mind.  You have a self-image to keep up, after all.  You need other people to believe in you.  There’s money, status, possession, and a family to acquire.  As long as ego keeps holding out the carrot and creating constant drama, you never have to face what lies below the surface.”
  • “When the pain of being the same becomes greater than the pain of being different, you change.”
  • “Either you’re a person wondering if you have a soul, or you’re a soul who knows that being a person isn’t real.”

My husband received a $500 Apple gift card several months ago.  We decided that we wanted to use it to buy iPhones for the two of us.  This would require changing mobile phone carriers and having to buy the iPhones on line since we do not have an Apple store here in Idaho. I won’t go into the whole thing, but it cost me AT LEAST 5 hours of completely drama filled phone calls that ended with me yelling, screaming and me throwing my phone across the room.  Key word:  drama.  This drama kept me from facing my real fear.  I did not want to spend my own cash out of pocket to buy iPhones; I was afraid that I didn’t have enough money (a lie I tell myself all the time).  Once I let go of this it was incredibly easy to buy the phones, my life was FREE, and everything worked out great.  But man, that Ego and Fear of mine were enough to drive me crazy.

I have had lots of conversation about Souls before and where do they go when the physical bodies pass.  I have always heard that we are not physical beings having a spiritual experience but rather a spiritual being having a physical experience.  After reading this book, I have a new vision I carry with me.  This physical body I am in and the roles that I play are ones of my CHOOSING like a role in a play being played out on a stage.  We can change that.  The Soul is always there, but how we decide to show up in this physical world on this stage of life is completely up to us and can be changed at anytime.  This happens by letting go of the Fear and Ego.

On Addiction:

  • This isn’t about addiction to drugs, alcohol or food or anything like that.  We are addicted to our “old self”.  We are addicted to our own drama.
  • “You keep doing what never worked in the first place.”
  • “The ego never gives up trying to be in control.  So it keeps doing more and more of what didn’t work in the first place.”

When we let go of Fear, Ego, and Addiction we start living in Freedom…in “God’s World” not a world created by man (greed, fear, anger, consumption, etc.)

On God:

  • “How can you seek God if he’s already here?  It’s like us standing in the ocean and crying out, ‘I want to get wet.’  You want to get over the line to God.  It turns out he was always there.”
  • “Grace comes to those who stop struggling.  W hen it really sinks in that there’s nothing you can do to find God, he suddenly appears.  That’s the deepest mystery, the only one that counts.”

I loved these 2 thoughts.  I was having a conversation with a friend via Facebook about finding a church home.  One of her friends said he has gone to lots of churches where he couldn’t’ find God.  Her reply was that God is everywhere.  Anybody who has ever been to church has heard that he is everywhere, but I loved this ocean analogy.  And I love the feeling I got when I read that when we stop seeking him, he suddenly appears.  It’s our Ego that seeks him and Fear that tells us he is not there.  Yet when we let go, and be still, Grace will find us.  I love that!

There are so many more quotes and things I could say about this book.  It truly was an easy and quick read.  The first part reads like a story, and it is very touching.  It reads a bit like Dan Millman’s THE WAY OF THE PEACEFUL WARRIOR.  And at the end, there is a section that delves into “The Path of Joy” which has more of a text book feel.  In the end, it is a wonderful read, and I highly recommend it!