Ecological Shadow Play

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Purpose, Preparation, Process & Reflection

 

Reflection:  This Ecological Shadow Play is about deeply listening to the resistance within ourselves and honouring that, and caring for our whole self. If we don’t listen to the hidden needs within that part of ourself, and simply force it to do what our ecological self and changemaker want it to do, it will go even more deeply into resistance.  This saps energy from our whole being, and the positive actions that we do take can feel like we have a brake on as we’re trying to move forward. Exhausting!

Here are some questions to ponder, to help you discover the value of your ecological shadow. You could write a few notes in your Joyality Journal, or share your answers with a trusted friend.  Remember, your goal is curiosity and acceptance, forgiveness and understanding … don’t try and make your shadow any different from how it is.

  • How are you feeling after this process?
  • Did you discover anything new about yourself? What have you learned?
  • What does your ecological shadow “need”? Can you think of ways that you can integrate these needs into the way you take action for positive change? (A 3-way discussion between your ecological self, changemaker and ecological shadow could be interesting here!)
  • Has your ecological shadow brought you any gifts? Does it have any hidden strengths that could be useful to you?

I’ll illustrate this using my own example: “I’m so tired, I just want a holiday, I don’t want to have to think about the world all the time, why can’t I just focus on myself like everyone else does.” I felt kind of liberated after I spoke those words, and also a bit embarrassed. My ecological shadow is telling me in no uncertain terms that I need a rest, and to actually take breaks from focusing solely on ‘changing the world’. I need to integrate some more of my own personal needs into my priorities.  My ecological shadow is actually a champion of my own “self-care”!  If I attend to these needs I believe I will be happier, have more energy, and therefore also be more effective in my changemaking! 😀

 

[Download MP3s: Ecological Shadow Play, or you can use the Transcript text below to guide others.]

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[Transcript Ecological Shadow]

Purpose: The purpose of the Ecological Shadow Play process is to build on the Voice Dialogue that we did earlier, and to explore some other aspects of our multi-faceted beings. As you know by now, we each contain many selves. Now some of these are quite “ecological” and others are definitely not.

In the Joyality program we have been doing a lot of exploring, expanding and deepening of our “ecological self” … our connection to the nature around us and within us, and our connection with other people; and our caring about nature and about other people.

The “ecological shadow”, on the other hand, is the parts of ourselves that are really actively resisting connection and positive action for change. So if I Eshana do this process and I am getting in touch with my own ecological shadow it can be something like: “I’m so tired, I just want a holiday, I don’t want to have to think about the world all the time, why can’t I just focus on myself like everyone else does.” That’s an example of the ecological shadow part of myself speaking.

Our “shadow” selves represent uncomfortable, disowned parts of our selves which are stored subconsciously yet have a lot of power in our lives. However, when we become conscious of these shadow aspects of ourselves and actually start to explore them, and to express them in a safe place, they can lose their power and even bring really interesting gifts to us. In this exercise you’ll get to find and explore your own ecological shadow.

Preparation: For this process find yourself a really comfortable, cozy-feeling place either outside or indoors, get your journal ready and perhaps light a candle. This process is a bit similar to some of those in Joyality 301 where we “go deeper”.

Process:

Step 1: Embracing Ourselves. The first thing we suggest you do is look back in your Joyality Journal over your notes from Part 1 of the Voice Dialogue exercise, where you explored the different selves within you.  Have a look at those different selves and their names and aspects of their personalities. See if you can look at them with a sense of acceptance and non-judgement. See if you can even beam love, or internally smile, at each of those characters, each part of you.

**Feel free to pause here while you do this.**

Step 2: Our Ecological Selves. The second part is to explore your ecological self, the part of you that feels really deeply connected to the Earth. Just look back at your notes, on these different selves within you. Have you identified a part of yourself that you would call an ecological self? If you haven’t, we invite you to explore that part of yourself and add that as a character, as a mini-self. We also invite you to ask yourself whether there’s a changemaker or a Shambhala Warrior in your notes? And if there isn’t, try to connect with that part of yourself and add that to the mix. If you feel like it, see if you can give them names.

**Feel free to pause here while you do this, and add those characters and names to your Voice Dialogue notes in your Joyality Journal.**

Step 3: Our Ecological Shadow/s. When you’ve done those two things, we invite you to close your eyes and start to get in touch with the parts of yourself that are not like the changemaker or Shambhala Warrior. The parts of you that are resisting connection with nature and other people, and actively resisting taking action for positive change. Know that it’s okay to have – and acknowledge – those parts of yourself. Take a couple of deep breaths. Just allow your ecological shadow to be. See what thoughts and feelings arise.

**When you’re ready, open your eyes and start free writing in your Joyality Journal. Write in the first person giving voice to this part of yourself. You might want to start with the phrase “I feel…”

If you get stuck at any point, use writing to ask your ecological shadow a question such as “What do you need?” or “How can I help you?” Just continue this free writing as long as it feels there’s something that needs to be expressed. Just allow whatever arises to be written down.**

Reflection:  This Ecological Shadow Play is about deeply listening to the resistance within ourselves and honouring that, and caring for our whole self. If we don’t listen to the hidden needs within that part of ourself, and simply force it to do what our ecological self and changemaker want it to do, it will go even more deeply into resistance.  This saps energy from our whole being, and the positive actions that we do take can feel like we have a brake on as we’re trying to move forward. Exhausting!

Here are some questions to ponder, to help you discover the value of your ecological shadow. You could write a few notes in your Joyality Journal, or share your answers with a trusted friend.  Remember, your goal is curiosity and acceptance, forgiveness and understanding … don’t try and make your shadow any different from how it is.

  • How are you feeling after this process?
  • Did you discover anything new about yourself? What have you learned?
  • What does your ecological shadow “need”? Can you think of ways that you can integrate these needs into the way you take action for positive change? (A 3-way discussion between your ecological self, changemaker and ecological shadow could be interesting here!)
  • Has your ecological shadow brought you any gifts? Does it have any hidden strengths that could be useful to you?

I’ll illustrate this using my own example: “I’m so tired, I just want a holiday, I don’t want to have to think about the world all the time, why can’t I just focus on myself like everyone else does.” I felt kind of liberated after I spoke those words, and also a bit embarrassed. My ecological shadow is telling me in no uncertain terms that I need a rest, and to actually take breaks from focusing solely on ‘changing the world’. I need to integrate some more of my own personal needs into my priorities.  My ecological shadow is actually a champion of my own “self-care”!  If I attend to these needs I believe I will be happier, have more energy, and therefore also be more effective in my changemaking! 😀

Source: Dr Eshana Bragg, inspired by a process called The Environmental Shadow she developed in 1995 using re-evaluation counselling in partners.

 

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