A Return To Dialogue With The Shadow
Four weeks of walking along the beach here in Playa has given me a slight list to one side, the problem of one hip and the slope to the water. It resulted in me taking an hour this afternoon for a deep tissue massage, something I have usually done once a month. However, do to a number of circumstances, it has been almost two months since my last corrective massage. Now, I am ready for again walking taller without a side tilt favouring my right hip. Of course, this post is not all about getting a massage, so it is best to get on with the real reason for stopping by here and talking to you and perhaps even to my various faces of self, that boarding house collection of characters that live within me.
Two years ago, when I was writing at an alter account, I brought a dialogue between my ego-self – the main persona that is called Robert – and a shadow version of self that could only be encountered through active imagination in order to engage in a dialogue. I want to return again to this form of dialogue that would involve shadow, and various archetypes. I am not sure of where this is going to go and that is good as it tells me that ego is not going to interfere too much in the process in trying to control the whole thing in order to make itself look good.
I was walking along the beach, placing one foot in front of the other, looking to keep to as flat a surface as possible because of the pain in my hip. While I walked I looked out at the scenes that constantly changed in front of me, yet curiously remained the same. People were playing in the sand, reading books in the shade of umbrellas, walking in the water at the shore’s edge, taking photographs of each other, laying in the sun simply soaking up the rays, walking with lovers hand in hand, or standing on the edges surveying the scenes in front of them. Having taken this walk for four weeks, it didn’t take long for it all to disappear from in front of my eyes. Like someone hypnotized by the yellow line that divides a highway, I lost sense of time and place. I know that my body was paying attention to where footsteps were placed, but my consciousness had retreated as my sense of self shifted to a different dimension.
Shadow: “I was wondering just how long it was going to take before you let the barriers down. It’s been too long, almost two years since we’ve connected.”
Robert: “Damn! I thought I had buried you deep enough that I wouldn’t have heard from you for at least another two years if not longer.”
Shadow: “Yeah, I thought so. But in spite of that, here I am. Deal with it – not that you have much choice now that I am here. Blame it on all the poetry you’re writing.”
Robert: “It’s just poetry. Nothing there that should have caught your attention.”
Shadow: “Really? I think that you are deliberately misleading yourself there, Robert. The words are not just about life on the surface, they touch something deeper. Besides, it isn’t about the words – it’s the lack of images. You know what I’m talking about.”
Robert: “Yes, I know, there are no photos. I intended that there would be photos, but, there’s been no opportunity and besides, I don’t know what images are needed. Once the poems are written I will be able to plan for suitable photos.”
Shadow: “Hmmm, then what is this about a chapbook of poems that has become of interest?”
Robert: “I’ll admit that I have been thinking about making a collection of poems to make a chapbook so that I can have them considered for publication by a legitimate publishing company.”
Shadow: “Ah, selling your soul again. Looking at marketing words rather than letting words touch you. Are you reading your poems? Besides, what does that have to do with the lack of images? You know that images are an intrinsic part of your story-telling.”
Robert: “If I put in photos, publishers will simply discount the poems as some pathetic attempt to get noticed. If I want publishers to value my poems, they have to stand on their own. Besides, what’s so wrong with being published and making a few dollars?”
Shadow: “Sounds like inferiority-complex is speaking. What happened to that altruistic giving away of your poetry?”
Robert: “You know as well as I do that if it’s free, it’s a statement that it has little or no value. If people buy poetry, then it has value. And in case you haven’t noticed, no one bought a single copy of the poetry book.”
Shadow: “Yep, inferiority-complex indeed. You wrote the poems, you included images, and you gifted it back to the universe. None of that is tied to “pay back” or “profit.” Just like your breath – you inhale, you create with that inspiration; you exhale and gift your creation back to the universe unconditionally. And then the pause in between before the next created journey. You’re stuck here in that in between place and sounding a bit desperate. No wonder you opened the door to let me back in the picture.”
Stunned by dialogue that took only a few heartbeats while I walked along the seashore beside my wife, I realised that I needed to be called to task. I had felt something slipping away and didn’t know what it was. Before I return to writing more poetry, I need to think and be honest with myself. I have to answer a few questions about my motivation. With that thought, I intended on responding to shadow only to fiind that I was alone in my skin again, back on the beach. Maybe the next time.