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Cultivating Creativity and Healing in Our Shadow

Owning Your Own Shadow book

“Seeds find nourishment in the dark.”

Author and teacher Mark Matousek writes about the challenges and rewards of solitude, and refers to May Sarton’s “fantastic book” Journal of a Solitude.

He comments that she “reminds us that solitude may be indispensable but that doesn’t mean it’s easy,” and quotes from a poem of hers:

“I can tell you that solitude/Is not all exaltation, inner space
Where the soul breathes and work can be done
Solitude exposes the nerve
Raises up ghosts.
The past, never at rest, flows through it.”

Matousek goes on to write that solitude “always includes the shadow, the part of ourselves that we run from, the places that scare us, the demons, the ghouls. That’s why solitude can be so intimidating.

“Unless we learn to engage with it, we cannot begin to awaken. We can’t be enriched by our darkness; nor can we integrate what lies below the surface with the flow of our day-to-day life.

“Avoiding the shadow of solitude, we avoid our essence and our core. All things that grow begin in darkness. Seeds find nourishment in the dark. All the things that matter most — creativity, love, inspiration, deep work, and spiritual awakening, require the dark earth of solitude to take root. And this practice can be cultivated.”

He finds that the challenges of solitude “are identical to those of spiritual practice: locating balance inside us; getting comfortable in our own skins; becoming intimate with our own minds; laying claim to that power that flows through us when we touch center.”

From his post The Power of Solitude.

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In his post “Black Swan” and the Recovery of the Shadow Self, Joseph Burgo PhD comments about the success of this movie in depicting how an artist (ballerina Nina, played by Natalie Portman) gains more self-awareness and power to express her creativity.

“Only by embracing her passionate sexuality, jealousy and murderous feelings of rage can Nina grow into her role as the black swan, becoming a whole and independent woman in the process… the film accurately portrays states of mind and psychological reality in a way rarely seen.”

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Writing to Heal course

Mark Matousek is presenting an online course through the Shift Network: Writing to Heal.

The site describes it as “A 9-Month Journey of Self-Discovery and Empowerment.”

Live Training began August 18, 2015, but when you sign up, “You can download the recordings and transcripts of all course sessions from our online media archive, so you never need to worry about missing live calls. You can also engage the full community and leaders on our private community website.”

Also from the course description:

Writing to Heal course“If you haven’t experienced wounding in dramatic ways from devastating loss or pain, you may think that there are those who are wounded — and then there is you.

“But the truth is we all have wounds. They are part of the human condition. And they can manifest in many ways — your insecurities, your limiting beliefs, your challenged relationships or issues with anxiety and depression.

“Not only do we all have wounds, but we also have aspects to our identities that are lived out in the shadow. And yet, these forbidden parts contain essential elements of our true nature.

“They hold wisdom, energy, creativity and power — and need to be brought into the light so we can be free and whole.

“Actors often prefer to play dark, complex or tortured characters because there is more juice, aliveness and liberation that comes when they give these shadow parts a voice.

“But how do you make this journey into your personal wounds, secrets and shadows safe? And how do you not get stuck in old stories or loops but genuinely free yourself?”

Learn more and sign up at the site: Writing to Heal

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Related posts:

Using Our Shadow Self for Creativity.

Nurturing Creativity in Solitude.

Dancing With Our Shadow to Develop Creativity.

Top photo is from cover of book: Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche by Robert A. Johnson.


Cultivating Creativity and Healing in Our Shadow

Douglas Eby

Douglas EbyDouglas Eby, MA/Psychology, is a writer and researcher on psychology and personal development related to creativity; creator of the , and author of books including [link to book site with excerpts.]
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Some excerpts from The Creative Mind are included in his newsletter .
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APA Reference
Eby, D. (2015). Cultivating Creativity and Healing in Our Shadow. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2020, from


Last updated: 19 Aug 2015
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