Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Shadow writing

Today I have attended a workshop in shadow writing. Shadow writing is basically a Jungian concept, a method to facilite a dialogue between the Ego Consciousness and the Unconscious.

It is also used for its therapeutic effect. At the Ann Wigmore institute, where many people attempt a lifestyle change, shadow writing workshop is a new tool to help people connect to the shadow in their past and another to the shadow? of the future. (I have not yet attended the second part of the workshop, so I am not quite sure what exactly it will be - I only know it will deal with the future. )

Our exercise in shadow writing had us instructed to write from the back of our heads, without stopping, crossing over or putting a pen - or pencil - away, once we started writing. We were to write for 12-15 minutes on a topic "I am from" . Totally relaxed, whatever comes to mind and perhaps we would connect with our shadows. Before we started we heard a few examples of what other people wrote, just to give us some ideas to start. Many were about childhoods or roots in general. When I put a pen to the paper I wrote:

" I am from a burgeois villa in a small town in central Poland. I am from a gestapo prison.
I am from being sheltered from the truth too horrible to know, so I don't really know where I am from.

I am from the victims. I am from the opressors.
I am from the life-loving, rebellious Poles with tons of attitude. I am from logical, disciplined, obedient Germans.

I am from the fighters who were told to surrender facing an overwhelming power and did not obey. I am from the fighters, who were ordered to kill and torture and obeyed without a cry.
I am from contradictions.

I am from a patrician villa filled with remnants of old silver and the best damast linnens, where my grandmother taught me how to eat snails, while using breadcrumbs as a substitute.
I am from a stalinist terror and a poverty too grinding for my grandmother to comprehend, or even acknowledge it. I am from eating breadcrumbs pretending they were snails.
I am from duplicity - from a place and time where I could not repeat outside the house what had been said inside it without putting someone in danger of jail, prison, perhaps more torture.

I am from a sunny garden, from the love of my grandma and grandpa. I am from the absence of my father - he was killed when I was a baby. I am from the absence of my mother - she had to leave me with grandparents to study in a big city far away.

My daughter is from the abscence of her father - I divorced him when she was a baby. She is from the absence of me - I had to emigrate without her... "

Here my time was up, and I don't reallly know where I was going with it... Perhaps to a conclusion that if I had a granddaughter I would hope she would live in a place and time where she could be safe from war, terror, hunger and forced abandonment. I don't know.

The therapeutic effect? I did not feel emotional when I was writing, but I almost choked on tears when I was reading what I wrote to my fellow workshop participants.
And I am perceived as a highly rational, no-nonsense type of person, who is always smiling. :-)


Ewa said...

I was about to cry when I red that. It is very very moving.
I wonder what will be the effect of the next part of this writing.
'Curiosity killed the cat' :)
How is garden design going? do You still need hand?

Minerva said...

I must have a design block... or simply being lazy. Whenever I have free time I ponder for a while: garden or the beach... and so far garden has not yet been started. So, of course I still need a hand... and my guest room is unocuppied :-)

Minerva said...

Ok, Ewa, here's to satisfy your curiosity: busy quitting I never found a time to attend the second part of the workshop, but later I took Kate, the instructor, to dinner and she told me that the future part is about imagining a face of a person from the group that attends (or attended) the Ann Wigmore program with you and imagining that this person has a message for you and to write this message. I immediately imagine Immacula, a fabulous human being, who was in my group when I took Ann Wigmore program in October. Immacula is a New York hairdresser, originally from Haiti and a fabulous human being.
At the end of the workshop, Kate said next, it is revealed that this person is a face of God and the message is a message from God.
I choke slightly, hearing that, and then laugh so hard I almost died laughing. Not only am I a humanist (also, in some circles called an atheist), but a concept of a God as a black woman felt really trendy for me. Cheers, Immacula. I did not know I had a God among my friends. ;-)