I’m working on my evolution as a person, as well as my evolution as a writer. For my latest short-story I absorbed and embodied the words of Bukowski, in that if it doesn’t flow from you, don’t write it. And I embraced Carl Jung’s idea of the shadow. Which essentially says that there’s polarity within your darkness. The combination has seemingly been exactly what I was looking for. And I’m pretty sure I just figured out how conscious creation works.
Not Completely Dark
Seemingly by happenstance (a random ad for a course on Jung’s “Nigrado”), I was inspired to revisit the idea of the shadow. And it couldn’t have had better timing. Because I’ve been feeling the need from deep down that it was time to take another step, whatever that meant.
What I realized is that within the shadow’s darkness there is a light. And that light is the creativity which inspires people to say, “I found *this or that* in the darkness.” Just like the rest of us, these people can’t see anything in darkness. And they really aren’t “guided through” the darkness by some distant beacon of light at “the end of the tunnel.” Whether they realize it or not, they are playing along the spectrum of darkness and light. So how do we do this? It’s actually quite simple. We change which end of the spectrum on which we’re focussing.
Mastery from the Shadow
I think we all seek success and ease. Equally we’d like to achieve success easily. But I think we only really think about it when lack of something, or even loss, is looming. So we impatiently obsess on thoughts and things, trying to control them. Which is exactly how we get more of what we don’t want. And believe me, no judgement here. I’m the number one offender. Codependent control freak, numéro uno right here! What we don’t realize is, when we do this, we’re in “the shadow.” The part of us that is reactionary, which (ironically) soothes our egos by stoking it. But Jung is right. If we approach the shadow differently, we will see the opportunity which awaits us there.
We will never not have a shadow. So let’s get rid of that notion all together. We never emerge fully into the light we hope exists. We simply have to learn to work within the shadow. That is in our control.
The shadow will always be reactionary, but how we react is up to us. Do we leave it as a base, toxic emotion? (The darkness.) Or do we dig a little deeper, imagine what the best response would feel like and then guide ourselves to focus on/do that instead? (The light.)
And that’s exactly what I did as I wrote my latest short story.
Finding Bukowski in My Shadow
Once I realized the potential in the shadow I began to see that the shadow is actually “the flow” many writers talk about. The space I had stumbled upon once, a long time ago. (And strangely enough, much of that came to pass in my outward reality. But that’s a story for another time.) It is the place where the essence of conscious creation lives.
The shadow is the place where I began to embody Bukowski’s words. I wanted to let the writing, not really the story, flow from me. But first I had to turn my focus away from the anger and hurt I have been experiencing (due to my ex), which stems from the ultimate loss of trust, and focus on what I wished could happen next.
And so I considered these emotions while within my shadow. What was the opposite feeling? What was the light in this situation…the inspiring potential outcome? And that’s when I effortlessly realized that I needed to make a simple switch from him as reality, to him as fiction. And then, before I even realized it, from my shadow spilled forth a story. A catharsis. My fingers tapped the keys lightly, almost effortlessly. My keystrokes reminded me of a pianist with full confidence in the music before him. And by the time I was done, I felt exceptional about what I had created. I felt as though I had rewritten reality, in a way.
And I did rewrite reality. Because I felt better, and that is the goal in life. I didn’t have to indulge the darkness of my shadow and feed my ego. Rather, I nurtured it from the same place, only on the opposite end of the spectrum.
Bukowski, Jung, and Conscious Creation
By combining these two philosophies, I learned something more. This is the place you speak to and speak from when you whisper thoughts to the ether. This is the place where you manifest your dreams and your nightmares.
Profundity in the Shadow
Bukowski was right, words should flow from writers. But there was something global to that poem. Everyone is a writer – a writer of their life. You see, everything already flows from us, we just aren’t paying attention until shit goes awry. Then we scramble and try to override negatives with positives, but it often proves impossible. Because we’re still focusing on the negative, ego-y parts of the shadow and trying to erase them. Instead of giving more consideration to their exact opposite. Because that’s how you achieve balance. A strong negative must be met with its counterpart, a strong positive. Not a forceful override. Because the opposites of what you’re focusing on are the Universe’s infinite possibilities.
Focus and Application
Yes, I’ve seemingly walked in darkness for a long time. I’ve gathered a lot of information, but have always struggled with its application. I have been wanting, but unsure how, to continually improve as a writer. So, good or bad, I’ve just kept doing it. I’ve always been decent at it, but the time I put into mastery went to my career in sales and marketing. I’m a quick learner, and since it wasn’t a soul-fulfilling career, I learned the foundation principles quickly and lost interest. So I turned back to what I’m interested in. But I had to first realize that what I want to achieve, while not hard, requires me to shift my focus and find the patience to explore along the spectrum of the shadow I’ve been avoiding.
It has been exactly one year since I’ve begun to focus on writing and it has been less than a month since I’ve decided to really take the challenge to switch my mind’s focus to the words “I’m living my best life.” It could be coincidence, but now that I am beginning to release control I can see how to apply my mind, goals, and aspirations to the shadow. It’s not about “walking through darkness toward a light,” it’s about understanding that light is already in the darkness of our very own shadow. It’s not getting through the darkness, it’s about sliding along the spectrum of darkness and light.
Art of Mastery
The intention for me is to ever improve as a writer. And while I still don’t know just how to achieve this, I know that I have found the space. And with this simple switch of perspective I’ve found while wallowing in my ever present shadow, my consciousness created my intention rather quickly by giving me a story. But it wasn’t just any story. It was a story which flowed from me. And perhaps it flowed because I decided to embrace the honesty of the flow, rather than attempting to judge it. Which explains why Bukowski says a writer shouldn’t have to reread a million times.
A bonus has been an understanding of that the art of mastery is simply forever being willing to learn minuscule details and apply them. In this case, realizing the answers are within the shadow is addicting and fun to explore. It is actually exciting to think of what will emerge from the shadows next.
The Shadow of Literotica
And so I give you the first of my writings from this new space. “Mr. Darcy’s Evolution” is available now on Amazon Kindle. (Here’s the affiliate link). I hope you can see the resolution I made with the current situation with my ex. It’s both an overall theme throughout, as well as a very pointed dagger. Oh…perhaps it’s a bit harsh. But hey, I’m finding growth through artistic license. Normally I’d tell him exactly what I think of him directly. Instead I let him inspire my work. #winner #cheeky But seriously, talk about finding the light along the shadows!
I’ll leave you with a thought from the very first reader. Someone who knows me a tad better than some, but not nearly as well as others, had this to say:
This was very good in your progression as a writer…a lot more input so as to keep the reader visualizing. You already do that well, but this was even more so. The actual “action” in all senses of the word was limited…but the scenes were described well and I was never put out or bored wishing the story was accelerated. While most of your short stories have a conclusion of sorts, this one obviously BEGS for more…to see what happens with Darcy’s mind, ego, yada yada. I also want to see how Eliza responds to his reaction. I felt bad for Darcy following this encounter. As a man reading this, I can’t help but feel suspect for him and his feelings, especially since I as the reader knows he respects Bray. The following storyline to this encounter while adding the sex will be a fun task for you should you undertake it…. keeping the love alive as well as Darcy’s strength as a man and husband.
I enjoyed reading this, and can totally relate to what you say about accepting the shadow along with the light. This was my realization in 2020, and it guides my actions in 2021. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.
Thank you so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed this. Any advice that may help me/us along??
I lost a lot of clients in 2020, because they went out of business. That’s why (really trying not to sound sales-pitchy here) I’m offering free VO services on select projects in 2021. Not exactly advice in the strictest sense, but it’s my way of bringing a little bit of light into the shadows.
I totally understand what you mean. It’s a really great example of what Jung was saying about finding creative impulses within the shadow. It’s all about perspective and what we focus on. I’ll definitely let you know if I come across anyone who needs your services!
Much appreciated! I’ve been a VO guy since 2010 (mostly adverts and promo voiceovers) but now I’m moving toward audiobooks, training videos, and other long-form narration projects. Something tells me 2021 will need more stories told, instead of the usual chorus of shouty voices competing for attention.