The Shadow's Sacred Gift: Enhancing Aliveness
To live a transformative life and avoid the enantiodromia pendulum, one must find that place of tension right at the "zero-point" in the exact middle between opposites--and learn to live there, not needing to identify with either extreme, but in acceptance of both sides at once. For example, when you hear yourself beginning to sound as if you're taking an all-or-none stance, stop for a moment and listen to yourself. Then bring in a little balance: Well, though I feel I am totally right about this, perhaps the other side does have a point. At least I can be patient and listen. Then, relax a little and stop taking yourself so seriously. Otherwise, Life may start living you, and remove all that control you think you have!
Anytime you find yourself caught up in a negative condition, stop and ask yourself: What would be this disastrous quality's positive counterpart? What would I need to counteract this tendency in me? And let an image come of the "helper" you require. This will constellate the archetype that is hiding in your unconscious mind, trapped by your own denial and lack of recognition of its power.
For example, let's say you are furious because your boss said something that made you feel inept and unappreciated. Your day has turned into a funk and you are sullen, have no appetite and find that at every opportunity you are saying something sarcastic about your boss. Well, your boss has gone merrily on the way, so obviously, this is your problem! You're the one left stewing. So take some time now to remove yourself from your activities, sit down somewhere quiet, and go within.
Who is this sullen person you've become? Get an image. Once you see him, her, or it, take some time to commune with it. See what it needs; let it tell you. (This is done simply through a silent inner dialogue that takes very little time.) Now ask it to bring forth its mate in the inner life. And take some time to observe through your inner eye who comes upon the scene. If it was a pouty little child who had hurt feelings, for instance, perhaps its divine Partner is the Divine Child. Let your own imagination give these symbols to you. Once you get the positive, denied side of the polarity, invoke its qualities by allowing yourself to name them inwardly, and then take them on. This means that you return to your regular activities and begin acting as if you are this positive One.
Sometimes instead of ending with the positive side of the pole, there will be a spontaneous transformation right there within your psyche; the little hurt child and its Partner will become One Self. Either way will bring you some relief, and perhaps also a great new self-understanding.
Abraham Maslow called this "dichotomy transcending." We kind the balance between work/play, selfish/unselfish, childlike/mature, and so on. And we see that we are both/and. In this way, we learn to "pull into shape" something new and higher that is on the periphery of emergence, while holding steady what we may still be in the midst of clearing.
My inner Self has had to teach me a great deal about extremes. For I can become a World Class Hysteric when I am acting out my shadow self! Southern women from my heritage taught me well. And this has caused me so much grief, I finally begged God to help me understand my passionate nature. My Beloved comforts me with this:
When polar opposites split to either side, they become visible and distinct. They do this so you can see your dilemma more clearly and deal with it directly.