One of the distinct features of depth psychology, as compared to more behavioral approaches to therapy, is the time we (therapist and client) spend in the dark corners of the psyche. By that I mean looking at our shadows and undesirable characteristics within, so that we bring them to consciousness. Carl Jung referred to the shadow as that within all, which is unconscious, repressed, undeveloped and denied. He stated:  “When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside as fate”.

Although a valuable concept to remember, I often forget how much of life is a projection of my own unresolved issues. It is usually in a moment of surrender, when I give up using anger and blaming situations, or people, that the awareness comes to me: what we resist, persists. It is in that aha moment that I smile and realize a deeper look is needed into my shortcomings and residual nonsense from the past.

Today is the first day of spring, nature’s season of renewal and rebirth. It’s also a day of celebration for the Persian culture, representing ‘Norooz’, which means a ‘new day’. As I reflect on the symbolic significance of this day in my personal life, I think of the symbol of Phoenix, a mythical bird, which burns itself to ashes every few hundred years, only to be reborn and alive again. Representing fire and divinity, Phoenix is said to regenerate when wounded, thus being almost invincible.

Although we are humans and mortal beings, there represents an inner resiliency within our nature to start anew. In my clinical work, I see this quality in children as well as older adults. In my own life, I have experienced many fresh starts, both professionally and personally. I continue to be amazed at the potential of humanity for renewal and peace. As we are amidst challenging times collectively, let’s remember to shed light on our shadows, so that we may find the capacity for rebirth. On this significant day, let’s redefine spring cleaning, grab a flashlight and look at the dusty corners of our souls.

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6 Responses to “Spring Cleaning”

  1. Rita says:

    and, how do you go about this, honey? I'd love to hear what your insights are about this? Love you, Rita
    and . . . Thanks for opening the subject for discussion.

  2. rashin says:

    For me, finding ways to get in touch with the parts of myself that I tend to push away; the annoying characteristics that I tend to project on to other people…that's usually where the juice is! I do this through making time daily to sit in quiet and just listen to my inner voice, paying attention to my dreams, journaling, and most importantly, when I feel like "not dealing with something" in my life, to allow the feelings to come through. It is in the painful moments when the little voice inside of my being speaks up and asks to be heard. Other ways of accessing the shadow is through art and musical expressions and dream work. The key is to find what works for each one of us. Thanks so much for reading and asking about this important subject.

  3. Great post . I am going to continue my quest to conquer letting go of past mistakes (not huge mistakes but things that I know I could have done differently). I have a tendency to dwell on things which I can not change and this is obviously hindering me from moving on so I will use this time to further my progress in doing so.

  4. rashin says:

    One thing I remind myself of, when I often get into the "regret" mode, is that I did the best I could at the time. It may sound simplified, but it's true. The choices we make at the time sound like a good idea at the time. Usually as we grow and learn, we know better later.

  5. […] to sleep through wintertime while waiting for summer.  If, as Jung and Freud suggested (and Rashin blogged about last week), the unconscious houses all those things we would rather not be aware of, then […]

  6. […] to sleep through wintertime while waiting for summer.  If, as Jung and Freud suggested (and Rashin blogged about last week), the unconscious houses all those things we would rather not be aware of, then […]

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