A Little Shadow Talk: “Trailing Clouds of Glory”

In A Little Book On The Human Shadow (1988), Robert Bly opens with a few images capturing our energetic beginnings. The shadow, from a Jungian perspective, may be simply all that is unconscious in us. Bly references Alice Miller’s work The Drama of the Gifted Child. (See “the truth about our childhood is stored in our bodies…

“Let’s talk about the personal shadow first. When we were one or two years old we had what we might visualize as a 360° personality. Energy radiated out from all parts of our body and all parts of our psyche. A child running is a living globe of energy. We had a ball of energy, alright; but one day we noticed that our parents didn’t like certain parts of that ball. They said things like: ‘Can’t you be still?’ Or ‘It isn’t nice to try and kill your brother.’ Behind us we have an invisible bag, and the part of us our parents don’t like, we, to keep her parents’ love, put in the bag. By the time we go to school our bag is quite large. Then our teachers have their say: ‘Good children don’t get angry over such little things.’ By the time my brother and I were twelve in Madison, Minnesota we were known as ‘the nice Bly boys.’ Our bags were already a mile long.”

“The drama is this. We came as infants ‘trailing clouds of glory,’ arriving from the farthest reaches of the universe, bringing with us appetites well preserved from our mammal inheritance, spontaneities wonderfully preserved from our 150,000 years of tree life, angers well preserved from our 5,000 years of tribal life – in short, with our 360° radiance – and we offered this gift to our parents. They didn’t want it. They wanted a nice girl or a nice boy. That’s the first act of the drama. It doesn’t mean our parents were wicked: they needed us for something. My mother, as a second-generation immigrant, needed my brother and me to help the family look more classy. We do the same thing to our children; it’s a part of life on this planet. Our parents rejected who we were before we could talk, so the pain of the rejection is probably stored in some pre–verbal place.”

Comment: Rediscovering and saying YES to our “living globes of energy” experience can be one of the best parts of the recovery journey. Can we dedicate ourselves to celebrate the emergence of these energies today, with each other?

Explore posts in the same categories: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: