As many of you know, I have three daughters aged 26, 25, and 23. Often we go on long walks or hikes. I love our power walks not only because it gives me a chance to multi-task, tan, and tone but it also gives me an opportunity to have meaningful conversations with my daughters that we don't necessarily have by phone or text, when riding in the car, or relaxing on the couch watching Lifetime movies.
When my youngest and I did an eight-mile walk through the streets of Los Angeles talking about her older sister's relationship and how some of their friends are getting engaged and married, she asked me, "What would you say if her boyfriend came to you and asked you for her hand in marriage?" Luckily, I adore my daughter's boyfriend, and even if it is just for now I consider him as "part of the family." So if I were asked to give my "blessing," I would only have one requirement - I would want him to attend The Shadow Process Workshop.
For many couples, a precursor to marriage or commitment might include discussions about finances, religion, children, or the kind of lifestyle they want to live. All of these topics are important and can often turn into tough discussions and heated issues. And while you can give a couple advice and they can solve a particular problem, like the famous proverb says, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for lifetime." In the same way, if you teach them transformational tools, you give them structure and support to navigate and grow for a lifetime. And that is exactly what The Shadow Process does. It educates people about concepts and techniques that will radically alter their relationship with themselves and others, especially those that are closest to them.
I saw this clearly when I spent time in Malibu with one of my closest friends and her "beloved." Fifteen years ago when she first introduced her new beau to all of us, her closest friends, across the board the consensus was "This will never last." Fifteen years later, the new overwhelming consensus is "We want what they have!" In explaining how their relationship keeps getting better and better and how they keep getting happier and happier, my friends credit this work and the tools that it taught them. (They both have done The Shadow Process and many of our other programs.)
Learning about concepts like projection helped them get through the sticky parts of their relationship. Projection is the act of 'projecting' a quality of our own on to another. Any time we are triggered, blaming, or judging others as being wrong or the cause of our unhappiness, we are likely in projection. Simply put, what we see and can't be with in others is what we can't be with in ourselves.
Our relationships, especially those closest to us serve as our closest mirrors. They are there to teach us and show us the parts of ourselves that we have disowned or tried to hide and suppress. Ultimately we all want to be whole and fully expressed. We want to make peace with and have access to all of the parts of ourselves. We do this by unconcealing the parts of ourselves that we deny and find the gifts that these disowned qualities have for us so we can embrace and integrate them into our being.
Every time my friends were triggered by each other and had one finger pointed at the other person, they looked at the three fingers pointed back at themselves. They used the tool of projection to recognize, rediscover, and reclaim the disowned parts of themselves. They used this tool as a way to no longer be a slave to their emotional reactions. They used this tool to minimize the blow-ups and separation and become more emotionally responsible. As a result of learning about projection, they came to understand that when the other person does something to upset them, it's not because the other person is bad or trying to make their life miserable. It's actually quite the opposite. The other person is there to deliver a gift. The other person is there to show them a part of themselves that they don't have access to. The other person is there to show them the next place in their life where they need to take radical responsibility. The other person and the relationship is there to serve as a guide for their next level of greatness.
Some people define enlightenment as being able to look at anyone, anything, or any trait and know that "I am that!" Ultimately, this tool of projection opens you up to seeing that everything you see in the outer world is within you. It supports you in becoming your fullest expression of yourself and embracing all of you are. As you fall more in love with more parts of yourself, not only does your love for yourself expand but also your ability to love others.
When it comes to my daughters, as much as I love having them with me, I have always known that is my job to give them the wings to help them fly away from the nest. As they get older I feel blessed that there is a process that can give them and their "beloveds" the foundation and tools to have more authentic, connected, and intimate relationships. For anyone interested in conscious coupling and growing inside of a relationship, this is the most priceless and incredible gift they could receive!
Transformational Action Steps
Work with this tool of projection.
(1) If you are in a relationship, think about the behaviors you see in your partner that you judge as wrong or trigger you. If you are not in an intimate relationship, then identify a person that upsets or frustrates you and think about the behaviors or actions of that person that trigger you.
(2) Ask yourself, "What is the quality or characteristic of a person who would display this kind of behavior?"
(3) Identify how you display that quality even if it is in a completely different way. If you can't see how you display that quality now, allow yourself to see how you have displayed it in the past or how you could or might display it in the future under different circumstances.
(4) Allow yourself to identify how that quality has or could serve, benefit, or protect you.
(5) Once you realize that you are capable of displaying the quality that you see in the person you've been judging, notice if your heart softens and if the judgmental voice in your mind quiets as you wake up from the trance of projection.
(6) Give the gift of The Shadow Process to yourself and a loved one! Join us September 16th to September 18th in Miami!