Double Take

'When you've seen beyond yourself, then you may find peace of mind is waiting there. And the time will come when you see we're all one, and life flows on within you and without you – George Harrison


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Talking About The Movie Click, And Gratitude by Rowena J Ronson

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Talking About The Movie Click, And Gratitude by Rowena J Ronson

Since discovering Shadow Work and stepping on to ‘the carpet’ to do a process last month during a wonderful workshop in the West Country, I have been much more aware of my shadow and have been welcoming its presence to create a healthier and more balanced emotional life. I remember joining a new therapy group a couple of years ago and when I first did some ‘work’ the group reflected that I seemed ‘very together’ despite a huge amount of stress in my life. And they questioned where my fear, anger and grief were being held, as they sat uncomfortably experiencing those emotions themselves, due to my lack of expression, as is common in group therapy work.

And now, visiting a darker place in myself, I am much more aware of those shadowy fears, resentments and dark broken pieces within.

So last night, in an unconscious attempt to bring these broken pieces into my awareness, I decided to revisit the 2006 Adam Sandler film Click. I had a clear space to watch the film on my own so I would not need to edit my response – so I could truly be present to experience whatever emotion it triggered for me.

The film is about a family man who is unable to prioritise time for his family due the pressures of work, ambition, earning money and a boss who clearly did not respect his boundaries. As a result he worked all hours and his wife and children experienced the rough and raw end of his irritation, anger and inability to commit to quality (or any) time with them. This had become their way of life and no one was happy as a result.

The Universe then offers him a vision of an alternative life where all his wishes could come true. He could skip the parts of his life that he doesn’t enjoy – to relieve impatience and monotony, ill health and arguments and instead selfishly do the things he thought he wanted to do instead. He manifests a remote control that can mute, skip, rewind and fast-forward his life whenever he choses. And as a result he isn’t ‘present’. The film describes this state as being on autopilot and I wondered how common this is in people’s lives today.

The modern day version sees families sharing a meal with each member wrapped up in their own little virtual world on their mobile telephones. People spend their lives looking forward to their next holiday, when they will earn enough to really start living, when they will find the perfect relationship so they will feel complete, when their kids will grow up and be less demanding. When, when, when. And all the while they will resist living in the present and truly appreciate what is real and available in their lives to be grateful for NOW.

So the film, as planned and predicted, did make me cry A LOT, and some unexpressed grief was released. It reminded me of the speed of time and how we are here for such a brief spell. Everyone and everything is always changing as we live in a dynamic ‘energetic’ world, which is good in some ways but really painful in others. Our parents are destined to not be with us forever and so with their inevitable parting, our times with them become more and more precious and significant. This button got readily pressed for me in the film as Sandler’s character’s father passed away while he was busy fast-forwarding his life. It brought home to us both, how no one wants to be left with unresolved issues with their parents that forever lie in the realm of regret. And how easy it is for us to take our relationships so much for granted, as if those around us will be here indefinitely and therefore each interaction holds less importance than it ‘should’.

Our children’s early years come with immense challenge and they can feel overwhelming, relentless and unrewarding especially when the going gets tough. These years, and the mirror our children hold up for us, offer huge opportunities for personal growth. And again, how easy is it for parents and children not to be actually present and in relationship with their family, themselves and their surroundings.

Our time here is precious. Every day is a blessing from the Universe. Gratitude for all we do have makes our life so much more rewarding. And being truly present creates unbeatable life learning and rewarding experiences. Be very careful what you wish for……. Click click.


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Talking About Our Shadow by Rowena J Ronson and Nigel Summerley

Talking About Our Shadow by Rowena J Ronson and Nigel Summerley

Behind You by Rowena J RonsonBehind You by Rowena J Ronson

NS: “Immigration” has become an issue in the UK with the rise of the UK Independence Party, and with an apparent contest between the political parties to be the toughest on immigration. But what does this mean? And this anxiety, fear and sometimes hysteria about immigration is nothing new, is it? In some form or other it seems that “immigration” is an issue in most parts of the world. What is this really about?

RJR: I would say it is about our ‘shadow’. All our emotions, our lost parts of ourselves that we are repressing, we project on to ‘immigrants’ who we see are the predators who are out to get us and threaten our security.

NS: Do we do this only to immigrants? Do we not do this to a degree to other people generally? Or is it somehow easier – and more “acceptable” – to do it in relation to immigrants, since it can be dressed up in some sort of rationale about taking away employment opportunities and/or being a drain on public services?

RJR: I agree with all you have said. I believe we do this generally but when it comes to immigrants, people can feel it is justified because ‘they’ are taking from ‘us’.

NS: But what is the barrier to our seeing everyone as human beings like ourselves. Do we have an innate fear of anyone who is not ‘us’? Do we think these ‘others’ are evil in some way? I think what I’m getting at is: is this perhaps the most fundamental human problem – our inability to accept others, and work together for the common good?

RJR: I do think we have an innate fear of anyone who is not ourselves. I think that without that fear response built into our brains, we would not have been able to survive and thrive as we have in this world. We are all capable of all behaviours and emotions but I think it is easier to identify evil in others than own it ourselves. I think it is not just a problem that we don’t accept others – I think we don’t accept ourselves.

NS: So the immigrants really are a scapegoat – for ourselves? We identify in them the things that we hate about ourselves – but can’t bring ourselves to acknowledge that those things are within us? My feeling is that you are right about this. So is the solution (if there is one) to accept our shortcomings – and our ability to behave badly?

RJR: I think the solution is to accept that we are all capable of all emotions and behaviours, on a 360 degrees spectrum. And the more we accept ourselves and acknowledge all parts of ourselves and in particular the many feelings we put into our shadow, the more likely we will be able to own those feelings. And in turn we will all individually take more responsibility and blame others less, and feel the universal connectedness that is within and without us. The more self aware and spiritual we become, the more able we are to see another as one of our own.

NS: I don’t want to get sidetracked into a discussion of religion. But it is interesting that some of the most intense intolerance is religion-based, eg Christian antipathy to Muslims – and Muslim antipathy to Christians. What you have said seems to be wise and full of sense. So is “immigration” an issue in the UK and in many, many other countries because those countries (and their peoples) are so lacking in self-awareness and spirituality? And if that is the case, what hope or way forward is there?

RJR: I wish I could answer that question!! I also wonder if it is just about religion. The comments I hear from people are usually on what we highlighted at the start of this dialogue…. that immigrants will take from us. I think it boils down to fear and I think people are quite attached to that emotion…. what do you think?

NS: I think fear pervades our thinking far more than we are willing to acknowledge. And some of that fear – as you have suggested – is fear of our own shadow selves, which we project onto others. So perhaps our fear and antipathy towards the ‘immigrant’ is not fear of ‘the other’ but fear of our real selves.