I find it somewhat surprising that a Google search shows that this title has never been written about. I suspect there are good reasons for that, but whatever they might be, I’m willing to put on my Hubris Hat and take up the challenge! (From the perspective of my honorary, Inner Mother persona, of course). If there’s one thing the six week teleseminar I recently-completed with Jeanne Denney – Embracing Mother’s Dark Heart – has taught me, it’s that I don’t know jack about what it really means to be a mother. But I am a man afterall, so I refuse to let a little detail like that stop me.

So, with that clarification out of the way, let’s start with Habit One. . .

Embrace Your Shadow

Most people know what the Shadow is, but just so we’re on the same page, let me tell you what I mean by it: I mean what Kay Plumb means by it –

the parts of a human being that a person doesn’t want to, or can’t, think about or acknowledge. It refers to the repressed, unlived side of your normal daytime personality—the stuff you don’t like about yourself, the stuff you don’t want anyone to know about you.

Thus your shadow contains negative qualities, such as envy or prejudice or insecurity. Or it could even contain positive qualities, such as compassion or artistic ability. But the qualities, whatever they are, stay in your shadow because you don’t like to—in fact most of the time you simply can’t—admit you possess them. Some parts of ourselves we like to show to others—put out into the light—and some parts of ourselves we like to hide—keep in the shadows….Your shadow can’t be smelled or tasted or touched or felt, yet it is actually hooked to you, attached to the creases and crevices and neurons of your daylight mind. And while other people can see your shadow without too much trouble, you usually have to turn your head around to see it.

Ignoring the Yucky Parts

What happens if I simply decide to ignore my shadow? Turns out I can’t, and Kay has some good insights about that as well (I should have asked Kay to guest-write this blog! I can at least suggest you buy her award-winning book: Using Beauty and her Beast to Introduce the Human Shadow).

They get projected out onto other people. You can’t avoid running into parts of your own psyche. Since the things in your shadow are a part of your own psychological make-up they have to, they will, show up somewhere in your own life. In other words, if you just can’t stand to face some of your own stuff, you will end up seeing your own stuff on someone else’s face. The word projection is very apt. We’re all familiar with movie projectors. We all know how those work and what those look like. With unacknowledged shadow material you’re the projector. You’re that little machine in the back creating the image. The image is coming from you. But the only place where you can see the image is on the screen in front of you. You can only see it in another person, or group of people. Causes a lot of heartache in the world.

2.  Assume the Stress Position

3.  Protect the family from your resentment

4.  Support neuro-enriching practices

5.  Honor Your Intuition – and Your Authority

6. You’re the mother. “Because I said so” is reason enough. Flexibly authoritative Neurons to Neighborhoods

7.  Recognize You’re ALWAYS Doing Your Best

8. Develop Personal Practices that Support Expanding Skillfulness

One of my favorite quotes is from the zen master Shunryu Suzuki who said all of us are perfect just as we are and we could all use a little improvement. Especially mothers (and if you press me, okay, fathers as well).

Compassionate Heart and Other Dangerous Pursuits