unassailable serenity

January 31, 2019

…to make one’s center of life inside of one’s self, not selfishly or excludingly, but with a kind of unassailable serenity – to decorate one’s inner house so richly that one is content there, glad to welcome anyone who wants to come and stay, but happy all the same when one is inevitably alone.

Edith Wharton
Letter to Mary Berenson
Reproduced in Edith Wharton: A Biography by R. W. B. Lewis


Shadow work is hard. Essentially it’s the art of ‘letting go’, of stripping away our ‘assumed identities’ and rededicating ourselves to the positive we find within our being.

To begin we take a “spiritual paring knife” to our ego and peel away the defensive layers, the half-truths, the fictions we’ve created to ease our way on life’s path; it’s all got to be cut back to the central core of self.

In doing this we learn to embrace the light and the dark. The path of shadow has no set learning style. But it may help you to talk aloud, talk to pets, to friends if they’re close and you feel able to discuss emotions with them. Talk about yourself, the YOU in you. Who are you? What problems do you have? Why are they important? Talk to tress, to birds to the bathroom mirror. It doesn’t matter. This talking out loud will be like impromptu therapy sessions. You’ll talk and blather, let every little thing come out, don’t hold back, and don’t stop the flow. Get rid of all the crap inside.

Drill down to the essentials of who you really are. Ask yourself why you feel and act in a particular way. Accept the good in you along with the bad; the light with the dark. But, most essential of all, be honest with yourself. Only by entering the darkness within yourself – tasting it, savouring and accepting it, ultimately becoming it – will you be able to conquer it. Only then can your “divided self” become a unified whole.

But be warned. That unification is not permanent. Shadow work is an ongoing process. It’s a life-style and a life-time choice. Periodically you must repeat the process, expose your inner reality and become totally aware of who you are. It is far from easy to accomplish, but the effort is well worth while making. The power in wholeness, a very specific oneness, is beyond anything you’ll ever have experienced before. Here there exists great peace – with yourself and with the world around you!