We are all on a heroic journey and every journey has its origin. This is mine. In this post I explore a significant childhood event through the concepts of shadows and persona.

When I was a little boy, my mother committed suicide. Her choice to leave and all that I will never feel from or share with her has become, in a psychological sense, my “shadow”.

We all have a shadow but what is a shadow? Famed psychologist, Carl Jung, used this term to describe a part of our psyche hidden from view. The shadow is that part of us hidden from light. It is our dark side, but this isn’t the same as saying it is our evil side. Still, we fear it and press it into our personal unconscious.

There is the potential to develop a phobia around the cause(s) of our shadow. This leads us to avoid, suppress, fear, and run from our darkness. On the other side of the scale, we may face our shadow in a way that is counter-phobic. Instead of fear and/or avoidance, we confront the darkness of our deepest fear over and over and over. Phobia and counter-phobia are both extremes. We need to look to the scales of Libra and seek balance.

Riding along with our shadow, we have our persona. Our persona is what others see when they look at us. It is our light and the collection of masks we wear when interacting in the outer world. A person can be shadow dominated or persona dominated. It is through the journey of personal discovery and the merging of our shadow and persona that we progress towards wholeness of being. If we succeed in this journey, we approach the archetype of our greatest individual potential—Self.

My mother, regardless of reasons or her intent, dropped the emotional equivalent of a nuclear bomb on me. My journey took on a different color and I felt cast into what I think of as the Battle of Evermore. You may recognize this a song by Led Zeppelin. The power, emotion, and metaphors of this song take me to that space. The gut-wrenching plea at the end to bring the balance back is something that resonates deeply with me.

Long before I became aware of the constructs of persona and shadow, I was drawn to the contrast of light and darkness and the magical interplay of colors in the transition…in the afterglow. I have often looked at the scales of Libra with much more than a passing glance. Thinking about psychology using modern-day mythology or culture, the origin story of Batman and his journey has lingered as more than a childhood fascination.

I have two letters from my mother. One is a birthday card. I didn’t know this card existed until it fell out of my grandmother’s bible while I was unpacking during my last move. I must have read it a hundred times in a row. It literally brought me to my knees. The other letter is her suicide note. I’ve read it once. I wish I had been more organized as a child and saved her memories. I save all love letters and cards now. An example of this behavior are the love letters floating through my video, Strawberry Letter 23.
Children are resilient and life is really, really good. I smile a lot and it comes from a genuine space. I am happy. I have fun and wake up excited (after coffee anyway) about the day ahead. I am as motivated as ever before and my dreams are greater than my memories. Still, I am a thinker…I want to know more.
I have more questions than answers and seek to understand it all on a deeper level. Why have I done certain things? What have I been searching for? Have I balanced Libra’s scale? Will there ever be enough “wine, women, and song” in this world to fill the void she left behind? Did I want to fuck every woman in the world (a state of mind I explore in the video Hammer of the Gods). Was my “love” some form of vengence or did I genuinely want to make love to every woman? Have I wanted every woman to know that there is always light…to ensure that no woman hurts the way she did? Or, do I want to dance in their darkness without fear? Does love always die?
I think about the tragedy in Batman’s origin story and his motivation. I see Batman and superheroes as modern-day archetypes. Is there a lesson in behavioral psychology to be learned in exploring this potential analogy?
Batman - Shadows
Each Halloween I dress as Batman, and it is much more than a whimsical choice. As for the utility belt, I am sure to be packing. If you’re going to work at night, you need the proper tool(s)…

The exploration of concepts in this post are advanced in an upcoming post called Dawn of Understanding.

 

52 thoughts on “Origin – Shadow

  1. Yes, you are right we all have shadows and it takes someone who is capable of opening that door to see the shadow that prevents us from truly being complete with someone else. I believe with Alan that moment happened for us and he was able to see beyond my persona. He is the reason I faced those fears and will always be grateful. I can not wait to read more about this subject.

    1. Yes, these are doors we are afraid to open sometimes. I was hesitant to share this post and thought about deleting it several times after I posted it. In the end, I felt like it was part of the fabric of our story and our journey. Have you written about this experience with Alan? You may not have wanted to share it but, if you did, please leave a link…would love to read it. Now you have two requests for stories. 🙂

      1. Sometimes we need to write/walk in the shadow before we can really walk our journey. Thats what I believe now. Its the only way to conquer your fears and it’s also where you find your true self. I think I wrote a little about it and how he has helped me realize my fears but not much. However, I will also write about. I think after I see him tomorrow I will.

  2. I shed tears as I read deeper into this. Michael, I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m afraid of my dark side. I’ve been able to keep my shadow at bay for the last few months, but always worried it would find a way to escape and come for me.
    This post was so beautifully written. I can feel your passion, despair, and sadness. I know I’m too late to the party to comment, but I had to let you know. We can be each others light, my friend. And you can always be my Batman. ❤️

    1. Thank you, Beautiful ❤ This was a tough one to write and share but it is a key part of my story and journey for deeper understanding. I hope to learn about your shadow as well. Thanks for commenting on this one and sharing your thoughts. You are shinning light right now ❤ Mmmm, I can’t wait for you to remove my utility belt…you are radiating sexy Catwoman vibes! :-*

  3. This makes sense at first reading though I’m sure I’ll still ponder on it for awhile. I’m a Libra. While I don’t put much stock in astrology I’ve always felt particularly in tune with the libra. I am forever looking for a balance in the scales. Also Batman has always been my favorite superhero. I like that his lightness was born out of a darkness and that both are forever a part of him. And, unlike the popular vote, Michael Keaton will ALWAYS be Batman to me. Always.

    1. like the “lightness born out of darkness” thought. I knew you would have a pearl to share. 🙂 I’m with you on Astrology but it is fun to toss around…especially when we fulfill our sign. So, you are a Libra? I’m sure this one of many reasons I’m drawn to your blog. 😉

      1. I enjoy your posts. They give my brain a good work out. Yes, for as much as I think astrology is bologna I do embody all the Libran aspects.

        Drawn because of the balance? Or because of your sign? 😉

        1. Haha, great catch! I thought I was being stealthy. The answer would be yes…to both! 🙂

  4. Well now you obviously have to share your sign…

    1. Oh that’s right, ha! I used to have a lion in honor of Leo before going to my more “modest” gravatar…

  5. Modest! Ha! What would fire be without air???

  6. Michael, My heart goes out to yours, I can only try to understand your process.

    It’s a tribute to you that you have become the man you are, having made the decision at some point to travel through life with a greater sense of happiness, something you had to learn on your own.

    It also sounds like you were young enough that you still viewed your mother very much as a Goddess, and may be part of why you so easily see the beauty/Goddess aspect in each woman you meet. (I believe it was in the post about Paris that you mentioned you find all women beautiful.) It’s amazing to me that you have chosen to focus on seeing the beauty in women, where you could so easily choose to focus on hating women for having been abandoned by your mother.

    I too, have tried to understand the psychology behind suicide. It is the antithesis of survival, a concept that is so hardwired into our genetics even down to a cellular level. It is my understanding of severe depression that sufferers are convinced that their lives are so worthless that the lives of family and friends would actually be better without them. The fog is so thick that they lack any empathy, thus they are unable to see for a second how their absence will in any way negatively impact others.

    I saw this first-hand with a friend, who luckily survived the attempt. I spent the day with her in ICU, while my mom watched her daughter who was 6 at the time. My friend could not see through her daughter’s eyes and was convinced life would be better for her family without her. I’m grateful that she survived and that I was able to be of service to her and her family at that time. Her husband was a wreck, understandably.

    While my mother survived, she also attempted to take her life at least twice since my birth. Once when I was a little girl; the events of which I have blocked from conscious memory. The second attempt was when I was an adult. I was the one to call 911… It was not until the second attempt that she was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. This is often a missed diagnosis. My mother had been in counseling for many years, but was only treated for depression. My grandmother had the same disorder; her final attempt was successful. Given the family history, and my love for the extremes, I had to be convinced by several mental health professionals that I did not have this disorder…

    Michael, I can see how Batman is a strong archetype for you. It’s inspiring that you have discovered so much about yourself through this process and are willing to share it with others. I hope my sharing of experiences gives you some new insights.

    Much love to you, Tiffany

    1. Thank you Tiffany 🙂 As you can imagine, I am very sorry to hear about your mother and what you experienced. I know one thing with certainty…I will never understand why. Your comment about Goddess resonates. I did create a category by that name…perhaps there is an insight to be marshaled. Thanks so much for your kind words…I will come back to them over time as the exploration continues. 🙂

  7. I have turned this post over in my head several times as it fits completely parallel with some thinking I have done over the weekend regarding the plot, or moral, of a certain movie I just watched. I intend to expand on this in my own blog post and sincerely hope you take no issues with me doing so. Please let me know if you do. I will attempt to do your post justice. 🙂

    1. I’m always flattered when one post leads to another, and I can’t wait to read your post 🙂

  8. Michael, ❤️ X ❤️=. infinity 🌟✨❤️

  9. Did you update the header image on this post? I haven’t noticed it before but I like it!

    1. I did 🙂 The other one was a little too brooding to see every time I went to my home page, ha! I think the new really ties in well with the post…plus, it is hot!

  10. Thank you for following me and I love how creative you are and the wonderful posts. I’ll be back to read more of it!!

    1. Thank you, Kally 🙂 You are so thoughtful and I appreciate you visiting and taking a moment to comment. I look forward to exploring your blog as well…it is very motivational and well done. 🙂

  11. Michael, you and I have spoken about your mother’s departure from this life before and I just want to reiterate that you will always have my support, hugs, love, comfort and deepest sympathies.

    I’m going to be bold and answer your questions you’ve asked yourself here.

    “Will there ever be enough “wine, women, and song” in this world to fill the void she left behind?” I think the answer is No. No one could ever fill that void and guess what? That’s okay. No one should, no one should want to and you shouldn’t want anyone to either. Maybe, try to think of it less as a void where she’s not there but more so as a vast open space where there is room for her and all your loves you let into that space.

    “Did I want to fuck every woman in the world or did I want to make love to every woman?” Why not both? What would be so wrong with that. 🙂

    “Have I wanted every woman to know that there is always light…to ensure that no woman hurts the way she did? Or, do I want to dance in their darkness without fear?” Hmmmm, Yes and Yes would be my guess. I think deep down you know the answers

    Does love always die? I think it depends on the person. If you want it to, than yes it can and will. If you believe and accept that there is enough love to go around then it will always live on.

    Of course I’m an optimist and would rather believe in the possibilities of life and love than not. 🙂

    1. Sweet, beautiful Kristi :-* Thank you for such a thoughtful reply on this and the last version too. Your thoughts are something that I will revisit when I try to make sense of my thoughts and draw conclusions. You did open my mind to the possibilities of “Yes and Yes” I just wonder if my relationship with women is on overdrive…like an obsession almost. You are so very encouraging and supportive…and I do appreciate you taking the time to think through this with me. I will definitely return to your comments again and, for now, they have given me some peace. Maybe I’m just a hot blooded man with a high sex drive and it is okay that I want you in my bed! 😉

      1. you are most welcome Michael. you know maybe you are going through a period where your relationships with women is in overdrive. is that bad? i don’t think it’s necessarily out of the ordinary to want to be with women and lots of them. and when you are you… with your sexy little happy trail, model bum and not so itty bitty cock it sure as hell doesn’t hurt in attracting them. hehe

        1. Mmmm, you are tapping into the mind play kink that I haven’t introduced on this blog…yet. Definitely created a major rush here, whew! 🙂

  12. Hehe!!! Thought you might like that. 😘

  13. I am sorry about your mom but I can see where you would feel pulled to Batman…sort of the same way I am pulled to Catwoman…it is a means of releasing the darkness that is housed deep within.

    1. Thank you, Selina. I like your Catwoman analogy…tapping into and releasing the darkness. I thought you would totally get this and you did. 🙂 Love this comment!

  14. A loved one’s suicide is a pain one carries forever. I can relate because it happened to me. Wishing you the best on your journey…

    1. Hi Mary, thank you for stopping by and taking a moment to comment. I appreciate your well-wishes and wish the same for you. These life events can cast quite a shadow…

      1. Mary Cathleen Clark

        Yes indeed, they can. I’ll be back to read more…looks like you have an interesting blog. 🙂

  15. Mystic Misfit

    I am also a Libra, does that surprise you? The balancing of light and dark can be very Zen, indeed. It all exists as What Is.
    Being a passionate man is beautiful, and I admire how you have held on to passion and love.

    1. Thank you, mysterious (not-so-misfit) mystic 🙂 It doesn’t surprise me that you are a Libra. Btw, I promise my downward gaze was at your scales…well, at least some of the time, ha! 😉 Seriously though, thanks for giving this one a read and your kind words…you have a giving spirit. ❤

  16. The next batch of comments come from when I first shared this post on a blog I shared with Sienna. There is a little different vibe this blog was ours as a couple.

  17. Michael, you do dabble in Psychology. 🙂 I’m sorry that you had to experience what you did at age 14. I certainly agree that we all have a dark side. I realize that I do, but it no longer scares me to peek at it or to take it in. Actually, it is who I really am. My persona is certainly not the real me. I am for the people in my life who they expect me to be…

    1. Thank you, Oceans 🙂 Yes…a little hobby I suppose. It is partly driven by self discovery but I do try to give back in a way that we can all think about and, perhaps, take away a message or two that helps.

      You may not want to answer this here but you seem to have gone down this path of discovery and connected the dots. You seem to know what caused your Shadow and that you are Shadow dominant. Do you see yourself as on a journey to unify your Shadow and Persona?

  18. Oh, Michael … you know you have my complete attention. I write so much of the Shadows and work so hard on my Persona — it fascinates me when someone meets the subjects head-on. Can’t wait for more …

    1. Dana, thank you! 🙂 I have watched and read with great interest and fascination in the way you explore your darkness…always hopeful that you will one day be able to unite it with your light. This is the journey before us all and the torch we all must hold. You may recall our little exchange a while back about Kashmir and the journey…the sprinkles of influence scattered on our blog. This reconciliation of Shadow and Persona is one milestone in that journey for me at least.

  19. Yes we all have our own shadows. Some more sever than others. The trick, I guess, is to keep on looking for the light and try not to let it overwhelm us. Great post.

    1. Thank you, Christina. I like this “looking for the light” imagery, a lot! A little light can go a long way in the dark…

  20. Michael, you live, feel and see on a deeper level than most. You have a way of giving of yourself that is a remarkable gift. My husband and I have been the recipients of your generosity in your words of sharing and caring in a post of his regarding his Mother. While I do not know the pain that comes from such a life changing event, I can say I am familiar with the pain of someone who suffers so greatly they feel it would be better to leave us before their time.

    I hope what I’m about to say isn’t taken the wrong way because my intention is not to hurt or disrespect. But I can’t help but wonder if you would have the insight and beautiful soul you posses if you’d not lived through something so tragic. Some people, when faced with a life changing even like you were are able to harness the feelings and emotions and seek understanding of them on a greater scale, while others tend to self destruct and let the event rule their life in only negative ways.

    You Michael, are a beautiful soul who has seen and experienced things no child should ever have too and instead of letting it control the Man you’ve become you let it guide you to the Man you were meant to be.

    Many hugs and kisses and thanks for letting me be witness to an amazing journey.

    xoxo

    1. Tis, it took me a few days before I could come back to this. I haven’t read the post since I published it and though I didn’t go into much detail, I can only visit this in small doses. I’m actually looking forward to covering it over with some lighter ones 🙂 I remember B’s posts very clearly and the bravery and courage he exhibited as he persevered. You also went through a painful journey as well being so close…intimately intertwined and affected during that challenging period. You have faced such adversity together–more than most couples will ever face…certainly more than most will face and survive! Yet, here you both are…more in love than ever, love it!!! 🙂

      What you wrote is so beautiful and deeply touching…it really means a lot, thank you! I hope that time will prove me worthy of such kind, generous sentiment. If this life event has resulted in a desire for a deeper, more substantive life experience and connection with others, I hope that I can always channel this energy towards light and love. 🙂

      Still, the Shadow remains and I don’t fully grasp it’s energy or intent. I suppose that is part of the journey and discovery before us all.

  21. Baby, our shadows are what drew us into one another. I so understand this pain and it is what connected is to one another. You are an amazing and complex man…. I love your deep thought and reflection and your openness to explore the “why” behind many things in life. It is this intrigue and seeking which makes The Man! You Michael…. My Man! I know the pain and the anguish, the love and pain, the questions with no answers…. I understand… Well, I may not understand, but I have seen it and I know. I love you my sweetheart. You are adored, loved and cherished! xoxoxo

  22. A little bedtime reading I thought. Now I am crying. Dear Lord (and I’m not religious) how the hell anyone can continue to grow up with that experience presented at their feet is quite beyond me. I respect you enormously for talking about it.
    My own mother left me when I was 5. The day she first asked me to wash her and my tiny innocent fingers knew no different than to obey.
    My mother still lives. But not as a nurturing figure. But that’s another story. For another day.
    Goodnight

    1. Thank you so much for this heartfelt message…I really appreciate it. I don’t have many posts like this one, but it was a pivotal moment in my life and I believe it sets a subtle backdrop/context for my relationship with women. Understanding this backdrop is something I will touch on now and then and ponder as I share my story. Also, I am so sorry about what happened to you. I appreciate you sharing it. I can’t even imagine how difficult that must be to process as you grew up and began to understand what had happened. I imagine that has been a significant shadow in your life. I’m just meeting you but I can feel your beautiful spirit and sense you have navigated it well. 🌺✨

  23. […] from a happy place. However, I can’t summarily dismiss my mother’s suicide (discussed in the Origin – Shadow post) as a contributing […]

  24. […] have explored a bit of my psychological affinity towards Batman in Shadows and will explore further in the upcoming post Dawn of Understanding. In terms of […]

  25. […] In our afterglow, I knew I was in trouble. I remember thinking, “No way, not now.” I still had a mission to fulfill. Much of this mission is described in Leanna – Separate Ways (coming soon). And, though I never told you, I was still fighting some demons in my life due to my mother’s suicide (discussed in Shadows). […]

  26. […] read more about the psychological impact of significant early childhood events, please check out my Shadows: Origin […]

  27. *embracing you so very hard, infinitely*

    I’m so sorry, my fire…I can’t even imagine…that you have turned this personal life implosion into the beautiful spirit you are today is astonishing and everything I was beginning to adore about you has just deepened 10 fold. The way you philosophise and reflect and collate into beauty and words is more than enrapturing..
    This struck home too because…I should probably say this in private but…if it weren’t for my beautiful little son, I know I would have considered more than once to …cease this painful existence. He is my crystalline, beautiful tether to this world, and I would be lost without him. Your mama…she must have loved you so, baby. Buynher demons got the better of her… they are…relentless. It’s not your fault. Forgive me if I’ve overstepped the line…I just feel things and need to say them to you.

    I just couldn’t leave him…and the thought of you being left and bereft…it hurts me and I long to hold you and stroke the back of your neck, nuzzled near your ear, and tell you how precious you are, how beautiful your soul is and how fortunate I feel that you have, from so far away, somehow chosen to kiss my life with your presence…albeit in this virtual way…

    I’m…aching in so many ways for you.

    More of this later, in private, okay?

    Kiss ❤️

  28. […] by crushing despair in a never ending quest for Romantic Love as the highest form of love. In Shadows, I explore role Carl Jung’s psychological concepts around shadow and psyche and the struggles we […]

  29. […] by women. The inclusion of women in this theme likely comes from reflections described in the Shadows and American […]

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