“Until we make the unconscious conscious,
it will direct our lives and we will call it fate.”
We are born whole. We are also born relationally dependent. For our very survival, we must learn early on how to be in good relation with our caregivers: our parents, our family, our larger culture. This process is called socialization. And in the socialization process we learn that some parts of ourselves are acceptable, wanted, and celebrated, while other parts of ourselves are judged as bad, shameful, and wrong. We quickly learn how to suppress, hide, deny and even forget about those “unacceptable” parts.
One of the most powerful gifts we can give ourselves, as adults, is to learn to welcome all aspects of who we are—especially these difficult, dark, unwanted parts. When we begin to unpack ourselves, we discover a great deal of value here, a great deal of power we didn’t know about. Precisely because of this hidden power, if we don’t choose to consciously examine our unconscious material in this way, it will express in our lives through self-sabotage and detrimental patterns of behavior.
This work can be challenging in the beginning. But each dark part carries unique gifts that will be a powerful benefit to you. As these parts are welcomed and listened to, they then integrate and you become more whole and alive.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks