A friend and I were brain storming a few weeks ago about how to better this blog, how to get more readers, how to widen my audience. He said, maybe it shouldn’t always be so happy. I was so pleased for his input but my instinct was to be defensive. I said, “It’s called All Good Things, no one wants to read about bad things. I mean, I write about tons of notsogreat stuff that happens to and around me all the time.” He said, “Yes, but I always know how it’s going to turn out. Everything’s going to be ok. But what if one Monday it didn’t?” Similarly, another friend and I were talking about positivity recently. She said Lisa, “Every light casts a shadow.” I know that too, I just don’t often look behind me to see my shadow, I’m too busy facing the sun and basking in the glow.
Honestly, I’m just not good at letting a bad situation win, I chip away at it until some glimmer of light appears. I’d like to think this blog shows up in your inbox, or you stumble upon my words on Facebook or twitter, and it is a guaranteed opportunity to look at the bright side of a situation. We wake up in a world that seemingly gets politically, spiritually, economically, and peacefully darker. It’s easy to get discouraged, angry, and heartbroken. Individually, I don’t have control over any of that. Collectively, we all can make it better. I guess I’m just trying to do my part to add some goodness to the collective.
That being said, I’ve thought a lot about my friends’ words and my own darkness. Yes, I’m a big sparkly light on most days. But my shadow self…my inside thoughts that you can’t see, my actions that aren’t curated into Facebook photo albums, and the horrible things I say to myself, and about others to my inner circle…It ain’t pretty. My shadow self is shameful. It’s embarrassing. It’s dark. My past has things in it that I’ve kept from loved ones. My present has things in it that I’m keeping from loved ones. And I’m sure my future will be riddled with ignominious secrets as well. Shadow selves are strong and willful. They rule our notsogreat choices. They seek out the forbidden, they try to get away with things, they are prideful and run by ego.
Carl Jung had a famous psychological theory about the human ‘shadow aspect’ - an unconscious aspect of the human personality which the conscious ego does not identify in itself. He said because we often reject or remain ignorant to undesirable aspects, they are viewed as negative. He said positive aspects remain hidden in our shadow selves as well. (hooray!) Jung believed that "in spite of its function as a reservoir for human darkness—or perhaps because of this—the shadow is the seat of creativity.” (hooray again!)
According to Jung, the shadow sometimes overwhelms a person's actions; for example, when the conscious mind is shocked, confused, or paralyzed by indecision. 'A man who is possessed by his shadow is always standing in his own light and falling into his own traps ... living below his own level.’ Is it comforting to know that we all have some inner darkness trying to trick us and block our light? I don’t know that I’m encouraged by this thought, but I think it affirms that we’re all human, not perfect, and periodically are living below our own level. Sometimes our light is bright, sometimes it is dim, and sometimes it can’t be found at all. Sometimes the light of others is bright, sometimes it is dim, and sometimes it can’t be found at all. I'll be honest, my shadow has been getting the best of me lately.
A woman I don’t know, but whom I follow on instagram, Natalie Kuhn, posted that image of the phases of the moon along with these words. I saved them as a reminder for when I start to get wrapped up in my own darkness. I’d like to share them with you as a reminder as well. “Hey hey go easy on yourself. It takes time to go through the shadow. But just on the other side, that’s the good stuff. Go easy, it might get a little rough but then it’ll be over. The good stuff, it’s coming.”
In the spirit of darkness and shadows, I’m cooking with dark chocolate and a nightshade in today’s recipe. Oooh what’s a nightshade? Potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and the centerpiece of these treats - goji berries! Don’t have goji berries? Try your health food store for this Tibetan super food, but if they are not to be found, substitute your favorite dried fruit like cherries, raisins, or blueberries. You’ll still get that tangy chew.
Dark Chocolate Mendiants With Goji Berries
(a mendiant is a French little medallion of chocolate, but really they are bite size candy bars!)
- 3 dark chocolate bars (300g) I use Lindt. So silky and smooth. I used 2 dark sea salt bars and one bittersweet bar.
- 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
- 1 tablespoon cacao nibs
- 1 dried apricot, finely chopped
- 24 goji berries
Place the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir as the chocolate begins to melt. Once melted and smooth, remove from heat. Evenly pour the chocolate into a nonstick 24 mini cupcake tin or spray with nonstick spray. Place one goji berry on to the top of each chocolate, follow with the chopped apricot pieces, then sprinkle on the cacao nibs and hemp seeds. Place the tin in the refrigerator for 30 minutes until the chocolate is set. With the help of a butter knife to pry them loose, the mendicants will pop out easily. Store in the fridge until you're ready to eat them. They literally will melt in your mouth and you'll start dreaming of all the dried fruit, nuts, and seeds you can put on them. Dried coconut, pistachios, dried cranberry, chia seeds...