“The dark side clouds everything. Impossible to see the future is.” – Yoda
Star Wars is, in essence, a family drama. It’s about a person cut off from his bliss. A father to be precise. Caught up in the quicksand of duty, Darth Vader, like lots of fathers, is a martyr out of touch with the pleasures of creating. The dark place he eventually finds himself has isolated him from his family.
SPOILER ALERT: Darth Vader is the father who turned his back on his children, Leia and Luke. The original trilogy, A New Hope (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983) are all about overcoming the dark force, that is, one’s shadow, to be truly liberated. The reason Darth Vader is evil is that he’s almost completely overtaken by the dark side until his son’s consciousness, Luke’s light, shows him the way back to consciousness.
The Dark Side aka The Shadow
I knew I had to have some dark cloud hanging over my head up until I started writing regularly (about a year ago).
My life was a series of dead-ends.
I had a pretty big hint handed over to me on a silver platter as to what my dysfunction was. This was back in 2013 during my first and only (thus far) therapy session after getting the sack from a job in a HR/Career Consultancy. The company prided itself on its methodology for helping people find purpose and career satisfaction. When they hired me after making me jump through the hoops of standardised and personality testing, I was ready to hand over the reins of my career to the experts.
What began as a marketing job quickly became torture. I was taking minutes in meetings but since I had no understanding of their business, their clients and the Australian corporate culture (my background was with US Government) my manager assumed I was an idiot. She corrected every little comma on the minutes that no one read or paid attention to. By the time I was done with the week’s minutes, it was time for another weekly Monday meeting.
I felt useless.
It hurt me deeply feeling so useless because the company was described as “a family” by one of their founding directors, a fatherly old man. Looking back, I can see that being a part of the family, errm, the company, was a little like being a part of my family growing up.
Just try to imagine what it felt like when they fired me.
For anyone who’s been kicked out by their parents or ostracised, deemed a black sheep, there’s a certain shame and eventual emotional numbness that goes with it. If you aren’t living in the same city as your family today, chances are, you were cast out, an outcast. Yes, this includes those of you claiming you had to get out of your homeland to seek better opportunities elsewhere. Why did your homelands become such tight, dark cages? Like a baby getting pushed out, cast out of the womb, you had to get yourselves out there to see the light and to live and grow, didn’t you?
Howdy, fellow outcast.
But back to the story – because it was merely a job I was fired from (which looking back with consciousness triggered the same emotions as having been a part of dysfunction and eventually an outcast) I put all my attention and focus on finding my next job. I did not have time to philosophise at the time. I was on a 457 visa and the threat of getting cast out of Australia was very real if I couldn’t find another employer to sponsor my stay.
Six weeks later, after fourteen interviews, I was employed and had secured my 457 visa. The end?
When the Student’s Ready
The dark cloud continued to follow me. In my next job and all subsequent jobs that followed, I saw dysfunction in my coworkers but never in myself. I wasted seven years of my life on the same old cycle of finding a job I was excited about, disillusionment, acting out to bring “order to things” and dishonourable discharge without growing a career.
As I’d mentioned, the keys to my satisfaction were handed to me in a silver platter back in 2013. The EAP (Employee Assistance Program) therapist had told me loud and clear, like an oracle prophesising;
“Until you understand the dysfunction you were brought up in, you are doomed to project onto others the darkness of your upbringing.”
But he was some silly old man, what would he know? Of course, I was right. I was functional and I just happened to find work in horrible workplaces that sometimes confused ping-pong tables with great workplace culture.
Then one day, all of my bullshit was thrown back in my face as fast as an infant can squirt out copious amounts of shit in a car seat, ruining all upholstery in sight.
Actually, no. It didn’t happen as it happens in movies. It wasn’t one rapid flashback and light that hit me all at once.
It was a slow process, like negatives developing on a Polaroid for the whole picture to emerge. I was just as dysfunctional as the family I was brought up in. I found myself angry a lot of the time for having been cheated of MY LIFE I should’ve been leading as a writer. My parents, my baby, everyone but my ego, had stolen my future from me. How was I to have an inkling of the great writer I would become, the one that wasn’t nourished by the family that raised me and one that didn’t stand a chance of stepping out into the light in my current circumstances?
The darkness was within me. My shadow.
I had to find a way to face it and that’s eventually when Scott Jeffrey made his appearance in my life, first with the Self-Actualiser’s Manifesto, then to reappear many times with insightful Jung-ian nuggets and most recently the Shadow Training, (version 2.0 is out with a 90-Day Challenge!) which got me into my weekly writing practice. Every one of these damn articles I write is like a step towards the light at the end of the tunnel.
Of course, I wonder where it’s all going but am not overly concerned with the destination.
I’m enjoying the creative process which, like how Yoga opens up the body and helps you regain movement and flexibility, opens up my mind to the possibilities of life.
Over to you…
What personal reasons can you think of to explore your subconscious? How is your dark side keeping you away from the life you want for yourself?