Shadow Quotes

Pema Chödrön

Affirmations are like screaming that you’re okay in order to overcome this whisper that you’re not. That’s a big contrast to actually uncovering the whisper, realizing that it’s a passing memory, and moving closer to all those fears and all those edgy feelings that maybe you’re not okay. Well, no big deal. None of us is okay and all of us are fine. It’s not just one way. We are walking, talking paradoxes.

Donna Karlin

Perspective is both the angle you see yourself and your life from as well as the viewing height. The higher the perspective, the clearer the view. A Shadow Coach helps you increase your perspective by helping you see what you're not paying attention to, by asking illuminating questions, introducing paradoxes, and co-creating stimulating arenas and environments that will expand your thinking, as your world unfolds

Brené Brown

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it....Only when we're brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light

Chuck Palahniuk

Maybe the only thing each of us can see is our own shadow. Carl Jung called this his shadow work. He said we never see others. Instead we see only aspects of ourselves that fall over them. Shadows. Projections. Our associations. The same way old painters would sit in a tiny dark room and trace the image of what stood outside a tiny window, in the bright sunlight. The camera obscura. Not the exact image, but everything reversed or upside down.

Jarod Kintz

A whisper is like the shadow of a shout. My shout’s a little too green if I let it grow in my neighbor’s yard.

E.M. Forster

We cast a shadow on something wherever we stand, and it is no good moving from place to place to save things; because the shadow always follows. Choose a place where you won't do harm - yes, choose a place where you won't do very much harm, and stand in it for all you are worth, facing the sunshine.

Mikhail Bulgakov

What would your good do if evil didn't exist, and what would the earth look like if all the shadows disappeared?

Rainer Maria Rilke

So don't be frightened, dear friend, if a sadness confronts you larger than any you have ever known, casting its shadow over all you do. You must think that something is happening within you, and remember that life has not forgotten you; it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall. Why would you want to exclude from your life any uneasiness, any pain, any depression, since you don't know what work they are accomplishing within you?

Clarissa Pinkola Estés

We find that by opening the door to the shadow realm a little, and letting out various elements a few at a time, relating to them, finding use for them, negotiating, we can reduce being surprised by shadow sneak attacks and unexpected explosions.

W.H. Auden

Every man carries with him through life a mirror, as unique and impossible to get rid of as his shadow.

John Cusack

Well anything that's interesting in a film, or in a character (all your passion, your sex, your anger, your rage, all that) comes from that part of you that you want to hide and push away, and you want to deny all those things most. So if you can sort of visualize a version of your shadow. And if you sort of invite him or her to the party. And if you can really understand that this is where you're going to let that shadow come out (this is where its home) It's really just understanding that it's your job to get vulnerable.

And most people who have the exact opposite; most people go through life and they try all their time not to feel all those dark things. We have to go feel them, but its an opportunity too. I think to think of it that way, that just gets you into flow and that unlocks your subconscious, so you get out of your head and into your heart. That's what I do, I just try to remember that the part of you that's going to do a good job is the part of you you want to most deny.

John Cusack

If you're looking at things with the right set of eyes, people are endlessly fascinating. And then, of course, if you look at it the wrong way, then the whole world is horrible and tedious and boring. That's the battle, really--to keep looking at the world in the right way.

Ron Wild

Seek the wisdom of the ages, but look at the world through the eyes of a child.

Madeleine L'Engle

When we were children, we used to think that when we grew up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability, to be alive is to be vulnerable.

Donna Karlin

Remember, for every end there's a beginning. If you're too afraid to start something, you'll never accomplish the imaginable (never mind the un...)


When people ask us how long does it take for something to manifest, we say, It takes as long as it takes you to release the RESISTANCE. Could be 30 years, could be 40 years, could be 50 years, could be a week. Could be tomorrow afternoon.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of Special Olympics.

If you don’t have an idea that materializes and changes a person’s life, then what have you got? You have talk, you have research, you have telephone calls, you have meetings, but you don’t have a change in the community.

Carl Jung

As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.

Jim Morrison

The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. Trade in your reality for a role. ...You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask.

Donna Karlin

Shine a light to reveal your shadow and that shadow fades, however another shadow pops up in a place where you least expect it. And so it goes....

Carl Jung

Just as we tend to assume that the world is as we see it, we naively suppose that people are as we imagine them to be.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

Mick Ukleja and Robert Lorber

Reflection is looking in so you can look out with a broader, bigger, and more accurate perspective.

Carl Jung

To confront a person with his Shadow is to show him his own light. Once one has experienced a few times what it is like to stand judgingly between the opposites, one begins to understand what is meant by the self. Anyone who perceives his Shadow and his light simultaneously sees himself from two sides and thus gets in the middle.

Emily Dickinson

One need not be a chamber to be haunted, one need not to be a house. The brain has corridors surpassing material place.

Donna Karlin

It's not that the way we're working isn't working. What isn't working is the way we're thinking about the work we do or don't do and why, especially if it's filtered through our shadows

Penelope Garcia

I believe humanity was born from conflict. Maybe that's why in all of us lives a dark side. Some of us embrace it. Some have no choice. The rest of us fight it. And in the end, it's as natural as the air we breathe. Some point, we're forced to face the truth...ourselves.

Donna Karlin

Everything we experience in life has a light and a shadow. If life only handed us wonderful experiences, we wouldn't be able to look at them in wonder as there would be no opposite, nothing dark to measure it against.

Carl Jung

If you imagine someone who is brave enough to withdraw all his projections, then you get an individual who is conscious of a pretty thick shadow. Such a man has saddled himself with new problems and conflicts. He has become a serious problem to himself, as he is now unable to say that they do this or that, they are wrong, and they must be fought against. He lives in the "House of the Gathering." Such a man knows that whatever is wrong in the world is in himself, and if he only learns to deal with his own shadow he has done something real for the world. He has succeeded in shouldering at least an infinitesimal part of the gigantic, unsolved social problems of our day.

Dalai Lama

Sometimes harsh words or physical intervention may be called for. Patience safeguards our inner composure: we are in a stronger position to judge an appropriately non-violent response than if we are overwhelmed by negative thoughts and emotions. It is the opposite of cowardice, which arises when confidence is lost as ...a result of fear. Being patient means we remain firm even if we are afraid.

Donna Karlin

When we lead or make decisions based on fears or the "what ifs" we are making decisions for all the wrong reasons for then it's our shadows that are making choices for us

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.

Howard Sasportas

Denial is pushing something out of your awareness. Anything you hide in the basement has a way of burrowing under the house and showing up on the front lawn

Carl Jung

The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.

Dale turner

Because everything we say and do is the length and shadow of our own souls, our influence is determined by the quality of our being.

Theodore Zeldin

Conversation is a meeting of minds with different memories and habits. When minds meet, they don't just exchange facts: they transform them, reshape them, draw different implications from them, engage in new trains of thought. Conversation doesn't just reshuffle the cards: it creates new cards.

Shakti Gawain

Ignorance is like a shadow. It has no real substance of its own, it is simply a lack of light. You cannot cause a shadow to disappear by trying to fight it, stamp on it, by railing against it, or any other form of emotional or physical resistance. In order to cause a shadow to disappear, you must shine light on it.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.

Anthony LaPaglia

Acting is the cheapest form of therapy. You have to go into parts of your psyche you're not comfortable with.

Jacques Rigaut

Don't forget that I cannot see myself -- that my role is limited to being the one who looks in the mirror.

Carl Jung

As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being..

Dale Turner

Because everything we say and do is the length and shadow of our own souls, our influence is determined by the quality of our being.

Laurie Beth Jones

People who linger in the shadow, leading unfulfilled lives, would burst into the sunlight of Possibilities and Power. (were they to make the effort to examine "who they are", and 'what they're really about').

Heath and Heath

To strip an idea down to its core, we must be masters of exclusion. We must create ideas that are both simple and profound, something so laser and to the point that an individual can want to spend a lifetime becoming masterful at 'it'. Once they know something, they can't begin to imagine what it would be like to not know it

Jack Kerouac

Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round heads in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Carl Jung

To confront a person with his shadow is to show him his own light. Once one has experienced a few times what it is like to stand judgingly between the opposites, one begins to understand what is meant by the self. Anyone who perceives his shadow and his light simultaneously sees himself from two sides and thus gets in the middle.

John Ruskin

Shadows are in reality, when the sun is shining, the most conspicuous thing in a landscape, next to the highest lights.

Peter Erbe

To heal is to change the perception of a condition - not the condition! This is true perception." The very concept of opposites is a concept of division, of split seeing. We only see one side of the whole at a time. If someone paid us with a coin we most certainly would not say: 'I dislike the tail side of the coin, give me the head side only

R.D. Laing

The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice there is little we can do to change, until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.

Donna Karlin

Once you acknowledge your Shadow and accept that it's there and comes out to play when you least expect it or want it to, it starts becoming one with you and no longer is something you use so much energy to hide away....a path to becoming more whole and at one with yourself. An extraordinary journey

Carl Jung

One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious

Donna Karlin

Through acknowledging our shadows we start seeing light, shape and dimension.

Zen Saying

Man stands in his own shadow and wonders why it's dark.

Craig Trowhill (from my School of Shadow Coaching class)

Sometimes clarity is better than a solution

Donna Karlin

Once you see it, whether shadow or not, you'll remember it's there and pay attention to it, then make an informed choice as to what you want to do with it

Zen Saying

Wherever you go, there you are

William James

Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, "This is the real me," and when you have found that attitude, follow it.

Lao Tsu

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

Richard Bach

We wait all these years to find someone who understands us, I thought, someone who accepts us as we are, someone with a wizard's power to melt stone to sunlight, who can bring us happiness in spite of trials, who can face our dragons in the night, who can transform us into the soul we choose to be. Just yesterday I found that magical Someone is the face we see in the mirror: It's us and our homemade masks.

Deena Metzger

The Shadow, of course never dies; we always cast a shadow. But how we relate to it, and it to us, depends on whether it is known. Once known, we have inevitably lost an innocence that can never be recovered. What replaces it is a knowledge of the complexity of our nature. Sometimes we are fortunate, and this knowledge elicits a kindness and tolerance in us for others — even, perhaps for ourselves.

Carl Jung

When we must deal with problems, we instinctively resist trying the way that leads through obscurity and darkness. We wish to hear only of unequivocal results, and completely forget that these results can only be brought about when we have ventured into and emerged again from the darkness. But to penetrate the darkness we must summon all the powers of enlightenment that consciousness can offer.

Carl Jung

Good does not become better by being exaggerated, but worse, and a small evil becomes a big one through being disregarded and repressed. The shadow is very much a part of human nature, and it is only at night that no shadows exist.

Sheldon B. Kopp

To live without the creative potential of our own destructiveness is to be a cardboard angel.

Diane Ackerman

A life like an intricately woven basket, frayed, worn, broken, unraveled, reworked, reknit from many of its original pieces... Life can survive in the constant shadow of illness, and even rise to moments of rampant joy, but the shadow remains, and one has to make space for it

Donna Karlin

Never consider yourself run of the mill or insignificant. That's your Shadow speaking. Consider this: You have something to give that others would benefit from. Knowledge, experience, insight, and talent. Speak from that, not your Shadow.


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Donna works with global leaders to develop the competencies and practices that enable them to meet the challenges of the future.

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The Shadow Coach®

What is Shadow Coaching®?

The Shadow Coach observes how individuals construct interpretations about their ways of being which are then reflected through their language and actions. It also works with emerging shadow personalities and helps the client embrace and accept their ‘shadow’ personalities as a vital and valid part of their character.

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