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Shadow Dance [Paperback]

David Richo
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 27.95
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Book Description

May 11 1999
Our "shadow" is the collection of negative or undesirable traits we keep hidden—the things we don't like about ourselves or are afraid to admit: egotist, non-"PC" proclivities, forbidden sexual desires. But it also includes our positive, untapped potential—qualities we may admire in others but disavow in ourselves. Befriending the shadow makes fear an ally and enables us to live more authentically. It also automatically improves our interpersonal relationships, because we are freed from the need to project our own negativity onto others, and we become more acutely aware when theirs is projected onto us. David Richo looks for where the shadow manifests in personal life, family interaction, religion, relationship, and the world around is. He shows how to use the gentle practice of mindfulness to work with our shadow side, and he provides numerous exercises for going deeper. He is remarkably skillful at making the shadow concept not only easy to understand, but supremely practical for enhancing the quality of our lives.

Frequently Bought Together

Shadow Dance + When the Past Is Present: Healing the Emotional Wounds that Sabotage our Relationships + Daring to Trust: Opening Ourselves to Real Love and Intimacy
Price For All Three: CDN$ 45.64

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Product Description

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"Our scared and arrogant ego has an enormous capacity not to know itself," says Esalen Institute psychotherapist David Richo. The shadow self, the dark side of the personality, is hidden in the psyche. Others often see it, but we do not. As Jung says, "The shadow is the negative side of the personality, the sum of all those unpleasant qualities we like to hide, together with the insufficiently developed functions and the contents of the personal unconscious....[The shadow] also displays a number of good qualities such as normal instincts, appropriate reactions, realistic insights, creative impulses, etc." Richo has written an enormously useful book in which he introduces the reader to the conscious persona and the subconscious shadow. Unlike other practitioners, he includes conscious but negatively perceived traits in his definition of the dark side, plus undiscovered or unused positive traits. By helping the reader to befriend the shadow self instead of projecting it onto others in dysfunctional or destructive ways, the author performs a profound service, freeing emotional and creative resources through which we can manifest brighter, healthier lives. --P. Randall Cohan


"Deep and spiritually challenging."—Spirituality & Health

"David Richo has written a big book, much more than a book on the shadow and its context. Shadow Dance is a poem, a paean to the psychological life, written with a great sense of culture and depth. My world has been enlarged by reading it."—Jeremiah Abrams, author of The Shadow in America and coeditor of Meeting the Shadow

"As useful a self-help book as one is likely to find."—Huston Smith

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Rough start, then it gets going.... July 5 2003
By ucsf01
This book is typical of David Richo's work: pretty good. His writing is very very scholarly and intellectual. I often wish he'd step out of his head more often and more frequently share how what he's saying directly can effect me as a person. (For application of work presented here the reader might also want to read Susan Campbell's "Getting Real", as that would give you the skills to own your anger in the moment, for example). As a therapist, I often find that some clients know a lot about whats going wrong, but they need skill building to go along with the insight. He starts applying the shadow material, and the book really gets going, only at about page 150. I felt there was too much background material on how the shadow works, which leaves me afraid to offer this book to a client; Its boring in the beginning. All in all, its a really great expository work on Jungian theory and the Shadow, and he does a great job applying Shadow concepts to real life. I love how he frames projections, and I think this is one of the better works on understanding how projection works in our lives. From a theoretical perspective I learned a lot about the shadow and applications to other cultures and sometimes my own life. After reading this book I felt intellectually overwhelmed, tired, and smarter. Fundamentally a great scholarly work, even though not really a true self-help book.
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David Richo formerly practiced as a Catholic priest, and in this book he displays the true, original meaning of the word "catholic." His learning is truly ecumenical--he draws on his readings of the poets, Greek and other mythologies, Hinduism, Zen, and his experience of the Holy Spirit to illuminate the path into the dark parts of our human nature. Unlike many Catholic clergy whom I've met over the years, he is definitely not afraid of his shadow! Or yours or mine....he sees the shadow as containing great power and beauty, if we can only stop avoiding the teachings contained within it.
The book contains essays which lead you down the path of doing "shadow work," with each essay followed by a section of journal exercises and topics to think about. These "to do" sections help the reader to work with the ideas in the book, rather than just read about them. Not all the exercises will appeal to everyone, but there is such a wide range offered in each section that there is surely something for every reader.
My only problem with the book was that at times it was repetitive and wordy. However, Richo offers so much that is wise and profound that I readily forgave him and kept reading.
One of the things I found most helpful in this book was his excellent chapter on the positive shadow, an idea with which I was unfamiliar. The positive shadow needs attention just as much as the negative, and providing that attention is pleasant work--thus it balances out the sometimes toilsome aspect of dealing with one's darker side.
This is not a book to read and set aside. It's meant to be worked. The more people do this work, the more compassion and harmony there will be in our world.
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By A Customer
David Richo has written what I believe is the most comprehensive book I've ever read on the subject of the human shadow, both personal and collective. This is not a quick read however since Shadow Dance is richly loaded with information that takes time to digest. It is a journey to the depths of soul as well as a thorough guidebook for that journey. It is uplifting with numerous positive ideas and programs to assist in the transformation of our seemingly negative qualities and habits into something useful, by showing us the kernel of goodness within any dark trait. This is not to say that it justifies the darkness but that there is another side to the coin of any human behavior. In Shadow Dance we learn to trace over our negativities and transform them into sketches of value. Anyone who is interested in getting at the root of their own darkness so as to mine the untapped human potential hidden there can't miss if they read Shadow Dance. David Richo has created a work that is full of original thought, stated in a very unique and at the same time very clear manner. He has performed what I feel is an act of compassion and love for those of us attempting to live an integrated and whole life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Befriending your Shadow Jan. 27 2001
By Darren
"To be human is to be born into the world with something to achieve, namely, the fullness of one's human nature, and it is through the virtues that one does so...the virtues are the only guarantee against a wasted life." -Paul Waddell
Shadow Dance is an easy to understand and very helpful text for those wishing to find and then befriend all those elements we don't like about ourselves, are afraid to admit or maybe even unaware. In addition, each chapter also provides exercises that allow us to search for and accept all our positive and untapped potentials that prevent us from living a genuinely satisfying life and engaging in authentic relationships withourselves and others.
Shadow Dance is an exciting journey of mindfulness that takes you into the untapped areas of your mind and soul.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A LOVING LOOK AT OUR DARKNESS AND OUR LIGHT May 3 2001
By A Customer
I found this book really useful in noticing how i keep my light hidden even more than my dark side. i was immensely touched by how the author shows so many ways to liberate the light within. also this book is deep but thoroughly understandable. it takes you into issues and questions that you always wondered about but never knew how to answer. for instance, this book shows specific ways to notice your fears of lyour own impulses and how to make friends with them. it shows how to know when people are really angry at you and when they are abusing lyou. it shows you how to have self-respect. it shows you how your ego can get in the way of intimacy and how to turn that into something creative in your relationships. i have read it twice and there is still more.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book on applied Jungian theory!
This is an excellent book for self-exploration and self-development. It provides a thorough explanation of the concept of the shadow in Jungian theory and introduces us to various... Read more
Published on May 19 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars A bit disappointed
While I admire the author's sincerity, I found the writing to be bogged down with righteousness and preachiness. His writing relies more on quotes than speaking from the heart. Read more
Published on Aug. 6 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars A Journey Within!
This book was very easy to understand and very clear. . Very helpful in helping understand what we are scared to admit or what we have denied, or just what we don't like about... Read more
Published on May 8 2001 by "intentaccess"
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a MUST- READ personal guidebook ...
Shadow Dance shines light on our darkest edges and gives us a way to accept and love ourselves and others to the nth degree. Read more
Published on Nov. 6 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars a synthesis of myriad ways to wholeness
This is without a doubt the best synthesis of major pathways to wholeness which I have yet to read. Dr. Read more
Published on Aug. 15 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful material, easily understood, well done !!!!
I've read a lot of self help books over the years, however, David Richo has a way of cutting to the chase and making it possible to "do the work" and take the material... Read more
Published on July 1 1999 by Steffani M. Adams
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