A month ago, I took a highlighter and blocked off the five days of the dark Moon to deal with what I've been avoiding. My monster in the closet. Dark Moons are tailor-made for stepping back from the world and turning inward. Let go. Prepare for something new. And for battling monsters.
Now, it would make a better story were my monsters something sexy like a fractious romance. But it my case, it's just an overflowing inbox and backlog of paper processing. Every time I've tried to catch up, something seems to interfere. But over time the stress of these demands has outweighed my ability to avoid them. Time to slay the dragon.
So when the appointed day arrived, I went dark. I donned my comfy don't-mind-the-dust clothes and headed to my office. I turned off my phone and my tablet and my computer. Then I took all the files out of the filing cabinet, and dumped them on the floor. Now there's no going back, if I ever want to see my floor again.
If you've ever done something like this, it may have sounded like a good idea in theory. A few days equals a clean and organized workspace. In practice, you quickly realize that you are going to have to face all of the angst that created the monstrous (fill in the blank) in the first place.
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Whatever has caused you to avoid dealing with something -- whether it's not being perfect, or dealing with someone else's needs before your own, or fear you'll miss out on something, or whatever -- is going to be whispering in your ear the entire time you are tackling the cleanup. Resistance is in the nature of monster-slaying; best be prepared.
If it's a job that will only take an hour or so, you might be able to psyche yourself up with the promise of something yummy at the end. For a longer project, maybe you can keep yourself company with an audio book. If it's an even bigger dragon, you may want to enlist the help of a friend or two for aid and moral support. In my case, a five-day project merits all hands on deck – rewards, books and companions.
I divided the project up into manageable tasks, and made myself a realistic schedule for how much I could get done each day. I left room for the inevitable distractions (the soothing the panicked client, the trip to the office supply store, the unexpected last-minute deadline). All the reasonable things the organizing experts advise.
But after that, you just have to do it. At times the pile's been overwhelming; I've wanted to scream, or throw things, or cry. It's a balancing act between allowing oneself a break, and getting back to it because the only way out is through.
So it goes when dancing with monsters. At first it's terrifying. But once you've learned the steps, there's thrill in the mastery and self-discovery. Make a date with your monsters once a month, and see what wisdom they have to offer you.
Sherene Schostak is a Jungian psychotherapist, author and metaphysician who specializes in helping creative artists transform their addictions and blocks. She has been in private practice in New York City for the past 13 years consulting, writing and... read more