Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Shadow Effect – The Inner Demon That Enables or Disables Our Life

For my Musings-in-a-Minute about “The Shadow Effect”, please go here.

I have seen a lot of self empowerment movies over the years, including the modern classics such as “The Secret”, “What the Bleep” and others. I enjoy and have been impacted by books such as the classic “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale and the powerful “Leading at a Higher Lever” by Ken Blanchard. They were all interesting, fascinating, positively disruptive and informative in their own ways.

However, when I watched “The Shadow Effect”, my personal definition of who I am and how I came to be was shaken to the core.

The Shadow Effect”, like some of its contemporaries, sports an appealing cast, including Debbie Ford, Deepak Choprah, Mark Victor Hansen, Marianne Williamson and others. Many of these people are the current global leaders in the spiritually uplifting, motivational writing genre of authors.

The movie is based on the premise that each one of us has a shadow side to our life, a darker, potentially disempowering side that was formed early in our childhood through a number of less than positive experiences (at least as perceived by the child). This shadow plays a key role in determining your thoughts and actions through your life and therefore, many of the results in your life, both good and bad.

It’s not like some movies that suggest that if you think bad things, then bad things automatically happen because of some cosmic or karmic process. It is based on the medically accepted fact that any disabling thoughts in your mind will produce disabling actions. For example, if you grew up with a lack of self-worth in your life because you were constantly criticized or perhaps were abused, the shadow that results will cause you to not try as hard in life as you are capable of, since somewhere buried in your psyche you have the belief that you are not worthy of greatness anyway. Disabling thoughts produce a disabled result just as enabled thoughts produce enabled results.

This is also not a movie that you can just watch – watching will be insightful but not transformational. However, if you use the interactive version of the movie as I did and honestly perform the exercises that it presents, I think you may find the results profound.

There is a statistic that 85% of what is spoken to the average child before they reach the age of 5 is based upon things that they shouldn’t do or that they have done wrong. While children need to be taught, they are often not taught in a manner that is constructive. The destructive lessons create a shadow for many of us.

Try as we might to believe that we have no shadow, the movie posits that in fact everyone has one. Deepak Choprah notes

“If you don’t believe you have a shadow, then you are pathological”.

After watching the movie, I reached out to a number of people in the psychiatry, psychology and therapy industry and they confirmed that everyone has a shadow.

That’s not to say that everyone is disabled by their shadow.

In fact, that’s the point of the movie, the notion that once you have named your shadow, that it can be used to enable your life instead of unknowingly allowing it to disable your life. There is a great quote in the movie that sums this up perfectly:

"Our shadow - either we are going to use it or it is going to use you".

The shadow is a necessary component to create what Robert Fritz, the author of “The Path of Least Resistance” refers to as structural tension. Without this structural tension, pushing or pulling us internally and forcing us to grow as a human being, we would not have the internal motivation to grow, learn and produce the results that we are capable of.

The movie provides powerful information from experts in the space of understanding the origins of the shadow and how to bring it out into the open. It also contains compelling examples of people’s shadows and how, once they learned what their shadow was, they used it to make an incredible difference in the lives of many. If you aren’t weeping (or at least a little misty-eyed for us big, tough guys that only cry in private), then I would suggest that you need to get back in touch with your inner spirit.

I have been on a personal quest for authenticity lately and this movie arrived at a moment when I sought tools to help me explore my inner being; who I am, why I do what I do and what produces the results I produce (both good and bad).

And so I followed these exercises as recommended and the result was profound. My shadow stood out – stark, naked and in all its raw power. I was able to clearly define what my shadow is, what it’s source was and what feeds it to this day.

Of real importance to me, I was able to recognize it as the source for all the positive and negative results in my life, since it had formed the basis for my decisions and choices, which in turn have produced the majority of the results in my life. A lot of the inner turmoil that I had experienced in my life could now be traced back to this previously undefined negative energy.

The result of performing the exercises was so powerful that I promptly wrote a long note to my family and my closest friends. In this note, I was totally transparent and authentic about what my shadow looked like, how it came to be and how it impacted my life to this point (the good and the bad).

Having named the elephant in the room, I now have a chance to proactively embrace my shadow, to use its effects and its power to enable me to make better choices for myself and others.

How is this done? You’ll need to watch the movie to find out.

I will say this. To name and embrace your shadow takes a lot of courage. To not embrace your shadow is up to you but to not do so perhaps reduces the phenomenal potential of your life and with that, perhaps your sense of purpose, happiness and contentment.

Do you have the courage? I believe you do. I also believe that you deserve greatness in your life.

Embrace your purpose, your gifts and the lessons from your life.

Watch this movie and be prepared for a new journey in your life.

To purchase a copy of the movie, go here.

To watch it online, you can find it here.

Yours in service and servanthood.


For my Musings-in-a-Minute about “The Shadow Effect”, please go here.


  1. I'll be checking this out Harry! Thanks!

  2. Harry, Shadow work is very powerful. I haven't done the interactive DVD yet, (I'm still waiting for my copy) but I did see the movie and thought is will probably help a lot of people. I've delved into my shadows. (Yes I have more than one) and I'm looking forward to the interactive DVD to see what else comes up for me.

  3. I reallly connected to this thought -

    "In fact, that’s the point of the movie, the notion that once you have named your shadow, that it can be used to enable your life instead of unknowingly allowing it to disable your life. There is a great quote in the movie that sums this up perfectly:

    "Our shadow - either we are going to use it or it is going to use you".

    I also found the second DVD in the set life changing.

    Not in the sense that it changed my life - but that it identified so clearly what my shadow is.

    If you know what you are dealing with and where it came from, it is half the battle.

  4. Harry,

    You are courageous to reveal what you have just learned about yourself to so many people. I hope they were all supportive of you and understanding of what you experienced without seeing the movie.

    I, like you have found out much about myself. I prefer, for now at least to share what I have learned about myself in bits and pieces. But I think that's just my personality. I need to fully understand which usually includes a time of reflection until I have the idea thought out well, which for me happens over a week or multiple weeks.

    Thank you so much for sharing, I too got so much out of the movie. I hope you will read what I wrote, the url is My Child

    Thanks for sharing. Vicky

  5. Hey Liz,

    I hope you find it as powerful as I did!

    Take care,


  6. Hey Michelle,

    Since you have experience with shadow work, you will find the exercises to be very powerful.

    Thank you for the great things you do to help others find their passion!

    Take care,


  7. Corinne,

    I have read your blog about The Shadow Effect and I found it to be very powerful. Thank you for your very kind comments!

    Given the incredible work you do to help others find their passion, I am deeply humbled and grateful for your comments. :-)

    Take care and create a great day!


  8. Dear Vicky,

    Thank you for your kind comments and words of support. When I announced my shadows (like Michelle noted in an earlier comment, I also have multiple), the reactions were interesting.

    Some people were shocked at what I had carried for a lifetime. Some were saddened. Some went into self-defense mode (as in, it wasn't my fault that you developed shadows). Some, including my friend Leonard, were so incredibly supportive.

    I went over and took a look at your blog. Your blog touched my heart on a deep level tonight and I am grateful for your sharing. I will promote your blog, Michelle's and Corinne's to many who are on similar journey's as ours.

    Perhaps we can work on some collaborative support and sharing. What do you think?

    Take care and keep working to name and release your shadows. The world awaits your greatest potential to be released.