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Transforming Shadow Comforts
by Jennifer Louden

Why do we choose shadow comfort? Because the moment in which we choose to turn on the TV or devour the chocolate bar is THE creative moment. This is the moment where you can choose to create or to go numb. It is the present moment, pregnant with possibility and often rife with a great variety of fears. It is in this moment that the juice comes in, where the life unfolds, the Divine speaks to you, where you get hooked up to the universal power plant.

Too often, we block this moment. I know I do. I choose to check my email, eat some chocolate, get busy. When I do, I choose not to be in my body, not to engage with my feelings, not to listen to my inner wisdom. I block the creative moment. And when I do that, I block a lot.

I don’t think I’m a rare creature in my behavior. The way I look at it, our entire society is set up to condone and encourage such behavior. So I’ve given up feeling guilty and futile about it and instead starting trying to transform. I started trying to choose healthy comfort to become more comfortable in my own skin instead of using shadow comfort to prove to myself what a worthless worm I really am.

If this resonates with you, get your journal and try these questions:

LIST YOUR FAVORITE SHADOW COMFORTS. No one need see this list. You might have to play detective for a few days and watch yourself to see what you prefer. My friend Deborah told me anger was her favorite shadow comfort. "Anger can be the fire of self-righteous. If you think only you are right, you don’t have to look at your part in whatever happened. Anger can distance you from others and keep you from intimacy. You can’t really think about others. You can’t really be generous."

WHAT ARE FOUR OR FIVE SITUATIONS OR FEELINGS THAT TRIGGER A SHADOW COMFORT RESPONSE IN ME? Think of hurts, stresses, and when you are being pushed to be more alive. For me, when someone rejects something I’ve written when I'm stuck in my writing, when I need to connect with Lilly or Chris but don't want to make the effort, when I'm trying to do something and keep getting interrupted, these are my siren calls to sweets or other distractions.

INSTEAD OF ____________________, I COULD CHOOSE TO ____________.

INSTEAD OF ____________________, I COULD CHOOSE TO ____________.

In the first blank, write down a current shadow comfort. Then breathe into your belly and ask yourself, "Is this what I really want to do?" If the answer is "No" or "'I'm not sure," then ask yourself, "What would satisfy my soul more?" or "What is this shadow comfort trying to teach me?"

Post this list of alternatives where you can see them – inside your refrigerator, on the TV, on the cover of People magazine, on your computer screen.

Read More About the Comfort Queen and Shadow Comforts  in Last Month's Issue

Excerpted with permission from The Comfort Queen’s Guide to Life: Creating all That You Need with Just What You’ve Got, Copyright.

Enjoy Other Books by Jennifer Louden:

The Woman's Retreat Book

The Woman's Comfort Book

The Couple's Comfort Book

The Pregnant Woman's Comfort Book

Jennifer Louden is the author of The Woman’s Comfort Book, The Couple’s Comfort Book, The Little Book of Sensual Comforts, The Pregnant Woman’s Comfort Book and The Woman’s Retreat Book, all published by Harper Collins. There are over 700,000 copies of her books in print worldwide. Her newest book, The Comfort Queen’s Guide to Life was published in May 2000 by Crown/Random House along with the launch of www.comfortqueen.com and a line of greetings cards and journals from Portal, 2000 calendars from American Greetings, and complete line of giftware from Papel.

Jennifer’s books have been translated into eight languages and have been German bestsellers. Jennifer has taught her lively workshops across the US, Canada, and Europe at hospitals, corporations, and universities to thousands of women.

Ms. Louden’s media appearances have included "Oprah," "Later Today," "The Home Show," MS-NBC, CNN, and Fit TV as well as numerous local TV shows in most major markets including most recently "Women to Women" in LA and "NorthWest Afternoon" in Seattle. Articles about her work have appeared in Glamour, Shape, People, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, Self, New Woman, Ladies’ Home Journal, Yoga Journal, Health, Parents, and most major newspapers including USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Dallas Morning News, and The New York Times.

Jennifer is the mother of Lillian, who is six, and the wife of cinematographer Christopher Mosio. They live in a wide canyon behind a purple door in Santa Barbara, California.





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