Oh shadow work! Everyone’s favorite work! The work that sparkles, shines, and has a pretty pink bow on top of it. The work that taste like skittles and rich molten lava chocolate melting in your mouth. Oh shadow work!
If you can not tell, I am being super sarcastic. Shadow work actually sucks in the moment. It actually feels like a dark hole that is sucking you underneath the soil of the earth with some hairy crawling monsters, but when you surrender, you feel held and nurtured within the tenderness of the hole. There is a revelation that arises that there is no place else I would rather be- it is incredibly rewarding. On the other side of the shadow is the butterfly, rainbows, and sunshine.
Shadow work can be frightening if we do not remember who we truly are. This is why so many people avoid being really honest and looking at themselves in this transformative way. There is no genuine healing without bringing darkness to the light. You can not know who you truly are until you know who you are not. Healing is like an emotional detox process- everything that is not of love needs to be brought to the surface of the conscious mind so that we can become aware of it, accept it, and ultimately love it as if it is a hurt wounded little child within us.
No matter how nasty the shadow is, how ugly the hairy monster might be, how deep the hole is underneath the earth- if we remember who we are- which is the sunlight of awareness, the sunlight of love-then we will get through to the other side. We emerge into the spring like a snake that just shed it’s old skin from the winter hibernation. Every time we are willing to face our shadow we emerge reborn and more powerful and strong than ever before.
A few years ago I was at a vipassana retreat. If you are not familiar with vipassana it is a 10 day silent mediation retreat with no reading, writing, and talking. You sit with yourself for 10 days straight! You better believe that your shadows come from the underworld to play! So many dark forces that felt larger than life, that felt bigger than me, came to tango with me. I had to patiently sit with them. I had to grow enough strength in the witnessing consciousness to realize that these dark forces were not me, and nothing could prevail against the power within me. Every single time I sat in meditation the awareness of my power became stronger and the shadow became less monstrous. Every single time the darkness surfaced I would shift into the sensation of gratitude because I knew it was an opportunity to grow more strength in my true self- which is the light. I began to look at my ego as darth vader and myself as luke skywalker! Every single time darth vader came to play, I could remember who I was.
After I left this retreat my mantra was ‘thank you’ every single time I felt the thickness of the shadow, ‘thank you for helping me remember my true self’. I shifted my perspective to perceiving it as my friend that was walking me home to the light. This shift in perspective was, and still is to this day is, an utter miracle. Miracles are but shifts in perception. When we engage in deep shadow work it is important to shift our perspective to befriend it and realize that it is helping us uncover love, it is helping us become aware of everything that is not of love within us.
We cannot heal what we are not aware of. There is so much emotional baggage in our psyches. There are so many internalized patterns floating underneath the dark rich moist fertile earth of our subconscious mind. None of this ickiness needs to be shamed. None of it means that we are bad because it is not of our true self! The shadow is merely patterns and conditionings that have been handed down from our spiritually sick ancestors. When previous generations do not do their inner healing work, they continue to pass ancestral wounds on to future generations and the wounds become installed within the collective psycheIt is so important to remember that shadow work is not only for our selves, it is to heal the collective mind of the world!
What if we could look at ourselves as a Divine being that is holding all of the collective sickness of the world within our very being? What if we could realize that it is not actually our stuff but every single sick pattern of the world that has been handing down to us generation after generation from our ancestors not doing their inner work? What if every single time we accept our shadow and remember who we are, we actually heal the psyche of the world? Just a few thoughts to contemplate!
Our friend Carl Jung states, “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” It is not until we are willing to go to the places that scare us the most that we will truly experience the light. It is within the discomfort of duality that we are offered the gift to embody our intrinsic sovereignty. All of the heavy patterns and stories that we believe to be ‘us’ keep us buried beneath the earth, never truly experiencing the magic of this world. We are the seedlings that are waiting to blossom above the moist soil into our most expansive sunflower selves, while dancing in the wind and soaking underneath the sun. The key is to not run from the underworld. Be still with your shadow. Remember who you really are and you will certainly bust through the soil and flourish into your most powerful self.
Say thank you every single time you notice that you shadow has come to play.
Also! I am a 1:1 spiritual life coach that helps women embody radical self-love by remembering who they are in truth and by befriending their shadow. If you need help with working with your ego, I got you sister! I offer 30-45 minute complimentary calls to see if we are a right fit. Message me and we can book one today!