Your shadows are the unconscious parts of you that influence your behavior, often times without you even being aware of it. When you bring your shadows into the light, instead of them having power over you, you grow in power. A true power that comes from knowing yourself so well and deeply, that your confidence is no longer dictated by your achievements or what people think of you. Instead it is the result of loving and integrating all aspects of yourself that have otherwise been rejected and would stay buried – including your magnificence.
If you’ve never done shadow work you are basically a product of your conditioning. This means you learnt from a young age to disown, deny and suppress those aspects of yourself that were disapproved of, and to exaggerate those that were approved of.
For example A little boy gets angry, screams and throws something. He is severely punished and told that anger is bad and never to be expressed in that household again. The little boy suppresses his anger to avoid punishment and to feel loved. When he is older he becomes Mr. Nice Guy but his anger seeps out the sides, passive aggressively or when he drinks or is under highly stressful conditions. He is given the feedback about his behavior but cannot receive it because his anger has been hidden for so long. Upon a recommendation from a friend, he works with a tantra facilitator and is encouraged to express his emotional body. He discovers he has a lot of anger and begins to face this anger. It feels difficult because he has to feel the pain of all the anger that he has suppressed, but once he claims his anger he becomes more powerful. It informs him of boundaries he needs to set, desires he was not owning which were not being fulfilled and people he no longer wanted to be in relationship with. He is a more embodied man with more fire and more power.
Shadow work is consciously doing the work of bringing awareness to that which has become unconscious. Shadow work gets a bad wrap, especially in the love and light, positivity focused spiritual circles because you often have to feel pain and discomfort. It is confronting because you have to look into yourself with honesty and self-awareness and feel some of the painful memories that created this repression. You have to look in the mirror at your authentic face hidden under the mask of acceptable social behavior.
The more aware you are of your shadow the more embodied you are as a human being. No one ever became enlightened without facing their shadow and exposing it to the light of consciousness.If you ask me, this is the highest form of light work because it requires the utmost unconditional love and compassion.
We are given opportunities to face our shadow through our triggers and through what is not working in our lives. It doesn’t matter how much we run or suppress, our shadow will keep chasing us (and repeatedly catching us) until we do the work. The universe is on our side to help us become whole, and our life and our bodies are always communicating to us when an element of our life is not in alignment. To do shadow work is to have the courage to fully choose your alignment. Here is another example:
There is a little girl who is very self-assured, opinionated and assertive. She is told not to answer back, that what the parents say goes and that she is not to question authority. She is taught to sit quietly and do as she is told. In order to feel her parents’ approval and love, she represses and hides her tenacious spirit and strong sense of self, becoming Miss Nice Girl and a people pleaser. As an adult, she notices that she is repeatedly being triggered from an external source around feeling controlled. She receives bodywork and facilitation from a tantra practitioner and starts to do shadow work. Memories come up of her voice being shut down and she remembers the young girl she forgot all about who was self assured and assertive. She reclaims this hidden, repressed shadow and integrates it into her life. A fractioned off or split part of her personality has now been owned and reclaimed. She is more confident and more powerful. This is also an example of where a shadow trait is “golden” or a virtue.
The reason that the human shadow contains mostly vices or less likable traits is because we tend to reject, deny, suppress or disown the least desirable aspects of our personality. For example, we are more likely to suppress anger or jealousy than to suppress a talent we have. The most common misconception about the human shadow is that it contains only those things that are not helpful to us. In fact, the human shadow often contains disowned or rejected aspects of a person that are truly supportive to a person. This is especially true for people who struggle with shame and low self-esteem like in the above example. These are referred to as the golden shadows.
Working with your shadows is the key to your power, which means it is the key to you knowing who you truly are and being who you truly are. No more bullshit, no more projected anger and resentment, no more living small, just conscious choice that comes from wholeness.
If you are interested in taking this journey, you can join me in one of my 8 Week Course, Ignite your Power! Step into a container that will allow you to stop doubting yourself and the person you came here to be. Can find out more about that HERE