7 Ways to Work With Your Shadow
So you've heard of shadow work but what does it really entail? Our Shadow Work Box gives you the tools to help you face, process, and release what is needed to work with your shadow and start your life anew.
A year ago
We welcome Lori Menna (Creator of Cosmic Collage) to share her wisdom on this revolutionary theme. Shadow work has been a big part of Lori’s path. As an artist, she is inspired by the great mystery that is life. She is drawn to connecting to a deeper meaning through both visual patterns like fractal in nature and patterns of emotion that have echoed through generations and live within our human bodies.
Inner peace doesn’t always come naturally, it’s something that typically needs to be worked on. By exploring ones shadow, you may find yourself becoming closer to an inner state of calm that lasts longer than the 30 minute high after a yoga class.
It's okay to feel scared or not ready to face your shadow, but will you ever truly feel ready? It's facing the deepest darkest parts of yourself. I don't know about you but I feel nervous myself. And guess what? That's okay.
Start with the first step, learning how to work with your shadow and go from there. Below are 7 ways you can do just that. Now before you dive in, repeat this out loud:
"I embody creation that is fueled by the process of peeling back the layers of myself.”
Now you're ready ;)
1. Identifying your Shadow
What is your shadow? Your shadow self is the unconscious part of you that could potentially be affecting your reaction and behavioral patterns. Most likely due to past traumas and experiences that you have not yet properly processed and integrated into your current state of being.
Being triggered and recognizing your triggers are important parts of shadow work. Once you understand one of your triggers, connect to the mediation practice that works for you to release the old story that is connected to the root of the emotional fuel.
3. Reflection & Projection
Shadow work is reflecting on your projection. Once we recognize what triggers us and leads us to an old emotional or behavioral pattern, then it’s time to reflect and discover what is it within our own being that causes us to begin to project or judge a person or situation.
If you can look within and identify your own destructive behaviors you can begin to understand yourself deeper. We all project at times and sometimes it takes a minute or years to realize that we are blaming others for our own shortcomings. When we unconsciously blame others for what’s going on within, we are acting from wounded parts of ourselves.
*This is not to say that when we speak up in the face of injustice that we are always projecting. Be mindful of this as the word “projection” is currently being loosely thrown around in the “enlightened spiritual” community. We can only relate to others as deeply as we relate to ourselves. The work always starts from within and ultimately this human experience is a journey in knowing thyself.
Acceptance doesn’t mean no more shadow work or no more darkness. If the light is shining on you, by natural law, you are casting a shadow. This is part of nature.
The acceptance of the polarity within and in all that exists is a key element to understanding and working with your own shadow. Of course we thrive in love and light but we also benefit from the lessons of the shadow and the darkness. Remember the dark womb is where our journey began.
5. Processing Pain
Your shadow is not to be feared. Pain, sadness, and anger are all part of your being. You are human and have been gifted the ability to access a range of emotions that ultimately allow you to return to love. Feelings of anger, guilt or sadness are all a part of your process.
You can sit with it all and you will be ok. You can sit in the dark and feel the pain. Moving through the darkness is the way to the light and one cannot exist without the other. Pain is a mutable energy and you have the ability to move through it.
6. Practice & Tools
So once we identify our shadow, our trigger, we begin to reflect, accept, and process our pain body. We sit with the emotions and allow them to run their course.
Lately so many terms are thrown around in this realm. One term that comes to mind is spiritual bypassing. If you’re not taking the time to connect with yourself and explore your darker emotions like hatred, fear, anger and jealousy, then you are not doing shadow work.
We all have these emotions, they may come and go and we may learn ways to manage them, but that doesn’t ensure that they do not return or surprise you in moments when you least expect. Understanding these emotions takes consistency in your meditative practice.
There is no magic pill, ceremony, shaman, class or program that will make these emotions dissolve entirely and indefinitely. Your personal work may look like breath work, astral projection, conversations with your higher self, exercise, chord cutting, painting, tapping, running, etc. Any form of self-care is a step in the right direction. Find what works for you.
Everyone is different and the work never ends. But each step you take awakens your inner self and you’ll notice beautiful changes in how you act, feel & the energy you give off.
7. Time & patience
As human beings we are forever evolving and changing. The shadow parts of ourselves that had influence over us a year ago may not influence us the same way today. At times we may feel like we are going backwards.
We may say to ourselves, “wait I’ve already processed this.” I personally have always resonated deeply with the spiral theory in the sense that we circle back around but we are always moving closer to source if we stay on our path.
The only thing permanent and definite in this world is that everything is constantly changing. Nothing is to remain the same, there is no darkness in which the light will not grace. It takes time and virtue to evolve out of a destructive pattern. The beauty, inner peace, and balance that emerges as we process our shadow is a new way, higher way of living.
Our Shadow Work Box includes a beautiful Balance Tote Bag from Cosmic Collage that portrays the balance between light and dark. Fill it with things that nourish you and remember, when you embrace all of yourself, you embody wisdom and grace.
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