My purpose in writing this article is to address some of the most frequently asked questions about shadow work as it relates to my services as a Holistic Life Coach and to provide you with answers and insights based on my own shadow work experience. Obviously, my answers are not going to be for everybody, however if you’re looking for a “shadow work for beginners” type of resource then I hope this serves to educate and inspire you.
What is Shadow Work?
I define Shadow Work as a process which allows us to access deep joy, purpose, and healing through our challenges and wounds. Shadow Work enables us to identify and uncover the roots of our shame to transmute it into medicine. The meaning of Shadow Work will vary from person to person, practitioner to practitioner, and method to method. However, at its core, Shadow Work should be a process of integrating parts of ourselves we’ve disowned, shunned, or bypassed. Shadow Work is about reclaiming and empowering ourselves through our trials and traumas.
My Shadow Work experience, both personally and professionally, has been profound. I’ve worked through mental and emotional blocks and healed my body’s hormonal challenges, I’ve created a marriage I never thought was possible, and I continue to challenge outdated beliefs about myself so that I can show up in my work more powerfully.
The Benefits of Shadow Work:
Healing with Shadow Work is a multilevel phenomenon
that touches on every aspect of our life.
Something only becomes a “shadow” when we have deemed it unworthy of being seen. It is an attempt to dis-integrate ourselves and reveal and embody only what’s desirable. That’s impossible. We don’t get to pick and choose what’s desirable and what’s not. Every part of ourselves is interdependent. This attempt to eclipse parts of the self results in resistance, which then manifests as everything from anger and jealousy to addiction and poor relationships with food.
Emotions such as anger, anxiety, depression, fear, and jealousy emerge as repressed parts of the self feel threatened. These emotions are how the shadowed parts of ourselves communicate, and rather than stopping at “I am feeling jealous,” Shadow Work helps to identify the root of the jealousy to find its real need. When we stop repressing these emotions we are able to use shadow work to heal our anger, anxiety, depression, fear, and jealousy, resulting in a more integrated being.
Shadow Work and the Inner Child:
Shadow Work is inner child work. The inner child is the most innocent, bare parts of ourselves ruled by intuitive instinct and pleasure – and not wounds. The child within has clarity, openness, and honesty, and isn’t harsh or judgmental of the self. Life in a human body is rough and if our inner child doesn’t feel safe, she/he retreats. They know our joy and passions and without them, we’re lost. Addressing and being with the parts of ourselves we fear, dislike, and are ashamed of leads us back to our inner child and a deeper connection with Self without the armors.
Shadow Work and Relationships:
A quick way to understand where your shadows live is to look at your relationship triggers. Shadow Work strengthens relationships because it is through looking in the mirror of another that we are shown the parts of ourselves that need attention.
Shadow Work and Lightworkers:
Shadow Work is often the catalyst for empaths, lightworkers, sensitives, and intuitives to realize their gifts. Shadow Work and the Dark Night of the Soul go together in the sense that they reveal to us what our ego’s don’t necessarily want us to see because in doing so, its grip on our lives is threatened.
Similarly, when in business as entrepreneurs, soulpreneurs, and lightworkers, we are shown our shadows. Shadow Work in business, just as Shadow Work in relationships, strengthens our leadership abilities and increases our ability to be of service.
Is Shadow Work Dangerous?
Shadow Work is neither dangerous, nor evil, nor scary.
Shadow Work is only dangerous if you feel living a fully integrated life is dangerous. The truth is, it can feel scary to challenge deeply held beliefs and views of ourselves. It can feel dangerous to dive into uncharted territory of the internal wilderness. Shadow Work is scary if you go about it too quickly and without compassion and with the belief that you need “fixing.” Many of us fear the dark, even though there’s nothing in the dark that isn’t there in the light.
Shadow Work Techniques:
There are many tips, tools, and techniques for engaging in Shadow Work which will vary greatly depending on the individual. My Shadow Work involves the use of esoteric, energy-based or divinatory methods in conjunction with sound coaching and mindset techniques.
If we’re constantly in a state of hyperactivity
and engaging in behaviors that hide parts of ourselves from ourselves,
we won’t know what’s right beneath the surface.
Flowers, astrology, crystals, and tarot are some of my favorite Shadow Work resources which simply help us to access deeper states of consciousness, or the sub-conscious, where our shadows live. Shadow Work with Kundalini Yoga can also help us to access these deeper states. Lucid dreaming and dream analysis are also helpful Shadow Work techniques that aim to understand the subconscious more fully. I often advise clients to keep dream journals and track themes and messages.
Shadow Work Exercises & Journal Prompts:
• Which parts of myself do I deem “undesirable,” “inappropriate,” or “shameful?”
• How long have I held these beliefs about myself?
• Where do I feel this in my body?
• Does this body part have a message for me?
Getting Started with Shadow Work:
Embarking on a journey of healing and identifying our shadows using Shadow Work is exciting and highly transformative. I’ve seen clients find improvements in chronic diseases through Shadow Work. I’ve seen people birth businesses, transmute limiting beliefs, save relationships worth saving and walk away from ones that weren’t. I’ve witnessed life-changing “a-ha” moments as veils of shame were lifted. I’ve personally gone from alcoholism, obesity, chain smoking, resentful childhood wounds, amenorrhea, PCOS and other hormonal challenges, and the like to radiant, healthy, fulfilled, and awakened to my own sovereignty.
What wisdom lies in your shadows?
If you feel called to reintegrate all your parts and peek into the shadows within to brighten your light, reach out to me. Receiving support from a Shadow Work facilitator and someone you feel safe with can make all the difference.