#13: Shadow Work and You
What is shadow work? how do you know if you need it? What does it look like? And how can shadow work help you in business?
In today’s podcast episode, I go deep into what your shadow is and why it's important for you to immerse yourself in this work. There are a lot of fears and hesitation when it comes to shadow work, and this episode address them all.
where the shadow comes from
If you think of a shadow, it’s a reflection of you, in some shape or form, and it’s only visible when light is shining on you – even if it’s always present.
When doing shadow work, it’s really important to not fully immerse yourself in the identity of your shadow. The shadow is not who you are. It’s just a reflection of a part of you that’s playing out underneath the surface of your conscious mind.
Most people assume that the shadow represents the pieces of us that are undesirable or unlovable. But your shadow can also represent things about you that are positive, but have been rejected because they don’t fit in the dominant narrative of mainstream society and culture. Those are parts of yourself that your conscious mind fear don’t meet expectations and won’t be accepted.
Despite being underneath the surface, your shadow control a lot of the ways you show up in the world – it creates a lot of the patterns that direct your life. They’re your roots and when you’re roots go without nurturing, your ability to expand, grow, and bloom is compromised.
WHY work with the shadow
When shadow work is neglected, you’re failing to address and evolve upon the foundation of how you’ve been being in the world your whole life. That’s one of the main reasons why so many women struggle to truly feel and embody the things we know, through mindset work, in our conscious minds.
The spiritual development world tends excessively focus on positivity and light, discrediting and actively avoiding pain, and therefore a lot of the emotions we experience when working with the shadow. The issue in that is we’re all humans. We experience pain simply as a side-effect of being.
If you don’t know how to be with pain and constantly reject it. you’re not allowing yourself to accept to who you are. True wholeness and limitlessness lies in your ability to be with and accept all parts of yourself. When you bypass pain and the shadow, you’re telling yourself that you’re not fully worthy of acceptance and tender love – which only reinforces the stories that have created your wounds in the first place.
The difference between pain and suffering
Suffering is a result of prolonged exposure to pain. Pain, on the other hand, is the experience of something that’s uncomfortable in a given moment.
Pain highlights parts of us that need to be healed. It’s needed for transformation because it’s a tool of awareness. Suffering has the opposite effect because it signifies pain that’s been rejected and swiped under the rug to the point that it’s incorporated to our ways of being.
Shadow work is about working and being intimate with pain. It helps you access places where you’ve been in suffering and unfold the pain that created it in the first place. Shadow work teaches you to shed the layers that need to be shed for you to manifest growth and transformation.
what does shadow work looks like?
When I work with the shadow, I start with your conscious mind and from there, gradually deepen within you until we get to the core of who you are. That’s what’s underneath all the layers that have been added upon your essence through your experience in the world, in this life or past lives.
What we’re doing is essentially looking at all the parts of you, and helping you shift the energy of the relationship you have with each of them. For example, most of us tend to be in constant fight with our egos and inner critics. Through shadow work, we’re able to change the dynamics of that relationship and move towards compassionate listening to the voices within yourself.
All parts of you are there for a reason, but we often fail to acknowledge those reasons and integrate them into our conscious wisdom for growth and transformation. When you work with your shadow, you’re able to finally stop the fight with parts of yourself that you deem less desirable and see them for what they truly are: fragments of your whole that are trying to tend for you, even if in uncomfortable ways.
Essentially, shadow work allows us to update our “system settings” by understanding why we were “configured” in certain ways as a result of our life experiences and change configurations that no longer serve you and are outdated in your current system and experience.
Reclaiming your power through shadow work
I often hear from my community that the idea of shadow work is scary. Shadow work is indeed painful. You’re looking at parts of yourself that have been neglected and rejected for a long time. But shadow work does not cause suffering – not when it’s done in the right way, with a guide who can help you not be stuck in the shadow.
In addition to that, most of what you’ll experience through shadow work has origins in your childhood or teenage years, when you’re very differently equipped to handle things. The “system” metaphor is very relevant here. You’ve grown and changed and have developed a lot more power than when those those layers were created.
Shadow work allows you to access your power and your truth. Every time you unravel a layer of conditioning (your old “system settings”), you’re getting closer to the core of who you are in your truest form. You’re also learning how to be okay with who you are. It frees you from the fear of judgment and rejection because you’ve embraced your wholeness and complete embodiment.
the shadow and YOUR SOUL-CENTERED business
If you’re here, you’re a change-maker. You want to help others. You’re a healer, you provide service, and you want a better world for all of us.
For you, shadow work is of utmost importance. Your ability to create change in other people’s lives and in the world depends on learning to be with the uncomfortable. In the same way that rejecting your shadow is rejecting yourself, being unable to be with others in their pain is rejecting them and dismissing their humanity.
We have to create safe spaces for one another, spaces where we can witness each other’s pain and acknowledge it as real. Showing compassion and willingness to be with your own shadow is practice in validating others’ experiences and understanding their shadow parts – especially when it comes to systemic oppression.
Your shadow has roots in oppression – even if you do experience privilege in society. It has derived from trauma from horrible things in the world, or parts of yourself that were not deemed lovable and respectable by the norm. Your ability to demonstrate empathy and support others depends on your ability to do the same for your shadow.
Being able to be with your shadow is such a crucial component of being able to lead effectively. Being someone who truly knows and feels that they’re powerful, capable, and limitless, is what allows the leaders that we truly need to rise up.
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