“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but my making the darkness conscious.”
What Is Shadow Work
Shadow work is shedding the light on those aspects of yourself you keep hidden. The traumas, pain, repressed anger and grief. In society and within our family structures we can be taught to repress our emotions but healing comes from understand them with acceptance and compassion.
Shadow work often involves dealing with unresolved issues which can be as recent as yesterday to issues at childhood. It requires effort, time and patience to heal. It does not happen over night unfortunately and often requires unpicking and unravelling old belief systems linked to our trauma.
But through this work you can learn to make peace with your past and become more present in your life.
How To Get Started
First of all Shadow Work is tough. It isn’t meant to be easy. Working through deep emotional traumas can be mentally taxing so it’s important to take one step at a time. If your suffering from anxiety and depression I recommend speaking to a counsellor or specialist. They will be able to guide you through the process and give you the support you need. I personally highly recommend this as I’ve been seeing a therapist for awhile now as I needed to do some deeper healing work and I really needed support as mentally I was really struggling.
1. First Step: Notice What Your Belief Systems Are
Get a pen and paper and write down all the negative things you believe about yourself. For example, I believe I’m not worthy of success or I believe I’m a failure etc. By writing down your belief systems you can now start to work on them and where they came from which is the next step.
2. Then focus on one of those belief systems.
Just one just now. It could be the one that you feel is really holding you back. And now write down a timeline of all the instances in your life this belief system came up. For example, maybe your fear of failure could be from those times you were scolded by parents or teachers for not being good at something or maybe you were bullied and you have issues around self confidence and worth. Write down all the negative stories that have come up in your life that has led you to think this belief is true.
3. Write Down How This Belief Has Held You Back
Now write down all those moments in life where you feel this belief has held you back. Maybe your afraid to open your heart to someone because you were let down by a loved one when you were younger. This has led you to maybe having self sabotaging behaviours that results in you reliving this same loop in your life.
4. What Are Your Triggers
Now bring your mind back to your present moment. What are your current triggers? What makes you feel emotionally on edge and anxious? For example, an interesting trigger of mine is my dog, Gypsy. She often misbehaves (well not really just gets over excited easily) but she behaves like an angel around my husband. She’s my trigger because she brings up deep emotions of pain and anger to do with not being good enough or not worth listening too. I know its a dog but our closest pets and people in our lives can actually be our angels in disguise because their showing us what we need to heal within ourselves.
5. Rewrite Your Beliefs
Now rewrite your belief to something that is positive. For example, my fear of failure could be turned into the affirmation “I am successful in all aspects of my life.” Write this new affirmation as many times as you can. Make it your mantra on a daily basis. Say it to yourself when your doing the dishes or doing the school run or walking the dog.
5. Visualise The Future You Will Create
Finally, imagine what your future looks like if you were confident, happy and at peace. See what your doing. Are you living in a beautiful home, or are you surrounded by friends and family? Are you walking along a country road smiling and happy. Of course life isn’t always roses and sunshine but our mindset is a powerful way to create the reality you want. Once you understand where your belief system comes from and what triggers it you can now work on visualising how it would feel once you start healing.
Know that I have only written the minimum steps to doing Shadow Work. It takes time and patience so don’t be hard on yourself if some days you feel like your making no progress at all. The biggest thing with doing Shadow Work is not denying how your really feeling. Be honest with yourself and others. We all have crap days and it’s okay to feel angry, sad, frustrated and everything in between. Remember why your doing this work. Because our repressed emotions can make life pretty miserable.
It’s been found that repressed anger can lead to more illness, anxiety and sleeplessness. That can be said for all emotions that we hold back from expressing. As a mother I am now acutely aware of how I help my own child deal with his emotions after having so much difficulty dealing with my own. I don’t write this blog as someone who is a qualified therapist but only from the view point that I have been and still currently am doing this work on myself. A great book to read on this topic is:
Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche by Robert A. Johnson
Thankyou For Reading
Joanna is a Spiritual Life Coach, Master Reiki Teacher and Healer and Angel Teacher. She teaches online workshops, classes and courses as well as readings for lightworkers and starseeds. If you would like to learn more please follow on Social Media below.