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Shadow Work: A Deep Dive

This has been a very difficult year for me emotionally and spiritually. I am acutely feeling the intensity of what is happening in the world, as many of us are. These are difficult times for everyone, and I am becoming increasingly aware of how extreme internal separation and fragmentation really is. We have all been experiencing the fluctuation in our emotional states, and the tension has been high. We, as a collective, are in a death process. This death process looks like the fragility of the ego crumbling, and the collective shadow rising to the surface within each and every one of us, as well as our external realities. What we are seeing externally is the internal separation that humans have been living with. The aspects of people that have been denied, rejected and suppressed deeply within the psyche. The only way to heal the separation in our world, is to heal the separation within ourselves, and this happens through a process called Shadow Work. Shadow Work is the process of working with and integrating the human shadow, and the human shadow is any aspect of a person that is not exposed to the light of their own consciousness.

In these New Age and spiritual communities there is a very popular term used to describe people who have a desire to help and heal others through shining light and positivity, and these people are called “Lightworkers.” Now, don’t get me wrong I think light working is a beautiful tool when used in alignment. The problem is, there are too many people focusing only on doing light work to avoid all darkness and negativity which actually serves to create more internal separation and fragmentation. If we want wholeness and integration, we cannot focus only on the light, we must also focus on the shadow. So many people believe that turning your attention to and focusing on something negative will only serve to create more of that negativity, but this is not how it works. The more we resist something, the more it will persist. So, in fact, our denial of negativity is what creates more of it.

The universe is set up in a way to help us become more self-aware through the law of mirroring. What this means is that anything that you are not consciously aware of about yourself will be reflected to you in the external world, especially in your relationships. An example of this would be when suppressing negative emotions, such as fear, and trying to focus on positive emotions to bypass that fear will actually create more fear and things to be afraid of in your life. Our emotions are like a crying baby, they will only get louder if they are ignored and some of the ways they can get “loud” are through unsettling mental and emotional issues such as depression and anxiety, or through physical accidents, illnesses,etc... The moment we own our fear (or other emotion), allow it to become conscious within us and let ourselves feel and express it, the universe has no more reason to mirror it back to us. Through our process of owning it, we have become more integrated, whole and empowered. This is only one aspect of shadow work, there are many more such as inner child healing, parts work, soul retrieval, etc...

More and more I have been doing “parts work” with my clients, and I have found it to be an incredible way to integrate. Parts work is a process of working with all parts or personalities of a person that have been created within them through the experience of internal separation or fragmentation. Every person has multiple personalities, some people just have them to the extreme that they are diagnosed with a mental disorder. But just like our external world is an Eco system that is made up of many different parts and people, so too is our internal world. Many people talk about the concept of inner peace, and the only way to achieve inner peace is to calm the war within. If there is an internal war going on, then that means that your parts, or individual aspects of your self are in opposition to one another. All of the contrast we see in the world around us is a direct result of the contrast we have going on within us.

Healing is the process of becoming whole again, and to do this, we must re-own and integrate the parts of us that have been fragmented. Fragmentation is painful, it's painful to reject and deny parts of ourselves. This is why many people avoid Shadow Work. It takes a lot of courage to face our pain and to work through it. What most people don't realize is that not everything we suppress and reject is negative. And let me be clear, positive and negative do not equal good and bad. This is an association that humans have given to these polarities. The only reason we believe things to be "good" or "bad" is because we were taught this in the process of socialization.

If you feel negatively toward yourself, have low self-esteem or feel powerless in any area of your life, then a lot of what you have suppressed in the shadow is actually positive. Much of our personal power lies in our unconscious, and it awakens along with us in our process of self-integration.

I love doing Shadow Work with my clients. Seeing them become more empowered in their lives is one of the greatest rewards of walking this path. Humans are terrified of their own shadow, terrified of what they will uncover. I understand how hard it is to face pain, and how much courage it takes to walk through fire. I would be lying if I said I never wanted to give up, but I also recognize that the consequences of giving up are far greater than if I continue to dive deep and do my Shadow Work. Growth and healing is a lifelong journey, and I recognize that there is no destination of happily ever after on this journey, and to expect that only leads to suffering. I also recognize that in always chasing after that happy ending, we miss so much of the joy to be found right here and now. I've faced some difficult and scary things, and when it comes to Shadow Work, I never ask anyone to do anything I haven't done myself. I know the relief this work brings, as I've experienced it many times. There is always light at the end of the tunnel, but you will never see that light if you don't enter the darkness first. We are currently seeing the devastating consequences of our avoidance and separation from one another and the earth. The only way to put an end to this destructive cycle is to make peace within ourselves by owning all aspects of who we are. Love means to take something or someone as a part of you, so that you are unable to hurt it or them without also hurting yourself. It means that others best interests become your own, and vice versa. It is the recognition that we are one with all of life. Every choice we make has a direct consequence that has a ripple effect in the collective consciousness. And it is in this self-awareness that we can then create a world that is safe and harmonious for everyone.

Please know that whether or not you choose to do Shadow Work, the universe will continually give you every opportunity for growth and expansion, which means that your shadow will follow you everywhere you go. The highest form of self-love is to love and embrace all of you, including your own shadow. Enlightenment only happens to those who expose all of their shadow to the light of their own consciousness.

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