Is it me, or are ALL the new age + spiritual growth communities talking about shadow work right now?
It’s become the latest trend, hasn’t it?!
I read a lot about how shadow work is a form of “self-care” (ummm… maybe not quite the description I’d use 🙄 ). Or how it’s all of our “personal responsibilities” or a kind of “moral duty”, to do the deep dives. Or that if you don’t do your shadow work then the trajectory of global ascension could be put in jeopardy…!!
As someone who’s been practicing shadow work and facilitating underworld journeys for other brave souls for some years, my feelings about this rise in the popularity of shadow work are mixed. Because whilst there are sprinklings of truth in these kinds of declarations, the sensational language isn’t doing anyone any favours!
And I’m also worried, that if we’re not careful shadow work will become another commodity – an experience to consume like the rest of capitalism, and not a tool for actual transformation. Without seeing the difference, and NOT approaching shadow work as the slow-burning transformational tool it is, I think there’s a risk we’ll just end up perpetuating the harm that has caused so much fragmentation in the first place…
Shadow work is a deeply personal process
It’s not something you can make people do, or coerce them into practicing because (unlike a lot of folks’ misconceptions) it’s not just about processing your past. As shadow integration sweeps into fashion, more of the curious may dip their toes in, but unless you’re willing to dive deep into your OWN underworld and activate genuine transformation from there, it’s not really shadow work at all.
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Do you know the difference between change and transformation?
Change is a response to external influences.
It’s how we slowly, continually get molded over time by our friends, our environments, the demands of society. Or perhaps more quickly, by injury, or sudden societal restrictions like what’s been happening in our world recently.
But transformation comes from within.
It requires a shift in your core beliefs, in your perceptions, in your motivations. Transformation isn’t dependent on outside influences and doesn’t need to be propped up by them either.
This is why you could say that shadow work is the ultimate enemy of the old paradigm – it gives us absolute power to become the people we were born to be, facilitating this transformation from the inside out (and that means without needing to purchase X new product, program, pill or gadget).
As we all know: New Earth is being born within each of us, not out there somewhere else…
So when each layer of your personal transformation is complete… that layer will be unaffected by whatever the world throws at you.
Ready to join the paradigm shift through shadow work?
Here are 5 tips for using shadow work for personal transformation.
Shadow work step 1. Become your own witness
The very first step to any personal transformation is awareness. And surprise, surprise, that’s also the first step in shadow work.
Greater self-awareness can be activated in any number of ways, here are some for starters:
✶ Slowing down – physically and mentally
✶ Observing your thoughts
✶ Observing your reactions to people and situations
✶ Noticing your triggers
✶ Noticing repeating patterns
✶ NOT judging yourself
That last point – the one about not judging yourself is KEY. To witness is almost like standing aloof from your instinctive urge to critique. This is not about changing or fixing. But observing. Gaining info. Because information is power.
Shadow work step 2. Define the dream!
So you’ve realised that you’ve outgrown your current version of life?
After self-awareness comes the excitement of defining where you want to go next!
✶ So what’s the goal?
✶ What’s the vision?
✶ What’s the dream?
It’s imperative to define it
✶ What will you do?
✶ Who will you be?
✶ What incremental changes will it take to get there?
Grab some paper and write down some ideas for size. And as you begin to let them flow, bring in the witness, observing where your emotions flare and activate.
✶ What feels unrealistic?
✶ What feels greedy?
✶ Do you feel unworthy of this future life?
✶ Do you feel incapable?
✶ Are you ashamed of a desire?
✶ Are you toning yourself down?
Again – don’t’ judge. Observe, and note these responses for later…
Shadow work step 3. Journal with these prompts…
Remember those emotional flares and activations from tip 2? Now it’s time to dive in deeper…
Pick whichever goal, vision, or dream felt out of reach or triggering, and journal with these prompts:
✶ When I imagine myself having this life, I feel…
✶ If I had this life, I would…
✶ What kind of person would that make me?
✶ There’s no way I could be that person because…
✶ Who in my life has encouraged me to believe this about myself?
✶ What are some reasons I have now, not to believe them?
✶ I possess some of the EXACT qualities I need to begin living that life. These qualities are…
Shadow work step 4. Expand your comfort zone by sitting IN the discomfort
When we begin to edge OUT of the familiarity of our comfort zones, it feels, naturally, uncomfortable. But every inch of that uneasy expansion that you claim will very soon become your new normal.
You just need to acclimatize.
Practice being in the feeling.
Sit in the discomfort.
Breathe through it.
Shadow work step 5. Re-define yourself
The most amazing thing about shadow work, it that it enables us to re-define ourselves.
The tips, exercises, and journal prompts above are designed to expand your conscious awareness of who you are.
This is what shadow integration is.
It works to empower, by literally widening your consciousness, giving you access to MORE of yourself and your potential. So embrace your extra pieces! Re-define who you are NOW, not just who you’ll be post-transformation, and not just who the world labels you as being.
This is how the new version of YOU is able to rise up from within and become real in the world.
What’s YOUR vision of transformation?
Let me know in the comments below…!
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