Embracing your shadow
I've been drawn to the dark side (the shadow side, the void) since I was a child. Really. When I saw Star Wars, I wanted to marry Darth Vader, I thought he just needed someone to love him, to understand him. When I saw Sleeping Beauty, I remember telling my mom, if the King and Queen had just invited Maleficent they wouldn’t have had any problems. She just wanted to be included.
I guess you could say, that I have always seen the dark, the shadow as something that just needed love, light and inclusion. The shadow, the dark can be extremely healing and eye opening. We can’t have dark without light. Our shadow is a guide, a messenger and a piece of us. Just like, Luke Sky Walker needed Darth Vader, his journey would not have existed with him. And, just like Sleeping Beauty needed Maleficent. Where would their stories be, if they didn’t have a shadow?
What is shadow? I think Debbie Ford explains it best, shadow is:
The shadow contains all the parts of ourselves that we try to hide, deny or suppress. It is the keeper of all the aspects of ourselves that we dislike and the qualities that we judge as unacceptable. The shadow wears many faces: angry, critical, fearful, lazy, controlling, selfish, weak, pathetic… These are the faces we don’t want to show the world and the faces we don’t want to show ourselves. Most of us expend huge amounts of energy trying to get rid of or control these unwanted aspects of ourselves. We hope that by hiding or fixing our "bad qualities" we will have the peace, success and happiness we desire. Most of us are convinced that we are flawed and inadequate so we become masters of disguise, and go to great lengths to hide our bad qualities from those around us – even from ourselves.
Most of us fear our shadow. It’s normal to be scared of that which we push away. However, pushing away your shadow can cause more distress and unbalance. By embracing your shadow, those pieces of you, you don’t like, are ashamed of, afraid of, you are giving yourself permission to be you. Your shadow can teach you, you just have to be willing to learn.
I love to look at shadow work as a journey, an adventure. Think of yourself like Sleeping Beauty or Luke Skywalker. You are healing yourself, incorporating all of you, so you can live your dream life!
Here are few ways you can start to work with your shadow.
1. You can make the shadow work fun. Collage your fears, your insecurities, the pieces of you, you run from.
2. Personify your shadow. What if your shadow was an animal, what animal would it be, how many different animals? What if your shadow was a person? Who would it be and how many different people would there be? What if your shadow was a goddess or superhero/villain? It’s normal to have more than one representation of your shadow. Because there are several aspects to your shadow, different fears, insecurities, pieces that you push away and deny.
3. Ask yourself what are you running from, hiding from and what is its message? What does this aspect of you want?
4. How can you use your shadow’s message to grow and heal?
Our shadows are part of our path to wholeness. The shadow reminds us of our humanness, the good and bad. The ebb and flow of life, balance and harmony. Isn’t it time you loved and embraced all of you?
If you want to do more work with your shadow. Debbie Ford has written some great books, check her out at the library. Or you can schedule your appointment with me today!