Thank goodness for that bear. Like I mentioned last week, Shadow self and I have really been hanging out.
As I dive deeper with each of my clients, it’s the Shadow work that I find to be the most transformative.
When Shadow shows up, we often vacate ourselves. We stop trusting our experience and we stop speaking + honoring our truth. Then, because sadness is more socially acceptable than anger for most women, we sink into low grade depression. We want to shut Shadow out + we go deep.
Imagine it like this:
You’re standing in front of a classroom full of children. There’s a student in the back calling out + driving you wild. She is unable or unwilling to follow all the rules + creates some chaos for you on a daily basis. She also needed hella boundaries, but when she experiences one, she tends to blow right through those carefully worded boundaries.
I bet you see the heart in that child. You know that something happened at home that is tough right now. She needs to know that she is appreciated. She’s loved and valued.
My Shadow self is also a part of me that I have sequestered somewhere. I don’t want to think about her or hear her, and so when Shadow self shows up, she’s PISSED that I’ve ignored her and she wants to wreck every thing and every relationship that I’ve created.
She runs so she won’t wreck.
Shadow self needs acceptance first; you have a right to be here.
Shadow self needs love next.
Shadow self needs firm boundaries.
How would you speak to her? For me, it’s loving firmness.
Remember (or watch this scene):
In Les Miserables (my high school drama self is ELATED that we get to use musicals to see our truth + healing!), Valjean steals the candles from the priest and when he’s caught, the priest gifts him the candles. Due to his circumstances, Valjean let Shadow Self rule the roost.
The priest accepts him for who he is, not the crimes he has committed.
He forgives him + shows compassionate understanding.
He also gives him a higher purpose.
Sometimes, our shadow is asking us to heal our drama so that our WHOLE + integrated self can step into our larger purpose + commitments.
In the acceptance AND forgiveness, Valjean’s shadow is no longer in power. He’s FREE to commit to a higher purpose.
Not all of us have the priest-dude from Les Mis. That means we are FREE to acknowledge, forgive, and accept our own Shadows.
Don’t shake her. Don’t shame her. Don’t screech out a battle cry, raging internal war.
Welcome her in. When we do that, deeply welcome + honor her, that’s when healing is available to us. Healing is integration. Healing allows all of our parts to come together + be whole.
Now, we welcome. We heal. We also practice drawing boundaries and sharing the greater commitment of our lives.
Shadow self doesn’t want to do any of the commitments I really say, so I give structure to allow her to be AND to move me back to my groove.
These practices have been cultivated over the last years + make a difference in my life. I notice when they slide for 1 day or 3 or a week. Shadow self shows up HARD. I recommend that you PLAY with practice to find the ones that feel the best for you.
Here’s a few of mine:
What are the practices/boundaries that you honor yourself? That you allow SHADOW self to come out, to be heard, to voice her fears + worries?
Let me be clear why I’m so passionate about this right now. Our world is in big Shadow times, right now. Because we are so connected, we are more aware of than ever before. But what to do?
My dear friend, Katie Depaola said to me, “Jess, people don’t want to look at their own shadow. That’s why they won’t look at the Shadow of the World.”
But you do. I do. We do. We are looking at our inner Shadow. We are learning to embrace her. We welcome her back to the fold. That tells me we are growing our capacity to look at the Shadow of the world.
RESOURCES ON SHADOW
Embracing your Shadow is such a big part of our path that we often want to skip over. Please don’t. She’s got gems for you. She’s asking for integration.
To your whole, wild, wonderful self,
P.S. Never have I seen my Shadow rear her head than in my dating life (she really loves to show up there!). Which is part of why I’m so looking forward to August 16 SoulSpeak: Dating & Relationships. Will you join us?