Doing Shadow Work is integrating that part of us that we don’t like into making ourselves whole. Shadow Work is one of those terms in the spiritual community that gets used…a lot. And let’s be honest, many of those who use it don’t really know the true meaning behind the actual amount of work it takes to do Shadow Work. And if I am being completely honest, I was one of those people. Doing Shadow Work is a practice that really requires us to go inwards into dark spaces and many times review dark moments from our past. Shadow Work makes us look at these characteristics that we absolutely hate in ourselves and figure out why it’s there and how it affects our day to day action.
What is Shadow Work?
Our Shadow is the part of our unconscious that we do not like to acknowledge or associate with. It is the very hidden parts of our minds that our conscious does not identify with. Many times these feelings can be rage, jealousy, greed or emotions that we tend to label as “negative”. While many of these emotions are human instincts that we were conditioned to believed to be “wrong” as children, some characteristics are due to our upbringing (whether good or bad). In many instances, several key moments in our lives, affect how we perceive as good or bad. For example, a child who grew up constantly being told to “shut-up” or not speak up, can develop feelings of being “unimportant” later on in life which can grow into rage.
How Can I Recognize My Shadow Side?
This is where the work begins. You acknowledge that EVERY SINGLE BODY has a Shadow Side and figuring out how our actions are affected by them is half the battle. Now, that you discovered the rabbit hole hiding in the bush, you must enter. You have to pinpoint those moments that really illicit those undesirable emotions in us. For example, why does that lady in our office trigger such absolute rage every time she walks into the office with another “woo is me” story. Like, get your crap together, Karen (I apologize to all the Karens on my blog”)! Or why does it make us so upset when someone cuts us off mid sentence? Or why we procrastinate so much? Why do we envy those who have that exclusive limited phone? Of course, all these may not apply to you but really sit there and see if you can pick what brings out this unwanted emotions.
Techniques to Work on Your Shadow Side?
Most importantly, before you begin any of these exercises, make sure you don’t judge yourself. This is a guilt-free zone. Don’t label these emotions or feelings as “good or bad” instead just call them emotions. Center yourself and make sure you are grounded. These exercises are there to recognize those characteristics in us we aren’t too fond of and why they are there. Shedding some light to them eases the power they have over us and releases some of the pressure they hold over our daily lives.
- One exercise you can do is imagining that one person in your life you cannot stand or have a weird obsession over. That coworker or that boss that just doesn’t not listen to what you have to say or that aunt that is just so full of herself. Sit down in a quiet spot and talk to them in your mind or out loud. Yes, it sounds crazy but really tell them how you feel in the first person. Really go into it. No one is listening, no one is judging. Tell them how when they don’t listen it makes you angry, or upset. It feels that you are not worthy….it may remind you of a time when you were younger. It may illicit rage….really go into it and see where it leads you. Don’t hold back. Let some of that pressure out and DON’T JUDGE.
- Writing letters to yourself like a dairy but you burn the pages once you are done. In the same method as the previous exercise, write down what may have upset you today or who upset you and take a moment and ask yourself why. If you are able to recognize a moment where you felt perhaps envy or sadness, write it down and be honest with yourself. If Becky’s new business venture put you in a bad mood, see if you can figure out why. Perhaps because you hate your job and she took a leap of faith that you are too scared to. Perhaps because your support system when you were younger was nonexistent so your self esteem is shot. There could be a million reasons, but what are they. Once you are done, burn these pages. Don’t keep them if it’s not necessary to your process.
- Of course, doing Reiki can help show ourselves some love while we go through this process. Don’t forget to show yourself plenty of love.
The other important component, is not to stay stuck in this investigative mode. What we are doing is enough to let the steam out, to acknowledge the existence of our shadow side but continue to live in the real and present moment with our better qualities. There is no need to have rage machines inhabiting the earth in the name of “shadow work”. This is your own personal and private process. Most importantly, if you feel that these emotions are too much for you to handle on your own or you wish to harm yourselves or others, SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP IMMEDIATELY! There is no shame in seeking outside help. If you just feel that talking to someone can help, please reach out to a mental health care professional, they are there to help.
Crystals to Help with Shadow Work
Like I mentioned before, grounding is an essential part of Shadow Work along with being forgiving to yourself and not holding judgement so these are a few stones that can help with that:
- Obsidian: Grounding Stone. Helps remove negative energies and keep auric field clear.
- Smoky Quartz: Grounding Stone. Helps transmute almost unlimited amounts of negative energies, including from ourselves.
- Nuummite: Grounding Stone. Encourages self acceptance and assists in doing “inner-work”.
- Labradorite: Amplifies the effects of healing and aids in “shadow work” along with helping root out negative patterns and behaviors.
- Rose Quartz: Like a balm to the soul. Helps us learn to leave ourselves fully. A calming stone that helps ease anxiety and stress.
- Black Kyanite: Grounding Stone. Helps promote in healing the soul and emotional issues.
- Black Jade: Grounding Stone. Helps with the integration of one’s Shadow Side. Aids in integrating with one’s “darker” side. Helps in going inward and getting rid of destructive patterns and emotions.
I hope wherever this journey take you, I hope you do it with so much love.
Sending you Love and Light Always,