Shadow Work: It’s All About Me

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In seeing the title, I’m sure you’ve already prepared yourself to read about how being selfish is negative, or how to better serve those around you. If you did, you are in for a very different surprise.

It’s common to think of shadows, secrets, and self as something negative. Truthfully, there is no such thing. Shadow work is about going within to the voice you hide, that makes you feel guilty, or is afraid of judgement, and finding power and purpose within those parts of yourself.

This year seems like it brought all your traumatic, buried personal traits out of the grave. There was no ignoring it any longer, you had to face what you’d decided to avoid for years. And now Ego is here, tempting you to use him to justify why you are who you are as if it were a sin.

Or at least, that’s how we are supposed to feel about it, right?

The dark side. Shadow Self. Ego. We have to shun it all and stay in the shiny, happy land of make believe and social media winning photographs. Or do we? Here’s been my thought for the last few weeks.

I think all our undesirable parts have been drudged up for a bigger reason. First, obviously, for healing, as is usually the case. But once you’ve closed the wound, instead of just ignoring it all over again, why not honor that part of yourself? Look at it differently, work with the energy in a more positive manner. I’m not suggesting that you transform it to fit into that sunny place I mentioned before, but just utilize it without feeling guilty.  So often in our lives, things happen, often traumatic things, and we keep a list of the parts of ourselves we hold responsible for those experiences and then punish it. This year has definitely been full of tough observation for me, and I can’t imagine I’m alone on this. I’ve come to a point where I just don’t have the energy to contain what I find undesirable, and it made me think. Why did I find these traits unworthy in the first place? Because somewhere down the road someone who was important to me told me they weren’t good.

After more than ten years in customer service, I was taking the mentality home with me. For years I’ve made a habit of making these little lists in my head of every criticism anyone I’ve ever cared about made. I was vigilant about never creating an experience that would bring them up again because I viewed it as unsavory and selfish not to consider someone else’s feelings (because a partner told me it was). After all, if your partner tells you that you can cut through a soul with your tongue when you want to, you should be more considerate of their feelings and learn to keep your truth in pretty words, right? Or else you’re just a mean person. I’m not a mean person. To the list it went. I wasn’t going to make him have to say it twice; a request from an abuser who told me never to make him have to ask twice before something got done.

You get the point, you can see where this is headed toward complete exhaustion. You’re feeling it, too? I bet. We’re all maxed out with  bullshit like this. The good news is that we are being presented with an opportunity to change, but you’re going to have to change your perspective and employ your shadow side and ego in the way they were meant to be used.

I was talking recently with a Sister about the difference between manifesting and allowing. It’s easy to manifest your dreams, to visualize your ideal life. So why doesn’t it come true if that’s all you need to do, according to the spiritual gurus out there? I mean, just put it out there and it should come to you, right? No, not without the work, the shitty dark stuff you’ve got to swim through. Those shiny, happy people love leaving that part out. Yes, the Universe is bringing the dream to you, but it’s not going to be wrapped with a pretty little bow you just have to tug to get what you want. You are the creator of your reality, and you have built a lifetime of blocks, made your Shadow a monster, and created a very strong belief that your dreams won’t actually come true. It’s not just you, it’s society as a whole.

Why do you think every fiction plot ever created comes with some great struggle before the end? Because it’s a mirror creation of our subconscious (plug higher meaning of my own book, Dream Wakers, here….). But let’s get back on track….

You can’t fight the journey. You have to have faith that these obstacles are being presented to you so that you can accept the parts of yourself that are needed to overcome them. Sometimes this means building strength in character traits you already accept, other times it means digging deep into the parts you’ve neglected or shunned, and transmuting them to serve your purpose. There is no useless part of who you are, all of it is there to get you to your goal, your dream. Until you accept yourself in entirety, blocks and obstacles, hardship and let down will continue. You will be in a cyclical purgatory, living in repetitive soul lessons, until you can let go of your self-misconceptions.

Ego is your tool to root your thoughts into your reality, how are you using it? It’s time to be honest with yourself. Maybe that self-deprecating, humble mindset you’ve trained yourself to keep isn’t serving you after all. Or maybe you need to check yourself a little. I can’t answer that for you. Either way, Ego isn’t what you should use to describe arrogance or any other negative way of thinking. It’s like throwing a hammer into a river and wondering why you didn’t stop the flow. Use the tool for what it’s here for. You can’t hammer (ego) water (soul) into place but you can take little pieces of wood, nail them together, and redirect the flow of your life source….

At this point, we know where we’ve been lazy about character acceptance, yes? So now what? To be honest, I have no freaking clue, I’m in it just as much as the next human. However, I’m not going to just throw my hands up, say it’s too hard, or I’m too scared to experiment, because frankly I’m sick of this shit, just like you.

Start with accepting our shadow side and using it for the power it provides, or even just simply letting it be what it is. Try approaching the harder stuff with a little grace, a little gentleness. Some things will need to be stomped on to get through, others may need the exact opposite. Use your intuition on this one. Then allow Ego to rule your truth without guilt and let go of what others are going to think. Ground Ego in what you desire. And what about accepting desire! What a taboo that word has become, right? It’s the fire that fuels us, though! Why put it out in shame?

We all wear a mask to conform in some areas of our lives, and it’s time to just put on the real one. It’s as simple and as difficult as that. I know where I need to do this, do you? Let’s do it together and see what happens this time.

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