While the road in and out of your Shadow can be intimidating or even downright scary, the benefit of incorporating the lessons you learn along the way make it entirely worth any temporary discomfort.
So you’ve made the brave and important decision to start doing Shadow Work but you aren’t sure how to begin. This article will cover the very basics, but don’t underestimate the challenge or the impact. Journaling your thoughts, feelings and reactions can change your life, but it will take some time. Thank yourself for getting started now.
What is Your “Shadow”?
Our Shadow is any aspect of ourselves that resides in the subconscious. This relates to actions we take without being fully aware of why we made that choice or emotional states that seem sharp and reactive in response to situations that trigger us. This can also be aspects of our true or authentic self that we keep hidden in order to stay safe or feel accepted.
Our shadow can also be seen as the part of us that we’d rather not explore or the voices that we wish you could just silence because they don’t feel like they fit with who we think we need to be. The truth is, the Shadow contains important parts of who we really are and getting to know it is essential to being our true and full selves.
What is “Shadow Work”?
Shadow Work is the practice of taking time to understand the aspects of ourselves that we don’t control directly and tending to those parts. Oftentimes this involves processing trauma, addressing critical self talk and healing our relationship with situations that leave us uncomfortable or overwhelmed. One of the key elements to this tending is learning to show ourselves unconditional curiosity and compassion. Being able to stay calm or return to a state of peace after experiencing a “trigger” is just one goal of Shadow Work. This ability comes from being okay with ourselves and feeling safe in our own bodies as well as trusting our ability to make good decisions that are aligned with our morals and values.
Shadow Work can also include the process of welcoming all of our authentic parts into our lives and showing off our true personality no matter the context or situation. This is especially true for those parts we hide for different reasons such as to fit in or to protect ourselves from harsh, judgmental or even dangerous people and social situations. While we can’t always be our full, unedited self in every situation, the goal is to know ourselves well and make active, not reactive decisions of how we act.
How Do You “Do the Work”?
While your Shadow Work practice can include many elements, the core habit will be journaling so that is where you should start. It is traditional to buy a paper journal and to do your writing and reflecting in that style. Other options include using a digital document such as a Google Doc, which can make it easy to journal at different times in different places or to record your thoughts as voice notes. It is most likely that you won’t ever want to share these recordings with anyone, but the podcast app Anchor is great for recording your voice for later reflection. What’s important is that you have a place to document your thoughts, feelings and reactions that you can return to for later review and reflection.
This article outlines the basics and gets you started on your journey. There are other elements that can be helpful as you continue your work, but this will take you far. Be kind and patient with yourself. Be proud that you are setting aside the time to do this work at all and know that it will take time. The process of healing, of tending to our sorted past, is not a linear process but progress is possible and you will make it.
Need More Help?
If the process of doing your journaling practice feels akin to drowning, you are experiencing increased stress or other intense emotions or are struggling with flashbacks and nightmares, it may be time to seek additional help. Booking a Discovery Call with Shadow Work coach and teacher, Thomas F. Webber is a good place to start. In your call you will have an opportunity to ask questions, feel heard and see if Thomas is a good fit for your goals, timeline and budget. If he is not right for you he will connect you with additional resources so you can continue on your journey to a life after living with an untended Shadow.
To book a call you can either email Thomas as ThomasFWebber@gmail.com or find a time on Thomas’ Calendly scheduler. Discovery calls are always free!
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