When Shadow Comes to Light
By Lori Lines
What is shadow work, and how do you do it?
Therapists, coaches, influencers, and daytime tv hosts – everyone is talking about shadow work. It can be a buzzword to get likes, presume sagacity, or establish a pseudo-guru status. However, shadow work is more than a hashtag; it is a profound tool for meaningful healing, trauma recovery, relationship rehab, and self-actualization.
Fundamentally, shadow work is a healing journey of personal reclamation and soulful integration. It is the recovery of lost parts of the self that have fallen into the obscurity of the unconscious – the shadow self.
Meeting The Shadow Self
Id, Ego, Superego, Inner Child, Higher Self, Lower Self, Mask Self, Conscious Mind, Unconscious Mind, Subconscious Mind, Soul, Spirit, and Shadow Self…
There are many aspects and labels for states of being and aspects of personhood. The shadow self relates to all aspects of the self that do not respond to the ego ideal and become unconscious with time. Despite the ego and shadow, conscious and unconscious, or shadow and light becoming disjointed, they are still part of the same soul, resulting in dis-ease from a fractured spirit. This is painful because it is not a natural state!
Each lifetime we arrive as an integrated soul, ready to learn, grow, and enlighten. Yet, over time and across interactions, we are conditioned to view certain aspects of ourselves as unacceptable and unlovable. These internalized beliefs, often established by what triggers the shadows of others, such as parents, define the shadows self. We refuse to acknowledge and accept these shadows as a defense mechanism to avoid dissonance resulting from shame, guilt, and self-loathing.
The Darkest Shadow
It is important to remember that the shadow self isn’t bad; we are only conditioned to believe it is “bad.” There may be gifts and talents repressed by the shadow self because we were mocked or punished for them, like the creative mind of a daydreamer or a little boy’s love of dance. What is actually “bad” are the harmful effects of denying who we genuinely are. Self-denial leads to disconnection from the higher self, Source, the destiny they co-created, and the path of enlightenment it leads to.
As a result of this unnatural, disconnected state of being, intrapersonal issues arise, such as
Emotional Triggers such as anxiety, depression, anger
Emptiness and lack of personal fulfillment
Lack of life purpose
Self-harm, such as alcoholism, drug abuse, overeating, overworking, etc.
The harmful effects do not happen in a vacuum, extending beyond our inner being into our interpersonal experience. These challenges include
Toxic relationship patterns – domestic violence, infidelity
Jealousy and envy
Being overcritical due to projection
Alienation and loneliness
Unhealthy or lack of boundaries – co-dependence, defensiveness
Ultimately, we can’t be or give our best, or even better, selves if we cannot first be our whole selves.
Coming to the Light
Shadow work isn’t all love and light, nor doom and gloom. Recovering “unlovable” parts of who you are can be painful, jarring, and disorienting, but it is also profoundly freeing, healing, and empowering. It doesn’t take years and years of probing deep within the depths of your soul to experience the transformative power. Some people successfully embark on and accomplish a solitary journey of soul retrieval. Because shadow work can be facilitated by practices that override the conscious mind, like hypnotherapy, art therapy, and shamanic healing, some people seek therapists, counselors, or Shamans. But shadow work doesn’t take degrees, certifications, crystals, herbs, or leatherbound journals.
Shadow work requires an open awareness of what has been hidden and a willingness to welcome it into the light. You neither forsake the light nor eradicate the shadow. There may always be aspects of yourself you are uncomfortable sharing or acknowledging, just as there will be aspects you want to put front and center. The goal of integration is awareness, acceptance, and allowing- awareness of both your shadow and light, accepting them both equally, and allowing the authentic experience of both.
The Shadow is the Greatest Teacher
There are many paths along the shadow work journey. It is your soul; therefore, you know best how to retrieve the aspects that make it whole. Still, the following past-present-future perspective should offer some illuminating guidance for every step of your journey.
Review – Take an inventory of your life thus far; journal prompts can be very helpful in this respect. Examine your childhood, relationship history, personal accomplishments, and regrets. As you do inventory, take note of any recurring themes and patterns.
Accept – Understand that you may experience some discomforting revelations and recover painful memories. Accept that what is done cannot be changed, but by acknowledging it, you can change your future!
Observe –Practice being the watchful observer, taking a non-judgmental, unemotional look at your reactions and responses. Pay particular attention to your emotional triggers. Remember, not all triggers flare immediately. A midday occurrence in the office may come to a head in the evening during an interaction with a spouse.
Question – Once you have gained insight as the watchful observer, identify any patterns that arise. Question the who, what, when, and why surrounding an emotional trigger. Next, explore where; At what point in my life did this trigger start? Finally, how does this connect to my shadow?
Allow – Integrating the conscious self with the unconscious self is a process. All aspects of the shadow won’t reveal themselves at once, nor does unlearning conditioning happen overnight. Change and healing are not linear; trust that your shadow will reveal itself at a pace that honors your greatest good and highest purpose. There are no mistakes, only lessons.
Honor – You may not love or even like all you discover as your awareness expands. No matter what you face, try to honor your shadow self, even if you aren’t ready to embrace it. Shadow work is a journey of awareness. The more awareness you gain, the more fully embodied you are as a conscious being sovereign over your personhood and path. Only in your fullness and with agency and authority can you live your destiny and follow your fate – your authentic and unique path to ascension and the brilliance of enlightenment.
In love and truth,
1/31/2023 09:06:31 pm
Thank you! Sending you lots of love!
2/1/2023 04:32:22 am
Very interesting. This information parallels with my scripture devotional yesterday, but uses different verbage. I love learning about what is going on behind the scenes with myself and everyone.
2/2/2023 05:46:09 am
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Author Lori Lines
Disclaimer: Lori is a high-level channel. The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.