Navigating the shadow

Does it feel like you are rehashing old patterns and tossed around with gloomy thoughts or negativity about yourself or the world? Does it feel like more effort to stay in a state of love and light, even though you thought you were done with those old thought patterns? Are you internalising a lot, feeling tired and wanting to withdraw from the world? Are you noticing more conflicts, internal and/or external?

Fantastic! You are being gifted the opportunity to work with shadow. Here it is. Slam bang in your face! Bleh! Ugh!

The question is, do you say “Yes” to this opportunity?! Are you ready to upgrade to the next level of love? Are you ready to meet it all and welcome it all? The universe thinks you are!

Do you chose fear or love?

The shadow is what we fear. That which we keep in the shadows to avoid it being seen. It’s the “what I don’t want you to know about me”, and even more so, the “what I don’t want to accept about myself”. It is what disgusts you. We often have it so well hidden we don’t even realise it ourselves. I am not judgemental. I am not a jealous bitch. I am not evil.

To be that would be to be unlovable, to be rejected and abandoned. And that would feel like being left to die.

We compensate by emphasising the opposite (e.g. being super nice and always accommodating to others) or avoiding situations that awaken this shadow in our own consciousness or that might show it up.

We tend to internalise harsh and negative dialogue with ourselves and compensate with actions that can be self-harming, like addictions or situations not aligned with our truth. Perhaps it comes out all ugly in a passive aggressive way, projected on to others. The internal battlefield is externalised and you are in battle with the world. We also try to ‘purify’ and rid ourselves of these darker parts through all sorts of cleanses and spiritual practices and exercise and doing good. Or maybe we outright deny and suppress them.

Light and shadow

The fear of the shadow being uncovered, however, and all that you do, often unconsciously, to keep the shadow hidden, is a major driving force in your life.

The good news is that in the shadow lie your greatest strengths. Once owned and channelled through the heart that energy leads to powerful transformation. The release and directing of that energy is absolutely phenomenal. Seriously! I have witnessed and experienced this so many times.

Let’s take some very simple examples to illustrate where shadow = strength when the same energy is channeled consciously through the heart:

  • I am jealous = I am inspired to be a greater version of myself and create a better life
  • I am judgemental = I have a great ability of discernment
  • I am arrogant = I am leader
  • I am cold and lack compassion = I am level-headed and can see the big picture

So I beg of you, please, please stop trying to cleanse or meditate away or exercise away or suppress or get rid of your shadows. You can’t anyway, no matter how much you try. This would be like losing your juice!

Instead, shed light and love on your shadows. Tease them out with understanding and compassion. Create safety for them to be seen. Acknowledge their power and potential. Connect with their energy and give it direction for positive impact.

The exploration of my shadow has become an important regular, and even, dare-I-say, joyful practice for me. Not always easy, I would say that is the most empowering path I have ever taken. And I get to witness it again and again happening for others in my work.

To realise that you are still loveable and perhaps loved even more – you WITH all your shadows and fears and strategies to hide them – is the most liberating experience!!! Suddenly you are free to be and express and create all that you are meant to, and I’m pretty sure that you have something unique and important to share.

Hide and Seek – Catch me if you can!
As I reflected on this topic one early morning last week by the lake Geneva, my attention was drawn to a large tree. Two dark red squirrels were playing hide and seek around the trunk. Each one trying to see and catch the other, they were scampering around this tree with such speed and agility and glee, changing directions, left and right, up and down. I burst out laughing. That’s it! That is my light and shadow parts at play, doing this all the time, it is the constant dance.

So is it like this for you?

“You can’t see me! I’m the shadow!”
says the dark to the light, “You can’t catch me but I’m going to catch up on you and get you – run, run!”

Or is it more like this?

“I am going to see you dark one,” says the light to the dark, “and I’m going to shed all my light and love on you – you can’t hide.” 

Can you just enjoy the game? Can you relax in the dance with the dark partner?Which one is leading in your life right now in any particular situation?
Is it holding you back in some way?
Are you ready to direct that same energy through your heart? 

Now this is a big area to discuss, so in my next blogs I’ll write more about how I like to consciously and joyfully navigate the shadow.

I’d love to hear about your own experiences with this. Please do share your comments. And stay tuned for more.

3 thoughts on “Navigating the shadow

  1. I particularly enjoyed the squirrels! However, your article also encouraged me to think about myself and my shadows. As life is evolving, these shadows seem to be changing or taking different forms. I also feel differently about them depending on the alignment of the stars or other heavenly bodies! Today I am embracing my shadows and accepting their presence, but some days my shoulders are stooped and I bear the weight of these partners physically. What I choose to do is to follow the dance, so that sometimes they lead and sometimes I shall.

  2. Pingback: atelier so cute | Sunrise meditation (Navigating the Shadow – part 2)

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