Shadow work is the process of looking at the wounded parts of ourselves with compassion, love, and understanding so we can transform them. So those parts of us no longer keep us stuck or in pain.
When you do your shadow work, you set yourself free from the parts of you that have been hidden or that you’ve refused to look at. And as a result, you become more authentically YOU.
The shadow self is born from the grief, guilt, shame, and pain that has accumulated throughout your life and has become ingrained in your patterns. Deep within you, beneath this conditioned self is something greater – something which you already are but which you haven’t been able to freely show or experience. This is your Divine uniqueness.
And the path to get there is directly through your shadow. Each of us is unique – like snowflakes, no two are alike. You have a special magic that no one else has. But sometimes your true essence is hiding beneath the layers of conditioning.
The process of shadow work and transformation isn’t about becoming something you’re not. It’s actually about going through the darkness and the muck so you can get ever closer to the you that has always been within.
The path of transformation is one of becoming.
This doesn’t mean your pain, struggles, or experiences were all in vain. Nothing you’ve been through is ever wasted. Each experience adds to your story and the thing you’re meant to bring to this world. This is the spiritual journey.
We are ever evolving beings. We’re never static. If we want to change in the direction of being more our authentic selves, we have to integrate our shadow work.
We have to heal our wounds by taking an honest look at them. We also have to look honestly at our patterns. When we see a pattern come up, rather than letting ourselves spiral into shame or judgment, we have to look at it with a discerning and nonjudgmental eye.
We have to stop and say, “Hmm, this is happening again. I wonder why?”
Instead of looking at life as things that keep happening TO us, we get to step back and self-observe. To see what information is there for us about our shadow self and what we need to work through.
Taking an honest look at your patterns and your shadow isn’t always a walk in the park! But the fact is, if you want to improve your life, if you want to love yourself, some behaviors and patterns have to go. In order to have the life you say you want, you can’t bypass this work.
This process will unfold naturally if you have the willingness. When I first realized I had to change myself, rather than focus on the outside, I had a lot of resistance. I was afraid of what I’d find, I wanted to keep going, and maybe I could outrun the parts of me that felt unworthy, grief stricken, ashamed of who I was, especially the things I experienced when I was a practicing addict and alcoholic. But what I discovered is this process catches up to you regardless of how fast you try to run, or how busy you try to keep, your shadow is always waiting to be acknowledged. It’s also waiting to heal, and to be loved. Participating in this essential process of change has its own evolution and has a natural, organic timeline to it. You just have to show up each day with curiosity and openness. You have to look at things as they come up for you and stay committed to making better choices. It’s nowhere near as difficult as it seems.
Humor can be an incredible tool in this process. When you dive into shadow work, you’ll see it’s ongoing and once you’ve identified your core conditioning, it really helps to be willing to laugh at your own humanness. To notice a trigger when it comes up and think, “Oh goodness, here we go again!” To keep practicing awareness and keep things light. To not take yourself too seriously.
If you want to love yourself and love your life, you have to have compassion for yourself on this spiritual journey and on your quest for spiritual awakening.
You have to be willing to pause in the moment you want to judge yourself for falling into an old pattern and say, “Wait. I have compassion for myself. I love myself and I am in the process of becoming. I can make a shift now and make a better choice. I’m always in the process of becoming as I grow.”
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