Posted in Human spirit, Journey, Shadow Self

Why do Shadow work?

My lil Angel, the “Cinnamon Girl” is standing in for this post about shadow work and finding the light, enjoying both, the light and the shade, depending on time and place.

I’ve talked a lot about shadow work lately and I have done quite a bit of it to be honest. You might wonder what the benefits are from doing this work that so many of us shy away from. Let’s be honest, it’s hard work, perhaps even a bit scary to confront the darkest aspect of ourselves. But what if we could ultimately gain great freedom from it and an overall lightness that makes us feel as if we are finally breathing? Would it be less scary to consider the rewards, would it make it more worthwhile? Perhaps it could allow us to truly breathe for the first time in a long long time. Here is a little more insight about shadow work and what I have come across in my own journey that is often considered a soul loss.

Many cultures throughout the beginning of time, all over the world believe in the idea that you can lose your soul. When you go through extreme trauma, your spirit will leave your body to protect itself – leaving you to run on autopilot and feeling very detached as if lost and without hope. This can also lead to depression, feeling fatigued and easily subdued by the ego.

Soul loss or shadow work is the act of searching for the light in the darkness – making sense of those old wounds, your triggers, behaviors and transforming into a balanced and spiritually evolved being that is able to harness all their inner power. Once you’ve put in the work and this happens, it is then when your soul comes back home.

More reasons to do shadow work

  • Reclaiming the parts of ourselves we’ve denied and ignored for healing.
  • By owning the parts we’ve not proud of and accepting them, we feel more whole.
  • When we are aware of something, it no longer has the same kind of power to control us.
  • Our shadow thoughts lead us to act out unless we consciously choose not to let our ego-mind lead.

I hope this list provides a little more insight and perhaps even motivation to dig into your own shadow work.

Posted in Inspiration, Self help, Shadow Self

Love and light, shadow work and it’s many lessons

Today I feel like writing more about Shadow work . I’ve read something that sparked a thought in regards to my recent post about Love and light . I feel there is a connection between shadow work and love and light.

It is important to recognize that not everything is always love and light. Things can’t always go to plan, avoiding any and every possible challenge, 24/7. It just doesn’t work that way in real life. Having such an expectation that everything should always be roses, will actually set you back on this healing journey of coming into yourself, and home. You would face massive disappointments, because this journey does include you coming to terms and addressing some of the darkest aspects of yourself. It is about learning to balance your shadow self with love and light. To meet yourself with compassion and understanding when you don’t act as yourself or out of character. It is learning the deeper meanings and reasons as to why, to do the work, and release that energy and karma. Only then can you truly maximize the healing journey.

Being too far on either side causes imbalance and can be bad. It can instill fear and prevent you from doing the work necessary to connect to your highest good. Do not be afraid of the darkness, but instead embrace it, and understand it.

Posted in Inspiration, Shadow Self, Spirituality

Shadow work

What is shadow work?

According to Lonerwolf shadow work is the process of exploring your inner darkness or “shadow self.” I know we have talked about this before and it can be a intimidating process. Perhaps if we change the approach to it and see it in a different, more compassionate light instead of a scary process, it is then that our courage grows and takes on leaps of faith. Let’s give it a try…

Shadow work uncovers every part of you that had been disowned, repressed, and rejected. It is one of the most authentic paths to enlightenment.

It was by the end of last year that I started to work with my own shadow work. Over the months I have learned to understand, forgive, and even love the darker aspects of myself. Fear and a wounded self was replaced with understanding and compassion for myself and the as to why’s. I way for pain to transform into love and compassion. I have learned that these behaviors are wounds and pains from hurtful experiences. That these behaviors are a mere coping mechanism to protect the soft inner core of vulnerability, so I might never experience such pain again. The downfall of it is that by doing so we live a life in fear, a prisoner to our own walls.

It started with shadow work, and what followed was inner child healing and processing ancestral trauma. Each step has fallen into my lap when I was ready to process more, ready to learn about the connection and how it affects us throughout our life’s. I can say that it will be the most important work you’ll ever do and you will become unstoppable in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.

I look forward to what’s next while watching the layers peel away. There is nothing scary about yourself that needs to be hidden and covered up. Meet yourself with love and know that you are beautiful inside and out.

Posted in Inner Child, Shadow Self, Spirituality

A visit from my inner child

Picture: Google

At the beginning of the year, I wrote a long post, kind of a mission statement I could apply for the year ahead, a promise to myself. In it I asked all versions of myself, my soul, my higher self, my shadow self and my inner child to come forward, and together work as one. To shed separate agendas and you feel equally valued and important. To feel equally loved and acknowledged, and to support me in working for one mission and one goal.

You may have heard me talk about the inner child before and here is an excerpt from the prominent psycho spiritual counselor and mentor, Mateo Sol.

“Inner child work is the process of contacting, understanding, embracing and healing your inner child. Your inner child represents your first original self that entered into this world; it contains your capacity to experience wonder, joy, innocence, sensitivity and playfulness.”

Reconnecting with your inner child allows you to access the fragmented parts of yourself so that you can discover the root of your phobias, fears, insecurities and self worth.

So why should you need to reconnect to your inner child you might wonder. I think the main reason is for healing as trauma is often stored during the early years, during childhood, when we don’t have the necessary tools to process it correctly. Revisiting and reconnecting to your inner child later in life, allows you to process these instances and ultimately set you free.

“When you free the Inner Child – you free the adult also.” -Alcazar

Here are some signs that you may have a wounded inner child:

  • You feel that there is something wrong with you, in the deepest parts of yourself
  • You experience anxiety when going out of your comfort zone
  • You are a people pleaser
  • You don’t have a strong sense of identity
  • You deliberately like being in conflict with people around you
  • You’re a hoarder of things, emotions, people, and you have a hard time letting go
  • You feel inadequate as a man or a woman
  • You constantly criticize yourself for your supposed inadequacy
  • You’re unforgiving to yourself, rigid and a perfectionist
  • You have a hard time committing and trusting
  • You have deep abandonment issues and would cling to relationships, even when they are toxic

If any of this rings a bell, you might ask what the next step is and how you can reconnect with your inner child.

One way you can do this is in the form of writing a letter to your inner child. You can apologize if you feel you’re living a life that doesn’t honor your inner child. Or you could write a simple letter explaining that you wish to build a stronger relationship with your inner child in your life going forward.

And this is exactly what happened as I write that long post mentioned above, encouraging all versions of myself to work together. Feeling equally important and loved. It was my inner child that responded first to my written letter. I was getting ready to take a shower, sitting in front of my vanity, while removing the last traces of make up from the day, when I noticed it (again). When I say again it’s because in hindsight I recalled it happening a few times throughout the day, in specific after finishing that post, but it was then, that evening that it hit me and I truly noticed. Here I was looking in the mirror and my inner child starred back at me. Let me explain: of course it was me, my head, my current face etc. but I had the reddest and rosiest cheeks ever. Everything else was normal, my temperature, everything checked out. I wasn’t running or doing anything that could have brought this on and as a matter of face it seldom happens period and I am not a rosy cheek person.

I do remember it happening in Germany in 2018 while I was there to care for Mom. I was doing inner child work due to the belief of losing a part of my soul during the traumatic death of my Dad when I was ten years old. I underwent a soul retrieval where my ten year old self was integrated and returned to me. I know it sounds intense and it indeed was a very emotional time for me.

Being reunited with my ten year old self that fled my soul in a trauma response to my fathers sudden death, I remember spending time by making my inner child feel as welcome and safe as possible. One night I cooked alphabet soup that I had always loved as a child. I even wrote a post about it titled Alphabet soup back in May 2018

https://rhapsodyboho.wordpress.com/2018/05/03/alphabet-soup/

I connected the dots and my sense of truth about my inner child paying me a visit, then, and today was so strong. I just knew and she made herself noticeable with her rosy cheeks.

I had no idea that only a few hours later, my shadow self would come to visit me as well. Perhaps to join the pact and all versions of myself, to get onboard my mission working towards a common goal, but that’s another story, for another time. Stay tuned. 😉

Posted in Inspiration, Shadow Self

Putting in the “Shadow work”

Lately it’s been all about “shadow work” and not too long ago I didn’t even know what it was and how rewarding of a process it would become. Downright rewarding, it’s a process that once was hidden without a clue, without the realization it even existed. Perhaps I have only scratched the tip of the iceberg and I’m sure more work is waiting. Naturally it always does, isn’t it how things go!

My motivation was to acknowledge the process and be good to myself, to be aware, giving credit for taking that first step, that all important first step. I feel I have come a long ways, and it’s just now becoming obvious what it really took to arrive at this point. I dismissed the constant work that takes place whether we are conscious of it or not, all in utter unawareness. I didn’t fully understand the sea of experiences and lessons life has on our soul, ultimately shaping us and our destiny. I always knew of course but it seems like another layer has peeled away, giving much greater insight.

It’s quite incredible to look back at the pieces throughout the years, and how carefully they had to happen. How they had to unfold for things to turn out the way they did. Everything had it’s place, good and bad. It’s rather mind boggling and a deep sense of gratitude finds me even through the pain of some incidents. As most of the time’s, it required some sort of adversity for it all to happen. I believe that our hardest experiences bear the most valuable lessons. If we can see it as such, as the growth of ourselves and enlightenment, then we are indeed lucky to be given the opportunity to grow. Without it we wouldn’t be who we are and I hope you can feel some sense of pride and accomplishment for who you have grown into.

If everything always went smooth, would we notice something off center, or attempt the hard work of implementing this change? It requires more than mere awareness, and although important it is only the beginning of the hard work that lies ahead. It takes more than just snapping your fingers and make it go away. Working on your shadow self will be challenging and bring you to the brink at times. It might be scary to face the inner demons and it definitely won’t fix overnight. It asks for a willingness to take a honest look. It demands a decision and commitment to take what you found to the next level instead of ticking it away again. It requires dedication to peel back the layers that were put into place over the years, by many painful experiences. It won’t be easy and you need to prepare for resistance and fear. We must remember that our shadow self deals with the darkness within ourselves, the negative, mean, evil and ugly aspects of ourselves.

Ask yourself if you are prepared to accept such a truth. Can you see yourself as less than perfect, but also as a being with faults and weaknesses? What are you prepared to do? Is it important enough to make changes? Can you stay objective and meet yourself with understanding, love and forgiveness. Perhaps you don’t have a choice anymore and you have arrived at a point where doing this work becomes your only salvation.

It was important for me. I arrived at a point that no longer allowed me to send issues back down to hide for centuries to come. It was no longer optional of whether to address them or not. The decision was mine to not go forward in the same fashion, and because of it, shadow work needed to be done. All that was required from me was the willingness to put in the work. An open mind to receive an upgrade to my soul system.

Since starting this honest look I have been able to view it in a new light. I have a new understanding of what a daunting process it can be for many and yet I am surprised of how easy it has become for me to stare my flaws into the face. I can see my own mistakes without the need of wanting to justify them. Explanations and justifications about my character are no longer needed or even important. There is a strange calm, an acceptance, a willingness to go with the flow more than ever. Resistance has faded further as I meet myself and others with understanding, compassion and mostly forgiveness. Digging deep, I am learning the reasons for these behaviors so it can be addressed and released at a healing soul level. I am finding understanding for the hurt and the wounds so deep that added one protective layer after another. I know that I am not a bad person, nor do I see others in that way. I recognize these walls and what they used to serve. I know they were layers of protection and I know that everybody has such walls.

“I myself just happen to like an open living concept much better, and I’m tearing down the very walls that confined me in the past.”

I believe that over the years I have shed much of such pain and I don’t really feel the need for protection anymore. Still, it’s work in progress and there will always be some remnants that remain from time to time which require clearing.

“It is a frightening thought that Man also has a shadow side to him, consisting not just of little weaknesses and foibles, but of a positively demonic dynamism. The individual seldom knows anything of this; to him, as an individual, it is incredible that he should ever in any circumstances go beyond himself. But let these harmless creatures form a mass, and there emerges a raging monster.” -Carl Jung

Posted in Inspiration, Shadow Self

Going beyond…the transition from the mundane to the sacred

Torii – Japanese Gate building

Picture taken from google

In the book The untethered soul I have learned about the journey of going beyond ourselves. I think it was timely and needed. It allowed me to Acknowledge my shadow self, and to work through some of the many Masks we wear. So far it has taught me a understanding not only of myself, but also about the behavior of others that might have been painful to me in the past. It has brought forward a compassion, even an understanding as to why things unfolded the way they did. Not that it would be an excuse or ok how some of these things happened. But then, how many could truly say that they have a understanding of it? Most of us would just build another wall, another protective layer to shield ourselves from the pain, giving in to the ego, only to uphold foolish pride and not come across as vulnerable. When you are ready to lay all these weapons down, you truly set yourself up for personal growths and taking your life to the next level. Perhaps you even meet your lucid self.

Will you go out on a limb and make yourself vulnerable and naked? Will you choose to keep your heart open despite the risk of getting hurt? What will it take beyond the words? Will you allow your true authentic self to step forward? Are you willing to put in the work? Only you will know the answer.

Posted in Life lessons, Self help, Shadow Self

The shadow self and the many masks

Have you ever noticed how many different masks we wear throughout the day? How we adjust ourselves, conform and react to various situations, including people. We conform to the behaviors that are expected of us even if they don’t sit right with us. After all, it’s something we have to do to “play nice” right? Let’s explore this a little further and examine some of the reasons. Is it really because of what is expected of us, because of something we learned through social conditioning, something that was taught to us growing up, something we have to in order to fit in and to be accepted by others?

I’m sure you felt the exhausting effects from all the masks you wear every day while carefully hiding your own true identity. Why do we do this, are we not enough? It’s what many of us fear. And here we have it, anxiety is born and is just one of the subjects under the big umbrella of fear that rules our days. No wonder you fall into bed at night, completely drained and dead to the world. Guess what, you will get another chance and do it all over again tomorrow, and the day after that and the day after that. Only you can say when it is enough.

It takes years, and sometimes a lifetime full of experiences to finally figure out if those masks you wear still apply. Can you imagine what a heavy load our shadow self is carrying for us? Should we expect it to be a happy camper, happy go lucky, waiting to take on more of whatever we throw at it, or is the picture becoming clearer as to why we call it our shadow self, a dark side we usually try to hide. And why do we hide it? Surely it can’t be all that friendly, it may even behave irrational. We haven’t dealt with it which means we have no control over it, never in a million years will we slow it to make ourselves look bad in public. And why should we deal with the challenging process of acknowledging it?Don’t we want it to stay the same, to do our dirty work, to carry the painful stuff for us, to keep the pain away from us, and for heavens sake please don’t make us look vulnerable and weak in front of others. After all haven’t we worked a lifetime protecting and hiding our weaknesses! To admit to them would mean that we have to face our flaws, to make ourselves look less perfect in front of others, to lower the wall and be susceptible to attacks and pain. To face this and take a closer look is a big step that many are afraid to take, until the day when this behavior no longer serves you, and questions arise that won’t deny your authentic self any longer.

“Beneath the social mask we wear every day, we have a hidden shadow side: an impulsive, wounded, sad, or isolated part that we generally try to ignore. The shadow can be a source of emotional richness and vitality, and acknowledging it can be a pathway to healing and an authentic life.

– C. Zweig & S. Wolf

Previously, we have talked about the courage it takes to face your shadow self, and we have only reached the tip of the iceberg. We have practiced acknowledging these darker parts of yourself and I take it that you have clearly noticed the darkness of your shadow self. There is a reason as to why you are reading this, why you are wondering and why thoughts have started to enter your mind. It’s no coincidence and it’s not something you stumble across by accident, so why now? Perhaps you have gone through some traumatic events including loss and other painful experiences. Maybe you feel alone, making excuses and justifications for your behavior, or maybe you simply feel that you don’t fit in, that you have no place amongst society. Perhaps you feel as if you were from a different planet. Why doesn’t anyone understand you, why is life so difficult and hard.

So for argument sake and for you to understand this important point of your journey, let’s indulge in the complexity of ourselves for a moment. I want to talk about being born innocent and what happens as soon as we engage in the knowledge of good and bad. Envision your soul as a blank canvas, a sponge that is absorbing the fears and programming from your main influencers, your parents. Down the pipeline into your soul are fragmented pieces of what they themselves have not fully acknowledged and processed in their lifetime. You don’t know yet whether this information fits you or not, whether it holds value for YOU, but it’s there, stored away to be accessed whenever you need it. Ultimately you grow up with the ideals, expectations, norms, and social conditionings of others. You give in to conventional thinking for years and it becomes a way of life. You don’t even realize that there is more, that you are conforming, and that there is something that might fit you better. Subconsciously you continue to live your life suppressing your own ideas. It’s how you’ve been raised and it seems normal. After all it’s what you’ve been taught and your parents being wise and smart people must surely know what they were talking about. What if I told you that they were just trying to figure things out themselves?

Let’s take it a step further. I assume that you have summoned the courage to acknowledge your shadow self and sit with “yourself” for awhile. What you’ll discover here is a whole different chapter, a chapter you worked so hard to close and banish into the deepest and darkest corner of your soul. Are you prepared for what you might find? Remember in chapter one we talked about the things that will deeply disturb you, things you might not like about yourself. Are you willing to take a look and be objective? What will you do with the information? The true work is about to begin if you can answer these questions. Since you have made it this far, it’s probably safe to say that you are no longer in denial, that you are aware and conscious now, but where it goes from here is truly up to you.

What you should understand before you tap into the information of your dark side is the persona of the shadow self. Here is a take on it according to Carl Jung. He defines this persona as who we would like to be and how we wish to be seen by the world. The word persona is derived from a Latin word that literally means “mask,” however in this instance, the word can be applied metaphorically, representing all of the different social masks that we wear among different groups of people and situations. Just let it sink in and acknowledge all the social conditioning. All the times you tried to please everybody but yourself and all the various masks it took in order to do so. How far does it go back? We do this over the course of our entire life, don’t we? All the painful knowledge collected since birth, ultimately contributes to our dark side. Can we truly be completely accountable for it or are we a victim of life? There is hope, and while we have no control over the punches life deals us, we do have control over how we process and acknowledge them.

In chapter 1 we have summoned the courage to acknowledging our shadow self. We have become aware of this wounded dark side within us that carries our burdens and pains. That leashes out from time to time in an ugly way, but with the purest sole intent to protect itself. Perhaps if we can see it from this angle we can pour love over it and accept it as a part of ourselves. It doesn’t make you a bad person and mean, instead try to hear the cry for your attention, your love, the unresolved and underlying issues and conditioning that are still your triggers today. Our next step is to become aware of our masks and to recognize the reasons as to why we wear them. Is it something we want to continue to do, or is it something that no longer fits us? What will it take to shed these masks, are we willing to carry some of the burden from our shadow self and make our load lighter no matter the consequences? What are the consequences, and what have you to lose in an order to gain yourself? Wouldn’t anything that is not encouraging you to be your best version be something that never really had your best interest at heart? Why would you want to hold on to it? I know the many reasons, all encompassing fear, getting out of our comfort zone and the unknown. But is it really worth it to lose yourself over it each and every day? Only you can answer if it’s enough.

It is here where your success is determined whether you are truly ready to face what your shadow self has to show you. You either look at your faults objectively, willing to put in the work for a better more authentic version of yourself, or you stuff it down into your subconscious even deeper than before.

For myself I wasn’t ready to face the music, in this case my shadow self for the majority of my life. It was something frightening, something I denied and suppressed under the umbrella of fear. I spent a lifetime deflecting the pain, a pain that first came into my life at the age of ten and the sudden, accidental death of my father. A deep traumatic event that would affect me for the rest of my life. But eventually, I reached a point I could no longer “stuff it.” I had to face the music. Nothing seemed to fit anymore and it wasn’t a matter of choice. I wasn’t happy with my life and I started to question everything. I was searching for purpose and what I had seen, simply wasn’t enough. There had to be more. More meaning, more purpose, a more fulfilling way of life. It was scary to take that first step, but once you do you will never look back. You will commit to being a lifelong learner, eagerly growing and learning, exploring the true meaning of your life. It was as if a whole new person was born. Someone that was always there but was suppressed for a big part of life. My life….

I want to take a moment and thank my friend Mark for his highly valuable insight and support on the subject, here and always. He is no stranger to facing the shadow self and his advice and wisdom for the world and us is a true gift to me as well as many others. 🙏🏼

Posted in Self help, Shadow Self

The shadow self – The acknowledgement

From time to time we should take a look at ourselves and work with our shadow self. We all have one and it’s the side of us that’s usually hidden in the dark. The side that is less than perfect, a side that is impulsive and wounded. It’s also a side that acts out of character, and that can wound others in an order to protect itself. It’s usually a side we hide and at times avoid to acknowledge. After all it’s painful to stare our flaws into the face, or is it?

Our shadow self might signify our insecurities, our poor behavior and how we react to challenges, but it might also close us up, unable to react at all which can do harm as well. In an article by lonerwolf it is mentioned that if you are truly honest about growing and living your life to the fullest, you will at some point come across many parts of yourself that you’ll find difficult, if not completely disturbing to accept.

These ugly and frightening parts of ourselves are elements of the shadow self: the darker side of our nature. Have you summoned your courage and met some of these parts yet?

The shadow self is an archetype that forms part of the unconscious mind and is composed of repressed ideas, instincts, impulses, weaknesses, desires, precessions, and embarrassing fears. It’s often what we perceive as chaos and it’s everything that leaves us vulnerable. Almost like judgement day, an attack on our character. This often leaves us wanting to defend ourselves. Surely we are not that bad, are we, “they must have gotten it all wrong, and why couldn’t they see our good intentions?”

So who is this shadow self? It is a part of us, although initially we are born pure, like a blank sheet of paper. But at some point throughout our childhood we learn to separate our experiences into two categories. Good and evil. From the moment we engage in this knowledge our shadow self is born and we begin to divide ourselves into multiple parts. The dark shadow traits accumulate just as much as the pure, light ones do, and it depends on our experiences which part weighs heavier. This happens in the unconscious mind and is never fully integrated into our conscience.

I say that we need to be aware and visit this side from time to time because a lack of awareness can be dangerous. As the dark side within us accumulates and goes without acknowledgment, it can actually take over and tip the balance. It can manifest depression as well as our inner demons. The denial can lead to physical, emotional, and psychological, as well as interpersonal consequences that last a long time.

There is much more that can be said and perhaps I will break it down into a series, should there is any interest. But for now I just want you to sit with your shadow self and try to acknowledge it. Can you recognize some of these traits that make up your darker side? Just be still and bring awareness to it. Be honest with yourself and don’t worry, only you will know this, and it’s your secret for the time being, for you to understand. It’s not evil or a bad part of you, but it is a part that carries a heavy load that consists of your hardships and negative experiences. And please know that your experiences do not make you a bad person. You are a survivor and you’ve made it this far.