I took a mental health day, wore all white, went to a garden & did the work. I am three parts: love, light, and darkness. I embrace my shadow.
We are expected, by some, to live our lives in a way that only focuses on the positive things. Everything is “love & light” or rainbows & sunshine but what about darkness? Light and darkness exist because of each other. One does not exist without the other.
Our darkness is just as important as our light. Our darkness contains the things we dislike in others as a reflection of ourselves, our shameful desires, the things that make us tick. That darkness is our shadow.
I have been working recently to embrace my shadow. According to Carl Jung and many others, our shadow side is the part of ourselves we don’t identify with. It is our dark side.
I was watching my usual monthly tarotscope and @_spiritualsiren mentioned shadow work for Virgo this month (my moon sign). How timely is that? All the signs to get shit done were definitely aligning for me.
I would say I was a helpful person who uses their own resources to help others flourish. I love to be there for people and make them feel good. These are some of the good things. These are the things I used to use to describe myself to others negating the things that would be jarring or upsetting.
My dark side is vast but some of the things that I have been working through are opposite of what I say of myself. I can be manipulative, smothering, detached (fickle), and someone who gives people just enough to feel important for the moment. I can make others feel like they are the one when they are the one of many. These are a few things I tried to ignore.
Shadow work is just that, work. It is hard, exposing, grueling, and sometimes draining. It can leave you feeling shitty and even like a terrible person but the work has to be done. In order to be your full self, you have to recognize the light as well as the darkness. You have to take that “mirror” I am always referring to and shatter it to see what lies behind it. You have to be vulnerable with yourself.
There are several ways to do the shadow work and everyone will have their own method. You know that I am a firm believer in tailoring your healing practices to your own lifestyle. To help encourage you and maybe provide guidance, here is what I do to get down to the dark side.
I read an article recently that talked about 4 steps to shadow work. It suggested that we do 4 things to identify our shadow and work through it. Recognize, reverberate, reintegrate, repeat.
We must recognize what we dislike in someone, make a list, identify the similarities, repeat the process with each person you meet.
I did this on Saturday after talking with a friend about my own nuances. I went on a nature trail and with each step, I listed things I liked/didn’t like about them. I then thought of instances where I had embodied those qualities myself, and then I identified those parts of my shadow, accepted them, and released (through meditation).
Another way I have done shadow work is by journaling in a list format. I will write two lists. One contains positive and one contains things I don’t like. I then process each, good and bad, and see how they are both needed to exist. I do this in order to stop myself from projecting onto others what I don’t like about myself.
I found a really awesome resource that gives 6 different ways to do shadow work. I have tried them all and I believe they are extremely helpful and easy to follow.
I don’t want you to think this will be a breeze because it will not. What I can say is that it will help you react to things differently, gain clarity, and accept that you are both lightness and darkness without feeling ashamed.
Are you ready to do the work? You deserve to be your best self even when things aren’t rainbows and butterflies. You deserve to be yourself. You deserve to just BE.