The Dreaded Shadow Work
Forget fighting. Sit down with your shadow, give it a hug, and make it a cup of tea.
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“Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.” - Carl Jung
"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate." - Carl Jung
According to Jung, the shadow is made up of the repressed, therefore unknown, aspects of the personality including those often considered to be negative. If an individual does not have a well-developed shadow, the person has a tendency to become shallow and preoccupied with the others’ opinions. The urge to resist looking at one’s shadow directly is what Jung said would cause many individuals to project their shadow self onto others. This means that the qualities someone may hate in another are usually also present in that individual who wishes not to see them, which is why those characteristics stir up hate within that person. For growth to occur, Jung believed that the persona and shadow should be balanced.
The shadow will often appear to the individual in dreams or visions, sometimes taking on the form of a dark, wild, exotic figure.
Fighting the shadow or denying its existence only makes it fight back harder to make its presence known.
You're supposed to integrate the shadow, not eradicate it. Don't make the mistake of skipping over your shadow work - the more you understand and integrate the parts of you that you're trying to avoid due to FEAR, the better equipped you'll be to help others affect change because you can UNDERSTAND and RELATE coming from a place of LOVE!
If you have that feeling where you have a bunch of shit that needs resolving and it's "holding you back" - that's your shadow. And there's no shame in that. Everyone who gets here has to deal with it. Honestly, everyone should. If we all dealt with our shadows, we wouldn't be in half the predicaments we're in on earth right now. But you're dealing with YOURSELF. So it's likely the toughest work you'll ever do because it hurts the most until you get through it.
Acceptance and integration. That's the key to it.
Take the most disgusting revolting parts of yourself and learn to love them. Give them a hug. Understand your patterns and why you cause bad crap to happen to yourself - AND LOVE YOURSELF ANYWAY.
It sounds easier than it is. It's also very easy once you get it. The journey is hard.
YOU MAKE YOUR OWN WAY.
PER ASPERA AD ASTRA.
Let's just use the tools we have at our disposal to minimize this whole "per aspera" part by maintaining vibrational alignment. When you are in alignment with your inner self, you WILL get what you want.
On the same token, you will get what you want anyway - you just may not realize what kind of dark shit you actually WANT until you do the shadow work and bring it to the surface and make it conscious - which is the entire point of the Jung quote!!
The MORE self-aware you are, the MORE you can keep from manifesting what you DON'T want because you know to focus on what you DO want instead of training your mind on what you're trying to avoid! Because that's how you GET what you're trying to AVOID!!
Be open. Meditate on whatever blocks you might have. Begin the work and be open to it. Don't put up resistance. The key is to willingly do the work. The energies will help you heal if you don't fight it.
Be careful with "militant positivity." What you resist persists. Healing the shadow doesn't mean fighting against it or ignoring it. It means embracing what's wrong and making sure you work through the wounds, whatever they happen to be (and everyone has them), positively.
Never fight or ignore your shadow. Give it a hug, invite it for tea, have a conversation, process it, and keep the whole thing solution focused.
After that, it's more about tweaking your mental framework to reprogram any limiting beliefs or triggers once you know where they are and how they got there. And never from a place of battle, guilt, or shame. Gently reminding yourself that a belief is untrue and correcting it is helpful. Self-scolding only makes it stronger.
With shadow work, there's sort of an ebb and flow. You work at it until there's an epiphany or an emotional outpouring, but past that point, shift into self-care. No negative self-talk, but if it happens, do not beat yourself up over it. Be nice to yourself, rest, and come back at it again after you process the part that broke through. It takes time. The time part is necessary (and infuriating depending upon your personality). Try not to force it or speed it up (even though that sucks). Just work with what your body/mind/heart say they need and be willing to shift with the energy as it occurs. Let the current guide you. Don't swim against it. Float.
If you get stuck in a negative thought fuckloop, just remember that this is a lie. Imagine you have an eject button or a switch or a lever or something that breaks you free of the lie. Hit reset. Let the thought pass. It feels bad literally BECAUSE it's a lie. It's wrong. That's why it feels bad. We all do it. You just have to catch it and take its power away and be nice to yourself.
Be cognizant! Check in with your thoughts and feelings. If you're feeling off, down, sad, out of whack, anxious - whatever negative emotion it might be - this is your cue to check in - because this is an indicator that you are OUT of vibrational alignment with your inner self - your EMOTIONS are INDICATORS.
If your check engine light comes on, you don't keep driving the car unless you want the car to break down - you pull over and figure out WHY the car is acting up and you FIX it.
Same thing. Your emotions are your check engine light. If you feel BAD, there's something WRONG. This is alerting you that you are OUT of vibrational alignment - and when you are out of vibrational alignment, you can't get what you want! You will bring about what you DON'T want because those are the thoughts you're sending out! And what you think about, you bring about.
So we fix this by getting BACK to vibrational alignment.
"If you lack the iron and the fizz to take control of your own life, if you insist on leaving your fate to the gods, then the gods will repay your weakness by having a grin or two at your expense. Should you fail to pilot your own ship, don't be surprised at what inappropriate port you find yourself docked. The dull and prosaic will be granted adventures that will dice their central nervous systems like an onion, romantic dreamers will end up in the rope yard. You may protest that it is too much to ask of an uneducated fifteen-year-old girl that she defy her family, her society, her weighty cultural and religious heritage in order to pursue a dream that she doesn't really understand. Of course it is asking too much. The price of self-destiny is never cheap, and in certain situations it is unthinkable. But to achieve the marvelous, it is precisely the unthinkable that must be thought." - Tom Robbins
Shadow Work and Mindset.
To conquer and integrate fear, you have to understand how it functions, how it manifests, what it is in response to, how to coexist with it, channel it, transmute it, work with it.
This is a masters thesis on fear as a literary device in Chuck Palahniuk's work.
"The notion that successful literature is written with the ability to invoke emotional reactions in the reader is neither new nor controversial. Following from this we know that a popular way in which to do this, is to unsettle the reader. On this subject, it is my thesis that Chuck Palahniuk, through his writings, attempts to unsettle his readers in order to show them what they fear, why they are afraid of the wrong things, and how fears, real and fake, create victims that have to decide on what paths to take from there. As such, I aim to show how he does this, what the basis of those fears are in society, and how these fears are often unfounded, perhaps rather redirected from other issues that people would be right to worry about."
Timely piece. It's a quick read.
Please think about your own fears that are irrational and how to analyze and integrate those feelings so you don't need to remain a victim to them - and how you can reduce them into the rational and livable by taking appropriate action.