Main Benefits of Shadow Work

shadow work


what is an inner shadow?

There comes a time in every woman's life, where she just realises this ain't all a ride in love and light. When better time to explore the very concept of the inner shadow in the first place then, as we head (in the Northern hemisphere where I live at least) into the darkest time of the year?

The longest night. Winter Solstice. Don't afraid, sweet princess. For all good journeys are made of a descent.

So what is the inner shadow then?

Well, in a nutshell, your inner shadow is comprised of everything you try to split off or dissociate from within. As human being, and in an effort to save ourselves from emotional pain, we have a tendency to split our psyches. We become fragmented within. 

Of course, tis something that's been hugely covered in modern therapy and psychology. Starting with the famous Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, who famously defined our personalities as having 8 key traits - of which the inner shadow is one of them.

But it's all well and good knowing this in theory. What does it actually mean for the average woman in her day to day life then?

how can your inner shadow cause your problems?

I remember the first time I came across this concept. I was having really big problems with anxiety, and it was manifesting outwards in some pretty wierd sh*t. If I say so myself. Aversions. Little habits that I got quite attached to in order to try and maintain a sense of inner safety and equilibrium. The tendency to try to control and avoid certain thoughts (and good luck with that, because that is some awful kind if self-imposed torture right there.)

Of course, I eventually came across the concept of trauma, and immersed myself in understanding the impact of some of the hard things I had lived through in my life. And how, because I had tried to repress the feelings about these experiences, rather than let them complete through the natural physiological mechanism of the stress cycle, they had actually warped. It's almost like those experiences I had had, took on an innate life force of their very own. Inside me. And became self-destructive to boot.

Because repression actually never works. You cannot exorcise these demons without - well, exorcising these demons. They will turn and hide and implode inwards and manifest in life-denying patterns and behaviours. As they do.

For me this was anxiety and neurotic behaviours that I adopted to try and mitigate the anxiety. (And I would argue that almost all of these behaviours - from skin picking to self-harm, from panic disorder to OCD, from bulimia to anorexia, addictions and aversions - might find their origin in these old, dissociated inner fragmented parts.)

So if you want to know if you have an inner shadow, then the first thing to contemplate is that really, truly, aka Carl Jung, everybody has a shadow. The inner shadow is a key archetype of human beings. Nobody gets away without the dark side.

how to tell if your inner shadow is not integrated

But if you want to narrow it down a little more personally, then the first questions I would get you to ask yourself is:

What do I try to avoid?

What habits and compulsions do I fall into? And when does that get triggered?

Why am I continually failing to get what I say I want in this life? But getting continuously something very different (and perhaps in a repetitive way) instead.

What parts of myself am I ashamed of or try to hide from others?

If you have any of the above going on, likelihood is you have a shadow.

why i recommend shadow work

When I work with my coaching clients - whether in a 1:1 situation or in a group setting - I make it abundantly clear that we will have to spend some time navigating the shadow realms. 

There is a reason why the women I work with are not living the life of their dreams, or manifesting sometimes even the complete opposite of what it is they say they want. And that has to do with their inner shadow. It's not down to luck. It may be to do with habits.

But as Jung famously said, that which you repress and make unconscious within yourself, will manifest itself externally and you will call it fate.

So "as within so without" stands.

Your subconscious is likely controlling your reality way more than you think.

And your subconscious is where the shadow likes to live.

When we work with your sexual energy for example, or other tools and practices that I use with women for empowerment, then we start to uncover these unconscious realms a little more. Great jewels are found as a result. New relationships with parts of ourselves that we repress. Integration. Harmony. A sense of all the parts of us we have split off inside coming together, with love, to finally have our back.

That is the most rewarding aspect of coaching for me. To see a women who previously was unwilling to feel an aspect pf herself, come back to life again when the inner shadow is met and felt. 

It's like someone opened the windows and let some fresh air into the room.

In this way, shadow work is not about encountering evil. It's about bringing love to the parts that you have previously not been able to love. And watching how these parts actually wanted to love you back all along.

want more? Listen to this week's podcast about shadow workhere

shadow

prompts to kick start your shadow work

It is therefore impossible to work with me without encountering your shadow. Indeed, Initiate, my sex magic container, takes place three times a year, and each time it involves a descent into a woman's inner shadow. (That's why women often like to repeat the experience too.) So I would say that if you are even remotely interested in working with this part of yourself, then every single offering I have will take you there.  

However, if you just want some quick ways to begin connecting with your shadow side? Then feel free to try out some of the journal prompts below, and let me know how you get on.

1.Write how other people see you - then how you actually are. How big is the gap between the two?

2.What do you think are the worst traits in a person? Do you ever have any of them?

3. Looking back over your life, what causes the most sense of shame?

4. Who do you envy, and why?

5. Write a letter to the person who’s hurt you the most in your life, and tell them everything you’d like to say.

6. What feelings do you most typically avoid?

7. What life situations make you the most afraid?

8. Are you living a life you want to live? How far is it from your ideal right now?

9. Write a time you self-sabotaged and why.

10. What’s something you wish that other people understood about you?

11. Do you lie? To whom and how often?

12. Do you ever lie to yourself? How? When was the most recent?

13. Do you see any patterns emerging from anything you've written above?

14.What are your parents’ best character traits? What about their worst?

15. What makes you self-conscious? 

16. Who do you need to forgive? Why do you think you aren’t letting it go?

17. Who’s let you down the most in your life? 

18. Describe a trait you see in other people that you wish you had yourself. Why do you not have this trait?

19. What are your personal core values? Why are those values important to you?

20. Write the opposite of  your core values

want to listen to even more about shadow work?


you are invited

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Julia


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This post was written by Julia