Do you sometimes say about what you’ve just done, “I don’t know what got into me?”
Do you sometimes feel like you’re being run from “behind the scenes” or are stuck on automatic?
At such times, it’s very likely that your shadow is in charge.
So what is shadow?
Our shadow is our internal storehouse for the aspects of us that we’ve disowned or rejected or are otherwise keeping in the dark. Our shadow contains whatever in us we are out of touch with or keeping out of sight, like the roots of our unresolved wounding.
Things we may find in our shadow include:
Everyone has a shadow but not everyone knows their shadow. And the degree to which we don’t know our shadow is the degree to which it influences, controls, runs us.
Knowing our shadow and working in depth with it are not just sideline pursuits, but rather necessary practices if we — both personally and collectively — are to really get on track, unchaining ourselves from our conditioning and embodying a life in which our differences only deepen our shared humanity.
Turning toward our shadow — however slightly — is a very significant step, signaling the start of a courage-deepening, life-affirming adventure that asks for much from us and gives back more than can be imagined.
Working in depth with our shadow elements is the adventure of a lifetime. Once we get into this, we’re on our way to cultivating intimacy with all that we are — meaning relating skillfully and deeply to everything that constitutes us. Nothing gets stranded in the dark. Nothing gets left out.
This is the essence of my way of working with shadow, which I call Breakthrough ShadowWork. This is all about facing and working deeply with our core conditioning, through a dynamic combination of somatic, psychological, emotional, and spiritual approaches.
Our increasingly perilous times call for us to wake up to, to face and know our shadow very well, working with it in enough depth so that it no longer can run us. Staying oblivious to our shadow, as is especially common in all too many political and corporate arenas, simply reinforces our dysfunction, regardless of our achievements.
Bringing the contents of our shadow out of the dark so we can work with them is a risk — because of the potential changes it’ll catalyze — but not working with them is a much greater risk.
Let us not leave our shadow unexplored and unknown.
To meet and illuminate it, to relate to it skillfully, to make wise use of it, is a great gift to one and all.
Given the state of the world, an especially relevant practice we can do is work in depth with our shadow, whatever the scale. Now.