Breakthrough ShadowWork

 

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?

There’s a dimension of us — all of us — that contains what we don’t know or don’t like or deny about ourselves. And what is this place? Our 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.

Our shadow holds our unattended and not-yet-illuminated conditioning.

Things we may find in our shadow include:


  • Fear — especially in the form of core-level anxiety.
  • Anger — including when it is converted into aggression.
  • Shame — particularly when we associate it with humiliation.
  • Empathy — when this gets shadow-bound, it’s easy to dehumanize others.
  • Less-than-flattering intentions — like being “good” in order to stay in control.
  • Resistance — especially when our “no” to something is a no-no for us.
  • The child in us — particularly when we’re avoiding our childhood wounding.
  • Our inner saboteur — as when we’re playing victim to self-defeating behaviors.
  • The nonsexual factors driving our sexuality — like wanting to be wanted.
  • Grief — especially in its raw depths and unsullied intensity.


The more that we ignore our shadow, the more it dominates — and operates — us, both personally and collectively, with disastrous consequences.

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.


Working in depth with our shadow is a foundational and much needed adventure for us all, centered by a hugely practical awakening, leading us to the kind of care and action that aligns us with what truly matters.