The Shadow Work Intro...
This month I’m asking my students to delve into their shadow selves and that means doing a lot of meditation and journaling. It’s hard because you have to take the time to think and process, even write things down; which takes time we often avoid to give ourselves. We don’t want to bend ourselves and bend too far. So, I must DO the work and share my own explorations, and with that, I share my shadow work (the surface journaling) here, on my blog, so you can see the process of working in the grey.
What cliche’s make your stomach turn. Why.
Who Am I (Mandala)?
Hero’s Journey Spread (tarot or visual journey).
What irrational fears do you have and what blocks do they create?
Those are quite the meditation points. So let’s take them one at a time:
Though the ‘grass is greener’ has a deeply spiritual impact for me, in relations to my mother cheating and measuring herself short, it is not the cliche that bothers me most. Another big one, ‘it is what it is’. I hate that. My time in social work was met with countless responses to a minimal request with, ‘No and well, it is what it is.” I have learned through therapy, that I prefer, “it is." or “it just is”. I would think the first cliche, has no power; there is no way of taking that situation and making it better. It was settling to me. I felt if I had an obstacle and met the hurdle, fell over in pain and looked to the Universe for help and it said IT IS WHAT IT IS, it would somehow make me feel as though the scenario was HAD and MEDIOCRE. If I rephrase the cliche to ‘it just is’ and move on, I can consider the mis-step to be a part of the process. I don’t feel my nose cringe as someone who encouraged me to settle on less than success. Instead I rephrase, breathe, and remind myself that a conflicted is presented and it may in no way reflect me (up to this point). It just is. The shadow work comes with WHY this bothers me and why I feel settling is not okay. This of course, takes me down my perfectionist worm-hole that goes into a meditation on my own time, and with music that as posted below, goes into my issues with regret, shame, guilt and fear of failure/success. It’s hard to ‘go there’ and it’s hard to settle. For me anyway.
The “Who Am I” - Mandala suggestion which to me, is visual. To color, design, or ‘see’ in your mind’s eye, a representation of your energy. WHO are you? Not your name, gender, job or labels, but YOU. I don’t see a big Indian Mosaic, I see Alice in Wonderland. A big, fat, green, smoking caterpillar. Go figure. The literary figure who is asking the narrator what her purpose is, and to ironically illustrate to her that she doesn’t know. The worm that is out of place, breaking rules, not in his ‘right mind’ as society would have us believe and is asking her to answer her own question in forms of cryptic conversation. I think I am a woman - scratch that - a being trying to be their best. (I realize I use plurals?) I realize that WHO I AM is a healer, on the archetype wheel, I stand with the outlaw and wish I was the sage. I want to be respected for my mind because I’m so noted for everything but. I want to feel empowered from within because I’ve been abused from the outside. I want to trans-mutate my darkness into something that helps others and in someway respect the seeds of my family tree. I am in progress. I am growing. I am a bit darker than I am light, but I know what direction I’m growing. The shadow work comes with exploring this - the images, icons, people and thoughts that flow into your mind when you ponder WHO ARE YOU and in turn, who are you NOT. I am not my mother.
The HERO discussion with self is an interesting one - where we not only do a small tarot spread about this, but then explore ‘who is the hero in our life?’ Do we play that role and be the independent victor for ourselves, or do we have others in our village that play the hero at times. For me, there are many heroes in the story. My grandpa Francis, my dad, my husband, my children and in some ways, myself. I think I’m the one fighting the ‘unseen’ battles and therefore by definition I’m a HERO in my life, but I don’t FEEL that way. I feel like my dad is a quiet, non combative person so why does he come to mind? My grandpa, similar in kind nature, and yet he pops into my heart as the right answer for HERO; though they don’t fight all the time. Heroes to me, are not fighters. So who then fights the battles? Why is conflict scary to me? Some heroes are not what you would think, but some - like my dad - are clear heroes. I am not usually the hero, in fact, I find I’m usually the "Never-ending story-like Sebastian’ that watches and reads, but IS the story in most ways. The shadow work here comes into the micro-mind surgery wherein we dissect the HERO and their role in the scenario of the battle. A hero fights a cause or villain, and in some cases creates their opponent as if a Munchhausen-by proxy scenario. When we realize our HERO is creating the problem, not just fighting it, their label begins to warp and this can be detrimental to who we’ve placed in a position as a role model. However, the deeper rooted work is that we then empathize with their humanness, their imperfections-ism, their victim-hood in playing the hero and move past the fear and judgement of why we put them in that role. After all, they don’t see themselves as heroes, so are they really?
Irrational fears are a big part of psychology and the paranormal, so this is something I’ve explored more times over than I can count. Answers are not any more clear or comfortable to discuss the more you journey them, and thus the shadow work. For me, dark water and parasites are a big issue. ‘They’ say that humans are born with only two fears, falling and loud noises, so my fear of falling is rational. Parasites and dark water is a bit irrational. I know, with the help of past life regressions and hypnosis, that my irrational fears are related to traumatic deaths (drowning via suicide on my boat that was on fire) and also to alien/abuse related concerns within my psyche. It is no secret I was heavily influenced by the abuse of my step-dad, but also my mother. The abuse of sexual nature leads one to have PTSD and irrational fears to related triggers, but to be truthful, I had this fear before I was ever penetrated against my will. I have hated parasites even before my childhood best friend and I kart-wheeled into a tick nest and was covered from head to toe with seed-sized ticks by the thousands. I have despised ticks, leeches, things under my skin using me as a host long before I pulled what I thought was my patient’s gown string from harm’s way of the wheelchair spinning - only to find out it was a tapeworm hanging from their anus. I had issues with parasites dating back to when I started having night-terrors, as a three year old. I’m not sure why, but one of my mentors (LEO SPRINKLE) suggested it was due in part to alien abduction and without going TOO DEEP, he wouldn’t be too far off with that suggestion.
Sigh, shadow work.