So the universe keeps pointing me back to the same lesson, again and again…, pointing to this “internal work” that needs to be done. My inner demons, my inner shadow has been waiting for a very long time to be heard and seen, and loved back to wholeness once again.
The shadow is the part of us that we hate,the part of us we deny, the part of us we are afraid to look at, the part of us that we hide from others, the part we suppress deep into our subconscious…
I got yet another sign from the universe third time in one week… I was scrolling through Facebook status’s and Hristiyan Atanasov had a status that read:
“How could I learn to love the part of myself that I hate so much?”
Is the question that one of my dear clients just asked me.
What is the answer for yours?
and this one guy posted a comment: “Two words: shadow work”
So I googled “shadow work” and found very interesting info on it, it’s basically the same process Rhett Bise lays out in his book, the Phone Booth, The critical steps to personal transformation, he just refers to it as “Self Inquiry”, “Release”, “Acceptance”.
For more info on “Shadow Work” here is an excellent website: http://www.reconnections.net/shadow2.htm
A quote by the famous & one of the first Spiritual-Psychotherapist, Carl Jung: “Beneath the social mask we wear every day, we have a hidden shadow side: an impulsive, wounded, sad, or isolated part that we generally try to ignore. The Shadow can be a source of emotional richness and vitality, and acknowledging it can be a pathway to healing and an authentic life. We meet our dark side, accept it for what it is, and we learn to use its powerful energies in productive ways. The Shadow knows why good people sometimes do “bad” things. Romancing the Shadow and learning to read the messages it encodes in daily life can deepen your consciousness, imagination, and soul.”
“Everyone carries a Shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. At all counts, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intentions.”
“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
And So I’m feeling like the REAL WORK has just begun. I’m taking the time now to really dive deeeep into the darkness, and finally look at parts of myself that I’ve been running away from… I feel like… this… whole time I’ve been on this journey of self improvement, the part I was trying to hide, and cover up with positive affirmations, positive thinking… The part I was trying to cover up with external success and approval.
Yesterday I went into my room, closed the door, went into my closet, closed the door… I sat quietly in the darkness of my closet. A place in my college house where I feel I have my own privacy. A place where I feel safe, a safe container for me…
Closed my eyes, sat there for a while taking deep breath, and I just invited my shadows to come forward… some AMAZING things started happening.
Tension would come up in my body, I’d start talking with it, “It’s okay.” “What’s wrong?” “Why do you feel sad?” I would get visual representation of these parts of me in my mind, different versions of me. One was a high school me that was angry. One was a elementary school me that was confused and lonely. One was a little child me that was hurt by my mom. A lot of times I would trace back the patterns or the feelings all the way back to my very earliest childhood memories…
I remember being angry and being mean to my little brother (4 years younger than me), and with this outside witness point of view I realized I was projecting my own “stuff” onto my brother and harming him… This was really overwhelming. Tears started falling from my eyes. so much sadness, so much love for my brother and my self that was damaged. I kept feeling the emotions more and more, instead of running away from them, I was facing them head on, accepting everything as it was happening.
I would repeat this mantra I got from Rhett.
“(My Name), [you are a good, valuable, awesome man as you are, even though these things are happening,] I am proud to be you and happy to know you and spend my life with you. I accept you as you are. I accept life as it is and I accept these feelings as they are.”
This would help bring even more emotions forward. I kept digging deeper and deeper, and found more and more interesting things about myself in this one session.
Just one example of my discoveries…
There was a part of me that was afraid to embody and accept my desires for women and sex, completely ashamed of my sexuality… I traced this back all the way to my earliest of my childhood, I must of been like 7?, maybe even 6. I started pleasing myself by touching my genital area, which I learned from one of my friend, it wasn’t masturbation yet… and began having fantasies, I felt guilty and bad but I did it anyway in secrecy, and so I already started to wear a mask in front of my mom to hide this “bad” part of me. And I also remember one particular incident when we went to this hotel with my parents’ good friends and their kids, me and the kids who were couple years older had our own room and they decided to turn on the hotel porn. I remember feeling incredibly guilty, and traumatic about the whole thing, like I did something terrible, and I blamed myself for it. And so I hid this part because at a deeper level I was afraid to lose my mom’s love.
And over time this shadow grew… It manifested in many different ways. Anxiety around the topic of sex, I remember times in elementary & middle school, feeling unworthy of the girl even though she liked me, feeling bad about my desires, tendencies to shut down and get real uncomfortable when my guy friends would talk about girls… and I could FINALLY see the root cause of these behavioral patterns. This part of me that held this shame and guilt, was desperately trying to serve me in its effort to preserve the love from my mom.
So it’s time to start forgiving myself. A lot of stuff came up in this one session, I was blown away. I cried twice in one sitting, A big surprise, this hardly ever happens. In fact I remember being proud in early elementary school for being one of the few kids that never cried. Phewww… the feeling of relief after crying was tremendous.
I know there is more work to be done. I am ready.
-And this just came up so I’m gonna flow with it.
Sitting inside the safe container of my dark closet.
I was transforming.
Diving deep into the darkness.
The shadow leads me to the light.
The closet is my phone booth.
Where the hero in me will emerge.