What Does it Mean to do "Shadow Work?"
Jodi R. Parker
This is a Facebook post turned blog.
You may find the comments on FB to be helpful as well. You can find the post here:
I've seen this meme a lot this week. It dovetails with the posts about doing your work and change always begins within. I'm feeling called to lean further into talking about "shadow work."
What does that even mean?
It means that there are parts of all of us that we have disowned. Parts we refuse to look at or take responsibility for or that we run away from. Parts we inherited through our family line that we accepted as ours when maybe they weren't. We can typically recognize those parts because they become our triggers. The times when we lash out in pain. When we refuse to listen. When we simply shut down.
They are shown to us by the people who walk into our lives that "rub us the wrong way." By an emotional reaction that we know is bigger than the situation warrants. By a nervous stomach. By anxiety. By a refusal to take action when we know we "should." With an inability to set a healthy boundary.
The challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to look at those things and DO something about it. So what does DOING look like?
💓 Automatic Writing:
At the top of the page write down the problem or the symptom. For instance, "I keep experiencing anxiety when around "X" person. Please help me understand why?... Then write stream of consciousness style whatever comes into your head. If it's a really tough issue for you, you might find yourself writing things like, "I feel stupid doing this and nothing is coming to my head and I don't want to do this and this is absurd but I'm gonna keep writing because Jodi said so..." 😂😂😂 But once you get into the swing of it you will find that you can tap into your higher wisdom and start to unravel where you are stuck. You will write messages to yourself.
💓 Practice Acceptance:
There are things in all of our pasts that hurt us. And the person we were at the time gets "stuck" in that place. We can work on forgivenss and trying to understand and having compassion for the people who hurt us, etc. But that aspect of ourselves that is hurt or sad or traumatized GETS TO FEEL THAT WAY. When we try to erase the emotion we undermine ourselves. Instead, accept that that incident was sad/triggering and it's totally normal for that part of ourselves to feel that way. Don't fight the emotion--allow yourself to feel it and move through you. And accept that that aspect of you is simply a part of the bigger whole of who you are.
💓 "When the Student is Ready, the Teacher Appears."
That's a quote from the book "Illusions" by Richard Bach. I've found it to be emininently true throughout the years. We have to be willing to accept help. When we are at that point the right person will show up in our life to help us on that journey. Shadow work is super vulnerable work. You have to let the person helping you hold the space into places that not even you want to go. But they hold your hand through it and help you get to the other side of what seems like a dark cave when it's really a tunnel.
The keynote here is this--there will be lots of "healers" or "faciliators" that *can* help you do the work. You get to determine who is the *right* person to assist you. Keep in mind that no one can *heal* you. Only you can do that. What a true "healer" does is help you hold the space and guide you on the journey.
My advice on choosing someone to work with?
1. Choose someone who creates a safe space for you. And YOU get to decide what that means for you.
2. Choose someone who respects your boundaries.
3. Choose someone who is walking their talk.
4. Choose someone who has inherent wisdom (there are children who are super wise!!)
5. Choose someone who has knowledge--training of some kind or life experience that aligns with what you are going through.
6. Choose someone who can maintain eye contact.
If I'm that someone for you I'd be honored to set up an appointment and hold that space. Simply go to the contact page at the top of this website to find me. (Hint: I get behind in emails sometimes so a phone message will get you quicker results.)
If I'm not I'd be happy to help you find someone who is. I'd only send you to people I would trust myself. 🥰