What is a shadow? Put simply, it is a dark shape that is created when something blocks off rays of light. That concept is exactly what Shadow Workis all about. Just as shadows are created when light is blocked off, a shadow self is created when the light of our awareness is blocked off from aspects of our psyche.
The work in shadow work represents the process of bringing those aspects to light and revealing our unconscious self. You see, Alchemist, most of our personality is a filtered version of ourselves. We have all at some point locked away parts of ourselves that we deemed unacceptable. This happens quite commonly during childhood.
A common example would be, being told to behave. Hearing this as children is why most of us are less expressive in adulthood. Of course, most of what we block off is animalistic in nature and we might be doing everyone a favor by not outwardly expressing those aspects. But hiding aspects of our psyche from ourselves and others only ends up in our shadow self acting out through our unconscious actions.
The shadow self is sometimes referred to as an inner demon, but it's really more like a child. It wants to be heard and known by its conscious self, so it may act unruly and create all sorts of drama in a person's life. That is why we must integrate our shadow.
Integration occurs when we fully accept ourselves as we are and not how we wish to be. It may be difficult to accept certain aspects of ourselves, but even just being aware of them can help mitigate the issues caused by our shadow self. Uncovering aspects of our shadow can take a while; likewise, there is plenty more to this subject that can't be covered in a single email.
A good place to start uncovering your shadow self is through your dreams. Our dreams are like a translator that our shadow self uses to speak to us. You can start by writing down your dreams in the morning as soon as you wake up. In time, you will begin to remember your dreams more clearly. You may even have a lucid dream, in which case, we recommend asking the characters in your dream what they represent, as this has worked for some avid lucid dreamers.
Another good place to dig is through a phenomenon known as a Freudian Slip. This is when you say or write something, without thinking, whichreveals a feeling you have that you weren't aware of before. To use this to your advantage, keep a journal by either writing or recording your thoughts. Try to do this daily and write (or speak) as if no one is watching. Use the journal to find incongruities with what you express consciously and what you've written or said.
Remember, the most integral part of shadow work is accepting yourself; it is your ticket to living peacefully.
"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate." - Carl Jung
With love and sincerity,
The Alchemy by LA Counsel