Light is a common theme in health. Whether you are brought on the wellness path in search of enlightenment or want the benefits of a holistic lifestyle, the term “light" integrates itself in health mentalities.
But light is easy. We want to feel happy.
Complete health isn’t just alkaline juices, yoga poses, and positive affirmations though….
One must do Shadow Work.
Shadows are the composite image of ourselves that we reject. The seeds of doubt, humiliation, and even grief for the ideals of who we “should have been” lead to an enormous shadow of shame. It is the emotional experience of having one’s vulnerabilities exposed…. And to be completely honest, some of the most shameful moments of my life were never exposed to anyone else. I was the only audience. Still, in the presence of my shadow I cowered in a pool of self-loathing and fear. I lived in denial of my shame and it ruled my interactions. Because shame, if not addressed, will rule your life.
For example, an aspect of my shadow that I tried to deny was my sexual nature.
Sex should be integrated as a natural evolution of one’s identity. But I learned about sex through trauma, denial, and drunken escapes to try get past my shame. I remember it all accumulating summer one night with my partner. I was afraid to have sex. I didn’t know how to be a sexual being without numbing out all the pain I held of molestation and abuse. I was self-conscious, not knowing what to do or say.
And then I realized: self-consciousness, in all of its various forms, is anticipatory shame. We believe we will be judged and assume we will feel the embarrassment of shame. My Shadow held all this guilt and low hanging emotion. It was clinging to my soul, robbing me of the ecstasy of connection.
Finally, I had to ask myself what I wanted more: Would I expand my feelings of love and rapport or hide from my Shadow?
Shadow work can be daunting, but overwhelmingly necessary for anyone who wishes to live in their authentic self.
So, how do you break free from the pattern of shame? Integration is the only way.
First, I had to ask myself what’s the truth about my pain.
I found pain in being sexual. I rejected my sexual nature, therefore creating a dynamic of my life that I suppressed. But really, my shame was just misplaced emotion. Your shadow may show itself as negative self-talk, procrastination tied to the fear of failure, a coping mechanism, overeating, or neglect. Whatever your story, you have nothing to be ashamed of in life. Only if you hurt someone intentionally, maliciously can you feel shame. But that is also a lesson, nothing to harbor in your soul.
With immense love, I am telling you from my heart: Your shadow does not degrade your existence. Rather, your shadow confirms your human existence. You are a feeling human. The duality of nature, creation and destruction, are found within the human spirit. Without one, the other cannot be present.
We must embrace the Shadow to which our existence is intimately paired. For you are a divine, multidimensional being- why cut yourself short of living in all the depth of your experiences? This does not mean compulsive submission to our deepest “faults”… Shadow work means that one must be brave enough to embrace the enormous human capacity for emotion and experience.
You are constantly emerging new with maturity and wisdom. So there is no glory is holding onto lessons that no longer serve you. Instead, acceptances of the darkest, most shameful aspects of our life story give way to immense compassion to ourselves and others.
This is the gift of the Shadow.
Hence, we confirm our light, our love, and our humanity by accepting our personal darkness.
So, I dare you to call out your shame, your shadow, your full story and live in it. Accept it. Be your whole, authentic Self.