I feel like I need to bust this trend. Shadow work is a thing, it is a thing in the spiritual world and it's not something you 'sage' through...
Memes and reels had me thinking shadow work was scary, like it was dark magik. NOT TRUE. We do shadow work all the time without even noticing but i'll get into that soon enough.
So what is shadow work?
To work on your shadow.
Shadow, a silhouette: to work on the silhouette of yourself.
When you are surrounded by light, you will cast shadows.
Shadow work is imperative, to not only our spiritual journey, but to the relationships of our close, loved ones.
When you are developing your awareness to living intentionally, your first reaction is to add more magik in your life, find loving intention and spreading light everywhere you go throughout your day....
To spread light and only light, avoiding dark or heavy emotions, is to CHOOSE. Choice is an exercise of consciousness; our ego.
To be fully open, open to downloads, love, light, and support, you must lose your ego, letting your subconscious receive and translate.
So to choose to be in light, is to stay in your conscious mind.
Shadow work refers to working on your silhouetted, subconscious; your 'dark side'.
Working on your shadow isn't easy but it cannot be avoided if you wish to progress in deepening your connection and strengthening your intuition.
To say you have a 'dark side' that you 'need to work on'... this is the trend with memes and reels around shadow work, that scared me into believing that this was dark ritual magik.... now don't I feel ridiculous? 😂
To work means to develop, to develop anything, literally ever, requires curiosity and understanding.
Shadow work, is altering the perspective of your subconscious.
Specifically the traits that are yours that you do not like.
When you step into your light, your silhouettes come out. Traits and behaviours that do not align with your 'lighter self'; hidden limiting beliefs, fears, anger, anxiety, loneliness, abandonment, jealousy etc. These feelings form habits that lead us to do things 'unintentionally'.
You can form these habits at any time, because every action has a reverse reaction and shadow work is to maintain in touch with the 'dark side' of yourself to keep you grounded.
Even wisdom can turn into arrogance. Love into possession.
Remaining curious about how you are feeling and maintaining an understanding of the reverse, is shadow work.
I was working to think of a personal example of my own, and birthdays are for sure always testing for me. I always have a whole lot of anxiety and just know I don't act my best.
This year was my 25th birthday and I wanted this birthday to be special. Like the most special I had ever had. I remember chatting to my husband in the kitchen about what I wanted to do to celebrate and I could feel the unsettling feelings well up inside of me, and we had only just started talking about it...
You know when the butterflies are so big and uncomfortable around a certain topic that breathing doesn't make the emotion go away, like a real stubborn anxiety that you know it's almost too heavy to unpack?
That's a pretty good sign that there is something deeper and to apply your curiosity and understanding.
So I 'understand' that every birthday I have this overall feeling of, 'nothing is good enough'.
I usually, very literally, will wake from the bed on my birthday, short and snappy with whoever is in the house. Ever since I can remember, my family, my friends and now my husband. I wake up, upset. And because I am upset nothing is good enough.
I carry this anxiety throughout my birthday, fake smile at gifts, because I usually want to STAY sad, but if there is an event for me, that's when I lose all control and react unintentionally.
In the past I have gotten snappy at who ever has attended with me, and then I get jealous of social circles when people try avoid my attitude, which is when I get jealous and would have began acting like a bully.
This is a full story on self sabotage if I ever heard one, because the next day or that night I always feel guilty that I treated those that actually care about me that way.
Understanding that this is how I act, I can breathe into the massive butterflies that have made themselves a stubborn home, breathing into them and asking what they actually are.
Applying curiosity to my anxiety at the event;
I was anxious because I was jealous. Jealous of the social groups.
Jealous because I had a fear of missing out. Fear that I would miss out because I wasn't good enough.
I am not jealous or anxious, my subconscious has me convinced, I am not good enough.
Let's do another, applying curiosity to my ungrateful attitude for gifts from close ones;
I am ungrateful because I am upset and frustrated. I am upset and frustrated because I feel misunderstood and lonely, like no one gets me.
I feel like no one gets me because, even if it was the 'right gift', it was wrong for me.
If the gift is wrong for me, it is a misplaced gift.
A misplaced gift is misplaced affection.
Misplace affection triggers fear in me.
Fear because I do want affection, but I am afraid of not being good enough for affection from others.
Therefore the gift, the symbol of affection, to me, was not for me because I am not worthy, not good enough, to receive affection in the form of birthday gifts.
Writing all that out I do feel ridiculous that that is the habit I had created for myself on MY BIRTHDAY. Like I wasn't good enough for my own celebration.
This year I celebrated like I was enough and it was the best one yet!
It takes a hell of a lot more than asking yourself why you do certain things.
The practice of shadow work, of shifting your subconscious perspective, is to actually subconsciously believe and agree upon your new found thoughts.
For me on my birthday, knowing that all of this negative behaviours came from not feeling like I was enough, I had to work over time, ensuring that I believed I was enough to feel enough.
Shadow work is the art of taking this deconstruction of behaviour and not playing victim of your life and circumstances, not pushing blame, because all of these reactions are conscious and ego driven. Stripping away the trigger responses and healing the wounds in the moment.
I have always had a thing about my birthdays not being enough, I remember every year I would start the count down to my birthday weeks and months before in the hopes of being more organised than the year before in order to have the birthday I wanted. So this year, I got a head start to enjoy my birthday.
The whole lead up if someone couldn't come to something or Tom and I trying to book reservations at the restaurant, anything that I felt myself slipping into 'anxious, unintentional me', I had to focus on what I was feeling and if they were coming from a place of not being good enough.
I just caught myself wanting to type, 'not being good enough is hard for a perfectionist'...
The universe is laughing at me because, it's not easy for a perfectionist on purpose.
Even perfection reversed, is not good enough.
So do you need a crazy dark ritual to summon your shadow and work on it?