I’m all about befriending our shadows. It’s part of my self-care practice and a big part of my work with clients. And, as a person who used to be terrified of my own shadows, I am so thankful I’ve learned how to make friends. It’s helped me feel so much lighter, happier, and free to truly be myself. What’s more, it has helped me unravel old, stuck, sabotaging patterns which have interfered with my success.
One practice I do on a regular basis is talk with my shadows. I find that when I get to know them on a deeper level, I discover the clues to a specific challenge I might be experiencing. For example, a shadow of my Unmotivated Teen might come up when I think about doing the work in front of me. This shadow might urge me to zone out and avoid my work. Obviously it’s hard to get my best work done when there’s a shadow urging me to avoid it. So, rather than shunning this shadow, I take the time to learn more about it, and everything changes.
Here’s how to strike up a conversation with your own shadows:
When you notice a limiting pattern coming up for you, perhaps a self-sabotaging pattern, pause. Notice the emotions you’re feeling. Notice what you are being urged to do or not do. Notice how young you feel. As best you can, form a picture in your mind of a character (human or other) which represents this limiting pattern.
Approach this character as if it’s a shadow within you. You might want to give it a name. Do your best to cultivate a sense of curiosity, with the intent to be accepting and non-judgemental.
Here are some sample questions you might want to ask. For each question, pause, listen, and tune in to the answers that come up.
- Can you tell me more about why you’re here right now?
- What’s going on for you, what are you feeling?
- Is there something you’d like me to understand about you?
- What would help you feel better?
- What do you need?
- Is there anything else you want to tell me?se
You can take this conversation deeper by using a journal to dialogue with your shadow. Create back and forth journal entries between you and your shadow. Ask questions, stay curious, invite your shadow to answer the questions.
No matter how you do it, the practice of conversing with your shadows is powerful. It encourages self-forgiveness, and resolution of inner conflict. It makes it easy to bring compassion and understanding to the shadowy, dark places within. It’s informative and transformative. It’s something, once you get going, that you’ll likely want to come back to, again and again.
NOTE: If you’re dealing with trauma, or feel that your pain is unbearable, reach out to a professional who can assist you with this practice. Contact me to learn more about using EFT Tapping and Matrix Reimprinting to work with your shadows.