I avoided ‘shadow work’ for so long it's almost comical to say that I have been at all ‘spiritual’ for as long as I have because for at least 80% of my time in this community, I absolutely avoided the work, choosing instead to skip over the top in the ‘love and light’ section of spirituality and doing something I now know to be ‘spiritual bypassing’. It’s amusing to me now that I considered myself pretty well rounded and healed…I mean, I wore and carried crystals every day, I did Reiki on myself and others, I meditated…what more was there, huh?
I’d heard of ‘shadow work’, I’d heard about ‘doing the work’, I’d nodded along with others as the subject was discussed and decided that that shiz was kept aside for people with real trauma. I’d never been through anything really traumatic as far as I was concerned (ahem…a story for another day, so no need for any ‘shadow work’ was there?
In truth, I was actively avoiding it; partaking in the part of my human that does everything in its power to avoid pain and discomfort. My ego knew something I didn’t about this so called ‘work’ and it was more than happy to avoid it altogether. You see, the ego likes to protect us, and it does such a brilliant job of protecting us that we have ourselves in a society that tries to actively avoid anything that resembles discomfort altogether…hello toxic positivity and ‘the comfort zone’!
We like comfort. We enjoy comfort. It keeps us safe, the status quo remains, no one has to feel anything and no one has to confront anything…its nice here, I get it. The trouble is that everything else is outside of the comfort zone…everything else.
I’ll give you an example…
#1 – I’m a spiritual person trying to manifest abundance but getting nowhere. I know all about the Law of Attraction and I understand everything there is to know about manifestation and still nothing happens…Where is my wealth?
I’ll tell you where your wealth is…On the other side of the comfort zone. Nothing changes if nothing changes. If you’re trying to manifest abundance from the space you currently sit in which is comfortable no doubt, but it’s one of lack, or at least less than, you will never manifest abundance. You need to figure out why you are in that space in the first space, then do the work.
#2 – I feel blocked and stuck. I want to shift my vibration into that of joy and happiness but I have it for a little while and then I feel rubbish again.
Guess what…Nothing changes if nothing changes. Be honest here, are you trying to shift your vibration without actually shifting your vibration? By that I mean, are you trying to level up by doing the same things you’ve always done in the same way you’ve always done them? First of all, you can’t bypass emotions, they just are. Stop trying to avoid the so called negative ones because they feel uncomfortable and sit with them, they are here to teach you so much. Second of all, shifting into a space of joy and happiness is a myth. There is no space that is external to you, only the space in which you occupy now, so you need to find that joy and happiness in the now. If you feel stuck, it’s because you need to do the work.
Whenever something is stopping you…Do the damn work!
So, what is this ‘work’ that I speak of I hear you say…
Ah, the work. The beautiful, painful, twisted mess of light that is the work. It’s so simple it’s almost painful to address its simplicity. It’s also so damn hard that so many people try to avoid it so much that it has almost manifested itself as some demonic darkness that resides inside us that we are too afraid to confront.
I’m going to let you in on a secret. A few of them actually…the first one is, the ‘work’ is as complicated as shining a light on it.
That’s it. How easy or difficult that is, is up to you. But it really is that simple. Shine a light on it. Nothing that has a light shone on it can remain in shadow. Light it up. Look at it. And you do that by simply realising and acknowledging its existence within you. That’s it! Light shone! Shadows illuminated. Work done.
Believe it or not it really is that simple.
The next secret I’m going to share with you is the bit that makes it a little more complicated and a little more scary and is wholly and completely the reason that people avoid ‘the work’.
You have to sit with it.
Once you have shone your beautiful light on it, on the thing that is holding you back, blocking your path, making you feel ugh, making you hesitate, making you angry, sad, bitter, jealous, all the things…once it is lit up and you are aware of it, you have to sit with it.
This is the painful bit. It’s not fun to sit with these things and it takes us so far away from our precious comfort zone that its scary and the reality is that we fear we wont ever be able to go back. We fear that the pain and discomfort will never leave us.
Let me make you this one important promise…You won’t be able to go back. You’ll move onto somewhere better. The pain and discomfort will no longer be pain and discomfort, they will evaporate into acceptance of what is, and acknowledgement of what was.
Somethings that exist within our shadow simply disappear once we shine a light on them, like they cannot exist once they have been seen. This can be the case for the stories we tell ourselves about lack or worth. Once we see them as stories, they cease to be the truths that our ego uses to keep us contained.
Sometimes the things we shine a light on cannot cease to exist, they are a deeply ingrained piece of our journey and something we must learn to accept about ourselves and move forward with. This can be the case for personality traits we don’t like about ourselves, our so called flaws, but once we have shone that light we can make the choice to have love for those parts of us too, we can choose to forgive ourselves for these traits, we can see our humanness and put less pressure on ourselves to be someone else’s idea of ‘good enough’.
You are not here to sit within the comfort zone. You are here to experience the vast rainbow of emotions and complexities that is the human experience, and you are here to learn from those emotions and complexities, you are here to shine a light on yourself so that you can shine a light for others. Don’t fear the discomfort, don’t fear the shadow, don’t fear the work. Fear the comfort zone, fear the fact that nothing changes if nothing changes, fear the inability to move beyond the blocks, walls, and small spaces you have been creating to keep yourself hidden.
My beautiful friend, your beautiful soul needs illuminating, you need illuminating, so please…do the work.
Photo by mohammed alherz on Unsplash