Sacred Journeys: Shadow Work Can Shine a Light on Our Innermost Feelings
As we snuggle closer to the fire during this winter season and consider the year that has passed, we have a great deal to contemplate, particularly our inner work. Without the happy distractions of parties and feasting and gifts, we find ourselves becoming more aware of our shadows, our fears, and confusion. There is an extraordinary amplification of this awareness these days, knowing that the whole world is feeling the same uncertainty.
This has been a year of shadows and fears as we look around at an unfamiliar landscape. Staying open to the truth, hoping to recognize it when it walks in the room, is both exhilarating and exhausting. When truth seems fiction and fiction seems truth, we are being forced to waken from our happy place and see the dark underbelly of reality.
Shadow work is a tool that lets those uncomfortable feelings percolate up so you can look them right in the eye and say “It’s okay. I see you…I feel you… I transform you.”
Some days we can look right at the shadow, like a warrior, and on other days we return to the shores of familiar beliefs that once comforted us, but which now feel less solid. That’s when we watch ourselves fall off-centre, having reacted to the loss of the known.
Resilience of the Human Spirit
And then there is the reassuring and heart-swelling kindness of strangers, the love pouring from hearts world-wide in compassion and gratitude for those who are trying to function ‘outside’ in the whirlwind of confusion with carefulness and hopefulness.
Teachers heading back to the classroom in a system robbed of sufficient funding for decades are trying to work a miracle. Kids are deliriously happy to be back with the other kids, though they are dressed like Darth Vader. Parents are breathing in the momentary space as kids go back to class and are happy for their children, but never far from worry.
There are so many outbursts of emotion as we go through these ‘wash and rinse’ cycles.
Society is sharing its feelings. There are no distractions. It is profoundly important to be touched by our connectedness, by the enormity of it all.
Fear, doubt, and worry are the filters of scarcity, limitation, and separation. And when they act up, we close down the opening where we both give and receive love, grace, and gratitude. Shadow work helps us to inhabit our hearts. When we do that, we raise our frequency and we change the world, one heart at a time.
Doing Your Shadow Work
When you feel yourself off center, perhaps having a sudden outburst of some kind, become aware of your frequency. Let it come up, in its pure form, and just feel how and where it sits in your body. This energy can usually only sustain itself for under a minute. If it’s longer, you are attaching to the ‘story’ behind the feeling.
As the feeling fades, shift your frequency to the belief you want to hold about yourself, or the world – imagine what it might feel like. This is how we shift our reality: one feeling, one moment at a time, replaced with what we want. Each time a feeling comes up, you have an opportunity to detangle it from your held stories and beliefs. The more you do this, the easier it will become. As you consciously and lovingly let these trapped feelings go, you strengthen your immune system.
The gift of these times is that we can see the shadow. This is the holy work of the winter solstice. Lets face it, you and I cannot control the world outside. We can only control what is inside ourselves. That is our work. We change the world with our frequency. I think part of the chaotic nature of the outer world is a reflection of how many of us have been avoiding our shadow work. The game is on. Let’s do this.
Indigenous Wisdom for Modern Times
A Hopi elder offered this wisdom for these times:
“There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold onto the shore. They will feel they are torn apart and will suffer greatly.”
“Know that the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above water. And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.”
“The time for the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word ‘struggle’ from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.” (For more information visit: https://www.communityworks.info/hopi.htm)
Likely we will still have more ‘challenges’ next year, but as we do our work, it will get easier as the fog burns off. It is helpful to remember that we are vast beings, and that inside us is everything we need to do the job. We are just rubbing off the tarnish and stains, and for every released shadow there is an opportunity to shine more light from our hearts into the world.
Let our sharing be honest, profound, and intelligent. Let us speak to each other from our hearts, with a new language that has evolved out of life in these revolutionary trenches, and the wisdom we have acquired there. Here’s to the light of truth shining brightly in 2021!