'Love the coal for it is the ingredient that makes your strongest and brightest diamonds'
Do you notice things happening in your life over and over again? The same things bothering you in others, triggering you and growing evermore frustrating? Well, those are likely
your shadows and life is holding up mirrors on a regular basis to help you see them for your spiritual growth.
This certainly isn't one of the easiest parts of ourselves to delve into but it is part of who we are and if we want to step into our fullness and authenticity, we need to explore the darker elements of ourselves, accept them, love them & integrate them.
This isn't something I would recommend diving into alone if it isn't something you have done before, it can be quite confronting and so it's good to have someone who can hold space for you to discuss what is coming up for you. It is also important to be in the right head & heart space and to set a safe container for yourself. The first step of this work is AWARENESS. A good place to start is to notice where we are triggered by others in our lives or even just a bug bear we have with someone we encounter. For example, you notice your partner always resting and taking time for themselves, this may need addressing in some way but if you feel frustrated or angered about it you may need to ask if you're giving yourself time off? Do you have boundaries around your own self care or do you let it slide? This could be a shadow aspect to look into more as when you're giving yourself what you need it may be that your partners resting won't bother you so much. Another way to reflect on this is to journal, focus on the things about yourself that you don't like, what comes up? What do you have shame, fear or disgust about? What arises from that darkness? Here are some more journal prompts for you to perhaps move a bit deeper within your own psyche;
Which of my traits tend to show up when I’m stressed?
How comfortable am I with difficult emotions, like anger?
How comfortable am I with expressing those feelings?
How do I feel when others express their uncomfortable emotions?
What traits do I find most repulsive in others? In what ways do I also have these traits?
What emotions do I find most challenging and why?
What truths in my life do I tend to ignore?
Once you've identified one or two shadow aspects you can move on to the next step of;
ACCEPTANCE - Own that part of yourself, acknowledge it and see it's purpose and value. Using the above example, if you're bothered by your partners resting, that is showing you that YOU need more rest, more self-care and self-love, that is valuable information for you to know about yourself and can allow you to move into;
LOVE - Bring love and compassion to this side of yourself, be like a loving and patient mother, seeing yourself through non-judgmental eyes. Again with the above example, how can you give yourself more of what you need? How can you LOVE on yourself more? You could practice some loving kindness meditation to help with this and then welcome that side of yourself back, to lead you into;
EMBODIMENT - When you own and love these parts of yourself it means you can embody them and use them for your growth and development. Remember, you are the AWARENESS, the shadows and the good traits of your personality are visitors to learn from in order for you to become more whole and...
INTEGRATED - As you integrate these parts of yourself you begin to really see their teachings and how they can help you evolve, loving your WHOLE SELF. Essentially we are not trying to push these parts of ourselves away, that's what we've been doing and that doesn't serve us, we are aiming to learn from them and bring them into the light. As we do this we become more authentic and more compassionate as a result.
This is literally just scratching the surface of this work and I am by no means an expert, it is something I have explored myself and still am and something we touched on in our women's circle. I just wanted to share a little of what it is because it is SUCH important work for us to become the best versions of ourselves and live the lives we TRULY want to live.
I'd love to hear what this brings up for you and as always I am here if you need a listening ear.