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A Shadow Work Visualization to Heal Core Wounds

Image result for shadow healingI’ve been told that I am an awesome listener. I am supportive, kind and I really do appreciate what others bring to the table because I love to learn from so many different outlets. But, like everyone else, I can just as easily list out some traits that I often struggle with or am not always proud of. Those parts of me that have often held me back at times, kept me from taking a chance or have just always made me feel not so great about myself overall. One area in particular that I have often wondered about is how some people around me can speak in front of a group with such grace and ease, while even to this day it still makes me a bit nervous. What I’ve learned is that to be a great speaker, it takes confidence; a deep security in your own authenticity, along with a connection to who you really are allows you to speak so freely, and to do so in such an engaging way that others are drawn to you and willingly hand over their undying attention.

So, where did I miss-step on my path, that I didn’t gain this same amount of self-confidence? What happened to lower my self-esteem where I am not able to speak as freely with as much “oomph” behind my words? What creates the tip of the scale in the various “strengths” and “weakness” amongst the personalities within the human population? Perhaps it is so eluding because it hides deep within us; a manifestation of our childhood experiences. Perhaps we don’t often recognize the source, because of the fact that it is right in front of our faces…in our own reflections. And perhaps if we simply turn the light on, we can begin to illuminate these shadows to finally allow ourselves the growth and healing they are calling for.

I know it’s easier to put ourselves down for our shortcomings, especially when we compare ourselves to others that hold traits we wish we had further developed within ourselves, but it does us no good to belittle, as our flaws are just as beautiful as the qualities we admire and are perhaps our greatest teachers. They invite us to peer into areas of our lives that seek attention. These parts are like the little kid within us; tugging at our coattails, begging you to spend some time with them. And when we do, we can learn so much, and it’s been my experience with the process I like to call “integrating your shadows”, that I’ve never had more profound, personal growth and healing in such a short amount of time. This process not only has made me realize that we could not see greatness in others if it did not already exist within ourselves (lying dormant), but it has also allowed me to be so much kinder with myself when I am struggling to work through things; to be patient and allow myself to trust the process.

“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.” ― Mary Oliver

When we are children, we literally soak up the world around us. This is to help us form ideas about the world that will serve to assist us in navigating through life. And as children, we have no filters, we are pure authentic beings…free of societal constraints, living from pure heart and spirit expressing what comes naturally. That is until we are told NOT to. So, what does that do to us on a subconscious level? As we age, we begin to learn that just being “who we are” is not acceptable. That we must conform and change who we are to please those around us and follow rules set out by other people to live by. “Don’t do that, you’re embarrassing me!” (Could make one believe they cannot be themselves or they are not good enough as they are. That they must change to be accepted in the world). “You’re so wasteful; don’t you know there are kids starving in other parts of the world?” (Could make one feel as if their voice doesn’t matter, their opinions are stupid, or they are ungrateful or undeserving). Parents, who of course believe they are just “showing the way” and doing what’s best with some tough love, obviously do not realize that they are taking a proverbial hammer to a child’s self-esteem and implanting beliefs that they are not good enough as they are.

While there are some parents out there who truly would rather not be, and some that are so damaged they take out every one of their issues on their children intentionally, I truly believe for the most part that parents today want nothing for the best for their kids. And I think if they stopped to think about this a bit, they might also see how things they struggle with inside of themselves are even from their own childhoods and could also stem from beliefs implanted by their own parents or other adults that were in their lives at the time. It’s a cycle, and all it takes is a bit of awareness, a shimmer of light to illuminate the shadows, and then and only then the healing can begin for all.

So, we can identify what our shadows are, and we now know where they come from, but how do we use them to grow and heal? First off, I want to make it clear that you don’t want to look at your shadows as something to be ashamed of, or something you want to dissolve or get rid of. Your shadows are parts of you, after all. Rather, you want to bring them to light, find out what they want from you now, and what you can do to heal them, so they no longer hold you back in areas of your life, but instead propel you forward. The ultimate goal is to meet them with love, get to know and understand them, integrate them into your heart, and move onto another day lighter, more peaceful and stronger than you were yesterday.

Shadow Integration Visualization

  • Close your eyes and picture your sacred space. Imagine it is a quiet, peaceful place where you can sit in solitude and meditation. It could be a warm beach as you listen to the waves roll in, a fragrant garden, a forest waterfall; whatever you like. Once you find your sacred space and settle in, take 3 deep breaths.
  • Next, focus on one particular area of your life where you are struggling. An area that often causes you pain, anger, suffering, and/or sadness. An area that no matter what you do always seems to bring the same disappointing results. This is the shadow we will focus on.
  • Ask your shadow to show itself and come forward into your sacred space. Pay close attention to what it looks like; what form it takes. Invite it to sit down with you.
  • Inquire as to when you created it. Ask it to show you that moment in your life. Sit with this for a while if you need to as you go back in time as it may bring up some intense emotions.
  • Ask your shadow what it needs from you at this time, so you can grow and heal. Really connect with it here and make mental notes of what it tells you, so you have clear action items to work on.
  • Finally, sit with your shadow and tell it how much you love it. Thank it for all it has taught you and see it getting smaller and smaller so it fits in the palm of your hand.
  • Put the palm of your hand over your heart and feel your shadow integrate into your entire being, but no longer a broken fragment, but now as a stronger piece of you.
  • Take 3 deep breaths and sit for a moment in your sacred space.
  • When you are ready, open your eyes and take note if you feel more at peace, lighter and more confident in that area of your life.

tamaraTamara Rant is a Co-Editor/Writer for CLN as well as a Licensed Reiki Master, heart-centered Graphic Designer and a progressive voice in social media activism & awareness. She is an avid lover of all things Quantum Physics and Spirituality. Connect with Tamara by visiting Prana Paws/Healing Hearts Reiki or go to RantDesignMedia.com

Tamara posts new original articles to CLN every Saturday.

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This article was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Tamara Rant and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.




How to Heal Your Most Debilitating Core Wounds

By Jordan Gray | Jordan Gray Consulting

“I am a burden and a mistake.”

“All love that is offered to me is fragile and a lie.”

“Everyone I love secretly hates me and wants me to kill myself.”

These are the beliefs that dominated me for the majority of my life.

I am the youngest of three children in my family.

From the ages of 0-4, my older sister was like a second mom to me.

She tied my shoes for me. She carried me around. She was endlessly sweet, patient, and loving with me.

Then some time around turning 5, my older brother found me to be increasingly annoying, and he turned on me. Not wanting to be on the wrong side of this power dynamic, my sister joined him in bullying me. This carried on for the next eight or so years.

I remember countless nights of self-loathing. I remember feeling unwanted and unsafe in my family. I remember having suicidal thoughts as early as eight years old.

Although I didn’t have the words to understand what it was at the time, I was intermittently depressed from the ages of 8-15.

After enough years of self-hatred and repressed emotions, I tried to take my own life when I was 15.

I sat down with a bottle of painkillers and a can of orange soda and I consumed them all.

Fast forward 24 hours and I was on suicide watch in a children’s hospital.

No belts. No shoelaces. No metal cutlery. Just me, two other suicidal teens, and a sterile jail cell of a bedroom.

My family came to visit me during visiting hours, and they all looked like shit. Their eyes were bloodshot. They looked exhausted. They looked like I felt.

And yet I remember the pain in their eyes confusing me deeply.

“Why are you all sad? I thought I was doing you a favour,” I thought to myself.

The pain on the faces of my family was the initial sliver of doubt that had me question whether I wasn’t actually a burden to the world.

Reaction Formation

While the seed of doubt had been planted in my mind, I wasn’t ready to face into the depth of my repressed pain.

The unconscious programming that I had held on to (telling me that everyone I loved was just waiting to turn on me with cruelty and without warning) led me to study interpersonal relationships like a man possessed.

I read everything I could get my hands on that might give me the silver bullet solution to making people NOT hate me.

I constructed a mask, and then (from the ages of 22-25) taught others how to live with the same mask that I had constructed. I became a professional dating coach and helped people get into (largely surface level) relationships.

While helping people get traction in their lives and stepping into some form of teaching appealed to me, I could increasingly tell that something felt misaligned for me in the version of what I was doing.

Surrender

At 25, I began to tire of the social mask that I had constructed, and wanted to go deeper into my process.

I started dating women who could more fully see me (as I finally began to allow myself to be more fully seen by others).

I started working with coaches and therapists who had more embodied wisdom, and similar childhood trauma to me.

In short, I started to reach out and ask for help for the first time ever. I truly surrendered.

Over the past year and a half I leaned harder into my self-development process than I ever have.

Largely catalyzed by a series of painful events (a significant breakup, a close friend passing away, and reaching a new level of success in my business and feeling deeply unfulfilled by it), I started working with a transpersonal therapist, joined a weekly men’s group, and began doing more physically embodied therapeutic exercises that helped me get out of my head and into my emotional body.

men, repressed anger, masculine edge

Without hyperbole, this past year and a half has been the most challenging and healing period of time in my entire life, by a landslide.

Of all of the things that I have done, these are the three biggest things that I did to help heal my repressed pain and trauma. It is my hope that you will be able to take something out of these steps to use in your own process.

1. Fully face, and accept, the truth of your situation

You can’t fully let go of something until you have first taken it into your hand and grasped it.

If you don’t allow yourself to fully acknowledge the truth of whatever you have lived through, it will continue to have power over you.

There’s a big difference between saying “I was bullied when I was young… but I was probably just being a sensitive little kid,” and, “I was bullied relentlessly for years and had suicidal thoughts for years because of it.”

There’s a big difference between saying “I was raped when I was a teenager but I was probably asking for it because I was drunk and being flirtatious,” and, “I was raped when I was a teenager. I know this because my sexual energy was violated and I found it difficult to get close to people for years. I still wake up from nightmares of my abuser breaking into my home.”

There’s a big difference between saying “I might have been emotionally abused in my last marriage, but other people have had it so much worse than me,” and, “I was emotionally manipulated in my last marriage for so many years, to the point where I didn’t feel like I could trust my own mind in the slightest. I still doubt myself constantly and never know if or when my emotions are appropriate in a given situation.”

The point isn’t to be overdramatic or to tell white lies. The point is to be fully truthful. To own it fully. And that means allowing yourself to acknowledge the truth of the situation as you experienced it.

Here I am, sharing this exact story with an audience, this past March.

In practical terms, facing the full truth of your situation might look like writing out your full story on several pieces of paper… or telling a close, trusted friend about your trauma… or speaking to a coach or therapist for several sessions.

Whatever your truth is, it absolutely must be fully acknowledged and externalized before you can transcend it.

2. Feel the feelings that you have access to

Once you have exposed the full truth of your situation to yourself, there will very likely be some (or a lot of) unfelt emotional residue to process.

You may have to sob, or yell, or lie down despondently, or stomp your feet… or all of the above.

Depending on the depth of the wound, this may take a matter of days, or a matter of years.

One of the most common fears that comes up when you are about to lean into this stage is, “What if my sadness/anger/resentment/etc. goes on forever? What if it’s a never ending well of emotion?”

Nothing lasts forever. Your sadness can be transcended. Your anger can be released. Feel your feelings fully, and you will release the stuck energy that has lived in your body for as long as it has.

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