Embracing Your Shadow

  • By Smadar Efrat Yaish

    Certified Breathwork Practitioner and Certified Holistic Life Coach


    What is the Shadow?

    The Shadow is those aspects of self that are kept hidden in the dark and out of awareness.  Many of these aspects of self have great holds on your life and actually dictate your thoughts, feelings, beliefs and actions.  A metaphor would be a hidden cave in which you keep those parts of yourself that, on an unconscious level, you prefer to avoid or ignore.

    The Shadow includes your deepest fears, shames, regrets, judgments, core beliefs, unconscious contracts/vows, “truths” about life, about others and yourself, as well as your greatest power, your beauty, your sacred and divine self.  In other words, the Shadow includes all these things about yourself that “you don’t know that you don’t know” or those things that sit in your subconscious.

    Why is it important to get familiar with your Shadow?

    With the understanding that your everyday life is a reflection of your inner state, i.e., that your actions and manifestations including relationships, career, money, etc. are a reflection of your inner state, the Shadow has a great impact on your life.  The Shadow is a major part of your inner self that is hidden from your awareness.  Ignoring or avoiding your Shadow is like driving a car that was programmed to turn right at every intersection while assuming that, because you are the one holding the stirring wheel, it should be going in the direction you dictate.  Getting to know your Shadow is like cracking the code and revealing the programming that dictates your thoughts, feelings and actions and eventually your manifestations and results.

    In addition to healing those parts of you that hold you back from achieving your desired results, getting familiar with, healing and embracing your Shadow can assist you in unleashing trapped life energies, your deepest power, inspiration and authenticity.  For example, many people know that they are extremely talented; however their bank account does not reflect this fact.  Their Shadow may include an unconscious vow to never have more money than their family or to never shine as it might cause others to be jealous.

    Can you see how much energy is put into keeping yourself small although it does not serve you or those exact people you try to “protect?”  Can you see how much of your life force is suffocated?  Honoring these old “truths,” vows and fears that served you in the past and, then, releasing their hold of you, can free much of your energy and inner power to be used to achieve both progress in your daily like and desired results.

    A few ways to put Light into your Shadow

    1. 1. Examine your negative patterns and look for those deep-rooted reasons for these patterns.

    Before we look into the ways to recognize rooted causes for your patterns, please consider that the things that you perceive as faults, negative patterns or things you do not like about yourself are actually your assets.  The only issue with them is that they are over-amplified.  If you turn the notch down a little, these so-called faults will reveal their asset value.  In other words, your weaknesses will become your strengths.  For example, a person who is extra careful about spending money to the point of deprivation (behavior that is most likely rooted in some deep fear or core- limiting belief about life and self) may turn down “the volume” on this behavior and actually bring it to a position of being responsible with money.  Being responsible is an asset, while deprivation is a “fault” or negative pattern.

    Turning the volume down can be done through revealing the rooted cause of the pattern.  Ask yourself or journal about the following: what is my earliest memory of this pattern?  What does the picture look like?  Who is there?  What words were spoken?  What was the impact of this mental picture and these words on me?  How did my body react at that moment?  What did I feel?  What conclusion did I draw about life, about myself?  What conclusion did I draw about what I should/could be, do or have?  This kind of examination will assist you in revealing hidden fears, beliefs and even vows you have made that can be called on to be honored for their past service and, then, released.

    1. 2. Take advantage of challenging times and crises to identify and embrace Shadow aspects of your self.

    Challenging times and crises such as unemployment, break ups and financial difficulties may bring to light more vulnerable parts of self.  For example, one might become overly fearful, needy, rigid and such.  Although it is natural to feel any of these feelings and exhibit more extreme behaviors during crises and major transitions, these amplified responses might shed light on what existed in the dark all along, e.g., core limiting beliefs such as “the world / life isn’t safe, “ “I am alone,” “No one is to be trusted,”… etc.  Be gentle with yourself, seek help and support as needed and take the time to examine what is asking to be revealed about yourself beyond this specific situation.  What is asking to be healed, released and embraced?  Usually it is the “child” part of the self that needs to be heard and embraced.

    1. 3. Ask your higher self, spirit and/or spiritual guides to reveal those aspects that affect your life that you are not seeing.

    Simply ask to have your inner truth revealed to you.  This can be done through meditation, automatic writing, Breathwork and such.  Be prepared to get some answers through insights, memories and newfound understandings of what the factors are that affect your perceptions, beliefs and behaviors.

    For automatic writing, devote about 10 minutes (or more) of uninterrupted time.  Have a piece of paper and pen ready and sit in a quite space.  Take a few breaths in and out, allowing you body to relax and be centered.  Imagine your heart opening and light shining out of your heart.

    On the top of the paper, write the following: ”Dear higher self, spirit, God” (whatever words you feel comfortable with).

    On the next line write, “Please reveal to me what I am not seeing about myself… about my relationship…, my work, my ability to earn more money, (any issue you want answers or information about).  Also write; “please answer me through my pen.”

    On the next line, write “Dear _______________” (your name)

    Take a few more breaths and start writing anything that comes through your pen.  Don’t look for anything to make sense.  Just let streams of thought come through your pen.  When the streams of thought ends, read what you have written.  You might be surprised.

    Practice automatic writing often.  The more you do it, the clearer the messages become.  As mentioned above, you can also use mediation,  Breathwork, walks in nature or any other way that makes you connect with you inner self/higher self.

    1. 4. Focus on your Shadow rather than what needs to be changed in the world or in others

    Jeshua Channeling by Pamela Kribbe notes that, “It’s your life purpose to shine light on the hardened and petrified parts of you. To spread your light on earth, first and foremost reach out to the darkness within.”  In other words, one does not need to focus on what needs to be remedied in the world, but, instead, on what needs to be healed within.  Once you embrace your own journey, your light will shine out and inspire others to do the same.

    In this channeling, you are asks you to imagine a stone that contains all the emotions with which you have difficulties; the fears and negative beliefs you have about yourself and life.

    The stone symbolizes all that got stuck and blocked within you.  The stone also points out to you your soul mission to bring light into the most dense parts within you.

    You are asked to take a moment to look into the stone.  Hold it with gentle care and allow your consciousness to go into it and sense the energy inside it.   What do you sense?  How does it feel?  What is its color? Ask the stone to tell its story to you.

    Now, notice what happens to the stone once you’ve held it and have given it loving and welcoming attention.   Looking at your stone with acceptance and understanding transforms it.

    See the color and form your stone turns into.  Now, ask the stone what gifts it has for you.  Listen to its message.

    I am sending you my blessings for a joyous journey, embracing all parts of yourself and living a life aligned with your sacred inner truth and wisdom.

    You are welcome to send this article to others as long as the author’s name is credited, i.e., written by Smadar Efrat Yaish, Transition Holistic Life Coach, Certified Breathwork Facilitator and Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

    I’ll be happy to hear from you and be updated on your experience in using these or other techniques of embracing and integrating your Shadow.  Feel free to contact me at Smadar@simpletruthwithin.com

    Please be advised that I am available for phone Coaching sessions and in-person Breathwork Healing and/or therapy sessions.  For more information visit www.simpletruthwithin.com

    © Smadar Efrat Yaish 2011