Every soul that is in a human incarnation has shadows in her personality. The shadow is the part of who you are that you are trying to hide. The part that makes you concerned that others will judge you. The part you don’t want anyone to see – including yourself sometimes.

These fragments are my favorite part of my identity – and my client’s too… these parts are what makes you human and they shape your experience, everyday, in ways that you can’t even begin to number.

My shadow couldn’t be more different from my public persona… Let me just be clear that who I am on those quirky videos is exactly who I am most days in person. But just under the surface lurks an insecure little girl who wants to be protected and questions her value – at the same time she hovers on the brink of lashing out over unjustified, inconsequential things… just looking for the opportunity to expose those who are a threat to her.

The problem for me is that the vibration of the shadow is so divergently opposed to the vibration of the me that shows up most days… that I don’t even recognize myself in that little girl anymore. Good news is that you don’t need to allow your shadow to control you or determine what your future looks like.

These are the steps that I revisit often to engage my shadow and to work to integrate her into better alignment with how I want to show up in the world.

1. Call her out and speak directly to her. Whether you do mirror work or meditation, the best way to engage your shadow is to speak to her. Call her by name and tell her you see her. Tell her that you are here to support her and you wish to hold space for her healing. Of course, this is a very vulnerable exercise and can bring up some raw emotions – some you may not have even recognized were present. Hold this space for yourself and for her and be ready to work on what comes up. If you don’t, it will continue to come up, time and time again… the universe is so supportive that it keeps your lessons in queue until you are actually ready to process them. I am ready to open space for me to welcome my shadow and get uncomfortable with her.

2. Keep the conversation open about what her needs are. Her needs are likely very different than yours. My shadow needs constant stroking and managing. So when I open the conversation, I am certain to set boundaries and honor them! I invite my shadow to show me the next layer that needs attention in her healing and growth. I then make it super clear that I will work through these layers during my morning meditation and during my evening journaling time. That way, things don’t leak through as you are driving down the highway and flooding your eyes with so many tears that you can’t see the road… this is a matter of safety and sanity!

3. Journal about the ways she is holding you back. Let the information and words flow into your journal. Writing can be an excellent form of catharsis. My process is to identify the shadow and the real trigger around the shadow. Then write anything and everything that comes through about that shadow. It’s amazing how things come through from years ago… things that were outside your awareness – at least your conscious awareness. Things that seemed completely innocuous can show up in your journaling and trigger an emotion or response that is completely unexpected. This is a great place to dig deep into the details around your shadow that are not part of your conscious memory but are wreaking havoc on your ability to step fully into your authentic expression of self.

4. Notice where she is triggered and where she is soothed. I have really enjoyed this step… I get triggered by things that seem completely vanilla and harmless – like a question clarifying my desires – my shadow thinks – “what, I’m not important enough for you to already know that?” My rationality is fully aware that the question is intended to make sure I get what I actually want… without assumption… but sometimes rationality and your shadow are completely separate and apart. DO NOT judge yourself when you are triggered, but notice what caused it and see if you can identify why it was so triggering for you. Please refer back to step 3 and repeat.

5. Rewrite the story. You are the author of your story, your shadow may have been holding the pen upto this point, but this is your time to reclaim your own divinity. I love doing this process with clients and the act of writing is what really solidifies the new story. Write it exactly as you want it to be and when you have completed it, thank your shadow for the perspective and the lessons, because if she hadn’t been there – you would be having an entirely different experience.

Your shadow is a blessing to your journey… she is the sounding board from which you get to measure how far you have come and the healing you have accomplished. Love her for all that she offers you and release her for all the growth that both of you have the capacity to fulfill!