They say you don’t really ever reach self-realization until you are standing in the middle of your shadow and your light. The carnal, visceral, powerful urges that drive the psyche. The things we want to hide from others, in a world where we are expected to wear the proverbial (and literal, now) mask. Carl Jung discussed the concept of the shadow self. The persona is considered to be how we present ourselves to the world around us, how we “want” to be seen usually in accordance with societal or familial expectations. The self is what’s underneath that. It’s you being silly and dancing around the house in your underwear to Post Malone. Or raw, unfiltered, reading at night in the quiet of your home. Your insecurities, dreams, desires. Then, it leads to what lurks beneath. The shadow. The darkness. It holds our darkest urges or desires; carnal, and visceral. Think back to the cave man days where we probably had to kill one another in order to ensure our family had food. Survival of the fittest. It’s what makes you have the urge to punch your boss in the face when they’re actively being an asshole.
Shadow work is the joining of these 3 parts. It’s showing your true self, and really understanding what makes you into you. The more we ignore this shadow self, the bigger and more consuming the shadow becomes. Until, it becomes you.
Healing is like spending a lifetime in the darkness, no concept of the warmth or brightness of the light. You navigate your way through the space around you, fearful and full of rage to be in such a situation. The rocks beneath you cut the bottoms of your feet, causing you to stumble to the ground. No sign of light, you pick yourself up and carry on your journey. Until eventually, you see a whiteness that is unfamiliar. You reach the mouth of the cave; hesitantly step out into the light. At first it is blinding. You close your eyes and wince in pain, tears streaming down your face. “Should I have done this?” You breathe and gather yourself, until you are ready to try to open your eyes again. It’s painful at first, but then you adjust and see the beauty around you for the very first time.
I never really took the time to focus on my own healing journey, because let’s face it, it’s uncomfortable to really look at ourselves for what we are and what we have become. I made it my mission to help others find their way and heal themselves; and not to brag, but I became really good at it. Until the time came where everything blew up in my face; right around when COVID started. However, despite all of the pain, all of the chaos, loss, turmoil, etc. I am grateful for the forced shadow work it launched; because it has been beautiful coming back into the light.