You and Your Shadow

Hello, dreamy babes!

Today I’m talking about an often overlooked and somewhat taboo part of self development – shadow work. Often associated with magickal people, it’s the key for anyone on the path to a more developed self awareness. No matter how you define it, we all aim to live an abundant life. Shadow work might just be the secret to creating the life you desire. Alright, let’s get co-creating!

As I took the dive (head first) into embracing my true calling, my passions, my abundance – I cordially introduced myself to my shadow. It’s not that cute, lanky, black silhouette that follows me around all day. It’s the other me that dwells inside. It’s the unconscious me. Now, I know we’re all aware that there are darker parts of our being that we aren’t all too keen on, but have you ever considered that you might as well embrace those parts of you, too? I’d like to lovingly suggest that you add this to your bag of tricks. Knowing and loving your shadow is the missing piece.

“Look! My shadow! (It’s only a shadow.) Yes, but it’s all mine.” – Mary Martin as Peter Pan

The shadow is a part of you that you may think is weak, hidden and totally not in control. I’m willing to bet that most people have convinced themselves of this. And why wouldn’t we? We’re programmed to believe that light is the way and that this is where our growth comes from. Which, in part, is true!

We’re taught from such an early age that being bad is, well, bad. It’s totally understandable that most people would be super upset to learn that the dark thing – which appears to be holding you back, making abundance that much harder to obtain – holds so much power. I was actually happy AF to discover it’s power. It came as news to me that for most of my adult life she (my shadow) was kinda running the show. But! My shadow was happy that I finally realized it’s power and so, too, was I.

So you’re probably wondering what the heck I’m talking about if you’ve only scratched the surface of personal development or nurturing your power (that thing that makes you so damn amazing). Let me simplify this idea of a shadow self and why it’s to your advantage to shake hands with it.

A dark thing, with tons of power, dwelling inside your lightness sounds pretty uncomfortable, right? It sounds like something you might run to Google to figure out the quickest way to banish it back to the hellish place it came from? Well, that’s not where it’s from. And don’t do that! Trust me.

Our existence is duality, and there’s real beauty in that, despite how awful the shadow may sound. Of course you know that loving yourself is important. You wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t! I think you must know, too, that balance is key to everything we do. I’m all about positive thinking and that’s part of what I’m proposing here. Shedding some light on your darkness (your shadow) is going to open you up to a whole host of amazing mental leaps.

The shadow, as an example, is the part of me (the alter me, really) that loves the struggle on all counts, that loves loneliness, that loves lacking in as many ways as it can convince me I do.

It turns out that I was doing some shadow work before I had any idea what that meant, let alone what my shadow was. I kept finding myself in these stupid situations. Situations I thought were just shit luck. One day it dawned on me, that it maybe didn’t have anything to do with luck? Maybe it had everything to do with the life I’d been unknowingly co-creating with the universe. Instead of paying attention to the influence I had on the things that happened to me, I had been letting my shadow take over co-creating with the universe.

Once I acknowledged what had been going on – why I couldn’t seem to get ahead in life – I was able to open up to actually really fucking loving myself and this life I’d been unconsciously designing. You see, what I realized is that part of me really liked being stuck or let down or broke or generally lost. It’s a bit like a child who carries around a rag that used to be a beautiful blanket. It’s ugly, but it still brings them comfort. Think about it – it’s almost easier! Your shadow would be delighted to have you stuck in a place of lack because that’s her home.

In a world where Pinterest perfect lives are all up in our grill, it’s easier for the shadow to take control. It’s easier because you (the conscious you) knows that anything more than ‘lacking’ is going to be hard work! This is where shadow work beings – acknowledge it, admit to the faults, drop the struggle and get unstuck.

Of course we don’t want to feel as though we lack! We don’t want to feel hopeless. For me, shedding light on what my shadow had been working on so diligently most of my adult life opened me up to experiencing all of the good. This reflection reminded me to take note of the little things that bring me joy, the beauty in gratitude and how amazing the duality of human existence is. Ultimately I was able to embrace the ‘hard work’ my shadow so easily put down so that I could begin the path to co-creating the actual life of my dreams.

Shadow work is accepting the ugly truth and deciding there’s something valid to the crap it’s trying to feed you. It’s deciding to listen, if only temporarily! It’s deciding that your shadow isn’t going anywhere so you might as well shed some light in there. It’s knowing that letting go of the struggle isn’t going to happen unless you come to terms with your darkness.

I feel like I’ve made it sound like this can be done in the blink of an eye…that it may just dawn on you, too. Ummm, why wait?! This battle was waging inside me, the light and the dark, for years. After this little big epiphany – this really real moment of acceptance and acknowledgment of why stupid situations kept popping up – I began to embrace the shadow as a dear old friend. ‘Keep your enemies closer,’ they say! Making buds with my shadow took me places I never thought possible.

It gave me a voice. It made me stronger. It brought me here.

It had kept me in in a place of comfort, laziness and unexpected ease for so long that I had actually grown bored of it. This was the kick in the pants I needed to reestablish myself as the captain of my own damn ship. It’s clear now that a lot of the places I feel weak or lacking in my life are really just my shadow steering the ship. As you may guess, I’m cool with her having a front row seat, but I don’t want her running the show, you know? So here’s what I’ve been doing and what you can do, too.

♥ First, acknowledge the dark. You can make a list of a few places that you’re unhappy with or feel lacking in your life. Be easy on yourself as you do this. By only looking at three things *max* at a time, this won’t become a pity or self-hatred party, okay? Some places to start might be your relationship with money, your love life, your friendships or your personal development.

♥ Next, consider that you might actually really like that ‘lack’. With this in mind, dissect the things you’ve decided to look at a bit through meditation and/or writing. Why do you like it? What do you love so much about being stuck there? What makes it so much easier to lack than to prosper?

♥ Finally, show these parts of you some love! Show your shadow that you’re okay with what it craves, that you understand it. Really admit out loud or on paper that you love being or feeling                        (part one) because                        (part two). Each time these things pop up, acknowledge them, assure them you understand and appreciate their existence, but then show them there’s a better way. Bring together the acceptance of your shadow and your dedication to co-creating abundance in your life! That is where the figurative and literal magic(k) happens.

Showing the shadow some serious love and acceptance is gonna feel like a sucker punch. Like, ‘why the hell didn’t I see the power in this all along?!’ It’s a daily practice and it doesn’t happen without intention, but this work is SO worth it in the end. Shadow work is truly the missing piece to all the self development we work so hard at. Being bad never felt so good! Winter is closing in and we’re busy harvesting all of our growth. Now is the perfect time to warm up to our shadow’s and dig deep into the magic there. With shadow work we can be more open to receiving the abundance we aim to create with the universe.

 “I taught a trick to my shadow, to stick to the tip of my toe. I’ve gotta crow! I’ve gotta brag! I think it’s sweet.” – Mary Martin as Peter Pan

Love thy shadow. Stay dreamy.


Elyn E.

Owner of Five & Dime Vintage – Detroit and Never Not Dreaming Blog

P.S. For more tips, tricks and real talk on all things Vintage, Living an Inspired Life, Magick Moments, Art and D.I.Y. sign up for the Never Not Dreaming e-mail list! You’ll be the first to hear about what’s coming up next and receive promotions on future offerings.

Related Article:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *