…….. …………..i’d rather be whole than good’ (carl jung)
Shadow work, to me is beautiful work; essentially finding parts of ourselves that we have hid deep within us, finding the qualities of these part, accepting these as parts of our potential – and reintegrating them as part of our empowered whole.
We may not want to look into these parts – there are reasons why we hid them – or rather thought we had to hide them. For example, if we have been told by others – maybe parents, teachers, peers or ourselves that being a certain way is ‘bad’ and learnt that certain qualities/traits are met with approval, attention, love, while others are met with anger, hate and punishment. This can encourage us to reject and hide the parts of ourselves that met with anger/punishment/disapproval. Other times, we may see the wonderful parts of ourselves in others, but somehow cannot see these in ourselves.
However, it’s almost if these parts want us to look at them.
As these parts, it seems they come out in our projections onto others – like a mirror, we can see reflections of these parts of ourselves in the behaviours of others. Like holding a beachball under water (as Debbie Ford compares it), holding these pieces deep in our pysche in the behaviour of others – or in the behaviour of ourselves unexpectedly.
This means that logically, we are seeing them anyway, so we may as well face them in a more beneficial way – where can find their gifts and accept them.
And from experience, I find if I do face them, I find there are huge qualities in each part – when used at the time, in the right place – if we did ever need to use them.
And in finding these qualities, we are reintegrating parts of our essential life essence into our whole. In reintegrating, I have felt as if quanta pieces of energies are being brought back into my potential.
Added to that, if we accept and reintegrate these parts into ourselves into our whole – that releases the need to project these shadow pieces onto other people. Myself and others I’ve worked with have shared experiences where reintegrating a shadow piece has resulted in that person that we were projecting onto, stops acting that way around us.
And if I come across people that do act in a way that upset me before (as with some shadow pieces), it doesn’t affect me in the same way, I have more understanding and compassion for those acting in that way – that in certain situations this behaviour could be beneficial. A combination of learning to love and accept parts of others, and learning to love and accept parts of myself.
In a similar way, without the ‘beachball effect’, we don’t need to act this way unconsciously too – we can concsiously choose to act that way in a time where it is beneficial. Or we may never choose to act this way again – just accepting that this part of our potential if ever we wish to utilise this.
I like Debbie Ford’s version of the ‘Story of the two wolves’ . How as we accept and recognise the gifts of these parts of us, we can have more control of whethereif or when we utilise these gifts, which can be used as useful tools in some situations. while we can try work out what these gifts are in our head, doing shadow work exercises to find and integrate these gifts can find gifts we would not even have thought of in that way. for me it is doing these exercises, rather than trying to guess using my head that has brought about the changes and freeing within myself.
Indicators of whether someone’s behaviour is a projection can be found through exercises in ‘Finding the pieces’.
Which parts of us we hide can depend on our environment, for example in a family where disapproval is given for being ‘stupid’, then the ‘stupid’ part of them may be hid, where disapproval is given for being ‘clever’ or a ‘swot’, then that part may be hidden. Where someone is made to feel they are not beautiful, they may hide their beautiful part of themselves. Many even project these onto celebrities or gurus, when what they admire about these people actually is that wonderful potential in ourselves.
Exercises to reintegrate these pieces can be found here: shadow freeing
It may be challenging to appreciate the time, but I appreciate those who were projection screens for me – allowing me to see what I needed to see, to assist me become my more integrated whole.
Some call this work ‘finding our gold’.
‘i’ll be your mirror,
reflect what you are,
in case you don’t know’ (velvet underground)
And with this work we can realise that others are projecting onto us too, which can assist us free ourselves from being affected by the opinions, judgement, anger, frustrations others may towards us. If they have an emotional response such as those, likely it is because we are being their projection screens, their mirrors – so they can see who they are. This can free us from taking these things so personally:
“what other people think about you is none of your business”
1. We’re just the projection screen – mirror for them. and
2. Ideally we will have integrated this part of ourselves and realise that yes, that is part of our potential and there is quality to this potential.
And with all of this shadow work can enable us to be even more authentic, as with access to these parts of us, we have more access to a potentiality, our tools and resources in our lives, allowing us to be more fully ourselves.
Well, who else are we going to be?
Additional information resources include:
In sessions and training with me. Can also offer these online and will travel for organised groups.
On this website (see Shadow work menu)
‘Dark side of the Light chasers’ and ‘Why good people do bad things’ by Debbie Ford.
‘A little book on the human shadow’, Robert Bly.
‘Soulcraft’, Bill Plotkin.
Authors Carl Jung, Gay and Katie Hendricks.