What I have learned in my years of guiding myself and others through the depths of the subconscious is that shadow work is not for the faint of heart.
When we dive into our wounds, we must be prepared for what we may come across.
I have worked diligently with clients to heal these tender places, and it is a tremendously painful and abundantly rewarding task. I couldn’t have begun to do this work had I not started by diving into my own shadow first and bringing it to the light for processing and integration.
Your shadow is the part of yourself that you have not accepted. It is the easily agitated, tender, and vulnerable spot in your psyche that can destroy you or move mountains for you depending on if you do the work to heal. Your shadow can create all kinds of disruptions in your life, especially in relationships.
The reality is that we did not receive our wound in a vacuum; it is created in relationship to others, and so it shows itself similarly in relationship. This may be your relationship to your own body or mind, or a relationship with another person, many times a relative. As for how you can uncover your wound, all you have to do is pay attention to what hurts the most in relationship or in your own body. Healing from an illness can be shadow work, as can healing from codependency in your relationships. We all have our work to do in our time here on Earth.
The beauty of the wound is that if we do the work to heal it, then we become the healer for others.
It was so interesting to me that in social work school, many of my classmates and colleagues were battling intense life challenges of their own. They are the embodiment of the wounded healer archetype. Astrologers will often speak of the asteroid Chiron in relation to this work. The story of Chiron from Ancient Greece is that of a wounded centaur who becomes a healer for others. Chiron suffered an immortal wound from a relative that would never heal. The only way that he could be released from his immortality was to sacrifice himself in service to another, and so he did.
Our Chiron placement in our astrology chart says a lot about our initial and subsequent wounds, our shadow, and how we can heal and share with others. Our Chironian wound, our shadow, will be with us for our entire journey. It is our responsibility to learn to work with it and to heal it to the best of our ability so that we may help others do the same.
Steps to begin to accept and heal your shadow:
1. Develop a keen awareness of what hurts: Working with a healer, coach, or therapist can be a great way to begin to triangulate the source of emotional or physical pain in relationship to yourself and others.
2. Talk to others who are in the process of healing: The irony of relating being the source of our wound is that we cannot heal without being in relationship with others in our community. A support group may be a great way to connect with others who are healing from similar wounds.
3. Develop a healing plan and stick to it: This can consist of a spiritual practice, adjusting patterns in relationships with diligence, receiving treatment for a medical condition, or any other healing path that resonates. This path is best developed in relationship with a professional.
4. Alchemize your healing journey into service: Embodying the wounded healer archetype can be an incredibly empowering way to turn your struggle into beauty and balance for others. Your wound will most likely have a correlation with the type of service you provide. This need not be professional; it can be on an individual mentor basis or even community volunteer work. Find what makes you feel the best and continue to use it as medicine for your shadow.
This may be the most challenging work of your life and should be done with as much support and love as you can conjure up. It’s always going to help to work with a healer who can guide you through the darkest corners of your shadow. You were made to heal and you are worthy of love. The healing process will bring you more joy than you could ever imagine if you stay present with yourself.
As a healing professional, I have had firsthand and client experience with diving deep into the shadows and bringing them into the light for healing and integration. I have worked with my shadow to come back to life in the midst of a tough battle with Lyme disease, and it will forever be my work. I now facilitate a monthly support group for fellow Lyme warriors and their loved ones, and I see clients on an individual basis.
I am so grateful for all of the healers and lightworkers who have shown me how to heal my immortal wounds through service and spiritual mastery. Now I pass my knowledge of health and wellness on to a new generation of self-healing masters. Be well!