Christie Inge

Master Energy Healer & Intuitive Guide

What is Shadow Work? Why It Matters + How To Do Shadow Work

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Shadow work is the heart and soul of the magic that is flowing through me as a Master Energy Healer and Intuitive Guide.

The only way that you can live your purpose and make the contribution that only you can make, you must deeply and completely love and accept yourself (aka do shadow work).

It can literally only work that way.

And I know that shadow work might sound mysterious or even ominous but really…

Shadow work is just code for the emotional and spiritual healing that leads you to an embodied experience of…

Unconditional Love…
Radical Self-Acceptance…
Relentless Forgiveness…
Embodying Divine Purpose

For yourself and for others.

The kind of love that gives you the strength and courage to make your unique contribution in the world.

The kind of love that can only be Divine.

The kind of wild, wild love that heals everything.

The kind of LOVE that grips you right in your soul and won’t let you loose.

The kind of LOVE that only comes in when we surrender the burdens of right and wrong.

The kind of love we all long for but, deep down, doubt exists for us.

But, my promise to you is this:

That kind of love exists.

And, for the brave and tenacious seeker like yourself, shadow work is a gritty and gratifying path to that kind of LOVE.

To be clear, though, shadow work isn’t just a process you can google and then “get” right away.

Shadow work isn’t a goal to check off your spiritual bucket list.

And it won’t earn you any spiritual gold stars (because despite your conditioning to the contrary, there are no spiritual gold stars to earn).

Shadow work, like any spiritual path, is a way of life. It’s a lens to look at the world through. It’s a process of forgetting your Divinity and, then, with Love, Compassion, and Grace, remembering that you forgot.

Over and over again.

We forget and remember.

And we forget again.

But this life is a circle.

It’s coming back around.

It’s coming back again.

~ Trevor Hall (Bowl of Light)

Each time you circle back, forget, and remember, you will melt deeper and deeper into…

Unconditional Love…
Radical Self-Acceptance…
Relentless Forgiveness…
Embodying Divine Purpose

The work is really in the remembering.

So, if you’re looking for a quick fix or magic pills, please click away immediately. Shadow Work is neither of those things.

But, if you want to KNOW your Divinity, not just in your mind, but as a FELT and REAL experience AND you’re willing to look yourself right in the eyes to have those experiences and stay the path, welcome. You are definitely in the right place.

I’ve been doing this work with folx, all over the globe, for 10+ years and, more importantly, I’ve been doing the work myself. What I have to offer you isn’t just some shit I read on the internet and decided to write a blog post about because I thought it was cool.

FUCK NO.

For me, shadow work is a deeply embodied experience that has healed me in unimaginable ways. Like, on the level of miracles in how I relate to myself, to my friends and family, to my work, to money, to my purpose, and with food.

Transformation abounds because of this work and I want that for you. I want you to love yourself to pieces so that you can make your unique contribution in the world.

The Truth About Shadow Work

Right out of the gate, I must tell you that shadow work isn’t REALLY a step-by-step process. It’s more like a natural flow that happens; an arc of emotional and spiritual processes that you’ll move through.

And, because life is a circle, you’ll revisit that arc over and over again, and each time, you’ll scrub away deeper grit and grim that distort the mirror of your soul.

As a master energy healer, and intuitive guide, and most importantly, a spiritual seeker with a DEEP longing to make my unique contribution in the world, I’ve picked up so many tools that I couldn’t even begin to count them all.

My clients often tell me that the work I do with them is like I’ve handed them a map to transformation. And, while that’s flattering AF, it’s more like I’m showing them the roads that will take them into the heart of their ultimate (spiritual) destination of contributing in a way that is right and true for them.

None of the roads are the right way or the wrong way. They each take you a slightly different route, arriving at the same place…

Unconditional Love…
Radical Self-Acceptance…
Relentless Forgiveness…
Embodying Divine Purpose

So, this post is my way of giving you a birds-eye view of the map; a macro look at all of the roads that are available to you. With this map, Acceptance, Love, forgiveness, grace, compassion, purpose, contribution, and gratitude will no longer just be “good ideas.” They will no longer just be concepts in your mind. They will become imprints in your felt experience. Marks that you won’t be able to forget.

Which leads me to…

The Most Important Tool for Shadow Work

Shadow work REQUIRES that you be willing to FEEL your feelings.

Most of us have been conditioned to be floating heads who ignore our emotions. There are so many toxic stories about feelings in our culture – like they are dangerous, or evil, or rude, or selfish, or unevolved – and those stories keep up stuck.

In fact, I often tell my clients that the first shadow work they need to do is around their ability to feel their feelings.

Feelings are the point of this whole thing called Earth.

We are here to experience the duality – the contrast – of emotions. And as we do that, we come to know our Divine Nature.

So, I’d invite you to consider what your relationship with your emotions currently is. Take as much time as you need to reflect on these questions…

Are you afraid of your feelings? If you are afraid of your emotions, what are you ACTUALLY scared of?

Do you know how to feel your feelings without analyzing them? (hint: feelings are JUST sensations IN YOUR BODY)

Do you know how to be present with your emotions without trying to change or fix them?

With your willingness to FEEL YOUR FEELINGS, its time to go deeper.

Shadow Work is About Meeting Yourself with the LOVE You Crave

I have to tell you, I’ve taken more certifications, classes, and courses in the past ten years than most do in a lifetime. My bookshelves look like the personal and spiritual growth section at Barnes and Noble exploded all over the place. I’m certified in three different coaching methods and a master energy healer in two different modalities. And I haven’t just learned things; I’ve done the work.

Some of it, including things I’ve invested thousands upon thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours into, have been chucked as holy unhelpful (and in some cases, downright harmful).

And that’s because MOST of what you find out there in personal and spiritual growth circles are just subtle attempts at proving and earning your worthiness of LOVE.

Many religions tell you that only certain folx go to “heaven” and that others are on the path of eternal damnation.

The Law of Attraction tells you that your “high vibes” will earn you gold stars with the Universe.

And self-help books convince you that if you could just change this one thing, you will be on the path of happily ever after.

But, all of that bullshit is the distorted lens of CONDITIONAL Love.

Which – to state the obvious – is the opposite of UNCONDITIONAL Love.

And as long as you continue on the path that assumes that your very humanity is wrong and unlovable, you will completely miss the boat on…

Unconditional Love…
Radical Self-Acceptance…
Relentless Forgiveness…
Embodying Divine Purpose

That is the path that I was on for as long as I can remember.

But, when I stumbled onto shadow work, I knew that it was different because it wasn’t telling me that I needed to be different to receive the Love I longed for.

Instead, shadow work showed me how to meet myself, in all of my messy humanity, and LOVE myself right there in the parts that I thought were broken and flawed.

It cracked open my heart and showed me my Divine Nature, my true purpose, and the contribution that only I can make.

And, the Truth is, once you get even a tiny bite of that, nothing else will taste as sweet. Nothing less than LOVE will do.

The brilliant news is that the LOVE you seek, the acceptance you crave, the forgiveness that you believe you do not deserve is right inside of you.

It is hidden inside of your pain, your suffering, your depths of despair.

It is hidden inside the parts of you that you reject, resist, and hate.

It is hidden inside of your greatest mistakes, your most shameful acts, your bitter, gaping wounds.

LOVE is hidden in your shadows.

So, take some time to reflect on the gnarliest bits of your life right now.

What if you KNEW, like deep down in your soul, that those things were guiding you into LOVE? How would that change things for you?

Like, for real, be with those questions. Get into your BODY with them. Let your HEART show you the answers.

Now, you might be wondering…

What Exactly Is the Shadow?

The shadow is a concept discovered by the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung.

In essence, he said that the Shadow Self is any aspect of ourselves, including thoughts, feelings, needs, desires, behaviors, and personality traits, that are unconscious.

The shadow is everything that we are but don’t consciously know that we are (hint: YOU ARE EVERYTHING).

The shadow isn’t limited to things that are often deemed by culture as “bad” or “wrong” or “sinful.” There can also be “golden” shadows of gifts and talents or traits that were “too much” for our loved ones to handle (these are often the keys to knowing your purpose). But, the golden shadow is a bit more of an advanced shadow concept.

So, for now, I want to offer you an example of one of the traits that are often deemed as “bad” in our culture – being selfish.

In my private energy healing practice, I work with a LOT of folx on taking better care of their emotional, mental, spiritual, physical, or energetic selves so that they can make the contribution they are here to make.

My clients have often, unconsciously, built their entire lives around what it means to be “good.” Whether it’s being a parent, a child, a partner, a steward of the Earth, a student, they do everything they possibly can to be seen a “good” in those roles. They people please and sacrifice themselves like nobody’s business!

The reason they do that is that, on some level, they believe that the purpose of life is to “be good” and to prove how “good” they are. (AKA earning gold stars with the Universe!)

And because our culture has taught us that “being selfish” is “bad” they aren’t willing to do ANYTHING that might possibly, maybe be perceived as selfish.

But its that exact fear of being seen as selfish that keeps them stuck in cycles of shitty self-care. To take better care of themselves and make their unique contribution in the world, they have to be willing to be seen as selfish and truly OWN it by letting go of the belief that being selfish means being unworthy of LOVE.

This might surprise you but…

The truth is that no thing is unworthy of LOVE.

Unconditional Love is just that. It is without condition. There is no criteria to meet and no hoops to jump through.

SELFISH is as LOVABLE as SELFLESS.

Because lovability isn’t about the thing. Lovability is about the LOVER; the one who is doing the LOVING.

Divine Love loves EVERYTHING. (even selfishness!)

Our shadow aspects REVEAL the places where we are not meeting ourselves with that kind of Love. Take a few moments to reflect on these questions:

When you think about the thing you want to be, do, and have in your life, what types of shadow aspects might be blocking you? 

And, most importantly, what might change for you if you genuinely gave ZERO FUCKS about people thinking that about you?

With that reflection, it’s time to get into the nuts and bolts of shadow work.

The Four Steps of Shadow Work

Like I also mentioned before, shadow work isn’t really a step-by-step, boom, boom, done sort of deal. It’s more of an unfolding process that happens over a lifetime(s) and takes you deeper and deeper into your spiritual Wholeness and your purpose.

But, I also know that our logical mind likes things laid out in a step-by-step sort of way, so, the “arc” you can generally expect to go through looks a bit like this:

  1. illuminate the shadow
  2. take full ownership of the shadow
  3. meet the shadow with UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
  4. integrate the shadow into your being-ness

There are a million and one ways that you can “do” each part, and you’ll probably ebb and flow between then until, eventually, you make your way to integration. I cover the most essential tools for each step in my online program called Shadow + Light. CLICK HERE to get access to Shadow + Light.

For now, though, let’s go back to the selfish example to demonstrate the “steps.”

My client wants to take better care of themselves. Perhaps they are getting up every day and jumping right into other people’s needs (children, partners, business, work, family, etc.). By the end of the day, they have completely worn the fuck out and no longer have a speck of energy to focus on themselves.

So, they grab a tub of Ben and Jerry’s, a bottle of wine, and turn on Netflix until they pass out on the couch.

When we explore this scenario together, what we discover is that the reason they don’t do any self-care is that they are afraid of being seen as selfish. They try their best to “prove” that they are a “good” person (parent, partner, child, employee, entrepreneur, etc.) by putting everyone else first. They often think that doesn’t so is their purpose in life (hint: it isn’t!).

Often they think the reason they are falling face-first into ice cream and wine is that they are weak, or have no willpower.

But really, the problem is the shadow aspect of “being selfish.”

If they weren’t afraid of being seen as selfish, their self-care wouldn’t always fall to the bottom of the list. That fear is literally the only thing stopping them from better self-care.

So, the first step, of course, is to SEE that that is what is really going on.

From there, they would begin the winding path of integration.

And here is where things really get fun.

After we identify that “selfish” is the shadow that is holding them back, I help them take full ownership of that shadow by showing them that their fear of being seen as selfish is actually quite selfish.

Say WHAT?!?!?!

And this is the part where they feel somewhat offended.

I always joke that if you don’t feel defensive or offended, you haven’t found the shadow. LOL.

It’s true, though.

At first, when you land on a shadow aspect, its probably going to sting a little. My clients tell me all the time that it’s like I’ve punched them in the guts (in a good way!).

So, in the “selfish” clients case, the Truth is that the ONLY reason they care what other people think is that they are trying to protect their own SELF-image.

They avoid “being selfish” because they think being selfless makes THEM good; they aren’t ACTUALLY thinking about the other person AT ALL.

Which, uh, if I may state the obvious again, is the definition of selfish.

So, yeah, they are already BEING totally selfish.

OOF.

And that is where the…

Unconditional Love…
Radical Self-Acceptance…
Relentless Forgiveness…
Embodying Divine Purpose

come in.

Once you recognize that you are already the thing you’ve been hiding in the shadows, you’ve got to meet that part of yourself with LOVE. You’ve got to be willing to let go of all of the judgments, the pretending that you aren’t that, the resistance to being a WHOLE human being that IS everything.

And from that place, integration can start to occur. Meaning, you will no longer be in resistance about the shadow, and it becomes a part of your CONSCIOUS awareness and choice.

And, from there, the habits and patterns fall away ON THEIR OWN.

So, I know that was probably a lot to take in (especially if you had that whole selfish thing going on, LOL) but do take some time to ponder these questions:

What aspects of yourself are you hiding in an attempt to be loved and accepted? 

How is that aspect “leaking out” in your life? 

How can you take full ownership of this aspect? 

What would you be able to do if you fully integrated this part of you? 

Then, put that process on rinse, repeat with every shadow part you discover. If you’d like even more detailed guidance on how to discover and integrate your shadows, CLICK HERE to get access to my course Shadow + Light.

I'm Christie Inge.

I’m a foul-mouthed Fairy Godmother for creative rebels who are committed to making a difference in the world by being themselves

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