In my work with the WonderFULL Purpose Map, my WonderWork online program, and with my private clients, shadow is a term I use often. It’s a concept I’ve been working with for over a decade and have been one of the most healing for me and for my clients.
Way back when I first learned about “the shadow,” it meant the same thing to most of the people I encountered who were using it. We were always on the same page about what we were talking about.
But, in recent years, especially as new age rhetoric and dogma has increased, the term shadow has taken on multiple meanings when discussed in spiritual and pshycological circles. And, I’ve found it necessary to be more explicit about what I mean when I use that word.
So, to clear up any confusion about what I mean when I use the term shadow…
Shadows are not good/bad, positive/negative, or right/wrong. They aren’t the parts of yourself that you hate, the parts you wish you could change, or the parts that others don’t like about you. They aren’t behaviors, emotions, or personality traits that conventional wisdom might call “negative.”
Shadows are the archetypal parts of ourselves that live in the unconscious realm of your psyche. They are the aspects that you have rejected and hidden from your awareness in an attempt to belong.
This “hiding” takes an incredible amount of energy to maintain and it prevents you from using that energy in conscious ways.
As with anything, it is all just a spectrum of potential.
The energy of creation is the energy of destruction. The energy of focus is the energy of OCD. The energy of conflict is the energy of peace.
So, to put it as clearly as possible…
If there is self-awareness of an aspect of yourself, that aspect is not a shadow.
Once you are aware of a former shadow, you now have a conscious choice what to do with that full spectrum of energy.
My recommendation is that you recognize, love, and, most importnatly, integrate it.
When you do these things, you reclaim all of the energy you were (unconsciously) using the hide those aspects and you can use that energy for your conscious intentions.
If you’d like step-by-step guidance on how to do shadow integration work, you’ll love my online course Shadow + Light. And, if you’d like to know which shadows are the most important, for you personally, to integrate, get your WonderFULL Purpose Map.