Shadows of the Self

Shadows of the Self

There is a lot going on right now on so many levels for so many people.

We keep on reading, watching and seeing posts about coming back to center, coming back to self, going inward and reconnecting. But what does that really mean? And how can you as an individual do this?

I personally have been on a journey exploring my shadow self for many years now. The journey of reconnecting with myself has been tumultuous at times, but beyond worth it. It's a literal daily journey for me in some ways. Some parts of it have been scary as fuck, but I've also tremendously enjoyed a lot of it as well.

What I am talking about is Shadow Work. Shadow Work is diving into the deepest, darkest aspects of yourself... the bits and pieces that have been pushed aside, scoffed at, and rejected because it doesn't fit society's "norms". Shadow Work is the process of recognizing your darkest potential, whatever it may be, and loving it for what it is. It's the full acceptance of your complete self, light and dark, a reconciliation of self if you will.
Shadow Work is not for everyone. I don't say that to be mean or exclude anyone. Some people are just not at the point in their path yet where they are ready or able to pursue this particular task. Shadow Work requires a raw, extremely deep honesty with oneself. You have to be able to step outside of your emotions, be objective and look the actual why of a situation. Why does this trigger me like this? Why I am having this reaction? Why do I feel this way? These questions alone can be pretty fucking tough to answer, and even tougher being truly objective in your explorations of those answers.
However, I have found one invaluable tool through all of my shadow work - stepping back and coming from a place of love. Yes, love. This is not in anyway a scapegoat or a way out. It's not the avoidance of accountability or responsibility. It's simply a tool to allow further meaningful and deeper explorations without even more damaging affects of harsh judgements. Love is actually key to Shadow Work.


This is a slight example of Shadow Work. You all know that recently I lost two of my precious furbabies. It's been rough. I literally cried so hard I cried myself into a very bad back injury. Now, years ago I'd simply say "Shut the fuck up and deal with it". Then proceed to completely ignore my pain in any and all fashions and fuck myself over even more. Now, I look at the meaning of my emotions and reactions. When this occurred, I asked myself why I was reacting the way I did. After all, being 100% objective, deep down I knew that being partially outdoor cats this could one day happen. This is not pushing my emotions away. It's the balance of logic and my very meaningful emotions. So knowing this was a possible reality, and actively making the choice to allow my cats out, why did I feel so utterly and completely destroyed?

This is where the internal convo, analysis, and breakdown of thoughts and feelings ensues. Note, this is just a glimpse...
1- They were my furbabies, closer to me than a lot of my family.
2- Yes, true, but dig deeper Denae. You know there's more.
1- They're helpless animals I feel responsible for.
2- Cop out. You are responsible for them Denae, to an extent. They are living creatures with their own wills and desires. You can't control everything. So why do you really feel destroyed Denae?
1- Because I fucking failed them! I knew there were foxes, bears, coyotes and all kinds of shit outside. And I still let them out! I did this. I let them keep going out. My decisions led to them being gone.... it's my fault. I failed. Again. Like I have so many other fucking times.
2 - You did make all these decisions. However, did you force them to go out?
1- No. BUT...
2- No. No but. Did they want to go out? Yes. They loved being outside. There were several times they even snuck outside.
1 - Can you control foxes, bears, coyotes, driving cars, nature or anything else outside of you?
2 - No..... as much as I want to and wish I could... No...
1 - So should you really be blaming yourself for what is not in your control? No... and I know this. I just miss them so bad it hurts. My babies are gone, and it fucking hurts. And I'm allowed to miss them. I'm allowed to hurt. But blaming and hating myself over what I can't control won't bring them home. It won't fix anything or make me feel better. I'm human baby. So allow yourself to be human.


This objective, love based technique allows the space needed to process and feel all of my emotions. It also allows space for logic as well, which at times is very much so needed for healing. Because admit it, sometimes emotions can get out of control. They're messy and chaotic at times. Which is why being objective is a true must in this process.

Further reflections - what did I learn? Again, a glimpse to another piece of my process. And this is normally where I'd meditate and journal. First and foremost, I don't want to hurt like this anymore if it can be avoided. When it comes to my kitties, it can be avoided. How? Well, by not allowing them outside. Which pain is worse? Hearing them whine to go out? Or the pain of them never returning? It's a fair and objective question. What else did I learn? It was moreso a reminder of what I already know. But, I can't control everything. So blaming and hating on myself over what I can't control does me no good. It only causes further trauma... hence my back injury. I let anger, and even hate take hold and as a result, I hurt myself. Also, monitoring my thoughts, I learned there's a piece of me that believes I'm a failure. Hmmm... That's going to require deeper work. Deeper questions. Deeper reflections. More honest and objective answers. And whole lot of love.

And this the process my friends. Well, a process. It looks different to some degree for everyone. The more we dig, the more we find. And that is why I said in my previous blog post that we have to learn which rabbit holes to chase and go down. My fear and internal belief that I'm a failure - I feel that merrits further assessment. I know I'm not. But I'm curious as to the roots of that thought and what else lies beneath. And so the unearthing and healing continues.
Now just a heads up. Sometimes we can get really deep into our Shadow Work - assessing yourself and your every thought, and every emotion and you get caught up in it and feel so overwhelmed! Stop! Now breathe. Take long deep breaths in through your nose, and long releasing breaths out through your mouth. Be still and feel the oxygen coming in, what it feels like moving through your body and what it feels like to release all that tension, stress and negativity. Take this process in stages. It's not going to be done all at once. This is a journey. Respect it and allow the space and time needed for it.

I recommend getting a diary or journal. Write your experiences, feelings, thoughts, everything. Not only does it give you the ability to spill out all the bullshit you've been holding back forever, but then you get to have a reference point and see how you've handled things. Later on down the road, you get to look back and see how much you've healed and grown. I don't know about you, but I find that very valuable. Especially for when you get in those funks where you're just so down on yourself.

Breathing, meditation, journaling, and objective self reflection based in honesty and love - these are my main tools for Shadow Work. I do have other tools (crystals, energy release, herbs and oils, rituals, etc), but my objective self reflection has been my biggest tool.

So when I see these posts about coming back to self, centering, and reconnecting - this is what I think of. This is what reconnecting to self looks like for me.

Have you done Shadow Work? What does it look like for you? Do you have any unique processes or tools that have helped you heal? I'd love to hear from you and connect.

Next week I'll be delving into my journey with crystals!!! I'm stoked for this one peeps!

💫💜Your Ultimate Woo Woo Witch,

Denae 💜💫

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