In our conscious evolutionary journey, we often find the need to clear the energies around our shadows, aspects of ourselves that we prefer not to see. These shadows are not negative per se, but we may perceive them that way, so we tend to bury our awareness of them and to project them onto others. What I offer here may not be the textbook version, but I will share some of what I’ve learned based on my studies and experiences around shadows and projections. I will also share some personal stories to illustrate how these play out in our lives. May these serve you in your journey.
Our crafty shadows have a way of running our show, whether we’re conscious of them or not. In our shadow’s attempt to get our attention and to become integrated, we may project them onto others. When that happens, we may feel judgment, disappointment, anger, distrust or conversely, envy or unhealthy adoration. And here’s a clue for you: often it’s our mate, colleagues, or others very close to us who receive our greatest projections! That, of course, is uncomfortable. And that’s the point! It really gets our attention!
As we evolve, we become more and more aware of our own shadows. We integrate them, coming closer to living without projections and judgments. Embracing our shadows allows us to embrace ourselves and others with unconditional acceptance, love and a sense that all is well. In turn, we emanate that unconditional love energy out into the world, as a gift for all-that-is. Any healing that we are courageous enough to engage for ourselves helps everyone else to heal too!
An example from Freudian psychology would be a mate with a longing to be “unfaithful” and to lie about it. S/he may project that longing onto her/his mate, assuming s/he is having an affair, and even accusing her or him. As you may see, being on the giving or receiving end of a projection can be very painful. If both partners are willing to bravely explore the longing together, a very new dynamic in the partnership may evolve with much more love, honesty and integrity.
Here’s a more complex example from my life. When I began working as a trainer about fifteen years ago, traveling all across the country, I had a gob (yes, a GOB) of insecurities and fears haunting me. I felt like an impostor, like I wasn’t knowledgeable or intuitive enough. I felt like a failure each and every time I taught a workshop, processing and over-processing every perceived mistake. Back then, rather than seeing myself in all these inferior ways, I would project these thoughts onto everyone else, assuming I was being judged all the time by pretty much everyone. All the positive reinforcement from participants, colleagues and managers didn’t change a thing about my painful self-perceptions. Eventually, working with my coach, I came to see that it all originated within me. My ego laid a deadly trap to keep me from playing so big in the world! I learned that I could change my entire experience by assuming favorable judgment, and that I could be free of taking responsibility for others’ thoughts. After all, what others think is really none of my business! And I am a rockin’ trainer, by the way, because I know it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the learning process.
The shadows can show up from past lives or archetypal themes too. During a Reiki past-life regression, I relived a story where I, as captain of a British sailing vessel, used misguided leadership strategies that endangered the lives of everyone on board, including my Beloved and me. All perished. Discovering this story buried within me, I learned the root of my desire to avoid leadership opportunities. I preferred to volunteer for every wildly responsible and creative assignment that would add to the appeal of anyone else, rather than allowing myself to shine as leader in a spotlight. And, yes, this links back to my angst about training in the prior story. By clearing the energies around this past-life story, I became CEO of Sage Spirit. That’s some mighty-big progress. Woot!
As another example, I desired for ages to hide my psychic abilities because I was burned at the stake in several other lifetimes. This archetypal theme plays out, by the way, with most of us doing healing/intuitive work here now! As a projection, this showed up as hiding out, downplaying my intuitive gifts, and avoiding recognition or visibility. I’ve almost got this one cleared…
Oh, there’s so much more to say about this, because even as we’re doing our individual shadow dances, so too are we learning more and more about secret or shadow aspects of government, banking, corporations, and the puppet masters behind this whole capitalistic game we mistook for reality! Call it a sign of the times, the Age of Aquarius, “in the stars,” our “evolution,” or just “about time already,” there are lots of shadow implications in our experience right now, individually, culturally, nationally and globally, and these exposures create discomfort, fear, or downright terror for some. Really it’s all just a part of our necessary cleansing, clearing and preparing for a new way of being… sans shadow running the show, with awareness and integrity, and with an infinite capacity for love that awaits us once we dare acknowledge, embrace, illuminate, and transcend the shadows into fully embrace our most positive empowerment.
Can there be enlightenment without awareness?
Can you dance in the lightness of being without seeing and acknowledging the darker/heavier energies of our world and within us?
What role does shadow-work play in your spirituality and conscious evolution?