“Every pain, addiction, anguish, longing, depression, anger, or fear is an orphaned part of us seeking joy, some disowned shadow wanting to return to the light and home of ourselves.” – Jacob Nordby
My name is Amanda and I’ve stopped and started this blog 48,195 times in the years that I’ve had it, and it always ends the same way: with lots of spam comments asking if I’d like to buy handbags in bulk for a special price from China.
I have no reason to believe this time will be any different, but I’ve had a growing urge to have a place on the internet of my own to write beyond my Instagram page, and to utilize the blog I’ve been neglecting seems like it would do quite nicely. So here we are.
I recently (as in two nights ago) made the earth-shattering discovery, after many years of working on myself, that I still can’t be alone with myself between the hours of 8pm – 10pm. Don’t ask me why it’s 8pm – 10pm and not another set of hours, these just happen to be my hours when I crawl out of my skin in the quietness and stillness of the night. When my shadows come to the surface and I can’t manage to deal with them. Maybe it’s because these are the hours I used to spend bingeing and throwing up my food, or later bingeing and not throwing up my food, or having a glass or three of wine, or reaching out to people whose toxicity seeped out their pores but I had to have their attention. Now that those things have stopped, it turns out it’s just me and the darkest parts of myself on the couch in the silence. And it’s irritating as fuck.
So here’s a list of five healthy ways you can dig deeper into being alone with yourself and inviting your shadows in to get to know them. Ways you can work on accepting the darker parts of yourself so their power over you decreases and they stop manifesting as emotional nails on a chalkboard causing you to want to crawl out of your skin anytime you’re alone. The things on this list may not all be comfortable, but shadow work isn’t supposed to be comfortable. It’s supposed to be transformative. So let’s transform.
1. Write a letter to yourself. Consider yourself at your worst, all your negative & disruptive traits have surfaced. Write a letter of compassion, acceptance, and understanding to yourself. Be gentle.
2. Listen to one of these meditations on Insight Timer.
- Shadow Work Through Stillness guided meditation by Gavin Flanagan
- Embrace the Shadow, Be the Light guided meditation by Noelle Cormier
- Embracing Your Shadow Self guided meditation by Dr. Rachel
3. Pick up and read The Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford.
4. Create a safe space. Take some time to create a safe, comfortable physical space for you to do this work in. When you feel safe and comfortable, you will be able to go deeper, be more vulnerable, and accomplish more. Bring in cozy blankets, your favorite candle, some crystals, a potted plant, whatever feels nurturing and beautiful to you.
5. Journal using shadow work prompts.
- Which emotion do you tend to deal with in self-destructive ways? Write about this, then write about what your life would be like if you dealt with this emotion in healthier ways.
- Write about your biggest experience of loss. Have you addressed this loss or does it disrupt your life?
- Write about the last time you used avoidance with your responsibilities. Write to explore why you did, what the results were, and how you could’ve done things differently.
- What is your favorite thing happening in your life right now? What is your biggest fear about this thing, and why?