WHAT IS SHADOW INTEGRATION?
We do nothing that doesn’t serve us in some way. Nothing.
When our desire is uninhibited by shadows, distractions hold little power over us; our focus is centered upon what we really want and need. When our willpower wanes, something within us is reserved in the matter.
Often an unconscious shadow or fear is asking to be named.
Maybe we like how things are now in some way and don’t want to usher in a change or transition. Maybe a childhood fear or limiting belief is holding us back. There is no shame in recognizing shadows or fears; quite the contrary, actually, for it is deeply courageous.
Integrating our shadows into the light of our awareness opens us up to actually cultivate the abundance we desire.
THE VALUE OF SHADOW INTEGRATION
Shadow integration is a core piece of our practice—looking beneath our current situation to understand how it is serving us.
We begin by listening to our full self.
We learn the deeper reasons we choose what we choose.
We name the shadows, integrating them into the light of our awareness.
This integration practice brings truth to the surface and gives oxygen to the authenticity within us.
When we are fully in agreement with ourselves in what we want and consciously integrating our shadows as they arise, we will experience the sensation of progress even in the face of challenges.
Looking at our shadows and bringing them into consciousness is a practice of courage seldom spoken of in our culture but deeply needed to step more fully into who we really are — in life, leadership, and love.
So feel your shadows—yes, feel them all the way through—but do so in the light. Don’t just hang out in the closet with them. (The closet is always owned by the secrets and shadows kept there.) As the shadows rise to the surface of your awareness, love them too. Allow yourself to love every shadow you are carrying with you, no matter how long it has been there.
SPECIFIC STEPS FOR INTEGRATION
Take a look at your life and name what you currently have that you don’t want.
Acknowledge current realities, situations, challenges, and fears.
Next, name what you actually want in its place.
Name the shadow(s) that rise to the surface.
The fears, the deeper unnamed desires, the unexplored choices or anxieties.
Our subconscious shadows always get what they want. What part of you is being served by not having what you consciously want? What are you receiving by this desire not being fulfilled?
For each shadow, consider the following: When did I last feel this way? When I did first feel this way?
Name the shadows in the light of day. Write them down. Speak them aloud or with a trusted confidante.
Take a walk with them in nature in broad daylight; this literal mind/body action is a favorite form of my own integration.
Continue to acknowledge these shadows as they arise, compassionately integrating them into your awareness as you move forward.
WHY DOES SHADOW INTEGRATION MATTER?
When we begin to observe our mind—rather than believe our mind—we learn how to listen to the deeper parts of ourselves and begin to see our shadows with greater ease.
As Carl Jung taught, our ego likes to keep us safe from our darkness, attempting to protect us from exploring the parts of ourselves we don’t wish to shed light upon for fear of rejection or shame. Yet then, our darkness and light remain separated.
Shadow integration is a core piece of our inner practice and a powerful tool for transformation from the inside out. Positive movement without knowing ourselves doesn’t last long. Success becomes temporal and our demand for external abundance and affirmation grows exponentially because we don’t yet accept all of ourselves from within.
Coaching and shadow integration have long been brought together side-by-side to ensure any movement made is cultivated from a place of wholehearted agreement with oneself. As we integrate our shadows, we are less fragmented and our actions align with our deepest desires in a more consistent way.
The universe then responds in kind.
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