Walking with my shadows

Shadow-work - A collection of black and white images including plants, books, a room and a person

In which Instagram leads me to shadow-work

I’m just drawing to the end of a 10 day shadow-work challenge on Instagram. On the surface, this looks like just another black and white photo challenge. The captions beneath each post hint at the truth: going deep, looking at the stuff we prefer to ignore, delving into our inner darkness…

Why do this to myself?!

It was curiosity that led me to begin this. That ages-old (and highly dangerous) question: “what if…?”

I wondered “if I do this work, what might I find?”

As it turns out, the answer (of course) was more questions!

Bringing things to light is not a simple one-time-only process (if only!) One starts to poke and the questions flood in: why this? why not that? why do I live this way? why aren’t I something else entirely different? what makes me ME? why these particular shadows?

I also found some answers.

What did I learn?

As I went deeper and deeper over the days of the challenge (far deeper than I ever imagined an Instagram challenge could take me), more and more rose to my surface, until eventually I found a slumbering beast.

This beast really did not want to have light shone on him. It hurt his eyes and diminished his stature. He was born of ancestral grief, misdirected love and excessive protective instincts. Here was the heart of my crippling self doubt.

I sat with this beast: hugged him, reassured him, and listened to his story – a generations-old story that is not mine to share in detail (sorry about that). There were tears (from both of us), more hugs, and the beginnings of healing for two souls (one long since gone, and me still here).

This felt like the opposite of the soul retrieval we shamans sometimes do. Usually there is a journey to another place or plane to find the pieces and bring them back.

In this case, “another place” was within me. And I got to remove a piece of someone else from me and return it to them…

And I much the lighter for it (as, I hope, is he)…

The call of our shadows

Staring into your shadows may not be comfortable work, yet it can be strangely comforting.

Even for the faint-hearted (perhaps especially for the faint-hearted) this is useful work. It helps and heals the deep hurts; regaining our consciousness by shedding light where we prefer not to look.

If you feel the call of this work – that tug of your soul – don’t ignore that. Please. Listen tot he urgent message of your soul.

One thing I have discovered from this challenge (to my great joy) is the strength in companionship. Walking alongside others doing this same work has strengthened my spirit and deepened my journey.

If you would like a companion on your own shadow-work journey, just let me know.

✾ ✾ ✾

If you’d like to see and read more of my shadow-work journey, just look for the black and white photos on my Instagram. I’m planning on repeating this work monthly for the next while, so there will always be more to come…

If you would like to join in, please check out the original post from @ashtangaatheart. And know that you are most welcome to tag me. I would be honoured to walk along beside you 💚