An Invitation into Shadow Work: Learning to See Deeply

An Invitation into Shadow Work: Learning to See Deeply August 15, 2022

Bernard Hermant/Unsplash

In the spiritual life, shadows represent the parts of ourselves we’d rather not be seen. They include, but are not limited to:

  • our negative self-narratives, 
  • our fears and failures, 
  • and our inner contradictions. 

These are things we all have – and they’re the worst. They shape the way we see the world, interact with others, and even treat ourselves. (Perhaps most especially how we treat ourselves.)

If you’re like me, you may have grown up in the Church attending services and groups, looking for wisdom and guidance in the spiritual work of facing these shadows – but feel like you’ve come up empty. Even worse, many of your shadows might have even been caused by the Church in a harmful betrayal of spiritual responsibility. You’re not alone in this.

Or perhaps you’ve tried to avoid these personal shadows, launching yourself into your work, your personal relationships, activism, and justice work.

But here’s another problem. We also have communal and societal shadows: the parts of our communities and society that might be considered “too big to fail” and if exposed, might put at risk the existing order of things. Without engaging our shadow work at these levels, we might burnout, become frozen in our disillusionment, or worse, lose ourselves in apathy.

This coming February, you’re invited to join me for a six-week class on shadow work as we learn, together, to see Reality at a deeper level. (I know it’s early, but I’m limiting this offering to just 7-12 people. If you’re interested, you can sign up to be the first to hear when registration is open.)

 

A Shadow Story

When I was younger, I was filled with shame and doubt around my body image. Enough years of being made fun of for having “cankles” or simply being larger than some of the other guys around me had led me to have a deeply negative sense of self. In many ways, I believed I was exactly what they said about me.

But sometime after college, I began to work with this inner narrative: examining where it came from, who had contributed to it, what emotions were connected to it, and what purpose it served in me. Through this process of self-examination, I was able to move through it with a newfound sense of love for my body, imperfect and wonderful as it is. My expansion beyond this constricting narrative was found by directly working with it.

 

From those who have participated in Shadow Work: Learning to See Deeply

“My greatest learning from our time together: I’m not alone!”

“This is right where I need to be right now.”

“This touched what is on my heart.”

In our six weeks together, we’ll engage with our shadows at the personal, communal, and societal levels so that we might walk in the world in a more compassionate and embodied way. During these six weeks, I’ll lead us in gentle body exercises, meditations, and guided journaling practices designed to help you begin to directly work with your shadows in a safe and depth-filled way.

All you’ll need during our time together is 

  • a quiet place in your home,
  • a candle,
  • a cup of tea or water,
  • comfy clothes,
  • and a journal or something to write/doodle on.

 

If this feels like something that will feed your soul, your spirit, and help you connect deeper with your True Self, I invite you to learn more and sign up here on my website.

About Andrew Lang
Andrew Lang is an educator in the Pacific Northwest, an alumnus of Richard Rohr’s Living School for Action and Contemplation, and author of the forthcoming book, Unmasking the Inner Critic: Lessons for Living an Unconstricted Life. Along with blogging regularly, he facilitates workshops helping people to navigate their inner lives and explore their sense of identity and spirituality. You can read more about the author here.

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