Healing and Shadows

Healing and Shadows February 28, 2024

Shadow Work. A phrase uttered often, yet applied to various different concepts. It refers to illuminating the shadows within us. Whether those be the parts of ourselves that we push down because we do not like them – Pain, wounds, and trauma from our past – fears that are deeply rooted within us – or just the parts of us we hide because others deem them unacceptable. The word “Shadow” has a lot of different meanings but the goal of shadow work is to heal or become whole within the self.

We were having a conversation in my Death Emissary’s course recently about healing shadows from the Ancestral Soul. The question I always get though is not how to unearth the shadows, but how to heal them. Our community talks a lot about how to dig up these pieces of us, bringing them to the surface, deconstruct their parts, and find the root that is creating them – but sometimes I wonder if we do not spend enough time talking about how to actually heal them. So that is going to be my main focus today – from my perspective and experience.




From Shadow to Root

Before we start healing, we have to dig to the root of the shadow we want to heal. Sometimes it is the situation/ event itself, but the more we live, the deeper that root can be – stemming from something in our childhood or even deeper and coming from the memories we carry from past lives (Ancestral Soul).

It requires deep reflection and analyzing each place this particular shadow comes into play. Looking to see where the particular emotion associated with it surfaces and the pattern that repeats in it. Then following it backwards to find where this began. Through this process you will find some that may not have a correlation to an experience in this life. For example, a fear that seems unreasonable or without a cause. If you run into these, the root itself is most likely in the Ancestral Soul – a fear that has been carried forward in memory.

Digging to the root can be difficult. Every memory is formed by a corresponding emotion. It is how the brain sorts and stores memories, and it is emotion that brings those memories forward. This means we have to access that emotion in order to access the information we are looking for. Having a certain amount of detachment or objectivity is important. You don’t want to relive the experience in your mind, just access it. This is not an easy task but with practice it can be done.

The reason we have to find the root is because if we do not heal the root itself, the pattern and shadow will keep resurfacing in different ways. It is like putting a band-aid on a cut but not cleaning it first. The band-aid gives us the illusion that it will heal fine, yet the cut itself is festering underneath. Eventually the band-aid will fall off and then we are dealing with an even deeper problem. Shadows are the same.

Healing Shadows

I am going to talk from a place of an event that caused the shadow in the examples below. The steps and the healing though, are the same no matter type of shadow you are dealing with.

Honest Reflection

Before we are able to heal something, we must first understand it. This sounds easy when we say it, but I have found it much more challenging in practice.

It starts by seeing the experience from your current perspective. You are not the same person as the person who first experienced the event. Hind-sight adds in a lot of scenarios and actions that we know now but we did not then. Understanding the pieces your current self have layered onto this shadow due to this is important. See the walls you have built within yourself in order to try and protect you from the experience again. You are not deconstructing anything in this phase – you are only seeing and knowing they are there.

Now we look at the version of ourselves in that experience. Eliminate all that you have added on over time, and just see and know the person you were at that time. Look at the experience from that perspective, only though what you knew and felt then.

If other people were involved (and there usually is) – objectively and honestly try to see their possible perspectives in the situation/ experience. Just because we are sharing an experience does not mean we are seeing and experiencing it in the same way. What triggers one person may not for another – and a trigger changes how we view and receive the information around us and within us. The way you are perceiving the actions of another may be completely different then the way that person is intending.

By looking with honesty and a certain amount of compassion for ourselves and others in the experience, we are able to see a much bigger picture, find a different kind of clarity, and deconstruct from a more objective place within ourselves. You are showing yourself compassion by knowing that version of you is not the current version of you. That we are human and will make mistakes. That we can only work from a place of where we are in that moment – With the tools and understandings we hold and that have been shaped by our lives up to that point – “We only know what we know, and there is so much more that we do not know.” You are holding compassion for others by granting them the possibility – that the same can be true for them.

Let Go of Blame

We are letting go of the mindset of “Blame.” We are not assigning blame, because blame doesn’t serve us here and slows the healing.

In your mind the other person is the villain, but what if from their perspective, you are the villain?

What if you know you were in the wrong, the villain of the moment? Blaming yourself isn’t healing, but accepting responsibility for your part and forgiving yourself for it, does.

Blame comes from a place of justification or justice. It also brings a lot of assumptions along with it. You are assuming they experienced the event in the same way as you did. You are assuming that you know the motives, thoughts, or feelings of another person. You are assuming you know the depths of someone, so you know where a certain reaction or behavior comes from. You are assuming based upon your own life, your way of thinking and processing – but assumptions are the greatest cause of miscommunication, that leads to misunderstandings, and then to conflict.

For the internal healing process, we need to let go of assigning blame. It really doesn’t matter who was “wrong or right” – because in the end, from a perspective, you both could be.

A Shift in Mindset

This is where I see the true healing happen and how – A Shift in Mindset. Up to this point, the wound itself has been the focus. The emotions that keep bringing this shadow to the surface are negative. Painful or fearful. We view it from a place as something that broke us, damaged us, hurt us.

We have trained our brain to focus on the negativity of the experience, both through emotion and the thoughts we placed within the experience/memory. The brain is a tool. How we use it, what we fill it with, what we focus more on – is all training the brain as to what is important to us and what is not. What to pay attention to and what is less useful information. This is important because the brain takes in a ton of information from our senses that it does not process. It picks and chooses, based on how we train it, as to what information to take in and what to ignore (thus, all the things you don’t see and experience around you).

The process above has allowed us to see the experience differently – different possibilities to view it from, not just the one you have repeated in your mind. Now we need to look at what was gained from the experience. Not the experience itself, but what you gained from it. What strengths did you discover because of it? What skills did you develop because of it? What grew from it? What grew within you because of it?

Do not focus on the negative aspects of these questions right now but the positives. It can be hard at first, but there is always a positive when there is a negative. It is an aspect of duality that plays a role in everything.

Write them down. Focus on them. Start telling yourself the story from the perspective of your positive growth and positive aspects that came from the wound. Spend some time revisiting the shadow from this new perspective. Through this process we are training the brain to see and focus on the positive experience of the memory. We are shifting the emotions that are attached to that memory and thus how it is rooted within us.

We are not transforming or changing the situation – it is something that happened in the past and can not be undone. We are not dismissing our role within the experience and wrongs we may have done. We are not forgiving or dismissing the wrongs of others onto us. We have acknowledged all that – this is about the healing process. Sometimes that healing requires us to forgive ourselves so we can move beyond the old version of us, to that which is who we are now. Sometimes it requires us to let go other things. Deconstructing walls, habits, etc. that was born from this wound, and served you for a time, but are not needed now.

Healing comes from moving our perspective from a place of negative to a place of positive. What we gained, instead of what was lost. A place of fear, to one of strength. From a place of hate, to one of love. From blame, to forgiveness. This is how we shift the way the memory comes up for us, what it brings with it, and how we use it for growth instead of creating a stagnant swamp we are stuck in.

We are not healing the past situation – We are healing the present and future us.

The Side-Effect

As we heal our wounds in this way, we are also training our brain to focus on our present life in this way. Focusing on the positive emotions and aspects of living. It starts looking for the positive aspects, what we are seeing or gaining – in our hardships, our Tower moments – instead of creating new wounds to dig out later.

Over time, our brain shifts its focus from prioritizing negative stimuli, to positive stimuli. Due to this, you will start to see more opportunities than closed doors – More abundance than lacking – more joy than pain – more love than loneliness. When people talk about shifting your mind to abundance in order to attract abundance into your life, this is the process we are talking about.

It not only brings us a new way of living and moving within the world that is beneficial to ourselves, but it also changes how we see and interact with others around us. It allows us to perceive other possibilities or motives for their actions, and opens the door to a different kind of dialog. It allows us to approach from a place of compassion, instead of assumptions, in order to communicate better and hopefully avoid unnecessary conflicts.

Healing in this way is not just about healing past wounds, but also helping reduce the potential of future ones. Pain, sorrow, loss, anger are all emotions we feel because we are human. They are all a part of a Duality and to feel one side means we also feel the other in some measure. How we move through it though, how if affects us, and what we gain from it is up to us though.

About Esa
Author, Oracle, Guide, and Teacher of the Death's Emissary/ Death Doula course. "You are building your own path, your own connections, and shaping your own destiny. We can inspire others through sharing - we can Guide through our own experiences - but each of us must walk our own path." You can read more about the author here.

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