Unless you live under a moonrock you know there was a total solar eclipse on Monday. The sun’s light was blocked by the moon, creating a disruption in light and an abundance of shadow. uhhbunnndannnce of shhhhaaadddoooowww.
This means we in shadow work season, kiddo. Ain’t no escapin’ it.
The shadow is the part of yourself that is unknown, unnoticed, yet it touches and moves and influences every part of your life.
When you’re stuck in an unhealthy pattern (ie dating the same kind of toxic person over and over, feeling like you can’t access what you’re really here to do so you languish in unfulfilling jobs, having emotional responses that are totally disproportionate to the thing that triggered them) your shadow is at work.
“Doing shadow work” means doing the work to heal those wounds. It means, among other things, self-love like a mf.
Above, I mentioned personal effects of the shadow — but this is collective work too. As you do your own work you have the power to heal your lineage. All the way back to the light. Because some of your wounds, some of your shadow, have been inherited, handed to you, put on you, and even genetically passed down.
It comes from all directions, honey.
AND AS YOU PROBABLY NOTICED, our nation is in the thick of her own shadow work right now. For the white folks in my community, our collective shadow is white supremacy.*
We’re having a real hard time loving our collective self because it’s existence is based on separation, oppression, shame, and dehumanization. We feel and express shame, resistance, guilt, defensiveness.
Yeah, it’s a lot. But it’s time to go there. And you’re not alone.
Everyone has a right to their own journey. Everyone has their own path to walk in this lifetime. Everyone has a choice whether to look at their shadow…but whether or not you look, shadow is there.
And if you’re white you do actually have the unearned privilege of not looking. But your not-looking ripples outward. Gives unspoken permission for others to not look. And we just perpetuate privilege, white supremacy, racism…our shadow.
BUT, if you are committed to learning how to love, and untangling and upgrading your personal belief systems (inherited and learned), then you absolutely have the power to affect and change this collective story too.
Here are a few suggestions…this is by no means exhaustive, but start where you are…
- If the KKK/neo-nazis/white supremacists are comin’ to your town, do something. Show up.
- Make crafty (or purely functional) handmade signs, put ’em in your yard/window/car/shop/bike/tshirt…connect with your neighbors/let your community know where you stand. (even if the KKK ain’t on its way, this is a step)
- Donate to an org you believe in (I love the SPLC — yes, over the ACLU).
- If you’re white, sign up here and here to become a better white ally…and read this and this and whatever else you can get your hands on. This part is critical.**
- And if you want to dive deep into your personal shadow work, you can book a discovery session here or dive right in for a one-time session here.
- Know that “justice is what love looks like in public.” (ty Cornel West)
You don’t have to change everyone else’s minds. Not your partner, your friend, your family, your boss, your neighbors, etc. Your first job is to work on you. Love you. Go from there.
When you love all your previously unloved bits, and you change your mind, you change your world. When you heal, the earth heals. (That never gets old, tbh.) When you heal, your healing ripples outward…touching people you never could’ve imagined you’d touch.
You don’t need to be perfect or do any of this perfectly. It’s not possible. So don’t waste your precious energy on that. You just need to be in your wholeness.
Learn how to love even more. You can do it.
*I believe strongly that this work is an integral part of spiritual growth and our ability to love like we’re really meant to. If you missed last week’s email, catch up here. Some great articles and videos on how we can start/continue to do personal and collective shadow work.
**Know that you’re not gonna get it all right. You might not be validated/affirmed for the work you do, which might be hard because you’re used to that (privilege in action). But that’s ok (ha, I’m validating your potential feelings of invalidation #infinitecoachingloop)…keep going.
Art by Kumi Yamashita