Today marks our final lesson in this mini-teaching on Surviving Shadow Work. You can access lesson one here and lesson two here. I want to take a moment to thank all of you for the kind emails you have sent, full of your own stories of survival and shadow work – it is such an honor to bear witness to each and every one of them.
So in our final lesson I want to touch on how we LIVE with our shadows. Once we have discovered them, seen them, found medicine for them and applied it…then what?
Go back to our first lesson and recall that the origin of the idea of shadow work started with Carl Jung. We don’t have to be Jungian scholars to understand that Jung’s ultimate vision of a happy, person with a healthily functioning psyche was one of integration, meaning that the healthy psyche was one where shadow and light, good and bad, desire and restraint, all have roles to play.
In some cases, usually in cases of severe trauma, recognizing the root cause of a shadow is a really significant act and the shadow itself – once properly treated – simply disappears.
But for most of us what we find is that we discover a shadow, find the needed medicine, treat it successfully, and then integrate it into our waking life in various ways.
For some of us that will look like relying on the right medicine and making sure it is available to us.
For others it is sufficient awareness of what situations might trigger your shadow and the subsequent avoiding of those situations.
Still for others there is a sense of peace and healing that goes hand in hand with renewed energy and activity.
The point that I really want to make here is that we all live with our shadows in different ways, but living with them is really what we are meant to do.
Even in cases where one shadow seems to have completely been illuminated (and thus disappeared) there will be more shadows…there always are. That is not a bad or good thing, just truth.
However, we can make choices in our daily lives that feed our shadows or don’t. And we can choose to look at our shadows when we are ready to or not. So many of those choices constellate around how much strength, endurance, and support you have in your life at the given point in time. For this reason attention to the things that nourish you here and now is of paramount importance.
In short, we live with our shadows best when we discover what truly sustains us at present.
So, for your final prompt I would like you to consider that: what truly sustains you and how can you bring more of that sustenance into your life?