How the pandemic is pushing us towards shadow work and where to start
Social media has become inundated with accounts, posts, blogs, etc about healing and self-care. I believe this is happening for many reasons, here are a few: we are in the middle of a pandemic and people are becoming more aware of their health and want to boost their immune system, insurance and healthcare are not accessible to everyone so people are taking their healing into their own hands, there is an increased awareness of alternative healing - people are stepping away from our westernized model of medicine, quarantine forced people to slow down causing them to sit with emotional pain they were “too busy” to address, less day-to-day social activities and interactions have made space for creative endeavors and self discovery. Not to mention, the dynamic in which folks were quarantined (by themselves, with a partner, with children, etc) has been put under the microscope.
Unless you’ve chosen to be completely intoxicated and numb throughout this experience, chances are you have looked more deeply at yourself during this time. Maybe you have questioned why you live where you do, why you chose the person or people living with you, or how your life has come to be in this very moment.
I’m here to tell you, first of all, congratulations on making it through this shit so far. WHEW! Even if you feel like you are barely getting by, you are making the deliberate choice every day to stay in this life. That is something in and of itself. Second of all, we are in a collective trauma. Everyone has been impacted by this differently, but there has been an overarching impact on us as a society. So much so that it has led to calls for social change on a historical scale.
Despite what we’re seeing on a collective and mass scale, some of the deepest, darkest and most profound work is being done in the shadows on an individual level. It is in the moments where we sit with ourselves, our pain, and all that we’ve suppressed where earth-shattering changes are made. These are the moments we completely break down, wail, shake, cry out and say “Jesus take the wheel.” It is in these moments we find out what we are made of and who we truly are on a cosmic level.
This is not to say that there isn’t amazing guidance and self-help to be found out in social media and internet land. There’s good stuff out there and I believe those things can plant the seeds that lead to the eventual profound moments we have within ourselves. What I AM saying is, those things won’t do much for you unless you are truly sitting with your pain and discomfort - letting it wash over and pass through you. This is the idea that we need to get THROUGH something not get OVER it.
A good place to start, like most things self-help, is with awareness. Start to notice the things that pop up for you of which you are quick to push back down. These are the moments where you feel “triggered.” Maybe you notice that your friend’s emotional nature makes you feel uncomfortable. Whenever they get teary eyed about something you want to run away immediately. Consider this as an opportunity! Ask yourself: “why does my friend’s emotional nature make me uncomfortable?”
From here, you start pulling that thread. Pose these questions before you meditate. Journal about why you think this particular thing triggers you. Talk to your counselor about what’s triggering you. In this example, think back to moments when you weren’t allowed to feel emotional, or being emotional came across as a bad thing. The more you build this awareness and ask these questions, the deeper into the shadows you will go.
No one can find these answers for you but yourself. No one can do this work for you but you. If you truly want to heal in a deep and lasting way, it is in the shadows where this will happen. It is there where you will find your most raw and profound self. Each time you come out of the shadows you are reborn, renewed, rid of what is no longer serving you - closer to your truest self.
This blog is intended to guide, support, and educate those wanting information on spiritual and alternative healing. It is not a replacement for therapy or other clinical sources of mental health help. If you are in need of emergency assistance, please call 911. If you are in crisis and need someone to talk to, please text “home” to 741741 or call 1-800-273-8255.
Here are some links for more information on shadow work: