“You, and all of us, and everybody, we have a right to love who we are. We have a right to be our true authentic self – beyond our secrets, beyond our pain, beyond our past – and shadow work is the work of the heart warrior, it promises to give you a life that was like mine, unimaginable to me” Debbie Ford
The beautiful thing about having a spiritual identity is that you have a sense of serendipity. The things that you find and the things that find you have a divine purpose for your highest self.
Such is the case with the late Debbie Ford. I added her book, The Secret of The Shadow: The Power of Owning Your Whole Story to my shadow work reading list in my entry on On Suffering, Fear, And The Shadow, and tonight I started diving into her content on youtube. I am highly impressed with her message and feel fortunate to have come across her work at this point in my life. Sadly, she passed away from cancer in 2013; however, she is a wonderful example of someone who found their gift in life and then gave it to the world.
Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee Makes a Compelling Case for Exploring The Shadow
In my previous entry touching on the subject of the Shadow, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee made a compelling case for exploring our own Shadow as a path to transform ourselves by dissolving our inner fears and uncovering our divine light:
We are afraid of our shadows. We are afraid of the darkness inside of us so, and so we project it outside and we have to go and fight these monsters that we project it onto outside. We are afraid of the dark; we are like children, and again, part of the mystical journey is to face that darkness. Also you need the sword of your own aspiration to go into the darkness inside yourself and to face that darkness, and then you discover that it isn’t that dark after all – the fears that you had – things change, and then you begin to discover the light that is hidden in the darkness. This is one of the great alchemical secrets, this is one of the great secrets of human transformation – that you go into the darkness, and it is terrifying at first, and then you discover this light of your own divine nature that is hidden in the darkness. It is called the pearl of great price that is at the bottom of the ocean, it is in the depths of darkness, there is something so beautiful, but most people are afraid of it, because there is a price to pay to confront your own fears, your own anxieties, and to go deep within yourself. It is much easier to project it and to have enemies outside, people you dislike. Then you can project your problems and it is somebody else’s fault. For the mystic it is always us.
Robert Bly on How Shadow Develops
Being that I want to access my full potential and claim the entirety of my being, I’m going down the path of discovering my Shadow. For a good explanation of how Shadow develops, let’s turn to Robert Bly from, The Little Book on The Human Shadow:
It’s as if we have a bag that we put our unacceptable parts in. We hide those parts of ourselves away so they won’t be seen. At first we put into the bag parts of ourselves that we might judge as bad. Maybe we put our laziness in the bag, our our anger. Or maybe we put our greed in the bag. Or maybe we hide and deny parts of our sexuality. We keep throwing who we don’t think we should be into this bag, until as you might guess – some of the most wonderful, golden parts get thrown into that bag too. Maybe we put playfulness in the bag because a parent or teacher didn’t like us to be messy. Or maybe we put our creativity into the bag because someone said we weren’t doing it right. Perhaps our ability to feel unrestrained joy goes into the bag because our life has been hard. Or maybe we hide away our loving connection of intimacy because we have been hurt too many times. As the years go by, we put more and more parts of ourselves into the bag until eventually it’s big and heavy and full with all the parts of ourselves that we have hidden away, and we drage this bag around with us and slows us down and keeps us from being who we really want to be. So, by shadow we mean anything that’s in the bag. Parts of ourselves we have denied, or repressed or have hidden away. If we are trying not to be a certain way, that part of us is in shadow.
Debbie Ford on The Shadow
The shadow is all the parts of ourselves that we hide, or that we deny or suppress. The great Swiss psychology Carl Jung said, “The shadow is the person that we’d rather not be”, and so it can be our worst nightmare, but it can also be all the parts of ourselves that we’ve given up – our brilliance, our creativity, our power, our voice, our uniqueness, our successful-self even, and so It’s something that’s innate to human beings, if you are human you have a shadow, and if you are willing to explore it instead of hate it or try to get rid of it, or try to transcend it, or eat over it, or drink over it, or spend over it, you can actually reinvent yourself in a way you never thought possible.
A Must Watch: Debbie Ford Explains The Shadow
Must, must, must, must, must watch.
Debbie Ford with a Short and Wonderful Forgiveness Exercise
This is golden.
The Shadow and Spirituality: Bringing The Darkness to Light
“You can’t bring the light to darkness, you have to bring the darkness to light” – Marianne Williamson
The idea being that if we try to bring “love and light” to our shadow, we only repress it by trying not to embody it, and it simply gets buried with spirituality. Obviously, I am not yet an expert on Shadow, and I will be reading Debbie Ford’s books, which I am very excited about, but I am exploring multiple perspectives, such as those of spiritual catalyst Teal Swan.
Additional Study (from Amazon):
Bonus: An Exercise for Bringing Shadow into Consciousness
A casually filmed video with some wind-noise; however, VERY MUCH worth watching and practicing.