This exercise is the first in a series of 5 from our Shadow Work Module in Holisticism's private membership community, the North Node.

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Get ready, we're doing some SHADOW WORK!

To follow this exercises, set aside 15-30 minutes for yourself. Try to do it every day around the same time — get into a flow. But if that's not available to you, that's OK. Do you.

Why Shadow work?

Because seeing our Shadow helps unveil aspects of our conditioning, habits, and belief systems that may not be serving us. Here are some of the perks of doing Shadow work.

Perks of Doing Shadow Work

  1. The freedom of choice. Freedom is being able to choose whoever and whatever you want to be at any moment in your life. The shadow is only harmful when repressed, because it pops up at inopportune times and messes with our abilities to be in choice around our actions and reactions.
  2. Better, healthier relationships. Shocker: When you're acquainted with your Shadow, it's less likely to rear it's head and sabotage your relationships. You see that shit coming!
  3. More self-love, more empathy for others. When we can take ownership over ourselves, completely and accept ourselves, we automatically open the door for accepting others.
  4. Wholeness. We acknowledge all the aspects of who we are. We don't run from deep, shameful, or painful feelings, and allow ourselves to witness them. We deepen our personal container, which means we hold space for more to come. "To be Divine is to be whole; and to be whole is to be everything."

Sounds good, eh? So what, exactly, is Shadow?

What is "Shadow"?

Shadow is simply the aspects of our personality that we've repressed in our subconscious. We've repressed or disassociated parts of ourselves because we learned from greater society or the immediate people in our lives that those aspects of us were unacceptable.

We can learn this in an unconscious way (a parent tells you "we only accept the best in this family," so you internalize that and become an overachieving perfectionist) or a very conscious way (a sibling tells you you're stupid and always mess things up, so you course-correct and become an overachieving perfectionist).

Societal expectations can be communicated directly — for example: we're told you're more "employable" if you have an Ivy League degree — or indirectly through media, stories, celebrities, religion.

Most simply, Jung says our shadow is "the person you'd rather not be."

Things that we might find in our shadow include: