A journaling experience that will assist you in recognizing, embracing, and resolving your own shadow.
THE SHADOW WORKER, a free online journaling intensive
To know thyself is to be the ruler of one’s own universe. This experience will provide you with the tools and the opportunities to recognize, resolve, and embrace all parts of yourself, including your shadow side. By doing this, you can move forward in your life, in a more holistic and balanced way, leaving all negativity, and/or any unwanted patterns, beliefs, or behaviors behind you.
This challenge is free, and it is self-facilitated. All you need to do is grab a journal (one that is dedicated to this challenge is best), a pencil, and a couple of art supplies (if you choose to). The prompts will appear here daily, so you may want to bookmark this page. All questions and comments are welcome and appreciated! Join in with me and share your thoughts please!
(Side note: It is Scorpio season, and it has been said that Scorpio moons are inherently shadow workers. They tend to know the deep crevasses of their own minds (and others) better than any other sign, for they are the Mysterious Secret Keepers, the Watery Dwellers, the Scorpion Kings. They are also unafraid to show their emotions, as they sit with them quietly and mull them over for days on end. So, I figured, why not lead others down the path of knowing themselves, if I am going to be walking it anyways? There is a place for Shadow Workers, the wounded healers of the world, who know that treasures are hidden in the deepest and darkest of places.)
Day 15: Do you doubt yourself?
Even the most confident people among us will have moments of self-doubt. Sometimes it’s just a little thought, or even a day of bad thoughts, that comes crashing down on us like a tidal wave. There is power in recognizing such thoughts so that you can watch your negative thoughts and change them into more positive thoughts.
Some people have developed strategies to tame their inner critic, or at least to block them out, while others might have a hard time being able to do that. What is reassuring is that you have the ability to overcome a lot of the self-doubt that is within you, but it does require attention and awareness. In order to uncover your hidden limiting beliefs, take the time today to create a page in your journal dedicated to self-doubt. On this page, write down all of the doubts that you have today and any that you think you may have in the future.
Rather than your traditional daily meditative practice, sit still for 15 minutes in a creative visualization. (This is a technique that is very similar to hypnosis when well-practiced, and can help you work on your own self development.) As you are sitting, think about one or two of the doubts that you have about yourself, and imagine what your life would be like if you felt in the opposite way. Watch yourself interacting with others with this new confidence and notice how it makes you feel. Write about this experience in your journal.
Day 16: What are your general doubts about life?
We are all so extremely great at doubting ourselves, and thsat always results in limiting beliefs. With more focus upon some of our bigger doubts about life in general, we can begin to understand what limitations we have around our own lifestyles.
Understanding the limitations that we have around our lifestyle can highlight where we are. It can also help uncover other significant beliefs, particularly those that have social and cultural constructs. When we uncover these beliefs we can familiarize ourselves in our own lives better because we can start to see clearly the thoughts we may have developed and understand why we may have developed them.
Today, think about some of the bigger questions you have about your life. Think about your frustrations, or other big challenges that you live with every day. Consider the doubts that you accept, Although they may be hard for you to conceive. Write all of this down in your journal, paying attention to common issues such as relationships, health, success, money, and think about what it means to you to be a good citizen. How does this compare with your understanding of what it means to be a good citizen in the society that you reside?
Enjoy the act of meditating today. Take the time out to walk amongst other people who live in your society, paying attention to how people interact with one another. Notice what people are doinng around you, and how similar or diverse the people are in your society. Consider what it might be like to live in a different country, with different cultural priorities and issues. How might that change you? What do you think Would be wonderful, and what do you think would be rather difficult? Write down your observations in your journal.
Day 17: What do other people think of you?
We may like to say that the opinions of others do not bother us, but there are times when they bother even the most resilient of us.
Because our ego seeks recognition, our psyche can hold the deep beliefs about how good or successful we are, or not. Today, you will consider how others see you. In particular what would they say that you were good or successful at, in your opinion? Think about the people who are important to you or who play a significant role in your life and ask yourself what would they say you’re good at and write this in your journal.
Seek out some of those people and ask them what they think that you are good, or successful at. Don’t tell them what you believe, just let them speak and write down their answers. Spend some time comparing the answers. Where there any surprises or anything that you didn’t realize about yourself? Was there anything that, even though it was positive, still left a sour taste in your mouth? Write everything down and take time during your meditation to visualize creatively how you might appreciate those aspects of yourself more. And if you don’t use those qualities often, spend time to imagine what your life would be like if you utilized those qualities more.
Day 18: What is your opinion of yourself?
You often know what other people think you are good at, but what do you consider to be your finest qualities?
Are the qualities that you consider to be your finest the same as what others think, or not? Comparing your own opinions to the opinion of others helps you to learn about how to communicate with the external world and how to listen and accept feedback from your peers. Our minds cannot process the information overload that we receive daily and so it deletes most of the information,and then distorts and generalizes the rest to make it fit into our belief systems. Therefore, we cannot always gauge a true perspective of any one reality.
When you compare yourself to the external world it allows you to assess where you are with your ability to express what you want to express, so that you may have a chance of enhancing or improving it. It also allows us to understand that the communication that we receive from the world at large is distorted in favor of our own opinion. Therefore, an exercise in comparing what you think people say about you to what they actually do say about yo will help you realize what is important to you. It will also help you understand which distorted projections you’d like to dismiss and which communication techiques you may need to improve in order to reach your goals.
Spend some time today writing down how you think others see you before you actually ask them. Notice the difference between what they actually say, and what they say you thought they might say, and start to ask yourself why the two may be different. Notice any thoughts that may be self-deprecating or self-critical, egotistical or insecure. During your meditation time, Think about how good you are, allowing any contradictory thoughts to disappear out of your mind. Notice how that makes you feel and write down your observations.
Day 19: What are your beliefs?
The human brain has a tendency to delete, distort, and/or generalize information, therefore your strongest beliefs will be what you give value to, and how you judge others and yourself.
You may not necessarily be fully aware of your own beliefs. Some beliefs may be conscious, but so ingrained, that they are almost taken for granted. Others will be held in the unconscious mind. It’s important to remember that you are acknowledging what you may not be consciously aware of.
Today, take time to consider your strongest beliefs, as these are what drives you. They can often be social, religious, cultural or spiritual, as well as from family and childhood. They may also arise from other places and experiences that are individual to you. Consider how your beliefs influence your decisions and your expectations in life. How do they make you stronger? How do they present challenges? Are there any beliefs that you wish were different or any that make you feel inferior or superior?
Reflect on these beliefs and write down your observations and answers to your questions in your journal. Spend time today in creative visualization, imagining what it would be like if you had different beliefs. Imagine what you might consider to be important if you had different beliefs, and how it might affect your life and your decisions. Write down your discoveries. Take it further and spend the day living your life as if you have alternative beliefs and notice how it changes how you think and feel.
Do you balance acceptance in a healthy way?
If you are ever going to be able to let go of problems, forgive yourself and others, and lead a positive and healthy, balanced life, you’ll need to be able to practice acceptance in healthy ways.
Today, consider acceptance and how it contributes to the good aspects/bad aspects of your life. What does acceptance mean to you? Have you ever stopped and consciously considered the notion of acceptance before, or is it something that is taken for granted? What aspects of your life do you find difficult to accept? What aspects it would you be willing to accept under certain conditions? What things must you ot be so accepting of? Write all of your thoughts in your journal.
Think about someone who has wronged you in the past, or done something that you have found difficult to accept. If you are willing to accept their actions and “let it go,” try the following exercise:
Sit quietly in a meditative state and visualize yourself talking with that person. Explain how you feel exactly and allow your emotions to be expressed to them. Give them a chance to respond to you, in order to explain and/or apologize. Continue talking with this person until you’ve expressed all of your thoughts and emotions, and until you feel calm inside. Take the time to make amends with them, shake hands or hug, and then watch this person walk away. As they walk away, notice the sense of peace inside of you that has now arisen.
Consider doing this in reality.
Day 21: Do you experience anger and hatred in a healthy way?
Healthy anger needs to be warranted, balanced, and released safely in order for an individual to be healthy.
Anger is one of the most basic and prevalent emotions represented in our society, and rightfully so. If you don’t feel anger, you may find it hard to stop people from walking over you, or you may become overly fearful, or even sink into a deep depression over something. Anger is a needed and healthy part of human existence.
There are times when anger manifests itself in the form of hatred. Hatred can be projected onto others because they have harmed you or because they represent somebody who has harmed you. An overload of anger can be difficult to manage because you don’t have the coping strategies in place to manage that amout of anger. This can result in angry and violent outbursts or internal anger, which in its worst extreme can initiate self-harm or self-debilitating behavior. Learning how to handle and express anger is important. Just by acknowledging your common traits when angry, you can learn how you express anger and how to express it in a more beneficial way, if needed.
Today, consider how you usually express anger and what causes it to develop. Are you quick to get fired up? To placid? Or somewhere in the middle? Do you hang onto your anger or do you let it go? Is your anger warranted or uwarranted? Using the same creative visualization technique as you did yesterday, imagine that you are with a person that you are angry with. Visualize the person or situation that has caused anger and say what you need to say, until your anger has dissipated. Write in your journal about how you feel after doing this activity.