The Shadow Effect By Debbie Ford
I attended a lecture with Debbie Ford on The Shadow Effect in London in January 2009. It been over 10 years since first being introduced to Shadow work.
Shadow work was originally developed by Carl Jung and it is a process of inner exploration to enable total acceptance of self.
The work uncovers the parts of ourselves that have not been accepted and creates a space to allow and accept.
This work is ideal if you:
- Have someone in your life whose behaviours irritate or trigger you
- Are on a spiritual path and seek the formula to self acceptance and inner peace
- Have a dislike or hatred for someone or some thing, including yourself
Shadow work is about accepting our light and our darkness.
It's about recognising these seemingly opposing sides deserve our whole hearted acceptance and unconditional love.
This is what I learnt during that lecture in a seminar hall in the middle of Regent's Park.
Background about Shadow work
- Do you Desire something that you do not have? There is no heart's desire that is not yours. Heart Desire already exists. There is no need to create is – just allow it. Let go of whatever is covering up that part of you.
- How do you shift from your human being to your DIVINE being? Being a human being is to serve the evolution of your soul. Embracing and loving who we are makes us Divine. As human beings we take things personally, have beliefs and have a limited state of reality. All you have to do it open your heart to your human self. The self that is angry, battered, bruised, hurt, lonely, frustrated, sad, abused, the abuser, over achiever, embarrassed, ashamed and gulity...and so on. The GUILTY seek punishment. When this part of you is healed you are whole again. As Rumi said “By God when you see your beauty you will be the IDOL of yourself.”
- The Shadow decides who we are to be or not be. It limits how great we can be or how small we can be. You cannnot easily see your shadow and it is always there if there is light. You have to look for it from a different angle to find it. At times you can see it to the side of you, or behind you or in front of you depending where the light is shining from. The brighter the light...the brighter the shadow. The only time you cannot see the shadow is in the darkness.
- Shadow work is work about what people did not want to find out about themselves.Your shadow contains your worst secret, what you are most ashamed about and what you prefer to hide. When you discover your shadow there can be resistance – that is not me or there can be recognition in the form of the shadow laugh.
- “You are the microcosm of the macrocosm” Deepak Chopra. Nothing we can see in the outer world that does not exit in the inner world – everything that you judge is a piece of you that you reject.
- Hiding your Shadow is exhausting. We are so scared that our Shadow will be discovered we work out many ways to hide it. The analogy of being in a pool and keeping beach balls contained under your weight. When you can no longer contain the weight (i.e the presuure is too much) the balls just pop through.
- Embrace your shadow, learn from your shadow – it has a gift for you. Invite a reality to be seen that you have not yet seen. The Shadow blinds you from seeing you.
Simon and Garfunkel said “Hello darkness my old friend I have come to talk to you again.”
“One does not become enlightened by the light but by making the darkness light” Karl Jung
“You are going to use your shadow or it is going to use you” Debbie Ford
- Jung describes the shadow as the person who we would not be. When you react to a projection you become the projection. The Psyche cannot distinguish between the other and self. Embrace what other tell you.
“All of your judgement is you – seeing something in you that you are rejecting” Debbie Ford
“Resistance is the defense mechanism of the ego.” Debbie Ford
- The Shadow gets it power by feeling ashamed. This way the Shadow stays hidden and a secret. If you embrace your shadow till there is no shame then it is no longer secret and it can no longer carry on doing its work in the underworld. Instead the Shadow can come out into the light and the two can work each other and make the bridge from your human being to your divine being.
Examples of Shadow:
- A person who does not want to be told what to do is also a person who cannot tell themselves what to do. So start listening to others and do what they tell you and then start listening to yourself. See what will show up differently.
- A nice person wants to be nice and cannot always speak the truth. Their shadow side lies. A person like this will also dislike others who lie. One of the gifts of liing is that they have the ability not to hurt people and tell them the whole truth.
- What do you want people to think of you? What is it you want them to remember about you? If you want them to think something of you what would it be?
- If you died tomorrow and could come back as someone who would it be? What qualities in them do you admire? What qualities do you love in them? What kind of a person does...(whatever it is you admire in them – Karl Jung example was to someone who is not afraid to speak up and challenge)...what qualities does that person have?
- Who do you like the least in the world? Who would you not want to come back as if you died tomorrow? What qualities do you judge in them? What qualities do you not like in them? What kind of a person......? What qualities do they have....?
- What are you deepest secrets? What have you done that you are ashamed of? Have you cheated on your taxes? Have you had an affair? Have you lied to a friend? What is it that you have done that you never want to talk about or reveal? What causes you most shame?
- What do you judge in other people? What do you dislike in other people? What are those qualities?
- Every shadow has a gift. For example if your shadow is being an IDIOT. Then the gift of the idiot is that you may be really smart, are a top achiever in your field. The gift of the shadow is usually the opposite of the shadow. For example if you have been a transformation queen (i.e helping others) then the shadow could be not feeling accepted. Once you have found your shadow find the gift that it brings. It has made you who you are today.
This brief introduction to the shadow got me hooked and since I have taught it during my EFT Advanced Practitioner Training alongside teaching Archetypes.
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Sometimes my students wonder what is the difference between Shadow Work an Archetypes and one of our EFT Practitioners & Life Coaches, Dr Navolina summarised it well, "In a broader sense 'Shadow Work' helps in complete acceptance of self and others without being judgemental. Whereas 'Archetype' helps in understanding in depth the behavioural patterns of yourself and others."
So you might be wondering, how can you explore Shadow work for your own self growth.
Here is a visualisation process that you can use to get you started.
The Shadow Visualisation Process by Debbie Ford
- Close your eyes and take a deep breath in..and another breath and another. Use your breath to quieten your mind and surrender to the process.
- Go down 7 steps into a magical garden and sit comfortably onto your meditation chair and take another slow deep breath.
- As you sit on the meditation chair think of something you desire in your life and then think about what has been holding you back from manifesting this desire?
- What Shadows have been holding you back? What story have you created about who you really are that explains the reason you have not manifested the desire into your life?
- Then go back in time to before you were 9 and what happened, what was the incident or memory that happened that made you want to hide your shadow?
- What happened then that made you ashamed? That made you decide to cover your light with your shadow? And then cover your shadow with a mask? What was the mask hiding the shadow?
- How old were you? What did you decide? Who did you choose to become? Who did you choose not to become? What did you believe?
- What was the gift of the Shadow? What did you learn from it?
- What would you have to do to see compassion? Forgive yourself and your shadow. Keep breathing.
- Who else, other than you, needs to be forgiven at the time?
- Invite them here now. Let the 5 year old them sit on the meditation chair and forgive them? What would you have to do to see compassion?
- What made them do what they did? (This is where I made my Uncle become older as I could not connect to him and his motivations)
- Forgive the other person. Keep breathing.
- Now make a list of what else you need to forgive about yourself and other
- Keep breathing and know that the world needs you and needs the gifts that you bring. The gift of your Shadow. The world needs you.
Love Dr Rangana Rupavi Choudhuri (PhD)
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