How you do you transcend your shadow? By silently observing it in your family, in your friends, in public personalities, and finally, in yourself. Over time, paying attention to your shadow will preserve you in a state of non-drama, non-conflict, and non-reaction. The other day I overheard a young woman say to her friend, “What would life be without drama?” And she said it in a way implying that life wouldn’t be any fun without drama. Well, if she had asked me, I would have told her that life would be stress and anxiety free and full of boundless joy.
Your secrets keep you sick. Until you can identify what your shadow is hiding, you can’t begin to transcend it. In this exercise you will take a few minutes to write down what you are hiding from the world and from your Self. Your secret could be a hidden addiction to food, drugs, alcohol, or it could be a fantasy. It could be something that you secretly despise in yourself, such as cheating on your spouse, gambling, or a part of your past that you are afraid to “let out of the bag.” The mere act of keeping it shrouded or suppressed will also keep you in an arrested state of suffering.
If you want to be truly free, you must dissolve your secret life. Admitting that you keep this secret to yourself is the first step. Asking for support from another is the second. Find that compassionate someone (friend, coach, counselor, priest, pastor, rabbi) in your life who will listen to you. Once the secret is out, there is no need to defend it or project it. And it will no longer be a secret. The truth will be revealed, and the very act of sharing your secret with a confidant will diffuse its power to control you.
In the weeks and months ahead, as you awaken to all of your hidden shadows, stress may arise. Feelings of disgust or hatred toward yourself or others may resurface. If this occurs, then allow them to come. Don’t reject these feelings. It’s perfectly okay to re-experience them. This is part of the healing process. Burying your emotions down deep again will only make them stronger. And then they will only resurface when you least expect it, causing you more humiliation, and more suffering.
So, how can you release the stress that you incur during your shadow work? There are many ways to do so. For me, daily meditation was crucial. Take just a few minutes a day, usually at the same time, to sit quietly and go within. Over time, you can gradually increase your meditation time from a few minutes to five, then ten, and fifteen, until you reach a time that you’re comfortable with. Meditation will also help you to transcend your emotional pain-body. Being present and observing your thoughts as if they were clouds drifting by helps to create a space in between the true You (source consciousness) and your monkey mind.
Another way to release stress and toxic emotions is to go on nature walks. For me, walks became a sacred time and allowed me a space and time where I was able to release my negative, repressed emotions. Focus your attention on birdsong, the wind, the squirrels, the flowers, and the dragonflies. The important thing is to get out of your head and allow your body to become one with nature, calm, and at peace.
You may enjoy something more vigorous than walking, like running, biking, surfing, or rollerblading. Or it could be an intense workout at the gym, such as a karate or aerobics class. Any physical exercise is a healthy way to release stress. Practicing tai chi, yoga, or pilates is also excellent, and so is getting a deep tissue massage and sweating in an infrared sauna.
Using the physical body to release pent-up toxic emotions is always healthier than retreating to your old self-destructive habits. Whatever you do, don’t watch the news or depressing movies. And stay away from negative people at all costs. Purchase some deep relaxation meditation music such as nature sounds or flute music. Light some scented candles and burn some incense. Run a hot bath. Schedule a time now in your weekly calendar to release your toxic and suppressed emotions in a healthy way. You’ll be glad that you did.
Personal Life Coach, Jason Lincoln Jeffers is the founder of The Art of Transformation, a company dedicated to teaching Self Realization to the masses. His Personal Life Coaching program uniquely combines spiritual wisdom with ego transcendence, holistic wellness coaching, predictive astro-analysis, pain-body counseling, heart-based manifestation, and relationship coaching.