A Lightworker’s Letter to Shadow.

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Shadow work. Does anyone particularly “enjoy” this process? Doubtful.
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I deeply appreciate what it’s had to teach me, and I honor it as necessary—hell, I’ve even come to love the parts of myself I got back that I used to find shameful and disgusting. This is ultimately the joy in embracing the uncomfortable, painful, often very fucking dark days of working with Shadow.
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While I’m not sure we’re ever truly done with this work, when we enter the spiritual path there is inevitably a chapter where we take a deep dive. I call this our “Shadow Walk.” We can no longer hold up the walls containing our darkness, and for a while it consumes us. We enter the underworld of our own humanness and indulge the very parts of ourselves we believe to be the most horrifying—the most unacceptable. (There’s a reason why we buried them inside ourselves, hoping to never see them again.)
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We see our Shadow fully, take it for a lap or two (or twelve), and hopefully we learn why abandoned it in the first place so we can bring it back home to our hearts with Love. Isn’t that all it really wanted, after all?
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I’ve been reflecting on this time in my Life pretty deeply this week. My Shadow Walk happened a few years ago and, to be honest, I still have my moments where self-forgiveness for everything I did then is challenging. I lost myself. I completely fell apart. I felt like my Soul had died. In its place, survival-mode took over, convincing me that anything that could keep me afloat was justified, and those means were often neither kind nor honorable. I’ve never felt further from my Light. Truly, I believed it had gone out.
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But it didn’t.
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Somehow the voice of Spirit broke through, after falling on a year of deaf ears, and I came through the other side with a depth of empathy, insight, and understanding. I now feel the suffering of the world because I felt the honest suffering in myself and learned how to meet it with (first) acceptance and (then) Love.
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In the Light of healing and honoring progress, I’d like to share a piece a wrote in the thick of this Shadow Walk in hopes that it might illustrate how, despite how dark times may feel like they last forever, we can and will come through.
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Letter to Self
c. 2015
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Oh, dear Self.
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I thought I knew you.
Everything there was to know about you, really.
And I liked that about us. It was settling, you know?
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There was too much in the world I could never wrap my head around. That I willing acknowledged I’d never know and, frankly, didn’t even care to try. Among all this mystery, I sought comfort in knowing there was one thing I could rely on.
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You.
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You were my rock. My unchangeable, unshakable, true-blue bitch. In you, I saw all I wished I could be. A charming optimist and beam of Light. I learned quickly I couldn’t count on many in this life, but at least you’d be there to come through for me. You kept me running, reminded me why I was here, and shook me up when I wanted to sleep through the weight of days. You pushed me, loved me, made sure I got home safe every night. You held my hair back when I was sick and held my hand when the going got rough.
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And through it all, you never let me fall. Never. I didn’t know fear because I knew you. Your proud torch would guide my path and chase off the darkness until there was only Light.
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That’s what I thought, anyway.
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See, I only thought I knew you. But now I know that despite all sense of certainty it failed to be true. Because when the darkness came, and I reached for your hand, you looked me in the eye and let me fall. You let me fail. And for the first time, I felt alone.
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You dropped your torch, and as the fallen flame died, the shadows revealed to me your true colors. It’s a gnarly palate even I couldn’t call pretty.
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Everything I feared suddenly sprung alive in you. You are selfish, you are hurt, and worse, hurtful. I looked away as you tore off, impulsive and irresponsible. A living, blazing trail of destruction. You thrive in the darkness. A junkie. A freak. A lust-drunk mistress drinking sin in crowded bars.
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With you, I’m not safe because I don’t know you and you don’t care.
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Who the fuck is this person I thought I knew? My protector or my captor? I want to love you, and I think I do, but this is a whole other figure to come to know. And why should I want to?
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You betrayed me…or rather, did you save me? Can I ever trust you? This dangerous stranger? I don’t know if I should shake you, or kiss you, or set you free.
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And now, when I stand before you and look into your eyes, I don’t know which one of you is me.
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Sending Light to all Beings,
for every shade and chapter of the journey.
In Soul, Danielle