Shadow Work : Everything You Need to Know, By Jo Zurita

What is shadow work? What are shadow aspects? What are some tips, steps & examples of effective shadow work practices? And more.

“What exactly IS shadow work?” I asked Jo. Her response led to a much deeper insight on the topic, which she was kind enough to put together for us here.

An Introduction to Your Shadow Self

I cannot tell you how often I get this question! It’s probably my favorite one to answer, though, since it’s something I’m massively passionate about and one of the things I find to be the most misunderstood.

In short, Shadow Work is about looking at our traumas and whatever that which we have repressed, in order to begin the healing process, grow and write new stories about ourselves.

It’s about asking yourself where in life can you take accountability and not let these things control you negatively any longer.

Shadow refers to the root cause of unhealed unresolved negative emotions we hold around childhood/generational experiences (which have grown and compounded over time).

And, Work refers to the time and effort we invest into the techniques and practices that assist us in healing our Shadows; whether it be meditation, prayer, journaling, therapy, EFT, better structure and foundation in our daily lives, movement, singing, teaching…or a combination of all these things and more!

What Are Shadow Aspects?

Shadow aspects are things we don’t share freely with others, things we are ashamed of, things we don’t like about ourselves, negative things that happened to us in the past (hurt/trauma), things we were shamed for and have since repressed.

Trauma, Injured, Tear, Violent, Hurt, Wounds, Shadow Work, Shadow Self

When we look at the Shadow aspects of ourselves with love, understanding, acceptance and forgiveness we are able to truly love ourselves fully, we are able to to gain new insight and perspective on these things in order to write off the old story in exchange for a new, more positive outlook on things.

Imagine for a moment that you have a gorgeous, lush garden; one that you worked REALLY hard to grow and cultivate. Say you notice some weeds growing in your garden so, naturally, you pull them up.

Well, what happens when you don’t pull weeds up by their roots? They just grow right back. Shadow work is very much the same.

You can acknowledge and take accountability for your Shadows but if you aren’t taking the ACTION to work on them and get to the ROOT of it all, and heal it, then it’s just going to keep resurfacing.

This is part of why Shadow Work is so necessary in order for us to truly love and accept ourselves unconditionally.

How Do I Do Shadow Work?

Our Shadows create blocks. And these blocks come between us and the life we want to live, like

  • Between the goals and dreams we want to achieve,
  • the loving and healthy relationships we want to have with ourselves and others,
  • things we want to manifest in our lives, the list goes on…

The payoff of shadow work is regaining your confidence, achieving transformation, healing and learning to love yourself for who you actually are. It’s truly the ultimate act of light work, and deepest form of Self Love.

Candle, Meditation, Hand, Keep, Heat, Shadow, Light, Healing

Action is paramount because it’s what separates an idea from reality.

Step-Wise Actions To Take For Shadow Work

The first step is awareness.

When you feel triggered rather than get upset notice what it was that triggered you. This is a golden opportunity to figure out where the trigger first started.

Instead of shutting down when the triggers arise, speak to them with empathy, kindness and compassion. Think of your past self, the one who experienced the pain or trauma, your present self can give that past version the support they needed when the experience happened.

We spend so much time waiting for others to validate our experiences that we never take the time to validate OURSELVES. It sounds crazy, but sometimes talking to your trauma and inner child like you’re talking to another person works WONDERS.

Ask why they feel afraid or angry, ask why they’re showing up now and how you can help.

The next step, or if you feel silly talking out loud, is to write.
Write, Journaling, Shadow Work, Self awareness, Reflection, Notes, Pencils, Pen, Ink, Spilled Ink, Time

Write down what’s coming up. Then write down what memories you have about those things, go back in time as far as you can, noting all the things that reinforced the Shadow aspect/trigger you’re working with.

Was it a thought or belief that someone else instilled in you?

Was it an action that someone else took against you or something you did to yourself/someone else?

Free write for as long as you can, I guarantee that you will begin to see those roots and patterns.

Artificial Intelligence, Brain, Think, Patterns, Mind, Retrain your brain, Thinking, Self awareness,

Once you’re finished with the writing exercise, look it over. Is there anyone that you can forgive even if, and especially if, it’s yourself?

Forgiveness is also an important factor in Shadow Work. Remember, forgiveness isn’t about the other person, it’s about our own peace of mind.

If you have a forgiveness list, go ahead and say it out loud if you feel called. A simple, “I forgive you” really does help.

Example of Shadow Work

Now, if your Shadow Work is around a belief, for example, you can then go in and choose to write a new belief in place of the old one. I’m going to give you an example Shadow Working session.

The belief is: There is never enough, don’t ask for more.

Once we have that belief written down, we’ll write out all thoughts, feelings and memories around it. Then we want to work on restructuring that belief into something positive.

So, for example, we would write: How can I see this differently?

  • I choose to see that my family was trying to be protective and try to help me understand the value of hard work.
  • I choose to forgive.
  • To release these old stories because I know they are untrue.
  • They are not my fault.

We are then able to turn those old stories and beliefs into something new, look at them from a different angle than we were looking at them before.

Tips To Keep In Mind While Doing Shadow Work

There is a lesson to be learned in all of the experiences we have been though. It’s important to remember that life happens FOR you, not TO you.

The focus and purpose of Shadow Work is healing. Healing is going to come from anyone or anywhere but inside of you, which is why putting in the work is important.

#1 – Don’t Overwhelm Yourself.

Pick one topic and write on that, then give yourself some time after the purge to get grounded and centered in your new beliefs.

#2 – Don’t Let Self-Judgement Get To You.

It’s not always easy to look through a lens of compassion or acceptance. And it’s even more difficult to take accountability but it’s something that, with practice, will completely change your perspective.

One way to be observational if you are having a hard time moving out of being emotional and self judgmental, is to dissociate from the memory – basically to see the memory as though you are watching it on a television screen. It helps us to get out of our emotions and into a less judgmental place.

#3 – Stay Aware Of Your True Power.

Remember, you are the creator of your reality. You have the power to CHOOSE. Stand in your authority; no matter how much of it you feel like you’ve lost or let go of over time, it will always belong to you and you can call it back whenever you decide.

You have control over the one thing that matters the most, yourself.

Concluding Thoughts

It’s important to take your time with shadow work. It’s something we continually do throughout life, and something you’ll get better and better at the more you do it.

Patch, Stone, Facade, Repair, Setting

While your emotions are important throughout this work, it’s just as important to remember not to get stuck in them, rather, focus on the NEW beliefs and emotions that are coming from the healing work that you’re doing.

Know that you are whole just as you are, even when it seems like you couldn’t possibly put the pieces back together and that you will forever be broken, you are whole just as you are. Always.

Jo Zurita
Jo Zurita

Jo is a Shadow Work Guide and Expert, certified in NLP, hypnotherapy, and TIME Techniques. She helps people face what is is holding them back, and works with them to move through it; replacing it with the freedom to build the identity and reality they’ve been dreaming of.

Tea Ceremony : A Gateway To Oneness With The Cosmos, by Sharon

Can the simple act of drinking a cup of tea allow us access to our pure consciousness and divine infinite? What is the spiritual meaning of a tea ceremony?

I first connected with Sharon on Instagram in the summer of 2019. I’m always intrigued with her approach to spirituality, because she combines eastern and western philosophies to talk about mindfulness. So, when I asked her to write a guest post for My Spiritual Shenanigans’ readers, her suggestion was just as intriguing. Mindfulness through a Tea Ceremony.

I couldn’t resist! As a once ardent tea lover myself, I was curious what she had to say on the subject. I quit drinking tea a few years into my spiritual journey, because I wanted to decaffeinate my system. I wanted to experience higher levels of energy without any external influence.

To be honest, reading her submission has me thinking of reopening the gates to tea drinking. I’ve become open to the possibility that tea isn’t an addictive substance, rather is a means to talk to the cosmos. You’ll see why, now. So let’s dive right in!

Can the simple act of drinking a cup of tea give us access to pure consciousness and divine infinite?

The ritual of tea drinking has been around for a long time, existing in transcendent stories, and legends that have been told thousands of years ago. Passed from oriental dynasty to dynasty.

Tea, Tea Set, Chinese, China, Tea Ceremony, Oriental, Royal, Regal, Dynasty, King

In the olden days in Asia, the tea was revered as a medicine, given by the Tea
Doctor, who can prescribe the appropriate tea to bring about the balance between mind, body, and spirit.

Tea purifies the spirit, removes anxiety and nervousness and brings ease and comfort, and is conducive to meditation. This quality of the leaf accentuates our access to be in touch with our spirit and perform our inner work.

However, in this modern age everything seems to lead our senses outward and away from oneself. Drinking tea has become an unconscious process, accompanied by the daily newspaper, a corporate conversation or some other form of external distraction.

Donut, Donuts, Dessert, Cake, Chocolate

But the inward practice of meditative tea practice allows us to tune into the meaningful dialogue between tea and oneself. If we choose to listen.

The act of drinking tea originates from a place deep inside of us. Where words cannot hope to reach, so we listen with our heart, with our soul. In the stillness of the meditative act of drinking a cup of tea, we are inspired by an inner harmony between ourselves, nature, and the cosmos.

Such sentiment of balance between human and nature can even be seen in the Chinese character of tea, ‘Cha’ 茶 – where the symbol of ‘man’ is in literally placed amongst the symbol of ‘green, and ‘trees’.

So, through this act of partaking in tea we can begin to contemplate the deeper meaning of life.

Cup, Tea, Porcelain, Drink, Decor, Break

From the perspective of an ordinary person living ordinary moments of life, symbolized by the ‘mundane’ act of drinking tea, we can choose to bring to stillness of nature into our mind and our heart.

We can begin to ponder the interdependence of all things around us, without which there is no us. We are nature, and nature is us.

By contemplating the interdependence of all things in this world, represented by the physical forms which is in front of us.

Reflecting on the cup and the tea, we become conscious of all other variables that together joined in harmony bring about our tea ceremony. Example, the tea farmers, the tea leaves, the sunshine, the rain, the teapot, where the teapot came from, the world….and so on infinitely.

Tea, Work, Harvest, Produce, Tea Leaves

In becoming conscious of this interdependence of all forms, we indeed realise we are in fact without distinct form; and that we are all interconnected.

So, it is through drinking tea, we observe that the form becomes formless, and the formless becomes form.

How A Tea Ceremony Can Open The Gateway To Oneness

When I perform a ritualised tea ceremony, the tea room becomes a sacred place. Without social distinctions, it’s a place where the ego could be left behind. And ordinary people share the heart and spirit without pretentiousness.

All in the room can bring about the qualities of respect, harmony, purity, and tranquillity to this moment; recognised as the four merits of a ‘tea person’.

The mindful way we drink the tea compels one to be present. We bring our focus to the act of pouring, sipping, smelling, and movement. The objective is to do this without drifting in the past or worrying about the future.

Tee, Teacup, Green Tea, Steam, Hot Tea

When one learns to be fully present, our actions become spontaneous, creative, skillful. We get mindful outcomes. When one becomes mindful of the eternal now, our actions are aligned with the present moment, Nature; rather than against the grain.

Through a tea ceremony, we also learn that things are always okay the way they are. This is observed through the simplicity of the tea gear, the natural steps performed in the ceremony, and the differing and diverse taste between successive pots.

One performs a tea ceremony with flow and non-judgment with what is.

In this way, we begin to understand the world is only imperfect when we compare it to some imaginary world created in our minds. And this imaginary utopia is an incomplete world, lacking all the complexity and depth and variation of which exists in our actual world.

The Spiritual Symbolism of Drinking Tea

This cup of tea in front of me is perfect for me in this moment, with all of its complexity and variety. And so this moment in life in
front of me is the perfect moment with all its complexity and diversity.

Tea, Cup, Aromatic, Beverage, Drink, Tea Ceremony, Spirituality

Any spiritual practice of any kind must begin fundamentally with a bit of quietude and space. The sacred space given between tea and oneself then opens up our expansive awareness to our true essence. Here we exist in perfect harmony with all beings, moments, and nature.

It is in that expansive awareness, introspection, and quietude we rediscover the spiritual meaning of who we truly are.

When we can still ourselves in such a practice as Tea, we ourselves become emptiness. This is symbolized by a vessel/ teacup, allowing all experiences and change to flow through us.

As we allow all experiences to flow, we will observe the underlying non-dualism of pure consciousness, unoccupied by anything in its expansiveness.

This is our natural state.

Think. Love. Be.

Sharon Ho
Sharon Ho

Sharon is a Psychologist, who is also a Quantum Healing Hypnosis Practitioner and a Behavior Analyst. She blends her background in psychology with Eastern philosophies, and mindfulness so that you can transform your beliefs and start living a full, meaningful life with vitality and freedom.

Embracing the Divine Light Within, By Shivangi

After a vivid dream shook Shivangi to her core, she wrote this compelling spiritual reflection on the nature of Divine Light and Self-Awareness.

After a vivid dream about something that shook my core, I was reminded of the beauty of the world we live in. That beauty is all there is, around us. The love that we share, forget and are reminded. The message, to embrace the Divine Light within all of us.

The Dream That Woke Me Up

In my dream, I saw that I was in my hometown, where I had grown up for the most part of my life. There, my entire family was present. But something felt off.

There was a dire siren that was echoing in the whole society. I saw a festival that people were celebrating in which… they fight. Yes, take lathis and fight each other! Saying that it is God’s Will so as to see who has to survive. Fighting in the name of God.

Human, Adult, Waters, Ship, Dragons, Dream, Fight, Battle, War

Well, the actual festival lasted only moments and nothing serious happened during it but after it had ended, the people turned dark. Women from all castes and backgrounds decided to fight each other to see who will win.

Who does God want to win? All women who used to be sensible, reputable, rational joined the drama and took part in the “holy” fight.

My family was inside the house. Safe and sound. I thanked God for keeping them safe. But around my home, in the balconies, rooftop, everywhere I saw women, along with their very young children, with lathis in their hands, were all trying to get inside.

Protest, Demonstration, Communism, Fight, Women, Dream,

To not just provoke us silent beings who were merely showing disinterest in this activity, but they wanted to include each and every woman of all the families that reside in that area. So as to make the fight fair, everyone should be involved.

Yes, not only women but children and those people who showed disinterest were made a part of this too!

Now, those people were trying to get into my home from the balcony. Here comes the crazy part. I opened the door and told with oh-so-much love that I, rather We, our family is not interested.

They were throwing colours on each other and were trying to throw some on me too. I told them I am seriously allergic to colours and they should not throw it but to my utter surprise, none of what I said was reaching out to them. They had all become dark.

Even the children who didn’t even know what the society was pushing them into. I was holding the door with all my might so as not to let them in. They were too many. Unable to handle, I couldn’t take it anymore and I woke up. 

A Spark of Divine Light in Dark Times

After waking up, I remembered God, the Divine Light.

Fantasy, Guardian Angel, Angel, Divine Light, Healing, Mass Awakening, Spirituality

I knew that we have seen enough of this. I’m not here to keep being a victim to all the wounds that society has subjected itself into. I want to be part of something bigger. I want to see with my eyes, yes, in this world, utopia.

People being there for each other.
Them, understanding what essence they are made of.
People being heard.
Nobody being left alone.
Not associating themselves with their ego-minds.
People understanding that We all are One.

One is All and All is One.

We wouldn’t hate if we saw this in our brothers and sisters. We wouldn’t hate if we knew that it stems from fear, and instead would remember to love in the scariest, most brutal of times.

Yes, that seems like a time that was not-long-ago. Humanity has indeed come from a very dark period. But look, here we are, still living.

We thought we are all going to die because of an apocalypse happened in 2012. But we are still living.

Earth, Globe, Water, Wave, Sea, Lake, Mass Awakening, Spirituality, Apocalypse, Divine Light

We have undergone a massive transformation. Each one of us. Our whole planet keeps shifting, changing, levelling up with us. Yes, we bring the change, we are the masters, the creators.

Signs of Mass Awakening

I remembered, change comes from within. And it’s my love for all the beings that I need to see sprouting in others too.

We are now seeing a mass awakening that is happening. One person at a time seeing a shift in their self-awareness. Loving, remembering their home, remembering who they are. Choosing love each time. No matter how difficult life seems.

Always following the heart.
Always choosing to help, love, brighten the lives of everybody on Earth. That’s the world we are heading into my friend.

Closing Thoughts

My dream was only an indication of how strong the collective consciousness is. A person could either overlook it, saying it’s the matter of the subconscious and what you think is what you see in dreams.

Or you take it as a strong indication of Love.
That is there.
That is here, within you.
Within all of us.

Just follow that. It’ll be worth the efforts of every soul that has incarnated on this planet to make it a joyful, loving place. Let’s embrace the Divine Light within all of us.

Love & Light,

SS

Shivangi Srivastava
Shivangi Srivastava

Shivangi is a nature lover, and an aspiring writer who has interests in art, music and all things about the universe and beyond.
She loves to connect with people one-on-one.