Shadow Work: The Space Between Hurt and Healing
The Space Between Hurt and Healed
There is a delicate space between hurt and healing. Often times going through something traumatic, earth shattering and soul retching can lead us to some very dark places. Fear can take over. We may feel lost, alone, pitted, empty, dark, and solemn. We may go from feeling content and peaceful one moment, to feeling fully shaken to the core and completely gutted. Ripped apart.
We may have moments and flashbacks of old wounds, and moments of pain we experienced in the past flash before us like a screenplay of our life. What we fail to realize is that it is these very moments of soul shattering darkness that lead us to the most beautiful and amazing soul growth, if we allow the darkness to teach us.
It’s how we deal with this space between, the soul work, the difficult shadow work, that leads us to the most beautiful places and massive growth. Picture the space between as the caterpillar in the chrysalis. The baby in the womb. A pause. It’s darkness, and it’s extremely uncomfortable and tight. It’s a surrender to the unknown and a rebirth. Because healing from any form of trauma is a rebirth. We are never ever the same. We become someone new, with a deeper appreciation for and understanding of ourselves and the world.
To Truly Live With Light, We Must Experience Darkness
Us silly humans, we fear being uncomfortable in any way. We are happiness chasers. We fail to realize that that to be fully alive, present, and experience deeper meaning in our human life, is to experience some darkness. The ying and the yang, the light and the dark. The little bit of dark? We tend to cower in its presence. We can fully surrender to that darkness and allow it to teach us the lessons set forth from the experience. This is the space between where the healing occurs, and the light slowly cracks back in as we come forth renewed with a new lightness and love.
“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.” – Pema Chodron
When we fill the space between with escaping behaviors and addictions (not just drugs and alcohol, but many forms of addictions), we can also develop deep seeded fear, and can easily get ourselves stuck in darkness. So many of us today struggle with depression and anxiety – with core wounds as far back as childhood. We may experience temporary highs through our escaping behaviors, we chase these highs over and over.
However, we don’t truly heal, we just move on to more hurt, more addictions, more escaping, deeper pain and anxiety. We get the same people entering our lives over and over, each time wearing a different mask. This is because we are not giving space to our own shadows, and the same lessons will continuously keep coming in. However, when we stop running, ‘go there’, place our energy right where it’s dark and scary, uncomfortable, and unknown, and surrender – as painful and retching as it can be, this is our path to truly healing.
The key is to surrender to the pain, the darkness, and the scary empty space between hurt and healing and most people are just not willing to do this.
When we speak of shadow work, we’re not speaking of the kind often discussed in the glittery social media world. Plunging into territory or behaviours that have felt forbidden or off-limits for some reason is neither Shadow nor Shadow work.”
Our shadow self contains all of the unconscious parts of ourselves that we are completely unaware of, and vehemently deny exist. We all have shadows. It is the ‘isms’ we see in others that repulse us-yet we don’t realize are also a part of us. None of us are exempt of shadows.
The Hurt Soul Bestows Hurt
Our shadow is that painful feeling that springs up with a past memory of being vulnerable and someone deeply hurting you, and then you bestow that very same hurt onto someone, yet deny that part of you that could do that even exists. The shadow still continues to operate on it’s own will, without our conscious awareness. It’s the parts we have pushed out of our conscious awareness, yet very much exists in it’s own lifeform.
The hurt soul bestowing hurt. The sexually abused child denying their true sexuality, because shame pushed that part of her being into the darkest corner of her soul. A child watching his dad verbally abuse his mother, and seeing his mother cower, take the abuse, and not fight back. The child grows angry at the parts of himself that are fearful and cower like his mother did. He pushes those parts of himself away (as a protective mechanism), and denies that he too possesses fear. He becomes stoic, and continually pushes away any form of discomfort that tries to enter. It’s the parts of ourselves that we reject-yet keep us from being our true selves and living to higher potentials.
Shadow Work Requires a Great Deal of Emotional Courage
Shadow work is finding and giving a space to parts of you that you have pushed out of your conscious awareness.
This type of personal work takes a great amount of emotional courage. It’s exposing the parts of our very being that we have abandoned. It’s allowing these parts to come forth, giving them a space to exist and acknowledgement, bringing a new light into the darkness and a deeper understanding. It’s extremely vulnerable work. It’s not glamorous, glittery or fun to acknowledge own our fear, insecurity, shame, jealousy, anger, selfishness, prejudices, judgements, and hurt.
Shadow work is deeply humbling work. It’s ON your knees breathtakingly painful at times. It’s core wound work. It’s gutting and amazingly beautiful at the same time, because it leads to massive soul growth. A metamorphosis.
Even though it may seem as though our only choice is in life to suffer or escape, we have choices when we face difficult times. We can create more shadows by pushing the pain deeper into our being. Or we can allow ourselves to truly feel what comes up in the space between hurt and healing, allowing for all the things that feel uncomfortable to exist as parts of us. The reason why difficult periods in our life are the best times to do this work, is because during these periods our shadows and core wounds step forward, and give us the opportunity to face them.
As you come to terms with all the parts of yourself that you have denied, you will see yourself and others in a different light. When you stop rejecting parts of yourself, you stop projecting these parts onto others, and you stop rejecting others. Relationships become easier, deeper and more meaningful. You bring your soul to a higher level, and therefore new and different people can come into your life. There will always be shadow work, but don’t be afraid of it-just surrender.
“There is no light without shadow and no psychic wholeness without imperfection.”- Jung
About The Author
My name is Kathryn. I’m a (42 year old) mama of 2 boys. I’m also part of the 1% of INFJ’s on Meyers Briggs (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging). Being an INFJ, I often feels like a fish out of water. At times (as the Pink song says) I can be my own worse enemy. Oftentimes I’m trying to make sense out of things, that just don’t make sense to me. I’m also a HSP (Highly Sensitive Person). Being an older, introverted, sensitive female in a male dominant world that values youth and beauty, is no easy feat! I’m also feeling my way through peri-menopause, and I want to talk about it with you. All of it
It is my goal to inspire people to break free from their thought patterns, and to continuously learn and grown as a humans. To strive for more deep, meaningful, and healing connections with each other. To value our strength, true inner beauty, and vitality in our 40’s and beyond. To live with more honesty/openness/depth with ourselves and others. Together, we can face life challenges, heal from past traumas, and re-wire how we internalize our world. I’ve shifted my ‘paleo’ writing focus to one of nourishment, movement, ancestral health, healing, sexuality, and personal growth-in our 40’s and beyond.
It’s important to acknowledge that both our light and dark thoughts are equally important, and necessary for our growth, and learn to accept all of who we are. We are not good or bad, right or wrong. We simply are. We don’t need to label every feeling or every thought, and there is no need to let our emotions define who we are. Let’s stop allowing shame from the past to be our navigator. We are all simply learning to sail this life in a very intense, technologically based world. Writing makes me come alive, and I have many ideas that I’m excited to share with you! My hope is that something will inspire you, and help to give you some strength on your own very personal journey as a human in this lifetime.
If there is a topic you would like to me to discuss, please do reach out and let me know!
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