We discussed previously what shadow work is, and how to go about initial engagement with shadow work.
As a practice, shadow work should aim to bring some of our unconscious processing and beliefs to the surface for inspection and repairation.
By visiting the minds of our younger selves, we are able to weedle out the destructive and inaccurate beliefs we hold (and probably developed in our complex earlier years) which lead us to repeating the same harmful cycles.
Our intention here is to achieve healing through understanding ourselves. I put forth the argument that healthy shadow work cannot be conducted without using re-parenting techniques, to repair our relationship with the self (our inner child + our shadow + our conscious, more prevalent side).
I’ve separated inner-child because I see repression of childhood needs as happening across conscious and subconscious awareness. It’s often the largest tectonic plate floating on the magma of shadow, at least as I see it.
For this reason, if you haven’t already done so, I’d ask that you read an earlier article from this week ‘Re-parenting yourself‘.
An activity to assist shadow work.
Today’s activity is one for reconnecting with our inner-child.
At first, it may seem strange talking to yourself. Even more so talking to yourself about yourself, but we actually do this all the time without paying it much attention at all.
Most if not all of us experience the presence of multiple selves within. These sub-personalities come alive autonomously, with very little conscious awareness. They can be brought into action by the people around us and the stimuli we receive from the external world.
By becoming aware of the multiple sub-personalities we are, we can integrate and utilise them in our conscious realm. Today, you are looking to meet the child within, the child you were.
While taking some time for yourself, engage in silence. Allow your breathing to slow and find it’s own gentle rhythm.
Centre yourself into a calm and peaceful moment.
Once you feel calm, ask yourself to bring forth your inner child.
Focus on a calm moment from your childhood. Seek a time where you were alone and okay.
See yourself there. Imagine your size. Imagine your favourite clothes, or cuddliest bear. What are you doing in your okay moment? How does the room feel?
Allow your present self to greet your younger self.
Enter the room where you will sit together with your younger self.
Ask to have a conversation as you would any child you come to know.
‘Hey kid, what have you got there?’
‘Cool bear, I used to have one just like that’
‘Hello, can I join in?’
Pay attention and be responsive to the child you meet.
Ask your inner child what they need?
What makes them sad?
What makes them happy?
What do they wish for?
Tell younger you that you are here now. You have come to bring you home safe. No matter what happens, you have come home to love him/her unconditionally and to fill the spaces where he/she has need.
When you feel it is appropriate, hug your younger self and wish them goodnight.
Inform your inner child that if they need you, you are here to hear their call from just outside of this room in your memory.
They don’t have to scream for your attention anymore.
Record your conversation in your journal.
Engage in this activity as often as you feel is right. There is no prescribed amount of time in which to achieve answers. Be sure to listen for when that voice calls.
Try to notice how often your inner child acts out during a day. Note down every time you act out to meet an unmet need of your inner child.
Post therapeutic exercise, it’s important to reground in the present moment and to remember that you are safe and in control now.
You are capable and resilient. You are one of Earths survivors.
We will look at what we can learn from these conversations in our future post, ‘Addressing needs’ on 16th April.
If you’re following SW, you need this week to form meaningful reflections with your inner child, and about your journey into you.
As you are, you are enough.