Today I decided to share with you a particular shadow work session I did just recently. I thought it might e useful for you to see how the process works in a practical example, so that you know more or less how you can go about it and what to expect.
I'm in Nepal right now, somewhere in the middle between the East and the West. I am not sure where to go from here. I feel stressed at the idea of either going back East or West: I feel like I've been running the past few months, if not years, trying to make things work, trying to make people happy, and somehow never been able to make people content enough. That's why I love the stillness of this culture. It makes me feel what Teal Swan said "There is nothing you are doing on this Earth to earn your existence." Anyhow, I wondered why I feel that I have to make people content, and my feelings brought me to a specific episode where after starting up two businesses successfully, carrying successful sports competitions and writing my first book, my ex boyfriend still treated me like a failure.
I focused on that episode and how it felt. It felt stemming from a belief system that "he was right when he discarded me the first time". What I mean by discard here is the third phase of relationships with covert narcissists (you can look up the term if you're not familiar with it). During the discard phase he kicked me out of the house using the help of his whole family, whom he had apparently badmouthed me unknowingly to me the whole time since they hardly knew me, and literally asked them to use violence to kick me down, meanwhile he would not even face me or talk to me, he would only talk directly to them telling them what to do with me. I found myself on the concrete, with bruises made by his brother. I was in the greatest shock, in the most excruciatingly pain ever. I had just recently been hospitalized because of an excruciatingly painful STD that he transmitted to me (he had forgotten to mention he had the disease), and I had just received some bad news from the doctor: I was really depressed and wanted to talk to him but instead I ended up in that situation.
That was literally the worst day of my entire life. Anyways, although I had already done a lot of healing regarding all the shadows that came up that day, there apparently was one more I had still not integrated. It was the feeling of humiliation. So I sank in that feeling, I let it take over me. It was difficult, I had a lot of resistance to it. My mind kept trying to use outside noises to try to distract me away from the feeling, but I kept bringing back my attention to it (by the way, this is why meditation techniques are so extremely useful for shadow work, so you can do this kind of control on your mind). As I sat with it it brought me back to an episode when I was in middle-school, very thin and depressed, and my father was jerking me around in public. He was insulting me and physically jerking me around, in the middle of the street. I felt incredibly humiliated. I kept sinking in that feeling, letting it take over it.
Suddenly the humiliation transformed itself into rage. I was furious, I had a burst of deep red fire burning within me, and I wanted so scream from the top of my lungs "Leave me alone!! Leave me alone!!" So I did. I allowed the rage to take over me, I allowed myself to scream, I let it out. After a while, the rage passed. As the rage passed, I succumbed, I let my father 'win'. I laid there on the floor and watched him figuratively laugh on top of me. I just allowed that feeling of letting go take over me. As I allowed it, I started to see how pathetic my father's laughing over me actually was. I started to feel how the floor was actually quite comfortable, and how getting up from it wasn't hard at all. I figuratively lend myself a hand, to help myself get up. I rose with almost no effort, and I started walking again serenely, while my father was still figuratively laughing, unknowing that I had risen.
So, there are a few technical elements I want to describe about this particular shadow-work session. The first, most important element, is the ability to stay focused on the painful emotion. This is really hard, especially if you are not trained to do that. This is why it is so useful to train with meditation techniques before getting into shadow work. I suggest, for instance, the rose technique, focusing on breathing, mindfullness, the absence of the self among others.
The second element is allowing. You need to allow the emotional body take you to the healing process, it is not something that needs to be forced. Of course you can help it along the way, even by engaging the thinking mind. But your emotional body should be leading the whole process, not the thinking mind. So it should tell you what feels right, for instance, when you found the original trauma, and what emotions you need to go through.
The third element is imagination. When you find your emotional trauma, there is nothing wrong with imagining things that help you, thus using your thinking mind as an aid. For instance, I imagined myself giving me a hand. I also imagined my father laughing, even though that was not the case, but it helped me give a concrete image to the feeling I was feeling.