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Light vs. Shadow Work

Posted by Saemone Griffin on

When I first discovered spirituality, it was through The Secret right after high school. I watched an Oprah episode with my mom and was glued to the screen listening to them speak on The Secret. It was amazingly simple! I pulled out my Sidekick wrote up an email about it then  sent it to all my closest friends. They may have thought I was a bit crazy, but I didn’t care. I felt like we all needed in on this secret and I could not hold it. 

I followed those principles for years! Being so young and growing into who I was supposed to become, I faced a ton of challenges in the upcoming years from that Oprah episode and I tried to maintain a positive attitude. I moved with gratitude, I didn’t believe anything was out of reach, and I was sure to be careful with my words because I understood the law of attraction and knew words have power. What I couldn’t do was move away from repeating patterns and cycles because I was masking my pain with positivity and not facing the darkness to heal my wounds. 

What I was doing for years was light work. I stayed in a seemingly happy place but what I needed was to face my darkness. I needed to dig deep within the memories to see where patterns came from. Why do I accept this when it hurts me in the end? Why am I ok when certain people do things? How can I stop accepting this in the future? All of those answers came to me when I stepped into my darkness. 

Light work consists of activities that raise your vibration and put you on a higher frequency. You’re able to do that with positive affirmations, sound healing, Reiki, crystals, and meditation. These methods of healing are needed especially now in this 2020 new-normal we’re navigating through. They allow you to see past the hurt and pain in front of you and be grateful for the things we can easily miss if we are busy looking the bad side of things. 

Shadow work consists of activities that have you sit face to face with your fears and trauma and help you figure out the why. A lot of this work will lead you back to childhood where many of our ways of thinking and patterns are formed. When you do this, you’re able to clear out patterns of addiction, anger, forms of anxiety like social anxiety and self-sabotage. This is not lighthearted work. It is dirty, deep, and at times painful. It’s needed because it allows you to find the root of your problem and gets you to your why. Why do I do this? Shadow work allows you to trace back when you started this pattern and when you can identify it, you are able to recognize the pattern when it arises again and make a different, more informed action to prevent the results that hurt you. 

When doing healing work, I advise to have a balance of both light and shadow work. You need to find your why and remind yourself of the positive side of situations together. Let’s say you have a problem with codependency. You trace it back to feelings of abandonment as a child and now you want to make sure you don’t lose those you feel are important in your life as an adult. While it hurts to visit the past and feel the feelings of loneliness the younger you felt, you needed to go there to find out your why. As you uncover how this affects you adult life it’s helpful for you to have positive affirmations in place to remind yourself that you are lovable, you provide great company, and you’re a joy to be around as a way to remind yourself that the absence of those that you love was not your fault.

Just as we need the day as much as we need the night, you need both sides of spiritual work to come full circle in your healing. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it. If you are not ready to do it alone, make sure you have a close friend or spiritual advisor you trust to help you navigate your way down the path. Journal your experiences so that you can track your progress. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and stick with it! You will be the best version of yourself in the end. 

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