• Lauren Bentley

Coming Home To Your Shadow Self

Sit with me for a moment and think about a life where you were never made to feel like a particular emotion or behavior was inappropriate or unacceptable. Really feel into the body and notice what it would feel like to completely own, accept and maybe even love every part of yourself.

What does that feel like?

Perhaps softer, more open, whole? Maybe feeling a breath of fresh air or a sigh of relief in feeling complete.

This is the gift of shadow work. At least in my own opinions and experiences. Many spiritual teachers and mentors teach shadow in their own unique ways, it is why we have all chosen this role, after all, so that we can learn, understand, integrate and then teach from our own understandings.

Our shadows are parts of us that we attempt to hide and push down because we feel that they are not OK to show. Whether another person, society, or just our own beliefs- someone or something along the way has made us feel afraid of our darkness. This can lead to feelings of not being fully seen, fully heard or perhaps living a lie, feeling like we are wearing a mask just to simply fit in. Understanding our shadows and learning to live alongside of them is the first step to coming home to ourselves. It is how we can become an even brighter light because a light cannot shine without the darkness.

For me, a few of my shadows are anger, jealousy, comparison and control. I am sure there are a few more in there they just haven't shown their beautiful faces yet. In the past, I would feel these emotions coming to surface and try to push them down as quickly as possible. Guess what happens when we push our emotions down? They get louder and fiercer. Emotions are energy in motion. They need to be moved. They're meant to be worked through. Ignoring them is a huge offense and they make it known that they are pissed! So I would try to push them down and they would grow inside of me until one day something would set me off the edge and I would just blow up. I would lose my temper over anything and everything and take it out on the ones closest to me.

This led to an immense amount of shame, judgement and guilt and the cycle would continue.

Raise your hand if you can relate?

As I continued to grow both personally and professionally, I could feel so many of my needs unmet. I didn't feel fully seen or heard in who I am and my message for my movement wasn't very clear either- because it wasn't coming from a clear and whole channel. I would get lost in a social media trance comparing myself to other coaches and teachers never feeling good enough. I would be trapped in these negative emotions that would keep me stuck from going forward. I would turn to drugs and alcohol to try to fill the void and I am sure you can guess how that contributed to the previous mentioned spirals.

I was lost, I felt incomplete. What felt the worst to me was that I knew I had a big message to share but why couldn't I find my own authentic voice to share it through?

In came shadow work and it truly brought me home. It saved me and it saved my business and I deeply believe it is helping so many that join in on my work.

I wish I could share with you exactly where I first learned about the shadow self but I feel like I pulled from multiple sources and then made it my own. I welcome you to continue to read on how I implement shadow work and take with you what resonates.

The most important step in integrating the shadow self is embodiment. Embodiment is to be at home in your body. Fully here. When we are in our bodies, aware of the energy we are putting off from the inside, we can be aware of and responsible for the energy shifts as well as what makes our energy shift.

Do you tend to feel your energy shift during mundane tasks like washing dishes? This is extremely common because when our minds don't feel that there is a task at hand, it likes to search elsewhere to stay busy. Going into the past is the easiest because it gives us hit of a chemical addiction (more on this in a later article)

Do you feel your energy shift when you are around certain people, talking about certain things or the most common, scrolling on social media?

Do you feel your energy shift at different times of day? Perhaps as you are stuck in traffic on your way to the office?

After becoming embodied and noticing your shifts in energy the next important step is to become aware of the feelings. Feelings are the language to the subconscious mind and when we can get under the feelings we are on the right path to understanding our mysterious subconscious minds.

For example, say one of your shadows is impatience and you begin to notice that every morning in your car you are stuck in traffic and your shadow begins to take over.

What does it feel like?

Where is it in the body?

Name it. Saying to yourself, OK, this is what impatience feels like.

We become embodied, we begin to notice the triggers and then we notice how it feels.

Now what?

We allow it.

Yes, we allow the emotions and feelings to be here- honoring all of it, accepting it and maybe even loving it. We can find all these acts of kindness because we are turning it over to our Higher Power (God, Universe, Source, Buddha, Jesus, Mother Earth, Mother Mary, etc)

We turn it over to something greater than us. We tune in and ask what the unmet need is. Going back to the example of impatience and being stuck in traffic, the unmet need could be that you lived in a chaotic household growing up and you couldn't count on anyone to be on time so you over compensate as an adult. But instead of trying to handle it all on our own we ask the Higher Power to come in and help us feel whole and loved. We allow answers to come in on how to fulfill the unmet need or for me many times just knowing I have endless support around me is enough to help me feel complete.

So to wrap this all up, to become whole is to be aware of and accepting of all parts of ourselves. Becoming whole is coming back into our bodies, coming home to who we truly are. We cannot do this without embodiment. Embodiment leads us to our triggers and how these triggers feel in our bodies. Feeling into these triggers leads us to the unmet needs inside of us. Finding the unmet needs leads us to prayer and allowing something greater to come in and support us.

Come back into your bodies and feel how whole, worthy and complete you truly are.

For more support on embodiment and shadow, I invite you to join my monthly spiritual membership Breathe And Receive full of breathwork, meditations, EFT, jouralin, Reiki and more to bring us back home or join me in my 1:1 3 or 6 month mentoring program which is like a personal retreat for your soul. Check it all out here with this link to my website

Much love and deep gratitude,


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