• Lauren Bentley

What Is The Shadow?

Shadow season is one of my absolute favorites as it is a time for us to slow down and learn to love, honor and accept every part of us. The light and the dark - for the light cannot shine without the dark.

Every teacher/healer has their own definition of the shadow and how to work with it, so if what you learn from me is different than what you've experienced before, please take what you need and leave behind what doesn't resonate. After all, we are here to learn and integrate and some of us are meant to teach what it means to us.

Mother Nature experiences all 4 seasons and just like the trees, the roses and the fields, we are a part of nature. We too go through all 4 seasons and for women, we go through all 4 seasons in one month however, that is a theme for a later time. When we can release the control of what we think our life is supposed to look like and surrender to our own unique ebbs and flows, you will feel your own seasons arise in you.

The season of summer is more of an outward expression. We tend to be doing, going and experiencing. Much more extroverted and alive. There is naturally more light than darkness.

Fall brings us a chance to begin to release what is no longer serving us to prepare for a deep rest- trusting that we are changing and releasing in our own perfect timing. Light and darkness begin to even out and longer nights are slowly integrated.

Winter is a season of deep rest. A time to slumber and hibernate. This is usually our shadow season. There's much more dark than light and we desire to stay in and cozy up.

Spring is our time of rebirth. Everything is coming back to life and reawakening. Light and dark once more begin to even out with the light extending gradually.

Now, this is just a brief summary. You may feel as if you are more in your shadow in another season or you may feel extroverted in Winter vs. Summer. This is quite all right. Each person has their own unique inner clock and guide.

I invite you to take a moment to pause here and reflect on your own personal seasons. Think back to this previous year and connect with different habits, feelings and emotions you seemed to have in each individual season.

So what is the shadow exactly?

Our shadows tend to be the parts of ourselves that we keep hidden away from others. Parts that we feel embarrassed by or feel that they are inappropriate. We create these stories in our head usually from others opinions of us, society or our own personal stories/beliefs.

When we continue to push our shadow emotions down, we are not allowing all parts of ourselves to be truly seen and loved. We may not exactly like all of our qualities and it is a bit much to expect others to like every single aspect of us but it is crucial to to our own self love and feeling of support, acceptance and love from others to allow all parts to be seen.

If you often have feelings of loneliness, isolation, feelings of not being good enough, understood, seen, heard or loved, chances are, you are hiding your shadow. To bring all parts of your soul home, you must learn to honor all as well.

Not to mention, the parts of us that are attracting things we aren't desiring due to not acknowledging the shadow.

How do we begin to live alongside our shadow parts?

We invite it to live alongside of us. Intertwining and becoming whole. (I love to picture a yin-yang here.)

We show our shadow through soul nourishing that it is safe to be seen. Through self nurturing practices we begin to understand that our dark and our light are equal. There's no good or bad, positive or negative- it just is as it is. By deeply loving ourselves, we become whole and complete. Other's opinions no longer bother us (or at least not as deeply) because we know we have ourselves. We no longer feel we need to hide parts of ourselves or wear masks to hide because we know that everything is as it should be.

We are growth-seekers. We are here to grow, expand, heal, release and change but none of that is possible without learning to love every part of us and deeply nourish our souls. Warming from the inside out.

Journal prompts:

What are some parts of yourself that you know you keep hidden from others?

How do these make you feel?

How do you think those around you will feel after you let all of you be seen?

What are some of your favorite ways to self nourish? Think baths, massages, cozy blankets, jammies, movies, soft music, candles, etc.

Lastly, I want to you write a promise sentence to yourself. Promise yourself that you will show up for you without judgement and only love. Promise yourself that you will do what you need to move slow and nurture yourself.

For more information on the shadow enjoy the Shadow Work podcast with special guest Chelsea Skowyra on the Conscious Coaching Podcast Shadow Yoga- an oldie but a goodie- I would love to invite you to our upcoming virtual Breathwork and yoga class- Trauma Healing for the Sacral Chakra. This will be a beautiful class dedicated to nurturing our emotions and creativity. All levels! When: Sunday January 10th Time: 11 AM eastern (replay sent out so it is ok if you cannot attend live) Investment: one new live class every week in the Breathe and Receive membership for $25 a month, no contracts, with access to all previous themes. To join the membership please click link below

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