Welcome to the Dark Side and the Importance of Shadow Work

Whether you’re trying to battle your inner-demons or have a dark shadow that seems to follow you wherever you go, the reality is we all have them. Some of us more than others. We all have a dark side somewhere deep inside of ourselves. 

If you let your “dark side”/”shadow” run wild your life can seem uncontrolled and chaotic. Classic shadow signs are anger, blame, and laziness, but it can also be expressed as insecurity, co-dependency, or even independence. These signs can manifest issues with mental health, addictions, negativity, and low self-worth; and left unchecked, these issues will begin to effect the overall quality of your life.

Disclaimer: The purpose here is to help and heal others.

Before delving further, I just wanted to include the disclaimer that I am not a mental health expert nor do I have a degree in psychology. I have read many books over the years to help me deal with some of the trauma that I have experienced in my life, and these books were on topics such as self-help, psychology, and spirituality. All of my readings have touched on the topic of dark sides, shadow work, and how it all goes together. I thought I would share more about what I have read and learned along the way so that I can help others who might be of need. 

The idea of “Shadow” was popularized and studied by Carl Jung who is a 20th Century psychologist from Switzerland. According to him, “Shadow” refers to the hidden parts of our being. These are parts of ourselves that we may try to repress because they make us feel sad or vulnerable. This is a side we often do not show others. It can also indicate how we internally perceive ourselves as “being weak,” therefore we feel the need to hide certain parts of ourselves. Jung believed in the acknowledging our full self, including the shadow side, so that we can live in a balanced way.

Learning How to Confront Your Shadow:

My shadow is the fear of being vulnerable. I often avoid certain situations whether it is in the past or present; knowing that a situation may cause me to be placed in a vulnerable position, I would do anything in my power to avoid it at all cost. I think a part of it has to do with my upbringing and how I was raised. Although I’m not placing any blame on anyone in my family or those who have raised me, I was always taught that I have to be “good” all the time and showing vulnerability is a sign of weakness. I’m thankful that I am aware of my shadows because knowing the struggles and battles we had to fight in order to succeed makes our victories all the more meaningful. As crazy as it may sound, the pain and suffering we see in the world around us are often mirrored by our internal pain and suffering. It is only in facing our difficulties that true change can be made, and the hope of peace can prevail, inside and out. 

Shadow work may seem counter-intuitive on the outside because you will have to face your pain instead of running away from it. The process works by allowing yourself to feel and understand the painful aspects of yourself, so they become fully integrated. I’ve learned that it takes courage, time, and an open heart to face your pain, but these tools learned along the way help in almost every other aspect of your life as well.

Shadow work is an introspective psychological practice that anyone can do and helps lead to a more fulfilling life. When working with your shadow, you may have a moment of spiritual awakening that lead to greater authenticity, creativity, and emotional freedom. 

Some of the benefits that I have noticed in some areas of my life included: improved relationships through understanding yourself and accepting others, overall enhanced state of well-being and mood, better communication with others, ability to set boundaries in every aspect of life, and cease the cycle of self-destruction. 

I wish that you all find your shadow and learn to work with it so we can all live a more balanced and more fulfilling life.  

Xoxo,

Tawny V

 

serene sunday

Serenity Sunday = Mediation Work

 

 

Transformation Tuesday

Good morning everyone and happy Tuesday!

This morning I woke up, made a delicious coconut and dragon-fruit smoothie after doing some meditation, and thought to myself what better way to start the day than to write down my thoughts before I head to work.

I know I have talked about toxic relationships in the past, however today I will be discussing about the toxic relationships we have with ourselves and the ones that I have had with myself. I don’t know of anyone that has a 100% healthy relationship with themselves, especially around my age. I think it’s because we’ve been trained and conditioned for so long not to. It’s very easy to fall into negative behaviors especially in how we talk to ourselves and what we think about ourselves. 

I definitely had a toxic relationship with myself. I notice that it is getting a lot better: I have so much more compassion and love for myself this year than last year. What I have noticed about myself was that I tend to hold a lot of guilt when it comes to everything. I constantly felt bad and feel everything. I have a lot of empathy for everything. For a long time I was holding those feelings in, and I would punish myself for some things that weren’t even a big deal. For instance, I would worry if I offended someone or feel guilty if I cancelled plans with someone when I felt tired or just didn’t feel up for it anymore. In the grand scheme of life it doesn’t matter, but I would hold on to that guilt and punish myself internally by sitting around and sulking in my guilt. My entire day would be ruined because of it.

Because this was a toxic trait that I recognized in myself, I forced myself to practice self- love, compassion, and grounding to remind myself of who I am and what I want. What really helped me was meditation. I know I spoke about it a few times already, but I have been able to maintain my emotional state right now. I know that meditation has helped me with cultivating and maintaining those positive emotions. Some of you have also said that I seem happier nowadays, and I could cry just thinking about the ways that I have changed my relationship with myself for the better. I’m not going to sit here and say that I am not hard on myself anymore because I still am, but now I am just more aware of it. The goal now is to correct that type of thinking, whereas before I was just on autopilot: going through the motions and unaware of my own role in the cycle. 

I have read a few great self-help books to get me through the tougher times last year. I can list and talk about some of them in another post if anyone is interested. These self-help books made me aware of how I saw and treated myself. I was beginning to see how others see themselves. Sometimes when I go to events, whether personal or for work, I sometimes feel others’ emotional energies and they’d drain me. I felt the need to protect myself and my energy because I was starting to see that it wasn’t coming from me but from those around me. I was just absorbing all of the negative energy, and I hated it. I found myself not wanting be around anyone anymore because I was afraid of their emotional and negative energy and the way it would affect me. That might sound selfish and might be selfish, but I cannot be of service to anyone if I am in need of help. I have been protecting my happiness and working hard on myself, and I am not going to risk undoing all the progress I’ve made. People who love me and support me will understand and see where I am coming from. 

There are many who will take advantage of kindhearted and happier spirits. When you have a positive aura, people will naturally gravitate towards you, even people who don’t have that same aura or intentions. They just want to take it for themselves and drain you. Most of the time they aren’t even aware of it. I feel I am a naturally kindhearted person inside, and if I sense someone is troubled I just want to help them anyway I can, even if it will hurt me in the end. I know that what it’s like to be in their shoes because I’ve been in that emotional state. I know what it feels like so I want to help people, but some people don’t want your help. I had to recognize and learn that the hard way. That brings me back to the question of “How can you help anyone when you yourself are so emotionally sensitive and fragile?” That is what I am working on, and I have come a long way but the journey goes on. 

I wish you all love and light. Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts and concerns. If anyone has any good book suggestions, whether it’s a novel or self-help book, please feel free to send me a message or comment!

Let us all continue to be self-aware and love ourselves a little more each day so that we can continue to love one another. 

XO,

Tawny V.

Let’s Talk About Spirituality

I have always been a spiritual person, however the stresses of the pandemic, work, and life drove me be more in tune with my spirituality. 

It’s a common misconception that you have to be a religious person in order to be spiritual.  I think that there’s no single way to be a spiritual person and that spirituality is deeply personal. It’s in the moments when you are quiet, reflective, and intentional that you become your own teacher and guide. And it is in those moments that you commune with your own higher power and answers become clear. 

You may be asking, “How can one become more spiritual?” Below are several ways you can start living your best spiritual life.

By Helping Others

We are all here on earth to help each other. Help others whenever you can. Extend a helping hand, smile at people, open up your heart!

Journaling and Manifesting

This life should include self-love, compassion, self-gratitude, and appreciation. Think about the energy of desires, hopes, happiness, dreams, and feel-good intentions. Put these thoughts and wishes down in a journal or diary, and will them into existence!

Meditation

When I was younger I loved to mediate and would attend meditation classes with my mom every Sunday at the temple. Unfortunately meditation went out the door as life happens. Many years later I would try to meditate, but I could not stay focused. My mind was everywhere! Recently however, I was able to mediate again during the quarantine months, and even now my morning ritual includes mediation. So I thank the quarantine for this. Meditation and prayer helps us to stay centered. For beginners, I would advise you to set aside at least 5 minutes of your day to meditate with the specific intention of connecting to what’s really in your heart and just focus on your breathing.   

Learn to Forgive

Forgiveness is crucial for spiritual growth, whether it is forgiving yourself or someone else. Whether we realize it or not, we hold onto so much trauma and heartbreak from our past that it affects our present if we cannot learn to forgive and move on. Decide to forgive whatever and whoever it is that is holding you back. Only you hold the key and have the power to do so. 

Patience Takes Practice

Although I am into crystals and believe in their healing properties, you don’t need to go out and start a collection to become more spiritual. It’s more about taking advantage of the opportunities all around you. For instance, you’ve ordered a coffee at Starbucks and the barista gets your order wrong. Forgive them! Be patient. Things happen in life that we cannot control. These are just the little ways you can commit to being more patient.  These small steps everyday can lighten your spirit and create more inner peace. 

Focus on Gratitude

Life isn’t always fair and we are not all dealt with the same cards and that is just reality. Sometimes that guy in your math class who never attends class somehow manages to do better than you when you studied your ass off. It happens! Or there are some women who get pregnant so easily when others cannot. Life isn’t fair. But we can’t focus on just the unfairness. What we focus on is what we will manifest. Keep being bitter and things will and can only get worse. Focus on being grateful for all of the things that ARE going well in your life. 

Listen to Your Instincts

You have to learn to be in tune with your gut feeling sometimes to make informed and intuitive decisions. Our gut feeling is often always right. Sometimes you just get a feeling that you should stay away from someone! But most often times we ignore it and ask our brain to make that decision for us instead. Take opportunities and listen deeply to what is inside of you. 

Laugh Often

Laughing is one of life’s greatest medicine. Laughing carries an energy of joy, playfulness, and happiness. I’ve always noticed that the people who live a long life often laugh more and are happier. 

Eliminate Envy

Being envious is the worst thing you can do to yourself. However, if one had said they have never experienced envy they would not be human! Spirituality and selfishness do not go together. Work on being happy for others instead of envious of their success. 

Learn to Love Yourself

We are all living beings on this earth with different beliefs, personalities, and values. We have to first learn to love ourselves before we can love another. Forgive yourself sometimes, own your quirks, and love yourself a little more each day.

 

“Being on a spiritual path does not prevent you from facing the darkness,

but it teaches you how to use the darkness as a tool to grow.

– @Messages.from.beyond, Instagram  

 

Romance is Dying

I am definitely not an expert when it comes to love, but I just thought I would share my thoughts on a growing trend.

We all want to be loved some way, some how but do not want to put in the effort. It seems like everything these days is just instant gratification, and there is no such thing as love or even romance anymore. How did romance suddenly die? Some say social media and apps like Tinder are to blame, and I believe there is some truth to that.

With social media you see everything in that instant. You like the girl, she sends you a risque selfie of some sort, you exchange a few flirty messages, and there you go: that is what constitutes romance today. I feel that we need to go back to a time where men would take the time and actually plan a date, pick up the girl, and actually share an experience; not just “let’s get drinks.” That is not romance! Make an effort, communicate, go places, do things, get to know each other, and fall in love…

Maybe this is just what I hear and see from my friends here in LA. Is romance dying everywhere else? Is what they say true, that there really is no love in the big cities? ❤