Many of us are hearing the call to shadow work during these turbulent times, seeking ways to release lower vibrational energies from our fields. This Sacred Pause has forced/encouraged us to look inwardly at ourselves, to listen to our intuition, and decided if our life nurtures our Soul Purpose. It has also been an opportunity to quell the turbulence in our minds and hearts through slowing down and truly bearing witness to our thoughts and emotions.
In Jungian psychology, the “shadow“, “id“, or “shadow aspect/archetype” may refer to (1) an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not identify in itself, or (2) the entirety of the unconscious, i.e., everything of which a person is not fully conscious. In short, the shadow is the unknown side. (Wikipedia)
Please note that the shadow is the unknown … not the negative. There are so many gems to be discovered through shining consciousness on what we’ve ignored or have yet to discover about ourselves. Shadow work is not about getting down on ourselves about what we see. That’s what we are here to do, to look fully and completely at ourselves and to grow, evolve, and cultivate harmony. Shadow work is an opportunity to know ourselves even more deeply and integrate various aspects of ourselves so we become whole.
The yamas are essentially moral guidelines by which to live with regard to our relationship with ourselves, and the world around us. These moral codes can be applied both on an off the yoga mat, helping us to practice not just for the benefit of ourselves, but for the world around us. They can also be beneficial during shadow work as guidance in discovery.
Aparigraha, which often translates as ‘non-greed’, ‘non-possessiveness’, and ‘non-attachment’. The word ‘graha’ means to take, to seize, or to grab, ‘pari’ means ‘on all sides’, and the prefix ‘a’ negates the word itself – basically, it means ‘non’. This important yama teaches us to take only what we need, keep only what serves us in the moment, and to let go when the time is right. Sometimes shadow work includes the necessary release of hindrances and baggage so that we can open ourselves up to new abundance.
Consider a sweet release
I love to hold on to things! You never know when you may need it! But how often do you really end up using it, wearing it, loving it? Maybe it reminds you of a past relationship, maybe its something you used to love but no longer aligns with your current self. Gather up items that are pure clutter and give them away or throw it out. If you’re thinking about it, you probably don’t need it.
What can you physically let go of?
Attachment to Outcomes
We all know the saying, it’s about the journey not the destination. If you love something, do it, and do it for the love of doing it. Stay tuned to the sensations that arise while living and “doing it” and let go of whatever the outcome may be. If you have something to share, share it! Without caring how many other people like it, comment, share to share you.
How can you “do” to enjoy and not “do” for a particular outcome?
Expectations may be setting us up for disappointment. Whether it’s expectations about ourselves, others, situations, and/or projects, if we have a specific ideas of how we think something will happen, turn out, or a the way someone will respond, we may be setting ourselves up for disappointment! Additionally, we limit the outcome through expectations … what if it’s even better than you anticipated! This goes back to releasing attachment to outcomes and not even setting up expectations to begin. People will respond the best they can, and the more we enjoy putting our energy out there for the world, the less we care about the way it lands.
What expectation can you let go of?
The stories we tell ourselves trap us in their narrative. We may be telling ourselves something that once was true but no longer is … and we are caging ourselves to that outdated truth. Or, we feel in our soul that we need a big change but are scared to make the change because we are attached to the specific story. This can also show up about what we tell ourselves about past pains/traumas/relationships/jobs. What if you don’t need to carry that with you anymore? What if you can alchemize the pain/grudge/anger that is keeping you attached to the past situation and heal from it instead? What if you don’t have to carry that pain/anger/trauma any longer? What if you can free yourself from that space? That saying, “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”, comes to mind. But what if the “devil you know” is keeping you from knowing your true self and walking your soul purpose? Some of the stories may have been engrained for this lifetime, past lifetimes, or it may be written into your DNA from your ancestors. Changing the narrative can be a challenge or so rewarding.
What are you telling yourself that is no longer true or is constraining you to a small and limiting life?
Especially with the #BLM movement and this being Pride month, it seems essential to bring judgements into this sweet release of Aparigraha. Judgements may be subtle or glaring, they can be about ourselves or others. And they may be holding our hearts hostage, unable to love unconditionally. Accepting others and situations in their entirety helps us to not only love them, but to love the aspect in ourselves that is being reflected in the judgement. Releasing judgements also gives people permission to be themselves … and it provides a flow of freedom that also gives you the same permission. Aparigraha encourages us to release these judgements.
What judgements can you release so that you can love and accept more fully?
Gratitude for Aparigraha
I thank and bless all of these experiences, sensations, and thought trips for the lessons learned and the growth opportunities. Turning toward our shadows, doing the work, and bringing in Aparigraha to help liberate ourselves from attachment creates space for us to gather all of our own energy back into our fields and shine as light beings.