November - Bringing into Awareness... Our Shadow

By their very nature,  shadows are unseen and unconscious but they call the shots of so much of what we do and don’t do in life.  The challenge is to bring them out into the open and integrate them with compassion so that we can live less burdened by fear and more centred on our own gifts and and contribution. It's probably the biggest, single most important avenue of self enquiry and personal transformation.

Access a PDF here that provides an overview and introduction to the importance of working with the shadow and how to go about it.

So how do we start to engage with our shadow? Here’s a quick exercise to identify your shadows. It doesn’t require you to do anything but finish a few sentences in a couple of minutes. Have a go, it’s not that scary! ;-)

 




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In this ebook and self-study practice I discuss the key pointers to living mindfully. It is full of practical tips and tools for increased self-awareness in our daily life.


The practice of mindfulness

As someone once said:

The most difficult part of being mindful is to remember to be mindful

Here are a few resources that will hopefully inspire you and also remind you of how crucial living in awareness is!

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A practical (and personal) take on what a daily practice of mindfulness and self-awareness looks like. It includes tips, a poem and several suggestions for making the different parts of the day moments for checking in with yourself.


Emotional awareness

This is a biggie. One of the most complex areas of self-awareness work we can ever undertake. There are a lot of resources out there, both in the shape of books as well as online resources. I would personally recommend working with a good therapist/coach if you feel there are major issues that you need support with. Often we start emotional work on our own to find that, like an iceberg, most of the “stuff” is underneath and hidden from view. If it gets too overwhelming or you feel you need someone to hold your hand whilst navigating your emotional icebergs, get professional help. It may be your best spent money!!

Emotional work is the basis for any self-discovery transformation and will seep into all other areas of your life: work, relationships, self-love...

 

Embodiment

 

An absolutely essential part of living in awareness. I often talk about the body as our "poor relative" - the part of ourselves we often deny, denigrate, or simply ignore. The body has an inner wisdom that we miss out on by living too much in our minds. An area I am myself exploring deeply, I urge you to consider how you carry your body in your day to day life; whether and how you listen to it; and how to embody emotions and states of mind-body connection to live more fully, on purpose, and coherently.

  • Mark Walsh's Integration Training - a world unto itself of brilliant resources on embodiment and the body-mind connection. Start here for a great video introduction to the term.
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Parenting and family relations

As with other areas, mindfulness has become a trendy angle to look at parenting issues. There is deep emotional engagement when awareness is applied to parenting and family relationships. It is often very intense work, because it requires dealing with (as in acknowledging!) vulnerability. But the pay-off can be huge: increased sensitivity, enhanced connection, and a change in deep-seated relational dynamics. Often we are more willing to pull up our sleeves and implement “change” for loved ones, especially young children, than for ourselves.


Wellbeing and health

Our bodies often bear the brunt of our lack of awareness in life: we make them digest too much food (or the wrong kind, or at the wrong time), we deprive them of sufficient sleep, we make them sit still for too long, we ignore their need for movement and joy. In short, we simply don’t utilise our bodies enough in a kind, mindful way – we are often up there “in the head” and not paying much attention to what our bodies need, or even what they are trying to tell us. Instinct often manifests through the body (remember that “gut feeling”?).

There are as many forms of exercise, and wellbeing practices as there are days in the year (or in a few years!) so I’m going to keep this as generic as possible. Bodies were made to be healthy through movement and eating, so here are a few resources on both topics:

  • Information on Somatic Meditation, where the body becomes the fundamental arena of meditation and mindfulness practice.
  • A real favourite of mine! Biodanza is an amazing process of integrating body and emotions through dance and connecting mindfully with others.
  • Dr Susan Albers website contains a lot of practical tips and information on eating mindfully.

 


 

Spiritual/Reflective/Meditative/Philosophical

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I’ve bunched them up together because it’s essentially the same thing – transcending our personal, individual dimension. Which, as humans, we are able to do. Isn’t that something? You don’t have to believe in anything to transcend yourself. Because, simply put, we can become aware that there is more to us than body and mind.

 

The Divine Feminine

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Ok, so I'm a woman and I've been delving much into what feminine energy is recently, particularly given I've always been more in touch with the striving and active male energy. Intrigued? (You don't have to be a woman, by the way, we all have both energies to tap into irrespective of our sex and gender identity). Read on...