Last weekend I taught an edgy workshop in Grand Rapids on the shadow aspect of the psyche. The content, although fascinating, is not so flowery and sweet.
No one walked out on me, though, so a good sign A little humor and self-disclosure goes a long way!
Dr. C.G. Jung, the great depth psychologist coined the term “the Shadow” to point to those parts of ourselves that were not welcome when we were growing up, and those parts that hold memories of old wounds, which we have repressed or prefer to keep out of awareness.
They still exist.
They just live like exiles from our awareness.
The Shadow refers to that realm of the unconscious mind where parts of ourselves that we prefer not to look at live. The shadow, it turns out, is also that aspect of the psyche that holds those inner forces that can derail our best intentions and send us off on an eating binge or any other intense pattern, unbeknownst to us. So it pays to do some work to discover and get familiar with these underlying forces that cause us so much discomfort.
The really interesting thing is that much of what we will find, once consciously processed, is actually really good stuff, like potentials, talents, and feelings and needs that are natural and need a little space to be tended, loved, and come to peace with.” That why Jungian psychologist say that Shadow has our Gold hiding within it.
We may need to muster a little courage to look at these hidden parts, but once we do, we will begin to reap real positive benefits. We need to nourish these shadow parts in order to really nourish our own souls. When that doesn’t happen, we may become physically hungry.
This is just one way our shadow parts can get our attention. We have to be willing to be curious as to what’s going on, and possibly get some support and guidance to help to make peace with them and integrate their wisdom.
My work with nutrition and the psychology of eating has been the portal into shadow work as I’ve both lived and witnessed dozens and dozens of clients live out parts of their shadow by way of their eating patterns, habits, and physical symptoms.
You can read about just a couple of ways unclaimed energies are expressed through eating here (exploring a common polarity), here (exploring a few projections we place onto food), and here (more on your nutritional selves).
And a couple of quotes that I have already shared on social media:
“Can true humility and compassion exist in our words and eyes unless we know we too are capable of any act.” – St. Francis of Assisi
“Whatever is rejected in the self, appears in the world as an event.” – C.G. Jung
There’s so much to explore.
Whether eating or otherwise, any woman committed to a growth path of any kind, will benefit from this type of work.
As always, with love,