One morning I was visited by an Owl. Then several hours later I was visited by a different kind of bird.
For Mayans, all birds are messengers. Owls are the birds of the night. Birds of the night bring different kinds of messages. They can bring positive or negative signs but it’s always to bring awareness.
It’s so cool that I was visited by these two different kinds of birds within the time span of a couple of hours. I interpret the meaning of this to be the importance of duality being balanced in terms of doing shadow work and lightwork
Shadow work is to bring awareness and consciousness to the subconscious mind.
Jung used the term “shadow self” to describe the things people repress or do not like to acknowledge such as trauma and resentment.
An easy way to become conscious of resentment is to start to watch my mind and see if I’m having a conversation with someone who isn’t in the room about something that upset me. If that’s happening I can be sure it’s a resentment.
An easy way to approach shadow work is to ask the questions…is there anything about myself that I don’t like? Could there be something that I don’t like about myself that I see someone else is doing? What are the parts of myself that I don’t like that might be in my subconscious?
What are those parts I might be subconsciously suppressing because I don’t want to look at them? Could there be something that’s in my subconscious that is repressed that I don’t want to look at? Subconscious means it’s not in my awareness but by doing this work I can bring it into my awareness.
It’s what’s in the subconscious that’s my shadow.
So, delving into the parts of myself that I don’t like and working on healing those parts is shadowwork. It’s healing the trauma that is repressed or being suppressed. Suppressing is consciously pushing things down and repressing is unconsciously pushing things down which means I don’t even know I’m doing it. In my case, I usually tend to repress.
Bringing what’s in my subconscious into my consciousness and not hiding those parts from myself anymore so that I can heal and grow as a person is shadowwork. It’s shedding light on those parts so that they come out of the shadow.
For example, I have a tendency to people please and seek people’s approval. As I’ve done this work and examined my childhood it’s become crystal clear that those actions are the result of childhood trauma. The more that I keep that in my awareness the more opportunities I have to not people please to try to get other people to like me. The beautiful thing about this work is that by honoring my feelings not only do I feel better about myself but I actually get more respect and approval from people because I’m trusting and honoring myself.
As difficult as shadow work is sometimes, I love it because it helps me understand who I really am and why I operate the way that I do. I mean how cool is that?!
Who I am is a spark of consciousness that knows no beginning or ending.
“The experiential awareness of that which you really are, the Self with a capital S, is beyond life and death, has no beginning…has no ending and is not made of the same dimension of that which begins and ends” - Dr. David R. Hawkins
When I bring what’s in the shadow into the light I stand a better chance at realizing the truth of being. The truth is that what I experience in life has an effect on me and I used to tend to get so identified with that “story” of what happened. By doing shadow work it gives me the opportunity to dis-identify from the “story” of what I experienced. Then, I have the opportunity to reframe what happened so that I can release the charge it gives the ego.
Once this is achieved, I have the opportunity to see that I am so much more than what I think myself to be. The truth is that my Self with a capital S is who I really am. It is my soul and spirit that is incarnated in to this body and it’s beyond all time. As time is a construct of only the 3rd dimension.
Shadow work gives me the opportunity to see the programs that have been installed. These programs can be widely varied. For clarity, another way to call “programs” would be a “false belief” I have about myself or someone/something else. Often times I am operating based off of programs that are running in my subconscious. So, by examining the shadow of my traumas I can bring to light what has been running in the background for most of my life subconsciously.
Shadow work gives me the ability to pause when a trauma gets triggered. Then I can take a few steps back and get some perspective and respond instead of react to the trigger. I’m able to do that because of the shadow work I have done and it makes life so much more interesting. It helps me see that so much in life that happens is NOT personal.
Often times what is happening in any given situation is someone projecting their shadow on to me while being completely unconscious of it. This work helps me to get separation from the other person’s projection.
I’ll give you a great example. The other day, I was with someone and we were talking about something and I said “I’m just going to text him and ask”. To which this person responded, “David don’t be stupid”.
I have a significant amount of trauma around thinking I’m stupid because I had a very difficult time in school as a kid. There is so much evidence in my adult life of me not being stupid. People have told me so many times how smart I am and I went to UCLA. But none of that matters to my shadow.
UCLA and compliments from people notwithstanding, take all of the bad decisions I’ve made in my life and pile that on top of the trauma of being teased as a child and it’s a recipe for the subconscious false belief I developed of “I’m stupid”.
It was in the situation above where the rubber met the road. When this person said to me “David don’t be stupid” I paused. I took a breath and observed how I was feeling. Then I said in a calm manner “me texting a person to ask a question has absolutely nothing to do with my lack of intelligence”. After talking it through with this person we actually uncovered that they themselves were feeling stupid about something that had happened earlier and they projected that onto me.
What a gift to be able to discover that and to have people in my life that I can have conversations like that with! And believe you me when my trauma used to get triggered a situation like the above would have turned into a big fight. As my friend Michelle told me once “being able to see our growth…. That’s the gift”.
This is an aspect of my life’s work. To continually work through and bring light to what is in my shadow so that I can live a life with peace and serenity as much of the time as possible.
One of my Mayan teachers Tata Juan says that “everybody at some point in their life is afraid of the darkness. But really what people are afraid of is themselves. It is the darkness that shows us ourselves”.
Aq’ab’al is one of the Mayan energies of the Cholq’ij calendar. One of its lessons is to consciously move in and out of the darkness. So, when we come out of shadow work we can also do “Lightwork”.
My whole life people have told me I’m a lightworker and I never really understood what that meant. But I now know that it’s because I’m kind and compassionate and have a deep-felt need to be of service to others. So lightwork is easy for me because it comes naturally.
Whether or not you’re a lightworker by nature you can do lightwork pretty easily. Being of service to others is an easy way to do lightwork. Using compassion and kindness in any way possible in your daily life is lightwork.
An easy way to do light work is to ask the questions…how can I be more kind and compassionate? Who can I be of service to today?
Being of service isn’t just doing things for people. It can be sharing with a trusted friend what’s really going on with you. Being vulnerable encourages others tto do the same. By sharing you’re also giving that person an opportunity to be of service to you.
Lightwork can be asking your server what their name is. You will be surprised how much of an impact that can have on a person if you’ve never done it before. They always light up when I do it (no pun intended) and I think that’s because it makes that person feel seen. And we all want to feel seen, heard, and loved. Also, listening to someone share something with you is a way to be of service because you’re helping that person feel heard.
So, to be a more evolved human being it’s important to have a balance between working on the dark and the light. We can’t just spiritually bypass the darkness and only focus on the light if we really want to grow and evolve as a human being.
According to the Mayan geo-cosmovision duality must always be in balance and in essence that is what I’m writing about. The balance between the dark and the light.
This is one of the many reasons why I love Mayan wisdom. It helps us to understand and explain what the keys are to our own personal freedom and sovereignty.