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Episode 132 Transcript: The Intersection of Reinvention & Shadow Work

Nancy: What if you knew that every dream you haven’t fulfilled or goal you haven’t achieved is the result of your shadow? The great news is that you are here with me today to do shadow work, exploring your unconscious mind to uncover the parts of yourself you’ve repressed and hidden so you can discover and activate their gifts. 

Nancy: Welcome to the Nancy Levin Show. I’m Nancy Levin, Founder of Levin Life Coach Academy, best-selling author, master coach, and your host. I help overachieving people pleasers set boundaries that stick and own self-worth, anchored in empowered action, so you can feel free. Plus, if you’re an aspiring or current coach, you are in the right place. Join me each week for coaching and compelling conversations designed to support you in the spotlight, as you take center stage of your own life. Let’s dive in. 

Nancy: Welcome to the Nancy Levin Show. If you have been listening to my podcast for a while now, then you’ll notice we have a new name. But it is still the same podcast that you know and love with just a little bit of reinvention sprinkled in. 

If you are listening for the very first time, I’m so glad you’re here and I’m very excited to support you. And I wanna give a special shout out welcome if you have found me and this show through Hay House’s Empower You audio app, it is an honor to be in your ears. 

In this episode, we’re going to explore a topic that is very close to my heart, how shadow work fuels your own personal reinvention. And if you’re listening, chances are you are on an evolutionary journey of self-inquiry and self-discovery.

One of the most powerful tools you can utilize to fuel your reinvention is shadow work. The term shadow as well as its meaning was first coined in 1963 by Swiss Cycle analyst, Carl Young. Simply put, our shadow is made up of all the parts of ourselves that we hide, deny, suppress, and do not see in ourselves. Qualities that we deem unquote positive or quote unquote negative. Our shadow is all the aspects that we reject out of shame, fear, or disapproval. 

So let me ask you, what if you knew that every dream you haven’t fulfilled or goal you haven’t achieved is the result of your shadow? The great news is that you are here with me today to do shadow work, exploring your unconscious mind to uncover the parts of yourself you’ve repressed and hidden so you can discover and activate their gifts.

Doing shadow work is key for mining the gold within to solidify self-trust, self-love and self-acceptance. Ultimately, shadow work is the voyage into wholeness, so you can learn to uncover and integrate hidden treasures that reside within, along with the truths that become illuminated. 

In my own journey, I have found that embracing my shadow has been pivotal in transforming my own life, and I am honored to be your guide.

The process of shadow work is a lot like phases of the moon. So you see the moon in different phases throughout the month, when it’s fully illuminated by the sun it appears as a perfect round ball. But when the moon is waxing or waning, you only see parts of it while other parts remain immersed in darkness. However, the moon is always whole no matter what you do or don’t see. It is simply revealing or concealing parts of itself at different times. 

As humans, we do the exact same thing. We spend a good chunk of our lives concealing parts of ourselves that we don’t wanna be and we don’t want others to see. But no matter what, we are always whole. I spent decades of my life ignoring the whispers of truth within not wanting to be known to myself, not wanting to be known by others. And I expended a lot of effort, hiding, keeping myself inside my own armor, which allowed me to turn off any level of feeling inside myself. But as they say, you can’t heal what you can’t feel. Plus, when we can’t feel we can’t connect. So I now know the real reason I was unable to truly feel intimately connected to others was that I was not connected to myself since I had essentially turned off my faucets of feeling within.

So shadow work at its core is the invitation to truly know yourself, all parts of yourself. And it goes beyond simply knowing to accepting, forgiving, and embracing all parts of you. 

Nancy: Hi, it’s Nancy interrupting my own show. I’ve got a lot of exciting things coming up in 2024, including a brand new book plus a group coaching opportunity, unlike anything else I have ever offered before. To make sure you are in the know, pop on over to my website now and sign up for my free weekly newsletter at nancylevin.com/newsletter so you don’t miss a thing. Okay, back to the show. 

Nancy: So let’s take a moment here and look at the intersection of shadow work and reinvention. Reinvention is the return to the essence of the truth of who you are before you began packaging yourself to be digestible to others. Shadow work invites us to uncover the hidden parts of ourselves and recognize how essential they are to our wholeness. 

As I embarked on my own reinvention, leaving an abusive marriage with a nasty divorce, shadow work was the number one tool that led me to the life I’m living now, and it still continues to support me to this day. In deeply excavating, exploring and embracing my own shadows, I return to wholeness. 

So as we begin to engage with these hidden parts of ourselves, we begin a process of deep transformation. And while this may not always be easy, it will be incredibly rewarding. And I have seen countless clients and students own and integrate parts of themselves they never knew existed and learn how to harness them for growth. So I wanna get practical here with you so you can begin to dip your toe in the water of your shadow.

First, I invite you to consider a quality, a part, an adjective really, that you don’t want to be. That emphatically you insist you are not, perhaps a quality like greedy or lazy or mean or needy. And a little hack here is to look for the quality you’re triggered most by in others. A quality you dislike and disapprove of that you’ve always been taught to believe is bad. You may identify several and that’s great, but for now, pick the one that would sting the most if you were called, the one you’d be most mortified to find describing you in a newspaper headline. So for the purposes of this exploration, as an example here, I’ll choose the quality lazy. 

Next, allow yourself to consider the ways you overcompensate for this quality, how you disown it, how you are hiding and suppressing and repressing, lazy. Perhaps by overachieving or being a workaholic constantly keeping busy. Now, remember the analogy of the moon I shared earlier. We are always whole. So if you choose to view the quality of lazy through the lens of it being an asset, what is the gift of lazy? The gift might be that lazy allows you to rest, rejuvenate, replenish. 

Now, let’s play with the shadow in the other direction. I invite you to consider a quality an adjective that you do want to be, but believe you are not. Perhaps equality like confident, creative, courageous, and a little hack here is to look for a quality you admire in others, a quality that you’re enthralled and enamored by, inspired by, that you’ve been taught to believe are good. But that you don’t think you are. The truth is that qualities themselves are charge neutral. We are the ones who put the spin of negative or positive on them because every quality comes bearing gifts. 

So if you were to reclaim equality such as confident, how would confident be an asset for you? What would be possible for you that isn’t right now? Maybe if you embraced your confidence, you’d be able to send that email to someone you wanna ask for help. If you are experiencing any resistance, exploring your shadow, please know that it’s natural. Your ego is simply trying to protect you from what you are uncovering. But remember that each step you take in acknowledging and embracing your shadow is a step toward a more authentic and fulfilling life.

When you don’t consciously and intentionally do your shadow work, you may experience things like self-sabotage, depression, anxiety, and other disorders of the soul trying to escape from what pains you only worsens matters. Shadow work guides you to understand and transmute your pain into wisdom and purpose. 

Ultimately, shadow work is an act of radical honesty, a facing yourself in the mirror and claiming what is true even if it causes you discomfort.This can simply look like peering into your own eyes lovingly, gazing into the mirror and saying, I am lazy. I am confident. The amazing thing about the simple act is that it begins to melt away the armor you’ve built around yourself, so you can access the light within. And then look for ways you can cultivate your laziness, ways you can cultivate your confidence so you can harness their energies and their gifts.

Socrates famously said, “the unexamined life is not worth living”, which could very well be the greatest endorsement of shadow work that’s out there. Shadow work is a constant open invitation for you to bring your attention inward so you can know yourself fully and step into the multi-dimensional wholeness of your life. May you continue to embrace your shadow to find your light. 

Thank you so much for being here with me. There’s much more to come in the weeks ahead on the podcast. I hope you will subscribe, download, review, tell your friends, and join me in the journey of wholeness. 

Thanks so much for joining me today. I invite you to head on over to nancylevin.com to check out all the goodies I have there for you. And if you’ve enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, leave a rating and a review. I’ll meet you back here next week.