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Episode 158 Transcript: Shadow Work Part 4: Nourishment

Nancy: Nourishment is a necessity. When you nourish yourself, you strengthen your connection to your authentic self, and you increase your capacity for intimacy and connection with others. Because you are being true with yourself around what it is that you need and want and desire, and you begin fulfilling it for yourself first. 

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 back to another episode of the Nancy Levin Show. I am so thrilled you’re here as we are continuing our journey through the stages of shadow work. And today we will be diving into stage six, which is nourishment. And over the past few weeks, we’ve started with stage one awareness, moved into surrender, then we moved into responsibility and authenticity, and then resilience. So go back and listen to those episodes if you haven’t. But we’re here today for nourishment and once again, the new book, Embrace Your Shadow to Find Your Light. If you go to nancy levin.com/journal, you will have access to my free bonus gifts that I’m giving you to support you as you do this incredibly potent work. 

So as we look at nourishment, and I’ve gotta say this is one of my favorite stages of the process. To truly nourish yourself, it is essential to go beyond meeting your basic survival needs. So as I say that, just notice if you only let yourself want what you really, really, really need, instead of opening yourself up to the expansive desires. Desire is the place where your soul’s passion for purpose and meaning and fulfillment feels the strongest and most alive. And when you live inside desire, not from lack or desperation, but from recognition that the presence of desire is its own fulfillment that’s when you can stop depriving yourself. 

So listen, many of us are taught to suppress our desires. We get messaging very early on. I know for me, I actually prided myself on having no wants or needs. We might also be taught that it is sinful to have desire or selfish to desire or that it’s unwise to want. But this stage involves reclaiming not just every day survival or ordinary desires, but also our shadow desires. 

Our shadow desires are the strong desires that you’ve been resisting, that you’ve avoiding, that you’ve been neglecting, and recognizing and fulfilling these shadow desires is a critical, essential part of shadow work. So we want to cultivate a relationship with desire and cultivating a relationship with desire means being honest and authentic about what it is that you want. It’s about standing in your desire and inviting the world to help you fulfill it. Making desire based requests can be part of this. It’s a powerful act of self nourishment because it affirms that you feel and know that you deserve to have what you want and you can invite others to support you in having it.

But all of this has to begin with you, with you recognizing that there are desires that you have, that you may have shoved down into your shadow so deep. Desires that may have you feel guilty or ashamed or embarrassed. Desires that you may dismiss as frivolous or luxurious. Desires that you may have already told yourself that you don’t have access to so why bother wanting. Desires of all shapes and sizes. Desires that range on the spectrum. 

And the truth is that if you have a desire, you get to bring it to fruition. You do not have to keep these desires in the shadow any longer. You get to give yourself permission to have what you want. You get to stop depriving yourself of feeling good. You get to stop punishing yourself and you get to open up your capacity to have. Because really that’s what it comes down to. We often don’t desire because we don’t actually think that we can have what we want. So we have to increase our capacity for having.

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 think about a desire that you’ve been resisting. Think about a desire that you’ve kept stuffed down, and take a moment to really consider what has you resisting it? Why have you been resisting it? And what is one small micro action you can take to begin honoring this desire? Small. So it has to begin with you honoring your own desire. And then it can also encompass you making a direct request to ask someone to support you in the fulfillment of your desire. 

Now, here’s the secret about our desires. They will always link back to a value you hold and a feeling you wanna experience. So I’ll often ask the question, when you hone in on what it is that you’re desiring, especially a shadow desire, what is the feeling you anticipate experiencing in the fulfillment of that desire? And I know for me, I can trace just about every desire back to freedom. That is the feeling. That is the value at the heart and core of everything I desire, including what I had shoved down into the shadow – freedom.  So our actions can also focus on what can I do today? What’s the micro action I can take today to allow myself, to give myself permission to begin feeling free right now, so I don’t have to wait? Fulfilling our own desires is essential for our wellbeing and for our wholeness.

So when we look at nourishment, it is intrinsically tied to our relationship with mothering. And when I say mothering, I mean being mothered. So it involves looking at what happened in my childhood around the way that my mother or mother figure gave me a sense of nourishment, literally and figuratively. How was I nourished? What did I learn about nourishing? What did I learn about nourishment as a child?

So nourishment involves enjoying the pleasure of a moment, savoring it in its entirety. Nourishment involves permission instead of deprivation. And when we nourish ourselves, we allow ourselves to experience the full expansiveness of pleasure and joy without rushing through it. I know for me, I used to rush through quote unquote fun and play just to get back to my computer because that’s where I felt safe. So I didn’t really allow myself to take part in the fun, to take part in the play. I muscled through it to get back to the place where I felt safe. Until I learned, through this stage of nourishment of shadow work, how to give myself permission to experience joy and pleasure and not thinking that it was less than, and not thinking that it was a luxury because it’s a necessity. Nourishment is a necessity. When you nourish yourself, you strengthen your connection to your authentic self, and you increase your capacity for intimacy and connection with others because you are being true with yourself around what it is that you need and want and desire. And you begin fulfilling it for yourself first, and it begins to become a priority instead of something that you shove away.

So reflect for a moment on how you identify your own wants, needs and desires, especially those connected with pleasure and joy and nourishment. Reflect on how your mother or maternal figure nourished you or did not. What did you learn about nourishment and needs about wants and desires? And allow this reflection to begin informing your understanding about your own relationship to nourishment so that you can begin to pull out your shadow desires that you have repressed and suppressed, so that you can embody the wanting, which means you can nourish yourself into experiencing the pleasure. 

So thanks for joining me today as we have taken a little walkthrough nourishment. Once again, Embrace Your Shadow to Find Your Light available at nancylevin.com/journal. And I’ll be with you again next week. And it’s a big week! We will be looking at the final stage, stage seven of the shadow work, which is wholeness and it’s pub day for my book. 

So be sure to tune in next week for wholeness, and I’m going to pull this whole shadow journey together for you then! 

Nancy: 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.