Don’t Do Shadow Work if You Don’t Plan on Actually Making a Change - Teal Swan Articles - Teal Swan Jump to content

Don’t Do Shadow Work if You Don’t Plan on Actually Making a Change


By this point, you have already heard of shadow work. To sum it up in a neat little package, shadow work is the practice of becoming conscious of the unconscious aspects within you. This integration of unconsciousness ultimately leads to complete and total awareness. Shadow work is absolutely essential if you want to be an integrated person, if you want to actualize your personal power, if you want to walk the earth without fear, if you want to step into a place of free will instead of determinism, if you want to become awakened, if you want to know yourself, if you want to create the life you want in reality, if you want to end your suffering and/or the suffering in the world and the list goes on and on. To understand more about this, you can watch two of my videos. The first is: What is Shadow Work?. The second is: What are the Benefits of Shadow Work. Ultimately, shadow work is my specialty. For this reason, what I am about to say is something that you should take very, very seriously: Do not do shadow work if you don’t plan on actually making a change. 

The only reason people do anything is because they think the doing of it will lead to an improvement. This includes shadow work. People do shadow work because they think it will make them feel better. They think it will lead to better results, an improved state of being, understanding, clarity, whatever it is that they are wanting etc. But if you do shadow work and become aware of some necessary change that is in alignment with your own expansion and don’t make that change or take that action, shadow work will make things worse… a whole lot worse. Not better. 

A lot of people don’t clearly understand the link between non-physical things like the mind and physical things like temporal life. They tend to see non-physical things as abstract. The process of manifestation takes place on both a non-physical and physical level. It is an energetic, mental, emotional and one could say ‘vibrational’ process. It is also a physical, embodied process. But so many people forget how important it is that all these different levels of who you are, are aligned when any change takes place. For example, if you change the way you are thinking because you become aware of something like: I need to be more disciplined about physical health because my lack of discipline is leading to health ailments, to be in alignment, you must also make an actual change to your physical choices and actions by actually doing the practical things that cause you to be healthy. Maybe things like getting out into nature, quitting smoking, intermittent fasting, doing a cleanse or whatever. To understand more about this, you would benefit by watching my video titled: Taking Action is a Crucial Part of Manifestation. If you don’t do this, you’ve actually magnified your mal-alignment. You will be in much more pain about your physical health, feel worse about your lack of discipline relative to health and invite worse symptoms of your ill health to manifest.

To understand this clearly, I will give you two examples. For our first example, let’s look at Ben. Ben has decided to attend a retreat for the first time in his life to get his life straight. He’s been miserably unhappy lately. At that retreat, he becomes aware of and has to face the fact that he is unhappy in his marriage. He and his wife married because they accidentally got pregnant when they were teens. His wife wants a life in the city. She is a social climber who thrives on attention and status. She makes it obvious every day that she is ashamed of the life they are living. She wants Ben to be more ambitious and to have a high paying job in the city. She keeps bringing up the idea of hiring a nanny for their daughter. If Ben is honest, the reason for their constant conflict is that he wants her to stop pulling in the direction of that other life and be happy with the one they have. After all, it is the life that Ben wants. All he is missing is a happy wife. Ben loves their life on his family’s farm. He hates the city. He wants his wife to be happy being a homemaker like his own mother was. He doesn’t care about status and he is rather shy and would rather die than to have a job in an office somewhere in the city. He loves to work with his hands and to eat the food he grows himself. Ben becomes aware that even though he was trying to do the right thing by marrying her, he was young and naive. He thought love was all you need. He and his wife and not ever going to make each other happy by staying together as partners. 

But, when Ben goes home, he gets afraid of all of the pain that might come with actually making a change in his marriage. So, he falls right back into the typical day to day grind of their relationship. He goes right back to the way it was. By failing to make a change to his marriage in alignment with his realization, he is resisting his own expansion. He is now even more out of alignment. He feels like something went terribly wrong because the retreat he attended was supposed to make him feel better. Now, he feels worse. Every time his wife enters the room, he feels irritated. He has lost his sexual interest in her. Their fights are becoming even more explosive than before. And out of the blue, he even suddenly develops back problems. 

Another example is: Olivia joined a local women’s circle and has been doing tons of shadow work on her femininity. Every time she does this, she becomes more and more aware about the parts of her life that are not conducive to her femininity. Really, it is the entire life that she is living. It is the fact that she is a single mother with no genuine masculine containment or protection. It is the fact that she is solely financially responsible for her entire family. It is the fact that she is an executive that is leading a very successful company. It is the fact that it doesn’t matter whether she is on her monthly cycle and needs the space to be quiet and introspective and gentle, she has meetings and presentations to do and a bunch of other men vying for her position to compete with on every project. It is the fact that she lives in America where there is no infrastructure of support and where there are no gender roles anymore and where women are expected to do and be everything. It is that she has no women in her life that she genuinely trusts. And the list goes on and on. But Olivia is unwilling to make the changes necessary to be in alignment with her own increasing awareness of femininity. She is partly unwilling to create a life that is more conducive to her femininity and she partly feels like it is impossible to do so, no matter whether she wants to or not. And so, she’s stuck. She feels she can’t change her job or just go find a man who will want to support her and her daughter. After all, her job is her main source of self-esteem and she needs the income for all the people in her life. She can’t live with the idea of losing her financial security or letting people down. Even if she wants a man to take care of her, after her past experiences with men, she won’t trust a man to be financially responsible for her… that would mean she can get screwed over by him and controlled by him. She feels like she and her daughter won’t survive a breakup with her current boyfriend even though their polarity is flipped and he is passive and she is the one financially supporting his life. So, Olivia doesn’t make a change. She hopes that just the little bit of feminine time she gets in her women’s circles will help. But that doesn’t happen. 

Instead, Olivia becomes more and more unhappy and trapped and powerless in her life. So unhappy that she starts drinking alcohol again. She grows a bitter hatred for men despite the fact that she feels the need for one so badly. And she grows a bitter hatred for the stay-at-home moms that drop their kids off at school at the same time that she drops off her daughter. She hates the way her body feels (overly capable and metallic and armored rather than receptive and soft). She feels more unsafe and more unsupported than ever. She starts to obsessively watch period piece films and fantasize about having been born in a different century, back when men took responsibility for women. And Olivia’s periods keep getting worse and worse. She does not have the luxury of taking days off when she is on her period, so she starts discussing the potential for hysterectomy with her doctor. And all of this, pushes her into a nervous breakdown.

There are a great many reasons why people don’t make changes, even when it becomes obvious that they need to. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: The Real Reason Why People Don’t Change. But shadow work is a catalyst for change. The awareness that comes with shadow work turns the heat up on expansion. It increases the gap between where you are and what you are really wanting. Your decisions and actions must align with the new awareness that you gain or you will be even more out of alignment than you were before. It is easy to see that if you become aware that you are in an abusive relationship, if you stay in that relationship, it will be even worse to be in that relationship than it was before. Or if you become aware that living in your parents’ house is keeping you stuck, but you don’t move out, things will get even worse for you there. Or if you become aware that one of your top values is personal achievement, but you continue to prioritize supporting and helping the other people in your life, you will feel even more unfulfilled. Or if you become aware that you are lonely and really decide that you need friends, but you stay in your apartment every day, you will feel even more separate and emotionally starved than you did before. Or if you become aware of how much suffering goes into the process of the production of meat, but you continue to eat meat, you will feel guilt, shame and internal discord every time you do. If you become aware of how damaging an aspect of human society is, it will be even more painful to witness it.

If shadow work is making your life even worse, it is because there is a disconnect between the awareness you are gaining and the actions you are taking or rather not taking. You are resisting making a necessary change as a result of the shadow work you are doing and in alignment with what you are becoming conscious of.

In case you haven’t noticed already, the universe at large has no problem turning the heat up and making you more and more uncomfortable to the point of crisis in order to influence you into making a change for your own benefit. Therefore, the universe is ok with shadow work making things in your life even worse for you when you don’t make a necessary change for the sake of your own alignment and expansion. Shadow work is the fast track to change. It is a catalyst. But you need to know this going into it. If you do shadow work, it is going to point to a necessary (and sometimes this means a very difficult) change you need to make.  If you don’t want to or are not willing to make a change, either do shadow work on why you are unwilling to make a specific change or don’t do shadow work because doing shadow work when you are unwilling to make a specific change will only make things worse. Not better.







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