Ascending from Shadow | Foreword

One of the hardest things I’ve ever done was to take responsibility for myself. I lived years thinking that I was a product of my environment and that I hadn’t achieved what I’d wanted simply because I wasn’t meant to. Unfortunately, the truth behind my failures was far harsher—I’d let my shadows gain control of where I was going, and I was making fear-based decisions rather than love-based ones.

Ten years on, I have a great amount of clarity as to who I was then:

I wasn’t willing to be brave enough or work hard enough to reach my goals. I was terrified of taking risks and of facing rejection, so I very rarely put myself in situations where either were a possibility. Low self-esteem made it difficult for me to make friends with those who shared my passions and interests. I was in love with my own suffering because I felt it somehow made me better than those who didn’t suffer. I rejected wealth and stability because I secretly felt that I could never have it. I found myself attracted to people who were equally shiftless and insecure, and whose instability often filtered into my own life and made me more unstable. I could barely take care of myself and I lived in constant fear of being fired and being unable to pay the rent. I was a legend in my own mind because I was a mess in reality, and I was too frightened to admit that I was a bit broken and had a lot of work to do to put myself back together again.

Once I rose to the challenge of shadow work, I finally understood how my socialization, childhood experiences, and insecurities all contributed to finding myself where I found myself. And by coaxing my shadows into the light, I became aware of why I did or didn’t act in certain ways and I began to hope that I could work with my shadows to change my behaviors so they resonated with my highest good.

And yet, I was a traveler without a roadmap or a compass; I could see the light peeking out from the horizon, but I had no idea how to reach it. Through research, experimentation, and sheer willpower, I found my compass and I traced a workable route, and I’m proud and grateful to say that I reached that fair horizon. The journey wasn’t straightforward and it was rarely easy, but committing myself to taking it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

And now, I’m here to help you trace your own route from the shadow to the light. By sharing the tips, methods, and practices that have proven most useful to me in my journey, it’s my sincere hope that I’m able to help you take the steps you’ve been too nervous to take and make the changes you’ve been too hesitant to make. It’s time to take what you’ve learned through shadow work and use it to rise.

This course asks you to engage in some difficult reflection. It asks you to tackle some practices that can be emotionally and spiritually taxing. It asks you to test the boundaries of what you’re willing to do and who you’re willing to be, and it asks you to tap into aspects of yourself that you may never have channeled before. If you receive the information, but don’t actively engage with it, it will be difficult for you to make lasting, meaningful changes. In other words, the usefulness of this course is directly related to your resolve to do something to bring greater harmony and purpose into being. This course may be the catalyst, the guide, and the inspiration, but you are the agent, the vehicle.

Integrating each of the practices and approaches offered here takes time, effort, and care. Hold space for yourself as you begin to make these changes, and work at a pace that feels comfortable to you. If any of the exercises feel especially triggering, allow yourself to take a step back if you need to and return when you feel ready. Ultimately, this course combines both action and reflection, and if you feel that you need to spend more time exploring some of your shadows before you move forward, I completely encourage you to do so. If you’re just beginning your shadow work journey, I recommend that you test each method carefully and mindfully—if it doesn’t feel like the right time to go ahead with something, listen to your deep inner knowing and wait until it feels right. If you’re finding any of the exercises difficult, you’re not alone—they’re specifically designed to move you out of your comfort zone. If at any time you become overwhelmed, take a break and engage in some self-care. There’s no need to push yourself if the work isn’t feeling productive.

It is my sincere hope that this offering helps you to begin taking the steps that you’ve either been too frightened or hesitant to take. I hope it puts your shadow journey into perspective and helps you transition from a place of power and capability. Most importantly, I hope it helps to reach a state where your shadows no longer control you and you feel free to act in alignment with your higher self in mind.

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