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Sarah’s Story: Shadow Work



Today on Lit AF, join me for something a little different as I switch roles and I am interviewed by my dear friend, Jessica Briggs. Jess and I speak from our hearts on a number of topics -- including guilt, shame, shadow work, and inclusion.


We start by discussing my background and podcast. Lit AF is about personal growth. Through interviewing coaches, healers, teachers, and practitioners, I focus on sharing tools, tips, and stories on living your life with more ease.


We discuss the various stages of my wellness journey -- starting with talk therapy and eventually finding my own sovereignty in my healing. At the start of my personal growth journey, I inflicted alot of self-imposed guilt and shame for not meditating, journaling every day, or sticking to a strict exercise regime. There was so much perfectionism in that space. Later I realized we are all different human beings. We all meditate, feel, and express differently. What works for me might not be the best thing for you. Finding my own sovereignty has been so helpful in this journey.


We also spend some time outing a few of our own shadows. Shadows are repressed traits that live in our subconscious. It is a term defined by Carl Jung. He famously says, “Until you make the unconsicous conscious, it will rule your life and you will call it fate”. I love this quote because it really gets to the point of uncovering our shadow. Hint, hint, you can easily uncover a shadow by noticing where and how you judge other people. If you are judging someone else that means you are judging yourself and that doesn't feel good. If you are unconsciously judging yourself you are not getting to experience the full expression of your own unique soul.


One of my shadow traits that I revealed is feeling left out. I often suffer from feeling FOMO (fear of missing out). But my FOMO goes a step beyond and should be called FBLO Fear of Being Left Out. Part of my process has been to accept these feelings with open arms instead of shoving them down or pushing them away. Through embracing and exploring this feeling I have realized I am controlling being left out so I’m never actually surprised when I am left out. Damn. That's a big shadow for me. Embracing the control has led me to foster connections I care about and reach out to others when I need some social time.


Exploring my FBLO led me to uncovering more significant shadow of victimhood and inclusion. I realized that being a victim gave me more control, in the sense that I do not have to blame myself for my story of disconnection. Instead I can blame others. Unfortunately this feeling can become addictive. And this thought pattern can become a recurring cycle. There is massive power in being a victim. Owning this power and embracing can lead to huge life changes.


Another topic we discuss is my shadow of feeling like I owe people. I am constantly putting myself into situations where I owe people. Getting into massive credit card is a great example. Embracing the experience of owing people has allowed me to realize that I am putting myself into situations of being in debt so I can control the narrative of seeing or interacting with the other person again. Because I don’t trust that they will come back and hang with me just based on my own merit as a dope human. Zeesh. That's a lot to uncover.


We also discuss white fragility, how it affects lives today, and dealing with the shame and guilt that comes with being descendants of colonizers. We learn why we don't have to be ashamed of it anymore and how to bring positive change.


Towards the close of the episode, we talk about giving depth to your compassion to live life forward. Dig into this episode to hear more about how to deeply embrace your shadow.


Show notes:


Quotes from Sarah Cohan:

“I needed to have more of a daily practice, as opposed to a once-a-week practice with my therapist. I also needed to find my own sovereignty in my healing."


“It's almost like I was giving away this incredible power that we have within ourselves to heal and grow and learn. And so I needed to, like, bring that into my own, like practice.”


“And being able to have these experiences of seeing how others were suffering, maybe not even in the same way that I was, maybe in a totally different way, just allowed me to see that like, this is a human experience that we're all having. And I don't have to carry this alone. And eventually, this took a while, but I can actually enjoy the fact that I'm feeling these feelings.”


"I can only feel as connected as I can also feel left out."


"I almost feel like as a child, I thought there was a power in not sharing my emotions like there was this force field around me by controlling the narrative. I can control."


"Victimhood is such a fun pleasure journey of getting to just be a victim and blaming others for the pain."


"I'm afraid that when I am powerful, I'm going to hurt other people. That could be our biggest fear. I'm going to be so powerful that I'm not actually going to be this idyllic, perfect person in my mind. That is people-pleasing and helping everyone else around me that all of a sudden, I'm going to actually cause pain in someone's life."


“My body is just so heightened just even like hearing the word racism.”


“I process guilt by really leaning into it and feeling it. “


“If you're carrying shame, or if you're carrying shadow, like, you're human, you're here, you're here with the best of us. And I truly mean that.”


“Watching other people move through their shadows is so humanizing. It is just one of the most profound experiences to watch because we're all holding shadow.”


“I think befriending both of those experiences truly allows us to accept our soul experience. And once we're accepting our soul experience, we are rocking. That is when we can just live out those good vibrations of icky, gross, nice, awesome, feelings and truly live our life's purpose.”

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