To keep up my certification as a Shadow Work Coach, once every two years I have to do my own transformative work facilitated by another certified coach. Last week was my turn to do my work facilitated by my good friend Fugen Pitner. Here is what happened for me.

I chose to bring up a pattern I had been feeling as a blanket of blame. Like I can be super sensitive to assuming I am responsible for whatever is not working around me. I could take even the most well-intended feedback and make it into a story about how everyone is always telling me that I am doing stuff wrong, and that bad things are happening because of me.

I wanted to shake off this blanket of blame.

As I was guided to speak from this feeling, I realized that it was probably how my Dad felt a lot of the time. At least in my tape of my Dad, he was always very concerned to make sure things didn’t go wrong and got quite disturbed whenever they did. Since his passing a few years ago, I find myself at times feeling his energy in my own body, usually in a loving way. However, this pattern is not serving me.

My facilitator then invited me to represent my Mum’s energy in all this, the feeling-memory of which was disappointment. I notice a lot of us–guys especially–feel some kind of disappointment coming from Mum. In my case, we tracked it to a particular time when Mum and I used to have such fun cooking together. Cracking up and laughing together in the kitchen. Then–for reasons that my 7-year-old self didn’t understand and I can’t exactly remember–that stopped.

As soon as I embodied her energy, it transformed. I realized that she (and I) missed those times of merged connection. What I had interpreted as a disappointment–me being judged as less than I should be– was, in fact, love. Her sadness at its loss was a testament to her joy in what we had, in who I am.

I can only say that it felt really good!

To complete the shadow work piece, we role-played Mum giving me her blessing, and telling me what she loved about me and our connection. Receiving that was empowering, and these words came out of my mouth: “Dad’s stuff is his stuff, Mum’s stuff is her stuff.” 

It doesn’t mean I never feel guilty anymore. I do. But I am free in it. I don’t make it real in the same way. This seed of freedom has made me stronger, more confident, and less afraid of conflict.

I would love to hear about ways you are getting from the pain that is no longer yours to carry.           

David Lesser