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Meeting your shadow

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Ingredients

Paint
Brushes
Water
Blank masks
Chair(s)
Flowers
Music Nature sounds or meditative music - something light that can create a container.

Nutritional information

Awareness
Wholeness
Acceptance
Self-compassion
Vulnerability

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Meeting your shadow

A man who is unconscious of himself acts in a blind, instinctive way and is in addition fooled by all the illusions that arise when he sees everything that he is not conscious of in himself coming to meet him from outside as projections upon his neighbour. — Carl Jung

  • 2 hours
  • Serves 10
  • Hard

Ingredients

Directions

A creative activity to embrace your shadow.

Think of a school bus full of children. Most of us have either been on one or have seen it pass by. On this school bus there are all sorts of kids: there’s the quiet kid who sits silent in the same spot every day; there’s the loud kid who never stops faffing around; there’s the kid who always complains about something; there’s the kid who bullies other kids; there’s the kid who sleeps all the time; there’s the kid who is cute and popular among all; there’s the kid who always judges everything and everyone… and so on and so forth. Truth is, we all have such a bus full of kids inside of us. That’s totally fine, until the kids take over the driver’s seat and send us off the road. The kids represent various defence mechanisms we have developed when we were young and they have done a great deal to protect us from harm and suffering as little human beings but unfortunately they rarely serve us well as adults. How can we become aware of all the kids on our bus and develop a good relationship with them so that they don’t feel the need to take over the adult driver?

The following activity offers a creative entry point into the shadow work (or hidden work), that which we can’t see or don’t want to share with others. Exploring your shadow(s) can lead you to live with greater authenticity, creativity, energy. When you attend to these wounded parts of you, you can then cultivate true self-compassion and move towards integration. It is an important process to reach personal awakening and work from a place of love and abundance rather than fear and scarcity.

*Image © Greta Rossi

Steps

1
Done
15'

Introducing the concept

Spend some time to introduce the metaphor of the "kids on the school bus" and provide personal examples of your own shadows to make it easier for participants to grasp the concept.

2
Done
45'

Painting the masks

Have tables ready with blank paper masks, paint, brushes, water, napkins, etc. and give plenty of time to the participants to paint one of their shadows. This part of the activity should be conducted in silence.

3
Done
60'

Presenting our shadows

While the masks are drying up, set up the space for the releasing ritual. Place the chairs into a circle and make the room look beautiful. You may ask participants to bring something to decorate it, e.g. scarfs, pashminas, and other objects. Create an altar with a blanket/scarf at the centre of the circle and place some candles, flowers, etc.

Once everything is ready, invite participants to enter the room one by one and go around the circle counter-clock-wise until they find a seat where they would like to station themselves. They should have their mask with them.

Invite the first person to stand up and introduce their mask, sharing a little bit about it. Once they are done, invite them to wear it and offer a movement that represent their shadow. After this, they should remove the mask and place it at the centre of the circle where the altar is and bow to it. Finally, they invite another person to stand up and do the same, and sit down in their seat again.

4
Done
5'

Closing

Close the circle by sharing a few words and inviting everyone to be kind to themselves as they try to establish a healthy relationship with their shadow.

Greta Rossi

Chief Empathy Officer at Akasha Innovation. Co-founder of ImpactAimers and Recipes for Wellbeing. Regional Coordinator for Ashoka's ChangemakerXchange. Youth coach and FRSA.

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