There is a lot going on in the world right now. Most people are still on Stay at Home orders because of Covid-19 and the US is finally waking up to the systematic racism in the wake of the tragic murder of George Floyd (and Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many more). This includes me.
Non-People of Color are suddenly feeling lots of shame, anger, guilt, sadness, frustration, and, unfortunately, there is still a lot of denial.
So how does this relate to being spiritually curious? Shadow work.
Part of our work as spiritual beings is to look at and integrate our shadow – the “dark side” of ourselves that cause us shame, fear, unworthiness, and makes us feel like terrible human beings. These are deep parts of us that are often subconscious (or unknown to us) that are counter to the image we want to project to the world.
Most people deny, suppress, or try to eliminate their shadow. Only to have it manifest in destructive ways in relationships, in physical, mental, or emotional wellbeing, spiritual growth, and more. Self-sabotaging? There is something lurking in your shadows.
Shadow work is hard so many people don’t want to do it. It can be ugly, uncomfortable, even painful. But doing the shadow works helps you understand yourself better, helps you communicate better, breaks destructive cycles of behavior and habits, and allows you to be more yourself.
Our shadow can manifest in the current climate with thoughts or comments like:
“All lives matter.”
“I’m colorblind. I treat all people equal.”
“I’m not racist. A lot of my friends are POCs and I have a diverse team at work.”
It can even be seen when people project their subconscious thoughts, feelings, and behaviors on someone else. I’ve seen a few self-proclaimed “woke” people with several posts about how they aren’t racists, but “look at this lightworker who clearly doesn’t get it! What a racist!”
I’m not here to point fingers. Admittedly, I’ve said some of the same things in the past. I’m so sorry for that and I’m sorry it took me so long to wake up to the systematic racism and my implicit bias. I am doing my shadow work around this and I promise to do better.
I realize now that the world shows us every day how not all lives matter, that the world does not treat all people equal, and that I am perpetuating the problem by not acknowledging that people are treated differently based on the color of their skin.
Part of my work is sharing the resources I’ve found valuable with others. Let me be clear, I am no expert in anti-racism. I am a student. But we don’t know what we don’t know. So let’s learn.
I invite you to do your own shadow work by educating yourself about systematic racism and implicit bias. It is going to be uncomfortable. But you have to get uncomfortable to grow. Listen, lean in, and get curious.
Here are 5 resources that I have found helpful in my own shadow work:
- Take Harvard’s Implicit Association Test to understand your own biases: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html
- This Google doc, created by Anna Stamborski, Nikki Zimmermann, and Bailie Gregory, is full of great movies, shows, books, podcasts, and other resources. Most of what I have watched, listened to and read have come from this doc: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1PrAq4iBNb4nVIcTsLcNlW8zjaQXBLkWayL8EaPlh0bc/preview?fbclid=IwAR3moPY2POPyJ6tT94gV7Kr9VhynautViErGAwpv82dYiBD3X0Zp4y13h1g&pru=AAABcpq8c14*C_JncXmFmMjf8og2gUGURA
- Anti-racism resources for kids and teens. I don’t have little ones, but I do have little ones in my life. Here are some resources to help educate the kids and teens in your life: http://www.ncrl.org/blog/anti-racism-resources-for-kids-and-teens
- The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is a great organization with the mission to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons. Lots of educational resources and opportunities to get involved: https://www.naacp.org/
- White Feminism. I’ve only started to dig into this. But I thought this article was a helpful start that also has links to other articles and resources: https://chacruna.net/how-white-feminists-oppress-black-women-when-feminism-functions-as-white-supremacy/
I believe doing our shadow work and educating ourselves is the first step to becoming better humans. But this is one step. Then you need to act. Whether through donating, activism, advocacy, education, or even by just pointing out why a friend or family member’s comment isn’t ok, please take the next step to get involved.
As I mentioned, I’m a student of anti-racism. I invite people to educate me when I say or share something that is not in the highest good of the anti-racism cause. I’m here to listen, learn, and do better.
Much love, light, and many hugs.
Stay curious, my friends.