Making Dreams Real

61% Excited, 39% Wanting to Hide. But it changes by the minute.

This morning in meditation my dream pushed a set of blueprints over to me.

This is what we’re building. Let’s keep that vision crystal clear so that you know how to move towards it without making anything smaller. 

While there is a part of me who is enthusiastic and excited to leap ahead towards my dreams, there is also this part of me that wants to veer back into my comfort zone.

And that part of me LOVES to re-adjust my plans to make everything smaller.

This is what is what we ALL do. Dreams naturally move us into vulnerable places and so we veer off as a protective mechanism. It takes EFFORT to stay the path of dreams.

We downplay our enormous gifts. We put things off. We think staying where we are equals safety and security.

Vulnerability. Risk. Opening our hearts and sharing what’s in there. 
This is scary stuff!

And this is the work of bringing dreams to life.

So OF COURSE we’re equally called to it and terrified of it.

Dream Work: the magical middle path where you don’t let the fear move you off track AND you don’t or pretend it’s not there.

This is where you honour your feelings as they come up. Because being deeply present with your feelings means being deeply present with yourself which plugs you into your deepest intuitive knowing and brightest inner gifts.

Yes sometimes it means veering off path, letting your fears guide you back into your safety zone, sometimes it means hiding, sometimes it means charging full speed ahead. 

This is no simple 3 step system that promises guaranteed results. True healing, transformation and growth don’t work that way.

But there are infinite possibilities to discover when you dig in and DO THE WORK, consistently over time.

Tomorrow is our first group coaching call for the Year of Dreams 2019. I am so excited for this!

We’ll have a coaching call every month this year so that you’ll have TONS of support for doing all of this vulnerable work AND moving steadily towards your dream.

I’m not taking new coaching clients this year, so this is the best way to work with me – at a fraction of the cost of one-on-one coaching at $21/month.

And TODAY is the perfect day to join – so you can either attend the coaching call live tomorrow, or send me your questions so I can address them on the call and you can get my advice, encouragement and support in the recording.

You and your dream can be in a radically different place a year from now.

Find out more here.

Yes – there IS a free trial offer on that page – but the free trial includes everything EXCEPT the coaching call, that’s just for paid members. 

I hope to see you on the call tomorrow, let’s make some magic together this year!

Andrea

How I’m Using the You Got This Vision * Alchemy * Magic for the New Year class.

I’ve been feeling NOT AT ALL ready to dive into the New Year.  Around here January is a great time to hibernate and incubate – it’s really not the time get out there with a bunch of ambitious new goals.

But today I was feeling like I’ve had enough of hibernating and would like to move into incubating – connecting with my dreams more deeply and learning more about them.

So I did the You Got This Vision * Alchemy * Magic for the New Year class.

This class is about connecting with the deeper vision that your true self is moving you towards. Tapping into the magic of your actual purpose and potential. And letting that guide you into the New Year and beyond.

I got SUPER STUCK during the class.

Alchemy is NOT always easy to do. It’s not SUPPOSED TO BE easy.

The places where we get stuck are the places where we learn, heal and grow.

When we got to the part where you are looking at the spirit/essence of your vision for 2019, I couldn’t do it.

I mean, I could.

My vision appeared as a coat rack.

And I thought …. no that’s wrong. So I kept doing it again and trying for a different response and I kept getting coat racks.

Which is HILARIOUS because what do I ALWAYS say in these classes?

There is no way to do it wrong. Whatever comes to you is perfect.

So, finally, I just accepted that my vision for 2019 is a coat rack and drew it in the playbook sheet:

And as soon as I drew it I saw it.

It’s not a coat rack, it’s a cluster of lights. And the cluster of lights radiates out a ring of lights.

And this answered the first set of questions I had about my goals for 2019.

When I moved on to the part where we do a Creative Dream Alchemy experiment, and put our vision into a jar of clarity – my spine started tingling and I sat straight up.

It was a powerful energy transmission and an instant knowing about what all of those different rays of light were.

Putting the vision into a jar of clarity brought all of the details of my plans for 2019 into focus.

This class was EXACTLY what I needed and maybe exactly what you need too? 

Creative Dream Alchemy is very carefully designed to meet you where you are and give you what you need now.

Every person who takes this class will get something different out of it. 

This class is available for free until Jan 11.

>>>Get it right here.

I still don’t feel all motivated and excited to leap into action. It still feels like quiet incubation time. But I am so happy to have this clearer picture of what I want to start working on, when I do feel ready to leap into action.

Reflecting on 2018 + Looking ahead to 2019

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I am using the Creative Journal Prompts for the New Year that I shared a little while back.

You can get the prompts right here. These are the same New Year journaling prompts I’ve been sharing every year for a while now. I do believe in the magic of consistency!

Goodbye 2018. Looking back:

What was amazing in 2018?

That I created Creative Dream Alchemy: a whole new foundation for my work.

It’s amazing to me that the Creative Dream Incubator is financially stable enough to give me the space to do that – to explore and experiment and not focus on making something that makes money and have the space to do these explorations not knowing where they were going to lead to.

What did you do in 2018 that you’re proud of?

Thing 1: Project Miracle! I still want to make more versions of Project Miracle in 2019 but am SO proud of this one.


Thing 2: I got a lot more creative about how I share my work and ideas in 2018. I’ve been drawing weekly journaling printables every week since Jan 2016 (!) for the Year of Dreams journaling kits. This year I took those drawings and started to play around with them. I am proud of how I am exploring my creative edges with these.


Thing 3: I made a point of reading books written by people who are not white. While I am still a little mortified that I didn’t see sooner how much of our media only shares the white perspective, and all they ways that this supports white supremacy, I am proud that when I did see it, I did something about it.

And, as a settler Canadian, I did make sure to read Indigenous Canadian authors. And then I recommended this book to everyone I know who wants to better understand how colonialism, genocide and systemic racism function today in Canada, and how we got to this place:

What did you learn/discover that you want to bring into 2019?

Everything about Creative Dream Alchemy – there are new programs I want to create using this framework as the foundation. It feels like so much more is possible now.

What do you want to leave behind in 2018?

Thing 1: Comparing myself or my work to others.

Thing 2: Letting my emotional reactions drive the bus. I mean I’m sure they’ll still sneak into the driver’s seat but I would like to help my wiser self hold onto the car keys a little more firmly.

Thing 3: Sadly Starfish left us right at the beginning of 2018. Not that we wanted to leave him behind!!! But it was his time to go.

Though he’s still in our hearts. And I swear he’s with Bear, especially helping him settle into our home after living his whole 1.5 year long life in a cage in a shelter.

What are you most grateful for about 2018?

Thing 1: We had an amazing summer, weather wise. Almost every time it rained it happened in the middle of the night. It was such great cycling and beach-going weather.

Thing 2: That I have some people who have been taking classes with me for EIGHT YEARS. And they keep coming back year after year.

Thing 3: My husband. As a highly sensitive and introverted person sometimes I do miss the quiet simplicity of living alone – but he brings so much love, joy, healing and growth to my life. As much as I was happy alone (and wholeheartedly believe that we don’t have to be partnered to live happy fulfilling lives!) I am happier with him.

Thing 4: I got to go to California for a creative retreat!

Thing 5: Bear! Sweet Bear became a part of our family. He sure doesn’t replace Starfish but he brings a lot of joy into our home.

How did your dreams grow in 2018?

Actually my dreams and I struggled A LOT this year. I mean the struggle was more on my end, of course. I thought my dream was one thing, but the more I worked on it the more I discovered that I wasn’t seeing it right at all.

So it doesn’t feel like my dream grew much this year because my dream was so busy growing ME.

I do feel like my dream guided me through the process of building a whole new framework – both for my work and also for my ongoing relationship with my dream.

What did you do to help your dreams grow in 2018?  What worked?  What didn’t work?

I tried to listen to my dream instead of being the one doing all of the talking. And as my dream offered advice and direction I stayed with the process. Even when my dream guided me towards things I didn’t want or didn’t think I was ready for. Even when it was frustrating and uncomfortable. That worked.

I also tried to “think big” more than usual, push myself out of my comfort zone a little. DID. NOT. WORK. But maybe I am glad I did that just because it helped me feel so much more sure about the direction I am going in now.

I did stretch out of my comfort zone in terms of how I put myself out there online – using more photos of myself on my blog and social media and being more creative about them. That worked.

How did YOU grow in 2018? What gifts and strengths do you have now that you didn’t have in 2017?

I have more clarity and a WAY stronger foundation for my work now, thanks to the Creative Dream Alchemy framework for working with dreams.

And I think I am getting better at letting things go. Letting it not be perfect and trusting that I’ll be ok.

Is there anything you need to do to complete your year? Any unfinished business that you’d like to finish, and leave behind as you move into 2019?

No I feel more than ready to move on into 2019.

Hello 2019! Looking forward:

Try to list 5-10 things (impossibly big or microscopically small or anything in between) you’d like to have happen in 2019, in each of these different parts of your life:

I used to LOVE this exercise back when my life wasn’t so aligned with my dreams. I would spend a week or coming coming up with dozens of things. But I really struggle with it now. Let’s see what I can do….

health:

  • I just got a new doctor, want to keep going for regular check-ups which is something I have NOT been doing for a long time
  • Massage every 6 weeks and chiro as needed
  • Do those leg stretches that help so much!
  • Weight training! I just started this in December I want to keep doing it 2x/week all year
  • Get that dental work done that I need

relationships:

  • When I am upset with my husband try to remember sooner that he’s on my side and if I am upset with something he’s one then there is a good chance there is a misunderstanding, so to try to talk it out before having a big emotional reaction. (OK I can’t just magically do that, but I can promise to work on it – I do have all the tools I need)
  • Plan friend fun time in advance more often.
  • Plan date nights with sweetie in advance more often.
  • Get the kids more involved in planning activities with them, get their feedback as we navigate how things are changing with them as they move through teenage-hood.

creativity:

  • 1 afternoon a week dedicated to creative play with no particular focus, just what’s inspiring to me in the moment
  • Develop a regular intuitive painting practice
  • Keep stretching my creative muscles in how I draw the Year of Dreams materials

purpose/career:

  • To create 4 new versions of Project Miracle. Current ideas for these: putting your soul work out there, navigating self-doubt, finding your dream, shadow work (but of course I know these may change as I work on them)
  • Create the new DREAMBOOK course
  • Get back to blogging regularly
  • Make a deck of Creative Dream Alchemy cards

money:

  • I’ve just worked out a new savings system with my sweetie, I’d like to keep this up all year
  • Relax about how sweetie and I spend and manage money VERY differently
  • Stay open to selling the loft and buying a duplex when the timing of that is right
  • Do that The Prosperous Heart book by Julia Cameron

self-love/self-care:

  • Massages and all of the other health stuff
  • Meditate every day just for me. I do meditate in the morning before I get to work – how about meditating again after work just for having a nice evening? (Because I know meditating before I do a thing makes the thing way better)
  • Use essential oils MORE! It always feels amazing to use them, what if I try to use them all up faster?
  • More small work breaks – like an hour or two here and there just for myself

spirituality:

  • More meditation, which I already covered in self-care/self-love
  • Can’t think of anything else, I am happy with where I’m at here.

happiness:

  • Continue with early morning bike rides, weather permitting
  • Oh! On that note go for early morning river walks when the river is frozen

adventure/play:

  • Solo creative retreat
  • Weekend retreat with sweetie at that place I want to go to
  • Lots of beach days in the summer like we had in 2018

What is your Big Dream for 2019?

To really enjoy myself, to stay as deeply connected to myself as I can as I move through my days.

Why do you want this?

I just feel STRONGLY called towards it, like I just need to go deeper into myself before I will even see what else I may want to create in my world.

How will you feel when you have it?

My heart will sparkle – that’s how I feel when I have a sense of inner spaciousness and I am really present with myself. Also: grounded, calm, powerful, creative.

Do you already know how to make this dream real, or is this something you need to learn more about first?

I know exactly what steps to take: making more time/space for my daily Creative Dream Alchemy practice. Follow all of the threads. Be open to what unfolds.

What’s your plan for giving this dream what it needs to thrive in 2019?  Brainstorm at least 10 things you can try.

  • Start each day with Creative Dream Alchemy process
  • Experiment with DREAMBOOK style organizing of my practice + storing of all of the little stories/ideas/healings that come up
  • Follow the inspiration that this brings
  • Stay committed

What do you want to STOP doing in 2019?  And what are some things you can you do to make that as easy as possible? How will not having these things in your life make you happier?

Getting upset when my sweetie doesn’t do things around the house the way I would do them. I just have to keep working on my reactions, and stay committed to seeing my own triggers here more clearly. I have to do the inner work that comes up in this process. If I can do this it will free up a lot of energy!

Then imagine yourself at the end of 2019 (You might want to draw/collage/doodle an image of you from one year from now).   How are you different?  How did you grow?  What new strengths and skills do you have?  Does you-from-one-year-from-today have any messages or advice for you?

She is grounded and calm and happy. And she’s got a HUGE PILE of completed creative projects beside her.

She’s in a big open room – so much SPACIOUSNESS.

Oh. I think the message she is sending is that she has her own space. That is something I have been wondering about.

Since we’re not selling the loft right now, so I won’t be having my own workspace in our home anytime soon, I have been wondering if I should rent a space. It feels a bit over-indulgent since I DO have a great workspace here – I have the amazing wall to wall floor to ceiling south windows on 2 stories!

But I also have my husband listening to the radio and making an omelette while I type this. While he’s usually at work on weekdays as soon as he’s here I feel like I have less space. I mean – it’s OUR space, not MINE.

So that’s a thing to keep exploring. Maybe it’s not so over-indulgent?

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Finding my vision for 2019.

I’m doing a lot of journaling and contemplating this morning, as I prepare for today’s You Got This Vision * Achemy * Magic for the New Year class.

I’ve been working with this dream of growing my business and ever since I got back from my creative retreat and this week I’ve been going deep in exploring how out of alignment I am with this dream.

I mean I want to be creatively FREE and having a functioning and healthy business is what supports that in being my reality. But I have all of this resistance to a lot of the business stuff.

And I feel so annoyed to write that here because I know I’ve written about this a lot over the years and I feel like why haven’t I figured this out yet and omg this is so boring just stop.

But then I remember that those are gremlin voices, and they only bother to speak when I am actually onto something, because they only show up when they are trying to keep me from something.

This is where it gets interesting.

As I kept exploring my feelings and reactions to all of this I noticed that I “growing my business” is not actually my dream. This is surprising because this is the dream I’ve been working with in my daily Creative Dream Alchemy practice for the last few months.

What I discovered this morning, buried under a pile of stuff inside me, is that the core of this dream the desire for the Creative Dream Incubator to live up to it’s true potential in the world.

My FEAR that the Incubator is not living up to it’s true potential pushed me into “grow the business” mode. As though bigger numbers would actually mean something. My fear pushed me out of alignment.

But that doesn’t mean I was wrong to be working with the dream of growing my business!

Because growing my business was the part I could see – it was the tip of the iceberg. Exploring this dream led me to understand what the real dream is.

Dreams are like onions! There can be infinite layers to them and dreams *should* change as you work with them.

So now when I think about supporting the Creative Dream Incubator in living up to it’s true potential in the world – well that feels amazing in ways that “growing my business” never did. And the ideas that come to me for how to do this feel nourishing, inspiring and fun.

It also helps me acknowledge all the ways that the Creative Dream Incubator IS being it’s potential. I think of the lives changed and the dreams birthed and the community of dreamers who are showing up for their dreams every day. 

I am making a difference.

And there is more work to do.

After 8 years of being self employed I want to stop thinking about the numbers.

I don’t want to grow my business! I want to DEEPEN it in ways that can’t be measured.

Now this is a dream I can sink my teeth into!

[Free Class This Friday] You Got This Vision * Alchemy * Magic for the New Year

Space + Support for mapping out your next steps. And Alchemy + Magic for making amazing things happen.

This free class is open to all dreamers, everywhere – from the greenest newbies to the most seasoned dreamers.

We all benefit from time spent in supportive creative community, visioning, connecting with our magic and making space for the dreams that are ready to emerge next.

I would be delighted if you would be a part of it. We are stronger together.

Details + Registration are here.

New Video: Let’s talk about shadows!

I recorded this week’s video with my friend Chris Zydel from Creative Juices Arts.

We believe we need to talk more openly about this stuff!

The public conversation about creativity and dreams seems to be all about relentless positivity and like if you just believe in yourself and work hard – you can have anything.

But that’s not true. You can’t positive think your way around self-doubt. And you can’t get at your deepest wisest wisdom while avoiding your uncomfortable feelings.

You have *so much* magic and power in you. But to fully activate your creative power you need to face your own shadow.

Gifts Of The Shadow: Wild Creative Momentum is happening on Dec 4.

It’s a one day online workshop – but you don’t have to be there live, everything will be recorded!

Details and registration for this class are here.

How to be More Productive

be more productive

Practically speaking it’s not that hard to be productive. You only need two things:

  1. A plan for how you’re going to do what you want to do.
  2. To take step after step to implement the plan.

It’s quite simple… in theory.

I’m meeting my mom for lunch today so I’ll use this as an example for how to be more productive.

I’m going to make a plan and then implement it on time. This is what productivity is. My plan for this is so simple I don’t even need to write it down but here goes:

  1. Change from my pyjamas into real clothes.
  2. Pack up my laptop and journals as I want to go to Starbucks after lunch to do some admin stuff.
  3. Get bundled up – it’s cold out there!
  4. Get on my bike and go. I already know the route I want to take.
  5. Lock my bike outside the restaurant and go in.
  6. Have lunch with my mom!

I know my plan is solid because I’ve done this before. Once I get going I just keep going until I am done.

I’m 100% sure that I won’t just stop my bike halfway there and sit on the sidewalk and not finish my plan for getting to the restaurant.

But when it comes to being more productive about our creative dreams we DO tend to get off our bikes and sit on the sidewalk for no apparent reason.

Sometimes we never change out of our pyjamas. Or we go to the wrong restaurant. We could even get on the wrong bike.

More often: we don’t ever make a plan in the first place.

Using the example of me meeting my mom for lunch really illustrates how silly a lot of our productivity issues are.

Why do we do this?

Because we think that being productive in service to our creative dreams is infinitely more complicated than me going to meet my mom for lunch.

We’re wrong. It’s not.

I mean it’s going to take longer, but the principles are the same:

You decide what you’re going to do and then you do it.

Productivity is very straightforward. When it comes to our dreams, what makes it seem so complicated is our conscious and unconscious emotional reactions and patterns.

But it’s not complicated.

If you want to be selling your art on Etsy, but instead of making art every night after work you’re watching Netflix – well the problem is that you’re watching Netflix instead of making art and learning how to use Etsy. You’re not following through.

You probably have reasons why you’re watching Netflix instead of making art, but if you look closer these reasons are probably excuses that are masking a fear.

It’s our fears that make it seem complicated.

It’s our self-doubt that leaves us wondering what to do, instead of just diving in.

It’s our sad old stories about who we are and what is possible for us that tell us that it’s easier to just put our dreams on hold.

So how do we push through all of this and actually be more productive?

There are thousands of productivity experts out there who will tell you that they have a system that will teach you how to be more productive.

But here’s the thing: you don’t need to learn to be more productive. There isn’t any tool or technique that will magically change you into a more productive being.

You already have a natural creative flow which you can tap into to make amazing things happen.

You just need to learn how to manage that stuff that gets in the way of your productivity.

You can’t be more productive until you’ve dealt with the stuff that stops you from being more productive.

The fear, self-doubt and sad old stories. This is the stuff that gets in the way. Your shadow.

This is the stuff that tells you you’re not productive or you can’t be more productive or you’re a procrastinator or whatever.

Underneath all of that: you are a powerhouse of creative ideas and magic!

There is *so much magic* and possibility in you it can naturally power your creative productivity.

You’ve just got to open up the flow.

Want to actually DO Shadow Work, step-by-step, with my and my friend and colleague Chris Zydel?

Chris runs Creative Juices Arts and has over forty years of experience as a creativity mentor. She has a master’s degree in Depth Psychology and The Art of Counseling. She is an astrologer and has certifications in expressive arts, process painting, hypnotherapy and various kinds of bodywork.

Chris is amazing. She is who I want to be when I grow up and I could not be more thrilled to be teaching with her.

Chris and I are leading a 1 day online workshop on Shadow Work called Gifts Of The Shadow: Wild Creative Momentum on Dec 4.

I’m going to be in California at Chris’ place where we’ll stream live together for this in-depth one day class.

Details and registration for this class are here.

 

How To Be More Creative

How to be more creative

The first thing to know about how to be more creative is that you already are a creative genius. This is a part of what it means to be human.

You have creativity within you.

Too many people are looking outside of themselves for inspiration, instruction and guidance about how to be more creative.

You won’t find your answer outside of you. That’s kind of the opposite of what creativity actually is, isn’t it?

Creativity is about finding and then sharing your unique voice in your unique way.

To do this you have to:

  • get quiet enough to be able to hear your inner voice
  • get brave enough to share it

There is only one thing that will help you to be more creative: PRACTICE.

Your ability to share your creative voice will grow with practice.

Start small. Make time for it every day or every week – the more often the better. If you want to be as creative as possible you need to practice as often as possible.

A daily creative practice IS magic. It will teach you everything you need to know about your creative voice and how to best share it.

A daily creative practice will hold you through the ups and downs of growing towards your creative potential.

I mean you can’t be more creative without literally being more creative. You have to just do the work.

If something is stopping you from doing the work – it’s NOT a lack of creativity.

I’m not creative” is a story we tell ourselves to avoid the real story because it’s too painful.

The real story, of course, is that it’s terrifying to share your creative voice. It’s vulnerable and awkward.

It means facing your self-doubt and inner critics.

The path to being more creative goes right through all of this uncomfortable stuff. It goes through your shadow.

Last week I wrote about What Is Shadow Work and How To Do Shadow Work.

Being more creative and being more productive (that’s what I’m going to write about next) are the results of facing the shadow.

(That’s why Chris and I called our shadow workshop Gifts of the Shadow: Wild Creative Momentum)

Let me show you what I mean: When I talk about having a regular creative practice being the key to being more creative – what is it that makes you think you can’t do that?

For most people this is a story about why you don’t have enough time or the right space or the right skills.

You start by exploring that story and looking for a way through it.

How can you MAKE time/space? How can you start even though you don’t feel ready? What is the SMALLEST step you can take?

The path to expressing your creativity more fully will likely be made up of thousands of teeny tiny steps. No step is too small and waiting until you can take a big step is not moving you closer to where you want to be.

The more deeply you explore this story the more likely you are to find your shadow lives at the core of it: old stories and wounds about how you’re not good enough to be considered an artist, fears, self-doubt, inner critics.

This is the stuff that stops you from expressing your unique creative voice. Handle this stuff and your natural creative energy will burst through.

I know this is HARD. But your creative voice needs your courage!

If you want some help with this I’m offering a 1 day workshop on working through your shadow stuff to liberate your Wild Creative Momentum with my friend and colleague Chris Zydel on Dec 4.

 

Gifts Of The Shadow: Wild Creative Momentum is happening on Dec 4.

>>> Details and registration for this class are here.

I hope to see you there!

How To Do Shadow Work. For when you’re ready to change your life.

As promised in my post about Shadow Work, here is a tutorial on How To Do Shadow Work.

Learning how to do Shadow Work is less about perfecting a specific technique and more about staying open and being willing to feel, explore and experience whatever it is you encounter in the process.

There is no one perfect way for learning how to do Shadow Work, but there are two things to keep in mind while you’re exploring.

Effective Shadow Work requires:

  • An open mind – you don’t know what you’re going to discover. If you go in already thinking you know what’s going to happen then you close yourself off from possibilities.
  • A willingness to feel your feelings and be uncomfortable. You don’t have to LIKE your feelings you just have to be wiling to HAVE them.

It’s pretty amazing how easy it is to trick ourselves into thinking we are doing these things when we are actually totally NOT doing them.

How to do Shadow Work: Sitting with your feelings.

This is the approach that I use the most often. There are hundreds of posts on my blog where I share my stories of sitting with my uncomfortable feelings: fears, self-doubt, inner critics, etc.

Sitting with your feelings means making space for yourself to feel how you actually feel, to explore that feeling and find out more about it. This tends to be the opposite approach from what most of us are taught about how to handle feelings. So it’s uncomfortable and it feels awkward.

So, if you feel like you’re doing it wrong, you are probably doing it right.

Unfortunately, if you feel confident and sure that you’re doing it right, you are probably doing it wrong.

This is the nature of Shadow Work.

It takes practice and patience to get to a place of actually being open to feeling your feelings.

In Shadow Work, your reaction to your feeling tends you get in the way of feeling your actual feeling.

For example: You dream of being a best-selling author. You are afraid that you’re not good enough to do this. Your inner critic reacts to that fear with a “Why bother? No one cares?” story and you get caught up in your feelings about that story.

But the “Why bother? No one cares?” story is NOT your actual feeling.  So being with that story just makes more space for your Inner Critic to put on a show for you. And it feels uncomfortable and scary so you think you’re feeling your feelings but you’re not. You’re staying in this untrue story about your feelings.

Your feelings are fear of not being good enough. Sitting with this fear would feel terrifying in comparison to sitting with the “Why bother? No one cares?” story.

As you sit with the feeling without trying to do anything with it, you actually move through it.

And on the other side of that terror there is something else. A deeper understanding of yourself and your dream.

Once you sit with that fear and move through it, you start to see that this fear comes out of the fact that you’re not writing regularly! So of course your writing isn’t up to par with what it needs to be to be a bestseller.

No need for a song and dance about “Why bother? No one cares”, what you need to do is get to work. Create a writing schedule and stick to it.

Referring back to that map I shared in the What Is Shadow Work post, this is where you work through the Shadow and are able to reach the guidance of your True Self.

This is the magic of Shadow Work.

In my example you had to first be with all of the uncomfortable feelings that your Inner Critic throws you way and then you have to face that unimaginable terror of feeling your actual feeling.

This is a simplified example, you may have layers and layers of feelings and reactions and stories.

If sitting with your feelings doesn’t feel like a good choice for you, there is another approach I like to use too:

How to do Shadow Work: Noticing and exploring your weird/embarrassing/unsavoury behaviours.

Our shadows can make themselves known to our conscious selves through our behaviour.

Do you do things you wish you wouldn’t do?  These can be smaller infractions, like gossiping or eating too much cake or big problematic things like drinking and driving.

When you do things you wish you wouldn’t do – that’s your shadow at work. So noticing that behaviour is an opportunity to learn more about your shadow.

You can ask yourself why you do this and what it is that you’re getting out of it even though you wish you weren’t doing it. You can get to know the part of you who wants to do this and find out where they’re coming from.

This one can be easier to see when you look at other people.

The homophobic who is actually a closeted homosexual. The Hollywood star who looks like she has it all and then is caught shoplifting.

When you deny your shadow self you end up giving it more power. Like it has to fight back somehow.

In Debbie Ford’s movie The Shadow Effect she illustrates this perfectly by showing people in a pool holding down beachballs. It takes a lot of energy to keep that beach ball underwater. And eventually it’s going to just pop up anyway and likely hit someone in the face in the process.

These behaviours that you do that you’re not proud of – those are your beach balls flying free.

Once you learn how to do Shadow Work you end up being more free to stop yourself from doing these things.

These two approaches I just shared aren’t really techniques for how to do Shadow Work.

They are ways in.

And once you’re in, Shadow Work means bravely and honestly facing what you find. Exploring by feeling your way.

You don’t have to solve anything. You don’t have to discover the gift or perform a healing. If fact it’s best if you’re not trying to make those things happen, and focus solely on exploring and feeling your way.

The solutions, gifts and healing are already there – on the other side of the thing you least want to face.

So you know you’ve successfully done your Shadow Work when you find them.

Want to actually DO Shadow Work, step-by-step, with my and my friend and colleague Chris Zydel?

Chris runs Creative Juices Arts and has over forty years of experience as a creativity mentor. She has a master’s degree in Depth Psychology and The Art of Counseling. She is an astrologer and has certifications in expressive arts, process painting, hypnotherapy and various kinds of bodywork.

Chris is amazing. She is who I want to be when I grow up and I could not be more thrilled to be teaching with her.

Chris and I are leading a 1 day online workshop on Shadow Work called Gifts Of The Shadow: Wild Creative Momentum on Dec 4.

I’m going to be in California at Chris’ place where we’ll stream live together for this in-depth one day class.

Details and registration for this class are here.