Invitation to a Five Month Shadow Work Journey

14th March to 12th July 2015

Facilitated by Marianne Hill and Hugh Newton
(This is exactly the same format as the original Six Month Shadow Work journeys, but the 
workshops are slightly closer together spreading the journey over five rather than six months)
Cost: £595
 
You are warmly invited to join us on this five-month journey of exploration.The group will be small, a maximum of eight people, and we will spend five Saturdays and a final weekend together from 14th March to July 12th 2015. There will be the opportunity to get to know each other and ourselves deeply. Shadow Work welcomes every part of each participant to be present in the room. As this level of welcome and acceptance builds people find that it is possible to be more and more fully themselves, even when this means exploring parts of themselves that they really don’t like, or that it has not previously felt safe to acknowledge.
Over the five months each person will get an opportunity to do their own individual, in depth, facilitated pieces of work on issues that are core to them at that moment. They will be witnessed and supported in this by the whole group.
 
The dates are: 14th March, 18th April, 9th May, 23rd May, 20th June, and 11th and 12th July.
In central Bristol at the Willow Arts Studio in St. Werburgh’s.
There will be a maximum of eight participants.
You don’t need to have any previous experience of Shadow Work to attend this workshop.
Shadow Work invites you to discover parts of yourself you have hidden or denied.
By bringing these parts out of shadow in a safe experiential setting you can release old patterns that you have held tightly in place, unlocking the power of your true self, with all your gifts and strengths.
1959383_661883830534891_1313998482_n
Shadow Work workshops are well known for the safe, shame free environment
which they create and the deeply transformative nature of the work.
 
Take this opportunity to:
– improve your ability to set boundaries and achieve your goals –
– achieve a more genuine self-acceptance –
 – defuse negative emotions that can erupt unexpectedly –
– feel more free of guilt and shame –
– recognise the projections that colour your reactions to others –
– heal your relationships through more honest self-examination  –
– open to your natural talents and creativity –
– deepen your capacity for intimacy –
– alter your self-sabotaging behaviours –
 
Marianne is a qualified and experienced Shadow Work coach and Shiatsu practitioner, she is also an experienced relationship counsellor.
Hugh is a co-leader with The ManKind Project and a highly experienced facilitator.
We are both fully qualified Group Shadow Work facilitators.
To give you a flavour of Shadow Work a selection of feedback from previous workshops that we have run together follows this invitation.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like any further information,
or to talk through whether this workshop would be right for you.
If you would like to book a place please contact us as soon as possible.
From previous experience our workshops fill up very quickly.
 
If you would like to book please contact Marianne
Marianne: tel. 0117 9411012 e-mail MarianneHillShadowWork@gmail.com
A deposit of £195 hold your place. 
(The balance of £400 is due on March the 1st. Alternatively, by arrangement this can be paid in five monthly instalments of £80)
 
Warmest wishes, Marianne and Hugh
———————————————————————————–
For further information about Shadow Work:
 
You can take a look at our website on: http://shadowworksouthwest.co.uk
We have a very informative DVD on all aspects of Shadow Work that you can watch on our Home page.
 
 
Our blog about all things Shadow Work is at
 
 
You can also take a look at Marianne’s website http://www.shiatsuandshadowworkbristol.co.uk
 
 
and the international Shadow work website http://www.shadowwork.com
 
—————————————————————————————–
 
A selection of Feedback from previous Workshops
 
I felt that together you created a very safe space for people to work within, and had complete trust in the way you facilitated the work.At every stage, everything was clearly and calmly explained. This seemed particularly important given the deep nature of everyone’s work, and I really marvelled at how skilfully and seamlessly you both guided each person – in a large group, we had very individual attention and each process felt truly unique.I particularly appreciated the care that was taken to support me as a newcomer, having never done any group Shadow Work before. It really helped me participate in a way that had felt out of reach to me before I did the workshop! It never felt like anyone was ‘pushed’ to do or feel anything, I was left wondering how something so gently and gracefully delivered can be so incredibly powerful. Rebecca. Artist
1798506_519007844889101_247254782_n
Marianne and Hugh’s commitment and dedication to both the practice and the participants really shone through. The skill with which they created a containing space that was fully accepting of all that I am was awe-inspiring, and created a wonderful opportunity for deepening to myself. I cannot recommend this work highly enough. Professor Steve Onyett. Facilitator, coach and researcher
 
Marianne and Hugh’s facilitation is skillful, safe and potent. The support and respect they provide in the context of a safe and shame-free group environment enabled me to explore my deepest and most important issues. This is the most powerful and transformative type of therapy I have found in 14 years of personal development work. Rod B.
 
Thank you for your soulful, mindful presence which held the weekend in such safety and integrity. I was very challenged by the thought of doing this work in a group, yet you created a container in which much-needed energy shifts could happen naturally and in which I felt safe to dig up my deepest shadows. Diving into the challenge of exposing my deepest shame and guilt within a group has released a process in which I am receiving new levels of insight through dreams and other work. Hopefully I am becoming less armoured and more open-hearted.” PJH
 
1662162_694686043916044_1937306029_n
Marianne and Hugh really kept the promise of shadow works by not pushing anyone into something not agreed upon. At the same time they made a splendid work with love, compassion and subtle guidance to bring me into experience and understand pieces of myself I’ve never encountered before.Thank you for your hard work. Staffan Sjöstedt
 
Coming to the end of the weekend I felt big changes in myself. It felt like a big jump
that I really understood and has lasted.  It couldn’t have happened by reading a self-help book. What I learned about the high expectations of myself (& others) and the way I present myself without clear boundaries has impacted in my life every day. I’m working with my partner on all sorts of things and most days have really tough bits, but also a sense that it’s worth it.  I believe the Shadow work weekend was crucial to all this – it was the valve on the pressure cooker for me, so that I could interact with him without leaking anger and fear everywhere. I find myself with energy, directing it to areas of my life that have been neglected.  As I write, I feel my personal power and direction. Claire
 
Hi Marianne, many, many thanks to you and Hugh for a truly life changing day – I am so grateful for the insights I gained.
 
“I loved the attitude of the facilitators – fiercely perceptive, rigorous in execution, and yet always tender and compassionate, without being remotely sentimental.” Patrick (62)
 
My experience after the day has been very positive. I have felt more boldness, a permission to make mistakes and an internal energy flow. Like blocks inside have become free, and joyful.
 
I felt that your communication was clear, thorough and natural. As facilitators you explained things really well and listened really well and compassionately, and I felt that there was lots of space for me and others in the group to be heard, voice concerns etc both within processes and throughout the day as a whole. But there was also a really good balance between the day and the processes being shaped and directed by the participants and it being really strongly held by both of you.
970072_10151468636447672_641475373_n
Both facilitators had a good chemistry together and seemed to work almost instinctively – one taking over when the other stopped and both being tuned in to each other’s needs as well as the needs of the group. They gently, sensitively and with great intelligence dealt with issues as they came up – and were not thrown (at least it looked like that externally to me!) by some of the very deep and difficult issues that were raised.
 
Having not felt like I was ready to do any “work” on the day in question I was pleasantly surprised to find that I felt safe enough to open, and supported enough to communicate exactly what I needed. It turned into a really important day for me.
 
I felt very safe and trusted in the process, and in the hands of the facilitators. I especially felt nurtured after my work when I had permission to collapse in the corner until I recovered. That was very necessary for me, and having that permission made me feel very safe.
 
I felt very safe with each of you and with both of you as a team, and within the group as a whole. I think you worked very well together, very fluid and ‘easy’, and I felt safe in the sense that you knew what you were doing.
 
I felt that we went deep quickly during the day, (probably due to the safety you created) and I really valued that, and it was in a way that felt very natural and unforced.
 
I think you both were really good role models as people who know themselves and are authentic and are ‘walking their talk’ while also being human and ‘in it together’ with the group.
999769_640721762645806_123368887_n
– The relationship between you both during the entire workshop was balanced & powerfully generative. By this I mean that I noticed time & time again a profound creative tension between you that appeared to never be forced, never strained & always open, easy, flowing & totally grounded. You seem to have reached a truly inspiring level of synergy, respect & efficacy. I could go on!!!
– The in depth naming of the many aspects of the archetypes was powerful for me on many levels. Being able to ask questions from such knowledgable practitioners whilst literally being inside the medicine wheel, so to speak, was a real privilege & of great benefit.

Invitation to an Authentic Communication Workshop

A two day workshop with Marianne Hill and Hugh Newton

Come and learn this powerful communication tool, you will find it changes the way you express yourself in all conversations, personal and professional. Alternatively come with your partner, another family member or a colleague so that you can learn this model together and improve communication between the two of you.

“I found the experience very powerful. The combination of communication skills with shadow work seems to get right to the heart of the matter: taking responsibility for ourselves. I have already experienced the positive impact of this open relating through practising once since the workshop , and am sure it is the key to resolving disputes at every level of human interaction.”  Sophie, community worker

talking yellow sillouette

An opportunity to explore and practice:
– Having difficult conversations that you might usually avoid
– Expressing yourself with dignity and clarity
– Feeling confidant in your right to your feelings and your self expression
– Speaking so that others really hear what you’re saying
– Risking vulnerability in conversation

995844_583459828415490_1933985394_n

This workshop will be of value if:
– You fear difficult or emotional conversations
– You don’t trust yourself to speak rationally
– You fear you won’t be heard when you speak
– You don’t think you have the right to feel as you do
– You find it hard to hear what another person is saying without overreacting
– You want to understand yourself and your reactions better

3rd and 4th February   9am to 4pm
At St Werburgh’s Community Centre Bristol BS2
Cost £130
See: http://shadowworksouthwest.co.uk/home.html

http://www.shiatsuandshadowworkbristol.co.uk/

tel: 0117 9411012 e-mail:
MarianeHillShadowWork@gmail.com

Invitation to an Authentic Communication Workshop

A two day workshop with Marianne Hill and Hugh Newton

Come and learn this powerful communication tool, you will find it changes the way you express yourself in all conversations, personal and professional. Alternatively come with your partner, another family member or a colleague so that you can learn this model together and improve communication between the two of you.

“I found the experience very powerful. The combination of communication skills with shadow work seems to get right to the heart of the matter: taking responsibility for ourselves. I have already experienced the positive impact of this open relating through practising once since the workshop , and am sure it is the key to resolving disputes at every level of human interaction.”  Sophie, community worker

talking yellow sillouette

An opportunity to explore and practice:
– Having difficult conversations that you might usually avoid
– Expressing yourself with dignity and clarity
– Feeling confidant in your right to your feelings and your self expression
– Speaking so that others really hear what you’re saying
– Risking vulnerability in conversation

995844_583459828415490_1933985394_n

This workshop will be of value if:
– You fear difficult or emotional conversations
– You don’t trust yourself to speak rationally
– You fear you won’t be heard when you speak
– You don’t think you have the right to feel as you do
– You find it hard to hear what another person is saying without overreacting
– You want to understand yourself and your reactions better

3rd and 4th Feb  9am to 4pm
At Benjamin Perry Boathouse Bristol
Cost £130
See: http://shadowworksouthwest.co.uk/home.html

http://www.shiatsuandshadowworkbristol.co.uk/

tel: 0117 9411012 e-mail:
MarianeHillShadowWork@gmail.com

Invitation to a Shadow Work Weekend

Friday 6th – Sunday 8th of June 2014
Cost: £295
Facilitated by Marianne Hill and Hugh Newton

You are warmly invited to attend our Shadow Work weekend in June 2014.

You don’t need to have any previous experience of Shadow Work to attend this workshop.

Shadow Work invites you to discover parts of yourself you have hidden or denied.
By bringing these parts out of shadow in a safe experiential setting you can release old patterns that you have held tightly in place, unlocking the power of your true self, with all your gifts and strengths.

Shadow Work workshops are well known for the safe, shame free environment
which they create and the deeply transformative nature of the work.

Take this opportunity to:

  •   achieve a more genuine self-acceptance based on a more complete knowledge of who you are
  • defuse the negative emotions that erupt unexpectedly in daily life
  • feel more free of guilt and shame associated with negative feelings and actions
  • recognize the projections that colour your opinions of others
  •  heal your relationships through more honest self-examination and direct communication
  • open to your natural talents and creativity
  •  deepen your capacity for intimacy
  • improve your ability to set boundaries and achieve your goals
  • alter your self-sabotaging behaviors

Marianne is a qualified and experienced Shadow Work coach and Shiatsu practitioner, she is also an experienced Relate counsellor.
Hugh is a co-leader with The ManKind Project and a highly experienced facilitator.
We are both fully qualified Group Shadow Work facilitators.

To give you a flavour of Shadow Work a selection of feedback from previous workshops that we have run together follows this invitation.
The weekend runs from 1.30pm on Friday 6th June to 6pm on Sunday 8th June 2014

In central Bristol at the Willow Arts Studio in St. Werburgh’s.
There will be a maximum of eight participants.
These workshops are non residential, there is plenty of accommodation in Bristol.
All meals will be food brought and shared by the group.

For further information about Shadow Work click here to listen to a talk by the founder of Shadow Work http://www.shadowwork.com/shadowworkbasicscd.mp3
You can take a look at our website on: http://shadowworksouthwest.co.uk
Our blog about all things Shadow Work is at
https://shadowworkuk.wordpress.com
You can also take a look at Marianne’s website http://www.shiatsuandshadowworkbristol.co.uk
and the international Shadow work website http://www.shadowwork.com
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like any further information,
or to talk through whether this workshop would be right for you.
If you would like to book a place please contact us as soon as possible.
From previous experience our workshops fill up very quickly.
Warmest wishes, Marianne and Hugh

If you would like to book on to this weekend please contact Hugh
Hugh: tel 07944 264311  e-mail hugh@hotmail.co.uk
Marianne: tel. 0117 9411012  e-mail  MarianneHillShadowWork@gmail.com

25032_337840359562_3368677_nc800px-Detalle-del-trono
A selection of other Feedback from previous Workshops.

“Marianne and Hugh will provide a container strong and safe enough for you to go where you are prepared to take yourself. However much you dare to trust them, I believe they will not let you down. They will share of themselves and their humanity and will walk beside you as you journey. This is good work.” Jonathan – six month journey participant

“My work was just so well held and felt so safe. I can’t believe how I was able to let myself go and really feel those held feelings, and let them go. It felt so respectful and contained and has left me feeling like a different person as a result. I have much more compassion for myself after this workshop and I am so grateful to you both for this gift.” N.M.

I felt that together you created a very safe space for people to work within, and had complet trust in the way you facilitated the work. At every stage everything was clearly and calmly explained. This seemed particularly important given the deep nature of everyone’s work, an dI really marvelled at how skulfully and seamlessly you both guided each person – in a large group, we had very individual attention and each process felt truly unique. I particularly apprieciated the care that was taken to support me as a newcomer, having never done any group Shadow Work before. It really helped me participate in a way that had felt out of reach to me before I did the workshop. It never felt like anyone was ‘pushed’ to do or feel anything. I was left wondering how something so gentle and gracefully delivered can be so incredibly powerful. Rebecca. Artist.

Marianne and Hugh’s commitment and dedication to both the practice and the participants really shone through. The skill with which they created a containing space that was fully accepting of all that I am was awe-inspiring, and created a wonderful opportunity for deepening to myself. I cannot recommend this work highly enough.Professor Steve Onyett. Facilitator, coach and researcher.

“Marianne and Hugh’s facilitation is skillful, safe and potent. The support and respect they provide in the context of a safe and shame-free group environment enabled me to explore my deepest and most important issues. This is the most powerful and transformative type of therapy I have found in 14 years of personal development work. “Rod B.

Thank you for your soulful, mindful presence which held the weekend in such safety and integrity. I was very challenged by the thought of doing this work in a group, yet you created a container in which much-needed energy shifts could happen naturally and in which I felt safe to dig up my deepest shadows.
Diving into the challenge of exposing my deepest shame and guilt within a
group has released a process in which I am receiving new levels of insight
through dreams and other work. Hopefully I am becoming less armoured and
more open-hearted.”PJH

“Marianne and Hugh really kept the promise of shadow works by not pushing anyone into something not agreed upon. At the same time they made a splendid work with love, compassion and subtle guidance to bring me into experience and understand pieces of myself I’ve never encountered before.Thank you for your hard work.”
Staffan Sjöstedt

“Coming to the end of the weekend I felt big changes in myself. It felt like a big jump that I really understood and has lasted. It couldn’t have happened by reading a self-help book.What I learned about the high expectations of myself (& others) and the way I present myself without clear boundaries has impacted in my life every day.
I’m working with my partner on all sorts of things and most days have really tough bits, but also a sense that it’s worth it. I believe the Shadow work weekend was crucial to all this – it was the valve on the pressure cooker for me, so that I could interact with him without leaking anger and fear everywhere. I find myself with energy, directing it to areas of my life that have been neglected. As I write, I feel my personal power and direction.”Claire

Hi Marianne, many, many thanks to you and Hugh for a truly life changing day – I am so grateful for the insights I gained.

My experience after the day has been very positive. I have felt more boldness, a permission to make mistakes and an internal energy flow. Like blocks inside have become free, and joyful.

I felt that your communication was clear, thorough and natural. As facilitators you explained things really well and listened really well and compassionately, and I felt that there was lots of space for me and others in the group to be heard, voice concerns etc both within processes and throughout the day as a whole. But there was also a really good balance between the day and the processes being shaped and directed by the participants and it being really strongly held by both of you.

 Both facilitators had a good chemistry together and seemed to work almost instinctively – one taking over when the other stopped and both being tuned in to each other’s needs as well as the needs of the group.They gently, sensitively and with great intelligence dealt with issues as they came up –and were not thrown (at least it looked like that externally to me!) by some of the very deep and difficultissues that were raised.

Having not felt like I was ready to do any “work” on the day in question I was pleasantly surprised to find that I felt safe enough to open, and supported enough to communicate exactly what I needed. It turned into a really important day for me.

I felt very safe and trusted in the process, and in the hands of the facilitators. I especially felt nurtured after my work when I had permission to collapse in the corner until I recovered. That was very necessary for me, and having that permission made me feel very safe.

I felt very safe with each of you and with both of you as a team, and within the group as a whole. I think you worked very well together, very fluid and ‘easy’, and I felt safe in the sense that you knew what you were doing.

I felt that we went deep quickly during the day, (probably due to the safety you created) and I really valued that, and it was in a way that felt very natural and unforced.

I think you both were really good role models as people who know themselves and are authentic and are ‘walking their talk’ while also being human and ‘in it together’ with the group.

-The relationship between you both during the entire workshop was balanced & powerfully generative. By this I mean that I noticed time & time again a profound creative tension between you that appeared to never be forced, never strained & always open, easy, flowing & totally grounded. You seem to have reached a truly inspiring level of synergy, respect & efficacy. I could go on!!!
-The in depth naming of the many aspects of the archetypes was powerful for me on many levels. Being able to ask questions from such knowledgable practitioners whilst literally being inside the medicine wheel, so to speak, was a real privilege & of great benefit.

P.S. just so you know, we will be taking a break from the blog over Easter, so look forward to blogging with you again in a couple of weeks. Have a good Easter, from Marianne and Hugh.

How can we communicate with authenticity and depth?

If we are to truly communicate we need to share all of who we are, not just selected parts of ourself. In reality we often communicate only half of what is really going on. The parts that tend to get left out in communication are the parts that may make us vulnerable to the other, or cause us some shame or discomfort. Yet these are the very parts of ourself we need to share if we wish the other person to open to us and really hear what we want to say.
c112px-Fort_Wayne_Daisies_player,_Marie_Wegman,_of_the_All_American_Girls_Professional_Baseball_League_arguing_with_umpire_Norris_Ward_Opa-locka,_FloridaWe often tell the other person what we don’t like about their behaviour, and we often say what our judgements are of the other person in the light of this behaviour. What we are likely to leave out is how we feel in response to this. Our genuine deep feeling, such as sadness, anger or fear. We also often forget to say what we actually DO want from the person in place of the behaviour that we don’t like. It can feel very vulnerable to ask for what we want, so without realising it many of us leave this out. Yet it can leave the other person floundering if they only hear what they have done ‘wrong’ and yet are left with no idea what the ‘right’ thing to do would be. If we want to communicate effectively we need to let go of the hope that someone else will magically know what is right for us, and we need to communicate what we want clearly.c120px-After_the_conference-_Alice_Interviewed_by_Liam_02
Another difficulty with communication can come in muddling up what has actually happened with our judgements of it, and this too can leave the other person feeling confused. If My friend was half an hour late to meet me yesterday and I got very annoyed waiting for her I might say ‘You were late, you really don’t value our friendship, I bet you were with your new boyfriend, you think he’s more important than me, You’re just not a good friend to me anymore and I need a good friend right now that I can trust.’
Now, for my friend to hear this is quite a lot!786px-España_profunda,_oil_on_canvas,_89_x_116_cm._Date_2001-1 She may well respond defensively and communication could break down between us. It would help for me to separate out what actually happened from my judgements of the situation. So, the fact that I know is that she arrived half an hour after the time we arranged. The rest are all my judgements, so it’s much clearer if I state them as that.
Once I’ve had time to think about it I might say this instead ‘I’d like to talk to you about the time you arrived today if that’s ok. You arrived half an hour after the time we’d agreed on. While I was waiting for you I began to get the idea that you might be taking some extra time with your new boyfriend rather than getting ready to come to see me. I thought that maybe you don’t value our friendship so much now and that you’re not a good friend to me right now. I know none of that is necessarily true, but I started to feel really angry. I’d like it if you turn up on time (or even early!) when we meet as that would help me to trust our friendship – and right now I really need to feel like I have a good friend.’
talkingThis may still be hard to hear, but my friend can at least have some understanding of where I am coming from. I’ve said clearly what I want from her and why. She is much more likely to be able to hear me and to enter in to a constructive dialogue with me. She is quite likely to share what is really going on for her. This then paves the way to genuine communication between us.
So in Shadow Work we try to break our communication down in to:
1) What actually happened.
2) Our Judgements/opinions/thoughts/ideas around what happened.
3) Our feeling about what happened.
4) What we want from the other person.
We’ll talk more about this in future blogs..

What happens if we don’t get the opportunity to feel our sadness fully?

Blocking or ignoring our sadness can mean that we never get to a place where we can move on and allow our rejuvenation. It means that we don’t make space for the new, or for healing and fresh possibilities. Sadness allows things to flow, it softens and moistens us. If we don’t get the chance to feel it we can become dry and brittle. sdead landscapeWe stop flowing, and can become hard and inflexible. We may find that, if we are not prepared to feel our sadness we respond in an angry way when someone talks about sadness or suggests we might be sad. We may react in a judgemental way when someone else expresses sadness, and so try to crush their sadness as we have crushed and ignored our own. We are not able to be with any other sadness in case it touches our grief. We may be afraid that if we touch or express our sadness we will never be able to stop. We fear that our sadness is a bottomless pit, and that if we slip into it we will never get back out. Or we may fear that our sadness, if felt, would simply be too much to bear. We can’t take the risk of going near it. We may unconsciously decide to ‘stuff’ our sadness down; with food or with alcohol or any other drugs or addictions. Anything that can temporarily stop us feeling and help us avoid the real pain of our grief.
Ignoring our sadness we may put on a ‘happy face’ or a ‘brave face’. We smile to others, but there is no warmth emanating from us. Instead we seem empty in some way. 1510844_10151944188712672_999439512_n - CopyIf we continue like this we may gradually loose touch not only with our sadness, but also with our ability to connect to others. If we cannot take the risk of feeling our sadness then we cannot take the risk of getting close to another person, or forming connections with a place or a group of people in case sadness gets stirred again.
Along with this, we may also lose touch with our ability to express ourselves and our feelings, our wants and desires. We may not even be able to work out for ourself how we feel, we have become so out of touch with that part of us. It has become too dangerous, too potentially painful to let another person know us. We’ve lost our trust in the natural flow of life. We can no longer trust that our needs will be taken care of, that something new will come along for us. We may become quite puritanical in an unconscious attempt to avoid the pain that love and connection can bring and to keep our life ‘clean’ so we don’t run the risk of ‘murky’ emotions like longing or grief. We feel lonely.
Our sadness may get stuck in our bodies where it can overwhelm us in the form of physical illness or some kind of breakdown. sMorphineAlternatively we may seek out all sorts of artificial feelings that are less painful than experiencing the sense of loss. We may feel intensely sad or angry about things that aren’t really to do with us. Or we may seek out a constant buzz of artificial high’s to distract us from our pain. We may move from one emotional crisis to another in our life, in a way where it looks like we’re feeling a lot, but actually we are distracting ourselves from the deep grief we hold, which remains un-felt.sDead_Lovers_-_gentleman We may chose to punish ourselves for the loss we suffered, to dwell on possible mistakes we made and feel intense guilt, rather than to actually feel the real raw pain of our loss.
Malidoma Some comes from the Dagara tribe in West Africa. He writes ‘At Dagara funerals it’s always necessary that members of the immediate family be accompanied by a group of friends in order that they not injure themselves in the paroxysms of their grief. And it is these very paroxysms that are necessary if one’s grief is to be purged. Unlike people in the West, the Dagara believe it is terrible to suppress one’s grief. Only with passionate expression can loss be tamed and assimilated in to a form one can live with.’ The Dagara believe that ‘An adult who cannot weep is a dangerous person who has forgotten the place emotion holds in a person’s life.’

http://shadowworksouthwest.co.uk/home.html

What can we do if our sadness is overwhelming or too frightening to feel?

aHugo_Simberg_-_The_Wounded_Angel_-_Google_Art_ProjectThere are some essential ingredients that are required if we are to fully grieve. One is to find a safe space where our grief will be welcomed and allowed. This needs to be a place where, for a while at least, we don’t have to worry about our day to day responsibilities. The second is that we need at least one other person to be fully present with us and supporting us in this process. Grief can be overwhelming and we need another person present to show us that they are not afraid of our grief, even if we are. To give us the message that we are safe, that we will get through this, and that our grief isn’t too big to be held. This is a lot to ask of another human being, as to be open to and present with someone else’s grief automatically opens the door to all our own unresolved griefs. IMG_0097If the person hasn’t been able to be fully present with their own grief they won’t be able to be present with ours, however much they may want to be there for us. It’s possible they may even subtly shame us for what we’re experiencing, or try to make it ‘go away’ by offering ‘solutions’ or ways out. If someone is to fully support us through loss it is important they understand that grief doesn’t ‘go away’, and that it’s not something that we need to ‘get rid of’. It is something we simply have to ‘be with’, a process which will gradually deepen and in time enrich our lives and offer us a much more vital experience. This isn’t a ‘one off’ process and is something that may continue for many years after the loss, especially on anniversaries of the loss or other particularly memorable dates and occasions.

In Shadow Work we believe that we are hard wired to maintain a connection to that which we have lost, whether it be a person who has died, a relationship that has ended, a child that we have lost through abortion or adoption, a job we have lost or any other of the many types of loss we can experience as human beings. Many of us choose something painful as way of staying connected, especially if we lost in a painful way. But, if we allow ourselves to fully experience the pain, including all the difficult emotions such as guilt, fear and anger it is possible, eventually, to choose joyful ways to remember someone or something, and to keep them as part of our life in an ongoing way.

aWalter_Langley_-_Never_Morning_Wore_To_Evening_1894As we described earlier, most of us need support in this process. We may be lucky enough to have people around us who are aware of the full grief process and can give us this support. If not we may wish to find a supported space where grief can be released and the new allowed in.

Many cultures have prolonged and ritualised ways of being with grief. In traditional societies the whole community is involved in this process. C25In the same way as in the saying ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ it can take a whole village to hold a person in their grief. Opportunities to express grief in this way can be hard to find in Western cultures. In Shadow Work we can provide such a space. In Shadow Work workshops, when required, we can create a space where grief can be allowed and fully experienced. Participants can release the pain they are carrying and instead chose a new way to stay connected to that which has been lost. This is a process that can support someone who wishes to release their grief, even when it has been held for many decades from loss that happened long ago. This work makes space to encourage a deeper and growing connection to what we have lost. This means our connection loses it’s negative impact on us and instead becomes a rich resource in our lives.

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