Ep #17: Shadow Dancing

We all struggle with being uncomfortable, be it anxiety, fear, grief… It can be difficult to process these strong emotions, so we often repress or suppress them. This is not necessarily a bad thing––it’s simply a biological response––but it can build up to an unmanageable pressure cooker within yourself.

The trick to releasing that pressure is something I like to call shadow dancing. In order to prevent ourselves from being overwhelmed, we have to dance the line between the discomfort and joys we have in our lives.

On today’s episode, I talk about strategies for overcoming those little daily traumas that can fester within us by simply sitting with them and understanding them. Join me in a dance with the discomfort in our lives and listen as we search for the balance in our lives through awareness, meditation, and mindfulness.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why it is important to accept uncomfortable spaces in your life.
  • How awareness and meditation can help you overcome different types of pain.
  • Ways to accept being vulnerable as a means for personal growth.
  • The biological reasons why we feel discomfort and how to work with our bodies in that feeling.
  • How you can break free of emotions that you are suppressing and how to move forward from past traumas.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to Integrative Life Coach Training for Health and Wellness Practitioners, the only podcast that can help YOU help more people, create a greater impact, and make more money in the health and wellness industry. Join Clarity and Confidence Coach, Kim Guillory, as she teaches you how to integrate your passion to serve with your skills and experience to create a business you love. Let’s get started…

Hey guys, how’s it going? Listen, I have to tell you, I thought this would be kind of painful. I thought it would be hard to do and hard to come up with things to talk about, but it has been quite the opposite. It’s more like how can I chop this stuff up and deliver it in little bites, which is making it like, challenging in a different kind of way by having to contain it and articulate it in such a way that I’ve not had to do before, and this is super fun.

It actually kind of reminds me of what I’m experiencing today. I’m having so much joy. Like, I’m being super silly, I want to post on Facebook like, every five minutes, I want to get in the group and start asking questions, and I want everyone to come out and play. I’m about to drive my husband crazy. He basically said would you go and do something with all of that and get out of here.

So I was like okay, I’ll just go and do a few podcasts and kind of do something with all of this energy. So that is my fun flash for today. That’s what’s happening on my end and I want to tell you, the topic I’m going to be talking about today is what gets all of the credit for this mood. It’s called shadow dancing and it’s a way to bring fun and ease to breakthroughs.

So if you guys have been on the personal development, self-growth, self-improvement, self-help path and journey, which I know most of you have, this is where it’s at. We’re still in the unlayering, unraveling, unveiling process and what I want to talk about today is staying with the discomfort. It is the hardest part of all.

It’s that pressure cooker kind of how – the way I used to explain it, it was like there was this heated time, like things would get really hot and you kind of can’t get out of it so it’s like you feel the sensations in your body and you can feel your heart rate going up and it’s kind of like whenever you’re trying not to get angry and you feel this stuff happening in the body and then you have to compose.

Like yeah, you’re just sitting in mass or you’re sitting at a wedding and you just can’t blow up. It’s this pressure. It’s like it builds up and when it was most intense, it felt like a freaking pressure cooker. Like it was dialed in, turned on and we’re cooking a 20-pound roast. And it would not let up.

And what I learned through staying in that process and allowing those emotions to diffuse the bomb, like allowing the emotions to settle so I can make sense of what was happening so I can do some investigating, some unraveling, some unveiling. That discomfort is the key to getting into the light. You have to do this dance between the dark and the light, between the shadows and the joy.

The shadow is the part of us that we’ll do anything, anything to protect us from being seen, to keep our secrets a secret, to keep the shame, embarrassment hidden and tucked away, especially the repressed and suppressed. There’s other things that kind of come in that are just kind of layered and no big deal, but those things that were repressed, which we didn’t remember them actually, we didn’t know what to do with them and they just get buried inside of us, like parts of us kind of die with it.

And then we have suppressed emotions, and those are the ones that you know it’s there and you’re keeping them under wraps. So the suppressed is conscious, the repressed is unconscious. So when we talk about chronic pain and illness and disease and dis-ease in your body, that is triggered from the repressed. The unconscious.

That’s why people will say I don’t even know it’s there; I don’t know what it is, I’m working through my emotions, I don’t know what to do next, especially in the mind-body syndrome groups and mind-body connection, mind-body wellness and healing. In that arena, there’s this fine line between sitting with emotions and sitting with old stories and sitting with trauma recovery, and then there’s the I don’t even know what to look for anymore. I’ve journaled, I’ve written all about it, I’ve talked about it, I’ve been to counseling, I’ve been to – I’ve followed the churches, I’ve done all of the things.

I’ve done the inner child work, I’ve talked and screamed at the chair. I used to say like, I remember writing and burning the letter. I did everything but crap at the cemetery. Isn’t that – what’s his name? Wayne Dyer talks about when he went to his dad’s grave. Well, I’ll remember that same thing with my mom’s grave. I mean, so much hidden rage and anger and hurt and pain.

And what I learned through all of that is the shadow dancing, that is the exercise. That’s where we are building that mental and emotional intelligence. That’s where we’re building that endurance. It’s kind of like at the gym, you’re doing this boxing or it could be kickboxing or we had a class called dance fit. But you’re dancing and the energy is moving through you, or you’re running a marathon and this stuff is bypassing – you don’t even need to know what it is.

It’s just energy is moving through the body, flooding through the body and releasing and releasing because the emotions are released by the breath. They’re also released in tears. You sometimes don’t even know why you’re crying, there’s just tears being released from your body. So those things that are repressed, that was more the suppressed.

There’s things that are repressed that you don’t even know are there that are causing the chronic pain. That thing that keeps coming back and it moves from place to place in your body. It might be the foot then it might be the shoulder then it might be the wrist and you’ll see a lot of this with plantar fasciitis and tennis elbow, adrenal fatigue – and what’s the one with the wrist? I can’t think of the word I’m trying to say. It’ll come. I don’t want to spend all my time trying to come up with diagnoses but it’ll come through.

Those things are coming from the repressed. So what happens is the brain reduces blood flow and oxygen to certain areas of the body, which triggers a manifestation. A physical manifestation of pain so that you focus your attention on the pain. It’s kind of like what we do when we create drama. It’s so that you can pay attention to something else instead of paying attention to the uncomfortable emotions that are going on in your body.

And so this stuff happens pretty regular, like all the time I’ll say, especially in the world that I serve in. I see this all the time at the gym, even when I was in the hair and nail industry with health coaching for sure. So many people with gut health, autoimmune, chronic pain, just things going on that there was no relief for, like fibromyalgia. That there’s no tangible exactly what is going on.

But what we do know, everything is healed through the nervous system, through awareness. This is why mindfulness and meditation is so important. So being able to stay with the discomfort of the emotions that are coming up and processing, or of the feelings that are happening in your body and being able to dance in and out of it with it, that light and dark, imagine – when I say shadow dancing, you’re thinking like, having that movement with.

It’s like parts of the body are kind of floating in and out and it’s a really light, airy kind of flowy movement where you’re dancing in and out of it, and this is where courage and vulnerability come in. And those things are the bridge to confidence for self-healing, for self-awareness, for personal growth, self-improvement.

And it’s the ability to make friends with fear and shame because the rage is the root. There’s rage and then there’s shame. I’m not worthy, if they knew I would die, like basically our brain is saying I will die if I feel this, and so I had to go and tuck it away to protect myself. This is pretty intense stuff. So I want to encourage you to just be daring enough to explore, to be vulnerable with what it feels like when things are not comfortable in your body.

So what this may look like is if you’re in yoga or meditation or you’re just sitting in stillness, in quiet, and you get antsy, you start kind of wanting to wiggle around, it gets uncomfortable in the hips, it gets uncomfortable in the shoulders, and then your back hurts and then your nose itches. All of that stuff is just energy moving through you. Its just emotions being processed.

And this is where when I talk about Joe Dispenza and he’s talking about the horse and this pulling back the reign it’s like wow, let’s just stay here. You’re talking to the body. Come back. It’s okay. So there’s this connection, this integration, this marriage between the mind and the body and the breath, and that is what builds the bridge.

Does that make sense? Being in that space to feel uncomfortable, not react, not respond, but just be with it. This is where grit and fortitude and resilience are built. I had a client earlier this morning and we were talking about this vulnerability of being uncomfortable and I was asking like, I’m going to go ahead and coach you here and it may be some tough coaching, but I’m doing it with love. Are you open to that?

Because it wasn’t a regular session. Are you open to that or do you want feedback? What would you like today? And she was like no, if it’s going to help me grow, I really want to hear it. And so I was being not brutally honest. I was being lovingly honest. And the conversation came up with well, I mean I’ve been so uncomfortable already, I thought I was already doing that, and I’m like, boom, that was dress rehearsal.

The real show, it’s going to feel like you’re on the back of a RV. You know, these drivable campers with the ladders hanging in the back. You’re literally holding on, hanging on the ladder. Holding on, your feet are up there and you’re just riding by like riding in a parade but you’re butt ass naked and you’re going through your hometown. How’s that? Because that is vulnerability.

That is when you’re willing to come out of the shame closet, when you’re willing to be seen raw, naked, afraid. That’s vulnerability. That’s the real play. That’s the real act. So all this other stuff, this shadow dancing, these feelings, this feeling it and going in and out of it, it’s a prerequisite for the ability to truly be vulnerable and humble.

And that is what I think has changed my path so much is my willingness to be coached in front of hundreds of people, in front of some of my most admired – people that admire so much in the coaching industry and my peers. And yet, just being so tired of being stuck. So tired of not being true to myself, of being afraid to get my message out.

This is a really big deal and I know when I say it it sounds so silly, but there is a part of me that was so afraid of rejection and abandonment and people making fun of me and talking about me and because it’s kind of weird and hokey and woo-woo. And where I come from, it’s just not that welcomed. It’s scary. It’s unfamiliar. It’s not what we’ve been taught.

And I was part of that so I know, I understand. I understand. But me not being faithful and true to myself and to the gift that I’ve been given to share, the things that I’ve seen, the things that I know now, the wisdom and knowledge that I prayed so hard for back in the day that has come through and that I can see so clearly and the shame behind sharing that.

That is what was coming through but I was so in the shadow. What are they going to think? What are they going to say? What if they see me? What if I am really me and I’m not pretending to fit in or to be someone else? And what kept happening is I kept attracting these mean girl stories where I would get into this certain group or get in with peers or go to the certain training and you know guys, I’m in the yoga world, essential oils, health coaching, life coaching, mindfulness and meditations, I host retreats. I’m in the fitness industry, I’m in the cosmetology industry.

So I’m in a lot of different worlds and every single world that I served in the same mean girl story came up and I knew. It knew it was not them. I knew it was something that life was teaching me and I had to be willing to dance with it, to play in and out of it and to feel it for the revelation to come through, and that is why I am so happy and joyful today because I did break through it.

And we think because our perception, our mind thinks we’re just going to break through it once and it’s going to be over and done. No. Not true. Don’t even set yourself up for that assumption. Every time you go to the next layer, to the next level, to the next spot, whether it’s in your business, or it could go from just in your relationship taking it to the next level or whatever.

It could go from talking to five people to talk to 500 people, but whatever it is, that growth process has a requirement and it’s that same stinking story. I’m not good enough, it’s not available for me, I’m not supported, they don’t see me, I’m not being acknowledged, nobody wants me to be part of the team, those same unworthiness stories. I’m not good enough is what it all boils down to.

And so each time you’re willing to hop on the back of the RV and take a ride through town, through the old town because that’s the worst, right? Because it’s going back into those that know you from the beginning. That’s why we relate this to the childhood traumas.

And you know, I talk about this so often. It doesn’t have to be a big trauma. It can just be an instance that left you hurt. I don’t remember the trauma. I was a baby. I don’t remember my mom leaving. But my body does. The absence of love does. There’s a part of me that does.

So even though logically I don’t understand it, there’s a part of me that understood it. And what you don’t want to do is bypass this. You don’t want to go right into positive affirmations. You don’t want to go into mindset. Yes, there’s a time and a place for it and you can use it to get you as far as you can go, but then you’re going to start hitting a brick wall.

And know when you hit the brick wall, the temptation is going to be to look outside of yourself and look for the next program, for the next Facebook ads guy, for the next coach, for the next person to tell you what to do or how to do it. That is our human nature. So what I want to encourage you to do is to be willing to dance in and out of that shadow so that you could become the watcher of it.

And yet, you’re doing it from a space where you are grounded and rooted and solid in presence and truth so you’re still grounded in what you do know and then the top – you think about it like your arms and your spine and your head. That part can wave in and out of it, but you stay super solid in what you know is truth and you use the breath to keep pulling you down, to keep taking you inside of your body and outside of your head.

Because what happens is we start to look for ourselves in front of ourselves. So we leave our body and we go out and we’re looking for evidence. We’re looking to see if we’re safe. And this is what happens. The looking for safety, this is where the nervous system comes in.

When you find that first indication, that first bit of proof that you are not safe and you go into fight or flight, those old stories, those old traumas, that’s the old samskaras, that’s the old neural pathway. Puts the body into paralysis, and that leads to more hiding, more worrying, more anxiety, stress, exhaustion, fear, and that defense comes up.

And then when you’re in that defense, there’s a lack of willingness like, to open up. To feel safe, to be coached and to see a different perception because the defense is life or death between the story and the nervous system. And I don’t think that there’s enough respect for this, and that is what I am doing in the world. That’s the space I hold, that’s what I teach about is we really want to honor the nervous system and our defense.

And we want to come from a place of love, we want to come from safety. Everyone wants to feel safe. Everyone. We want to feel connected because we feel safe. We want to feel desired because we feel safe. We want to feel wanted because we feel safe. We want to feel loved because we feel safe. It’s all about safety.

But when you are in fight or flight and your nervous system is putting off these emotions and you go into paralysis, there is no safety there. And so that’s that can you dance in and out of that shadow, so whenever you feel that defense coming up, when you feel that heat coming into your body, when you feel that rage begin to unravel, to dismantle, can you just come back into the breath and stay with it and relax.

Tell yourself that it’s okay. It’s okay that we play the edge. Just playing the edge. We’re just pushing and then pulling back. It’s a little press, test, breath, release, and you come back to center. You come back to awareness. You come back to presence. What we want to do is we want to see it so you want to be the witness conscious of it. You want to witness yourself. You want to be the watcher.

As you’re watching yourself, notice the feelings and sensations that are going on and come from that flow and ease. A little fun. See it as the dance. Dancing with the edge. This is shadow dancing. This is a concept that again, these things just come through on downloads. They’re so fun and amazing. Shadow dancing is a way to make it not so scary and also still be in power and control of your life because you get to decide how quickly you want it to release.

And let me tell you, you really have to be grounded and rooted and solid and I encourage you, if you need help with this, reach out to me. I have coaches who are trained. I myself am trained. We do some programs in the Facebook community. We’re there to support you through this process even if you’re just following along in the podcast and you’re reading the book and you’re DIY-ing it.

Come over to the community and get some support. You might want to hop into one of the programs. They all support this same process. Playing the edge, seeing, lifting, and then shifting, and that’s what I had. I had another big shift. I had another big eye-opening, awakening moment through shadow dancing and the other side of that is so much joy. Don’t know what to do with myself. It’s so fun.

If this stuff happened too fast and you froze, what’s happening is that’s like your body protecting you from blowing up. I truly think you would just explode. If you were to have to deal with your trauma all at one time, you would just explode. Like your brain would break. Think about when you’ve had terrible news and it was kind of like a shocker. Maybe someone – there was a tragic death or maybe it was a house fire or maybe it was a divorce or the loss of a job.

It’s something without expecting, just came on and just shocked you. Think of how many days you said, “I can’t believe this. I still can’t believe this.” Death is not unfamiliar to me. I’ve lost lots in my family, friends. I’ve had lots of suicide, tragedy, and what I call death by culture. What I would call risqué here, but it’s just we’ve got a lot of drink and eat and a lot of freedom and it sometimes leads to tragedy.

And there is a lot of shock factor into that because a lot of these people are young. And days later, it’s like, did that really happen? I can’t believe this. And then think about it. After losing parents or someone really close to you, three months later it’s like, oh my god, it’s real, they’re really not coming back. And then like, suddenly one day you go to do something and you’re like, oh my god, they’re not here anymore. I forgot.

Think how long it takes to go beyond grief before your brain can fully accept it. That’s what I’m talking about. If we had to accept and overcome grief all at one time, I think our brains would blow. I think our bodies would blow up. I think we would explode. I don’t think our nervous system would be able to handle it and it would just shut down, and I think that is what’s happening with a lot of people today.

So it’s years and years and years of little traumas built up and then something happens and they freaking explode and shut down. And then we have full on cancer, Hashimoto’s, adrenal fatigue, fibromyalgia, MS. All these autoimmune diseases. It’s just over and over and over time and suppressing the immune system and the nervous system can’t catch a break and it doesn’t run properly and the blood doesn’t flow properly and the breath doesn’t flow properly.

This mental paralysis is like having our head in the freezer. So the way I see it, it’s like your forehead – you open the freezer and your forehead is leaning up against it. This is when you’re in fight or flight because it takes off like hey, we need to protect ourselves, we need to be careful, we need to be on the lookout, we need to look for lions and tigers and bears.

And then the frontal cortex freezes, digestion freezes, everything slows down, like dilation of the eyes. It opens you and you become on full alert like we’re going to war. So head stuck in the freezer and arms are flapping. So that’s the spinning. Your arms are just spinning trying to get out of it, trying to get out of it, trying to get out of it, trying to get out of it, and you’re just sitting there and you’re in this shock, paralysis, and you can’t answer and you don’t know what to say and you’re feeling pressured because someone’s waiting for you to say something. That feeling. That’s what I’m talking about.

It’s this awful, painful, uncomfortable hell. Like you cannot get out of it, there’s so much shame, so much fear, so much vulnerability and it’s so uncomfortable you don’t know what to do with it. So that’s the process of like, the process of going through the stages of grief, of trauma release, of emotional processing.

I told you this one was going to be really heavy, so shadow dancing is the starting to recognizing and staying with it bit by bit, moment by moment. And it may be that you need a coach, that you need someone to do this with you. I encourage you to reach out, join the community, send a private message. Let me know you’re looking for someone. I can get one of the coaches to contact you.

This is available for you. You don’t have to go it alone. This is what we’re building. This is what we’re creating. This is the support system that we have in place. We’re creating the model for others to follow. It’s all about emotional intelligence, reconnecting the disconnected. It’s about bringing those parts of us back. It’s about this mental and emotional strengthening, this mental and emotional processing, and the ability to be able to deal, to cope, to help with parenting and trauma and bridging the gap so we can bring these pieces back together.

I wanted to spend enough time talking about this because when it first started happening with me, I didn’t know what was going on. I thought I was crazy. I was like, what is this? I was watching myself watch myself and like, not being able to – I don’t know, it was just weird. Reaching out to someone. And so I started researching. I was like, listen, people need to know about this. You think you’re going crazy.

In the spiritual world they call it the awakening process or witness consciousness, Christ consciousness, the kundalini awakening. There’s like, lots of names for it but it’s when this part of you becomes the watcher of your own story and then you have this dance and play and stay and then you get this little taste of joy.

And then you get some little spells of freedom and it’s like being on top of a mountain and then you’ll go back into the valley and you got to really trust the process when you’re back in the valley, back in the pressure cooker. And you’re just kind of weaving in and out, in and out, in and out, and that, my friends, is shadow dancing.

So I would love to hear from you. I would also love if you would recommend the podcast. Share it with your friends, share it on social media. Help us get the word out as we build this community. We would love to meet some of you through social media and find out more about what you want to hear about, what you want help with. This is in all areas of our life. All areas. Mental, emotional, physical, financial, occupational, intellectual, spiritual.

All levels. Social, environmental. This is happening all over the world. It’s not just happening within you and I want you to know that you are not alone. You are not alone. We’re here for you. Alright, see you guys next week.

Thanks for listening to this episode of Integrative Life Coach Training for Health and Wellness Practitioners! If you’re feeling stuck on your journey to mind body integration, head over to KimGuillory.com to download your Stability First Meditation today.


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