I wrote the following for my beautiful mentor, Karin, a Shadow Work® facilitator and coach over at Shadow Wisdom. I wanted to share how much this technique was tangibly supporting me, with so much gratitude for processing with her and other facilitators for the past six years.

While it’s a bit off topic for Animal Communication, there’s plenty to learn from my reflection about the animals we call “humans”!

Finding Shadows in India

When I was a child I knew I had to visit India when I grew up. I don’t recall why the desire began, but it’s always been one of the top places I’ve wished to go. I love to travel, and I hoped it would happen, someday.

Now I’m here! I’ve made the epic journey to India, starting with a road trip across America, and time in Cambodia, Thailand, and Sri Lanka.

We saved India for last- the cherry on top! In total we will be away from home for six months. I’m writing this from month five.

As I’m reflecting on fulfilling this desire, I realized just how much my experiences with Shadow Work are supporting me. I literally cannot imagine traveling for so long without having first activated a healthier balance of my four archetypal energies: Sovereign, Lover, Warrior, and Magician.

I know sometimes it’s difficult to see how Shadow Work could be applicable in day-to-day situations. Whether you want to travel, or take on other goals in your life, I hope my tale shows you just how effective this healing modality can be!

Here are instances of how the four empowered archetypal energies have helped while on the road…

Sovereign: Maintaining My Vision

Let’s start with my Sovereign energy, because this is the part of me that’s kept my vision of traveling alive. A lot of things have happened since I was a little kid first wanting to see India. At that time, I had never even had Indian food!

With all the challenges of life that have happened since, I easily could have let go of this vision. It’s so far to travel, I might get sick, my family is worried, I have to quit work and live on a small savings, etc. I could go on with reasons why I should NOT have acted on this idea.

But I am grateful my Sovereign has kept a feeling of “yes!” around getting to India. It’s something sacred for my life path, even if I don’t yet understand all the ways it’s impacting me.

Lover: Keeping My Heart Open

Before leaving Massachusetts, I set a very clear intention with my Lover. I wanted to be sure to keep my heart open, even when I wanted to close it and go into a Warrior place with overly strong boundaries.

I was familiar with my ability to do this- become super defensive- after living for several months in Nairobi, Kenya. After a while of getting unwanted attention as a woman, as well as being charged higher prices day in and day out, I felt my heart really close. An unbalanced level of Warrior energy kicked into gear. For example, I would have a bad attitude towards someone when maybe it was just a misunderstanding or poor English translation.

So for this trip, I wanted to be really in touch with keeping my Lover safe, but also letting this energy shine.

Case in point. The other day I was slapped by an insane man as I walked by him. No injury was caused, but I was stunned and shaken. We quickly realized this man was crazy- we could see it in his eyes.

Sure enough, when the police came and found the man, who had run away, they told us he had no family and no home. He was a nuisance in his town. But worse, there was no hospital around that could give him care.

For a moment I had wanted to hit him back- what a jerk for hitting a woman for no reason! But I quickly felt my heart soften towards this person who has an incredibly different life experience from my own. Who knows how many people have hit him, or who he has watched being beaten?

I am grateful to my Lover for helping me forgive, question, and keep loving others, no matter the bad intentions they may have towards me.

Warrior: Holding My Boundaries

On the other side of keeping my heart open is my Warrior energy, which helps me hold healthy boundaries.

There is an overwhelming amount of people trying to sell us things. My favorite T-Shirt says something to the effect of, “No boat, No photo, No hash, No blessing, No one rupee, No rickshaw…” and on. I’m sure it was designed by someone tired of having to tell everyone no, and I’ve felt it!

But if I had traveled before doing any Shadow Work, I would certainly be in a pit of guilt right now about turning all these things down. Or, I would have spent all my money on boat rides I didn’t want! I had such poor boundaries, but now it feels really good to say no to the things I don’t need. I can say no in a loving way, and I can say it in a firm way if someone is being too persistent. It’s super empowering.

A small story for this one. A lot of Indians want to take photos with us. It’s adorable. And, sometimes we ask to take photos with them too.

But occasionally a photo session stretches into an affair. A group of 12 young guys all want several one-on-one photos, as well as a bunch of group shots, on each and every camera, and I’m too hot and hungry to get into a half hour event. So I draw a boundary- two photos, no more! Everyone is satisfied because I make it clear at the beginning, and they make those two pics count. I’m happy because my cheeks don’t hurt from smiling.

For this I am grateful for my Warrior energy, that I am not people-pleasing my way through India. It’s awesome to be here with my powerful but loving Warrior.

Magician: Making Good Decisions

Last but also super important, my Magician energy helps in nearly every moment.

There is always some decision to make: should we eat now, or wait? Where should we eat? What should we order? Do I want tea? Where should we go next? How long should we stay here? Should I Skype my family? Should I update Instagram and Facebook? Which pictures should I post, and which should I delete off my phone so I don’t run out of space? Do I need to hand wash any clothes? Should I buy some gifts? What price should I try to barter down to?

It’s just endless.

I don’t love making decisions. I easily encounter “decision fatigue,” and I question whether I’m making the right call. When traveling, there’s inevitably a bunch of stuff you’ll miss- things other people recommend- and I hate that feeling.

Before I participated in Shadow Work though, I was way worse at this. It was difficult for me to see my options, or else I would see too many possibilities and be frozen in inaction.

While I have some continued growth in keeping this energy in balance, just like all the others, I’m grateful for the strength of my Magician. Every day I witness the magic of the decisions I make, and how they always lead down an interesting path!

Enjoy Your Journey

I am incredibly blessed to have the privilege to travel, especially to a place I’ve always dreamed about. India is teaching me so much. It’s a beautiful country where I’ve made new friends and learned about different world views.

Thanks to having done Shadow Work, my experience here has greater ease and balance.

I hope that wherever you want to go, and whoever you want to be, you will consider the self growth options available to you- whether you embark with Shadow Work with Karin Green or some other form of healing or coaching.

The person you’ll mature into will be able to handle whatever comes your way with more grace and gratitude!

Safe travels <3

Photo credit: Aria Everts – This cow was chilling on the Kora, the path around the Dalai Lama’s temple in McLeod Ganj. Can you believe those gorgeous horns?!