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What is Shadow Work, Generational/Ancestral Trauma, & Inner Child Work?


We are going to be talking about shadow work today. Because right now we're going through a really intense energetic shift, and we've all been worn out by the pandemic as it is - the elections, and events all over the world. With everyone going through so much, we wanted to provide resources so that you guys can take care of yourselves during this time and also make it a productive time for healing. Let's dive into the deep, tough stuff.





There's an energy shift going on. Can you tell people what's going on? Also, what could we be doing in the meantime?


Just to start before we dive into defining shadow work, I want to say that we're not being punished or anything. It's a natural progression of our earth and humanity. We agreed to rise at a certain collective consciousness. Inhabitants of Earth and Earth itself are now contracted to start really raising their awareness, getting to the next level.


Our race is ready for a new energy and so is our earth. With that, we have to start to really cleanse, and we've been doing it. It's to help us in the long run and to help us help each other because we're just fighting. That's something really important to remember: we're not being punished. This is to help us.


We have to dive deep. If everyone dives deep within themselves with shadow work, for example, we can really get through this in a productive way and then be at a whole other level of personal evolution, getting rid of all the toxic crap in our lives.



What is shadow work?


MARIA: I just found out the other day actually from another creator that the concept of shadow work is really actually pretty ancient and belongs to some very ancient indigenous cultures, but in a modern world, it was kind of rediscovered through psychology by Carl Jung who used this to talk about concepts such as the inner child.


Really in the spiritual world, we talk about it as facing our shadows within us, because we all have a light side and the shadow side. We are dual beings.


When we are doing shadow work, what we're doing is we're addressing our deepest, darkest wounds, traumas. They are things we're doing that are toxic and things that toxic people have put into us. Also, it’s the process of re-identifying who we are and all that. What has been put on us? What has been imposed on us and who are we in our truest form?


Sometimes we don't know that, and we don't realize that we don't know who we are until maybe halfway through our lives; that's a midlife crisis. Shadow work is this deep, inner exploration of all the darkest aspects of ourselves: going back to our childhood, revealing things that traumatized us, working through these different things and slowly but surely, healing them, finding resolution, and lifting them out of our energy into the light so that we can continue to grow and know who we truly are and what we're here to do. That's kind of my little metaphysical explanation.


So just to reiterate shadow work is diving into old wounds, old traumas from your past and starting to bring them to the surface. And you can use different healing modalities to do this. We talked about EFT Tapping. For example, you can make a trauma timeline by writing it all out when all these traumas happen. And then one by one, you can meditate on those, go back to inner child work where you're telling the child that experienced that trauma or the person that experienced that trauma. You come in your current form of the knowledge and wisdom you have now, and you can say “it's okay. You're protected. You're safe.” Or you can say things to that inner child. That's just one technique. It's inner child work. But shadow work is just a general deep dive into healing your deepest shadows. So, the skeletons in your closet, that's essentially what it is and the intentional practice of working through those ones by one and starting to heal through whatever modality you choose.


TRANG: What I learned is that shadow work is dealing with deep-rooted issues. Half the time, people don't know what they are because when we've been through trauma or things like that, we've suppressed it for such a long time that usually it might take a professional to help dig that out. And usually it comes from childhood. Most of the time people are like, “I don't remember childhood”, but usually people can tackle it by saying, “How did you feel? What do you think about childhood? What were the emotions that came out of it? A lot of people, unfortunately, don't say it was all happy, glitzy, glamor. Sometimes a child can feel burdened; they can feel scared, things like that.


And I saw something on Instagram yesterday that I thought described this really well, where it says: “Emotional trauma that has not been dealt with will reveal itself in either avoidance of conflict.” So there are people that avoid conflict. People pleasing behaviors for everyone who like to people please, or make sure everyone's okay. There is a reason why you keep having a pattern of that. Codependency relationships or even abandonment fears - and so you might go into unhealthy relationships. Why does it make you go into unhealthy relationships? Why do you seek external validation from other people, avoid your own personal needs, and not having boundaries set? There is a reason why you have these patterns.


Sometimes people say, “Oh, I always end up with an asshole.” The first relationship - yes. But if you've been with four assholes in a row, you have to start questioning yourself, “Why do I have this pattern?” You know, maybe it's you. Shadow work is hard because no one wants to admit that they have this flaw, that they have this fault. And it's really painful a lot of times to dig deep into that.


Maria and I are also huge advocates of therapy because a professional can get a fresh perspective and they're also trained to do this type of stuff too, and to dig deep. But if you don't address your emotional traumas, you're going to have chaos or abuse in your relationships, whether it's romantic or with friendships or family.


Is there a light and shadow part to everything?


MARIA: Yes, there really is. That's part of our human existence is this extreme duality. It's one of the hardest things about choosing incarnation as a human on earth and there are various timelines. This is a tough one because we are meant to explore these shadows. So basically we are here to discover such depths of our being. That's part of why the duality is here, why the earth is designed the way it is, and why humanity is designed the way it is, so that we can exercise these different aspects of ourselves. The light and dark contrast really do help to bring things to the surface and teach us. Everyone has a light and shadow side, even the nicest person. It's just part of who we are, and we can't hate ourselves for that. We're just being human.


What is ancestral trauma? Why do a lot of people seem to encounter difficulty breaking negative family cycles?


MARIA: Ancestral trauma and generational trauma is truly one of the biggest things that hold people back from progressing in this life because they have taken on the burden, of like an entire family. How that happens is it starts with an ancestor that introduces a certain pattern into a family aligned.


So for example, great, great, great grandpa. Oh, we can see this in, for example, our president, right? His great-grandfather was not necessarily a good person. Then had his son, who was not a great person and it went on. You see how the generations just keep that as part of their generational karma, generational trauma. Believe it or not, yes, even someone like Trump was traumatized by this and it shapes people.


If that's what's modeled to you or if you're deprived of certain things, you can end up like that. So that's an example of one and a lot of people have this. So for example, I keep seeing patterns of several people who are sexually assaulting their own family members in the same family. And it goes back to like great grandpa and then grandpa, and then uncle Bob, and it's carrying down this trauma.


There's like every generation has that trauma in it somehow or some way, even if not everyone was affected by it or was a victim of it. It still affects the whole family. It becomes part of that processing. So especially in this energy, it's time to release that you do not have to sit here and suffer for your families indiscretions or negativity anymore. You can release that and, it's hard, it's a journey, but it is beautiful and it is possible to heal from it. So you can begin to break the cycle with tools like shadow work, inner child work, tapping, etc. And we'll go into some of this stuff later, but that's a little bit about ancestral trauma. Some people will call it a family curse. It's really ancestral trauma.


TRANG: I think a lot of times when people use the word curse it feels so disempowering just because people think, you know, the curse kind of gives that connotation of like you can't ever get rid of it. But a lot of times it's a response to trauma growing up and you know, with help methods and techniques you can, like Maria said can break through trauma and heal from it. Actually just realizing that there is trauma or there is that's ongoing in your family. And the first place is a huge first step to take. You know, a lot of people don't see it at all. And some people are even meant to come into this life to break ancestral trauma, generational trauma, that's been ongoing and it doesn't have to be something huge as even being, you know assaulted and assaulting each generation. It could be even things like neglect.


You know, I think I was reading the kind of like, you know, the back of a book cover, you know, the summary to be like, I don't really want to buy this book, but I just want to see what it talks about. And it was, I think Trump's cousin, who's a psychologist, that describes his upbringing. And it was because I don't think the mom was in the picture. She might've passed away, but the dad, he didn't give them any attention at all. He was a businessman and he just wanted them to obey everything he said, you know? And so that psyche is gonna that's going to mess up his psyche and then make him the way he is today. And most likely he's going to pass that down to like another generation like that. But again, you always have free will to learn and break the cycle. It's really tough. And that's why we want to share more about where you can probably seek help and support about when, if that you're encountering that in your own life right now, too.


Could breaking a family cycle be our purpose, in the family?


MARIA: Yes, it can be. So many times the people who come in that are like the black sheep that are challenging, what has been put before generation after generation. You're constantly at odds because you want to be free and live life the way you want to live it. You don't want their religion or their culture necessarily. You don't want to continue the same patterns. You vote differently than they do. You're literally coming in there. You're shaking stuff up. You're the rebel. And you make everyone nuts because you refuse to conform. You guys are likely here to break the generational cycles, break the ancestral chains and move the family to a new direction. And they're going to get so annoyed at you and so frustrated. You may even have to eventually distance yourself from them.


You are here to bring in a different energy and sometimes it's very traumatic to be in this role because you spend your whole life feeling like you don't belong in your own family. You a lot of times have to find a friend group that you've built, that is your new family, because they get you. You're kind of custom building your own family. So that is a common pattern.


Know that you are brought in differently because you were meant to be different. So embrace it. Do not let them beat you down. You're here to be different. You're here to be you.


So yes, it is exhausting. Sometimes they will never stop trying to convert you. They never stopped trying to brainwash you and bring you back into the fold, but you are meant to raise the vibration and break the cycle. So keep doing it.



Let’s talk about shadow work, but more in the relationship realm. People hear about “twin flames” or “soulmates''. Can you talk about shadow work in terms of toxic relationships?


MARIA: Well, this is a tough one. And I have seen so many people who have traumas fall into the trap of seeking the perfect relationship through the idea, especially of twin flames, sometimes people get obsessed with the idea of soulmates. This is a perfect example of people who are not coming from a healthy place necessarily when they are looking for a relationship. The idea of a twin flame is inherently, sure it sounds magical. It's like the twin flame is literally the other half of your soul that's manifested into a relationship or a romantic partner in an incarnation or the other half of use in another realm watching over you sometimes. But people are looking for this like a treasure hunt, of finding this other half of their soul. Inherently, that creates so much expectation and also an unhealthy mindset that you are incomplete.


You need to find your other half, right? We talk about this a lot in our culture. I'm finding my other half or my other half did this, no, you’re a whole, you’re a whole. And inherently looking for someone who is your other half and putting a metaphysical label on it that makes it sound like it's the best relationship ever. When actually, if you read more about it, it's one of the most traumatic things you could probably go through a lot of time. It's causing people to find people they think are their twin flame because it's hard. And because they are getting along with people who are sociopaths and psychopaths and narcissists who are mirroring, trying to manipulate someone who's desperate to find their twin flame. And really, they're just manipulating the other person to think that they are that person. They just absorb your characteristics and reflect it back to you.


So meanwhile, you think you've found your twin flame, but really they're just mirroring who you are back to you. They're not that person. And you end up getting stuck in some sort of toxic relationship, and you will not leave because you think, this is just part of the process. This is just how twin flames are. They can be difficult, they're just challenging me. No, do not try to find your twin flame. Just try to find a healthy relationship and know that you're whole, and you don't need someone to complete you. So come from that place and find another person who knows that they're whole, and doesn't need someone to complete them. People can also do this with soulmates too. They're like, “Oh my God, I got to find my soulmate”. And they get fixated on this one soulmate. Sometimes we have several people we are supposed to be with in life. Humans are honestly more naturally polyamorous than monogamous. So we've just manufactured a lot of this stuff.


So it's called twin flame because it's like, literally the idea of like a flame, like finding a romantic flame and it's like a twin. So it's like someone who's literally like your identical twin, but they manifest as your soul twin. And they come in a lifetime and stuff like that. So please do not fall into that trap. That's what I would say. Just focus on a healthy relationship, do not put labels on it. And if you see someone that's too much like you, that seems like they're almost identical to you, that's probably not realistic. So just be very, very discerning and make sure that you're not letting your own trauma affect the way you're viewing the relationship, so that you're not seeing past the manipulations. Let yourself use your gut instinct to process this stuff. Don't fall into the trap of, “Oh, they're just having a bad day. Well, they really do love me. I know they do, but they've locked me in my room for three days.” Do not question your gut instinct.


TRANG: I'm gonna give my cake example. Imagine you're a piece of cake. If you are really wholesome and have worked a lot on yourself, you're like an amazing piece of cake. That's like the best recipe ever. And you know, the best cakes out there don't really need frosting because they're just so yummy by itself. But a relationship, a nice, healthy relationship with someone else, your partner that's just icing on the cake. But you don't need the icing in order to survive, to feel whole, to feel fulfilled. Again, going back to that shadow work and working yourself: why do I feel like I need that person to complete me? And digging into that and you're going to discover a lot about yourself and why you've been in these negative behaviors or why it possibly has stemmed from childhood.



A lot of people in this community are empaths. Could you explain what an empath is?


MARIA: So empaths, people who are literally psychic sponges to other people's feelings, emotions, potentially diseases, pretty much anything that is in people's energy fields including things like thoughts you know, psychic insights that can be felt, that's empathy. And many times empaths may feel drained all the time. When they're around people, you might tend to be more introverted. You don't have to be a severe introvert, but maybe tend to be more introverted where you don't feel so good to be in big crowds. You get overwhelmed, maybe even at the grocery store, you feel things that no one else is picking up on. You're like, am I crazy? Because I'm literally sensing this. And then everyone's like, “What are you talking about? You're just being judgmental”. And you're like, “I'm serious. There's something about that person”. And you might get gaslighted by your own friends all the time, because they just don't understand what you're picking up on. And then it might take months, weeks, years for them to finally see what you've been sensing. So it can be frustrating.


Also, you might tend to attract people like energy vampires who were like, “Ooh, look at this, really this person who just really gives me so much emotional support and is always there for me and doesn't, and never backs down, even when I'm acting.” They might latch on to you and just suck you dry. And it might be hard to get rid of them because then they might gaslight you and tell you that you're the crazy one, that you're not a good friend, and then you might question your whole self. So yes, that can happen. You might attract narcissists easily or you know, people on the narcissistic spectrum; so sociopath, psychopath, and you could be more likely to attract them because they see your light and your energy. Also you may also have clairsentience.


So you can pair with empathy, also feeling things in your physical body like, Oh, why is my heart hurt? And then you're standing next to someone you didn't know, had a heart condition or had some knee injury or whatever. You might pick it up in your own body. You can gaslight yourself because we start to do this to ourselves because we've been told so many times that people don't understand what we're talking about. So then we start doing it to ourselves as a protection mechanism.


So if you know people that are sucking you dry because you're kind and you're there and you feel what they're feeling, you feel their pain. Do not let them guilt you into a toxic relationship. Now's a great time to cut that crap out because the energy is shifting and things are being revealed. Also psychic protection is so important or you can call it boundary setting. Some people don't like the word protection. Psychic boundaries setting is so important where you say other people's energies do not come into my energy field. They're not permitted to come into my energy. And that's just a simple thing you could say every day to yourself to create clear boundaries.



Why is it that strange, weird, or draining people/coworkers go for me. Why are they drawn to me?


MARIA: Oh my goodness. We had a perfect example of this in a client we had the other day who is a lovely person who was such a bright shining, empathetic light, talented, smart, and also just very lovely, very kind, very empathetic. And they just were getting attacked and drained by their people at work. And I told her this because I've literally been there myself. I see this pattern happening over and over, especially the empathic types, also because we can be eager to please. So that makes us more, even more likely to be taken advantage of.


I told her, your light is shining so bright that to the people around you who are very low vibe, very, very dense, very miserable, super self-conscious, whatever. When they see your bright shining, beautiful light come in, it feels the rays of your light will feel like burn on their skin. That's the level of vibrational difference. They'll feel like they're burning around you all the time and they hate it. They don't even sometimes know why they're talking down on you, even though you're like the most likable person, right?


So when you are a kind person and you come in with a genuine heart and you have a beautiful energy and you are an empathetic person, people may want to try to end all your lights. So it's really important, especially to do shadow work when you're like this, because you can even be a little bit gullible. Not gullible, as in you fall for everything easily, but you truly, maybe want to help people. You may believe people when they tell you things, even if your gut is telling you something different, you might genuinely want to believe them. And that can get you in trouble sometimes. So you're not a vulnerable person, but people can latch onto you more easily. So just set boundaries. And if you see people trying to pile work on you or trying to gaslight you at work and blame you for stuff, you have to stand your ground. That's the key and it can be hard and I know how hard that is myself. I struggle with that as well.


TRANG: I noticed with empathic people, the bullies are the narcissistic people at work, they're the ones most likely to be like, Hey, can you do this? Or bully you, because they know empaths are the nice people, are less likely to say “no”, and they're less likely to put boundaries. They're less likely to be like, “You know what? I did this last time, but this time you need to take it on”. And when it's kind of like, you know, bullies, don't stand up to the other mean people because they know they're gonna get pushback. So that's why we talk about setting boundaries, but it could be simple as being like, “No, not this time. Right now I have my work to do.”


Maybe even things like, “I need to check with my job description to see if this is within my realm of what I'm supposed to do.” Because you know, when you keep saying yes, yes, yes. And getting to that pattern of like a yes-person; people will just know to just dump things on you.



Is it common for empaths to end up in a victim position or have a victim mentality?


MARIA: I've met people in my life that have that victim mentality where something happened to them in the past, where it could be childhood or even in a bad relationship. But the thing that's unfortunate is that they think anything coming out of it, haven't resolved the issue or working on themselves, they always think afterwards that anything bad that happens, it's like they're being cursed or like, “Why do bad things happen to me?” And they start telling that narrative to themselves where they apply it to anything in life. It gets into a toxic cycle. So that's just another thing too, if you have that, it's also a shadow work aspect to work on as well.


I always manifest and end up in a cycle of trauma. Is that actually manifesting or is that something else?


MARIA: Oh guys I very much relate to that at the moment. And yes, in a way we are manifesting things that, what's happening is this, we have certain destiny markers in life that we have to experience no matter what, but in between we have free will. We can choose how to handle the situation.


And this isn't victim blaming. This isn't saying like, “It's your fault that you did this again.” It's this, we have a certain vibration. Our vibration is determined by our thoughts, our experiences, how much we are holding those traumas or positives in our body. The choices we make because of them, it all adds up to kind of the vibration of the way we live our life, who we are or who we project ourselves out to. Even if it's not truly who we are, because we have trauma we haven't dealt with or whatever. So what happens is if you have all of these, you've just pushed stuff down or you've worked on a little bit, but haven't quite gotten over the hump yet. And you may keep experiencing the stuff over and over and over until you finally stand firm.


I have personally experienced this so many times. I can't even count. I'm experiencing it right now. It's one of the hardest things I've been through. And I'm telling you, I know exactly why it's here. And I'm like, “Goddammit, I thought I got through this, but I did not”. And I see exactly where I did not stand my ground and now it's happening again. And just notice the pattern, but just know it's not because you did anything to deserve it. Please don't think that it's simply because you're meant to learn a certain lesson.


So the universe is like, “How about this little one?” You ignore that. How about this little one? Oh, it's getting a little bigger. How about this? And then it gets bigger. And before you know it, it's like an unbearable scenario. And then you have to act, at that point sometimes even almost life or death at a certain point.


Be patient with yourself. That's the other thing I would add because it can take several rounds of this, guys. It can take several lifetimes to finally defeat the cycle. So please be easy on yourself. Know that it's one of the hardest things to break a trauma cycle, but you can absolutely do it. And I'm so sorry to any of you who have dealt with this or are dealing with it right now. People who are feeling trapped in a certain cycle, you can get out of it. Standing up for yourself might make you want to vomit because it's such a difficult feeling. But with time, the more you break down these traumas, the easier it is for you to see your actual strength that's truly within you. So love yourself, guys. I know it's hard, but take time to learn to love yourself. Shadow work is one of the ways you can do that.


TRANG: When it comes to relationships, I just want to send you a gentle reminder that abuse and control is not love. Sometimes when you are in a toxic relationship or work relationship, we kind of start to lose our voice. That's one thing people don't realize over time, until they see it in hindsight. Maria and I have both been bullied at work before and I used to be a person that would just speak out, you know, no problem. But over time sometimes you lose voice.


So again, yes, be easy on yourself. It is very uncomfortable, and with the healing process, it's not going to be linear. It's going to be, like a little better every day. You might crash one day and think like, “Why am I crying and sobbing? And I feel like a failure.” And then it gets better and better and better. And they might have another crash again. So just know that the healing process is messy and that's okay.



Where do I start with my inner child work?


TRANG: There is a psychologist, her handle is the.holistic.psychologist and she has amazing content talking about inner child work and shadow work and integrates everything together. And that's a really great place to start. I think she also has a program too, and a group called self-healers. She believes that you can also work on healing yourself through a lot of journaling, a lot of meditations that she offers and things like that.


MARIA: Some of the ways that you can support yourself through this journey of shadow work, for example, is if you do things like I just saw someone mentioned in the comments is EFT Tapping. My gosh, that is one of the most beautiful companions to shadow work that ever could be.


It's so kind of these EFT and Tapping practitioners to put free videos on that are like guided, tapping exercises that you can do. I remember when EFT wasn't very well known and it helped me get out of an abusive relationship. I didn't know how I could escape. I literally felt trapped. I didn't know, I was going to lose everything if I left and I found EFT at the right time. And it just took a couple of weeks of EFT to just get enough strength and clarity to finally leave. I couldn't believe that I finally did it. So that's the amount of impact it can have if you're working through your traumas with it as a tool. You could also use it to boost your confidence, to heal from wounds faster, to heal through mental stuff. I mean, literally you can use it for anything. It clears out energetic pathways in your body.


TRANG: We do have a blog post about EFT tapping and it's great. And then we also have a link in there to show you it's a YouTube channel where they have quick sessions and it's not long. It's like 10 minutes of tapping exercises. It's for wealth, it's for like abundance. It could be for heartbreak. There are so many different types, so just make sure you check it out.


MARIA: Additionally, find a Reiki practitioner that can help you kind of heal in between major deep shadow work or trauma work sessions you're doing on yourself. What happens when we are doing all this hard work on ourselves internally, emotionally it does come up from the deeper aspects of ourselves and it can kind of linger in our energy field a little bit. So, you know, it might be nice to get someone like a healer, someone that you trust, that's a healer, Reiki practitioner, or any other method that you resonate with and have them work on you once a month. That way you can kind of keep the flow going and things aren't getting hung up. They just keep things moving and also heal areas that have recently been worked on. You know, because when you're removing blockages from yourself, by doing shadow work, it can leave an area, for example, in your body or in your aura, like a little patch where it was, where it was nested that has been removed. And so we can fill in those gaps and stuff. Trang and I are both Reiki masters. We do offer it remotely on zoom, but please find a practitioner that you resonate with.


We highly recommend body scan meditation. It can help you figure out where energy is lingering in your body. Even if it's emotional, it can be attached to literally an organ, a joint, you know, a certain tissue, a certain area of quadrant of your body. So that is something else I'd recommend, but there's a ton. Also make sure you do a lot of self-care during this time. Anything that makes you feel good.


Ana Lilia Breath Work is an amazing resource. We love her. She's so sweet. Again, do your research, but we've taken classes from her and she does it online stuff. She's such a sweet person, by the way. Ana Lilia is like a little drop of honey. I swear she has the sweetest energy and she's also a Reiki master. I know we're selling her. We have no affiliation with her whatsoever. We just love going to her classes and she does everything online nowadays. We used to go to her classes before COVID in person.


TRANG: Breath Work is a very different type of meditation. You get definitely more usually tingling sensations and stuff, and it's a two-part breath. It's very different. She at the moment during COVID is offering breathwork sessions. It's free, but you can donate money. Maria and I have had just amazing experiences with it, where we definitely shifted afterwards.


MARIA: Yeah. It's incredible and it's a nice addition to your other work. Another resource just for anyone who is dealing with toxic relationships, narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths, whatever, whatever gnarly or just people that are toxic...Over the years, I've found Dr. Romani on YouTube. She's got her flaws too. We all do, but she is an expert on these types of people and she basically dedicates her whole life and practice to how to deal with narcissists, empaths, techniques, things to look out for. That's another one.


We do our best as healers and we do our best as teachers and we're not perfect, but she's really cool. There are a couple