I had the total pleasure of participating in Lacy Phillips’ 10-day UNBLOCKED class, which focused on reintegration of the shadow. Visit Free + Native for more info on her workshops.
In part, I liked how it sounded.
My partner, Michael: “What are you doing?”
Me: “Shadow work.”
It is indeed awesome. But it is also an intriguing, difficult, real kind of psychic work. Without going too deeply into Lacy’s awesome guided visualizations and writings, I want to talk a little about my findings.
Visualization is magic. I am an incredibly visual person and I had forgotten (duh) how sweet and intense guided visualizations are for me. During the unblocked class, I imagined in great detail various aspects of myself. This was, at times, painful. But it was also eerie and special. The stuff of art. Yes! Looking at the self.
I go rogue. While I loved Lacy’s shadow work guidance, I naturally tend to go off-book and explore. In this sense, I feel like the UNBLOCKED class was really helpful in figuring out some longstanding artistic problems and career questions.
The shadow is good. It’s a necessary force! I dove into aspects of myself that I struggle with — but also tried to ask myself “Okay, but how does this serve me?”
It’s so important to pay attention to the times/parts of your life your mind keeps wandering back to. During shadow work, I realized that my mind kept going back to this very specific time in my life — my very early twenties. These were very shadowy times and I had labelled them “difficult” or “rough” or “traumatizing but I leaned something” etc. However, through this lovely and detailed shadow work, I was able to take my time, look around, embody this 21 year old self, and ask her what I needed to learn.
Learning alongside other people is amazing. The workshop was a digital one. However, I felt the momentum of the group and that helped propel me forward. I tend towards interiority and this was a nice reminder. We are our own mirrors but others are also mirrors. So yeah, the world’s a mirror.
I’m super happy that I decided to dive into the shadow stuff with Lacy’s awesome text, voice, and energy guiding me (us).
The revelation I emerged with: My 21 year old self just MADE ART. Like, lots of art and didn’t have any negative associations yet about the art world or what artists should make or any of the heady-stuff that goes along with moving to a big city and going to art school. So, since the unblocking / unlocking of this 21 year old renegade artist Emmalea, I’ve been WAY more tapped into that free creative energy. Thank you, Lacy. Thank you, shadow.
(Image: Emmalea Russo, "Pauline II", 2017)
And here is a link to my site, if you want to see what I'm doing with this energy.