Shadow Work with Mary Ciesynski

 

 

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
Hey everyone, I'm Dayna Schmidt-Johnson, the Community Manager or the Writual Society as well as the house astrologer. Today we are going to be talking about shadow work, which has really gained popularity in spiritual circles recently. And shadow work is really the process of revealing recognizing and integrating, and in some cases releasing the darker sides of our human selves, the sides, maybe we don't want to talk about or want to see or acknowledge, but that do exist within us. And to help us learn more about shadow work we have brought in the Shadow Work deck creator, Mary Ciesynski. Welcome, Mary, thanks so much for being with us today.

Mary Ciesynski
Thank you, Dayna. I'm very excited.

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
Tell us a little bit more about you and your mystical, magical journey.

Mary Ciesynski
Well, I have practiced Tarot reading and dream interpretations since I was about 12 or 14 years old. So it's been a really big part of my spiritual upbringing, I guess, to put it that way. And I decided to create my own deck along the way, and that's kind of how we got here.

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
You make it sound so simple and easy! Your deck is specifically about shadow work. So let's talk a little bit about that. What is Shadow Work for those who are less familiar with it?

Mary Ciesynski
For me, I have a little bit of a different take on Shadow Work. But it's, it ties in with the dream interpretation of Carl Jung. His version of shadow was really that it wasn't even necessarily just the repressed parts of ourselves, the darker parts of ourselves. But if we have low self esteem, if we have poor self image, sometimes our shadows are actually the good parts, the light parts of ourselves that we don't allow ourselves to feel loved, or accepted, or experience joy, because we've made them you know, in the background, we've repressed them, because we don't feel we're worthy of them. So a lot of times Shadow Work is just getting rid of all of those old stories and patterns to really get through to who we are. So integrating, not even just the darker stuff. But sometimes it's the good stuff, too, that we're not allowing ourselves to experience.

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
That's such an interesting, and I think refreshing take on Shadow Work. I think a lot of people avoid it because of the connotations of what it's going to bring up. But I love that it's almost like releasing, and then uncovering the good, right, rather than looking for the bad.

Mary Ciesynski
Yeah. And I've done some lectures and a couple of workshops in person. And I've had people come up to me after the class and say, you know, that they, they thought the deck was originally almost more of an affirmation deck, because they had always thought it was very, like deep and dark that you had to always be in this dark place. And it's, it's kind of a little bit of both.

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
How do they integrate? How do they work together?

Mary Ciesynski
It's really, it's really about empowerment. To simplify it, it's this. It's usually a pattern or an old story. It's something from our past, or it's something that consistently shows up for us because we haven't healed something that we don't even realize was the trauma at the time that it happened, inner child work will bring up some of that stuff up. So integrating it is first recognizing it for what it is and acknowledging it. And my personal journey, which we might get into a little bit later, but my personal journey with it was me realizing that I was repeating relational patterns, and trying to discover the root of those patterns is kind of what helped me through my shadow journey to integrate those pieces. So once you understand them, once you know where they come from, then you can say, Okay, well, I don't want to do that anymore. I don't want this to be my story anymore. And I'm going to make a change. Basically get to like rewrite your past, you get to rewrite your story so you can have more control going forward.

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
Amazing, and it brings so many more possibilities up into shadow work then. So you you alluded to relationships being one path that shadow work might be good for; what else can we use shadow work to do? Why should we really take time to dive into this kind of work at all?

Mary Ciesynski 
Really, I mean, one of the biggest things is when I say relationships, it's not even necessarily romantic relationships, it's our friendships, it's our partnerships, it's how we present ourselves to the world and how we want to be accepted by others. And a lot of it is kind of, it's like having a conversation with yourself, and discovering who you want to be. And if, if you don't have this sense of purpose, or if you're feeling less than confident, or if you're feeling like, you're stuck, that's usually a sign that there's something holding you back. And it's really up to you to kind of make that, that choice to start digging. And you could do it with a therapist, you could do it, you know, however you choose to do it, I started with journaling, and eventually into therapy, but everyone has kind of their own path with it. But once you start to figure out what it is that's holding you back, it kind of lets you open up these other channels. So maybe, if you're feeling insecure, or if you have low self image, that will prevent you from applying, because you don't even feel like you're worthy for a promotion at work. Or maybe you won't be as outgoing to like, join that cycling club or make new friends in your community. Because you don't even necessarily feel like you are able to do those things.

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
Yeah, that makes so much sense. Um, so you said you were talking a little bit about your own journey. And that includes creating the Shadow Work deck, right? How did you get to this point? How did you come to create a shadow work deck?

Mary Ciesynski
Well, that was kind of me finishing up a 15 year run of being what I call a serial relationship girl, I just kept kind of jumping from one relationship to the next. And I found myself in this serious relationship, I felt familiar feelings. And I said, this isn't working, and the common denominator in all of my relationships with me. So it has to start with me making some kind of a change so that I can have healthier relationships, and then not just for my benefit, but for the benefit of other people around me too. And doing this type of work, I think has improved my relationship to like my sister, it's improved my friendships, it's definitely improved how I interact with others, just in a general sense. And it was scary. Making that decision to a end relationship once I realized that there was a familiar pattern happening. And so when I did that, I was really, in this deep place, so I started to journal a lot. And when I journaled I started, like, here's the beginning of time, from my first boyfriend in like high school, you know, it's like, oh, this is your life. So I wrote everything down. And the patterns and things that started to come up, the advice that I ignored or things that I would say, if I was talking to a friend, and wasn't taking my own advice, I started to write all of these ideas down. And I spent a day just writing as if I was giving advice to a friend. And it was basically like creating emotional flashcards. Essentially, it was, you know, informational in some degree, but also things that I wanted to hear things that I should have said to someone else, you know, younger me, things I would have done differently. I started to reflect on and I had like, a stack of index cards and a Sharpie marker. And I remember, I wrote them all out on the index cards, and I brought them with me to one of my friends, and she read through them and she's like, this is incredible, because I wasn't even calling it shadow work at the time. And she's like, this is Shadow Work, like people could really benefit from this. What you're doing is really important. And so I feel like my process of healing created this deck, I created my own tool to kind of help me but at the same time, it's something that can help others.

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
That's so cool. I love the idea of emotional flashcards. As a person with a child who is like working with flashcards constantly, like this just makes good sense, right? You pull a card and have it say something that you maybe didn't even know you needed to hear at that moment. So what's the deck - give us give us an example, pull up pull a card for us. What can we hear right now?

Mary Ciesynski
Oh, look, here's the one, I let go of guilt and shame. With this one was like a gut punch. When I came up with it, I wrote it down. And I was like, oh, and that's how you know that, like you need it. It's kind of your emotional reaction to it. And it's a big one, I think everyone has felt guilt or shame at some point. And it's something that we all really need to focus on. Like, why? Where's this coming from? And there's two different things, you know, it's kind of two different sides of the same coin, where like, guilt is like, 'Oh, I did this thing, and I feel bad about it.' But the shame part is like, 'I'm a bad person.' And so figuring out our ideas around this, and what makes us feel one or the other or both, is a really good way to help us like kind of delve into that piece of all of this stuff under the surface that we need to bring out, you know, to heal, we need to recognize it first.

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
Definitely, and that, like you said, was, is kind of a gut punch, it really says like, you feel the feelings of guilt and shame, and to be able to truly say, you know, what, I release that. I let go of it. I can now see what you mean, how Shadow Work can really be almost like an unveiling of the light work that's within us.

Mary Ciesynski
Right? Yeah. It's like it's step one, and then the light work? It's kind of you do both.

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
Right, right. It's like layers of an onion, right? You're just pelling away? How beautiful is that? When we're not really, I think we don't think of things like guilt and shame as shadows of ourselves, but rather feelings, emotions, things like that, right? But then we start attaching ourselves to those feelings and emotions and our actions start following in. And suddenly, it's 10 years later, and you have compounded all this guilt and shame on top of yourself. And this deck can really give us an opportunity to look at it through a different lens.

Mary Ciesynski
Yeah, yeah. And even like, the letting go part. If it just kind of figuring out where those emotions are attached and know what they're attached to. Why is it hard to let go? You start asking yourself more questions to lead you down that path.

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
Right, that's just like a fire starter. Right? That one part is a rabbit hole of possibilities. So how can we - aside from a deck like this that is helpful in kind of uncovering those questions and that deep work - how can we integrate Shadow Work into our own spiritual practices?

Mary Ciesynski
Personally, I find that and I'm going to relate it to the deck for a second because one of the things that I like to do is take these concepts and ideas. One of the other cards I have that was kind of attached. I am passionately in love with myself, I have actually taken this card and lit a pink candle for self love. I like to do like a little morning ritual. And it's sort of affirmational but it sets the intention for the spell. So I think when you start to think in terms of your shadow, using these ideas, these concepts, these patterns that you're pulling out, you can use them when you meditate in the morning. I like do a release. When you breathe in, you breathe out. And I use sound. So I will clap out the negative energy, clap out what you're trying to release. And I feel like Shadow Work can kind of help us go a little bit deeper. But you can also do it kind of on a day to day basis, where it's just like little chipping away instead of just all at once a big deep dive in. So you're always kind of practicing as if working out a muscle. So consistency is key. So meditation spellwork I like to use it for even cord cutting spells. Again with that like guilt and shame piece especially the relational parts of it really can integrate into any level.

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
Beautiful. Yeah, I like the idea of, you know, doing a little bit, a little bit at a time, right? Because I think it's very easy for us to be like, okay, now we're going to shadow work, let's dive in. And it's going to take a lot longer for things to come up and then you're gonna have to sit with them for a while. And, you know, repeat things over and over before sometimes you're even your brain clicks and gets it.

Mary Ciesynski
Yeah.

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
And being able to use those cards as both affirmations and spells, what a double whammy.

Mary Ciesynski
Yeah. Oh, and I like to use them for my Tarot reading, speaking of spiritual practice, in the sense of cards, my friend, Denise, and I actually do like a little three card poll, and we text them to each other. She lives in Kansas, and I live in Rhode Island. So we'll sometimes interpret if we're stuck on what our own meaning is, but usually oracle, tarot and sometimes a shadow. So if you're reading a traditional tarot, and like I did a past, present, future with my sister the other night, and she was just kind of like, I get what the first one means, but the other two could kind of be a couple of things that will pull another card as a clarifier. So she grabbed her deck, and she pulled another card, and it was just like, I make time for play. It's such the devil, this is definitely about work them like, I'm too overworked and I need to do something different. So integrating our shadows into even just our Tarot can really help to shed light on things and expand upon what we're already doing.

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
Absolutely, yeah, I've definitely heard of using an Oracle Card to do that, that that, you know, help clarify and expand. But using a deck like this would certainly do the same; serve the same purpose. And not only that, but I think your deck is very straightforward, right? It's saying exactly what you need to hear, rather than having to interpret some kind of image that doesn't quite make sense. This is very words on a page view. So let me ask you what you love about shadow work? Why do you do it? You came to this point, you know, it wasn't that you were like, I'm creating intentionally a shadow deck, but you started revealing pieces of yourself. And, you know, what do you love about it?

Mary Ciesynski
I feel like it's almost like a choose your own adventure story. Being able to go back in time, people think about like, Oh, if I went back in the past, I would totally do things differently. And you know, seen it in movies, and like somebody steps on a bug and like, the whole world is different. But you can kind of do that safely with Shadow Work, where you can go back into these like, repressed places where maybe you felt disempowered, maybe you felt like you didn't have a choice. And it's sort of forgiving yourself for not having the tools or the knowledge that you have today to make that decision or to make those choices or to stand up for yourself. And working through that. Now with prospective with a grander picture of, of life of who you want to be of who you are. And really setting boundaries and like, rebuilding who you were then and kind of bridging that gap to who you want to be. It's really beautiful. I think it's something that's helped me tremendously. And I really like to be able to take what I've learned, and what I'm still processing because Shadow Work is not like a one and done. It's the good news, bad news. Good news is like, you have your whole life figured out. But the bad news is you have your whole life to figure it out. But being able to share this process with others and teach them how to do it, feeling like you have some control over your outcomes is really helpful, I think in the healing process, too. And even just developing, you know, becoming and aligning with what you want and who you want to be.

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
Well, I'm so excited that you are going to be teaching us some more about all of that coming up in our November class in the Writual Society. You know, just hearing your story and your journey. I think I do like hearing that, yeah, it takes your whole life but we also have our whole life to figure it out. Right. And this is one chance and we want to hear more and learn more about how we can continue to either maybe start or continue to integrate this type of work into our own practices. So we're excited to bring you in in November. In the meantime, where can people find you so that we can learn more about you and get really excited about November's class?

Mary Ciesynski
Well, you can pick up the deck at ShadowWorkDeck.com. I also have these great stickers that also fit in your Writual Planner. So you want to use them with your Writual planners. Also on Tiktok, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, just as Shadow Work deck, you can pretty much find me any of those places as well. I do also have like a deep dive four week course coming up. You can find it under the Courses section at shadowworkdeck.com if anyone's interested in that as well.

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
Perfect four weeks doesn't seem like nearly enough time considering this lifelong work that you have built and we're so very grateful. So thank you again, Mary, so excited to have you in November and thank you so much for being with us here today.

Mary Ciesynski
Thank you so much Dayna. Have a great night. You too.

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About Mary Ciesynski

https://shadowworkdeck.com/

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