Have you heard of shadow work before? Are you interested in or thinking about doing shadow work? Do you have ZERO clue what shadow work is? Start here. Seriously. You are going to learn SO much from this podcast interview with Danielle Massi. She is THE expert in Shadow Work, cancer survivor and she makes all of this unconscious & subconscious mind stuff make clear, intuitive sense so you can truly understand the significance of shadow work!
What is shadow work? What does that actually mean and how do you do it? Does everyone need to do it? Lunden and Danielle have a raw, real, beautiful chat about shadow work and how it’s transformed both of their lives. You’re going to LOVE this wonderful, informative conversation.
LISTEN OR WATCH THE FULL EPISODE 117: SHADOW WORK WITH DANIELLE MASSI ON SELF LOVE & SWEAT THE PODCAST
What is Shadow Work?
“Shadow is the unconscious. It’s a term that was coined by Carl Jung in the 1800s.” Massi describes. “And when he was working closely with Sigmund Freud, who everybody knows, he found that everyone has a layer to their cognition that’s like so, so deep down and repressed that you have no idea that it’s there. And the vast majority of our memories are stored within the unconscious mind, which is fine for the most part. When we were living until we were 40, it wasn’t a big deal. But now that we’re living into our seconds, 8080s and 90s, it’s posing a problem because there’s only so much storage in the unconscious mind. And what happens is the stuff that’s hidden in buried down there tends to bubble up and cause trouble for us throughout our lives. It gives us anxiety, it makes us depressed, it changes our personalities and it becomes a problem. Shadow work is the process of going into those unconscious memories to pull them up to the surface, to deal with them in the moment. And I know that if everybody’s seen like on TikTok, people talk about shadow work all the time and it’s usually shadow work journaling, right? Like everybody’s like, pull out a piece of paper and a pen. Here’s a prompt, which is great, but it’s not actually shadow work because from journaling we can only access what’s called the subconscious mind. We can’t go all the way down.”
How do you access your unconscious mind through altering your brain waves?
“The unconscious can only be accessed through a special brainwave state called Theta,” Massi teaches us on this episode. “It’s like that space that you’re in when you’re drifting off to sleep, you know, when you’re like almost asleep, you’re not quite there yet. Like you could get up and answer a phone call if you wanted to, but you could also pass out a few minutes. That’s theta. It’s where your brainwave is kind of at this ripple where you can access things that would normally be hidden away. That’s the sweet spot. And when we’re there, we can re-experience memories that have been forgotten to heal them.”
Who is Danielle Massi?
Danielle Massi is a master shadow work practitioner, best-selling author, keynote speaker, and CEO of The Wellness Collective, a holistic healing space in Philadelphia. Her signature shadow work program, the Create Your Light Academy, has helped thousands of spiritual women unearth, remove, and heal unconscious blocks that are causing disconnect between their mind, body, and energy.
Danielle is the founder of the SELF(ISH)philly Conference, a self-care conference, where hundreds of women gather annually to indulge in a day of expansion and growth, and the creator of the Shadow Seekers® Certification course that teaches spiritual leaders to become trauma-informed, certified shadow workers.
Danielle has written for and been featured in New York Mag, The Cut, Shape Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Buzzfeed, and is a frequent guest on talk shows, major news outlets, and high-ranking podcasts. She is the creator of The Shadow Seekers® Journal, the most highly sought-after shadow work journal on the market, and Danielle’s newest book, Shadow Work, is already making waves in the healing world!
Timestamps to help you navigate this episode:
(3:58) What is shadow work, Carl Jung & accessing the Unconscious Mind
(6:48) The capacity of the subconscious mind
(9:10) Getting diagnosed with cancer at age 30
(10:15) How do you know if you need to do shadow work?
(14:43) Emotional soreness
(18:18) What are the first steps when you’re getting into shadow work?
(19:39) The subconscious feedback loop – 4 pieces
(23:51) Journaling to access the subsconscious mind
(28:42) The “addiction” to shadow work…what more is there?
(30:08) How do you teach kids ‘shadow work’ early on
FULL TRANSCRIPT FOR EPISODE 117 SHADOW WORK WITH DANIELLE MASSI
Lunden Souza: [00:00:00] Welcome to Self Love and Sweat the podcast, the place where you’ll get inspired to live your life unapologetically, embrace your perfect imperfections, break down barriers, and do what sets your soul on fire. I’m your host Lunden Souza.
Lunden Souza: [00:00:20] Hey, have you grabbed your free self love and sweat monthly calendar yet? This calendar is so amazing. It comes right in your inbox every single month to help you have a little nugget of wisdom, a sweaty workout, a mindset activity, just a little something. Something to help keep you focused and motivated and keep that momentum towards your goals. So every day when you get this calendar, you’ll see a link that you can click that will lead to a podcast episode or a workout or something that will be very powerful and quick to read. And then you’ll also see on the top left corner of every single day there’s a little checkbox in the calendar. And what that is, is that’s for your one thing. You can choose one thing every month, or it can be the same something that you want to implement and make this something that you can easily implement, like daily meditation or getting a certain amount of steps or water, for example, and staying hydrated and even taking your supplements. This can be something, if you want to get more regular, doing a particular habit and routine, you can choose what that checkbox means. So if you want your self love and sweat free monthly calendar delivered right to your inbox every month on the first of the month, go to lifelikelunden.com/calendar. Fill out the form really quickly and you will have your calendar and your inbox within a few short minutes. That’s lifelikelunden.com/calendar Go get yours for free and enjoy this episode.
Lunden Souza: [00:01:52] Today we have an awesome special guest that I’m so excited to talk with today. It’s Danielle Massi and she’s a master shadow worker practitioner, bestselling author, keynote speaker and CEO of the Wellness Collective, a holistic healing space in Philadelphia, her signature shadow work program, the Create Your Life Academy, Create Your Light Academy has helped thousands of spiritual women unearth, remove and heal unconscious blocks that are causing disconnect between their mind, body and energy. Danielle is the founder of the Selfish Philly Conference, a self-care conference where hundreds of women gather annually to indulge in a day of expansion and growth and is the creator of the Shadow Seekers certification course that teaches spiritual leaders to become trauma informed certified shadow workers. Danielle has written for and been featured in the New York mag, the Cut Shape magazine, The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, and is a frequent guest on talk shows, major news outlets and podcasts like mine. She’s a creator of the Shadow Seekers Journal and the most highly sought after shadow work journal on the market. And Danielle’s newest book, Shadow Work, is already making waves in the healing world. So I’m excited to talk with you. I always love reading the bios of my guests because I just feel like it supercharges me. I get so excited to learn and grow while yeah, having great conversations. So Danielle, welcome to the podcast. I’m so grateful to have you today. How are you? How is Philadelphia?
Danielle Massi: [00:03:36] Good. It’s beautiful out today. It’s gorgeous here right now. It’s been probably the mildest winter that I can ever imagine, which is so charging for me.
Lunden Souza: [00:03:45] Are you more of a sunshine girl?
Danielle Massi: [00:03:48] Oh yeah. And I’m a Capricorn, so my birthday is usually like. I’m like, smack dab in the winter and I hate the cold. I can’t stand it. I would live in La Jolla if I could.
Lunden Souza: [00:03:58] Oh, my gosh. I love that. Yeah, I’m a November birthday. And so I remember, yeah. For most of my life it always being cold on my birthday. And when I lived abroad for a while, it was really cold on my birthday. And so I just, yeah, always associate like cold winter season with my birthday too, and love the sun as well. So. Guess we have that in common. Um, I’m so excited to talk today because I have not done this topic on the podcast before on Shadow work, and of course I have my own internal representation of this, have delved into it a little bit as a student. And so I just want to start there. Like what is shadow work? I know you do a lot of conferences, you’ve written a book on it, you coach on it and let us yeah, let us into your into what you do. Your line of work of shadow work. What is that and where do we kind of start with it? Do we all need to be doing it and how do we know?
Danielle Massi: [00:04:55] Okay, perfect. So let’s start at the top. So shadow for anybody who has never heard of this before. Shadow is the unconscious. It’s a term that was coined by Carl Jung in the 1800s. And when he was working closely with Sigmund Freud, who everybody knows, he found that everyone has a layer to their cognition that’s like so, so deep down and repressed that you have no idea that it’s there. And the vast majority of our memories are stored within the unconscious mind, which is fine for the most part. When we were living until we were 40, it wasn’t a big deal. But now that we’re living into our seconds, 8080s and 90s, it’s posing a problem because there’s only so much storage in the unconscious mind. And what happens is the stuff that’s hidden in buried down there tends to bubble up and cause trouble for us throughout our lives. It gives us anxiety, it makes us depressed, it changes our personalities and it becomes a problem. Shadow work is the process of going into those unconscious memories to pull them up to the surface, to deal with them in the moment. And I know that if everybody’s seen like on TikTok, people talk about shadow work all the time and it’s usually shadow work journaling, right? Like everybody’s like, pull out a piece of paper and a pen. Here’s a prompt, which is great, but it’s not actually shadow work because from journaling we can only access what’s called the subconscious mind. We can’t go all the way down. The unconscious can only be accessed through a special brainwave state called Theta. It’s like that space that you’re in when you’re drifting off to sleep, you know, when you’re like almost asleep, you’re not quite there yet. Like you could get up and answer a phone call if you wanted to, but you could also pass out a few minutes. That’s theta. It’s where your brainwave is kind of at this ripple where you can access things that would normally be hidden away. That’s the sweet spot. And when we’re there, we can re-experience memories that have been forgotten to heal them.
Lunden Souza: [00:06:48] Yes. Yes. For those of you listening, I’m like, rocking back and forth and, like, shaking my head here so much that I want to that you’ve covered so eloquently. So I love that. Thank you, Theta. So I do a lot of meditation and I know that that’s the state that we go into when we’re meditating. We’re like that. Yeah. Awareness. And also where am I kind of dichotomy of, of consciousness, which I love and I found to be so healing. One of the things that you mentioned was like the capacity of the subconscious mind, which I have never like heard described, or maybe the way that you said it, you know, made me think of something different. But is there really like a capacity to the subconscious mind that’s measurable, if you will, Or is it when we start to have kind of what I was envisioning was like this overflow or what I sometimes talk about is like the dirty, smelly Tupperware in the back of the fridge where you’re like, Ugh, what is that smell coming from? And somehow it was just like packed away and forgotten about that. When we get to discover what we’ve forgotten or put back a little bit, I just kind of describe it as that smell. And you talked about things that I know I have experienced and listeners as well, but like anxiety, mental health issues. I had, you know, skin issues and different things that I also know from the work I’ve done, that part of the shadow work was helpful and healing. So what are the symptoms of, let’s say, when we’re at capacity? Is this like a I never heard it described that way. Is that actually a measurable thing or is it just kind of our way of saying like, hey, these are like the the signs to know when you might be at your own unique capacity? Does that make sense?
Danielle Massi: [00:08:26] Yeah, everybody completely makes sense. It’s very specific to each person. So what we’re looking for is the signs and the symptoms. I double majored in psychology and cognitive neuroscience and undergrad and my cognitive neuroscience professor. The first one I ever had on day one of class was like, Everything you learned today is already outdated because the information about the brain is vast and we don’t know anything like the things that we’ve uncovered. It’s so small compared to how intense the information there is.
Lunden Souza: [00:08:55] The most intelligent people that I talk to always are like, We don’t know anything. I don’t know anything, you know? So I love that you said that because I love talking to people who are like so delved in their craft and then still like and we still don’t know shit. So as I love that.
Danielle Massi: [00:09:10] It’s true, right? Like there’s so much that we have no idea. Like I can like I’m the go to expert on shadow work and I’m sure that everything I’m teaching right now is already outdated because we’re always going to be learning more, which is incredible in a lot of ways and also a little frightening in others because there is no real way to measure the unconscious mind and the depths. And what we’re going to look for there is those signs, those symptoms that it’s starting to overflow. Like you. Mine was kind of like a combination of mental and physical. Like I had some stuff happen with me. I’m actually someone who is a cancer survivor. So that was the big turning point for me where I realized something was horribly wrong internally and I couldn’t put my finger on it. And it happened the week of my 30th birthday that I got diagnosed. So it’s. Not always the stereotypical anxiety and depression. Sometimes it’s other things like lupus. Sometimes it’s hormone issues. Sometimes it’s gut health. And sometimes it’s your skin. Sometimes it’s a combination of all of those things. But when we’re looking for is to start to see some of this stuff bubble up to the surface.
Danielle Massi: [00:10:15] And the way that I think about it is kind of like triggers, like you’re being triggered in some way, whether it’s skin things happening or a situational thing. Like if you’re in an experience at a family’s house where someone says something and it just hits you wrong, you know that feeling where you just get tweaked and that tweak when nobody else is bothered, you’re looking around the room and literally everyone’s like minding their business. Nobody cares. That’s how you know, there’s something underneath that you have to get to. I love your analogy about the fridge. For me, I always say it’s like a junk closet. The unconscious mind is like a gigantic junk closet that over time we’re stacking stuff into we’re piling it up. And depending on you and your personality and how resilient you are, you’re either going to be able to stack it up really high or it’s going to start to overflow faster. But at some point you’re not going to be able to shut that door anymore. And that’s where shadow work is imperative. It’s better if you do it before that point, but you can’t avoid it once you get to the overflow.
Lunden Souza: [00:11:14] Yes, totally. I love visuals like that. How do you. Okay, So talk about your story a little bit. So you discovered that your need for shadow work, I guess, came in the. Yeah, in the form of, like you said, having cancer. Was this your big awakening moment that it was time to discover what was happening in your subconscious? Had you already thought about it before? And this was kind of like, I don’t know, a kick, you know, like a confirmation that you wanted to go down this path. What was your journey like in that process?
Danielle Massi: [00:11:48] It’s so funny because it wasn’t really cut and dry leading up to me starting shadow work and that cancer diagnosis. I was a therapist. I was working with patients every single day. I had a caseload of anywhere between 30 and 40 clients at a given time, which meant like double that in terms of the workload, because you have to take notes for everybody. You have to come up with case plans. There was so much going into it, and I was teaching at Penn State University. I taught two classes, abnormal psychology, and I taught brain development for children. So those two courses, I’d be at school until noon from like dropping my kids off at daycare at 730, running out to campus, teaching those courses multiple times a week because I had a bunch of sections of them running to my office eating a granola bar on the way, drinking way too much coffee to just keep me going. Seeing clients back to back until 930, 10:00 at night, getting home, taking a shower and doing it again the next day. It was insane. So at the time I had some of those warning signs, like I developed shingles, which is something that you don’t get unless you’re severely stressed out or like 60 years old. So that was a big warning sign. My doctors were like, You need to slow down. And I was like, I can’t. There’s nothing in me that’s making me want to shut down. And my business is really lucrative. And I was at the peak of my career and I was getting notoriety at Penn State. There were so many things going on that were positive that I was just repressing all the shit. I was baring it down and hiding it from myself.
Danielle Massi: [00:13:20] So when I got diagnosed with cancer, now in hindsight it seems so obvious, but at the time it was a complete shock. I didn’t have any signs or symptoms for that either. It was like 0 to 100 of having no medical issues to full blown cancer. And it wasn’t until I spiraled out of control. I was super depressed. I had to back off from teaching for a little while. I had to drop a lot of my caseload and the ones who did stay on with me, I had to like take a break for a few months. It was a huge awakening for me of like, everything you’re doing is not working and you need to find another way. So I kind of took a step back when I got myself level enough and thought, What is it that I’ve been preaching to everybody else and how can I actually practice that? And shadow work is one of the things I used to teach at Penn State. I taught this big lesson on Carl Jung and Freud. I taught them all about the shadow and the ego, and I was like, I always felt like I connected to that and it always felt like something I was drawn to, but I never pursued it. So I found this woman in the UK named Allison, who was a shadow worker and a former licensed therapist like me, and she brought me on this two year journey into the shadow, and all we did every single week was shadow work, shadow work, shadow work. And it was intense. It was the most intense thing I’ve ever done. And at the end of it I felt like a different person. And I’ve never gone back.
Lunden Souza: [00:14:43] Yeah, yeah, I love this. I describe it as like an emotional rawness when you do a lot of shadow work. And I, you know, with my background in fitness and the way I would describe it to clients who I’ve worked with in this fitness space, and then also in this kind of like mindset, emotional as you’re talking about shadow work realm, to be like, okay, you know, when you do a workout and you haven’t worked those muscles before, there’s like this rawness, this soreness, this. And I want to paint a picture for those listening or at least talk a little bit about like, is there a right tempo to go for someone listening who’s kind of like, okay, yeah, I’m into whatever this next step looks like I’ve heard of Shadow work or I’m learning about it now. What is the first step? Because of course we have and I talk about this a lot, we have like a process of like, yeah, if we’re feeling sick or go to the doctor, there’s some like ingrained, like, you know, things that we just like do that don’t No. Deserve to be. I think I don’t know the opportunity to question and unlearn and do them differently. So if we’re like, Hey, I want to do shadow work, do we like Google Shadow Worker? Should we get a book first? What’s that first step in beginning that? Because I feel like it’s it’s sacredly wonderfully messy all the things and I just you know, we can’t expedite or change anyone’s journey, as you know, and we all have to experience it.
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Danielle Massi: [00:18:18] I love that you asked this because no one ever asked this question. And it’s so incredibly important. This is exactly how I formatted my book when I was writing Shadow Work and I was working with the publishing house and how it was going to present this because it’s such a big topic. And for me, it’s really always about understanding how it’s immediately going to be useful to people. How is it that the second they start, they’re going to feel like they’re getting benefit and being able to move through it? So in my book it does outline this. So if anybody is curious about going deeper, Shadow Work by Danielle Massi will take you there. But it all starts for me with education and that goes for anything, whether it’s this, whether it’s going to the gym, because I don’t know about you, but like the first time I ever went to a gym and I was like 16 years old, I showed up and I’m looking around and I’m like, what is everything? Like, I don’t know what I’m looking at. It looks intimidating. I don’t know how to work my muscles. I don’t know how to have proper form. And so you’re just floundering and it feels more disheartening than helpful. So education for me is how everything starts. Understand what shadow work is and what it’s actually doing to your insides because there is the opportunity for it to not go the way that you want it to if you’re doing it incorrectly. So understand the proper way to do it. For me, this always starts with the brain. There’s this loop that happens in how we store our memories called the subconscious feedback loop.
Danielle Massi: [00:19:39] This is something again I go really in depth with there. I’ll talk about it at like kind of that surface level here. The subconscious feedback loop is the loop that creates your memories. There’s four pieces to it. The first one is your sensory experiences. Every second of every day you are taking in the world through your senses. You’re hearing things, smelling things, tasting things, touching things. As you go through those experiences, you’re essentially telling your brain what’s happening. So if you touch a cup and it has like a texture to it, your nerve endings are lighting up and sending a signal to the brain. Or if you’re listening to this, you’re hearing the words in your head. It’s getting signaled to the brain and that auditory nerve is picking it up. Your senses immediately create a chemical reaction in the brain. You guys know that as emotions. That’s all they are. They’re just chemicals. And those emotions are messengers. So that chemical reaction of emotions sends a message down to the body of what do we do? How do we react? And that’s more chemicals for anything that feels a little bit nerve wracking, maybe a little bit anxiety provoking. It’s going to be adrenaline and cortisol and that’s going to start pumping through your body. That’s going to make your heart start to race. It’s going to make your breath a little shallow. It’s going to make your head a little foggy, your palms sweaty, your stomach might feel like there are butterflies. And when this happens, the loop has to be completed.
Danielle Massi: [00:21:05] So the chemical reaction now moves back up the spinal cord through the nervous system, back to the brain in the form of a thought. All of your thoughts come from your gut. They don’t come from your head. You think with your gut. That’s why it’s referred to as the second brain. And the thought is going to reinforce or negate the loop. So the way that our brains work is that when we have like certain neural pathways, certain highways in the brain laid down, we’re always looking to reinforce them. We don’t really want to learn new things. We don’t really want to grow. We don’t want to change. What we want is more stuff that reinforces what we already believe because that keeps us in a safe state of known unknown stuff is scary for the brain because now new neural pathways have to be developed. So when there’s people who love to learn and they love education, they’re more the exceptions to the rule. So if you guys are listening to this and you’re thinking to yourself like, No, I really like learning, I want to know new things, I want to go, You are the exception to the rule, which is awesome. With shadow work, what we’re doing is we’re trying to interrupt that subconscious feedback loop at its earliest incarnation, the first time you ever experience something, because if we can change it, then we’re changing everything that comes above it. We’re changing every experience that’s happened since then. So if the first time you ever felt ashamed was your grandmother saying something mean to you when you were four, that lays down a neural pathway, that creates a subconscious feedback loop where the smells of your grandma’s house, the sounds that you’re hearing from the voice, the actual words that she’s saying, the specific triggers, the physical reaction you had, whether you switched into fight mode, flight mode, freeze, fawn, whatever you did then is going to happen to you now where you’re dating somebody and they say something similar, or you could smell the same smell of like your grandma’s house, like, say your grandma always had Jasmine in her house or like the same chemical reactions happening.
Danielle Massi: [00:23:03] You get switched into fight or flight from something else. Your body is like, We’ve done this before, we know what to do and it’s going to pick it up right where it left off. So with shadow work, if we can go back to that first time and change it, like if you froze the first time this. Happened or you felt ashamed or you got really angry, whatever it was that happened. Then if we can change it, then we can change what you do every point going forward, which means that you’re going to feel more peaceful. You’re not going to be as triggered. You’re not going to have as much shit in that junk closet they were talking about because it’s going to be all cleared out. So you’re just going to be able to face the world in a way that’s more balanced and you’re going to be more comfortable doing things that are unknown because you’re teaching your body that the unknown is safe and you make good decisions.
Lunden Souza: [00:23:51] Yes. So wonderful. Thank you. Thank you. I, um, I want to talk about journaling, because one thing that you mentioned at the beginning is that you liked journaling to process kind of what’s going on consciously and what we’re kind of currently getting and aware of in the moment. And what I found through through doing shadow work of my own is, yeah, when you have the moments of, yeah, things coming up and coming to your awareness and being able to have the chance to rewrite that script, rewrite that story, make it mean something more empowering, make it mean something better for the future. That journaling has been super helpful in these story rewrites or one study I’ve been looking at a lot is on written exposure therapy. So literally rewriting it out and then making it means like your superhero story. So I found that to be so helpful. Do you so in this. Yeah, I don’t know. Just because this is something I talk about a lot and I’ve shared on social media or talked about as a powerful tool on the podcast here. Do you feel like as a tool like that, it’s great to like insert modalities in that way, or do you feel like you have yeah, better next steps or what do you feel? Think about that.
Danielle Massi: [00:25:09] So I told you before I wrote a shadow seekers journal. So I obviously find it. Really? Of course. Yes. The thing that I find it. Yeah, the thing that I find most helpful about journaling is that it’s accessing the subconscious mind. So it’s giving you a window in. So we might not be able to get to the root and heal the root. But what we can do is we can deal with the layers above the root. So for anybody who’s thinking about doing this and it feels too much or like it’s really intense and they’re not quite ready to go there yet, journaling is incredible at that point because it really like starting the process. And as you clear some of those lower level things, then it’s easier to go to the really dark spaces. There’s a lot of research that shows how things like written exposure therapy, narrative therapy, which is along the same lines of changing the story, flipping the script are incredibly impactful. The difference between the two and where it’s really important is consistency is everything with the written stuff. So if we’re talking about journaling, we’re not getting all the way to the root, which means that if you don’t do it consistently and you don’t keep that new narrative in your head, you’re going to lose it. Neural pathways are formed in really interesting ways. There’s a process called synaptogenesis of creating new neural pathways, and then there’s synaptic pruning where we’re getting rid of old ones. Your brain is basically wired exactly how it’s going to be forever by the time you’re 25, because at that point your brain has reached peak development and you’ve learned all the lessons you’re going to learn unless you want to grow more.
Danielle Massi: [00:26:41] So when we’re doing something like journaling, you have to first break down the old pathways. You have to do some synaptic pruning. So you have to convince yourself with conviction that you don’t believe the old stories. And that takes roughly around 21 days. That’s why they say it takes 21 days to break a habit because it takes 21 days to break down a neural pathway. And if you can break down that neural pathway over that 21 day period, then you have the space to replace it with a new story. And you can convince your brain and your body and your energy that the new story is the one that belongs. So it still works. It’s just a longer process, but it’s still a beautiful one and something that I like to do too, because sometimes I don’t even realize what’s in the shadow that I need to deal with. And a quick journaling session, some free journaling where I put on some really earthy cool music in the background. I light some candles, I sit down on the ground and I don’t think I just write. Things will come through where I go, okay, that’s where I have to go. My next shadow work session. Now I know, now I know where it is and where it’s stuck in my body. So I just have to get to the source and.
Lunden Souza: [00:27:52] Looking forward to finding or at least now knowing what to look for, what modalities you can do to kind of get in the flow of like, okay, you know, I worked on that kind of now what’s next kind of in what you’ve shared regarding your cancer diagnosis? And then for myself, I had some issues with family and on, you know, unleashing, you know, a lot what was going on in my family line, kind of being as the catapult to work on the shadow within myself. And then afterwards it was kind of like, Yeah, okay, what else is there? This kind of feels good, this, you know, this work I’ve been doing. While it was scary at one point, I kind of almost can’t imagine my life without it. Have you found your, like, you know, talk about how that feels for you, because I’m sure it’s that same craving for that change and growth. Right?
Danielle Massi: [00:28:42] It is, it becomes an addiction. And the same thing is going to the gym, right? Nobody wants to go to the gym if they haven’t been there in three years. But the second you get into that routine and you start getting yourself there and you feel the endorphins and you feel the norepinephrine, it’s all pumping through your system, making you feel incredible, and you feel energized every day. You cannot imagine your life if you weren’t going. And shadow work is exactly the same thing. Once you reap the benefits of it, where you feel that immediate change, like your life gets better, it gets easier. I know for me as a mom, I see it the most in my relationship with my husband and with my kids where I’m so level like things happen and they hit these high highs and these low lows and I’m like a rock hanging out in the middle and it makes everybody more even. So I, I just could never imagine not having it there for me. And it’s hard to think about it, especially if you haven’t done it where it’s like, okay, do I really want to rip the band aid off? Do I really want to go there and do all these things? And I definitely don’t recommend it for anybody who isn’t ready to take the leap because you’re going to open a can of worms in a lot of ways. You’re going to see some hard things. You’re going to remember stuff that was painful. But if you’re doing it the right way, you will feel immediately better, not like a day later or two days later. I mean, like within minutes of doing it, you’re going to feel like a weight that you’ve been carrying around for a decade is gone.
Lunden Souza: [00:30:08] Hmm. How do you teach your kids or how do you plan to teach your kids the power of this work?
Danielle Massi: [00:30:15] Oh, we’ve already been doing it. I’ll give you guys an example of this. So my daughter’s eight. My son is six. They’re both a couple months away from their birthdays, and I’ve always been really open about what I do. I share the experiences. We talk about things. I never throw things on them more than they’re willing to. But my rule of thumb as a therapist is if they ask a question, I’m going to answer it truthfully, because when you’re truthful, kids know that they can turn to you for anything instead of, you know, their friend’s older brother or someone else who’s not a reliable source. So truthfulness is everything. And transparency for me is key. So when I meditate, I do it with my office doors open. I let them see it. I let them come sit with me and do it with me if they want to. And this actually showed itself to be something that was really impactful. Just a few months ago. My kids in 2022 were in a big bus accident. Their bus hit like the whole side of the bus hit a sign because the bus driver was yelling at a kid in the back and wasn’t looking where she was driving. All the glass broke. It was all over.
Danielle Massi: [00:31:18] Like the kids were terrified. They went off the road. It was like a big, big thing. And the parents, we didn’t hear about it. So we’re all sitting around looking at our clock like, Where are our children? Like, what’s going on? So I start driving around looking for them because I’m that mom. I get to the scene and I just followed the bus route that I knew of from my kids talking about it. I eventually came across them. The bus was like off the side of the road, like crooked on a hill, and there was a bunch of cop cars around it. And I get there and the cops ask me my name and who I am, and they said, Your daughter’s Juliana? And I said, Yes. And they said, She is a life saver. The second this happened, all the kids started crying. They’re freaking out. The bus driver started hysterically crying. She got off the bus to call the cops. And apparently my daughter led the entire bus through a meditation to calm them down. She was seven at the time and they were all fine after that. So when you teach your kids these things and you give them the opportunity, they’re listening and they’re learning and it helps.
Lunden Souza: [00:32:20] Yeah. Oh my gosh. That must have been like, such a proud, like, not a proud mom moment, but also, like, proud human moment. Like, I don’t even know your daughter. And I just have goosebumps all over because those moments where you’re like, Wait, okay, I have a different tool. Everyone’s using this one tool, which is like accessing their emotions in real time and sharing them in the moment. And I have some other ones that I’ve learned, and I’m not a mom, but I have a niece and she’s four and a half and I’ll just be like, Hey, I’m going to do my breathwork right here. And sometimes she’s distracted by her toys and sometimes she comes and sits right next to me and we’ll do a breathwork and we’ll do like heart opening breath and say out loud what we’re grateful for who we love and just, like, evoke those feelings because, yeah, we do have the power to change them and have yeah, kind of alchemize in the moment when we have the opportunity. And so I always love hearing from moms like you because, yeah, I have my niece and I love being around her and I’m always like, okay, I didn’t learn these tools until I was 30, so how can I translate this into like 3 to 5 year old mind, you know? And so that’s cool. And what an amazing daughter you have.
Danielle Massi: [00:33:30] And what an amazing niece you have that she’s already doing some of this stuff. And I like when you tell me stuff like this, it just makes me so excited for our future because we didn’t get to have any of these things. Like we grew up at a time where I don’t know about you, but like, if I was in trouble, like something went wrong, nobody asked me how I was doing or if I was okay. It was like, Go to your room. And they unplugged my house phone and I had to stay in there for like an hour. And the worst thing you can do in the moments where you need someone is isolation. And then we have our kids. Now, all these kids who are being raised by these really intentional parents who are like, Let’s talk about it. Let’s breathe through it, let’s talk about gratitude. Let’s talk about how it’s okay to fail as long as we figure out a way to get back up again. The future is so bright with that stuff and I’m going to be out of a job because there’s not going to be a lot of shadow left if we keep doing that. Exactly.
Lunden Souza: [00:34:22] That’s the goal to not be Needed, right? To have it be kind of healed. Oh, that’s so wonderful. Thank you so much for your time and your love for what you do and for the light that you shine in this space of shadow work. Tell everyone. Yeah, I know all the stuff I mentioned. I’ll link everything in the description, but just yeah. How we can stay connected with you and tell us more about your book and resources that we can continue to learn from.
Danielle Massi: [00:34:49] Of course. So everything is in the same place at IAM. Danielle Massi on every social media channel, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram. My website is exactly the same. Iam Danielle Massi and you can find out everything about the Selfish Philly Conference, which is a huge self-care conference that happens every year in Philadelphia. Hopefully one day I’m franchising it and bring it across the country, but for now you’ll have to fly into the W, who are our partners and stay in the most beautiful hotel you’ve ever seen for an epic weekend of self care, health and wellness and restoration with things like breathwork, kundalini shadow work, amazing keynote speakers, full experiences from our spa partners and so much more. So thank you again for having me.
Lunden Souza: [00:35:33] Thank you so much. I appreciate you. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Self Love and Sweat the podcast. Hey, do me a favor. Wherever you’re listening to this podcast, give us a review. This really helps a lot and share this with a friend. I’m only one person and with your help we can really spread the message of self love and sweat and change more lives all around the world. I’m Souza reminding you that you deserve a life full of passion, presence and purpose, fueled by self, love and sweat. This podcast is a hit spot. Austria production.