~ Spring 2014 ~

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Psychiatrist Carl G. Jung coined the psychological concept of the 'shadow' to describe the disowned, denied, and rejected parts of ourselves, the dark side of human nature. In addition to primal wounding, trauma, and instinctual drives, the shadow also holds our repressed light. The 'bright shadow' is the reservoir that contains our deepest potentials, which are often relegated to the unconscious. Abraham Maslow, a pioneer in the field of Transpersonal Psychology, said, "We fear our highest possibilities." The bright shadow represents our disowned talents and strengths, our rich possibilities for wisdom, compassion, joy, courage, aliveness, wonder, inspiration. Many of us repress our gifts as much as we do our dark sides. A psychiatrist friend told me that his patients were more disconnected from their light than their darkness.


We don't fully recognize or claim our gifts for many reasons.  Intentional or unintentional neglect, the lack of healthy attachment, or an absence of empathic attunement in our early years results in primal wounding. Being the recipient of any form of covert or overt abuse at any time leads to deep fears, low self-worth, shame, guilt, alienation, and despair. It is, of course, very difficult to see and feel our intrinsic value if we have been harmed or unseen. In addition, there are many cultural influences - implicit and explicit messages from educational and religious institutions and from the media, for example - that contribute to our inability to claim our strengths and potentials. We've been presented with so many 'shoulds' - ideals and standards for how we should think, feel, look, behave. Fritz Perls, founder of Gestalt Psychology, talked about the 'tyranny of the shoulds.' Many of us have not been encouraged to trust and celebrate our uniqueness, the authentic expressions of our hearts, bodies, minds. We had to stifle our greatness, our wildness, and our passion in order to fit in, gain love, and avoid disapproval.

One of the ways that we disown our gifts is through the defense mechanism of projection, in which we experience strong reactions when we see shadow aspects of ourselves expressed by others. It can be easier to see our unrecognized qualities in others than in ourselves. If you are projecting a positive part of yourself, you may envy or idealize someone who exhibits that quality. With positive projection there is a tendency to overvalue characteristics of others and undervalue the same traits in yourself. You may think, "They have it. I don't." Before I became confident about my teaching and lecturing abilities, I unconsciously placed teachers and speakers who excelled at their craft on pedestals. I looked up to them; they were superstars to me. I often felt diminished and insecure in their presence, and was awkward when I'd talk to them. They were brilliant figures - present, articulate, knowledgeable, and insightful. At that time I couldn't appreciate my own strengths as a teacher, even though I was receiving favorable feedback from others. As I grew in my self-esteem over the years, I noticed that I felt more and more equal to these instructors and presenters. I still admired their talents and had much to learn from them, but they were no longer larger than life in my eyes. I had taken back some of my projections.

How do we reclaim our gifts, take back the light and beauty we have projected onto others? 

Try this:

  1. Write down the name of someone you strongly admire, perhaps idealize. This could be a public figure, friend, or family member.  
  2. Choose the trait that you admire the most about this person.
  3. Reflect on this quality and write about it. What does it mean to you? What has your relationship been to this quality at different times in your life? If you can, recall some occasions that you expressed this dimension of yourself. 
  4. Ask yourself if you can recognize this as a seed potential in yourself and if it's important to you to bring it forward in your life. 
  5. If, for example, your seed potential is compassion and you want to experience more compassion for others, write about how your life will be enhanced if you bring forth this aspect of yourself. If compassion was being expressed in your daily life, what would that look like? How would you feel? 
  6. Create a small, realistic goal that will get you started. Perhaps you will volunteer to work with an under-served population. Or you may decide to meditate on compassion and use self-guided imagery to see and feel this quality flowering in yourself. You may want to journal about your process as you cultivate this quality. Remember - what you feed, grows!





  • Achieve your personal and professional goals
  • Navigate through periods of transition
  • Develop strengths and seed potentials
  • Find your purpose and passion
  • Overcome blocks and limiting patterns
  • Quiet the voice of the Inner Critic
  • Access inner knowing for decision-making and clarity about your goals and life direction
  • Ignite and sustain your creativity
  • Create action steps that generate tangible results
  • Integrate your spirituality into daily life

I specialize in helping clients overcome blocks of all kinds and translate ideas and visions into concrete action. Fees for individual sessions are based on a sliding scale. A coaching package is available, as well. Sessions are available in person, via Skype, or phone.


Contact me if you'd like a FREE CONSULTATION

(415) 721-0766 or susannewest888@yahoo.com.



For a number of years, I've been offering Guided Imagery and Advanced Guided Imagery Certification Telecourses twice a year.  I will continue to offer those and, in addition, you can now take the Guided Imagery Certification Telecourse as a home study course at any time that you'd like to.

In this 5-session HOME STUDY telecourse, you will learn innovative imagery techniques and guidelines for the successful use of imagery for your own healing and transformation and/or to expand the scope of your practice and your work with clients if you are a helping professional of any kind.

Nurses and hypnotherapists will receive CEUs.

You will learn:

Specific Imagery Techniques for Intuitive Decision-Making

How to Access the 'Inner Entrepreneur', 'Inner Artist' and Other Positive Selves Through Subpersonality Work

How to Apply the Healing and Symbols Process to Financial and Career Issues

How to Integrate Imagery Into Daily Life

How to Use All of the Senses to Increase the Effectiveness of Imagery

Marketing Tips and Tools

... and more

The fee for the course is $257.  You can pay in one payment of $257, two monthly payments of $144 each, or three monthly payments of $96 each. When you register you will receive links to the recordings and handouts.
PLUS: You will receive a bonus recording of "Imagine Creativity". You will learn how to use guided imagery to awaken and enhance creative expression in your life. The creative force is the life force. It is the deep river of aliveness that can course through your being and awaken joy and life-giving energies in you if you welcome it into your life. Creative expression is not reserved for poets, actors, and artists. You can express creativity in parenting, cooking, gardening, or building a business. You will smile and shine more in every area of your life if you open the doors to your imagination and innovative spirit.

For information, contact me at susannewest888@yahoo.com or 415.721.0766.


My book, Soul Care for Caregivers, is a guide and toolkit for family and professional caregivers that includes practical suggestions, creative processes, action steps, anecdotes from my own caregiving journey, and inspiration from other family and professional caregivers to help you care for your mind, body, and soul while caring for others.


Here's what Rick Hanson, Ph.D., author of Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom and Hardwiring Happiness, says about the book:
"To keep caring for others, we must replenish ourselves; otherwise, we start running on empty.  In the warm and wise voice of someone who has been there herself, Susanne West offers many effective ways to take care of yourself from the inside out.  Her book - full of her own qualities of deep kindness and practical wisdom - is a gift from the heart both to caregivers and to those they help and love."

If you are interested in ordering the book, just click on the image of the book above to be taken to the Amazon order page. 


Individual Sessions and Sittings

Waking Down is an integrated, whole-being spirituality that includes body, mind, feelings, and spirit. In this work you embrace your humanity and your divinity. Spirit is not seen as separate from the body or our world. Our full humanness is experienced as sacred, as is all of life. 

I offer phone, Skype, or in-person individual sessions, a 45 minute FREE Introductory Session, and sittings in San Rafael and El Cerrito, California.




*A 10 minute period of silent meditation


*Gazing Meditation - Being to Being meeting, in which the teacher briefly connects with each participant through eye contact

*Personal Sharing Time - Each person who wants to, takes time to share. This can include speaking about what is currently important to you in your spiritual life, sharing an "edge" or area of exploration, or asking questions.


Sittings in San Rafael (contact me for address)

Saturday, April 26

Saturday, May 24

Saturday, June 28

10:30 am - 1:30 pm


Sitting in El Cerrito - 1036 Leneve Place

Monday, April 21

Monday, May 12

Monday, June 30

7:00 pm - 10:00 pm


Fee for Sittings: $20




FREE 45 minute Introductory Session

One hour phone, Skype or in-person sessions

Sliding scale of $55-$80/hour

Contact me to reserve spaces for sittings susannewest888@yahoo.com or

(415) 721-0766.

For more information about Waking Down, see




Writing for Creative Expression and Spiritual Growth

In this ongoing, drop-in group you will learn processes to free your imagination, develop ease and confidence in writing, cultivate your unique writing voice, and overcome blocks to writing.


San Rafael, CA (Call for address)
Alternate Thursdays
7:30 - 9:30 pm


All levels of experience and all types of writing are welcome

INDIVIDUAL COACHING SESSIONS (phone, Skype, or in-person) to assist you in any or all stages of the writing process:

  • Start, develop, and/or complete writing projects
  • Learn how to ignite and sustain motivation
  • Overcome writer's block
  • Discover your natural writing voice
  • Develop confidence and ease in writing
  • Create attainable short and long term goals

A FREE CONSULTATION is available. You can contact me at susannewest888@yahoo.com or (415) 721-0766.




For information or to sign up for courses or free consultations, contact me at susannewest888@yahoo.com or (415)721-0766.

Click here
to visit my website if you'd like to learn more about my phone or in-person Insight to Action Coaching, Waking Down in Mutuality, Writing from the Soul Programs, or Soul Care for Caregivers.

A Free Consultation is available. You can also sign up for my free newsletter.

to sign up for a FREE CONSULTATION with Susanne West