Transcript: How To Reinvent Yourself with Your Shadow w/ Malena Crawford

Apr 19, 2024


How To Reinvent Yourself with Your Shadow

Whitney (00:00)

A lot of spiritual people right now who are sensitive to energy are feeling like they’re moving into more of a place where you feel like you have to hide or you feel like you need to just sequester yourself, and a lot of us are feeling not great feelings, feelings like we are in our shadow. Some of us might feel like we’re in a dark night of the soul, maybe you feel like you’re at a pivot point, maybe you don’t know what the next steps are, and you just know deep down that you need to do something different, but you don’t know what that is. So the good news is I’ve brought in a guest, Malena Crawford, to help us learn how to move through our shadow which is what we’re really feeling and experiencing in order to reinvent our lives. She has some great tips and she’s gonna tell you what questions to ask yourself and how to take the first steps to move through your shadow, and she’s got a great free gift for you so stay tuned.

Whitney (01:10):

Welcome to Spiritual and Ambitious. I’m your host, Whitney McNeil. I’m a certified medium and spiritual teacher, and I help spiritual and ambitious souls just like you live your life purpose through your career, and attract abundance by connecting into your intuition and spirit guide. Let’s get spiritual and ambitious.

Whitney (01:36):

Welcome to another episode of the Spiritual and Ambitious podcast. I have an amazing guest today on the podcast. So I’ve been trying to get her onto the podcast for like a year and our schedules just didn’t work, but we finally got it to happen. So we’re gonna be talking today about moving through your shadow to get your reinvention with Malena Crawford. And Malena is a Washington DC based writer, speaker, and reinvention coach, specializing in transformation for women 40 and over. Her debut novel, ‘A Fistful of Honey’ has received wide acclaim and was branded a must-read and healing balm of a book by many notables, including own’s host ‘Iyanla, Fix My Life,’ Iyanla Vanzant. She has since followed it up with an award-winning workbook that guides women through self-discovery and creating the life they deserve and desire. Malena has been featured on FOX, NBC News and other media platforms spreading a message of transformation and healing from personal and racial trauma. Malena facilitates workshops on personal development, empowerment and anti-oppression across the globe, most recently in Ghana and South Africa. That’s amazing. Her passion for writing and teaching come from a life story of overcoming, and I will link to her links in the show notes, but welcome Malena to our podcast today.

Malena (03:06):

Yay. Thank you so much. I love, love, love being here as you know.

Whitney (03:11):

Well, I appreciate it. I think you’ve got a beautiful message and I can’t wait for everybody to hear your message. I know that you’ve been doing some amazing transformational work, and I think that’s what we really need here in 2024. I think the world needs it and gosh, you know, it sounds amazing that you’re traveling. You’re doing all these great things and spreading your light. So I would ask you, tell me a little bit about reinvention and what that means to you?

Malena (03:41):

Ooh, so reinvention, I think it comes in different forms for all of us. For some it’s us in a fetal position, crying, eating ice cream rolled up because of some crises. For others, it’s just this feeling of stuckness. It’s just this feeling of life doesn’t feel good anymore. And so reinvention is really an assessment and a choice you’re making, like, hey, I was made for more. I was made for more than what I’m experiencing in this moment, so reinvention is a choice. It’s a choice to pivot, yeah.

Whitney (04:19):

Definitely feel like a lot of people out there are in that place of feeling stuck, needing to pivot, but they don’t know what to do next. And I just have to ask you, you know, how many pivots or reinventions would you say that most people might go through in their lifetime?

Malena (04:40):


Whitney (04:42):

I know, right?

Malena (04:42):

A lot.

Whitney (04:43):

That’s what I was thinking. I was thinking that.

Malena (04:46):

A lot. Yeah. You know, we’re always changing. We’re always evolving. I think some of the best activating or gasoline on the fire is crisis, is pain.

Whitney (05:01):


Malena (05:01):

So we’re always reinventing, pivoting away from pain, trying to understand pain and trying to learn from pain. And so in all those many moments, we’re reinventing. You know, we are learning more about ourselves. We are learning more about what we’re not, who we are not. Yeah, so probably 900, on average.

Whitney (05:27):

I know. I think that so many times people think I’m gonna choose a path and I’m gonna stick with that path forever. And I think that sometimes there’s a common belief of, well, you know, after you get to a certain age, there’s things that can change, and sometimes people only think there’s like one big pivot in their life if there is one. And I love that you said there’s 900 because we can always change and shift, and that’s part of life, but also gives us permission to be who we are and that we don’t have to stay in a box. We don’t have to just stay to something what we promised ourselves 20 years ago last year, whatever it is, and give permission for change. So why are you so passionate about it? I know this is what you teach and I’d love to know a little bit more about your reinvention story.

Malena (06:17):

See, reinvention is a reclamation of self, of who you really are and not the self that people told you you should be, especially at a certain age. You know, a lot of us think about our value in terms of milestones, that we’ve either passed or have not passed and reinvention is reclaiming all that. It’s on your terms. It’s what is it that you love and desire? Who are you? What is your personal foundation at any given point in your life? And so my reinventions, for whatever reason, almost always happen after a breakup, like some upheaval in my relationships. And I think that’s a great opportunity to really get in touch with who am I really? Like, what do I really want? Instead of making it this huge crisis, it can be this just awakening and that’s what it’s been for me. My most recent one, I think that’s when I started my second novel from a breakup.

Malena (07:29):

And I mean, you know, how many pivots I’ve had career wise in the work that I do, in the spiritual ambition world. And so it’s always an opportunity to say, you know what? I made this choice a few years ago. I thought that was a path, but this feels better to me now. This feels more authentic, this feels more real. So I’ve come to really respect reinvention and I, I’ve come to respect the shadow that brings us to reinvention, the crisis it brings us there. So shadow always gets this huge, horrible rap, right? The dark side and the badness but she really is our best confidant, like she is our bestie. She’s our girl because she’s forcing us to tell the radical truth about our lives, about how we got to where we are and whether that’s an aspect of ourselves that we pushed down, that we’ve hidden away from everyone else. She’s like, oh no girl. Boop, it’s in your face. What are you gonna do? What are you gonna do about it? Most importantly, how are you gonna embrace her? How are you gonna embrace this aspect of yourself and stop apologizing for this aspect of yourself and really transmute it so that it works for your life?

Whitney (08:59):

Hmm. That’s so good. I love it. I almost feel like shadow, like you said, is like this friend that’s like, sh*t is getting real. You gotta wake up. Here’s what it is. And I also heard you say something earlier that I really loved. You said through reinvention, we are learning who we’re not.

Malena (09:22):


Whitney (09:23):

And at the same time, I know we’re learning who we are, but sometimes I think we focus like you have alluded to, you know, too much on where we’re going or who we are and what you’re bringing attention to is the stuff nobody wants to look at, the shadow where we can say, well, who are we not and let’s really get real with ourselves which I think is really beautiful. And you know, so you mentioned that a lot of time we get to this reinvention through crises and breakups. Are there any other signs? Like how do you know? I know how you know, but are there other signs for other people like you can identify, I know it’s time for a reinvention?

Malena (10:10):

Yeah. I say, look for all the places that your life is bleeding. Look for all the places that your life is not working. And usually those are relationships, right? Because those are the most dynamic mirrors that we have to learn about ourselves. But look at all the places that you are dissatisfied, that you, your spirit is always nudging and your vision is always pulling, right?

Whitney (10:36):


Malena (10:37):

So it’s not that we don’t know. It’s that we did. We don’t wanna hear that right now. I don’t wanna pay attention to that. And so the crisis that we have, they’re really forcing us into reinvention. It’s forcing us into a change. And so the way that we know is because life has told us a thousand times. Spirit has told us a thousand times, and now the voice is getting louder and louder and louder in the way that our life looks. So look at the quality of your relationships with yourself first, with Divine, and with the people around you. Look at your satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the work that you’re doing in the world. Are you feeling at ease with what you’re doing and how you’re doing it and how you’re being? Are you feeling at ease with yourself, with yourself physically and your skin? And those are all clues to, yeah, it’s time for something else. It’s time for me to switch, and of course, where’s the breakdown?

Whitney (11:44):


Malena (11:45):

There’s always a whisper, like Iyanla says, it starts with a whisper and then it will get a little bit louder for you. it give you a little time to be obedient and then boom, it’ll hit you upside the head with a brick.

Whitney (11:59):

Oh, absolutely.

Malena (12:00):

And then you’ll know.

Whitney (12:02):

Then you’ll really know. I mean, I’ve been there myself and the way it comes in for me a lot of the times is through health. And I have a lot of intuitive messages that come through for clairknowing so the body is a vessel. Body is always a vessel for everybody, right. And for me, if I don’t listen, I will hit that brick wall and it will be a health crisis where I can’t talk anymore, or I can’t swallow, or I am tired and I can’t even do all the things, so we don’t wanna hit that. We don’t wanna hit that wall.

Malena (12:38):

Yeah, you don’t.

Whitney (12:38):

But I think a lot of people out there are like, okay, well, like how do I get out of this kind of place of knowing I need one and how do I start doing it? Like how do I start climbing out of that place? So, you know, how do you use shadow work to get to this reinvention because I think that there’s so many phases, I would assume where, you know, we go, oh, I need one, but what the heck is it? What does it look like? How can I take the next steps forward? What are those next steps? So how can we utilize this as our friend?

Malena (13:18):

Yeah. So the first thing you’re gonna do is just start writing it down, all of the pain points write it down, brain dump, heart dump. Just put it out. Take it out of your body into someplace that you can see and then get your clarity. So the, the question I like to ask is, what is it that I don’t want anyone to know about me right now or about what’s going on in my life? And you just start writing and that’s your assessment period. Let me see what life is showing me and try to get a grip on what the message is. You could be inspired by, I don’t know, some, for some people it takes like you are watching a movie or you’re something to get that emotional energy going and just let it rip. What don’t I want people to know about me right now or to know about what’s going on in my life right now? And then the second piece of that is, what do I want? So there’s an idea like to call like divine opposites. So writing down all the ways that, that you don’t like which you’re not in love with, which you can’t stand anymore and then deliberately sitting with spirit or the god of your understanding, help me know what the divine opposite of this is.

Whitney (14:44):

As a professional psychic medium, I’ve done tens of thousands of readings, but I felt a call to move more fully into teaching intuition but I still get so many requests about doing readings. So while I don’t do readings anymore, I have brought in some very trusted colleagues who are now available for live whenever readings on Zoom. If you would like to book your psychic medium reading, go to messengerofspirit.com/appointments to see our available readers and schedule your zoom reading today.

Malena (15:25):

Since I know this isn’t going well, what is it that I desire? Since I know this isn’t what I want, this is not the direction that I want to go with, sit with your divine wisdom to get your divine opposite and that’s gonna help you steer into your reinvention, into the direction of your soul. Really, because it’s a soul call when you get these crisis or when you get these bricks thrown at you. Your soul is saying, hey, not that way, but this way. You know, it’s really is a beautiful, beautiful opportunity, so that would be the first step. Make those two lists.

Whitney (16:06):

I think that’s a great place to start when we’re in that place of what do I definitely not want anymore? And when you brought up divine opposites and asking spirit to help, I think that’s a great tip because so many times people say, you know, Whitney, I don’t know what I want, like, I don’t know what brings me joy. I don’t know what it is. And I also love that you said sometimes you know, when you feel stuck, you need something to kind of inspire the emotion, like a movie or listening to a song, or you know, something else, going out in nature. You know, sometimes when we’re told to do something and we don’t let ourself go into emotion, you know, it’s not gonna come. We have to be in that vulnerable place and be honest.

Malena (16:49):

Yeah. We have to prime the pump. And I know we’re not talking about trauma today, but I’m a person who’s gone through a lot of trauma and for clients and people that I know who’ve also gone through a lot of trauma, it kind of divorces you from your personal wisdom. It kind of separates you because you’ve been in people pleasing mode or survival mode for so long that getting in touch with your joy, getting in touch with your wisdom is going to take some effort because you haven’t been in right relationship with your true self in a long time for a lot of us. So, and that’s okay. It’s okay. It’s part of the reinvention process to get back into that relationship and stand back on your personal foundation or even recreate a whole personal foundation if you don’t have one. You’ve been standing on someone else’s maybe for years, yeah.

Whitney (17:45):

Oh, I like how you said that. I think that’s gonna give a lot of different perspective for people’s situations right now. So if there is somebody who’s gone through a lot of trauma and it’s hard to find joy, is there like a tiny tidbit of information that you could share today that could just help them maybe search or what would a next right step for them be just to kind of get connected in with joy again?

Malena (18:12):

Mm-Hmm. So the first step I would say is get back in tune with your body. Get back in tune with your body because a lot of times when we are disconnected from joys because we’re just disconnected from the body wisdom. So just sensing your heart again, just sensing your heart wisdom, like that was huge for me. Ask questions of yourself and find out where the yes is, right? I had to go through lists. Okay, do I like bicycling? Is that something that I need? And wait, wait for yes. Sometimes it’ll hit you in your heart. A lot of times for women, it’ll hit us in our sacral area, in our womb space. You know, I’m sure everyone knows where the sacral area is, if not.

Whitney (19:05):

Maybe not though. I mean, you know, I think it’s helpful. We need to, we need that directive sometimes. Absolutely.

Malena (19:13):

Yeah. So getting in touch with the way joy feels again. It’s always gonna be a trip back to your childhood. And if you had childhood trauma, the child who was left to their joy. When you were in your happy place, what were you doing? What did it feel like? And just recreating that to your best ability. The thing that worked for me, it was like, it was bicycling. I was bicycling in China and I just had this huge awakening in like the midst of a crowd. I was like, oh my God, I found her like, I found my joy. I know what it feels like. It feels weightless, it feels free. So give yourself permission to find out what that is, to really be adventurous about that and to make it like this is very important. That you find your joy, that you get reacclimated to what it even feels like. So don’t be afraid to maybe take some time after off of work to do this or take some time from your roles at home to do this. I had to do it. You know, a lot of times nature will really help you to get back in touch. Water, especially. For me, the whole time that I wrote my book, I had to be around some kind of body of water in order to find her again. So get back into relationship with your body, with that joy sensation in your body, I would say.

Whitney (20:59):

That’s such a good one. That’s a really good point. I have noticed that a lot of spiritual people who love to talk to spirit or want that guidance from spirit kind of disassociated a bit and it’s hard, and I think this is a great way to start with finding joy so thank you so much for that. And I love how you’re embracing the shadow and then also embracing the joy and all parts of ourselves and finding that reinvention. And so someone who is looking for reinvention or wants to find those next steps, the first thing is to ask themselves those questions and then after that, is there a process that you take them through or what happens after they write down those things? Is that, is it unique for each person?

Malena (21:47):

Yeah. So I have a process with my coaching, but I also have a workbook that if they, you know, just wanna do this on their own, they can work through, so I will definitely share that. Part of it is really the most important part, especially for us women, is getting back on our throne, getting back to our personal foundation. Who are we? What are our boundaries? What are our standards? What are our values returning to self? Because there’s so much wisdom within you, like there’s infinite wisdom within you. The guidance is there, the road back, you know, if you fall off this wagon, the road to the next wagon is there. It’s all there but we have to know ourselves. And like I said, with trauma or just in being in maybe a relationship where your focus was on the other person, or your focus has been on your children, or your career. It really has separated us from our true selves, so the key is to get back to you and ask yourself for the wisdom and the next steps that you need. And so the process that I use is all about forming that personal foundation and then after you have that, creating a blueprint to where it is you’re going.

Whitney (23:13):

Yeah, I love that.

Malena (23:13):

And so the whole process, you’re gonna be facing your shadow, but I really want you to embrace her as your best friend. I truly believe that she has your back.

Whitney (23:25):

Yeah. Yeah. I love that. That sounds like an amazing process. And I know that you’ve got a free gift for everybody that I’ll talk about in just a minute, but I’ve got this other question.

Malena (23:35):


Whitney (23:36):

So I think I know the answer to it, but I’m gonna ask you because people are gonna wanna hear from you. So normally people sometimes say this, they say, Whitney, it’s too late to do X, Y, Z. It’s too late to reinvent myself. What would you say to somebody who says that?

Malena (23:58):

Obviously it’s never too late. I work with women who are 40 and beyond, and I believe that 40 and beyond is a magical time to reinvent yourself. You have the courage that you didn’t have before. You have the wisdom that you didn’t have before, and you have the resources that you didn’t have before. This is an absolute amazing time where you’re bringing all of these aspects of yourself to just, I mean, the possibilities are endless. So the here and now, I don’t care how old you are. I don’t care which walk of life you come from, this is a perfect time. Absolutely.

Whitney (24:42):

See everybody Malena said so. It’s not just me, and you said it in a very eloquent, powerful way,

Malena (24:50):

And so it is, so another thing is just the spiritual time that we are in. Okay, I’m, I’m not gonna get too woo woo, but we are in,

Whitney (24:59):

Oh, you can.

Malena (25:00):

Okay. We’re in the Aquarian age and so you have a nudging within you. If you turned on this broadcast, you have a nudging within you pulling you, your spiritual power is pulling you, pulling you forward. And as long as that’s the case, as long as you have the desire, it is already done. I promise you it’s already done. It’s just calling you to the next steps and for you to really occupy your throne and don’t abandon it.

Whitney (25:36):

I love that. It goes really well too with the process of manifesting where it’s like, it starts with a thought. You have a desire, you have a calling from your spirit, and that’s already done. It’s just, you might be waiting to do it on the physical form, right? Whatever that is that you know to be true for yourself, you’ve gotta take the actions to move forward with. Your spirit always knows best.

Malena (25:59):


Whitney (25:59):

And we just have to listen to that spirit. So Malena, you said that you have a free gift for everybody which I’m sure is gonna be so wanted and I’m gonna let you tell them about it.

Malena (26:11):

Yeah. So part of the work that I described is all about creating your personal foundation. And I think something that is so, so important is shoring up your self-worth and part of that is understanding what your boundaries are and how you’ve been behaving, either for or against those boundaries so that is part of what I want your listeners to have. It’s a deep dive into boundaries. It’s a deep dive into who they are and yeah, I think it’s a wonderful start to a reinvention journey.

Whitney (26:43):

Hmm. Thank you so much. So you can get this free gift over at messengerofspirit.com/malena and we will put this link in the show note so you can get this free gift from her. Thank you so much for offering that. And as always, I like to pull some cards. So I was wondering if you would read some of these cards with me and we can see what kind of messages Spirit wants to share. Okay. So the, this goes really well with our topic today. This is the card of the dragonfly. Your purpose is being revealed, right? And it comes with a number five which is all about change.

Malena (27:21):


Whitney (27:22):

So I just wanna ask you, is there anything else that kind of comes through with that and our topic today for you?

Malena (27:29):

Oh gosh. So the dragonfly is actually a symbol for my cousin Dashia who went to the other side about nine years ago. And so, well, she was a firecracker of a woman. And so every time I think of her, I think of this very thing, having the courage, not ever apologizing for going the direction that you need to go, not ever apologizing for evolving into the woman that you wanna be. That was her 100%, and that is what reinvention is. So yeah, and of course, five change is the only constant that we have. We are always changing, always evolving, even the crisis, the breakups, all that is a gift. It is a gift for us to move forward and to more and more of ourselves, so yes, to the dragonfly.

Whitney (28:25):

That’s an amazing message, especially because it has such a personal connection to you. I got a little chills, like, oh, that’s so beautiful and what a great symbol. So the next part is the owl, and the message here is listen to your inner voice, not everybody else’s stuff, not everybody else’s opinion. And I think this goes really well with the work that you do, right? Listening to your own soul, getting quiet. You know, you can have a mentor, have a guide, but it’s really all the answers are within. Would you agree?

Malena (28:55):

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Whitney (28:58):

Yeah. And then this last card too is alone time. It’s the empath.

Malena (29:03):


Whitney (29:03):

And I, I feel like, so the empath is about feelings, so like a lot of the stuff you said about how do you feel, you know? And the owl is about clairaudience which is like talking to yourself and clairaudience getting messages from spirit that way. But I’m seeing a lot of empaths just being so sensitive right now and really wanting to help the world.

Malena (29:25):


Whitney (29:25):

And feeling like there’s a reinvention, and what I like is alone time. So I think that alone time is needed to reflect to really get clear. And do you see that as something that is really helpful with the process?

Malena (29:41):

Absolutely. That’s a lot of the work is gonna be with yourself and leaning on your own wisdom.

Whitney (29:49):

Oh, I’m gonna make sure that’s a quote. I like that. Leaning on your own wisdom.

Malena (29:53):


Whitney (29:53):

And I think that’s something that we all need to strengthen. And so many times people say, I want somebody to tell me the answer and we’ve gotta lean in to our own intuitive voice and to our own, like you just said, wisdom that we have inside. So thank you so much Malena, for being on the podcast. This has been amazing, and is there anything else that you wanna share before we go?

Malena (30:19):

I just wanna encourage everyone, get out there and do your thing without apology. The world needs your gifts, the world needs your voice, the world needs your true self.

Whitney (30:31):

Oh, that’s so good.

Malena (30:32):


Whitney (30:33):

Well, thank you so much and please get Malena’s free gift and you can get that at messengerofspirit.com/malena. I’ll put that in the show notes along with other ways to connect with her. And again, thank you so much.

Malena (30:50):

Thank you.

Whitney (30:52):

Alright. This has been an amazing episode full of good energy, and I will be back next week with another new episode but until then, here’s to staying spiritual and ambitious. Thanks so much for listening to this episode. And if you loved it, would you please share it with a friend? I would also love your review and a reminder to subscribe so you never miss an episode. You can find me at messengerofspirit.com and you can take the Four Intuitive Languages quiz and find show notes there too. If you wanna connect on YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram, you can find me @messengerof spirit. I’ll meet you right here next week. Here’s to staying spiritual and ambitious.

Speaker 3 (31:42):

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