May you rest. And continue your journey in peace.
Me and My Shadow Drawing by Sherry Folb
Let’s imagine someone has a growling shadow lurking within, which when poked, likes to start aggressive arguments and behavior. This person will project their shadow through quarrels and disruptive actions, and if it the shadow gets its way, he or she will find some clever way out – either by leaving or finding the perfect distraction – anything to avoid a good look within.
Catching shadows is not easy. Ther’re tricky and fast. They take on disguises and like to blend in with other shadows. Your shadow always seems to spring out when you’d least like it to. Let’s imagine it’s lying there like a coiled snake in waiting and that it’s presenting you with several enticing options. Let’s say a wildly attractive person appears. The kind where your blood streams hot and all systems say ‘go!’
You take the leap; you open your body so fast there’s no time to think. In fact, thinking seems unbearably slow. There’s no time to think where this attraction might go, and all future projections look totally rosy and bright. Your limbs pulse with fresh blood, laughing comes out like it hasn’t in a long time and your heart keeps pounding ‘yes’. Your thighs soften into a warm gel that oozes up to your eyes. Somewhere, your mind floats above it all until there’s nothing to do but fall into this love. Wow. It’s great to feel this way.
The last thing you want to or can do is analyze the situation. In fact, that reasonable part of your brain is so flooded in feel-good hormones that when the shadow swoops in, you miss it.
Truthfully though, I wouldn’t want to have lived without feeling this. My resounding attractions have pulled me to do great things, to soar past doubts and limitations and they have lent me the energy to recharge my spirit. My greatest attractions helped me change the course of my life several times.
When the Shadow Enters
Perhaps these blissful blurs are somehow necessary, for they tug you this way and then push you that way and take you to places you’d never go. It is said love is blind, deaf and mute. So when something seems off, like a lie, or a disrespectful act or any kind of disturbance, you brush it away and say it’s small. The fantasy you project onto this great person is far more compelling and the illusion lulls you into sweet sleep. But you feel so alive! So wanted. So admired. So needed. It’s the elixir of desire we often label love.
Yet, while that swept away feeling is mighty fine, it’s only our wisdom that sees through the blinds of desire. It’s no good trying to stomp out desire, because if you try to squelch it, avoid it, or reason your way out, it will find you anyway. And hoping for, longing or ignoring the feeling doesn’t work either.
So what is the difference between being swallowed by your shadow and being transported into heavenly bliss? For one thing, illusions keep you suspended; they separate you and inflate feelings of being better than others. Shadows and shadowy people tend to hide things, and behind things.
You have to be quick and bright to catch your shadow, yet sometimes, the brighter we are, the faster the shadow. Casting the light of understanding into the shadow disperses darkness. It starts by observing those things that are off. You find shadows by looking into the allure of their promises and asking, what tempted you? What felt so good you closed your eyes for too long? This is the trap door, for it’s the things we badly want that lets the shadow slip in.