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Shadow and Light

Shadow and Light

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by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
December 10, 2020

From the day we are born, we begin to develop our bodies and our minds.  Personality begins to form as we discern our likes and dislikes, learn how to have our needs met, and discover how to exist on this planet.

We spend a lot of time learning what doesn’t work for us.  Consider the baby who is learning to walk. Many falls occur before that moment when balance, leg strength, and our parents’ determination and will come together to champion us forward with our first steps.  Oh, what a glorious day when the baby takes its first steps, a victory for the entire family.

In the early years, we learn how to avoid the things that hurt us physically.  As time progresses, we discover how to cope with the things that hurt us emotionally. The coping mechanisms create a shadow.

A shadow in the material world gets created when light travels past an opaque object.  Since the light cannot pass through the thing, it travels past its edges, creating an outline of the item, and an area of darkness appears behind it.  The object blocking the light generated the shadow.

We are called to accept all of who we are: shadow and light, human and Divine, to bring the light of our Highest Self to the darkness of our human impulses.  Carl Jung defined the shadow clearly as “that which a human being would not want to be.” It is the negative side of the personality, the sum of all unpleasant properties or traits a person wants to hide.

Every person has a shadow.  There is the collective shadow as well.  This shadow exists for every group, community, and organization to which you and have ever belonged.  If you think you do not have a shadow, you most certainly have a big and dark one.

We project our shadow onto others to disguise how we are feeling about ourselves. It’s a form of protection that worked well for you in the past to prevent you from getting hurt.  Thank that aspect for protecting you and release it back to the nothingness from whence it came. 

As you become aware, welcome, and embrace the shadow part of yourself, you become unified.

You have the power of the Divine behind you, the love of the Divine within you.  You have access to the same Divine Intelligence that created you.  You are radiant and sparkly, shining your light to all.

Embrace your shadow; accept yourself and others wholly.  When you see the shadow with the eyes of compassion and love, thanking it for the blessings and protection it gave you in the past, it no longer has power over you.  See it, bless it, and you’ll learn to respond rather than react with amazement and delight at how liberated, free, and blissful you’ve become.  With the spring back in your step, you are one indivisible united whole.  Pure love.  Human and Divine.  Shadow and light.

And so it is.

Rev. Elizabeth Rowley

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