An optimist is a person who sees only the light in the picture, whereas a pessimist sees only the shadows. An idealist, however, is one who sees the light and the shadow, but in addition sees something else: the possibilities of changing the picture, of making the light prevail over the shadows.” Anon
Every life has dark tracts and long stretches of somber tint, and no representation is true to fact which dips its pencil only in light, and flings no shadows on the canvas Alexander MacLaren
This week’s thoughts…
You know one of my sons is named Dorian, after Oscar Wilde’s novel. I remember the first time he finally read the book, he was a little disturbed…”mama its sort of depressing”. I never saw it that way. This cautionary tale is one of my favorite classics, it was either Dorian or Monte Cristo …. I think Dorian was the better option. And pictures are exactly what got me thinking about this week’s theme of shadows and lights.
My mom was looking at pictures from a recent event (the twins 21st bday) and she commented about how beautiful she thinks I am…god Mom’s are awesome aren’t they? I smiled and appreciated it…based on my new found happy, accepting policy I had to!!! But I thought really??? I saw some pretty horrid pictures in there…you know those pics that you think “holy crap is that what I look like”??? And that’s when it struck me, she saw and remembered the beauty, I was drawn to the flaws.
Now over the years I have gotten MUCH better, at one time I wouldn’t get in front of a camera because any and all pictures would send me into a melt down of fear and loathing in colorado. So it is with much pleasure that I can say at least SOME of the pictures didn’t make me cringe and a few made me pleased…That is HUGE. But of course I had to examine the cringe factor…I just can’t leave anything alone — it always means something, I’m all about the examined life.
So why was it that although I have found this contentment, this happiness I was still drawn to see and dwell on the “ugly” side rather than the “pretty” side??? and that’s when it struck me…isn’t their always an ugly side? isn’t it in recognizing this side that we can turn to the other side? It isn’t just in pictures…each of us has that “ugly – shadow” side and the “pretty – light” side.
And bam again I saw it so clearly — we run from our shadow side. We hide it, ignore it, delete it, shame it and fear it. But what if we embraced it?? And in doing so turned it towards the light?
I have to say that first picture was in the trash after first uploading the picture disc…why? That picture is just as much me as the other? How can I say I am happy and that I love myself if I hide half of who I am? and then something even cooler started to happen. I started to like that picture as much as the “prettier” one…It made me laugh a little, I was obviously being goofy (if you don’t know these are the pictures taken about an hour before my head is to be shaved for the St. Baldrick’s event!!) I was merely trying to save pictures of my long hair for the record. This epiphany led to another healing moment…
Earlier today I had a disappointment, it’s a family thing and I did not react well at all. I was a MESS. Not pretty AT ALL. And after I calmed down. I felt angry at myself for reacting so badly…and that’s when it all came together. This was my shadow self, this was my “ugly” side that needed to be recognized and embraced in order to be turned to the light. By shunning that side I was really just Dorian Gray hiding my picture in the attic…
If we face our ugliness as it comes up we can keep it from become an indelible mark on our canvas, or at the very least we can see how the shadows give depth and perception to the light. We can only truly come to know ourselves by viewing ourselves from every angle…I invite you today to visit your picture in the attic and embrace your shadow you may even find something to love about it.
Asana (yoga pose) of the week:
Parivrtta Trikonasana(Revolved/Twisting Triangle)
revolved triangle instructional video
Wellness Tip of the Week: What’s the one dark corner that you have been ignoring? What are you carrying around/storing in your body that could be manifesting as dis-ease? Guilt? Fear? Shame? These emotions when stored and buried crop up in interesting ways. To create balance let’s get those emotions OUT into the open, deal with them and let them go. You can use yoga, pranayama, running, meditation, therapy, lunch with a close friend…let your heart guide you as you begin to face your shadows and turn them to the light many things might start to look brighter.
Mantra: inhale recognize exhale release
This post can also be viewed @ Elephant Journal