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  • Writer's pictureDenny Balish

Shadow and Light

We were all born as beautiful spiritual beings into the family of man—perfect, whole and free as God intended us to be. We are born with unlimited potential and two simple desires; to love and to be loved.  Everything else pales in comparison.  

We yearn for love and thrive in it.  Experiencing love makes the world feel right. Yet growing up, we may have encounter people, situations, or events that left us feeling flawed, broken, or bound to a pain of which we could not get free.  We may have carried this pain – these remnants of the past – with us throughout our lives, eventually making them our own. 

Perhaps, like me, you were born with some physical or mental difference, which became the target of senseless teasing, causing you to shrink inside.  Or maybe you grew up in a family with constant conflict, so you learned to either run from the world or fight it. Perhaps you were lonely and shy, but no one really knew, leaving you feeling alone and forgotten.

Maybe you were berated for being that highly active child – the one that met the world everyday with intense passion – leaving shame where joy should have been.  Perhaps you felt the sting of an angry word, or an angry hand, one too many times, or were shown how you never quite measured up, so you never did.  Maybe you were told your ideas were far too fanciful ever to come true, so you let your dreams die.

We all carry a certain amount of darkness within us; it is our human condition. It lays hidden within our hearts and minds waiting to be revealed, and healed.

Do you, like me, find it is easy to love yourself when the bright, capable, productive one shows up. But what happens when we hit a snag? What happens when our confused, self-doubting, procrastinating self emerges? What do we do then? What do we do when, in the throes of “one of those days,” when nothing seems to be going right, when we’re angry at the world or down on ourselves or both, what do we do then?

We can open to those feelings rather than push them away. We can open to anger, annoyance, frustration. Open to fear, sorrow, shame.

It isn’t comfortable getting in touch with those painful emotions. They can leave us feeling raw, vulnerable, exposed. Yet, our path to healing begins by accepting every part of us—the shadow and the light.

This path not an easy one. It takes courage, patience and grit. It takes facing our pain and the suffering it creates—both for ourselves and for others. It takes welcoming pain, sitting with it, until bit by tender bit, it begins to melt within the warm compassion of our heart.

“What hurts you, blesses you. Darkness is your candle.” ~ Rumi

To succeed in our quest of transformation, we have to be willing to let go of who we think we are, to become the person we were meant to be.

So, how can we learn to live wide open? How can we accept ourselves fully; even those parts we do not like so much?

By saying “yes” to our perfectly imperfect selves and to our perfectly imperfect lives. When we do so, we are not only engaging in one of the most courageous of acts, but also, we begin to heal our past, and in so doing, reshape our future.

Today, may you embrace both your shadow and light, and see the beauty that you are now, have always been, and will be forever. I bid you peace.

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