On Light and Shadow


Light changes everything. In the convergence of light particles and material reality comes an explosion of aesthetic energy. Transformative energy. The world is gowned in colour. The vessel of white light brings about a rainbow beauty. The blue in her eyes. The flash of pink feather. The glory of red hair. Without the light there is only darkness. It is a transcendent thing that a ray of white light holds within it the entire spectrum of colour. It is a wonderful thing that our eyes are attune to such. What a bland world would exist if the light did not bring the colour and with it, the beauty.

Yet, colour is not the only reality that exists in the wake of light. Without the light, there would be no shadow. As light appears it brings a silhouette cast of darkness from the objects that it touches. 

Shadow, like colour, like beauty, is birthed from the meeting place of light and physical existence. 

There is a kinship between the two. An intimacy between the light and the dark. They cannot survive without the other. On one side the aesthetic essence is revealed in all its splendorous colour. On the other there is transposed upon the ground the very silhouetted shadow of that object. There is the shadow side.

When you meet me, you meet my light side. You meet the colour drawn out by the light. I put my best side forward, always. The shadow remains concealed. Behind me. But it is there. For those willing to hang around long enough, they shall see it, for I cannot rid myself of it. I would prefer to keep it hidden. It doesn’t work.The light brings the beauty and it brings the shadow. It splits us all down the centre. Shows our true nature. We are a people of the light. We are a people of the shadow. Inseparable. Both realities that wrap around us. The good action that cannot exist without some shadow motivation.

The things I am most proud of. Where the light shines brightest. There comes the darkest shadow. Where great strength meets great weakness. 

I am a very passionate person. I give 300% to what I focus upon. I accomplish much as I doggedly pursue its success. I pour my heart and soul and self and light into it. Yet, in the wake of my passion, lies the shadow. In the full giving of myself to that which is in my vision, I neglect that which is in the periphery. The things that need doing. The people that I love. Behind me there flows a wake of great things accomplished as well as a wake of neglect and hurt and fracture. That which has allowed me to become all that I have, has also poisoned the waters of relationships.

And so often I wish I did not do this. At times, I hate myself for this. When those I hold most dear do not feel loved I retreat into a silent self-loathing. I am not an angry man, I turn my harsh gaze inward. I know this gets me nowhere in the end, but still, this is my reality. 

How I wish to be free of the grip of the shadow side in my life. I wish I could Peter Pan cut it from my body. I wish it were not part of me. And yet, to take away the shadow, would mean I take away the light. They are inseparable. This is our constant. These two. Forever we are held in tension between the light and the dark. And this, has to be, OK.

So tell me, what is the great light you bring? And what is its shadow? Do you see this playing out in your own life?

PHOTO by Amy Reichenbach Photography.