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Exploring Our Shadows

Shadows. They are really quite an amazing reflection of who we are and where we are in relation to the rest of the universe. Sometimes we look very tall and bigger than we are. Other times we are just a splotch on the pavement. I snapped this photo the other day as I was walking my daughter's dog Max. He is a little guy, and his bigger shadow intensifies his presence as he barks at every dog we pass on our stroll down the sidewalk. His shadow advertises to the dogs behind the fences that he is a force to be reckoned with. Yet I know the quiet, gentle, cuddly Max who loves to snuggle.

Sunshine on a sidewalk reveals our physical shadow. I believe we each have an emotional shadow as well, one that is not seen with the eyes, but with the heart. Life has given each of us a combination of adversity and blessings, and each has colored who we are and how we deal with the emotional shadows that enter our lives. Some shadows fill us with sunlight and happiness and others cloak us in sadness and dark times.

As a child, we wonder why we cannot catch our shadow when we chase it. We ask "where did my shadow go?" on a cloudy day. Sometimes there is not enough light for our shadow to show. Or we have learned, over time, that it is too painful to look. It takes a lot of courage and determination to face the shadows of grief and pain, yet exposing them to the light can help us understand them and release them. My shadows are mine, just as yours are yours. No one has the right to tell you, "You should be over that by now", or "move on." We are each on our own timetable.

A true friend will walk with you on sunny days and cloudy days. They will listen when you need to talk about your shadows and they will CARE, even if you have told them the same story countless times. Collect positive and caring people in your life circle. The braver you are to face your shadows, the stronger and healthier you will become. Be present to those you hold dear and embrace the journey.

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