Saturday, January 19, 2008

Shadows

I just lit my “candle for writing” and simultaneously I am thinking about darkness. The words ‘shadow side’ are bubbling in my head. Why do we avoid our shadow? Steer clear if we can. Think it is ‘bad.’ We hate to even acknowledge that we have a dark or shadow side to us, but guess what ...pretending it’s not there does not make it so.

Lucy Van Pelt represents my shadow side. People have come to see “My” Lucy as playful and creative rather than bossy and crabby. Is it because I do not let her ‘shadow’ side come out so much on the page? Or is it maybe things have shifted inside me as I have come to embrace what she represents?

Lucy is my inner (and outer) critic, but she also motivates me. This was a great productive and creative week for me with much of it driven by shadow and hurt. There were dark pages in my visual journal that I have not shared. And, my ‘darker’more challenging soul collage cards did not appear to be well-received (at least based on the lack of comments). Ironically, the process of making those cards helped me process some of the chaos and anxiety I was experiencing thus helping shed some light so-to-speak.

If you look closely at my collages there is always light in the ‘dark’ cards and darkness in the ‘light’ cards. (This is unintentional, by the way.) Just as initially Lucy Van Pelt was rejected by me as too crabby, bitchy & bossy, she has now become my greatest ally as I have learned to embrace her.

My greatest joys have come with much pain….(childbirth, for one.) Also, who has not experienced deep loss of some sort? If the hurt is acknowledged and processed, is there not some growth and healing that happens? Sometimes the best thing to be able to do is say, “I am sad” or “I am having a shitty week”, but in some ways I feel censored to be so honest. (My inner censor speaks loudly.)

One reader said I was in a “dark” period and subsequently quit commenting—resulting in more sadness over that loss. Others may consider overabundant joy and consecutive weeks of fabulousness to be too shallow and impossible to believe. So where is the balance? For some reason FDR's quote: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” comes to mind.

I need to be able to share when I am sad and when I am joyous without being afraid of the response (or lack thereof). My emotions produce great creativity from both sides. I do not believe that makes one better than the other. They are simply different, but it appears that “darkness’ is less appealing to many. It seems frightening perhaps.

The length of this post is beginning to 'frighten' me now ☺, (I do prefer shorter discourses). So, for today I am going to consider why you (I) run from the shadow side. Or maybe you don’t. Either way I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Why do you run or avoid shadow? How do you embrace it?

Wishing you lightness in your day, so you may also see the shadows ☺. Peace.

photo by h3images

collages by lucy. see related post here.

14 comments:

Tess said...

I find it difficult just to "be" with pain. Whether my own or that of other people. I find it frightening. I want to fix it.
Even after eighteen years, I can hardly bear to think of my mother's pain and frequent despair in the months of her dying. Or mine.
I've spent part of this afternoon working on a poem about my younger brother's slow descent into dementia, and found myself unable to allow the emotion that would make the words true.
OK, now I'm crying, so maybe I'll go back to the poem.
Love you Lucy!

lucy said...

tess--your words feel so brave and empowering...sometimes the best thing to say is "i find it frightening" and then you can "go back to the poem."

i wish i could come over and fix you a nice cup of tea and snuggle in with you and the kitties and just "be" ...is that trying to fix it?

blessings on your tears, dear friend! i love you, too!!!

Sue said...

Oh Tess :(

I can relate to all of this. I have had so much pain over the past decade. This last year with its marriage breakup and then meeting someone I adored who I couldn't have - it's kinda done my head in a bit. And I find that in some weeks I embrace the pain better than others. This week, I am feeling angry and frustrated and fed up with having so much shit swirling in my life :) I guess it's just par for the course, isn't it, that sometimes we need to distance ourselves from the pain so that we can do some processing so hat we *can* experience it more.

Share your dark side, Lucy :) We're listening :)

And I didn't find either of those collages particularly dark. I really love the last one - what's the deal with the donkeys?

Thanks for posting these. I came to your site tonight to get some extra inspiration for the collage I'm about to do - I do love yours so :)

Shelby said...

sending hugs :)

Anonymous said...

Lucy, do you know what I love about shadows? That there wouldn't be any unless there was LIGHT shining down on us? And that LIGHT eliminates DARKNESS! And truely when I think of you I think LIGHT because the rest is truely illusion. That is pretty great. Love, Pamela

Abbey of the Arts said...

lucy, please don't ever hesitate to post the shadow side and darkness. While I think of you as light-filled, I know you have great depth too and light all the time is, well, shallow, untrue, hard to be with as the darkness is hard to be with all the time as well.

tinuviel said...

Even this beautiful planet that is so abundant and fecund has its season of darkness and shadow. New life requires a 'death' of the old.
I think of how seeds and babies grow in the dark before they come out into the light.
Sometimes the dark is truly a scary place, but the dawn always breaks again. We would never grow if we didn't have these times of darkness. Whether we embrace them or not is a different thing. It takes an immense amount of courage and faith to embrace and 'be' with darkness and pain.
Courage...

SUNRISE SISTER said...

Sue - they're reindeer - not donkeys!!! I am giggling because I thought they were donkeys myself and then I accidentally clicked on the picture and up popped the reindeer.

Lucy, I didn't see the dark side of the collages, I found them pleasant to view and the flow of the multi-colored train brought all the pastels of the sky together for me......sometimes I can see the darkness in life but other times even when it IS THE SUBECT I can't see it. My eternal optimist, I guess.

lucy said...

oh, i know why i love this blogging so much...it is all of YOU wonderful commenters! thank you SS for explaining the donkeys...oops, i mean reindeer...and i am not sure, Sue, what's up with them...they just wanted to run away with me.

it took me a minute to figure out what the "train" was, however, SS. it is actually a quilt she has tossed over her shoulder, if that is what you are referring to.

the other one is more representative of a balancing act and feeling like someone is shooting arrows at me while trying to balance things.

i, too, find them quite pleasing to look at AND they also give me much to consider :-)

fear not, my friends, i feel more bolstered than ever to share the ebbs and flows of lucy :-)

lucy said...

tinuviel--thank you for those lovely words of courage & welcome to 'lucy's place'.

Sue said...

Ah, reindeer! Hopefully they're running away with the Ghost of Christmas Present so we don't have to go through that whole rigmarole again in 11 month's time :)

SUNRISE SISTER said...

Quilt - train - a train as in clothing feels lighter than a quilt BUT a train as in railroad could make that a very heavy load!

maureen said...

the thing about darkness is its push to search search for light perhaps but then sometimes i wonder what hunkering down in the deep of darkness might do.... create desire? i am wondering along with you

lucy said...

maureen--i love the questions you ask..let's keep wondering together :-)