Is there Beauty in the shadow?

It’s amazing how heavy a shadow can be.

After all, a shadow is just brilliant light with something in its way.

Sometimes I am both the light and the something in its way. Does that ever happen to you?

This week was a shadow week. The weight of it made my joints hurt, pulled my cheeks into a persistent frown, buried my voice deep in the darkness of it.

For me the remedy is time.

As time goes along, the light moves, shifts its way past the something until clear light returns.

For me, the shadow moved this afternoon. Suddenly the heavy was lifted off of me. In its place, gratitude poured in. Gratitude, in fact, for the thing that I was fighting against, part of the heaviness, even. Sometimes I see the shadow before I see the butterfly! Macro photo of orange and brown butterfly on rocks.

It didn’t last.

But it was wonderful! And it brought to me something that had seemed to have left me entirely.


Hope for the light to return. Hope for my wings to unfurl. Hope for a lightness of heart that had seemed to escape me.

With hope came also a reminder.

There is such beauty in shadows. My favourite pictures balance shadow and light. The language of trees are the shadows of their branches. Without the contrast of shadow, light mutes colour into pale impersonators.

There are also the butterflies.

You knew I’d mention them, didn’t you?

You know that when I walk, I always look for beauty, right? That I have my camera ready and my eye tuned to find beauty in all the small things.

Frequently, those small things are on the ground, so a lot of my looking has my eyes cast down.

What brings me up, with a rush of delight and wonder, is a shadow.

The moving shadow I barely catch a glimpse of. The floating shadow that changes in shape and size as I track it. The shadow with that gorgeous double-heart shape.

It’s true. More often than not, when I see a butterfly, first I see its shadow.

That movement, that darkness, that shape, bring my head up and my camera to ready in search of the butterfly.

There’s a hushed wonder in this moment, a rush of questions. Will I find the source of the shadow? What colours will it be wearing? Will it pause for my camera or coyly rush away?

And there is gratitude. Gratitude that while my eyes were down, they could still see the beauty in the shadows.

Despite all this, the shadow doesn’t know its true value.

Heavy with darkness, it is blind to the source of its existence. It cannot see that it is born from beautiful colours floating freely on the air. It does not hear my whispered excitement as I discover it.

And we each, in the depths of our own shadows, also are blind to the colours that create them. We forget the freedom we have. We forget the movement of our lives, the hope that returns again and again. We forget our own wings.

The next time you find yourself in a shadow, try to remember that it will shift. Know that you are not the only one who feels the heavy burden. Seek the message in the darkness. And whisper to your heart the story of her wings. They will unfurl again. Brighter and more gorgeous than ever before.

I know yours will. As will mine. And here, in the shadows, I’ll make ready for their return.

What do you do to find your way through your shadows?

Whether in shadow or not, you may find a hint of the brightness you seek in the 23 daily emails of 23 Whispers.

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6 Responses to Is there Beauty in the shadow?

  1. obiteljski savjetnik March 20, 2013 at 6:57 am #

    Loved your: After all, a shadow is just brilliant light with something in its way.

    my favorite quote today!

    tnx for sharing about your own shadows.

  2. Marita Rahlenbeck March 24, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

    Teresa – there is SO much juicy stuff here! You take the reader full circle – from the shadow, out of the darkness to gratitude and hope and then circle back and ask how we find our way out of the shadow.

    I agree that time is key. Awareness is too. Awareness that “this too shall pass.” (although I hate being told that when I’m in the mud!)

    Cheers with your butterfly mug that the shadow makes us stronger. Double cheers to the Light, for therein lies the Hope.


  3. Claire March 24, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    What a beautiful post! I completely understand the feeling and the relief of hope returning. I love the sentiment that a shadow is just brilliant light with something in its way. I never saw it that way before!

    I also adore butterflies, they’re very special and always a symbol of hope.

  4. Leah Shapiro March 24, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    Must have been something in the air last week. I was feeling like I was caught up in the shadow’s too.

    I find that it’s important to acknowledge the shadow and give myself some time to just be with it. Allow myself to really feel it and be aware of the energy that is trying to move through me. Ignoring it only makes it worse.

    I like what you said here- “After all, a shadow is just brilliant light with something in its way” I think that the “something in the way” is our resistance to the lesson, awareness, or feeling that are trying to move through us…they get stuck in the shadow.

    I also ask myself what would feel better and what do I need right now in this moment?

  5. Christie Halmick March 25, 2013 at 6:40 am #

    You describe both the shadow and light so well, Teresa. The heaviness of the shadow can make it seem like there is no light. What gets me through every time is the reminder that it will lift and there is light and that feeling as it lifts.

  6. Julie Geigle March 25, 2013 at 8:21 am #

    You are such an eloquent writer. I used to spend a lot of time in the shadow, but since finding The Healing Code I am grateful to say it shifts a lot quicker for me. I also know that meditation helps lift me out of that heaviness. I think these techniques work because they allow the natural flow of energy to move through instead of staying stuck or being denied. Thanks for sharing love your use of words. ♥

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