I was engaged the other day in a very animated conversation about shadow with a close friend when this friend replied that he wasn’t working on old shadows anymore, that he was working, rather, on new ones. The concept of differentiating between old and new shadows had never occurred to me as a concept and I was intrigued by it almost to the level of ludicrousness, which is to say that I wanted to laugh out loud, and didn’t. As I noticed the level of animation and volume in my voice rise in direct proportion to the rise of my desire to get my point across that there was no such thing as old versus new shadow, that there was only shadow, I realized how much of my life has been lived in conceptualizing experience rather than actually being present to it. Needless to say, somewhere in the conversation with my friend, I decided I couldn’t go on with the direction of it because I realized that I was still as stuck in the quagmire of my conceptualization of my experience of shadow as he was. For a brief moment in time I became present to my experience long enough to be able to release the frustration that was animating me so passionately and by that, feeling a sense of freedom in the release of both the energy and the emotional charge that had been fueling the fierceness of my conviction in the first place.
The question arises, then, whether or not I will ever be able to get past this shadow of conceptualizing my experience and the answer is yes, as long as I don’t attempt to transmit the sense of my experience to another human being by conceptualizing it first. I realize that the only way I can be successful at sharing the experience of my shadow is to create the space to allow others to experience shadow directly, without the wall of conceptualization placed between the person and their experience.
How, then, do I continue to carry out the mission of this blog? I do so by continuing to revisit my shadows as they come up, to experience those shadows without trying to conceptualize them. Each time the shadow comes up it won’t be an old or new shadow, it will simply be a shadow showing up in a different way from the last. It means that I haven’t seen the last of this shadow of conceptualizing my experience and you can count on me to report on it when it shows up again, next time. The same is true for all the other shadows I have shared and have yet to share, so far.