Settling back into the place that we called home, Brentwood, Tennessee, I found myself becoming more present to each day and more attentive, than ever, to the people with whom I crossed paths. It was part of making peace with hearing clear and sure words that were left hanging, still.
Earlier, in my second year of Spiritual Direction Training, I went through some concentrated work concerning shadow and found that in cultivating my shadow rather than burying it, I opened up to the lost parts of not only myself, but to the lost parts of others.
In the digging up, I remembered past times when I felt lost and realized that it was in those times that I simply was not living authentically.
At a younger age, it was easier to live up to the ideal that others had created for me rather than to do the hard work of knowing self. But by nurturing the hidden traits and those that tended to manifest negatively, I opened to the gifts that they had to offer.
Occasionally, during my shadow work, I wondered what would happen if we took some of the energy spent on persuading those who did not share our particular beliefs and just as passionately witnessed to our own lost parts. I knew that I had lost parts and I did not have to look very far to see that those around me did, too.
What if we sat and deeply listened, without judgment, to our own disapproved parts until we could actually see our God created selves. What if loving others (love they neighbor) really did hinge on loving self (as thyself). After that much interior work, what would happen when we interacted with others?
When I faithfully renewed myself in the quiet, dark and dim, I had so much more to give during the bright light of day. It was in those times that I learned that the little epiphanies were, in fact, huge, because they were the wonderful contemplative moments that drew the day-to day things under the surface causing them to become holy and sacred.
I realized that rather than always looking for bright light to disperse my uncertainties, I could wait in the dark as Spirit brooded over them, making them a part of me. I had come to appreciate the rich Rembrandt like illumination within the dark and I found myself looking forward to the night!