A friend recently passed on a piece of advice: Fuis ton ombre, il te suit. Suit ton ombre, il te fuit. Flee your shadow and it will follow. Follow your shadow, and it will flee.
The symbolic meaning of the shadow has been a cognitive presence in my life since it first came to me in a dream back in 2009. I have never forgotten the power of that dream, in which a voice urged me to beware of my shadow. I have returned to this dream time and again seeking to analyze and re-analyze its meaning. According to psychologist Carl Jung, the shadow represents our dark side and our instinctual self. Though it often appears in nightmares, its presence in deeply valuable. The shadow has been said to represent a goal that you harbor, and its primal energy will help you conquer obstacles. Therefore, my dream was not as I first perceived it–a warning–but rather, it was telling me to cultivate an acute awareness of my inner most desires and goals.
As my friend recounted this tid-bit of Jungian wisdom to me, she explained that it applied in all aspects of life including money, relationships, and your life’s purpose. At first I wasn’t sure if I agreed. How can people succeed if they do not actively pursue their dreams? However, as I’ve pondered this a bit more, I’ve begun to find some logic in her statement. This does not mean that I believe in lethargy, but that I find something must be said about an unnaturally forced pursuit. Just as we can’t catch our shadow, neither can we chase down something that is not meant to be. If we are forcing something to happen for the sake of satisfying our ego, we will not attain what we desire. What I did not agree with, however, was the idea of fleeing from our shadow. To flee is to deny, and to deny will only generate negativity. What I believe is that in stillness we gather all the clues we need in order to be fully present and aware in our bodies. If we can sit in silence and cultivate awareness towards our life’s purpose, our inner most desires and our goals, the universe will naturally conspire to help us attain them. It is when you are still that you can be one with your shadow, and you are capable of dialoguing with it.
In suit, here are some photographs of the Medina in Salé, Morocco. On the day I shot these photos I sought to capture glimpses of my shadow and the shadows of others.
Amen, Right On, Shalom, Saalam, Namaste,