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Shadows, Reflections


Walking at the water's edge one afternoon, I notice a crow.

Having learned surprising things about crows, I have come to love and respect them

as more than the opaque densities I imagined them to be.

I enjoy this crow. It's eating, and I am hungry, too. I feel a kinship.

As I am about to turn away, I sense the art; the 'more'.

I notice the presence of both a shadow and a reflection,

and I reflect on it a bit (pun intended);

Her shadow is what I 'see', the place on the sand where light isn't reflected back.

It really doesn't look like her at all.

It simply frames and fills in the blank where the reflecting of light ends.

Is it her body that is in the way?

Yes, but it is also the way light, by nature, doesn't bend around her.

Her image, on the other hand, is what is reflected, as light offers itself back toward her, like a mirror.

I notice how her reflection looks quite a bit like she does.

My imagination drifts to the way, in difficult conversations, it's common to focus on the dark place where nothing is reflected back. The dark place might be where a misunderstanding, a sense of offense, disconnection, judgement or something felt as scary blocks reflection.

Shadows can be quite dramatic!

I watched a fun YouTube of a child playing with his reflection in the window

and his shadow cast on the floor.

The shadow was clearly more dramatic and entertaining (click here to watch this).

My inquiry takes me to the possibility, though difficult at first, of receiving the expression of another and reflecting it back.

What does it take to allow myself to bend, ever so slightly, soften my trajectories?

This process could be another blog post.

What would it take to reflect another's expression back toward them, as it is?

This would mean, "no fixing, saving, advising or correcting",

as I learned from my time in Circles of Trust.

Fixing, saving, advising, correcting are ways of blocking light's reflection.

In the above image, the shadow reveals little about the crow, except a filled-in outline

of where nothing of the crow is reflected.

The reflection is much more beautiful in that it has 'crowness' in it.

When I don't block or interfere (even with 'good' intentions), when I do NOTHING with what I receive from you, the light of your "youness" can be offered back.

I wonder about the times I do this well, and the times I don't. The difference stirs my imagination. Listening to the YouTube, I feel inside me the child's laughter.

I wonder what it would be like to laugh at shadows ... to play with them that way, rather than to intensify them by giving them serious allegiance. I'd love to hear your experiences.

Reflect with me?!?

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