Shadows by nature need the light. But they are scarier in darkness.
In the dark we’re most reliant on our minds. Its internal workings decide what we see.
Some, of course, argue that it’s always the case. That the world doesn’t exist. Our mind projects it onto our consciousness. But somehow the darkness brings this point closer to home: we see ghosts, monsters, things to fear, things we fight.
Think of the night and imagine: some live in that darkness almost constantly, battling things only they can see. That, for me*, is anxiety. And when I give up the fight, it’s depression.
I’ve watched Michael Neill in a TedX talk recently and he hammers the point hard:
“We all see something and it’s not there.”
Our fears in the night, the obstacles, everything that’s holding us back and everything that spurs us forward, do not exist.
Think about the myriad of possibilities this truth opens: we’re never more than one thought away from a different experience of being alive.
Yesterday I found out that my colleagues were going out. The last couple hours everyone was asking: “X, are you coming? Y, please come! Z, you should come!”
Not once was I X, Y or Z. And it hurt. And my mind started the snowball it knows so well, down the rabbit hole, into my own little world where I’m always alone and left out.
But then I remembered what happened last time and I knew it was my choice how I reacted now.
It’s our choice how we live, what we do with our thoughts. As Michael said it, “it’s just a thought. You don’t have to act on it.”
It’s hard though. What I know, what comes without effort is the easy slide into the downward spiral. Once you start, it’s hard to stop. And I couldn’t. I was exasperated with myself but the darkness still kept growing.
I didn’t like it. I wanted to run away in every way possible. That’s when I hit me: hello, I CAN actually escape my mind. By putting myself into someone else’s: into a book. I did so and it worked. Instead of the dark, cold Budapest, I found myself in a horse race in Africa. Instead of worrying about my situation, I was worried about that horse who kept running despite the pain, despite her chances. (Beryl Markham’s West With The Night.)
Half an hour later, stepping off the bus, I was much calmer but still weary to step back into my life. But surprisingly, it wasn’t that bad any more.
Yes, not being invited still stung but I finally caught up with my logical mind and FELT what it KNEW that it was my making. That by retreating into myself in social situations, by avoiding said situations, it was me who created the impression that I didn’t want to spend time with them. Who likes being rejected? They expected a no from me so they didn’t ask.
It’s also up to me change that if (when) I’m ready. I will have to be the one to open to them and to request their friendship.
As I mused over these (and frankly, still a being bit surprised that I’m not in panic mode any more), I was walking home via the long route. And as usual, the quietness of the park made me feel more relaxed and more aware of what’s around. That’s when I saw the above scene: the building half-lit, the bare tree next to it, how the tree’s shadow displayed on the big wall. How it was so hard to see where the tree ended and where the shadow started. How it’s up to us to make that decision of what we see. And how well this sight fit into the weekly photo prompt 🙂
I wish you all a lovely weekend folks. I recommend watching Michael’s talk, very inspiring.
* People experience it differently. I’m not equipped to talk about anxiety or depression in general. I know it’s different for all of us.
Posts from the challenge I liked:
- A cheeky scarecrow who is not afraid of his shadow (are you?!)
- Bike shadows
- A beautiful portrait who makes you want to know the story
- When reality and imagination meet
- Shadows defeated by light
- A selection of geometrical shadows
- A place that envokes feelings of ladyship and lordship
- Simplicity at its best
- A gorgeous cat
- A beautiful flower “reaching out of the shadow”
- A menacing future
Click to check them out, they’re a bunch of talented photographers worth to follow.