Inspired after watching Birdman – a very effective study of shadows…
We live in a world of shadows. Everything here of substance, casts a shadow. Its size and density is largely determined by the light source. As an artist, this is a constant source of interest. Learning how to see shadows has been rich and tireless. Shadows have grown in my understanding from being a necessary and intimidating task, to being a source of beauty and intrigue. Shadows can be the most beautiful part of a painting. A shadow in art is rarely the center of attention, but certainly can be the subtle actor which holds the objects of light in a composition to their task.
Art has proven itself to be a source of wisdom when paralleled with life. After years of studying, I have come to a new understanding of a shadow’s importance. I learn as much in studying an object’s shadow as I do in studying the light. I tell my students they are not painting objects, rather they are learning to be painters of light. I will amend this to include shadow. We are painters of light and shadow. We study the heart of both. Light is open and enriching. We gain nutrients from it. Light is a necessity for living. Shadows are generously given life by illumination. In some ways shadows give us a rest from reality. Shadows can be fantasy. At times, they hold our deepest secrets, our fears, or they can sing of a mysterious loveliness. They are the binding which holds us to this silent planet. It is time now, to make friends with the shadows in our lives. Time to stop fearing them. Let us find our shadows and trace them back to their light source. Our truth will set us free.
“Love is our destiny. We do not find the meaning of life alone, but rather with another.” Thomas Merton
From the moment of our birth, these are the waters we sail. The world has lost its clear definition of Love. So we are on a quest, seeking that which we no longer understand, often thinking we recognize something as Love, accepting that which bears only a resemblance. This is a story of such a journey. We offer you a map of sorts. Though, there is no defined route. We find ourselves having fallen into a deep crater lake, with no way out. Our choice is to learn to Love. In order to survive, we learn to rely on and trust another. We learn to freely give all that we have, while in return, we receive that which others have to offer.
Honey, I always thought you were wiser than I. Now I know you are just like me. Sometimes you know things…mostly you guess. My journey brought me straight into your path. You were shelter from the storm. Though nearly everything else has changed, one thing clearly has not. In this moment. You. Still. Hang the moon.
If this moment were music, it would be a symphony. Music so filled with gratitude that joy overtakes the notes. Takes them captive, dances in little whirlwinds. Coming together then moving apart. Rejoicing, rejoicing, again and again.
You’ve been drinking the same water for years. It tastes fine….
Until one day, you are handed a glass of pure, crystal clear water.
This is amazing! Unbelievable! You wonder what you’ve been drinking all these years. Was it even water?
So it is with love. When you experience a love that penetrates to your depth—love that knows, accepts, prefers, envelops, bestows, heals—then all that is not love is now perceptible.
We live in a murky realm. We attempt to give love. We long to receive love. But there are so many guards blocking the way.
Vulnerability would surely reveal the shame, insecurity, unworthiness that is buried deep within.
We spend precious energy protecting old wounds—energy that, if released, could nurture the love we crave.
But we don’t notice, and instead tolerate the familiar landscape. We drink the water we know.
Then love cracks open the door and shines its pure light, offering a glimpse of the truth we secretly hoped was there. We recognize the impurity and resignation of our lives. We now know what is possible.
Soul Organizer is a personal coaching service dedicated to help you to create and live your best life from the inside out. Belinda Lams is a personal life coach who specializes in Dreams & Goals, Life Transitions, and Grief Integration. She is certified through Refuah Institute in Jerusalem, Israel and is a trained Professional Organizer. She currently studies Spiritual Formation and Moral Psychology with Rabbi Mordecai Finley, Ph.D. in Los Angeles, CA.
Belinda is happily married to Jeff and is the proud mother to her grown son Jordan and her daughter Aria who is in heaven.
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My name is Patience. I have, for most of my life, consciously and unconsciously been looking for someone whose real name is True. When I was very young, I spoke with him continuously. He heard me and sometimes directed me to more understanding of himself. Part of my journey has led me through what is best described as a tangled forest. It is not dark or scary, though I see the potential. Fear is kept at bay by recognizing the power light has in giving shadows their own kind of beauty. Light is Lord of all. Light is Love and beauty, and joy, and more. Light is so unthreatened it lends its power to shadows. I have run into many shadows in this tangled forest. Occasionally there are other travelers here as well. One such traveler nearly convinced me his name was True. I am still not entirely sure it is not. He is a divided soul. In the shadows, he spoke to me in whispers telling me of love and sweetness and pleasure. In the light, he became someone else entirely. He changed from warmth to ice. His demeanor changed entirely. His countenance was so different in the contrast. Shadows and light are for him, completely different. Usually shadows submit to the light and become more one with it. How could this happen to someone? The only explanation I can find for the division of his soul is pain. He must have felt so much pain about a part of himself that he tried to cut the shadows out. In this way, he would only feel whole if he were unaware of the other. When he played the shadow part, he left out the light, and when he stood in the light, he could not join with his own shadow. We are all souls living in this world of shadows. It is necessary to make peace with both. We are who we are, complex and simple. One thing I know about this is we can’t have whole relationships unless we can be honest about both sides of ourselves. There is so much more to this truth. There is more to us all than we know.
It was early Sunday morning in Anacostia, D.C. We had driven paintings to my gallery in Georgetown. Susan and I wanted to drive through the area to get some referral photos. I like to incorporate local images from the area surrounding the gallery. Anacostia was considered unsafe for 2 women to drive through alone, but I have never paid much attention to that kind of warning. (An inherent dislike of fear.) I discovered, in Susan, a like-minded soul. She had her Dad’s CINCPAC hat! What more did we need? I saw this peaceful gardener working with her hands in the dirt and immediately knew it would live on a canvas. There were many people dressed for church on the streets. Most smiled and waved at our bright faces. This painting has always been a reminder for me to expect goodness from other people. To expect goodness from the great mystery which is life. This image of a sweet gardener became “Sowing Good Seed”. The seeds continue to grow and to flower, and to give others a reason to smile.