sharing the path of beauty and shadow

A path is a way of solidarity , of sharing the beauty with all the others on the way; it is also a sharing of the pain and the struggle with all the others on the way. Matthew Fox, Creation Spirituality

Natures Litter

In writing this blog I have share my journey along path and will continue to do so. I don’t do it just for those who read this blog, I do it to illuminate the past and future so I can see where I am now. All to often I get lost in the doing and forget about the being, the being present, the being compassionate, the being loving, the being understanding… Sharing this journey is also helpful in a way that is allowing me to know that I am not alone, it also leaves a foot print or a map so that others can follow, if they choose, or at least have guide, even if they choose to ignore it.

Last night I finally was called to find material to read that was not so dark or challenging as “The Living” Anne Dillard’s novel about 19 century pacific north-west. It is a fascinating read but at times dark, and sad.  Here is a paragraph about the book:

“Annie Dillard evokes the frontier generation of the 19th century in Washington state’s Puget Sound. Focusing primarily on three men and the settlement of Whatcom, Dillard presents us with a brilliant array of characters, their optimism and charity in the face of hardship, as well as racism, brutality and greed. We watch as the inexorable rise of civilization rushes in upon the settlement, changing the region, the lives and fortunes of those who live there.”

Lonely tracks

I realized I was falling asleep at night after reading pages from this book, the stayed with me, haunting me, saddening me, as well as causing fitful sleep patterns. So I chose to find something a bit more uplifting, at first I grab Return to Love by Marianne Williamson because it seem to be beckoning from the books case, in doing that I disturbed other books, one of which was Creation Spirituality by Matthew Fox.  I have read both of these books before, so what was I seeking. Higher vibrational words, directions on the path, reminders of where I have been and where I may like to go.

Not having written my pages/blog for the past week I was feeling blocked, dark, empty, even though I have been active, to a play, to street fairs, yet something felt like it was missing. So I have to be honest, I have truly been off my track, I began drinking coffee, earnestly for the past week or so, and I can’t seem to stop. I began eating too much dairy, too much sugar, my food intake has been not fully nutritious.

There I told on myself! There is a part of my that needed to play in the shadows, it was in many ways an unconscious slipping, yet I remember telling myself one cup of coffee won’t hurt, than off to the races… I thank the powers that be it is not a “drink” but it is a comfort thing, as the sugar, or any other non conscious action that I was taking. I know how good I was feeling, I was getting active, social, creative, and along with that came to need to comfort myself, for some odd reason.  Not writing was part of that place, maybe I was unconsciously aware of shame, that I let myself down, that I have fallen off track.

Now that I have been there again, playing in my shadows, it is time to move out again. Writing and creating, being honest. Matthew Fox writes, “A return to the dark is also a return to origins… part of the darkness is the absence of words and images and the presence of silence.” He does not mean depression per se he means a sense of being in meditation, taking the time alone, addressing the fears, dancing in the shadows for coming out for them the world is that much more brighter, that much more awesome!

Last Friday I submitted a photograph for exhibit for the Philadelphia Photographic Society at Bonte coffee shop at 922 Walnut St. I also was asked to take some head shots for a friends website, and then later in the week she and her partner mentioned that they were thinking of asking me to photograph their three children. Now there is a challenge I have not had yet! And am excited to do accomplish.

Shadow of ...

The Salem County Art League is returning to our space at Beans Coffee Shop in Woodstown NJ this weekend to exhibit there. Morris from the Philly Photo society keeps suggesting I have solo show at the other space that they use for those events. This morning I had wondrous surprise of a message from Terrill that she would like use my photograph “Waiting II” on her blog Unusual Light which she did! I am thrilled and honored for her blog is read by many artist and friends. I had just posted “Waiting II” last evening and was concerned of how it would present it self on , so my surprise to have Terrill’s message a few hours later was very special treat.

So to leave with another quote from Creation Spirituality, … “creation tradition is decidedly not asceticism, but the development of the aesthetic. Beauty, and our role in co-creating it, lie at the heart of the spiritual journey.”

Growth Question: Along our path how do we dance with the light and shadow to create?

I am Love, Jeff


16 thoughts on “sharing the path of beauty and shadow”

  1. Isn’t it a lovely thought how in both art and spirituality we can’t appreciate the light without the dark? I never really put the two together until I read this! I remember learning in my drawing 101 class how we need dark shadows in our drawing to accentuate the bright light … and the same is true in life. How can we appreciate the bright lights without also experiencing the dark? Oh, thank you for helping me along to that realization!!

  2. Jeff – It takes shadow to appreciate light, and it takes light to appreciate shadow. Quite possibly that’s what makes “nature’s litter” such an AMAZING photograph (you outdid yourself).

    Growth Question: Along our path how do we dance with the light and shadow to create?

    I’d have to say that I’m a fickle dance partner. I shake and shimmy with light as often as I can, but every once in a great while I have a big flirting sting with shadow …

    1. Laurie,

      Playing in the shadow and light allow one the freedom to choose! Thank you for your praise of “Nature litter” ! it is special !

      I know you dance very well with light and shadow!!!

      I am Love, Jeff

  3. Jeff, it was my pleasure to include your “Waiting II” image in today’s Creative Potager post. And since we are being honest, I too had slipped from my good eating habits this past week. I was blaming it on the moon but I know that is probably not the reason. I was so relieved to read your post and admit that I am not the only person in the world who eats half a large chocolate bar for dessert three nights in a row! I intellectually know that dark and light are two parts of a whole but I have a much harder time giving myself permission for my dark days. I keep practicing though:) Always a pleasure to visit Jeff. So glad that you are part of my community.

    1. Terrill,

      I am always extremely moved when you come by and leave a comment! I don’t know why but I am!!!
      It think allowing us to name a weakness, our faults begins us back to where we need to go, or be…
      Blessing to you dear one!

      I am Love, Jeff

  4. Jeff — I am impressed that you take these sojourns into your soul, visit with your shadow side, and re-emerge more “Jeff” than before. If the truth be told, I am (in my heart) a 500-pound woman. If weighing that much did not do so much harm, I would be happy to feast on Butter Almond Ice Cream with banana sauce the rest of my life. I could easily eat half a gallon a night and sometimes I take a week and eat it every night (I try to make the container last at least three days . . .). Mostly, though, I limit myself to three scoops on weekend nights and then eat popsicles during the week! I think sometimes we go searching for the person we used to be to see if we still exist. I have been revisiting my old selves, too, and note I have spent a life time getting out of the shadows into the sunshine. Still, I have to turn around and thank my past “me’s” for getting me all the way here . . . and so do you.

    I absolutely love your photography and the captions. I am always eager to see what you are going to turn up next.

    1. Barbara,

      I am grateful to have you walking the path with me. Yes your journey’s shared in your blog are much about your dance with shadow and light. I am always amazed how your glide around the space to come through shining brightly.

      Thank you for “love”ing my photography and captions!

      I am Love, Jeff

    2. “I think sometimes we go searching for the person we used to be to see if we still exist.” Barbara, I think you’re right!!!

  5. Jeff
    I love the shadow picture of the bridge….

    The shadows and the light tend to balance me…

    I feel a bit guilt tonight….Having a root beer float!…..for some reason I have been craving them lately…Few weeks ago I was craving Waffles with bananas!

    I think I need to go back and start reading my Life Harmony Binder….Don’t tell Laurie she might catch me…shushhh
    Keep a secret!…yeah right on the internet that’s a good privacy joke…

  6. Kim,

    Yeah I was surprised the bridge photo came out as well as it is! Thank you!

    Yes the shadow and light would balance us, once we admit both are part of who we are, just as the balance of the Male and female energies that make us who we are…

    Life Harmony program is always a good place to get centered, offer ideas, and suggestion to get on and stay on track. Thank the Goddess that Miss Laurie is a such a sweet non-judgemental being, or we would be in hot water…

    I am Love, Jeff

  7. I like what Matthew Fox has to say “A return to the dark is also a return to origins… part of the darkness is the absence of words and images and the presence of silence.”

    And what you added: “He does not mean depression per se he means a sense of being in meditation, taking the time alone, addressing the fears, dancing in the shadows for coming out for them the world is that much more brighter, that much more awesome!”

    Thank you for this, Jeff. I like the balance of silence and sharing that you present in your blogs.

    1. kathy,

      Thank you for stopping by on your very busy days to stay and comment on my blog!!! Always awesome to have you comment here. since you have been such an inspiration to write this blog in the first place.

      Finding balance, practicing balance is part of the everyday experience of living life, while we dance around the spiral we go in and out of the light…

      I am Love, Jeff

  8. I love that title, “Nature’s Litter.” It belongs there, whereas our litter doesn’t! I love the darkness and mysterious mood. Nature has her secrets, hinted at in your photo.

    The phrase you used, playing in your shadows…

    Meenakshi shared a link on Facebook this morning and this idea in the article struck me: “The traditions of Hallowe’en give us a chance to play with our fears of death through costumes, games, and parades. And in our culture, which has been based on constant growth and productivity, we are especially frightened of decline and death. We do not want chickens to sleep at night or fields to lie fallow or oil and gas to stay underground. We are afraid of the dark.” ~ Elizabeth Cunningham

    Playing in your shadows may well be part of your spiritual journey… We tend to be our own harshest critics, but you were aware of what you were doing and trying to understand yourself. I hope your world is brighter now that you danced in your shadows.

    Good luck photographing the children! That could be a challenge! 🙂 Congratulations on your photo being used by Terrill on her blog!!

    1. Barbara,

      Thank so much for stopping by reluctant bloger this morning. Some one was just asking about my state of emotional being, because he had not read my blog in awhile and I mentioned I had not wrote in awhile, and here is a comment popping up reminding me to write…

      I am grateful for your response to “Nature’s Litter” yes it belongs there… to feed and keep the new growth warm through the winter darkness and cold…

      There is a work shop on Friday which is All Hallows eve, on the Mask we wear, discussing the archtype of our mythic selves…

      Terrill’s gift was truly amazing! Thank you…

      I am Love, Jeff

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