Category Archives: Shadow

Shining out while standing within

In the shadow of the country club

“Let man be noble,

Generous and good:

For that alone

Distinguishes him

From all the Living

Beings we know…

…Let the noble man

Be generous and good.

Tirelessly achieving

What is just and useful:

Let him be a model

For those beings whom he surmises.”- Goethe

(And her too, by God!)

Having finally watched the movie Spotlight, I was outraged and saddened. The movie follows the investigative reporters in Boston verifying the local and then world-wide systematic abuse of children by priests. I remembered a bumper sticker that said, “If you are not furious, you’re not paying close enough attention.” My old roommate used to say that “Things are always much darker than people think,” and I would counter with, “Things are much lighter than people are aware of.”


Religion has often been compared to a country club. It is the smugness of the members of the club regarding this abuse that rots its foundation.  My friend Drake Powe has often pointed out to me that wherever there is a strong light there will be a strong shadow.

Watching the show Call the Midwife, I am moved to tears almost every time at the humanity of the nuns in East London.  This show is taken from an actual account of life as a midwife in the nineteen fifties.  These dedicated women use their faith, not as a smug affiliation that allows them to leave their responsibility at the door but motivates them to roll up their sleeves and provide service, mercy and kindness to many who have never received these things in sustaining portions.

Call the Midwife

My friend Janeen once said if women ran the various religions they would be not only closer to God but beneficial to human beings as well.  While I tend to agree with her, we all have to take responsibility for our shadows.

Yesterday, I read an article * written by a young man who went to a Trump rally, expecting it to be funny and he was horrified at the crowd’s ugly, antagonizing intolerance towards any protesters. Even a man silently wearing a shirt that said, “Love is the answer,” was thrown out and ridiculed.

A group of farmers fought the most powerful army in the world to create the first nation in history that was not ruled by a dictator or a king but by the people for the people.  Here is our shadow abdicating love and responsibility using the word Freedom to justify hatred, racism and greed. We are bigger than this.  We are stronger than this and each of us individually, while not being perhaps as strong or consistent as the nuns in Call the Midwife can make a difference despite our shortcomings and fluctuations.

It is never too late to exercise freedom of choice. May we choose freedom for ourselves and those around us.


Flying the Tricolour of compassion

World of Peace ParisFriday night’s attacks in Paris reached Julia and I while we were at a music conference with our community of musicians and promoters.  Heartache and shock mingled with the fear that makes you want to lock yourself away.  One of the DJs who informed us what had happened also told us that she lives in Boston and had just been talking to a completely segregated high school of black students.  When she discussed the Civil rights movement with them, the students could not get their heads around white people risking their lives so black people could vote or white people wanting to help them at all since they are still experiencing such complete segregation.  In the middle of the country, there is a woman who works for Black Lives Matter who was recently sent death threats by the kkk. She is being targeted because she has adopted black children.  One of her friends came and got the children without hesitation.  This DJ explained to the children in Boston that the kkk was a gang.  A gang of white people with the same mentality as the Bloods and the Crips.  She told them to remember that if they were being recruited by one of the gangs in town that the gang, like the klan and other terrorist groups, would be about violence and would be asking them to perpetrate violence for the sake of violence.

My friend Drake once said that with great light comes a great shadow.  Recently, we have seen a shift in society with marriage equality and the confederate flag being taken down from the state capital of South Carolina.  This backlash is part of the shadow created by the light of our desire to become more human.

We can cower before the shadow or we can refuse to be bullied and light up the globe from so many angles, the shadows get smaller.  Seeing world monuments and people’s Facebook profile pictures flying the Tricolour in support of Paris shows me that we are still human and care for one another.  It becomes all too easy to have a militaristic response and paint one another the role of the enemy.  This is about an individual choice to be non-violent and more loving in our personal interactions.  It is a time to uphold our friendships.  Refuse to forgo your joy but feel it intensely and send it out into the shadows.

Liberty, equality, fraternity (and sorority baby)

Congruent Independence

I hope your Independence Day was intertwined with those you love and that you had a moment or two of meaningful introspection.  Adrian Belew, a musical hero of mine, sang about the Inner Revolution.
Beyond the fireworks and beer, (which are grrreat) we have the chance to remember a small group of farmers facing the most powerful army in the world and defeating a tyrant. They were able to set up the first nation without a king that has allowed its people freedom of choice.  At this stage in the game, we can recognize that the tyrant isn’t always played by someone external to ourselves but can be our own fear and ego demanding that we stay in subjugation to a lifestyle or manner of being that prevents us from being authentic and truthful.  Freedom is still a matter of choice.
I had to laugh at myself this weekend when I made up my mind to stop doing business with someone who was not upholding my best interest at heart. I wrote this individual and then with firm conviction called them and folded at their barrage of practiced wiles. I have written again and trust that I will be able to go on successfully but it has put me in touch with my fear of confrontation and needing to please people.
A friend yesterday made me laugh by saying ‘feel your anxiety and then go about your business, it will be waiting for you.’  
Ben, George and the boys (and girls) didn’t defeat their tyrant overnight.  They banded together and fought hard to win over their shadow reality. We are fighting harder today, or more accurately, we are in need of fighting harder today. 
One of the great Spiritual warriors, Caroline Myss says that we don’t want to give up our shadow and dark habits.  “People trust the dark far more than they trust the light.  They get no buzz off the light. It’s not erotic. It’s not sexy.  It’s not sensual. The dark is all those things, and people know how to maneuver in the dark.  They know it protects them.  They know a lie is safer than the truth.”
She talks about being congruent. “Congruent means that what you say, what you think, and what you do are in alignment with your spiritual and soul values, so they all work together. To be congruent, you really have to put effort into paying attention to the relationship between what you think, say, and do.” –Caroline Myss
Here’s to Live, Liberty and the congruent pursuit of Happiness!