People of Light and Shadow

Elements of Light and Form


While I myself am not a talented painter or sketch artist, I have several dear friends that are. I have studied those art forms for my own personal interest and one fundamental lesson I learned is that what takes a flat object and gives it dimension and depth are elements of light and form.

The image above labels the variant shades that give this sphere its dimension and depth. It begins with the highlight, the place on the object where the most light is cast and then gradually darkens to the cast shadow. The place where no light touches.  If you were to remove those gradients, you’d be left with the flat image of a circle.

That wouldn’t be very interesting, now would it?

Now, imagine this image were all highlight and no shadow. You would have a solid white, flat circle. If the image were all shadow, you would have a solid black flat circle.

Go ahead, picture it; that is, if you haven’t already.  Yes, of course you have.

Both images are quite lackluster, wouldn’t you agree?

In order for this image to have any dimension or depth, light and shadow must be present.

You see where I’m going with this…

Out of Our Element

All people are people of light and shadow. Some more light, others more shadow. One of the reasons I started this blog is to appeal to Empaths who are tired of the “pure light” label. We too have our light and shadow, and while we may see and feel the shadows of others, it does not mean we don’t possess our own.

Some people have dark places put in them as the result of their experiences. Others, I believe, are created with dark places to prepare them for their experiences. This is especially true for Empaths. Those shadows do not equate to “evil.” Don’t make that mistake. True “evil” is not as commonplace as the mundane world would have us believe. It is far easier for the world to lump things such as dysfunction, mental illness, disordered personalities etc. into the category of “evil.” It’s more comfortable for them because it may be too painful or difficult to explore. It may be too glaring a reflection of what may lurk inside themselves.

But we don’t get the luxury of being dismissive, do we? Most certainly not.

Our journeys into our own emotions and experiences as well as that of others gives us a much more detailed picture of not only the origin but the nature of what people so easily cast into the category of evil. We see shadow where others will only stubbornly acknowledge light and light where others will only stubbornly see shadow. Even in the darkest recesses of the most damaged human, a speck of light can exist. The great pitfall of seeing that speck of light is that we cast this laser-like focus upon it, because that is what we have been taught to do. It is our obligation to acknowledge that light, honor it, and last but not least, brighten it. Even if it is at our own peril.

Why has this dangerous ideal been force fed to us?

Because light is the easier, softer way. We must be the light and bring out the light in others!

I beg to differ.

This black and white thinking takes Emptahs out of their element and away from their purpose by forcing them to be conditional. This is never a healthy behavior in anyone, but I believe it is lethal for Empaths. I cannot speak for all, but I can say in my own experience, nothing;

not the worst toxic behavior of my family of origin,

not the worst break-ups,

not the worst financial setbacks,

nothing was as emotionally debilitating, painful, and self-deprecating as the efforts I had once made to try to be something I simply was not. I’m sure many of you reading this had more than one instance in your life where you felt you had to “hide” who and what you are. I downplayed my gifts for years to pursue a “normal” life, and that choice nearly drove me to my own destruction, not to mention causing great harm to others I love and care for. It was not only the downplay of my gifts but of continually forcing myself to “live in the light” that lead down that path. Even when I was comfortable enough to acknowledge what I was, I was instantly labeled “light worker,” “healer,” “protector.” Can I be those things, absolutely, and many times I am.

However, I also believe that it is perfectly fine to be a shadow worker.

I believe that so-called “healing” can become a self-serving attempt to make someone more to another’s liking.

I believe that there is a fine line between “protecting” and “enabling.”

This is the tightrope that Empaths walk. Most will pass the buck to us to heal the world, and those who are not meant or are simply not willing to be healed seek us out to “fix” them. We know that we can’t, at least not the way they would have us do it. All we can offer is a sharper picture of every aspect of themselves, accept it, and hope that they can learn to accept it too, or perhaps try to teach them if they are willing to learn and we have it in us to provide the lesson. Often times, we can only walk away and leave them to their own devices when we know they mean us harm. Only, that isn’t necessarily what everyone wants, is it?

I have come to understand that my task as an Empath is not so much to give people the type of healing they want, but rather reflect the balance that I and many others need.  The only way I know how to do that is to affirm who and what I am and commit to a life of balance.

A Declaration of Self

My shadows, whatever their origin or nature, are mine. I accept them, I embrace them, I honor them. I no longer struggle with elements of myself that I was born with. That acceptance made it possible for me to stop harming myself and others with those elements. The years of substances to numb what I felt, the self-hatred I draped in self – righteousness and harsh judgement of others, the years I spent in situations trying to enforce not just my will, but the will someone else told me I am SUPPOSED to have took such a heavy toll on my spirit. Instead I came to terms with those shadows in ways that felt honorable and true to me.

I refuse to see the world in extremes:

Light and Darkness

Good and Evil

Instead, I acknowledge the positive and negative within myself and others and I act accordingly.




2 thoughts on “People of Light and Shadow”

  1. Agreed. The shadow is a very powerful position to operate with “myself” and “others”. The shadowy ambivalence is the only one way to reach a balance. You did an impressive self-work. Bravo.


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