I've been wondering whether it might be possible to track temperature changes by the effects on spring flowers. Under 50 degrees the crocus and snowdrops stay tightly furled. This afternoon the temps shot up above 60.
I went out looking for shadows this afternoon, having shadows on my mind after reading some of Richard Rohr's thoughts on the "shadowlands."
He's talking about humans' shadow sides -- the part of us that we don't want to see, the part that is unacceptable to us due to "nature, nurture, and choice." He talks of the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) and the publican and the Pharisee (LUke 18:9-14). In each case, the point is not that they were perfect people, but that they were honest about their wrong-doing. They faced up to it and named it.
"How have we been able to miss that important point? I suspect it is because the ego wants to think well of itself and deny any shadow material. Only the soul knows we grow best in the shadowlands. We are blinded inside of either total light or total darkness, but “the light shines on inside the darkness, and it is a light that darkness cannot overcome” (John 1:5). Ironically, it is in darkness that we find and ever long for more light. Did you know that even physics is now telling us that what looks like total darkness to the human eye is actually filled with neutrinos, which are light? Again, the mystics like John of the Cross knew this to be true on the spiritual level too."
(this is from Rohr's daily meditation website -- it's a somewhat expanded version of a quote from his Breathing Under Water, p 33).
Rohr calls us to "honest shadow boxing" -- making a "searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves," as step 4 of the Twelve Steps says.
"The more you are attached to any persona ("stage mask" in Greek) whatsoever, bad or good, any chosen and preferred self-image, the more shadow self you will have. So we absolutely need conflicts, relationship difficulties, moral failures, defeats to our grandiosity, even seeming enemies, or we will have no way to ever spot or track our shadow self. They are our necessary mirrors. Isn't that sort of a surprise? And even then, we usually catch it out of a corner of our eye -- in a graced insight and gifted moment of inner freedom." (Breathing Under Water, 33 -34.)
A good awareness to be pondering during Lent, along side texts like those I worked with for Lent 1.
This isn't the shadowlands that Rohr has in mind, but I found the layers intriguing.
"Instructions for living a life:
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"
I've taken on a prayer practice of looking for the moments of light in each day, whether actual or metaphorical, and then writing or posting photos of what I find.