Lower Grand, DTLA, CA

“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.” – J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 

Chasing the Light. The Phoenix rises from the ashes. The lotus grows from the mud. The pearl becomes luminescent through irritation. Life is a journey, a Heroine’s journey that involves both light and darkness, shadow and illumination. Can we have one without the other? Perhaps the darkness forces us to find the light.

I believe it does. Despite darkness and shadow, our greatest gift is resilience. In my 57 years on this planet, if there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that we aren’t all “love and light.” We aren’t designed to be. Contrast gives definition to our lives. The light is our higher self; The shadow, our human self. The Midlife woman is a tapestry made up of many parts of self, various aspects of the whole that have been tucked away, denied, judged, discarded, waiting to be revealed.

What made me delve into this philosophical take? The first photo shoot of 2019. I saw an image on Instagram by a local photographer and it caught my eye. It was taken in an area of DTLA, or Downtown LA, called Lower Grand. My photog and I decided to give it a try, sight unseen. When we first entered Lower Grand, it was ominously dark, dirty, grungy and gritty. Most people with half a brain would probably turn around and find higher ground with a more suitable setting. Not us. Lower Grand was the perfect metaphor for life and the Heroine’s journey. Much like a musician can spin a dark life story filled with pain and sadness into a compelling song, a photographer creates the perfect capture through a mixture of light and dark, of shadow and illumination. Great light can be difficult to find. As a photographer, you have to chase it. It does not always make itself apparent. We let our eyes adjust and we began searching. We let go of the overwhelming darkness, and with patience and purpose found the pockets of light that gave us one of the best shoots we’ve ever had. No matter how dark things may seem, there is always a ray of light. When we reach for the light, the magic happens. In the end, beauty requires a mixture of darkness and light. Embrace the darkness. Reach for the light and watch the beauty unfold.

It wasn’t long ago that my life looked vastly different from it is today. Oh, I still have plenty of dark, shadowy aspects within to embrace and frankly, 2018 was a very trying year. Yet I’ve also discovered parts of myself I didn’t know existed and learned to love them. It was during a very dark time in my life that I began to understand the power of the shadow along with the wounded inner child. I was bedridden, losing my battle with Lyme disease. I was working with an Empowerment coach, Laura Bruno, I’ve mentioned in prior posts. Laura had a way of kicking my ass when it was in badly need of a kick! She encouraged me to dive into the shadow work. I ordered Debi Ford’s book, “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers,” and I began to look at my shadow, the wounds, the pain, the stories, the beliefs, the judgments…a collective of things held in my subconscious and unconscious…that held me back or, more truthfully, covered me up, the real me, the me I had yet to meet. Slowly, I began peeling back the layers, looking at various aspects of myself, particularly those parts of myself I didn’t really want to see and I began to embrace them. Through this journey, I began to discover parts of myself I didn’t know existed. Those parts shined like a beacon of hope and purpose and my “shadow” receded. When you find yourself in shadow, chase the light.  When we bring light to the shadow, the shadow disappears. How cool is that?

Cheers Beauties. Stay Fierce!

11 comments

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It’s such a perfect analogy….how can we appreciate the light if we don’t know the dark??
XOXO
Jodie
http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

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Yes, how can we understand one without the other?

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Just read this and it brought me to tears – how raw and true is the dark that covers the light and blocks our way. Even when we find the light again the dark returns. We must all find the gifts that unfold from being in the dark and continue our journey with a wider view of the light that awaits us each day. Near death experiences have a way of changing our outlook on life and brings forth wisdom worth sharing with others. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and photo. ❤️

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It’s been so lovely to connect with you virtually. I do understand darkness. I also understand light. I understand both well. That’s called life, isn’t it sister?

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Such a beautiful post and photo. Definitely putting that book on my list for reading this year. Happy New Year!

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I’m so glad you are. Please let me know if you do read it and thank you for such beautiful comments!

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Beautiful post! I’ve had many of those days here in the last month where you struggle for the light like gasping for air. And it is just part of life. If you’ve ever heard that story of the grandfather and son on a beach where starfish have washed up everywhere, and the little boy begins picking them up and throwing them back in the water, one at a time. And the grandfather says, “Why are you even trying to save all these starfish? There are just too many! You can never make a difference.” And the little boy picks up another one and throws it back into the sea, and he says to his grandpa, “It made a difference to that one.” So, one by one you begin to breathe hope into people who desperately need it.

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I sense you may be feeling that way right now. I understand gasping for air. Grief, sadness, pain, old wounds can definitely leave us shell shocked and raw. Know I’m thinking of you. I love the starfish poem. Just touching one life…just making a tiny difference can be all the difference in the world!

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What a beautiful, powerful and needed bit of business this was. Thank you. After the glow of the holidays and *pop* of the New Year, it can seem pretty dark – so your words couldn’t be more perfectly timed. I’m so very grateful. xo – t.

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Thank you sister. We do need to shine some light, don’t we? By Midlife, we’ve experienced our fair share of darkness!

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I’m always so inspired by you. You sharing your journey is such a contribution and gift to all those around you. I can’t thank you enough for your authenticity and generosity in revealing those parts of yourself that is most vulnerable. Great post.

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