“There is strong shadow where there is much light.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
We are meant to live our lives in the light of work that feeds our purpose, and with people who encourage us to be more than we would accept if left to our own devices. But in a world where too many of us live in the shadows of banality and busyness, how do we move from dark to light?
For anyone present enough to sense the difference between the life they’re expected to live and the life they were born to live, shadows provide a contrast and a starting point for creating a purpose-filled life. But for the rest of us, shadows block the light meant to illuminate our path, and we must name the shadows in order to move forward:
• Shadow Relationships are the friends and family who want us to live their version of our life. As far as they’re concerned, they know how the world works! And if we wander too far outside their comfort zone they will try to reel us back in, for fear that their version may be wrong for them as well.
• Shadow Jobs require us to trade the best, most productive and most creative parts of our day for work that fails to satisfy our soul. We are on this planet for a purpose, with unique gifts and a finite amount of time. So any work that requires us to sacrifice our “best and most,” is not worthy of our place in the world!
Goethe’s quote assures us that there is light in our path, and warns us that the shadow between us and the light is formidable. It is not enough to think that if we live status quo lives the shadow will pass automatically and the light will be revealed.
We must make the conscious effort to bring our relationships and our work into the light. It is crucial that we do all that we can to ensure that the people who surround us, and the work which fills our days, give honor to our reason for being.