The Unbearable Light-ness of SHADOW

BY BORIS GLIKMAN

Once upon a time there was a shellfish which lived alongside all the other coastal creatures in the intertidal zone between the ocean and the shore. Its world being a tiny area of wet sand that it could claim as its own, the shellfish did not have lofty goals and was resigned to its lot in life.

One morning the Sun was shining brightly and the mollusk was preparing itself for another ordinary day in its ordinary existence, stuck on the beach and unable to go anywhere. It was directing its gaze downward, for everything that was of importance happened on the ground. As usual, the only thing bothering the shellfish was its own shadow, for the darkness obscured a clear view of the sand.

It was then that the mollusk noticed something it had never noticed before—the shape of its left shell combined with the left shell’s shadow was the spitting image of a wing. Exactly the same was true for the right shell.

The shellfish thought, ‘Instead of being exasperated with my shadow as an ungainly encumbrance which has always hindered my perspective, what if I were to use it to my own advantage? For if I were to merge my body with it, I would then turn into a butterfly and fly up to the heavens, breaking free from the earthbound existence that has imprisoned me for so long. I could then taste the mysteries of the sky for the very first time!’

This thought both frightened and excited the mollusk. It would be such a risk, such a radical change from the way of life it had grown accustomed to over the years. For even though its existence was dreary and tedious, there was safety and security in the familiarity of the daily routine. Yet the pull of exciting adventures, the lure of new experiences and the temptation of starting its life afresh were irresistible to the mollusk.

And so, with a decisiveness it had never displayed before, the shellfish fastened itself to its shadow and soared up to the sky, beholding the world, in all its glorious splendour, from an entirely new vantage point.

The other seashore creatures could only look on with astonishment and envy as the ecstatic mollusk-butterfly flitted effortlessly across the heavens, a new life of wonder awaiting it.

And the moral of this story is that only when you embrace your shadow self as a vital element of your identity will you become complete, and see a whole new world of possibilities revealing itself to you.

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