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Monday, February 20, 2012

What's Your Shadow Telling You?

Last night I was watching a movie, Backdraft, starring Kurt Russel, William Baldwin, Robert Deniro, and Donald Sutherland. I must say, I was quite pleased with it though there were some obvious predictable turns to it. One part of the movie caught my attention though and that was Robert Deniro's character, a fire investigator who was nicknamed "Shadow." Why was he called this? Because while he was rescuing a deranged psychopath (Donald Sutherland's character) who set a fire, he got caught in an explosion and his shadow was left on the wall, so to speak.

I thought that was an awesome nickname but it also brought to my attention an aspect of myself that I had forgotten about; my shadow. All to often, while outside, I'm focusing on the activity at hand and not on anything else really. I forget about the world and it's issues, I forget about my personal issues, all the stuff that's going on in friends lives, and more...I forget about everything really.

This is something that apparently, is not limited to myself but a lot of people. An article I was reading this morning on 10 Ways To Feel Good Everyday brought to my attention that the stuff I do-exercise, drink water, eat right, stick to a routine...well, a lot of this stuff is recommended. Of course, I don't agree with everything the article says-drinking algae (BLEH) seems like a sure way to make me miserable, not happy.   

So, it seems that with all that said, with all the stuff I forget about which makes me (and other apparently) happier, I also forget about something that was once essential in my life; my shadow.

And you know what? That's kinda sad. I remember as a kid my shadow and I used to have a lot of fun. All of us, at one time or another as children, have found that on those days where we're alone with no one to play with, our constant companion, our shadow, is there. My shadow and I used to have a lot of fun; I remember acknowledging it rather than just knowing it was there. Somewhere along the way though, all children grow older and those little things-like our shadow-get forgotten about. Often times, they're never really remembered again.

It's kinda like an imaginary friend in a way I guess. Once you hit those teenage/adult year, what's the point of having an imaginary friend? There isn't one. You have more friends on facebook than you have in real life, you have more people in your life than ever before, you don't have time to acknowledge an imaginary friend or, in this case, your shadow. I mean, it's your shadow...what's so important about it?

Well, I'll tell you why your shadow is important; often times it can tell you stuff you can't tell yourself.

Hear me out, I know it sounds a bit loopy. You see, while working out today, with the various things in my mind being regulated to background process, I was surprised to find my attention to be divided between my running and my shadow. It's odd, watching your shadow as you do something like running. You know you're doing the actually moving in the process, but really it's almost like you're not out there by yourself. Like you have a companion.

So, me and my shadow, we did our running and I was generally enthused to have it along for the ride. It seemed to be having fun and I will admit, I was too. Usually, running just is kinda tedious work; I do it because it's good exercise but more than that because it's part of the routine. I took the last two weeks off from it because I'd gotten tired of it; it was less fun and more work.

Now, suddenly, it's somewhat fun again after many months of it being just tedious. My shadow was having fun with it and so was I. It was telling me something there; prior to the workout I was feeling guilty for not really doing any running the past two weeks. I figured I'd be woefully out of practice and unable to do much. Turns out I was able to get back into it without too much trouble. My shadow was telling me "hey, it's okay...no biggie, you're good."

As children, it seems we have the wisdom to acknowledge our shadow and pay attention to it. It doesn't seem so weird then. As we get older, it does, and I wonder why that is. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that, as we get older, we spend less time outside in the sunlight and more time inside doing stuff.

Whatever the case maybe, your shadow can tell you things. It can tell you to chill and not worry about skipping some workouts, like mine. It can tell you that, while out taking your lunch break on your favorite park bench, you've somehow lowered your head onto your hands. It can tell you that, while standing in the sunlight, you have an odd resemblance to Superman striking a pose.

It's kinda odd and kinda out there, but listen to your shadow folks. In fact, get outside more so you can see your shadow...it's an old friend that is too often forgotten about as we get on in years. After all, it can tell you things that you would never tell yourself.

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