Posts Tagged ‘suppress’

Life’s interior design, surfaced through reflection, comes at the end of the experiment–Life, an experiment in living that doesn’t “just happen.” Oh, there are some people who live without intention, who treat life as though it just happens. They make no plans. If they had no external constraints, there would be no structure for walking through the hours in their days. They float through each day and stack them up as the years pass. Then, as their life’s experiment slides into the last phase, through reflection that inevitably comes with increasing age, they discover shadows lurking around inside.

Some people live their lives as though they have little control over it. Whatever happens is God’s will, they say. And so they absolve themselves of responsibility for everything that happens. Their thoughts go something like this: I messed up and lost my last job. God must be trying to teach me something. Or they might say about that which is good in life, I give God all the credit for what has happened in my life. It’s all his blessings. And so, they are just pawns in God’s hands. Everything good and everything bad is of God and one’s mind and heart, will, emotions, and actions have little to do with life. And yet, in these religiously committed lives, there are shadows lurking around inside, there are repressed suspicions that things could have turned out differently if more energy had been applied here, or a better thought-through decision had been made there; if emotion hadn’t controlled actions, or a moral lapse hadn’t occurred. Shadows will inevitably be found in life’s interior.

Other people live intentionally, planning their lives and trying to anticipate life events. They view life as being a huge laboratory in which they perfect their skill, demonstrate their knowledge, and display their experiment as one that meets with peer review, that works, that is profitable for themselves and for society. Their life experiment also slips into waning days like an old Polaroid photograph fading to a ghost of its former sharpness. Their lives have been productive, satisfying, fulfilled. Yet, they too find shadows lurking around in the quiet recesses of the inner self.

These shadows, these unaddressed issues from the past, were suppressed during a time when life was energy expended toward education, possibly marriage, raising children perhaps, advancing careers. All of these hopes and dreams were met with varying degrees of success. With or without success, when the end of the experiment is in view, the accumulated shadows of unresolved issues float into consciousness. There is now more time to reflect and that reflection surfaces what time had not allowed before.

I have shadows I haven’t dealt with in my life, some conscious personality traits and the verso of other personality traits. This sounds rather Jungian I suppose, the shadows and all that. Regardless of psychological labels, I’m at a stage in life when I have time for reflection, and that is good. Reflection opens us to possibilities, and, I suspect, should have been more a part of my life all along.

Reflection, as a mentor, guides our consciousness into the back corners of our mind to surface life experiences that can bring color and beauty to present living–even if these experiences were born out of difficulty and pain. Entering these shadows and walking through them will add to the topography of the soul that will produce a living landscape that is intricate, beautiful, and powerfully liberating for the self and for others, regardless of the pain and suffering that may have contributed to a suppression of them. My life’s interior design is beautiful in spite of what I see as unattractive. I need to do the hard, necessary work to expose the shadows to the light and, by dealing with them and through conversations of faith, discover the beauty hidden within.