Beliefnet
In Sweet Company

“Admitting to our shadow (the unrecognized or unclaimed parts of ourselves we can’t acknowledge because we’re afraid of them) — to our gifts as well as the parts of our personality we view as ‘bad’ or ‘ugly’ — dramatically changes our lives, and most people are afraid of change so they don’t deal with these things head on. But we must face these difficult experiences because it’s the key to becoming whole.” —  Lauren Artress,  IN SWEET COMPANY: CONVERSATIONS WITH EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN ABOUT LIVING A SPIRITUAL LIFE

Our nation’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, told a chilled-to -the-bone  crowd in rural Pennsylvania this morning that he had not seen his shadow so Spring would come early this year.  When I was a kid growing up in Detroit, I looked forward to Phil’s prediction. I believed animals had heightened senses that not only allowed them to survive in the wild but endowed them with the ability to know things I didn’t. Phil was cool. Phil was wise. I believed.

I was also intrigued by the idea that one’s shadow could influence one’s future, particularly a period of rebirth and growth, a metaphorical “Spring,”  Though I was too young to really understand the underlying psychological truth inherent in this metaphor, it intuitively rang true.

Since this year began, I’ve been noticing that almost everyone I know is moving through their days at breakneck speed. One friend told me he can’t even find the time to get to the supermarket. Another has a mile-high plateful of seriously urgent problems to address.  Another is being hit over and over again with difficult lessons about “letting go.” The list goes on. Everybody’s toast.  Me, too. I feel like I live about 5 lives by supper time each day.

So, when I read today that Phil had not seen his shadow, I smiled at the prospect of an early Spring. Though it seems like a lot of people I know are living in the shadowlands now, that Spring will come early is a much needed sign that rebirth and growth are  waiting for us.

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