I listened to Parker Palmer giving this commencement address to the graduating class at Naropa University, and several times I got goose bumps and shivers. For me, those have become telltale signs that there’s something important and/or very true being shared.
The six suggestions Parker provides on living a life worth exploring are simple. And powerful. So powerful I followed my urge to split this recommendation into six consecutive blog posts. You can read my thoughts on the first suggestion here.
The second suggestion is: As you integrate ignorance and failure into your knowledge and success, do the same with all the alien parts of yourself.
What I hear him say is that each of us is a complex individual, with lightness and darkness within. A friend of mine talks to me about black holes, something I know very little about. As I understand it, the boundary between so called normal universe and a black hole is called the event horizon.
That is just about the most poetic description of an edge that I have ever heard. When I heard Parker Palmer speak of the alien parts of me, I saw the event horizon before my eyes. It’s within me. Light. Shadow. Both exist, and are invaluable to me. And we can only ever know ourselves, if we acknowledge and cherish all parts of ourselves. It’s along the edges where magic happens, where light and shadow meet.
So when we utilize our full self, with light and shadow both, there is no end to what we can accomplish. That’s how the impossible becomes possible. And when we dare to see both our light and our shadow, our power is increased. Have you claimed and named your shadow?