The sun supports all life on the planet, it helps everything grow and keeps us alive. But too close to the sun, too much time in its glare will dry you out, sap your strength and even kill you. So you need the shade, the shadows to hide in, to be in, to save you from the relentlessness of the sun: somewhere to hide when its brilliance is too much for you, but don’t tarry too long or the darkness will seep into your soul and you will feel the shadows stalking you. Sunshine and shadows, both dangerous, both needed in your life to maintain balance – be careful to spend the right amount of time in each place.
But when it comes to counting up your life, to weighing and measuring your successes and failures then be careful where you stand when you assess your path through life.
Our life is a mix of wonder and amazement and good times, times when all we touch turns to gold, when we can do no wrong. Then there are the days (the weeks and years!) when nothing goes right, all we do turns to dust in our hands, crumbles and breaks and we do not know what to do to fix things, to make them work again.
It is the mark of a reflective thoughtful person that they step out from their life from time to time to assess their progress, to examine how far they have come, to examine what has worked and why, and what hasn’t and why! To go on, to keep your life moving forward in the right way (for you), the best way to happiness and fulfilment you must be careful where you stand when you weigh and measure: when you call yourself to account.
Stand in the sunshine and all you will see is success, all the good and right things you have done. Will this enable you to make an objective judgement about what needs to change, what needs to be better? Too much sunshine blinds you, stops you from seeing clearly – only facilitates mirages, which dissemble and mislead. Too much sunshine makes you like the Sun God, remote, larger than life and too full of your own brightness and right to rule the sky.
Stand in the shadows and all you will see is failure, misery: a life barely worth living. This is the most dangerous place to be. It leads to self pity, to depression to helplessness: a state of perpetual victimhood where you feel the fates are always and invariably stacked against you. Here you hide in the shadows, frightened to let the sun shine on you because you feel worthless, tucked away in the netherworld where the light never goes, where other such creatures linger. Here the tail can wag the dog: a successful career blighted by the last appointment, a redundancy. A lifetime with someone else blighted by the last fight, the final words. Step into the sunshine and you can see these aspects of life as they really are – moments of light and dark, but mostly light.
Be careful how you count your life. Life is not meant to be a series of perfect moments, correct choices, where we never make a mistake and always win. Life is made up of light and dark, of sunshine and shade. You need both to live, you need both to be a real person, one who laughs and cries, who loses and win, who loves and loses.
Give thanks for what’s been good about your life and don’t dwell too long on what was crappy. Live your life to the full, know your worth and strengths, don’t let your weaknesses or failures define you or overwhelm you. Count your blessings in a balanced objective way. Don’t count up to lead to arrogance and hubris: don’t count down leading to self pity and bitterness. Neither way is right. Know your worth and be happy with your life – glorious failures, small victories and if you’ve loved or been loved make sure you count that because love is what counts the most. Always, every time. (Photos from Private Collection)
Tags: a series of perfect moments, assessing your life, balance, counting your blessings, counting your life, failure, helplessness, life as failure, love, personal reflection, shadows, success, sunshine, sunshine and shadows, tail wagging the dog, way to happiness