Beyond the Shadowlands
What then is courage? Perhaps it’s nothing more or less than to tell the story of who we are with our whole heart. To be imperfect in this perfection-idolising world. It’s having the emotional and mental wherewithal to be kind to ourselves first and then to others.
As it turns out we may learn from that understanding that our well of compassion is much deeper when we learn how to treat ourselves more kindly. When we drop a stone down the well of our lives, will an eon pass before we hear the eventual plop as it finally hits the water below? The depths of our lives, just how far down does that go?
When my children were small I read them C.S. Lewis’ The Horse and His Boy, many times. It often struck me in that story how not being in charge of our lives, despite often believing we are, sometimes goes hand-in-hand with a foggy lostness not unlike the one Shasta experienced.
After meeting up with King Lune of Archenland and his hunting party, and warning them of the impending Calormene invasion, Shasta becomes lost in the fog and separated from the King’s procession. After continuing blindly for some way, he senses that he has been joined in the darkness by a ‘mysterious presence’.
Engaging in conversation with the ‘unknown being’, Shasta speaks of what he sees as his many misfortunes, including being chased by lions on two separate occasions. He comes to the conclusion that “If nothing else, it was his bad luck to have met so many lions.”
His companion then proclaims himself as the single lion that Shasta has encountered in his travels saying, “I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the tombs. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the horses the new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at night, to receive you.”
And so it’s revealed to Shasta, that, in the incidents that he perceived as misfortunes, Aslan, by his deep understanding of who Shasta is had been orchestrating events for his greater purposes.”
Whatever our own beliefs are around providence of any kind, there is in all of us a desire to seek connection. To get who we are and to be able to sit comfortably with the truthfulness of what that may show us about ourselves. And what it may show to others too.
It requires from us a willingness to let go of who we think we should be, in order to be who we truly are, and again, to be able to sit comfortably with that. It’s a tall order but not an impossible one, it’s the value-add that connection offers us.
The BIG ask then is for total vulnerability. It’s not comfortable but it is necessary. And there are no guarantees. That’s the lifescape beyond the Shadowlands, no guarantees of life as we believe it should be.
And if you’re heartful, it’s the way forward from through to beyond too. Like I say, there are no guarantees but it just might be better than what we know right now. So let’s begin, we still have a way to go.