What Are You Living In The Shadow Of?

Palm tree growing in the shadow of another treeIn the backyard of my sister's holiday house where I'm currently staying is this palm tree on the right of and growing very close to a larger gum tree. The palm is living it's life in the shadow of the other tree and you can see that it's not as big or as luscious as palm trees usually are. In fact, it looks mangy and emaciated. Not flourishing. The leaves are small, few and far between. They fall off easily. This palm tree is not exactly fulfilling its full potential.

That's because the shadow from the other tree blocks the sunlight, and they're so close to each other that their root systems have got to be entangled and choking each other. It's probably fair to say that as a result the slightly larger tree isn't growing to its full potential either.

Now I'm sure that my sister's septic system is glad these two trees aren't growing gangbusters, because they'd be sending their roots down into it. Or at least, it would be glad if septic systems had feelings; which I'm pretty sure they don't. They'd be pretty cranky at all the crap they have to put up with.

But looking at the two trees reminds me of what it's like living in a shadow, and some of the shadows I've had in my life including:

  • A general sense of self-doubt

  • A lack of self-confidence

  • A fear of failure and criticism

  • A vicious inner critic voice in my head

  • School-yard bullying and a resulting distrust of other people, especially other men

  • A complete lack of confidence with women

  • A religion that I ultimately found constraining, even though other people finding it liberating

  • A passive father

  • A dominant mother

  • A lucrative profession that left a large and important part of me unexpressed and unfulfilled.

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By Graham Stoney, ago