Even the most beneficial presence casts a shadow. Mythologically, having no shadow means being of another world, not being fully human. To live with our shadow is to understand how human beings live at a frontier between light and dark and to approach the central difficulty: that there is no possibility of a lighted perfection in this life; that the attempt to create it is often the attempt to be held unaccountable, to be the exception, to be the one who does not have to be present or participate, and therefore does not have to hurt or get hurt. To cast no shadow on others is to vacate the physical consequences of our appearance in the world. Shadow is a beautiful, inverse confirmation of our incarnation.
– David Whyte, from Readers’ Circle Essay, “Shadow”
Confession is a stripping away of protection, the telling of a truth which might once have seemed like a humiliation, become suddenly a gateway, an entrance to solid ground; even a first step home. To confess is to free oneself, not only by admitting a sin or an omission but to profess a deeper allegiance, a greater dedication to something beyond the mere threat of immediate punishment or the desolation of being shunned. To confess is to declare oneself ready for a more courageous road, one in which a previously defended identity might not only be shorn away, but be seen to have been irrelevant, a distraction, a working delusion that kept us busy over the years and held us unaccountable to the real question.
– David Whyte, from Readers’ Circle Essay, “Confession”.