When I walk Cocoa–or is he walking me–I notice he sometimes barks at what seems like nothing. I have come to see that, as a 4-month-old Standard Poodle pup, he is barking at his shadow, and mine, too.
Do you bark at your shadow? Sometimes I do.
Of course, I don’t literally bark, and the shadow I mean is different from the one Cocoa sees.
But I am being shadowed–by many people and experiences from my past. And I can easily be spooked by them, and let them seem very real–so real that I might as well bark at them. In fact, when I see these shadows of the past in other people I can perform human equivalents.
Past failures, emotional injuries, people I have let down or hurt, disappointments–all of that, and more, haunt and shadow me. Of course, now I have Cocoa and he often clings to me like a shadow. He is a shadow I adore.
Cocoa does not yet know that his shadow is harmless. He will learn.
I can learn something, too. I can learn to be more aware of my shadows so they don’t catch me unawares and make more trouble. I can find the strength in them as well as pain and weakness.
And I can bid them “farewell” when they get in the way.