Through the Shadows, the Light Shines


“…we all go through our own experiences. If we do not push ourselves enough, we do not grow, but if we push ourselves too much, we regress. What is enough will change, depending on where we are and what we are doing. In that sense, the present moment is always some kind of beginning.” ~ Sakuong Mipham

There are times when I feel a bit (or more) broken. I know better. But still, the feeling pops up occasionally. These are old feelings, old habits from long ago when it was the identity I knew and understood best.

I had not yet learned the freeing concept of “I am enough.”

Years ago I became interested in photography. At the time, it was an effort to instill a daily routine in my life, a ritual, to focus on at least one thing each day and look at the world, to deeply look at the mystery in the world in my world.

For the last few months I have been caught in a lingering depression, an illness that dims the beauty of life until everything feels murky and dark. Anxiety turns that murkiness into a roiling monster, a scary space indeed. For me, photography is usually my potent weapon against depression and anxiety, but this time even my camera could not pique my interest.

In the last few weeks the sun has brightened the sky as spring arrives, and hopefully the increasing sunlight will have a positive effect on my mood. And it is also my hope that photography will again provide me with a tangible way to engage in life and add meaning to each day.

“Life is not a maze where you have your eyes on the gaps, life is a beautiful journey, stop looking for the gaps.” ~ Malti Bhojwani

I think of photography as a gift.  When I become engrossed in my photography, it lights my soul and my spirit. I think it not coincidental that the word photography consists of two Greek words. “Photo,”derived from “phos” means “light.” “Graphy,” derived from “graphi” means to write or draw.

Photography – to write or draw ( to create) using light.

When I create, I shine light into my darkness. Murkiness gradually takes on brighter colors. The emotional monster quiets, and I again breathe deeply. I look anew at my surroundings and see beauty everywhere — in the colors of the emerging spring flowers, in the majesty of a century old oak tree weathered and pock-marked,  in the grain of polished wood, even in the angularity of shadow alternating with light.

Sometimes it is the little things that make life so lovely. It is acceptance of oneself that makes life shimmer. It is knowing that one is not broken, that one does not need to be fixed. That one is “enough.” A worthy lesson.

May it be so.


About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Dear Bo, I hope the returning light helps. I know myself, having learnt to love light, and being outside, so very much – in large part through the gift of photography – that the winter months can be really hard. I hope too that photography brings you solace, perhaps even in new unexpected ways.

    I was a little worried about you, and have been thinking about you, and will continue to do so, in friendship across the water.

  2. Each day, now, there is more and more light. You are a gifted photographer, whose work has helped so many others. May it also help you.

  3. Sending you love and hoping the returning light will lift you up. So true, we are not broken.

  4. I’m sorry winter has been so hard on you, Bo. *Hugs* I hope the return of spring and the longer days are healing for you.

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