I was watching TV again last night and had another aha moment from the program I was enjoying. I like it when I find unintentional gems in the mindless activities I engage in. I started the Netflix series Godless (Frank, 2017) and heard the phrase, “You lost your shadow” in episode one. In the context of the scene, I understood it to have a meaning about the character (Sheriff McNue) not being in touch with his purpose. However, I heard it again in episode three (not that I binged the show or anything) and decided to Google the phrase. What I found is that it is a Navajo term that is translated like this:
We are all a precious child of creator and as such our shadow is also a sacred part of
ourselves as the precious children of the holy people our ancestors in the context of the
natural order in the universe. This means that our inherent divinity is fore-given to each
of us equally manifested as our Conscience, yet people deny this, on a continuum.
This description is from the Dineh language or the people’s words that originates from
an affirmative thinking system and not the euro-centric thinking system. Thus, there is
no “deficient self-image” to re-mediate to some end state of civilization or
enlightenment because we are in a state holiness and wholeness in our sacred-self in
our sacred place in the universe.
“…we are Indigenous people identified by our spiritual SELF- identity as earth-surface
people and five-fingered people – humane-beings. We are all a precious child of
Our Dineh name
Our clan family name
Our spiritual language
Our blessing way of life, living the loving as a way of life
Our shadow upon mother earth, as an aspect of our sacred-SELF spiritual identity
Therefore, we are called the holy earth-surface people” (as cited in Davis, 2013).
I found this to be quite profound. Your shadow is cast from your body when you are standing on the ground. Your connection to the world when you are grounded. Not only do I understand this to be a concept of personal purpose but a personal connection to everything around you; where one fits into their world and interprets that existence. I hope I am not completely off base with this understanding, but I feel a term that I would, personally, relate to this better may be self-awareness. Who am I? Why am I here? What is my influence on those around me? How am I influenced by them? Where is my footprint in the lives of those with whom I interact and the context in which those interactions took place? Did I leave them better than when I found them?
Being self-aware is the initial consciousness that leads to becoming who you are going to be and how you are going to be. I am going to bridge that to one more concept: attitude. We hear about having a positive attitude, but I will not try to pretend that everyone has a positive attitude in every situation, always. So, what I would encourage you to strive for is attitude consciousness. Being conscious of your attitude and developing your self-awareness, are essential skills in finding, and keeping your shadow. Self-Awareness is supported by both our cognitive (thinking) mind and emotional (feeling) mind. How we feel about something influences how we think about it, and vice versa. This concept is discussed in my theory of the Paradigm Fulcrum (K. K. Davis, 2019a, 2019b). Let me help you find, and keep, your shadow by coaching the development of your self-awareness skills.
Davis, K. K. (2019a). Determining Impact of Appreciative Inquiry: A Case Study - ProQuest.
Davis, K. K. (2019b). Exploring best practices among appreciative inquiry practitioners for
determining impact. AI Practitioner, 21(3), 66–91.
Davis, P. A. (2013, April 4). The Navajo concept of the sacred shadow self. Native American
Frank, S. (2017). An Incident at Creede (No. S1, E1) [Video file]. In Godless. Netflix USA.