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Tiger Woods is out of the shadows. I know. Disappointing to say the least but seemingly true. Not one to subscribe to media babble, I tried to ignore this story when it first ‘broke.’ My gut knew something was up but whenever it blared through the box, I wanted to turn my head, like maybe if I didn’t look it wouldn’t be true. We get like that sometimes. It’s part of what gets us in trouble.

Debbie Ford calls it ‘The Shadow Effect.’ She’s written a number of stellar books on the subject…The Dark Side of the Light Chasers was the first one I read, Why Good People Do Bad Things is the last. Each of them address one thing…well, two actually:

The Light and The Dark.

Her theory is that we each have them. Both of them. Light. And Dark. Most of us walk around trying to be all light. (Women are particularly good at this but trust me when I say it is not gender biased!) We want the world to see our best selves; our most entertaining, hardworking, or whatever-adjective-you-think-is-great selves. We do everything in our power to put this part of ourselves ‘out there.’ And everything in our power to cover up ‘the other side.’ It never works. And that’s where the trouble comes in.

‘It’ wants to come out and play too.

Debbie describes it as holding down a ball in the water. You push it down and it just wants to pop back up. If you let up for a second, it starts rising to the surface. You can try with all your might to hold ‘er down. Sit on it. Lay on it. Push it deep. But nope. Up it comes. Bam. The ball is bobbin’. And it’s on top for everyone to see.

That is the Dark Side. And it’s in each of us.

Before you run screaming, let me tell you something important: You don’t have to be afraid of the dark. Really. There’s nothing of which to be afraid…nothing at all. If you can uncover it, embrace it and let it work for you instead of against you, the dark side can become your friend…your ally, and, even sometimes, your protector. Just don’t try to deny it exists or it’ll come poppin’ out of that pool so fast you won’t know what hit you.

Kinda’ like Tiger and that tree.

I mean no disrespect to him personally, he has to own his own ‘stuff’ – not necessarily in public, for each of us to see and judge, but in his own life…within his own family…for the growth of his own soul. Where it matters. Maybe when he figures out what is really going on, he can share it with the world and make another kind of difference. Maybe not. That is not for me to decide.

What is up to me, and to each of us, is that we focus on our own ‘selves;’ our own dark and our own light. We only have to embrace each and every part of our being and acknowledge the existence of both in order to begin our real work. The work of being who we really, truly are…good and not so good.

So, a couple of pieces of advice (unsolicited, of course)…

 1. Read some Debbie Ford. She explains it best.

 2. Leave Tiger alone to figure it out.

 3. Let your ball bob.

Unthink this: What if the parts of yourself that you hide because you think they are ‘bad,’ can actually be used for good?