"Look there, Mommy!" It is mid-afternoon and Sara Leah and I are strolling along the sidewalk.

"Yes, honey, I see it. It's a shadow."

"It keeps moving." She's pointing and gesticulating. "And, there's you, Mommy." She's pointing again. "But what is a shadow?"

"It's like a reflection of you," I am stalling to formulate a response that a three-year-old would understand. "See it almost shows a picture of you and what you're doing. Now it shows us walking."

There always has to be some light in order to make a shadow.

"When does a shadow come?"

"See the sun is shining. But we're blocking its light from going on the sidewalk, so it's making our shadow at our side."

She nods. "So shadows happen during the day?"

"Well, not only. Tonight, when we're cuddling in your bed, I'll show you our shadows on the wall of your room." She's smiling in anticipation. "The night light in your room makes the shadows appear on the walls. There always has to be some light that's being blocked in order to make a shadow."

There are shadows on walls or sidewalks—those dim figures caused by intercepting the light. We can play with our shadows and have fun with their varying images.

But then there are also the "shadows" in our lives—those periods of intense gloom and unhappiness. Those are the moments when we feel fear, doubt or a threat to the joy of our lives. When a dark, foreboding feeling or shady thought is blocking the sunny rays of illumination in our lives.

But if we take a different perspective, maybe we can realize that there are no shadows in the absolute blackness of night.

To cast a shadow there always has to be some light shining through—and some "light" in our lives.

Perhaps these sinister shadows in our own lives, too, can be diminished if rather than on focusing on their intangible, menacing silhouette, we focus on noticing the surrounding light.

Have you ever overcome the effects of a "shadow" in your life—by focusing on the surrounding light?