*Originally published 7/9/2014
There’s a darkness within all of us. Most of us don’t want to see it, or even admit that’s it’s there. But we all have it. I spent much of my twenties exploring my darkness- whether I wanted to or not. It wasn’t until my life got so dark that the exploration became more conscious. When the light slowly gets dimmer and dimmer your eyes adjust. But when all light goes out, no matter how adjusted your eyes have become, you just can’t see. And that is your opportunity to wake up.
So I struggled through my darkness, blindly making my way towards any hope of light. I learned how to listen to myself and tune into my own senses in order to navigate my way out. I got to know all of the cavernous depths of my humanity. I fell. I got up. And eventually and slowly I found my way out of the darkness.
I think it is so important for us all to explore our own darkness. Maybe not to the extent that I was bound to, but at least to a point where you can really know further facets of who you are. This is a theme I explore a lot in my writing (as you may have noticed)- dark/light, death/rebirth, lost/found. I spent a long time learning to accept the darker parts of myself, learning to allow “negative” emotions and “negative” experiences, learning that it’s all ok.
But there’s more to the story. I’ve spent so much time learning to stop running from shadows, and focused on allowing it all to be what it is and be ok with it, that I didn’t give myself a chance to truly enjoy the good times.
I’m such a bubbles and sunshine person by nature. I love love. I love happiness. I love joy. And it all scares the shit out of me.
Whenever I find myself in a really good place, there’s a part of me that wonders how long it will last and when it will go away. By learning to embrace impermanence I taught myself that since nothing lasts, when good things happen you better hold on tight. So I’d hold on so tightly that I’d strangle the life out of all the goodness, and spent half the good times stressed about how to force it to last, or trying to find the road map that led me there so that I will know exactly when and how to get and stay there.
So in other words, I didn’t know how to allow good times to just be. I tried to control it by searching for certainty in an uncertain world, instead of fully settling into all of the goodness and not worrying about how long it will last or when it might go away.
After spending so long working my way out of my darkness, when I found light I was scared to enter. So I kept myself just on the perimeter of the brightest parts of me, maybe jumping in and out for a thrill once in a while, but mostly lamenting on how I had no idea how to live in that light.
Then a couple of weeks ago I went on a week-long silent meditation retreat. I could go on and on about my miraculous experience, but instead I will summarize by simply saying- I found my light.
Coming out of that experience I realized that I’ve spent years learning to explore and allow my darkness, but I’ve spent no time consciously exploring my light.
What a beautiful lesson to learn. I understand now what it really means to allow goodness, and to allow myself to get to know the light. And what a glorious opportunity before me, to embark on a journey into the brightest parts of myself. I’ve gotten to know the darkness. I’ve been there, done that. Now it’s time to dive deeply into the magnificent light within me, and to allow it to shine, and to allow others to dance in the luminosity. It’s ok.
And yes, I’m scared. And yes, it’s just as blind a journey as the darkness was. And yes, it will require me to tap into new parts of me that I have never known before.