What I Found In The Dark
Recently I added this in response to a beautiful image/words I had posted on the Spirited Women’s Movement Facebook page – “One of the many shifts that occurred while away in Sedona was a beautiful acceptance and gratitude for my ‘dark’ side – those things I wanted to keep hidden. How liberating it was to unpack that trunk and look at what was inside with compassion and detachment. I am who I am today, doing what I am doing, helping others to love themselves because of those memories and experiences stored there. And it is true, when you unpack that space joy comes rushing in to fill it. Forgiveness.”
I have been thinking over that for the last couple of days and decided once and for all to lay the ‘darkness’ to rest. So what did I find in the dark from my life so far that I had so vehemently hidden? Where once before I would have created this list with guilt, shame and sadness looking over my shoulder, now it is with acceptance, forgiveness and yes appreciation. For this darkness has, I realized, meant that my light can shine brighter.
Packed in the trunk folded between the memories and various past ‘misdemeanors’, I found –
* Lies, hurtful words, stealing, promiscuity, laziness, cheating, blame, making a fool of myself, drink, manipulation, self-loathing, jealousy, pride, sexual desires and power play, diminishing my values, pandering to my ego, anger and hate, ill wishes. I think I have just about covered the 7 deadly sins! No wonder I felt like a ‘sinner’. I have worn and abused these ‘sins’ in an array of circumstances, each with an accompanying cringe and shame factor. I have encountered death, mis-carriage, sickness, divorce and depression. At times I have despised myself.
So here was my deepest, darkest deeds, laid out like old clothes, smelly and musty and in need of throwing out. I look at them, pick one up at a time and remember where I was at in my life then, how I felt, what was happening. They don’t look so threatening now, just worn out. Worn out from all the years I used them to beat myself up. But I can take them, unravel them and use the threads to weave new learnings, new truths, new resources. Perhaps a patch work quilt that I could now use to cover me gently, keep me warm, remind me of my ‘human-ness’ and the journey that I have been on.
What new patterns will I weave into my blanket? What understandings will be the thread that hold it together?
Most of my ‘behaviours’ that constitute my dark deeds, came from a place where self -love and self-worth were figments of my imagination. I lashed out at others when I felt hurt, taken advantage of or scared. I now know that when you are not coming from worth and love then you don’t set healthy boundaries – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and certainly in relationships. This means you are giving permission for others to ‘do what they want’ as you sink into resentment, blame and anger. When you are not coming from a place of knowing yourself with joy and acceptance then others will treat you as you see and treat yourself. When you doubt your beauty, intelligence and divinity then you don’t make choice that honour or support you. It is like walking around with a ‘kick me’ sign on your back that you had hand written and stuck there, but forgotten about. So you wonder ‘why’. My dark side was created because I had forgotten my light.
Finding it again has evolved me. I have a new appreciation of my choice to do it the hard way. My journey has gifted me with resilience, compassion, non-judgement, acceptance, heart wisdom, listening. All amazing traits to bring to my coaching, teaching, parenting and relationships. I have found within me simple pleasure, a well of joy, strong boundaries and a loving being. When someone comes to me and they are sitting in their darkness I can say with integrity “I know how you feel, let me share some tools that will lighten it for you”. Now I understand that my dark side is an integral and necessary part of my wholeness. I could not know the light without the dark, would not appreciate the stunning place I have created for myself now. I would not know how to guide the way for others.
There is an amazing freedom when you empty the trunk with loving hands and a forgiving heart. Who knows what may find it’s way back there in the future. What I do know is that it won’t happen without conscious choice. My wish is that your dark places are illuminated and you can be kind to yourself in the discovery.