the secret power of the darkness

darkness has a hunger.png

i noticed something during my time lost in the darkness… maybe you have noticed this at some point in your life too…

the very things that that will help us find our light, often become the very things we do not do for our SELF or give to our SELF.

self-love (along with self-care and self-compassion and self-motivation and self-guidance, etc) is easier when things are good. when we feel ignited, when we feel healthy and energetic and content, when things in life go according to ‘plan’.

but when things are not good – when we experience a ‘wreck’, when things go off the rails, when we are lost in the darkness – self-love and other acts of self-leadership are not so easy.

and ironically those are the times when we need to love ourselves and lead ourselves even more!

this is what i am noticing…

when i am feeling ignited – lit up from within… focused, fired up, on purpose – it is easier to do the things that fill my bucket and ignite my spark and fuel my passion.

but when i am lost in the darkness, the very things that i know will help me feel ignited again are the very things i resist, avoid, procrastinate, and hide from.

this is the cruel reality of the darkness.

it creates its own self-fulfilling black hole: your time in the darkness sucks away your desire to seek out the light and so the darkness grows even more powerful.

“the darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable, the lightness has a call that’s hard to hear.”
— the indigo girls, closer to fine.

and so what can we do?

i feel like we need to sort of sneak up, very slowly, very quietly, on those things that will ignite our spark again… take the smallest, babyest of steps... because anything too big just won't work.

it’s a bit like making a fire. your light is just barely smoldering there under the black coals – if you throw a big log onto it you are just going to smother the flame! so instead you add the tiniest bits of kindling… just the smallest of things… and wait for them to catch the flame. as the flame slowly slowly builds up in strength, you can begin to add bigger pieces into the fire.

when you are burning bright – on fire, lit up from within – the big pieces are fun… you feel motivated and brave and empowered. but when it’s just the tiniest of embers glowing in the darkness, everything big feels a little too hard… you have to be gentle with your kindling.

when i was feeling lost in the darkness, i couldn’t bring myself to do yoga. something i love, something that always fills my bucket, became something too big, too hard. but i could get out of bed and go lay on the mat... sivasana is after all a yoga pose, right? and i figured the way forward was baby steps.

i see this now as a tiny bit of kindling.

i couldn’t make myself to go down to the beach for a walk. but i went outside and stood in the sunshine.

i didn’t feel like spending time with anyone. but i typed out a couple of real, honest messages to best friends.

i noticed for me that one of the tiniest things that made a difference was drinking water. seems so silly to bother sharing that, but “drinking more water” was a job i could manage – i couldn’t write, i couldn’t meditate, i couldn’t create, i couldn’t play, i couldn’t share… but drinking water… i could leave my dark cave to do that.

slowly slowly the darkness receded.

slowly slowly the flame began to grow.

i won’t begin to pretend i know what it feels like for you when you find yourself in the darkness… we all have our own unique experiences which we must honour. but i know for me, the last thing i wanted was someone telling me “you should just try this… you should go do that.”

because every single thing that might have helped, that might have made me feel better… i avoided, i resisted, i gave up. it doesn’t make sense, but that is how it can feel in the darkness.

How long have I been in this storm?
So overwhelmed by the ocean’s shapeless form
Water’s getting harder to tread
With these waves crashing over my head

I know you didn’t bring me out here to drown
So why am I ten feet under and upside down?
Barely surviving has become my purpose
Because I’m so used to living underneath the surface
— lifehouse, storm

if you are in a dark place right now, i want to honour that space with you. i don’t have an answer for you, i am not going to offer a strategy. it’s hard. it’s individual. and it’s your experience to honour.

i see you. and i climb into the cave to sit beside you.

and if there is anything at all you can do for you – even the tiniest bit of kindling, the tiniest of sparks – know that it is a start, and that it is enough.

karen gunton1 Comment