To get to the new year we crossed a new moon passage, we started 2017 walking through a shadow.
So often, too often, we spend our lives avoiding the shadows in ourselves- the darkness. We try so hard to turn towards the light and see the brightness in world.
During the holidays we embrace joy and prosperity, in the new year we reach for inner peace and self-actualization.
We brighten up the night to rid the darkness.
We hope that in these artificial lights we will find happiness.
I wish it were that easy.
I have been on a journey. It has taken me across continents. It has transcended me through time, deep into my past and has catapulted me light-years into my future.
It has taken me to places in my mind that I long thought were forgotten, memories so frayed and tattered you almost couldn’t see what they were anymore, lying discarded deep in the unconscious, collecting dust and decaying. But I found them and slowly I began to piece them back together.
What did I find?
An answer to a question, well at least part of an answer but beggars can’t be choosers.
I found that happiness is transient. It’s not a mirror opposite to sadness or depression or despair. It doesn’t reside on a separate plane of existence. They live side by side, the light and the dark, coexisting in a delicate balance. Like a house of cards so carefully constructed to create a beautiful piece of art.
And that art is your life.
But what happens when one card is pulled from its meticulously placed spot? Whether that card shows a face of joy or sorrow, peace or war, despair or happiness, light or dark the rest come crumbling down with it.
They are all intertwined, a woven web of who we are.
For the past year I’ve searched for happiness through the medium of eliminating my sadness, squashing it out once in for all, pulling all the oxygen away from its fire.
But through time, patience and gratitude, I learned a valuable lesson. It doesn’t work that way; not even close.
So I tried a different approach. Instead of running away from my sadness, my depression, my darkness- my shadow self, I moved towards it, into it. I acknowledged it and felt it on a atomic level, on a soul level.
I sat with it like an old friend, reminiscing on life- the good and the bad.
And I realized that my dark days, my sad says, my lost days were not there to cause me pain and desperation but instead to help me learn.
To step into the light is easy, to have the strength to engage with the darkness and to see what it may have to offer- that takes courage.
But you just might find that past its rough edges and meanness there is a profound gift it has to offer you.
That the answers are not always found in the light, that the most powerful lessons learned are often found deep at rock bottom where the light doesn’t reach- in our shadow selves.
The darkness has more to offer than we may even be able to realize or want to accept. But I truly believe it has more to give than grief and despair. In fact you may even come to discover that the shadow isn’t sadness at all.
That ist is an opportunity to grow.
So I present a suggestion.
In the new year, consider, instead of turning away from your shadow, try turning towards it. Say hello and see what it says back.
You might be surprised.