Live into the darkness
One morning not long ago, two of my morning readings (Rachel Remen’s Kitchen Table Wisdom and Mastin Kipp’s daily blog, The Daily Love) were about the power of darkness. I’ve been feeling the darkness nipping at my heels the last several days –not the suffocating darkness of depression—rather the soft, blanketing darkness of grief and loneliness. My mother’s death, followed closely by the death of a friend, has left a gaping hole in my life.
But this darkness isn’t a yawing pit of blackness, threatening to overwhelm or swallow me. It is no threat to my existence and I don’t need to fix it. Quite the opposite.
Darkness can be a place of healing, growth, and transformation. Babies are formed in darkness. Caterpillars are transformed within the silent darkness of the cocoon to become butterflies. Wounds, beneath their dressings, mend in darkness.
When I began a journey of recovery from childhood trauma, I had to head home after each meeting with my therapist to rest. This was in the beginning, when I was first allowing my painful truth to unfold. My mind and spirit were both exhausted at the end of each session from the effort of telling the story.
Arriving home, I would wrap myself in the fluffy comfort of my duvet and recover in its welcome. My therapist, with good reason, called this “cocooning” and said that it is necessary for healing.
This was my introduction to the idea of valid gentleness and rest; to the truth that the darkness can be soft, safe, renewing.
Yet, this place of darkness is not passive. It is where active recovery is at work. Think for a moment of REM sleep. We lie in darkness, our bodies resting and recovering from the busyness of our lives, while our brains are active, processing our experience and setting our minds in order through our dream life. All while in darkness.
I am learning to not resist the darkness but to move toward it, allowing myself to rest and recover. This is a rare thing in this over-scheduled, constantly plugged-in, frantically busy world. But it is a gift, spouting from the fire hose, blessed darkness to be quiet and simply be.