Finding Your Light in Darkness

“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”
― Mary Oliver

Do you accept your darkness? I mean really, really accept your darkness? That doesn’t mean that you favor your mistakes or bad habits or you are proud of them.  But can you still see your Light in a total black-out?

I have recently been challenged with seeing my own Light. I thought I was getting really good at loving myself just as I am. I “teach” this type of self-love to my Health Counseling clients, talk about it in my Structural Integration practice, and offer this advice to friends, family and even myself.  But sometimes you get kicked in the pants right when you get comfortable; that’s life. Growing up in a world of polarizations where things were “right” and “wrong”… “good” and “bad”, I was very judgmental of myself and in turn, it made me judgmental of others. Well the truth (for me) is that we are all a mix of those things. Yes, some lay on more extreme ends of the spectrum than others. But I truly believe that all of us, every single person, has a beautiful Light somewhere in there.

So when we do something, or a string of things, to darken or almost put out that Light…is it still there?

This idea of Light or joy can be so easy to feel and accept when things are all in line and filled with sunshine and flow. Sometimes it can be felt even when you are mildly struggling with something or not getting exactly what you want. But when excruciatingly hard times come about or we are feeling macrocosmically guilty and/or shameful or even misunderstood, are things really exactly as they are supposed to be?  It feels so wrong and uncomfortable. Even unbearable.

My answer still stays the same. YES. As cliche as it sounds, that is our biggest chance to grow and to drop down into an even deeper layer of ourselves. And what comes up is always what we need to learn.  Love yourself enough to look at the shadow parts of yourself straight in the eye. Get all squirmy and uncomfortable and still love yourself: in totality instead of just the shiny, happy sparkly parts. This might be scary…we want to think of ourselves as “good”.

One of the main reasons I came into the Rolf work was because it helped me overcome some physical challenges with my body and it made me want to help others with theirs.  A desire to heal digestive issues and a skin disease, as well as learn more and help others with their health problems in a natural and holistic way led me to school for Nutritional Counseling . When I have a challenge in my body or my health in general, I do my best to perceive it as an opportunity to objectively see, overcome, but also simply as a chance to relate and help my clients better in case they deal with something similar.  It is a common misunderstanding that yogis are supposed to only do yoga and never have too many beers, psychologists are never supposed to have a “crazy” side, and nutritionists should never eat anything “bad” for them, etc.

But none of us are all good or all bad, things are not good or bad, food is not inherently good or bad. We all make mistakes and don’t always act from our highest self, and it is normally what we do with things that make them appear good or bad. If we become inherently bad because of a wrong decision or action, this only causes us to feel more “bad.”  We do something we are not proud of, feel horrible about it, then feel so disconnected that we don’t care enough to turn things around so we just wallow in the guilt and our subsequent thoughts, feelings, and actions go on a downward spiral from there.

Who exactly is that serving?

No matter what is going on…see your Light.  If you can’t see it or feel it yet(or don’t even know what I am talking about), I challenge you to take the steps until you do.  Connect with that Light and it will grow, I swear. I am, as ever, a work in progress.  It is a life-long process and none of us are finished while we are still living and breathing.  When you are gentle with yourself about this, you will notice how you will start becoming more and more gentle with those around you. It just feels good..

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    Elise – I am on the Board of Directors for Kenya Mercy Ministries, Inc., a non-profit organization that seeks donations for a ministry in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya that is led by a national pastor. I am writing up a history for our donors of the 13 year old ministry titled, “A Bright Light Shining – A Call to the Slums” The picture (someone holding a lantern in the darkness) at the top of your blog article, “Finding Your Light in Darkness” fits in very well with my theme and I was wondering if it is copyrighted and/or if I could use it on the cover of the booklet. Attribution of the photo would certainly be included. Thanks for your consideration.

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