7.3 Editor's Pick
November 21, 2018

The Miracle of feeling Dark when everyone else is Light.

This day and age, with so much Insta-positivity, we are told—during our darkest times—to just hang in there.

To “grow through what you go through.”

Yes, the miracle of darkness at various points in life is that the light eventually replaces it. However, when in the depths of the bleakest night, hearing watered down positive quotes can be less than helpful.

I remember my most recent season of darkness. It was one of the long, lonely stretches that plagued my 20s off and on. During the last one, I was depressed about being single, I felt like I could never be “enough,” and like I was stuck in a miserable life that I couldn’t see a way out of.

From my current perspective—joyful, filled with the excitement of being a newlywed living in a new city—I am perched high above the lows of only a short while ago. From here, I can look back and say with a confident grin, “the only way out is through.”

Yet, had I been told that during the times when I felt so broken and forsaken, I doubt it would have lent me much comfort.

Today I reached out to friend who I haven’t spoken to in a while, to wish her a happy Thanksgiving. She answered my “How’s everything with you?” honestly saying that actually, she was really struggling. She even shared with me that she was tempted to lie, that she knew that people didn’t usually want the real answer to my question.

I found myself grasping for something—anything—encouraging to say. I wanted to be able to offer her some advice to soothe her problems away. But I caught myself.

Struck by how rarely people are honest with one another, and by how often I just go about my day repeating weightless pleasantries, I stopped. Instead of offering words she didn’t ask for, I thanked her for being genuine and honest with me. As uncomfortable as it temporarily made me, I set my inspirational anecdotes aside. In place of, “Don’t worry, it will be okay!” I simply told her I was available should she ever needed a listening ear. I asked if it was okay with her if I added her to my prayers.

And I left it at that.

Sometimes all we need is to know that we aren’t alone in our darkest hours.

This holiday season, I am committed to doing a better job of loving the ones life puts in my path. I am holding myself accountable to be a better listener, and less of an advice pusher.

I do not have to fill every uncomfortable space with words. I can simply listen. I can simply pray. I can simply sit beside someone as they endure whatever life has put on their plate during the holidays or any other time.

In so doing, I hope that I will be extended the same kindness and grace when it’s my own turn again for a dark winter.


Image: Cristina dos Santos

Image: Natalia Drepina/Deviantart

Editor: Catherine Monkman

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Liz Nov 28, 2018 11:10am

Finding joy in the pursuit of that balance in the company of other travelers is our choice and honor and opportunity, yes? Thank you for the permission that is often lost in the rushed moments of life 🙂

tanviiswaiting Nov 27, 2018 12:26pm

Knowing you are not alone, makes all the difference. Beautifully written!

Alecs Freeman Nov 23, 2018 8:54am

Listening without judgement and without offering pseudo-positivism is an Art and the only way to empower people to push through. Thank you for bringing attention to this very important issue. Blessings, Alecs.

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Cristina dos Santos

Hi, I’m Cristina! I am a yoga instructor, intuitive healer, and doctoral student of Ayurveda — things I only learned would become my path after surviving some traumatic events over the past decade. I am a firm believer that life happens for us and not to us. I am still working on myself, but in the process I have learned so much. This path is one of healing that far exceeds placing any one type of band-aid over a wound, and instead penetrates to the soul. I love helping others help themselves as well, equipping them with the tools they need to do the necessary work. May my story serve to encourage others along their own healing journey. Truth be told, I don’t believe that sharing every detail of the past is necessary to connect with another on the deep level of understanding that comes after we’ve experienced trial or trauma. That being said, I share bits about myself and my background in the hopes that I may encourage another should they ever feel alone, regardless of the respective stories we hold.

More Love:


IG @yogicdossantos