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December 24, 2018

Year- End Reflections: Gifts of the Darkness


As the end of the year nears, I’ve been presented with this vital fact: that endings are as important as beginnings and that darkness needs to be honored and dwelt upon, as well as the light. My own life has been punctuated by several “dark nights of the soul” where I have been dragged out of my life, out of my expectations of what I want and what I think I need and into the unknown, into the suffering, into the abyss.

And yet, every time, I have arisen from the ashes that once were and made myself, created myself, yet again – forged from these fires, my essence has been molded and reshaped continually and maybe even has been turned by pressure into a precious self, a Phoenix – the Phoenix of my heart, forever finding love and replenishment even in the most dire of situations. This strength is a gift of the darkness.

This is the journey of Persephone, of anyone who has spent time in the underworld. It is our sacred wound, our destiny and our fate – to dip in to the starless waters of the abyss and to emerge like a dark angel from the void, ready to take on the world. This resilience is a gift of the darkness.

During these journeys, I have struggled with trauma. I have, at times, become trapped in the facade that trauma made me believe myself to be. I have been utterly frozen by fear, shame, and a sense of wounded godlessness. I have hurt others because of my own woundedness.

I am constantly striving to be a better human and maybe, just maybe, that is the lesson here: that I don’t need to strive to be better. Through a calm sense of self-love and awareness I can accept myself and others. I accept that I am darkness, as well as light. I let go of the narcissistic notion that I can save the world, that I can be perfect, or convince others I am right, and I relax into just being. This allowance is the gift of the darkness.

The trauma is real. The pain is real. The times when I was choked, raped, suicidal, abandoned by my family, verbally abused, brain-injured, unemployed, almost homeless, and alone, oh so alone, are all real. The pain myself and others put me through has been oh-so-real. No one needs to do themselves the dishonor of denying their pain. And yet, in this moment now, I can see through this veil. Suffering, as they say, is a mere illusion. And more importantly, I am not the person the fear says I am. I am not the suffering, nor even the one who suffers. Who I am, who we all are –  is so much vaster than that.

I have found that by dwelling in and honoring endings, darkness, death, and decay, I realize my own luminescent core that is existant, whether in the darkness or in the light. Like the full-bodied moon, I exist whether light can caress my curves, or not. “Life’s waters flow from darkness” wrote Rumi. “Search the darkness, don’t run from it”

During this dark time of the season I’m turning inward. I’m honoring the darkness and therefore, I’m feeling free of the suffering. I’m honoring my own tender, bruised, downright shitty-at-times human experience. And by doing that, I am honoring yours.

Happy Soulstice.

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