However the descent into the darkness begins, it always perfectly contains everything we need to heal and grow.
Perhaps it’s a veering off course from the things that nurture us, a harsh trigger from our environment, a perceived setback, or a reaction to pain.
Any way it happens, there is an inner knowing that something is out of balance. This little voice is then followed by the cascade of the fear response, and the struggle against our perceived “negativity” often commences.
That struggle was borne when our ego won the argument with our intuition. It started as a negotiation, then we made a misstep. We probably chose the thing that would feel good right now. We probably threw out the thing that might be uncomfortable, but will have a true payoff to our well-being, later.
We probably weren’t feeling very well when we made that choice. We may have done it out of real desperation from being ground down into a pulp by difficult circumstances or feelings we don’t want to deal with.
Next, the battle within breaks out. The rebellion. “I don’t want to feel this way!” we may moan. “This shouldn’t be happening to me!” we protest. “Why can’t I just be positive?” we scream at our pain. We are off to the races at this point, spiraling downward in a parade of self-pity to avoid the emotion beneath it all: the fear that our darkness will swallow us whole.
The waves and triggers start crashing down in quick succession as we struggle against the storm within us. We let go of self-nurturing and care as we succumb to doubt and futility once again. The darkness takes hold and actually begins to swallow us, anyhow. We feel like we are drowning when the reality is that we are still swimming.
How long we stay there, flailing with the breakers crashing down upon us, depends on many things. We are pulverized until what was always meant to happen finally does. Until they shatter us so hard that we remember to surrender, turn to face our pain, and let it take us where it needs to go. Until we allow our awareness to shine like a beacon onto that difficult thing we have been judging as bad or wrong, probably for decades.
The irony is that the “bad” thing we are fighting to repress is always that which needs our immediate attention and love. The shift to nurturing and supporting the self in this state of duress (aka, negativity) allows for a relaxation into it, and our fight-or-flight response finally begins to let go. Because the real process of letting go means embracing the thing that hurts, not forcing oneself to bypass it with toxic positivity.
It always results in the same miracle, eventually. The nervous system calms, the sands beneath us stop shifting for a while. The sun rises, and we gain some deep and truly valuable insight into ourselves, which allows another layer of our false identity to shatter and fall away.
The struggle with and surrender to our inner darkness is the catalyst for our metamorphosis, for the deep journey to our core.
It never fails to dazzle me how each and every time we get sucked down is really just another “perfect storm.” How the wisdom contained within suffering can carry us closer to coming into alignment with our truest selves, no matter how convinced we were it would ruin us. Because perhaps that was what was meant to happen all along. The thing we were holding onto so tightly and pushing away simultaneously was always our salvation.
There is nothing I have found, in all my pursuit of pleasure-seeking distraction, that can compare with feeling at home in one’s self. The surrender to the wisdom in our darkness is alchemical and breathtaking. It brings us back to our integrity. We stop stumbling to put ourselves back together, because we realize that we were never broken in the first place.
Anxiety is simply the perception that something is “wrong.” Depression is the weight of the futility of buying into that too heavily. Surrender to reality, however painful, taps us back into our innate wholeness and the flow of life. Nothing. Feels. Better.
We felt like we were dying, but we realize that we are still here, that we are capable of surviving anything, except our false identities.
This is when the warrior is born. The one who understands that surrender to reality was the only way to ever win. That the battle against the inner self is futile. That the keys to freedom lie in pain and discomfort.
This process is nonlinear and repetitive, like a spiral. It often feels like madness and negativity. We may think we have finished, only to find ourselves back in the perfect storm once more.
There is no right or wrong way to heal, only our own path. It’s a deeply personal journey based on exactly the lessons which we are here to discover, uncover, and expose to the light so they can begin to take us deeper and deeper down that spiral toward who we were always meant to be. These lessons are contained within our darkest pain.
The negative is the path to uncovering our true selves. It is in that struggle and surrender that we find our deep reserves of inner strength and the resilience to live a life of fearlessness and courage. To truly set ourselves free. To follow our bliss. To experience the joy that lies in a well of gratitude when we realize we can weather any storm.
It is through embracing the darkness that we find our way back to the light. So, f*ck positivity, and embrace your deepest pain. It’s always been there, waiting beneath all the new-age spiritual platitudes and shame to bring you back home.