As I stood at the water’s edge next to the stalagmites, I thought to myself, “What the hell am I doing?!”
I was silently facing some internal fears about getting into the pitch-black water of this isolated cenote on private land.
We’d just spent a good 30 minutes driving on a bumpy dirt road through the dense Mexican jungle to get here.
My guide held our phones as flashlights as dozens of bats flew overhead, their nearly silent existence given away by the soft graceful fluttering sounds of their wings. This cave was the perfect place for a colony of bats to live. It was so dark, there wasn’t one ounce of light, and it was eerily silent.
I didn’t know if there was anything lurking in the water. My guide had made lots of noise before we entered the cenote to scare off any wild animals like jaguars. He apparently came regularly to this cenote to swim by himself, so all I could do was have faith that he knew what he was doing and that everything was safe.
My new love interest was already in the water. He had zero hesitation and happily stepped right in. I, however, needed a moment to muster up my courage. I noticed my heart beating faster in my chest and a pang of anxiety forming in my stomach.
I told myself, “You know what, Meghan, you just went through intense trauma this year so it doesn’t f*cking matter if a crocodile or snake bites your leg in the water and you die. If you die today, then you die in a cenote in Mexico with a sexy man by your side. So be it.”
This moment shifted to me just not caring about my fear anymore. Screw it. It wasn’t helpful. I had been through so much earlier that year where my now ex-husband left me out of the blue and my entire life completely crumbled. I watched literally every aspect of my life disintegrate and I was still in survival mode. So what was the big deal about getting into this dark water in a dark cenote in a foreign country with a guide I’d just met an hour prior? I was over it. Jesus, take the wheel!
I took a deep breath and marched into the water until I couldn’t feel the sandy bottom anymore. We floated there in a meditative state. It was so quiet. The only sound we could hear was our breathing and the bats’ flapping.
My anxiety slowly subsided as time went on and I didn’t get bit by anything in the water. I saw a fat catfish swimming below my feet thanks to the cell phone flashlights, but that was it. Otherwise, the water was completely still. I relaxed.
Our guide had told us that this water was so incredibly clean, pure, and untouched by pollutants. It was rich in minerals and good for the skin. It was a healing type of water.
When it came time to get out, I was glad to be back on solid ground and I was proud of myself for silently overcoming my initial hesitation.
When we’re faced with challenges in life, we always have a choice. We can choose to let it completely derail us and we can let ourselves feel like powerless victims. Or, we can face the shadow and the darkness head-on. We can dive headfirst into it and transmute it into a healing experience and an opportunity for growth.
But healing and growth don’t happen within our comfort zone. They happen at the edge just outside of it. Growth isn’t comfortable. Healing isn’t usually comfortable either. It’s our job to get comfortable with the uncomfortable and choose the path that’ll bring us the greatest amount of light in the long run.
The darkness is your portal for deeper happiness and a richer life. It’s absolutely possible for you to find your inner light once more by going through the shadow of the dark.
This cenote was the most perfect metaphor for this journey. I’ve had to face many moments of darkness and move through them in order to get to the other side.
Just like the nutrient-rich water of the cenote, your shadow work is good for you even though it can feel hard and scary at times. Be brave and dive head-first into yourself, and I promise you’ll come out feeling bigger, brighter, and stronger on the other end.
Everything you need is inside you.