sweeping, hiding, shutting

Some days, just getting through the day is like slogging through molasses. Sometimes, even when you can list a thousand things for which you are immensely grateful, and point to many things that are going well, the wet blanket of all-that’s-wrong/all-that’s-lacking/all-that-could-go-wrong covers everything, even the good stuff, in a heavy, grey, cloudy mass. Eventually, you reach a point where trying to throw off the blanket seems like so. much. work.

How do you get out of those periods? How do you scrabble your way up through the murk to the light again? I don’t think there’s one way that’s right for everyone. However, I do think there is a truth inherent in such periods of darkness. This truth is that, just as the body signals disease with physical symptoms, these periods of dark discomfort let us know there is something that needs our attention, something that needs to be looked at more closely, something that we’ve been sweeping under the rug, hiding behind the door, shutting away in a closet.

This is where I’ve been in recent months. First, I swept because I was busy. Then I hid because I was exhausted and not ready to look. Then I shut because it had become too painful.

I shared some of what I’ve been going through with friends I met through an online course, and one of them said something that I knew-but-forgot and that I keep returning to: stay with the discomfort; it will tell you what you need to know. I think this is another important truth: before you can find your way to the other side of it, you have to allow the darkness and the sadness and the despair. You have to be willing to be with it (i.e. no sweeping/hiding/shutting), to look it in the eye. Otherwise, it just keeps coming back in one form or another.

I’ve had stuff coming at me from multiple fronts the last few months, so I haven’t really wanted to sit down and be with all of them. One? Maybe. All of them? No. Too overwhelming. However, I’ve finally become weary of the sweeping and hiding and shutting; in the end, keeping up the denial is so much more exhausting than dealing with what is, especially since all of that avoiding keeps you stuck right where you are. It’s an endless loop.

So, at last, it’s time for me to eliminate distractions, shift my focus, and let the swept, hidden, and shut away come out into the light of day. It’s time to put on my big girl pants and just deal. I started Monday…took a few baby steps, including asking for help and support. I have no idea what the next steps are. I’ll probably just feel my way forward, as I usually do, stumbling through trial and error on my way back to that calm, centered, clear-eyed Self that I know lives deep inside me…the one that doesn’t cower at things that go bump in the night or believe the distorted fun house mirror through which I sometimes view my life.

It will be a process. I’m sure there will be times when I take two steps forward and one step back. I had yet another curve ball come my way only yesterday afternoon, so just as the wet blanket was starting to feel a little lighter, I’m once again having to stop and regroup, to take a breath and find my balance so I can look what is straight in the eye with some sort of equanimity and see it not only for the challenges it might bring but also the opportunities.

I’ve learned over the years that—no matter how painful—the periods of darkness that I’ve experienced have brought with them a deeper understanding, even wisdom, about not only my life but also about life in general. And yet, even though I know this, I still find myself bracing against the darkness when it comes, trying to shove it back—to sweep it, hide it, shut it away—so I don’t have to face it and feel the discomfort it brings. And I do this knowing that, like a splinter, it will only fester and become even more painful the longer it is ignored. What I know (but repeatedly “forget”) is that the darkness is here to show us how to find our way back to the light, if only we will turn and face it and hear what it has to tell us.

If we never experience the chill of a dark winter, it is very unlikely that we will ever cherish the warmth of a bright summer’s day. Nothing stimulates our appetite for the simple joys of life more than the starvation caused by sadness or desperation. In order to complete our amazing life journey successfully, it is vital that we turn each and every dark tear into a pearl of wisdom, and find the blessing in every curse.
― Anthon St. Maarten

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12 thoughts on “sweeping, hiding, shutting

  1. At sea, I would go to the fantail of whichever ship I was assigned and watch the mesmerizing wake streaming behind, the white foamy tail of a grey comet. I’ll admit that it sometimes became almost irresistible, that beckoning to jump. Not in a suicidal way, but a siren’s call to join the vast ocean flow. Years later, I would drive far into the Saudi desert alone and stay there until I felt centered again. Now, I go for a long bike ride or, more often, a long walk in the sun. Sometimes “letting in the light” means literally just that. Take care, and remember to breathe.

    • Funny you should mention breathing. :-) It’s been a problem both literally and figuratively the last few months. First, a hugely busy time while I was choreographing Little Shop in January/February (during which I said more than once that I didn’t have time to breathe), and second, a prolonged chest cold/infection. Then, just as it seemed to be breaking up, the pollen—which has never been a problem for me previously—hit, and it’s all come back. My beloved trail walks with Darcey have been dicey as a result, although I’ve learned about some herbal/vitamin treatments recently, and they do seem to be helping. Another interesting bit about breathing…a friend told me a couple of days ago that in Chinese medicine, the lungs/lung problems are associated with grief, and some of what I’m going through could definitely be considered a kind of grieving….

  2. Keep being grateful for what is OK, keep reaching out, you are not alone, keep on doing the things that work, even though they seem to be few, keep crying, tears are indeed the mirror to the soul,most of all keep writing. Thank you Pathwriter. I have followed you for years now and am always grateful to see you in my in box, but don’t always tell you that. Sending love a cross the oceans…………

  3. Bravo to you for having the courage to face your shadows and darkness, and thank you for sharing this part of your journey with us. When I was in the pit I remember how many wanted to pull me out because my pain was uncomfortable for them to witness. I am grateful beyond measure that I never let anyone move me from where I was. It truly is darkest before dawn. Peace to you my sister as you travel your sacred path. Hugs and love <3

    • I know what you mean about people wanting to pull you out because it’s uncomfortable for them. Been there. :-) I’m not a place of deep darkness this time, but there are things I need to face and resolve before I can go forward. Hugs and love to you, too. Let’s find a time to have lunch soon. xo

  4. Oh Viki! If you only knew how much I relate to this, how much “stay with the discomfort” resonates. It is difficult when you finally start with baby steps only to be thrown a curve ball but I believe this means you’re on the right path- that you’re moving closer to the place you need to be. One step at a time, minute by minute- that’s all that is required. Sending you so much love.

    • Thank you, Kendra! I keep trying to return to the moment and stay out of the ‘what if’ but when the curve balls come at you in bunches, it’s a challenge. I keep reminding myself of a major curve ball that hit me about 15 months ago, which I later realized was the Universe opening the way for better things. Hoping this latest batch of curve balls will do the same. Deep breaths, deep breaths….

  5. Dear Viki, your journey to light and truth has always drawn me, always touched me. I want to say to your brave heart and honest spirit – you go girl! Go where you have never gone before. Make a path where there isn’t one yet. For all our suffering is to bring us to that blessed place of light. With much love and blessings, Sharon

    • Thank you so much, Sharon! Your latest post arrived in my inbox the day of the latest curve ball, and (unlike the last few months, when I’ve read little that I didn’t have to read) I actually stopped and read it. It was so well timed, as the curve balls have managed to pull me away from trust and back into fear. I’m clawing my way back, though, and I’m humbled and heartened to know that my zig-zag, rag-tag journey has touched you. Love and blessings to you as well, Viki

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