On Saturday I’d planned a mini solitary ‘retreat’ day of journalling, contemplation & doing some reflection on my strengths and weaknesses. I enjoyed my day – writing, reading a novel, eating chocolate brownies, listening to music and just allowing myself feel spacious.
In the evening Kaspa came home and I fell headlong into a deep dark painful emotional pit.
I was afraid. I lay down on my back in that hole, in pain and anguish. I felt worse than useless, ugly, awful. I couldn’t imagine finding a way out.
I didn’t even know how I’d fallen in until Sunday, when I’d had a chance to reflect on what had happened during the day and piece things together. Lots and lots of little things had come together and shown me something about myself that I really didn’t want to see. Now I’d seen it, I couldn’t un-see it.
I felt dreadful. I took myself off and sat next to the wood-burner, watching the flames. I allowed the sadness to flow through me. I waited. I felt terrible. I watched the flames. Very gradually, I started to see light, far up above me. After a few hours I’d recovered enough to go to sleep.
I’d forgotten that retreats are contained spaces where Things Come Up. Something came up! I’m still processing what happened, by writing in my journal, by reflecting, and by talking it over with my friends. I’m still feeling tender, but today I feel okay again.
No – better than okay. As I write, I’m feeling lighter than I felt before. We often don’t know we’re carrying something heavy until we put it down. I feel more spacious, less defended, less afraid. There is more space in me, and this space is filling up with joy.
In my experience, these purgings are sometimes necessary. These dark nights of the soul point out things-in-us that we can’t see any other way. They show us what needs attention. And, if we can hang tight and ride them out (however long it takes) they leave us different – softer, more loving, more sure-that-we-are-loved.
It’s only be seeing the depths of our own foolishness and pain that we can appreciate how difficult it is for other human beings. We find joy by walking through the gate of humility. Or sometimes it might feel as if we’re pushed!
If you’re in the darkness, I’m thinking of you. I don’t know exactly how it is for you, but I do know a little better after the weekend. Go gently.
If you’d like five minutes of respite from the darkness, try watching this. Tell me you’re not grinning by the end : ) And if you’d like to give yourself 31 Days of Joy, sign up here and get your first email tomorrow.