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 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.