Some things are just infinitely sad. And they always will be. We all have memories that are sad and traumatic so we tiptoe around them, shut them out, or actively run away from them.
And that's as it should be. Life is tough, and at times cruel and it does no good to dwell on these things. It's important to just to get on with life... to block out those feelings and memories and move on.
How many of us have heard this advice? And on some level it is true. No one wants to get stuck in the darkness of memories and regrets that cannot be changed. We, as humans are hot-wired for survival, and to do this we must be able to keep moving forward.
There is nothing wrong with moving forward but sometimes we leave too much of ourselves behind, so that we become only a shell of the whole person that we could be.
But how can we leave ourselves behind? What does that even mean?
Well, it means that we often abandon those parts of ourselves that we don't think are worthy of love. We abandon our shame, and our anger and our sadness because they don't fit in with the person we want to be. We leave them behind and we move on.
But then what happens?
For many of us, that is the way we live our lives. We keep moving through without claiming back our shadows. And there is nothing wrong with a life lived like this. But for those of us who (for whatever reason) have had to sit with our darkness, we start to navigate life in a slightly different way.
When I was first faced with the abandoned parts of myself I wondered who this needy wounded child was that was calling for my attention and filling my life with fear and anxiety. I couldn't recognise her, as I had been running from her for the entire first half of my life.
It was time to spend some time with my own darkness. It was time for me to go and sit on a rock, and commune with nature while I constructed a new identity for myself.
And of course we are never alone when we choose to travel this path. In the midst of my searching I found a deeper connection with Jesus who had always been my friend but now took on a key role as he sat with me and showed me that he loved me in every part of my being.
The best news is that each and every one of us has access to this spiritual assistance. It may be Buddha, or nature or our ancestors or our guardian angels but each one of us has access to this divine guidance and all we need to do is ask for it and surrender to the love that always comes.
And if you feel you need to talk it all out, the comfort found in a counsellor, therapist or trusted friend can also be a companion that helps shine a light of clarity into the darkness. That was yet another aspect that helped greatly in my own healing.
The funny thing was that after all that soul searching and growth, only those closest to me noticed any difference in me. To most, I was the Emma Farry they had always known, but inside I was a completely different creature.
I had learned about my wounds, and about my sadness and eventually about my joy, and I was finally able to feel present in my own body, with my own emotions... belonging, first to myself, and then to my world.
So stop, look and listen has been on my mind lately. Some of us will have no choice but to stop, look and listen to the parts of ourselves that we reject, to our stories of shame and to the eventual wisdom that is revealed when we have the courage to look at what reject, right in the eye.
When we take this journey we can reconcile the good and the bad within ourselves and find love for both. And then almost by magic, we are able to see the good and the bad in the world and understand it more fully for what is it, without judgement and anger.
And from this place we can move forward healthily, embracing and understanding the whole of ourselves, and so understanding our world in the same way.
These times seem to be bringing much that is dark, out into the light to be acknowledged. It is difficult to navigate all the sad news and as sensitive humans our empathetic natures can sometimes feel overwhelmed.
I suppose the purpose of this post is to reassure those of you going through the dark night of the soul that the hard work does pay off and that sometimes our pain is actually a sacred messenger and a wise teacher.
I believe that all of us, as human beings, have both light and darkness within and together they make us who we are. Most of us enjoy contemplating our own lightness, and the great things we bring to our world, and that's the way it should be, as that is the truth of our nature.
I have found though that there is also great value in contemplating my own pain when it arises. It feels uncomfortable to stop and to sit with the parts of myself that feel the most unworthy but given some silent time and a little patience, these feelings start to reveal their stories, and once I hear those stories I can understand them and myself a little better.
With more knowledge, I can comfort those parts of myself and perhaps parent them a little more compassionately than they have been.
And I also believe that this hard work is the best way to build a truly loving foundation within myself so that I can, in turn, share my grounded and unconditional love with the world.
Meditation is another good way to navigate the hard times in our lives, as it brings the focus back to our breath and to our bodies so we can stop our brain from getting stuck going over old pain, or running ahead into future anxiety.
Here is a link to my guided meditation which is an easy and no fuss 16 minute introduction to the practice.
And if you don't have the time to meditate I find that even lying down on my bed for ten minutes listening to my own in breath and out breath can bring some much needed perspective when I am in pain.
There is nothing wrong with you if you feel the pain of the world and your own pain very deeply. In fact, it can be your super power if you are willing to explore your feelings, especially the difficult ones, and understand and unravel the messages inherent in the depth of your pain. And the best part is that you are never alone in this process, but loved and supported through every breath.