Finding the Light in Dark Times.

Find the lightI feel your need this week my friends and I am going to bring you as much light as I can right now.  Over the years, I have faced illness, betrayal by a friend, difficult work environments (to say the least), having literally $5 left in my account, car break downs and various other “disasters” that cost me literally thousands of dollars when I didn’t have it to my name, and that time I couldn’t move at all and considered what the point of life was if you were going to be in pain 24/7 and living as if you were dead.  << Yes.  That was me.

What is the one thing that I held on to during those times?   The thought that life had a purpose for me….that I was being tested and measured…and that I really was going to come out on the other side of this stronger than before.

I had faith that there was a plan.  Did I know the plan?  Hell no.  I was apparently going to be the last to know.  But I sensed there was something greater than me at work and through me, things were going to change.

How I found the Light:

  1. I began my new morning ritual with gratitude.  I can not even began to describe the pain level to you at this moment.  It was beyond my skin feeling like it was on fire (it prickled and burned even when no one was touching me), my bones ached to the very core, and I couldn’t sleep at all.  There was no position to sleep in that didn’t bring me more pain.  My gut was distended from autoimmune, and my brain never stopped registering a pain response.  What did I have to be thankful for?  Lots.  LOTS.  So I started there.   Thank you for this new day.  Then I would put one foot over the bed and as the pain flared through my hip, I would step down and utter thanks to the heavens.  I continued this daily…no matter what.
  2. I began to focus on what I had….not what was missing.  <<< This was huge.  I worked my mind to abundance thinking, which was new to me.  I will never forget the day someone used that word.  As in my cup runneth over.  I am full of bountiful blessings.  You see this person who said that to me, made incredible amounts of money.  I literally had like $5 because I had to leave my job, teaching, due to my pain level and autoimmune responses being off the chart.  So I began to think about what I had.  I would list it in my head.  Then I would think about what I could do with the “gifts” I had.  And I gave as much as I could to others.
  3. I stayed as present as possible.  This was the opposite of what me, fantasy world living girl, wanted to do.  I wanted to escape in my head or in my books, where things were easy.   I started paying attention to little things.  Leaves.  Sunlight filtering in.  Tucking my kids in.  My husband’s strong hug when he was just as scared as I was.  Coffee.  The warmth of the cup.  My parents.  Knowing that I could call them, but trying not to cry if things were bad.  Just simply putting one foot in front of the other until that was all I could do.  And lastly, the day that I found the breath.  Through yoga.  I learned how to stay present through the haze of pain in yoga.
  4. I learned how to fall apart…better.  There are tantrums.  There are crying spells.  And then there are “why me” moments.  The silent, soul racking sobs that make you think your entire world is ending and you can’t control what is happening.  The truth is, you can’t control what is happening and you never could.  Not even when things were great.  So this is no different.  I learned to get through those moments and then say to myself “snap out of it” <<< Yes.  I imagined Cher slapping me.  Then I would say what tiny thing CAN I control right now?  usually it was getting out of my damn pajamas and struggling to take a shower.  When that was over, I would feel better and I would see what reserve energy I had left to go to the store.  If I manged those two small things, I felt better.  I could have tea and then write.  This is all in the early days of this blog, but the moments were there when I learned how to “life” better.  I learned to lean into it.
  5. I could control who I was around.  If I had to look at pitying eyes one more time I was going to slap someone.  And if anyone said that it happened for a reason I wanted to stab them.  << Note, no one was actually harmed.  I did however, cut some people off instead.  Anger was a huge part of who I was.  At that time.  And yoga helped me learn to control that to the best of my ability.  I started being around people who could lift me up and meet me where I was that day.  If I didn’t have those people, I searched for them.  I made my own world.  And I didn’t regret the choices I had to make when people were not able to support me.  When people were too busy condemning or judging how I got through this, they went into the boundary holding area Most of them never came back from that area.  The ones who did admitted they were sorry…and a few more later went through difficult experiences and admitted they had no idea until they too were tested.
  6. I created my own feelings of happiness and peace.  I prayed, I read, I meditated, I did the yoga, but it was entirely up to me to be the one to move forward.  No one could do that for me.  I was given the ability to be stronger than my problems, and no one else could turn that key.  No one except for me.  I didn’t wait for a doctor to magically cure me as there was no cure for my incurable diseases…but I also didn’t settle for that answer.  I made my own way.
  7. I used my lessons to teach others.   You can ask my yoga brothers and sisters.  I couldn’t hold myself up in downdog for more than a few seconds when I first started Yoga Teacher Training.  How was I going to get through 200 hours?  Scorpio hard-headed power activate.  I learn to use the word “modify” in a sentence.  It meant for me to do what I could with the pose and use props, blankets, blocks and take a child’s pose as needed.  I finished my 200 hours and went on to take yoga for arthritis and pain.  I then combined every single lesson I had ever learned last year, at this very time, and take some money I had saved and invest in my business to help others.  I launched the 30 Days of Gratitude Group, which then became the foundation for my Head|Heart|Health Club.  I learned how to help others through their own “pain”, whether it was mental or physical, and take one day at a time. 

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What happens when you embrace your darkness?

According to Carl Jung, the “persona” defines what we would like to be and how we wish to be seen by the world.  Interestingly enough, the word persona is derived from Latin as “mask”.  So he describes the “shadow self” as the unconscious mind which holds those fears, weaknesses, and perhaps even the stray evil thought.

Sometimes we feel that in the darkness there is comfort.  We can stay there and hang out for a while and no one can see what we are thinking about or what’s really going on.  So let’s think about this for a moment.

Each and every one of us, has darkness.  It’s just part of life.  Part of our soul that has been changed by experiences…but we are ourselves because of it.  It is neither good nor bad until we act on it.  It’s just there; however, if you are fighting depression, it seems to stay more present in your mind.

So what are some ways we can deal with our darkness once we are ready to move forward into the light?

  1. Record your joys and your gratitude for the good things you have going on in your life in a journal.  <<< just like the one I use:)
  2. List what good you have recently…like swept a neighbor’s porch off, or given clothes away to someone who needs them.  Paid it forward in the coffee drive through.  If you are having problems listing things, go out and do something!
  3. Find a way to laugh and incorporate funny videos into that if it helps you smile.
  4. Do some exercise, walk, or get yourself to yoga!
  5. Get your vitamin D as it helps beat depression back with a mental boost.
  6. Shift into the light…literally.  My friend suggested this light to me called a Ion Therapy Lamp.
  7. Help lift someone else up by paying them a compliment when they least expected it.  Maybe even something you admire about them that you have never told them!
  8. Pray, meditate, or shift your thoughts to something else.  You can use a mantra, or even affirmations.

The bottom line is this…it’s okay to NOT be okay every once in a while.  As I said today on my fan page, a shadow is cast by a light.  If you are noticing a shadow, you are also casting a light.

Whether you are trying to wear too many masks, such as the one you wear at work, or the one you wear at your child’s school function, and your true self is just tired of the whole game…so the darker thoughts start to creep up.  That is definitely a sign that a break is needed.

Once we begin to see that the darker parts of us are really there as a guide, we begin to see what parts we want to bring more light to.  We can peacefully co-exist with both sides, and we can also learn to understand what it means.  There are times we need to take a break, step back from the world and re-charge.  The darkness likes to point out when we are stretched too thin, so just take note and remember to breathe.

Light