When they’ve seen your darkness…

When he’s seen your darkness and he still held you tight in his arms

When screams and tears tore at his soul yet he stood tall with his shoulder over your trembling body and his voice contained

When words of pain penetrated his being, but he received it with gentle calmness

One knew they were ok, they were allowed and they were held…

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When pain finds a home within your soul

painful emotions

In psychological circles this is referred to as pain addiction. This is real, lived experience for many. It is a state of being where separating pain from anything that we encounter in life becomes impossible. It merges with our being in a way that becomes familiar, safe, even sweet and impossible to imagine not feeling it. It becomes one of the personal signature of an individual, which brings all sorts of distortions with it. The process of unravelling is needed, deep diving into dark places, but mostly reintroduction of the light into a personal experience, as the light often goes into a personal shadow.

This is what it looks like when I tap into that part of myself still present although it no longer affects my life in ways it used to. It is now fully in my awareness and I know this character well, hence able to communicate with it and meet its needs if and when.

Ugly, dripping poison from its finger tips, so wrapped in its own pain it is second nature. This creature outgrown the most excruciating suffering that it feels at home with it, it’s learnt not just to be with it, it is inseparable from her being. It is very old, with bent and crooked limbs, long nails and grey hair or is it fur – both. It is animal-like with human eyes and deep intelligence. There is kindness somewhere there, but it is not apparent. It wants to be bad, it thinks it is a good thing, as it will fill up the cup of pain even more. It seeks the ritual and any opportunity to refill it. Like an addict it is constantly in search of the next fix.

Grown into my flesh it wears deer-skins and smells of wet mud and berries. Like an animal it claws into me holding on with a scowl scary and disturbing. 

I know it well and these days all that is needed of me is the acknowledgement it is there when I begin to feel its warm breath on the back of my neck. It is often present around my shoulder/neck area. It is very warm, sometimes feeling like a burn, but it also shows me some compassion these days and often sweeps away mud and moss pieces when it feels it made a mess. It is a child and an old creature all at the same time. It is deeply broken, but not unlovable and it likes to spread itself on rocks (I love rocks) and roll off them into a wet grass.

I often work with clients in ways of looking at different parts of them. I would ask when they begin to describe an energy that takes over them and affects their life. I seek to bring it to life with my client in a way of seeing what it looks like, what it sounds like and what is its behaviour before moving to what that part of us need. Many find this very useful and become curious about what else is within them that affects their everyday behaviour. When we make those characters real it is easier to relate whether we choose an object representing it, or we do a drawing or find a drawing that most reminds us of them or we relate to them through colours, sounds. However we connect with parts of ourselves it is about becoming conscious/aware of what takes place within our psyches and why.

Transformation after a dark night of the soul

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My experience has always been that transformation, upgrade, growth comes after a period of darkness of the soul. The darker and deeper the drop the more profound the transformation. It is, however, not easy to realise or get to the other side and comes with practice. There are often steps to follow.

The first one is awareness of light and dark within you, a true connection to both energies within your psyche. Both need to be known intimately, accepted, befriended and experienced. I frequently say that the best awareness comes from repeat lived experience and real life examples. Think of yourself in your ‘dark’ cloak. What does that look and feel like? Is there a clear image of yourself, in what voice and language that side speaks, what does it usually do, what its preferred or default way of behaving. Get to know it, notice, befriend and learn from it. The same goes for your light side of the psyche. What are you like when you are wearing your ‘light’ cloak. What’s the vibration and presentation of that energy within you? When you know both and can easily identify, recognise and connect with both you can navigate both your transformation and your dark nights better.

Another step in the process is to fully stay in the process and yes, natural reaction is to try to get out of it, change it, do something when we are in a dark place. It feels uncomfortable and painful. We resist, reject and want to strip ourselves of all that it brings with it, but even though it is natural to want to do that what if we allowed it to be? After all it is within us, it is part of us and it is there for a reason in any given moment.

Darkness and pain can also be comforting and safe to some of us and it is familiar to a point we get lost and settled into it. To me it feels like a dark cave where no one can find me. It can be soothing and reassuring. If it is so for you recognise it, explore your relationship and history with pain and dark places in general. Is there more to it?

Another opportunity when ‘in darkness’ is your unconscious will be showing itself through dreams more vividly. For me I begin to have profound, vivid, dark and nightmarish dreams. I always find those fascinating and even when unpleasant I find they keep my energies going. It is like stirring a caldron, a process of ‘cooking’ taking place in my unconscious. I get very involved with its content and open up to messages. This part of the process is valuable as much can be extracted from the dreams when in a state of darkness.

I find at this point in my practice that I know when darkness comes there will be light post-pain, post-anxiety and depression. One might say I learnt to keep the faith. In simple terms the only way is up. What’s needed here is trust and again it is another difficult point where we either give up (on ourselves) or manage to override our dark state somehow for the fear of never being able to come out. Never is a strong word, it deletes all possibility for change and it is an illusion. We all know that nothing ever stays the same and change touches absolutely everything. I strongly believe in the ‘Phoenix rising from the ashes’ transformation.

To reach the light we must be patient with the darkness. Not only we need to be with in it, allow feelings to do their thing in their own time, be graceful, soft amidst anger and desperation, be kind to yourself and your darkness. Needs that come up when you are in a dark place will be your usual needs, but amplified a lot and we need to meet those needs. Give yourself what you need in those moments through really listening to the voice of your pain and despair.

Light comes in gradually. First you begin to notice coming back into life through small things, wanting to connect again. You will feel your isolation state stretching into a need to relate. It is like a process of remembering your ‘whole’ self, the way you had been before going into darkness. You remember belonging to a group, family, your usual dynamic. You begin to want to get involved again in small ways, your voice will start coming back, healthy, balanced one. You begin to feel different, lighter, more grounded and less scared. Darkness has done its thing. It’s been and gone and by allowing it to be we allowed ourselves to feel what needed to be felt, worked through and acknowledged whatever that is for you.

I recently have gone through such period of darkness and all of the above was true for me again and when one morning I saw a big beautiful butterfly land on a bench next to me I knew the light was near. Transformation followed slowly with big insights, a strong desire for change and implementing things in a different way, adjusting behaviour and interactions. I also remained strongly aware of my needs, which through being amplified in the dark showed up more clearly in life. Through my voice returning I was able to communicate them to others more effectively. What followed was a sense of renewal, rebirth and upgrade into new ways.

Darkness is a great teacher. It not only puts things in perspective, it brings us literally back to life, more fully engaged in the present. I also find there’s a serene period of contemplation and a silent observation that accompanies the process of coming back to light. That is always very pleasant and incredibly needed.

We all potentially seek light and all leads to it whatever we go through in life and the most profound ‘come backs’ are through deep darkness.

Disconnect to reconnect

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Points of discord or disconnection in a relationship can be seen as opportunities to re-evaluate not only what the relationship means to you but also look at your role within that dynamic and whether what’s required, expected, etc. aligns with your deeper soul space. What does it mean? What happens to you when the other pulls away or pushes you away and vice versa.

It is vital to look at yourself as you are outside of your relationship and without the other. Even though we make commitment to a common experience we are still individuals with our own purpose and direction and if a discord points towards your neglect of self then it is time you stopped and gave yourself a hug or had a word with yourself. In any case what is the lesson that a situation shows you?

We often face a battle in a relationships between external and internal. External being all the cultural, historical, familial, religious conditions and expectations, e.g. An idea of a woman self-sacrificing for the sake of her man and kids and the whole family. Internal being is our inner most deep desires and aspirations. Our soul’s calling, e.g. Travelling the world, working in the wild saving animals or volunteering in a remote area somewhere being of service, etc.

We are often torn (I am talking about women here specifically) between two worlds and it is vital to become conscious of dynamics that create that struggle in a relationship. Brutal honesty is needed with ourselves and others and that would be the first step I would say after becoming aware of the rift within you. That place of confronting the ‘norm’ is scary, daring and feels like one would be criticised and banished. Here we learn how to stand in our own truth and what often happens, not always, that opening of our own concerns and inner cries invites an opening in others. It is quite profound how we all fall into a trap of being what’s expected and ignoring what’s burning within us deep down. We essentially ignore our voice and abandon ourselves. Tragic if you think about it. Breaking patterns of expectations is incredibly difficult. It is what I would call a radical change and that feels and looks impossible to so many. It is hard especially at mid-point of your life when many say, oh it’s too late, etc.
it is never too late to pick yourself up in a hug of acceptance and understanding even when you are the only one acknowledging it.

Tares in a relationship offer an opportunity for us to step back, to withdraw instead of trying make things better, smooth things over and/or rescue the other despite of your own pain. It is brave to step back and say ‘this is not serving me’, a certain behaviour it an attitude is no longer acceptable and often it would be the same pattern repeating against and again and the thing with patterns they can be broken. Will the other hear you? That’s another thing. When you find that voice within to express your non-compliance to the way things have always been what response do you get? One of denial and criticism or one when you are truly heard and supported. Either is a possibility but with that expression and standing up for your inner deep callings of the soul shifts are possible with or without a relationship.

We disconnect to reconnect potentially either to the other in a different way or to ourselves in a deeper way. Nature demonstrates this dynamic very well. Many of us are disconnected from nature externally and internally and nature is often seen as something scary and wild, something one can’t control. It is scary because nature is a catalyst for change and a mirror into our own worlds. It will reflect all that we seek to hide. It activates our senses in a way that we can’t avoid seeing and hearing ourselves. It wakes us up into awareness of the bigger picture outside of our everyday interactions, rules, jobs, the ‘norm’. Stepping outside of that is scary for many. When we disconnect from nature we disconnect from ourselves.

I often exercise going into nature when I am in a dark place. Yes, it takes some internal struggle to step into nature consciously when in that space, but it always feels necessary. I seek connection to myself when there is a struggle on the external level. Lessons are huge and very difficult material is often present, but one thing is for sure there is no other way. It is going through something and not around it that ultimately changes us and the way we relate to others and ourselves.

So if you are currently disconnected, seek to connect in a different, more conscious way and include yourself in that.

grief and loss

Run away or stay

The urge to run away is natural on one hand and on the other is contradictory to our innate capacity for compassion and staying with pain. There are millions of examples of open-hearted compassion and humility from humans in times of extreme crisis throughout centuries, yet parts of us want to run away and not feel. It is always way easier to hide, stay in the vibration of fear and non-connecting than open up to all horror and sorrow of the world and connect to as much and as many aspects of us as humans. It is understandable and sometimes we do need to withdraw just to catch our breath. Sometimes things make us freeze following trauma. The most difficult thing to do seems to be our connection to ourselves. We no longer in touch with who we are and what we are doing here. Often we become ‘robot-like’ and desensitised to all that surrounds us. It is a way of avoiding the harsh and painful, the unthinkable. It is a coping way, when life becomes disabled. At that point hope is lost, defeat prevails and we continue as we were on the road to nowhere, not feeling our own bodies. Again it seems something that happens naturally these days yet what about our natural ability to feel again, what happened to parts of ourselves that feel through life and live through all experiences that life offers, dark and light. We have potential for all things.

Tragedy carries a vibration of shattered hopes, dreams, connections and explosion of an array of uncontrollable feelings that seem impossible to contain. Connection with others will help that, safe and accepting holding will do the job, unity in sorrow will provide a refuge from the attack of extreme emotions. Tragedy can also propel us all into action, into feelings and into becoming more ‘us’. It can potentially get us in touch with life, with our own beating heart. It is an opportunity to be you! Please take it. Please choose compassion for the world and yourself as a part of the complicated system of connections and human life.

Blessings to the world! loss

Integrating vs. releasing

good vs evil

In the last few weeks I am coming to an insight about working with different parts of ourselves and energies that actually do not belong to us, i.e. they are operating from outside, through us, but they are not necessarily a part of our psyche or personality.

Integration work within psychotherapeutic circles and depth psychology is a popular one and it makes sense, as we are all of many parts. We are multi-dimensional and play various roles depending on circumstances, within relationships and what is active within our psyche. We take on archetypal energy too and play that out in our life. Through therapeutic work we can become aware of different parts of ourselves, or sub-personalities, some would call it. We can give these parts names, voices, visual and physical presentation and establish a relationship with them all and observe how they relate to one another. This work can be profound in its insight and potentially transforming our relationship to ourselves and others around us. It can also get us closer to our soul purpose and true essence. With a skilful therapist walking alongside you it can be a very important piece of work.

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Is fear always bad?

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Does fear need to be bad, always?

Yes, it is tarrying, yes it is a terrible vibration to hold and hard to shake off. I know it well. But it is also a messenger, it is a pointer towards something that is asking for help, or it can also serve a purpose of a propeller into action just like fire qualities.

Presence of fear can point towards a past trauma – yes. In that it is linked with an association of what had once been scary and threatening to us. We attach to that vibration, which gets activated when we are reminded of similar scenarios or have similar interactions. This is one part of what occurred for me, which I later became aware of, but what it also made me think of is another way of reaction to it. It is about relating to this particular emotion in a different way. I don’t feel like it would be serving its purpose if I always react to it in the same way. If one continues to do the same thing, results will always be the same. Something new needs to come through here to facilitate change and growth in me. There is a decision and a choice involved here again just like in my previous post, one can choose to continue aligning with something indefinitely or we can switch our perception of what it can be rather than what it had always been.

So, I asked myself a question ‘Is fear always bad? Does it have to be’? No

What came to me, as I walked through the forest touching my trusted trees, was the feeling of caring about something, caring a lot, too much one might say. When fear grips you it is an indication that you care about something or someone. We are all familiar with that. However, instead of working against it what if we worked with it? What we chose to channel it into something productive, beneficial and full of love? I am seeing it as an opportunity to do something different, to change something or take a different attitude or a route in order to express that care and love that we feel with the help of our fear as a guiding force.

It is a switch in perception or rather an extension of what fear means. It is allowing for fear to tell us more, to show us more, to align with its voice, because often fear comes in the moment and not always connected to anything in the past. It can simply be a vibration seeking its expression to point us towards a certain action or behaviour. The key here is to listen to the emotion, which is manifesting within you, not running away and rejecting your own voice, but quietly listen.

Someone pointed out fear within me earlier this week and yes, they are correct and on reflection I know where it came from and what it means, but rather than focusing on where it came from I am choosing to focus what I can do with it and what it really feels like when I sit with it. When we sit with an emotion giving it full acceptance and love it begins to tell a story, its vibration changes and something new gets introduced into the mix. I find emotions are not solid or static or one-dimensional. They flow, they are present one minute and gone the next, they are fleeting and if caught can be valuable to us.

My fear represents my determination and drive. The reason I scared is because my dream is big and meaningful. If it wasn’t I wouldn’t be scared. Have you ever experienced wanting something or someone so much you feel terrified it would slip through your fingers or something would take it away from you? Yes. Me too. That’s the indication, firstly, of how much you care. Secondly, it is an opportunity to do something with that in way of expressing your care whether it is manifesting love or achieving a goal with absolute certainty. Then, at least you are not surrendered to fear alone, you are journeying with what the fear means and acts as a catalyst towards. Direct it in the direction of positive intention, meaningful relationship, success through hard work or caretaking someone with the most open heart you have. Fear then turns to love and love conquers all. The choice is yours, fear can stop us, but fear can also propel us and transform into love ultimately.

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