shining light into the darkness

everything’s going to be okay, I tell myself. this will pass.

I find so much peace in those simple words.

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photo by joniwoq

I have felt sadness more and more of late. It scares me sometimes. I feel it in moments where my work or social experiences are particularly challenging or unfulfilling or in a moment when I sit with an intense emotion like anger, tracing its rapid burn through my chest and belly and feeling the sadness just underneath its hot surface. The sadness comes and goes like any other emotion but it has come for a number of days in a row. I find myself worrying what if it keeps coming back? What if I fall into a deep sadness like I have in the past?

There is no way to know what the future will bring but I trust in the universe. I know that if a deep sadness happens, I will still be okay. It will pass. I am not a super human. I am allowed to experience moments of sadness.

I comfort myself in practices like deep breathing, deep nourishing, deep listening to what lurks underneath the emotion that doesn’t use words — is there a need not being met, am I doing too much, am I not connected to my life’s purpose?

I comfort and release  sadness through my cycle of breath, knowing that although I may feel sadness that I am not my sadness. Breathing in, I am aware of my breath flowing in. I follow its journey through my body and feel its life and energy. I can feel my breath encounter sadness as I breathe in. I shine light into the darkness with my breath: touching sadness with my inhale, releasing it with my exhale.

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photo by llbolek

 

Deeply nourishing practices I like to utilize:

– I self-soothe with my hand at my chest or belly as a reminder that I am not alone and I will always be there for myself no matter what.

– Be active. Yoga, dance, walks, runs, etc.

– Cook/eat balanced, yummy meals.

– Engage in activities that draw a deep belly laugh. I invite my favorite books and comedies to help with this.

– Be around loving, welcoming people. I can allow myself alone time but it’s really important to be around others as well to avoid getting too caught up in my experience.

– Journal. Write. Express myself. Sing/chant. Be creative. Release.

– A mindfulness practice I have started to engage in is accepting each moment for what it is and bringing a gentle curiosity to each moment. I have started to realize the incredible peace and freedom in befriending each moment  — not just the ones that take my breath away with their joy but the more difficult moments where I feel lonely, scared, or not good enough. Adding a layer of compassion and acceptance to challenging feelings and experiences can make them so much easier to navigate through.

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Writing a piece like this helps tremendously. It helps dissipate my sadness, helps me to feel less isolated and more connected by sharing my experiences with others rather than keeping them a secret. If you feel intense emotions or devastating experiences that leave you weary, I want you to know that you are not alone. You never can be alone. We are all connected. We are holding the space for you, supporting you in our collective energy.


our loving ancestors

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I like to think our ancestors are rooting us on through life.

There’s a mindfulness practice at Blue Cliff Monastery called touching the earth where we place our palms in front of our chests in the shape of a lotus bud and slowly lower ourselves to the ground so that our four limbs and forehead gently press against the floor. We bow deeply and return to the earth and our roots, connecting with our spiritual and blood ancestors. We know that we can never be alone as we are always surrounded by love, by divine beings who only want the best for us, by the earth. We touch the earth and reconnect with each bow to all of that life and recognize that we make up the earth and life and can never be separate. We are all connected.

Breathing in, I breathe in the earth. I breathe in connection. I breathe in life, strength, stability, love, nurturing, protection. Breathing out, I breathe out separation. I breathe out suffering. I breathe out anger, fear, shame, sorrow, grief.

I wonder if each time we engage in a healing practice like meditation or yoga, are we touching our ancestors? In engaging in the practice and connecting deeper with ourselves or transforming an area of suffering, are we also lessening the suffering in that whole ancestry chain? If we release a story steeped in limitation and inadequacy that we used to cling to, do we release suffering in our whole ancestry line? Is our growth a shining light of hope and pride to them?

 

 

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background image by carolyn doe

Believing our thoughts

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We have so many thoughts each minute, each day, each lifetime. Some believe we have 50,000 thoughts in a day so that would be over 18 million thoughts in a year — far too many thoughts to hear and remember. So what determines the thoughts we believe and cling to and the ones that never catch hold and quickly disappear? It’s more often than not a choice. I want to carefully choose the thoughts I listen to for they create my reality.

 


holding & letting go

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:)

I have a love to garden deep in my roots.
I breathe in flowers sacredly tended to by divine mothers
hoping they blossom throughout this lifetime.

I wake up unexpectedly sometimes
during that late-night, early morning space
where my dreams seem both near and far
and words that don’t speak flow within me
if I just stay awake a little longer
and press my senses gently
against my soul to hear them.

Tonight there was a melody of rain and crickets
just outside my window and I decided to stay
and listen. My hand reached outside the window
to both embrace and release the rain drops in my palm
interchangeably, and I wondered if this is what I should
be doing with each moment here:
both holding and letting go.

 


love our darkness & our light

“Until we have seen someone’s darkness, we don’t really know who they are. Until we have forgiven someone’s darkness, we don’t really know what love is.” — Marianne Williamson

 

Love has to include both darkness and light or else I don’t really believe that it is love. I don’t believe in a love that is conditional or partial or I love this part of you but not this part. I know that the kind of love that I am looking to give and receive from others as well as from myself is the kind that can love it all.

When I found myself in a relationship where my partner could not be present in my moments of sadness and could not love the parts of me that were a masterpiece in progress but instead put those parts down when he became frustrated, I found myself able to find the courage to leave the relationship because I knew that our love for each could never be complete. I would have to hide my darkness from him and he would try to pretend to love parts of me that he really couldn’t stomach. As a result, I looked into my relationship with myself to explore what would allow me to attract that type of a relationship with another. What areas of darkness within myself was I having difficulty embracing and nurturing? What mistakes from my past was I unable to forgive and put beyond me? I sat with the revelations that came up and found ways to cultivate more loving kindness to those areas as they seemed in great need of love and attention.

 

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I want a love that is whole and complete and includes every part of myself and the other person. That is the type of love I try to give myself each day.

Be (with) someone who can treat even your most wounded and darkest places with loving kindness.

 

 


enough

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I feel like if I could just go around showing people how incredibly enough they are half of my work as a psychiatric nurse practitioner would be done. We can be so hard on ourselves. We can be so hard on how we used to be. We can worry and critique about how we could have done better in so many instances but I feel like that is an argument we can never win. I think that we do the best we can on most days; we just don’t have the same amount to give each day. I want to shine an incredible light on who you are and how wonderful and enough that truly is.

 


watch me bloom

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I want to move in the direction of my fears of expressing myself. I have left countless words unsaid — words that are in a landfill somewhere with all the other words that could have been something special but were denied existence because of fear, worry, and doubt. I want to give voice to myself and all that I have to share with the world.

Affirmation: I deserve to express myself fully in the world.

I am working on aspects of full expression each day in my practice. I approach my interactions with others with the intention of being present, available, and authentic in their company, not hiding or holding back out of fear or habit. I observe the moments where I most want to retreat inside of myself and reflect on what need is not being met in those situations and what I can do to make myself feel more safe and secure in those moments. I hit the reset button each morning, preferably each moment, and practice loving kindness to myself if a situation arises where I am not as available as I would like. I begin again and again and again knowing that I have nothing that I have to hide or be ashamed of in sharing myself with the world.

Affirmation: I reject any attachment to people’s reaction when I express myself.

I do not have to silence or censor myself in an effort to placate others. I am here to live my truth and to share it freely. I am here to be the most authentic version of myself possible. I am here to inhabit the deepest expression of love available to me in each moment and share that with others.

I plant seeds of self-worth, self-love, and acceptance and I see them bloom into flowers rooted from the foundation of my body at my feet and reaching their most open state in my throat chakra. I visualize these flowers when I speak. There is no room for fear with all this life and growth flowing through my essence.