As I wandered more fully into my work to release old pain and open myself to joy, things slowly began to shift. Over months I filled my journal, paid attention to my dreaming, walked and practiced yoga and saw my healer and my Spiritual Director. It was like tracing a line back into the shadows or down into deep waters. How far down would we go? Where would it take me? Would I be able to find my way back out? Did I really want to do this? I mean, I had lived without a full experience of joy for a long time. Was it worth the level of work that I felt was waiting here for me? Ultimately, in the wondering and the fear of this, I had to choose yes, choose life again and again and again. The only way through the dark is through. If you skip it, or run backwards and change your mind, you will never know and you will never get to the other side of this moment. And let me tell you, it’s terrifying. As a Spiritual Director myself, I can tell you that the journey of transformation has a cycle like the seasons. One must surrender to the dying in order for the new birth to come. Things must fully decay before their energy is available to grow anything new. I know this. And I know that the law of impermanence means that everything, whether coming into life or letting things go, will shift and change and be something else quite soon. Nothing lasts….not pain, nor joy. To be available to both requires a certain flow or flexibility.
I know all that. But when it’s me going through the dying, I forget as fast as anyone and think that if I walk into pain, that I might get stuck there forever. And when it’s me going through the joy, I always forget and hope it will last forever. In this case I started entering my own surrendering to death…the death of a certain way of being that kept me unavailable to joy. Except that being immersed in that process I found out that I actually wasn’t available to pain either. There was a day when I realized that this was a choice to feel everything or to feel nothing. There isn’t a filter where you get to say I’m only going to experience purely joy and sorrow and broken heartedness are a thing of the past. The more you feel the joy, the more you can feel everything else. Saying yes to this…to more life, this is risky. This opens you up, to yourself, to others, to Spirit and these relationships are almost always disruptive eventually.
I met someone who was telling me about her fiancé. She had been in an abusive relationship before because she thought she needed that kind of protection to be safe. She said that this partnership wasn’t safe, but it was fully alive. Safety is its own kind of death. For me, choosing relationships and allies who could hold some perspective for me as I went further into darkness was vital. A beacon in the confusion of walking blind, a safety line as I sank down further and further into the unknown. Small moments of connection, of love, care and concern were my fuel and my inspiration in the descent. They gave me the courage to keep saying yes. Who are the allies who give you the courage to say yes to life? What gifts have they given you? How do you express gratitude for their presence?