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What To Do When You Are Surrounded By Darkness

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Lately, I’ve had a low grade fever of sadness and grief. It’s not overt. I’m not shedding buckets of tears or unable to get out of bed. Instead, my body feels achy. I avoid the news of the day. When I hear an update on world events, it feels sticky and heavy. My heart takes on another layer of darkness. Maybe this is some of what you’ve been experiencing as well.

What is the antidote to this low grade fever? Life always shows me the next step forward. Let me tell you a quick story.

Recently, I met with a career changer, Jan, who was looking for guidance. When Jan told me her story, I could see that she was an adventurer, someone who sought out both the light and the dark, the full range of human experience–from the joy of creativity and laughter to the loneliness of being in pain. Lately, the dark had overwhelmed the light in Jan’s world. She was escaping into activities that were not good for her.

The advice I gave Jan was exactly what I needed to hear:

“Move toward the light.”

It was time to re-balance. She could no longer be with darkness without being consumed by it. I also advised her, “As best you can manage, stay away from those things that bring in darkness.” 

Jan found this daunting and questioned whether she would know the difference between light and dark. I pointed out that as human beings, we intuitively know the difference between what feeds us and what depletes us. We know what goodness looks like and we know what depravity looks like. We know joy and we know despair.  Out of awareness comes choices that matter.

When you find yourself overwhelmed by darkness, move toward the light.

What does this look like? For me, moving toward the light means:

A walk in nature. No matter what the weather, I get out on a walking path through oak and maple trees.  You might not have a lot of time to walk or be close to nature. I get it. And the act of moving your body for even 10 minutes, outside, can do wonders for your spirit.








Photo by Cori Emmalea Rodriguez

Morning meditation. This is my time to connect with a higher power, to be reassured that I am not alone. Many people have told me that meditation isn’t their thing. Their minds are too busy to settle down for even a few minutes. Point taken. Instead, try a short guided meditation using an app (e.g., Calm or Headspace) or listen to music that feeds your soul.

Photo by Jonathan Petersson

Reflect and feel the love. I was thinking of a dear friend who I have known since I was a teenager. Almost immediately, I felt a rush of love from this person. Think of someone who has touched your life, in big or small ways, at a moment in time or over the course of years or decades. Open yourself to their love. The love is real.









Photo by Jeswin Thomas

You might have other ways to move toward the light. Trust your feelings. Trust yourself.

I have known for a long time that I am a Light Bearer, one who holds light and brings it to places of darkness. As I hold more light, I have more capacity to be with darkness, without descending into it.

I suspect that you, dear reader, are also a beacon of light in your corner of the world.

Keep strengthening your light. Keep shining your light.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you move toward the light.

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