Have you experienced something deeply painful, and then looked back on it a few years later and come to understand how much it had grown you into who you are now?
In a fabulous writing course called ‘Write Into Light’ that I took this year with Martha Beck and Liz Gilbert, we were asked to find one of those experiences. Our assignment was to write inward, to inhale deeply and find the learning and wisdom that the experience had given us, and then craft a piece of writing that could offer light to someone on their way in to that dark place, words that might help them find their way.
I went back to revisit a heartbreak from 15 years earlier in my life, a time where I found briefly – and then lost – someone I felt I had always known, before this lifetime, for many lifetimes. Someone I knew I was meant to find, and was devastated to realize I was not meant to keep. This is the piece that came through that exploration:
Brave girl, gather your courage, you will need it to find your way.
It’s going to be hell in there – a place that is darker than the blackest night. You are entering into the shadow to find your light.
Bring your goodness, your strength, and all the grace of who you are.
This adventure will ask more of you than any that have come before. It will ask you to free fall into pain, and trust Love to hold you.
There is only one way to proceed: throw your whole self in and follow where it leads.
There will be times you’ll believe, in your spiralling, chaotic and terrifying descent into the abyss, that you are utterly, absolutely alone. Instinct will tell you to run. Don’t.
This place does that. It’s okay.
What you don’t know, won’t know, can’t know – is that love has gone in ahead. To set the path, to unlock the mysteries that will appear to block your way, to create potions for the poisons that will seduce you in your pain. You will be held.
Stay alert, stay clear, stay fast on your feet and light in your spirit.
Don’t choose the surface, don’t kick for the top. Trust the darkness – or all will be lost.
You must open to the shifting, cracking, seismic undoing of all that you know yourself to be. Something deeper is wanting to emerge.
You WILL be held.
Scatter light around you. Gather the wisdom of sages in everyday clothes who have walked this path before you and have something to offer.
Post the gift of their light in places where you will stumble upon it daily. Use it to guide you as you would stars in the night sky – pin points of light in the darkness, sparks of truth sending messages from your soul.
Eventually, and this I promise you, you’ll begin to fall more slowly, more softly. With the lightness of the most exquisite feather, you will touch down solidly, surely and profoundly into a depth of a different kind.
You will pass through the bottom of the pain, and find what can only be found there. And finding it will change you. Your voice, your being, the energy you cast ahead of you as you move through life – will change.
Beneath the ravaging torment of the dragons you have slain, you will find in yourself a stillness, a wisdom, a fierceness and a truth that is more real than any you have known.
You are going into this hell to become who you came here to be. You are going into it to become me.
Good to ponder:
“When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful.” ~ Barbara Bloom