You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. [Mary Oliver]
Our shadow is just the parts of us we wish we didn’t have (jealousy, rage, resentment, despair etc). And we often banish these parts of us until something (or someone) rouses the darkness! Sometimes it can feel uncontrollable even frightening. Afterwards, we can often feel shame or guilt. Its no wonder we go to crazy lengths to avoid, deflect or deny these parts of us. [Sas Petherick]
Sometimes we relive a painful event in order to look at it from a new perspective. We revisit it with an expanded consciousness. And with that hard-earned wisdom (which comes from moving through things), we can see there’s even more to gain from the pain. Which means, there’s even more wisdom and strength to take from it. [Danielle LaPorte]
I sat at my dining table at midnight on Samhain, watching a solitary candle flicker, its golden glow reflecting off the glittered pumpkins nestled together with the sugar skulls and mums. As the veil thinned, stretched so drum-tight that I could feel the press of the spirits hovering around my shoulders, and the clock turned over to All Hallows, and the darkness of winter fell on top of us in a suffocating layer, I listened to Mary Oliver read Wild Geese and T.S. Eliot read The Wasteland.
This year, the change has been hard. The days have grown shorter and shorter, the light dims, and a hazy misty damp has settled in for the last week. Last year the autumn came with brilliant washes of gold light like paint spilled across the sky, gilding the tops of the trees and blazing sunsets in an artist’s palette of pinks and oranges and lilac. This year, the light has extinguished itself, pulled up a blanket and hid its head. The trees have turned from summer green to dead, dropping leaves before they have even a chance to yellow or turn. While I don’t suffer from traditional depression, I would probably check off all the boxes for SAD if I was formally evaluated. There have been years where I didn’t recover from the fall time change until Daylight Savings rolled forward in the spring. I feel like this year is going to be one of those bad years. I feel like the dark is waiting for me. I feel like I am waiting for it.
I had brunch with a friend today. She asked me, knowingly, “How are YOU?” In the moment, in the light, in the happiness and connection of skipping out of work for an hour to eat grits and drink coffee and feed beignets to her blue-eyed boy, I answered that I was fine, that our life was contentedly level, that all was an orderly procession of school and work and weekends soaking in football and pumpkin ale and holidays. Now, tonight, I wish I had thought to tell her of the anxiety that dogs my heels, the ennui I struggle to overcome, the overwhelm of managing both my life and the lives of three kids under six. Because in the light, from the outside, we are fine; I am fine. But in the dark, when I sit here with my to-do list staring at me and my bedtime an hour ago – I’m not fine anymore. I’m not sure WHAT I am, but fine is not it.
You do not have to be good. I do not have to be good. Right now, I am not good. Right now, the shadow side is ascendant and all the self-doubt and shame that come with it are washing over me. I am self-aware enough to see what is happening, to know that I am still enough, to know that I am not perfect, that I do not have to be perfect, that I will never be perfect. But knowing that and accepting that are two different things. I haven’t accepted it, and I’m not sure I know how.
How does the change of seasons/time change affect you?