I have found grace, again. You could say I just went through another “Dark Night of the Soul.” One of many, but this one was particularly acute. This one began on my birthday, if you are interested in reading that story you can find it in my post The Return of the Goddess. It came to a head one month later, when I entered one of my darkest nights and found myself doubting whether I was going to find the light again. “You’re not a quitter,” my good friend told me as I sobbed over the phone 3,000 miles away from her.
She was right. I have never given up, even in my darkest moments when the light seemed to flicker in a shroud of darkness inside of me, gasping for air, and I had no real intention of giving up then. Yet, grace seemed illusive, a state so far from where I was, that I could not imaging reaching it again.
I have found grace, again. The light, ever-burining inside has erupted through the shroud of shadows and pronounced victory. Grace, I have found, is subtle. It is gentle, yet profoundly beautiful as it works its way through the pain to find the heart of life and beat it gently back into rhythm. Let me share give you some of the story, so you will better understand the cycle as it came through me.
On my 43rd birthday, my pain-body, or shadow-self, called out to be seen. I saw that inner-child and the goddess-woman still hiding in the shadows wanting to be healed and brought back into the light. Through the course of the ensuing month, I was faced with many tests that brought me ever-deeper into the darkness that needed to be explored and healed. As all spiritual tests are that ask us to evolve, these were not easy, and after one full month of them with little respite, I felt brought to the point of collapse, yet in an almost sadistic way, I was also saying to the Universe, “bring it on, let’s do this.”
And so the adage, “be careful what you ask for, you just might get it,” could be applied, yet I also believe that we are never given what we can not, in theory, handle. So, I worked though the horrific dreams at night and the daily, sometimes, horrific, ordeals of waking time. I started going to tai chi classes on Fridays, a few hours after my regular yoga class. As a friend so eloquently stated during lunch today, when yoga is practiced as intended “it is like inviting God into your body.” Or, it could be said, it is like letting the God force that is within in you, but only simmering, stir back into life. Yoga, tai chi and other activities that work with the life fore energy, can be incredibly intense, leaving you feeling like you have literally had a battle of light against darkness.
In the midst of this, I decided to get myself an energy healing that focused on releasing ancestral trauma and abuse, going deep through the lineages to release stored memories of trauma, including those passed down to you (which, by the way, was on a Friday, right in the middle of yoga and tai chi). Foolishly, I had hoped to be done with the worse part of what I had been experiencing after the session. As my friend 3,000 miles away reminded me, “You know better than that, Alethea. You’ve told me about how this works before,” adding an anecdote just in case I needed proof.
So, the wave of darkness came crashing down in full force this past week. One of the most dramatic incidences that occurred involved witnessing my daughter’s terror at being exposed to a horrific story at school by a police officer teaching drug education. The aftermath of this being almost as unpleasant as the episode itself, show-casing the shadow-side of many involved, along with my own.
In the midst of all of this, I began reading M. Scott Peck’s, M.D. book People of the Lie: The Hope of Healing Human Evil. Having just finished The Road Last Traveled by Peck, something nudged me to go further into this place of darkness inside to explore. And there was that moment, yes, that moment, where I had to ask myself, are you dancing with the “devil?” Now let me clarify, by “devil,” I adhere to Peck’s then 8-yr-old son who defined the devil to be the opposite of “live,” or “lived,” which is the word spelled in reverse. That state of none “life” where we can succumb completely to the darkness that resides inside. I knew I was agreeing to push myself to the brink of fear, and as my spiritual mentor pointed out to me after my lasted journal for the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, “You are really going through some dark things at present… but always remember that the ball cannot bounce until it hits the ground…and the harder it falls, the higher it all soar.” It’s worth also mentioning that this dark night was occurring during the 6th month of my second year with the school. The half-way point. One could also say, the turing point.
Those words were written by my mentor a week ago, and as I’ve just said, it got worse before it got better.
I realized the light of grace was returning to me last night, in my dreams, where I often learn a lot about myself. I found myself riding in airplanes (the symbolism of which you can look up) to faraway destinations I had never been to, by myself, without the baggage I was accustomed to taking with me. The planes dived and flipped in mid-air, I found myself without my seat-belt on, I was in a strange place with strange people, yet I was okay.
I woke feeling lighter, much lighter that I have for many days. The tests that could trigger me during the morning, did not. At 11:15 I got into my blue Volt, and started driving north to meet my friend for lunch. I felt exhilarated, like I had new life coursing inside me. A large crow flew from the forest beside the road and straight over me, as though guiding me north, for some time. I smiled. The crow had returned. The messenger that reminds me of rebirth out of darkness. And it never left. Through the entire ride there and back home, the crow appeared often. At the beginning of the ride home, now going south, it emerged from the forest with a red apple in its mouth, and flew over the car once again, turning south to guide me. I found myself filled with gratitude. In the parking lot there had been a car parked beside me with 444 on its plate, during the ride home, 555 (for more information on number meanings I recommend Doreen Virtue’s resources or Joanne Sacred Scribe’s website. I felt incredibly blessed and guided, and I knew the light inside had won, again. I knew that I had just turned another corner in this journey of life.
As I continued to drive, with crows appearing in trees and in flight beside me, I listened to the end of a story on NPR about a writer who had suffered brain damage from an accident, and had not only survived, but thrived from her ordeal. She had transformed her darkness into light. After the story was over, I hit the buttons on my touchscreen to find music, and found John Legend’s song “All of Me” playing. Impulsively I started singing, surprising myself with the harmony of our voices. I sang loud and with passion. I sang to myself, “all of me loves all of you,” and I meant it. And I cried, again. Not from a place of despair, but from the state of gratitude, surrender and grace. I felt filled with light and life.