11 Mar “You cannot fight the darkness; you must turn on the light.”
Contrast shows up everywhere in life.
Pleasure and pain. Heat and cold. Peace and violence. Acceptance and rejection. Up and down. Illness and health. In and out. Yin and yang. Happiness and sadness. Hunger and satisfaction.
I believe that wellness is found in the dynamic equilibrium between symptoms and health. The flow in and out of symptoms and back to balance is the way of the body and life. Health is about contrast. Do you know anyone who has had a health challenge and then a healing? Anyone who has had a fever and then a resolution? An injury and recovery? Or challenge and acceptance?
Ride the Wave.
Do you find yourself accepting these contrasts or resisting them? Something amazing can happen when you let go of trying to force the opposite and instead allow whatever comes to fill the space. Space and time are in contrast to the non-stop rush of activities in modern life. And a key component of wellness is the deep acceptance of the undulating flow between the two places of feeling good and feeling bad.
I’ve noticed that I have periods in my life that show up every year, mostly in the darker winter months, when I could not find my passion and creativity even if they are served to me on a silver platter with tea and cookies. These periods are part of the cyclical nature of life and health, and accepting all parts of the cycle, “good” or “bad,” is one of the elements of wellness you’ll hear me coming back to again and again.
This fall I launched my online course “Well-beings” to my community for the first time. I went through a roller coaster of experiences with putting my baby out into the world. Excitement, fear, energy, exhaustion, elation and disappointment — and on and on. Afterward, it was clear that I needed a break from production. I felt tired and burnt out and ready to chill. So I announced to my family, “It’s winter and I am going to hibernate.” And so I did. I blogged less. Did less. Nested and cooked a bit more. And this quietude — a contrast to more energetic output — has lasted about 4 months. It was uncomfortable because I often felt like I should have been doing more, like deciding on my next program, writing my book, or learning about how to do x, y or z. I also had lots of conversations with myself about how I was a slacker and I didn’t like knowing what my next steps were.
When I was hibernating I was fearful that I would never want to re-engage with the world. However, I do practice what I preach and I was able to put space between the words that my brain was telling me. I let them be and float by and did not give them a lot of power. I simply noticed the contrast between my fertile creativity and my fallow mind.
Sometimes having a cold or flu is a gift. Contrast lets us enjoy the day our fever breaks, our depression lifts or our back stops hurting. Space for what is allows the next step to bubble up from within, organically. Not from an outside “You should do this” or agitated “I am going to try everything” mindset. Those places create disconnection.
The light of consciousness puts space in between what we are experiencing physically and what we are experiencing mentally, space for what comes next. And next always comes. When I notice that I am judging or stressing out about what is happening or not happening and just let it be, I find it comforting to know that they are just words I am telling myself.
All paintings begin with a blank canvas, novels start from an empty page, romances from a first glance, and healing from the simple quiet place of possibility.
Whether it’s you or your child who is having symptoms or in any place of dark or grey (romantic drama, sadness from not making the team, homework stress, job issues, burnout, existential crisis etc. etc.) simply remember: The flow of life moves from light to dark and back again over and over. Embracing this deep understanding creates the space to let “it” breathe and evolve.
And then we have awareness that “it” is not us. And the light can come in when it is ready.
I’d love to hear how you cycled through a tough time. Leave me a comment below.