Our Inner Light & Dark Side
There’s one thing I keep coming back to lately. It’s how we have the internal conflict between opposing aspects of ourselves. Some could call this our light and dark side. I keep seeing the Star Wars movies play through my head as the visual to what is internally going on within us.
We want the good side of us always to prevail yet we have this constant awareness that something out there is looming and ready to fight us at any moment. We must be prepared, be on guard, have skills, and be ready to go at any moment - what are we fighting? What is the light side protecting? Why are we so fearful of the dark side? What is our dark side defending?
As I play around with this analogy, I keep thinking of our emotions as the dark and light side within us. The light side are the feelings of joy, excitement, hope, fulfillment, and purpose. The dark side being anger, grief, frustration, and sadness. We fight so desperately for the positive emotions to stand firm and to fight against negative emotions. We fear so much of feeling the dark emotions that we end up causing ourselves more suffering because we are resisting it. We think we have done something wrong or that life shouldn’t feel hard. We see others going through worse experiences than us, so we invalidate that we also have feelings that need to be seen and heard.
Intellectually we understand that we aren’t void of experiencing these emotions, but when it comes to actually going there and allowing those feelings to surface, we resist.
If you are highly sensitive, you probably experience the myriad of emotions on a far deeper level than most. It can be overwhelming intense and possibly even scary to give the more negative emotions any attention. There could be fear that they may overtake you and that you’ll never recover, or fear that if you allowed yourself to experience them fully, they would never go away.
I write to you today from a place of feeling immense hope, fulfillment, and expansion. I’m overwhelmed by how happy I am - finally landing in a new home, in a new city, having a weekend filled with friends, new opportunities to teach more in the new year, and experiencing so much inspiration for the work I’m doing. How could it get any better than this?
Now rewind to last week. I was in the midst of anger and fits of rage. I was overwhelmed with how intense the feelings were. I was resistant to entirely giving into them. Every little thing irritated the crap out of me, and I did not want to be around anyone for fear of infecting them with the intensity I was experiencing. Yet I knew something was bubbling. A friend called it sacred anger. It felt deep. I knew it was anger I had been repressing for a long time in the attempts to convince myself I shouldn’t feel anything other than gratitude because so many people have it worse. Yet the intensity of the emotions was showing me what I was passionate about. So I had given in to the emotion. The process is different each time on how the energy wants to flow through me and this time involved some good screaming, air punching & kicking. I felt ridiculous and crazy, and I felt the freedom to be by myself and give myself permission to explore exactly what I wanted to feel.
After letting the wave of anger flow through me, I broke down crying. Grieving the year I just had. The losses of people, relationships, my home, the things I sold, the identity of who I was in the past but no longer am. I grieved for those around me going through struggles. I mourned and allowed that emotion to be seen and acknowledged.
And then I took a nap.
It takes energy to move energy, and I was exhausted.
When I woke up something had shifted. I felt lighter. The tension in my neck and shoulders had released. I could literally feel my heart energy expanding as I’ve never felt before. I was no longer afraid of emotion and felt like my ability to love had grown and could handle more than I ever thought I could. Anger, rage, grief, sadness, frustration, loneliness, the whole gamut I knew I could envelop with this love and compassion that was radiating from me.
See, emotions stretch our ability to connect, to love, and to understand. We are often told that we ‘shouldn’t’ feel a certain way because someone else has it worse - yet we stunt our growth and disconnect ourselves from others when we do this. We are built for emotion and evolution, and we can no longer resist what shows up for us. There is growth on the other side. Unless of course, you dislike growth, in which case keep doing what is working for you.
Otherwise, our emotions are our access point. This recent experience for me wasn’t new - but going to that depth of intensity was - and the extent of the expansion after was new for me as well. And to feel what I’m feeling now makes what I experienced last week so worth it.
I believe this is the dark inner side that we resist so fiercely. Yet it’s the doorway to all that we keep attempting to force in our life through our external circumstances to bring us joy. I hate to say it, but no affirmation will make what you don’t want to feel, go away. This is the side of us that is the key to the happiness and peace we seek. I’m no longer going to sugarcoat the process. It can be ugly tears and pure frustration - and it can be new levels of receiving only what we had hoped possible, but we must engage with our inner shadow side.
With the holidays around the corner, I can feel the tension increasing in others. This underlying dread of interacting with relatives we disagree with, the grief of loved ones no longer with us, sadness around feeling alone, and the list goes on. I want to remind you that you don’t have to do this alone. There are others of us out there who get it. Who understand what you are going through. Who wants to support you and let you just feel all the feels. Find those people. Reach out to them. Be bold in asking for exactly what you need and why you need it. There’s power in that. If they can’t show up for you, then please don’t give up. Your people are out there. And if you haven’t picked up on it yet - I’m here for you too.
I’m also aware that this can run deep and could be unsafe. I’m trusting that you will have the discretion to know when you can process emotions alone and when you need the support of someone else because depression is real, and mental health is real. I’ve had years of practice and know my limit and know when to reach out. Yet I also feel like reading something like this would have given me permission years sooner to unravel all that I had been holding in.
If you feel called to explore this, I recommend starting small. Right now, close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths, and ask yourself, “How am I feeling right now?” Then express to that emotion that you see it, you acknowledge it’s presence, that you may be scared of it or excited by it. Then take another deep breath and carry on with your day. You’d be amazed at how much this small level of observation can bring more freedom to your life.
So I see you. I feel you. I’m sending so much love to you this week no matter where you are on the spectrum.