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“Our spiritual mission is not to ignore the darkness, but to bring light to the darkness. Ignoring darkness does not dispel it; only the light does. That is the difference between denial and transcendence.” ~ Marianne Williamson
We all have our darkness; it’s whether we decide to bury that darkness, or try and find the light that makes a difference in our lives.
Without acknowledging our darkness, we can never truly be gifted with the light.
I did not understand this until recent years. Like most of us I was wading through life, distracting myself from the tough stuff; the scary stuff; the shadows. Until an incredibly painful experience left me gasping for air, drowning in a sea of black sorrow. I was left with a choice to accept the darkness descending and finally go within—or to try and distract myself and continue to dance around with the outside of my shadows.
People tell me I have a way of seeing the world differently. It’s not that my words are a way to express myself, but a way to capture those unseen emotions. For a long time, I was blind, and what I wasn’t seeing was a ghost.
A ghost. My ghosts.
All of us, each and everyone of us, are haunted by ghosts. The ghosts of grief. The ghosts of unfulfilled dreams. The ghosts of childhood trauma. The ghosts of our scared inner child. The ghosts of lost love. These ghosts sitting within us, within every one of our cells—causing our limiting beliefs, anxiety, depression. Causing us to remain stuck. Uncertain. Insecure. Stunting our growth. Keeping our lives on replay, making the same mistakes.
So many of us believe that if we just ignore these ghosts, they will eventually go away. This is the biggest mistake we can make—just like our worst fears, these invisible spirits gain strength in the darkness. Our fears increase their energy. Our distracting ourselves makes them more present to gain our attention. They will not be ignored. When we try and run, they will run faster. When we try and push them away, they push back harder. We move home, they follow us. They cannot be outrun. They will get louder and louder. They cannot be silenced.
What are we supposed to do?
It has taken many years of running, great personal loss, and a grief that washed over me in such despairing waves for me to finally discover the answer to this question. We must attend to our ghosts—those shadows lurking in the darkness. We must welcome them into our lives as part of us—because they are in fact part of us. We must sit with them, become friends with them. Learn what they need—what we need. Talk about them. Seek help to understand them.
Our ghosts are part of who we are and a part of who we hope to be. Our ghosts are our struggles. They are the parts of us we are scared to face. The unknown parts of ourselves. The four-year-old, six-year-old, and eight-year-old who still live within us. The trapped sadness, pain, and trauma. They are our guilt. Our shame. The beliefs we formed as a child that may not serve us. Our ghosts are hiding in the darkness, waiting for us to see them, feel them, hear them, and finally accept them.
It’s only when we acknowledge their presence that they will allow us to start healing and make room for new possibilities. Make room to become the person we are meant to be. The version who is unafraid of our ghosts and knows they are there as a reminder that we have work to, and as a reminder that life is meant to be felt—deeply felt with the full range of emotions and feelings.
When we finally arrive at this destination, we finally understand life. A life without darkness is a life without light. If we numb ourselves to the pain, we also numb ourselves to the joy.
Acknowledge your ghosts;, it’s amazing what you will learn.