The Dark Place: The Journey There and Back

It got dark, really dark. The view of my gorgeous garden through my window had no positive influence on me. I couldn’t get off the couch, I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t say yes to any invitation from a friend. I couldn’t stop the occasional waves tumbling through my harkening tears. I didn’t know why I was crying. I didn’t know why I was angry. I remember sitting in front of my yoga class, teaching a meditation, and a little voice went through my head “You don’t even believe what you are saying, you are a fraud!”

That's when I finally admitted to myself that I was depressed. It had come on like a slow creeping vine, eventually choking out my passion. Teaching the practices to connect to one’s infinite source of wisdom, joy and inspiration has been the greatest work I have ever done and so something had to change and I just didn’t know what to do.

Instead of remaining silent in my woeful prison, something inside me said I had to speak it out. I called friends and shared my feelings. I even called my mother, and if you know me that was a miracle in and of itself. I said to her, as if to blame her, “Did you know I suffer from depression? Do you even know me?” And when she replied that she “fiercely loves me”, something finally softened in me and I felt her un-conditional love for what seemed like the first time ever.

I will not recount the various tell tale signs and life changing events that slowly pulled the rug out from under my normal balanced, calm and positive standing because I believe circumstances of life are not the cause of this demise. It’s my response to those circumstances, my patterning and perception that eventually took me into that downward spiral. The reason we must visit this place with respect, humility and an eagerness to learn is that shadow work is as important as the work of the light. They are two sides of the same coin. In fact, we only know we are up-leveling our life, evolving our psyche, manifesting our truest desires when we re-visit the shadow’s clutches. So this time, I went in willingly to see what still lie hidden in the darkest recesses of my mind.

I will not tell you what I found there, but I will tell you about the traveler who journeyed with me. She sat on my right shoulder as I held a dim flashlight pointed into the cavernous abyss of my obscure self. She commented on everything I saw, disarming the dark magnetism of the night shadows with the clearest, boldest questions. “You’ve been here before, How is this any different?”, “What is real?” “What truly matters?” At first my answers were petulant, bratty, trying to re-affirm my dark position, resistance was at an all time high. But she never left me to figure it out myself. My little self. She held firm to Her clear seeing and guidance knowing that I would come around.

The dark place still exists but I am now more familiar with its contours and traps. I know I will travel there again. But the truest essence of me, the one that knows me and loves me unconditionally is my most welcome companion. Through practice I will connect with Her and encourage our relationship so that I will never feel alone in the shadow again.

This can happen to anyone and it’s ok. The circumstances of my life haven’t changed now that I am on the other side of this. I just have a better understanding of myself and I have the tools and the willingness to recover when I re-visit the dark. You can’t deny the dark, this is the essence of shadow-work. But you must practice the light side so that you can strengthen your resolve, arm yourself for the dark journey, and come out elevated once again. And that is why I teach. That is my mission, to give you tools and to help you practice for the inevitability of discomfort that life brings.