growing out of the darkness

growing out of the darkness


Here is a truth I have come to know for myself:

Awakening is a pretty word for a messy experience. Because awakening, in its earliest days, is really a descent. It is plummeting into your deepest, darkest, softest places, the places where you are most vulnerable, and realizing you do not feel safe. It is recognizing that things are no longer okay being how they've always been. It is sliding into the places where you ache and ache and ache because all is not, as you once believed, well.

But awakening is also the stirring. The fortifying. The deep, sacred, sincere acknowledging. The recognition and reclamation. The reaching out, the growing, the rising from the darkness into new light/life.

Here is another truth I have witnessed:

There are too many women who are breaking down, down, down and never giving themselves permission to begin to break through. Instead? They entrench. They wallow. They resign themselves to the darkness.

For these women, the darkness becomes their comfort zone. They think that by suffering longer, by enduring more, somehow they are ... well, I don't really know. Earning a more glorious reward? But the question I find myself asking then is: What reward is there in — willfully, needlessly, stubbornly — choosing to feel bad?

Shadow work has its place. But it is not THE place. Shadow work is where we till the soil, get our hands on our own landscape, ground into our own realness, and plant the seeds for new growth.

Are you planting seeds? Are you asking questions? Are you taking yourself seriously? Are you giving yourself room to discover new things about yourself, to know yourself?

Or are you using your darkness as an excuse, as self-fulfilling prophecy, as evidence of the story you are telling yourself that you are broken, damaged, that there is something wrong with you, that no one understands you? Is that what you want to believe? Is that how you want to feel?

You know what it feels like to experience the dark. Now let yourself have an experience of reaching out of the darkness. You know how. I'll give you a hint:

Ask deeper. Ask truer.

it's my way

it's my way


Before I began to wake up, I thought I knew what my way was. I thought I knew myself. I thought I was this independent person, this hidden rebel, this free spirit. I thought I was sooo above the societal expectations and the herd mentality and the pop culture influences.

Waking up, for me, meant having to face some harsh realities about myself, number one being I genuinely had no idea what I was 'allowed' to like and not like as a modern woman. Translation: I had no idea how I actually felt about anything important.

I had bought into the biggest lie of all: I thought I was being myself because of the few little socially-acceptable quirks I gave myself permission to express, and all the while … not only was I following the script to the letter, I was totally emotionally invested in it.

So when I got married to my fella, my catalyst blind-sided me. I had thought marriage would save me. Not literally, of course — emotionally.

I thought marriage would validate our relationship somehow, would make me feel secure for the first time in my life, would finally make me feel like an adult, a woman, a queen in her own castle. But I was just a little girl in psychological rags trying to write herself into an inherited idea of happily-ever-after.

(What I have since learned: only patriarchy sees marriage as this kind of 'ultimate fulfillment' for a woman.)

I was finally facing the fact that I had never learned to be okay with myself, to trust myself, to actually really seriously know myself, much less how to be myself. And that meant I had to start breaking down all the things I thought I'd thought ... and believed and known and valued and felt ... and begin look to myself as a woman whose own feelings provide knowing, whose knowing provides experience, and whose experience is v a l i d.

Do you trust yourself? Do you know yourself? Do you see and acknowledge and embody and experience yourself? You can, you know. You don't need anyone's permission or validation.

Trust. Yourself.

That is our way.

instinct-injured women

Instinct-Injured Women

Too much domestication breeds out strong and basic impulses to play, relate, cope, rove, commune, and so forth. When a woman agrees to become too “well-bred” her instincts for these impulses drop down into her darkest unconscious … She is said then to be instinct-injured.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Women Who Run With the Wolves


many women are instinct-injured.
they literally cannot see that things can be any different.

it’s easy to feel angry at them.
and it’s easy to want to expect ‘better’ of them.

but we will never reach them with anger, blame, or shame.
some, we will simply never reach. ever.
(that‘s a bitter pill to swallow.)

i feel such grief for women.
in so many ways, we are in such an unwinnable situation.
we’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t.

i feel such compassion for these women.
for many, it’s a matter of emotional survival.
a matter of love, approval, security.
this f—ed up system has stockholm sydromed them.

and then there’s the issue of ...
no woman is obligated to think how i think
or believe what i believe.
if i want this freedom, i have to allow it in others, too.

most of all ...
women have to stop blaming women.
we, most of us, so many of us ...
are doing the best we can.

i see you doing the best you can.
keep doing your own work.
that’s all any of us can do.


See Also: book: "Women Who Run With the Wolves"
writer: Clarissa Pinkola Estes