“Ann, I have some news for you.”
It’s been two months since I wrote and posted my last blog. In a growing business, this is considered self-sabotage. In a saturated life, this is considered survival.
My last nine+ weeks have been fraught with upheaval. Blame it on one too many powerful moons or Mercury retrograde. Blame it on the natural winding down at the end of every summer. Blame it on my incredibly filled calendar and a need to slow down.
Sometimes you choose change. Sometimes change chooses you.
An event I looked forward to for an entire year was disappointing and brought physical illness. Numerous friends lost their pets. A business ally was killed by a freak accident in Tanzania (at the age of 32). My two mentors/good friends resigned from my workplace. Another 3 followed. My favorite dance teachers announced their departure from the Bay area (simply devastating news, as dance is my main outlet for creation and growth). And my distraction hit a new level, where I’ve been unable to focus on single tasks, like reading a book, for more than 10-15 minutes.
And I’m not the only one. As I watched my own reactions, I asked others about their experiences. They, too, were struggling. Life was throwing a few more wrenches than normal in to all of our mixes. Some looked distraught. Some looked numb. Some looked bitter and angry.
We all have those periods of intense upheaval. If this was a boxing match, you are pretty much just blocking and ducking and hoping you make it to the end. The blows keep coming, and it doesn’t look pretty.
Throughout these weeks, I kept repeating:
Sometimes I choose change, and sometimes change chooses me.
Where there is death and destruction, there is new room for life and hopes.
And where there is dark, there is opportunity for light.
After all, darkness exists to bring awareness to light, and to shepherd in rest and reflection.
Feed the dark.
Feed the dark.
And so that is exactly what I’ve done the past nine+ weeks. If I wanted to sleep, I did. If I wanted to watch a movie, I did. If I knew I was overdue with blogs and social media, I released the ‘should’ without it stressing me out.
Instead, I’ve fed the dark. I’ve given it the space it needed to wander and explore. I’ve challenged myself to remain curious and flexible. I’ve also taken time to audit and purge my home, my dreams, and my food choices. I’ve found solace on my yoga mat and meditation cushions.
I have also made myself uncomfortable by asking friends if they could listen to me as I actually shared my struggles. (No, my Germanic upbringing is quite stoic in times like this.)
And a beautiful thing happened. I found allies. I found those needing the same permission as me.
Permission to slow down.
Permission to mourn and explore.
Permission to feed the dark.
And so, as I emerge from this cocoon, I know my energy is recovering and my clarity is renewed.
As I sign off, I leave you with an excerpt from ‘Hiding’ by the poet David Whyte.
And please don’t forget to feed your dark.
HIDING, by David Whyte, from Consolations
is a way of staying alive. Hiding is a way of holding ourselves until we are ready to come into the light. Even hiding the truth from ourselves can be a way to come to what we need in our own necessary time. Hiding is one of the brilliant and virtuoso practices of almost every part of the natural world: the protective quiet of an icy northern landscape, the held bud of a future summer rose, the snow bound internal pulse of the hibernating bear.
Hiding is creative, necessary and beautifully subversive of outside interference and control. Hiding leaves life to itself, to become more of itself. Hiding is the radical independence necessary for our emergence into the light of a proper human future.