As little kids in science class we learned that darkness is the absence of light, a seemingly simple and obvious definition. Over the years, we go on collecting more and more definitions, rarely giving them a second thought. It is not until life grows a little more complicated and we grow a little older that we begin finding comfort in such simple, yet thoughtful, explanations. As we are stretched and as we evolve, we recycle this information, rarely re-exploring their meaning or their application.
So what of our personal darkness then? Everyone of us has endured periods of heaviness and negativity at some point in our lives. Truly overcoming these moments comes through the realization that when we focus our attention on the pain can only multiply the darkness. When we unconsciously (or deliberately) cling to our anger and our grudges, we being to attract circumstances and people that are equally as resentful and cynical. We attract what we are, after all.
So how do we move from darkness to a place of light?
First, shift what you are focusing your attention on. It’s true that in moments of overwhelming pain and sadness we often find it difficult to find the silver lining. Find just one small thing that is good and light. Spend at least part of your focused energy on that. For example, find a flower-any flower-see it, smell it, touch it. Close your eyes and for just a few minutes, focus all your attention here. This simple task on the surface may seem pointless and childish. At the core, when you are pausing for just a moment to focus on something other than your pain and sadness, you are sending a deep message to your body that you are safe. You’re telling yourself that for this moment, you are OK and that there is something good still left in your experience. Do this everyday and watch as the darkness slowly lifts.
A second way to move forward is by choosing to forgive. Forgiveness shifts you from victim to volunteer. Through forgiveness you give yourself permission to accept the possibility that things are happening for you, not to you. When we forgive, we open ourselves up to a world of “what’s next”. Many times, when we are withholding forgiveness from a person or a situation it is because we have not owned our responsibility in the matter. Often, the person that needs and craves our forgiveness the most is ourselves. Cut yourself a break and stay open to the insights and lessons that your experiences and relationships can bring you.
Lastly, clean house. Is there a situation or a person in your life that you are constantly feeling down or stressed out around. Why are you choosing this? Sometimes we stay in jobs that drain us because we don’t see a way out. Sometimes we hold on to relationships because we feel that we have to. Take some time to identify what small changes in your life would create the biggest impact on your happiness and start implementing. Update your resume, have that difficult conversation, set some boundaries. You’ll see that with time and consistency the situations were in your control after all.
By focusing on things that feel good, we create more good in our lives. When we focus on what feels heavy, we get more of that, too.
Take charge of your life, own your inner power, and let go. Stay present and in charge of your attention; Let go of the resentment you feel towards your ex-lover, friend, and/or family member for hurting you. Don’t do it for them, do it for you. Your life is what you make of it and the best way to a successful life begins by focusing on you. Give yourself permission to do something that feels good, something you enjoy.