40. The Darkness / Let It Be

After most of a lifetime of trying to be better than I am, stronger than I am, and refusing to ever admit defeat, at least not out loud, I finally got smart enough to say “enough!” And I learned to let myself cycle through the emotions that come, including the ones I don’t want, the ones that hurt, and the ugly ones that are unworthy of the person I want to be, who I know is the greater truth of me.

In the years of my life, sorrow, rightful resentment, anger, even hate, have taken hold of me more times that I dared to admit, and cramming them down into the dark bottom of my mind did not extinguish the feelings. Instead, it gave them the perfect environment to wretchedly squirm and fester in. That did not feel good, and it did not heal them.

After decades of doing battle with unwanted and unworthy emotions, I have finally come to the acceptance of the reality of my human state: I am imperfect. Huge parts of me have been wasted on battling the truth: I am only a traveler here, unwise but teachable, and we have all come here to learn.

I am abundantly flawed with attributes I wish I didn’t have, which provide me with learning opportunities to become less of what I don’t want to be, and more of what I know I can become.

The truest and best parts of me, and you, have never been sullied or changed by the upstart flashes of the worst parts. When I remind myself of this, it sets my feet on solid ground, and I can accept that in this moment’s storm of emotions of whatever kind, I am not stuck and God has not abandoned me. I can and will ride it out, and I will return again to the essence of me that is really who and what I want to be.

When I deeply need to rage for a while, I let myself. But I give myself a private rant, pity-party, or whichever is needed, and set a specific time limit (10 minutes, 24 hours, etc. as appropriate). Then when it’s done, I forgive myself for it, I re-set, re-boot, and start over.

Knowing that I will be stronger and kinder the next time, I begin again, but I make myself do it without holding onto any residue of shame or guilt. Forgiveness releases me and everyone else involved from the trap of whatever it was. The ugliness has vented itself and dissolved into the nothingness from which it came. It was a temporary flash of something that is not true of who and what I am at the depth of me, where the world may not see.

Each time I surrender to my sorrow, or my rage, or my resentment, or my self-pity, I might dissolve in tears for a while. I let myself. When my little drama of spirit, my dark night or dark moment of the soul has expressed itself and passed on, I comfort myself. I forgive myself and release all feelings of shame or weakness for these eruptions, the kind that I used to judge and punish myself for.

In my secret heart I accept, forgive, and pledge to love this part of me, even with its imperfections, just as I would forgive and love the little child within me who never really meant any harm, but just didn’t know any better, and has not learned everything yet.

With every honest acceptance, repentance, and forgiveness I give myself, it gets easier to love the person I honestly am, and the miracle of this is that I am enabled, almost effortlessly, to be kinder, more respectful, and more forgiving to almost every other soul-expression and mortal being that I meet along the journey of my days.

This does feel good. It does feel happy and stress-free, the polar opposite from those suppressed emotions I squashed down inside myself before. Now when those feelings come, I know how to handle them and they do not handle me. I acknowledge their realness and validity, and I accept that this is expressing in me, and I forgive myself for feeling what I feel.

I go to my private place where I can let the feelings come, I let them come, and then I let them go. They cannot stay, as long as I don’t give hidden harbor to them. I have learned now, that I can purge them. And so, for a little while, with a reasonable time limit, I can let myself rage. I can let myself cry. When that’s done, I get up feeling a lot lighter, and surprisingly clean and refreshed. And when I go on about the business of my life, sure enough, I do better.

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