Facing ourselves can be one of the most difficult things we will ever have to do on the spiritual path. And yet, is it not precisely our work?
I don’t often share my personal work with people outside of my inner circle. And sometimes people assume that I don't share because I somehow don’t have work to do anymore. I assure you this is not the case…. The inner expansion truly never ends.
I teach a lot, in my Painting as a Spiritual Practice course, as well as in the mindfulness circles and retreats that I facilitate. Like most teachers, in these spaces I share from my acquired wisdom rather than from the work it took to acquire it. Which can lead to a misunderstanding of where I am on my own path.
Today I felt called to share the in-progress part. Because it is equally important, valuable to demonstrate, and a good practice for me in vulnerability and ego-softening. Thank you for being a kind space.
This new moon cycle, and lead up to the solar eclipse tonight, has certainly had me facing my self straight on. I've been guided deep, and deeper still, to revisit so many of the places that I have experienced suffering in my life.
Those of you who are on a spiritual path will know exactly what this feels like, when old wounds that we have done so much work to heal, come open again.
It feels different then it did when the first occurred, although the pain associated with the wound can feel no less real or painful. The passing of time and the growth that has occurred in between, however, offers greater awareness of what my suffering has been teaching me. From this place, I am less actively engaged in the specifics of the suffering, allowing awareness to widen beyond where it once dared.
Revisiting my suffering I see teachings I hadn't yet noticed, and how I have in small ways identified myself with the wounds of my experience, rather than the wisdom I received from them. And because of this, how the healing had remained incomplete.
Maybe you know what this feels like… when you find yourself spiralling, feeling like you are moving backwards. Sometimes in this place we begin questioning everything we thought to be true about our selves. But this too is an important and essential part of the journey, as the uncertainty shakes loose untruth and restriction. It is a gift in disguise, if you can sense beyond the discomfort.
This process is often referred to as the dark night of the soul, no doubt because it truly does feel infinitely dark at times. This is certainly not my first visit by the darkness. I’ve been here before, on different parts of my journey. I have learned to trust the process and its healing, to surrender to its current, and to have faith that the impenetrable darkness is always eventually followed by a soft glow of a rising sun in my heart that eventually grows even brighter then it was before.
This one has felt like a big one. And I’ve felt especially tired along the way. I’ve been doing my best to honour and support my self in simple ways, like painting, chanting, sitting by the lake, and sharing with friends. And, I have been practicing asking for and receiving support along the way. (I may eventually write a whole post about the vulnerability of asking for and receiving help).
As we all call our whole selves back to us tonight on this especially powerful solar eclipse new moon, I am grateful for all the bright lights that have shared their wisdom and teachings along my path. Your words and love have been reminding me that the light will always return.
On this winding path of life, may you always remember too.