A number of my friends are going through some intense personal troubles and hardship at the moment. From relationship breakups to health scares, financial stresses and emotional turbulence, it’s as if we’re being called on to throw some light into our dark corners and take a long, hard look at the dark recesses of our psyches.
If this is a challenging time for you too, don’t be afraid. We live in powerful times, and as we approach the Chinese New Year and move into the year of the Water Snake (appropriately enough, given the torrential rain!), we’ll all be shedding some layers of skin and releasing old ways of thinking that might be blocking our progress and growth.
The key to life is maintaining a balance between those dark and light sides. It’s a brave person that can examine the influences of our childhoods and backgrounds – but if we can openly explore our polarities, we become more aware of the beliefs and patterns we’ve carried with us into adulthood. Acceptance leads to peace, as we step into our power and live authentic lives, where we can love, forgive, laugh and be more ‘real’ with ourselves and others.
The world is not respectable,” wrote the philosopher George Santayana. “It is mortal, tormented, confused, deluded for ever, but it is shot through with beauty, with love, with glints of courage and laughter.”
By recognising this, we’re set free. And in embracing life’s challenges, and accepting that the world, other people, and our own lives can’t always be perfect, we gain strength.
There’s a certain type wine produced in parts of Provence, whose grapes grow in extremely rocky soil – and it’s said that the struggle of their vines against the rocky ground makes the wine taste richer and fruitier. Just like with those vines, our own battles make us who we are, giving us the depth and courage and feeling to live life authentically and with passion.
So let’s embrace our shadow aspects and grow stronger into the light.