“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too was a gift.” Mary Oliver
When sorrow knocks at our door, we instinctively run away it – none of us would ever readily admit to being grateful for sorrow, pain or heartache. Yet, it is out of our moments of darkness that our deepest gifts of joy emerge. It takes time to see that our loss may just be the gift of a lifetime. Instead of pushing our feelings away, then, imagine simply giving ourselves permission to feel the sorrow. Maybe we reject sorrow because we’re afraid it might consume us or we’ll fall into an abyss from which we’ll never recover. But, as it turns out, the more we push sorrow away, the harder it works to be recognized. If, on the other hand, the sorrow, sadness or anger is invited in, we ultimately allow the emotion to pass through us and bring with it important lessons or wisdom we might have missed had we continued to fight with the feeling. Imagine if we accepted each box full of darkness in this way how our lives might be different. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and angry for each twist and turn that life brings, we could spend less time in the deep wells of despair. Sorrow is as much a gift as is joy. Indeed, when we e accept our dark moments, we can stop apologizing for the sadness we feel just so others won’t be uncomfortable with our darkness. We also empower ourselves by learning that no emotion is wrong – just something that is felt in the moment that shows us more of who we are. Rather than being angry at others, the Universe or God, welcoming all that comes like a present gives us brings peace. And, if we want to appreciate the joy and love that fills our lives, we must accept whatever gifts come – even if we don’t initially like the container we are given.
Weekly Path to Peace: Openly accept your dark gifts.
- Instead of asking “why me”, allow your sorrow to open you up to the greatest of life’s gifts. Rather than stuffing down feelings or rejecting others who bring dark packages, give yourself time and space to feel whatever comes up without fear that they might consume you. Try not to judge yourself and provide yourself an outlet for feeling dark feelings.
- If you are resisting your current circumstances, consciously remind yourself that this time is temporary. Also remind yourself to look at your life through the eyes of what lessons and gifts might come from this experience or situation. Ask yourself each morning what can I learn from you? How can this pain open me up to and appreciate more joy and love in my life?
As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change.