I am not alone, I am not alone, I am not alone.
Everyone's lives look different, everyone's lives look different, everyone's lives look different.
Repeat, repeat, repeat.
This morning the sun streams through the windows and birds are chattering outside, as if to proclaim their joy that spring is certainly on its way. A day has passed since my dark night of the soul and my heart is feeling lighter, brighter, more open. My eyes don't feel so puffy and my brain doesn't feel so foggy. It is lifting.
That night was a rough one though, and I'm grateful I made it out the other side. (There's always another side -- I forget this often.) As I clutched my blankets and pulled them up to my eyes and repeated my mantras through tears and heaving sighs, I felt utterly alone. It was 9:30pm, my lights were out, and I wished for sleep as the only respite from my anxieties.
No real reason for them, and yet they arrived all the same. Maybe it was the news of my long lost college roommate, who was so unkind to me all those years ago, now having gotten married and had a baby. Maybe it was the saying goodbye to my sister after her weekend visit. Maybe it was the gluten or the daylight saving time change or the lack of body movement.
None of those things mattered though, not really. The only thing I needed to focus on was coaching myself through a dark night of the soul. You know, the one where you lose faith and begin to question everything and wonder what your purpose in life is, forgetting that there are hundreds, thousands, millions of others out there who also don't have it together, and that is okay.
"I want to honour and recognise also the parts that feel less beautiful and more just plain crazy: the fears, the pain, the gnawing worries. Today a dear friend said to me as we dropped jewelled tears on a rock: 'You always look to the light, Leonie, even when there is a deep darkness inside you.' So I acknowledge that darkness, and I acknowledge that light. I acknowledge all the journeying, all the moments lost in translation, the not-knowing and the sharp, clear moments of knowing." Leonie Dawson
And so I talked myself through it. I took deep breaths. I was utterly gentle. I looked to the light. Eventually my breathing slowed and sleep came and somewhere deep inside, the young child that's inside all of us got some healing.
I look at this photo of myself,* remembering this girl who always wore dresses and played with her dolls outside amidst the rocks and trees, building forts and making pretend soup. I see the innocence and divinity, the who-I-am and who-I-will-always-be. The wisdom in her eyes and the resilience in her heart. The ever-kindness and ever-goodness that is intrinsic to us all.
No matter the heartache, the light shines through. Always. Can't you just see us, wandering the world with our own lights at varying shades of brightness, ever-intent on getting back to full brilliance? In that way, we can never really be alone.
Even if it's 9pm and the bedroom is dark and all you have is your breath. Even then.
We're never alone.
*It makes me laugh to look at this now and realize 20+ years later, I have the same hairstyle.