I was in a sacred space, singing and chanting barefoot, when out of nowhere another demon appeared. As he was dancing around me, looking at me with intensity in his eyes and bewitching me with his long, black curls, I couldn’t help but wonder: what is it with these dark horses? Even after I have figured out that I am supposed to be finding a different creature – a unicorn with rainbow coloured manes – they keep showing up. But then I remembered the words of Shakti Gawain from her book Living in the Light. She explains that the external world can teach us about hidden aspects of ourselves that we can’t see directly. The people in our life are reflections of the characters and energies that live inside us. Only when we embrace our darkness, she says, can we truly live in the light. In that moment I realised that I’ve gotten used to externalising my dark side instead of owning up to it. As if by magic, the demon lost his power over me and became just a person, someone I know nothing about and need not concern myself with. I would not be inviting him in to play a role in my life, thank you. For all the darkness I need is already inside.
Only three months ago I was sailing smoothly along the shore, legs stretched out on the bow, hands folded behind my head, relaxing in the sunshine, blue skies all around. I had a nice day job, a place to call my own, a furry companion and I was ready to find new love. Cut to stormy weather at sea, dark clouds everywhere, me over here barely hanging on to the stern of the boat, treading water as I wonder how much more I can stomach. How am I supposed to adopt a cat when I’ve just buried one, has anyone seen my date, I thought these demons were a thing of the past, and without a temp job can I even afford my home? At least I can always count on my anxiety to keep me company through difficult times! But the one thing that I realised, after swallowing another gulp of water, is that I may be on the outside of the boat right now, wondering where port side is, but I am still the captain of this ship. I am the one looking at the stars and navigating these waters, no matter how murky they get. As soon as I realised that, I felt really calm. As Ovid wrote in Metamorphoses: saevis tranquillus in undis. Calm amidst the raging waves…
Ever since I founded the factory, I’ve always been busy doing something. Over the years there have been ups and downs, but no matter what else has happened in my life, I’ve been squirreling around my workshop. But the past few weeks have been so different. I’ve just been sitting around, watching youtube videos, scrolling through facebook, rearranging entries in my address book, running errands and finding reasons not to be at home. Occasionally I’ve given it another try, but I just end up staring at a blank screen for an indiscriminate amount of time. It feels like all the things I’m passionate about have been stuffed in a pretty little jar on the window sill, the lid screwed on tight. So what do you do, when you ain’t got no flow? I wish I had an easy answer to that question, some magical ingredient that you can sprinkle around like fairy dust and that will transform everything. But there isn’t. You just have to wait until the wind changes. But what if it won’t, you ask? What if it won’t change? That question I can answer. For as the wise Heraclites said, the only thing that is constant is change. So don’t despair, for nothing remains the same.
Today, seperated from my love, I am
Without companion, sweetheart and friend, I am
The one who did not sleep in the darkness of night, I am
In short, entangled in every sorrow, I am.
– Nasibi Gilani
For the past seven months my beautiful Jet and I have been inseparable. Every morning she’d wake me up at sunrise, wait for me to finish my tai chi practice, rush to the sofa in the living room (brush time please!), cuddle up on my chest whenever I’d sit down, wait for me to come home and fall sleep in my arms at night, her soft nose pressed against my cheek. And now, out of the blue, this sweet creature, light of my life, is gone. Leaving me with nothing but memories. I will always remember that she was so scared on one of our last visits to the vet that she stuck her little head underneath my jumper, hiding in the safety of my embrace. It melted my heart to see how much she came to trust me, this little rescue animal, in the short period that I knew her. Faced with an emptiness that cannot be filled, I lost faith that there is always light to be found in the darkness. Overwhelmed with grief and feeling utterly defeated, I questioned everything. What’s the point in trying when we are all going to die anyway? But like the phoenix rising from the ashes, I too must start over. And so, with a saddened heart, I set out to rebuild all dreams lost.