I love Super Soul Sunday. I often joke that I go to the Church of Oprah every Sunday. I like Super Soul Sunday because Oprah shares her access to some awesome spiritual leaders sharing God in a manner that goes beyond scripture quoting. There is nothing like listening to another human being applying spirituality with actual life events and sharing those lessons.
I consider myself an optimist. As I experience more or realize how devastating past experiences in my life were, I find myself needing to stay grounded and not lose my spiritual equilibrium. I have not been happy with the state of dealing with deeply rooted issues. At times, I can sense anger, anxiety and bitterness rumbling in tiny pockets in my soul. It is disturbing to have negative energy residing in you and you had no idea it was there until it spews out.
As bitterness, grief, anxiety and all those other feelings from past events spew out, I feel out of my natural element. As I become more and more aware of my self-worth, I worry that some of the lessons I’ve learned will also spill out as I heal from past experiences. I want to lose the baggage but keep what I’ve gained as a result of those hard times. Would I have been the humble, gracious and caring person I am today had I not gone through those rough experiences? This spiritual journey can sometimes slip me into darkness.
I know how to find myself back to light
As I watched Super Soul Sunday last Sunday, I was fascinated with Diana Nyad. She spoke my spiritual language. Although she is a self-proclaimed atheist, everything about her just told me she just did not know that what she spoke was the definition of God. As she spoke, she told how she shared her story about being sexually abused and shamefully regretted her story when an 80-something-year-old holocaust survivor shared her story about the atrocities her family experienced.
Although this woman’s father was shot right in front of her and she was separated from the rest of her family, never to see them again — she refused to allow Diana to feel her story was minimal in comparison. As Diana wept, the woman told her, “Every human being on this planet has their pain and heartache. It is up to us to find our way back to light.” God sent me the reminder I needed to continue to brave this spiritual journey I started.
I was slipping into darkness and did not know it
As I write this, my eyes well up for several reasons. One of the reasons is because it was the equilibrium I needed for those times my sessions will leave me disoriented. The growth happens where the ugly is and the ugly is those times I push myself beyond my spiritual aptitude. I remember the first time I went beyond my natural bounds, I felt like I was lost in space. I did not know what to do. I found myself showing up for an impromptu session. I had my dress on backwards and I literally did not know what I whether I was coming or going. I have been so afraid to go there again. I would think, what am I going to do as this get harder and harder before it gets easy? Move in with my therapist?
I had this inner battle. I had this lovely guide that God handpicked for me. It is what I have always wanted. I’ve been a leader most of my adult life. Being a leader is a lonely place at times because many people think you have the answer when all you have is some insight and loads of courage. Leaders crave guidance just like everyone else. Yet, I did not fully appreciate the leadership because the darkness made me feel as if I was a weak person.
I remember after that session, I wrote what I now see as an nervy and rather indignant email to my therapist. I told her I could not leave her office like I did. The sista girl came out. I wrote about being a grown woman and I need to leave her office intact (like it was her fault). She told me to let go of the boat and trust her prior to what I thought at the time was a meltdown (only it was spiritual growth happening). At that moment, I grabbed back on the boat that I had let go for a moment. I thought I was drowning. I did not realize until I watched Super Soul Sunday last week that I was fighting the help God sent.
I also realized I survived my challenges during my childhood and young adulthood because I instinctively knew how to find myself back to light. That is what I needed to remember during my tough sessions. I needed to surrender to the process and have confidence that I would find myself back where I needed to be.
I survived and grew by finding myself back to light
After my mom died, a darkness shed on the remainder of my childhood. Yet, if you hear anyone describe me, they would tell you that I was always happy, helpful and nice. Homelife was hell. At night I cried to myself because I missed my family and during the day I would try to defend myself against ridiculous accusations as well as run from my guardian’s perverted ex-husband who preyed upon unprotected little girls like myself.
Despite what happened in my homelife, God always had a way to shine that light. The thing about darkness is that it makes it so easy to see the light. I found much later in life that there was controversy between my guardian and other members of the family. They wanted to rally behind me and she resented it. She told me that it was because she wanted to do for “her own” but in every one of her examples, she talked about how these people (family and church members) would want to do for me and not for her daughter. I did not know so many people rallied behind me. Yet I still always found light. No one can put out God’s light no matter how hard they try.
God kept on flipping on switches. My Sunday school teacher who was also my mentor (before I even knew what mentoring meant) rallied behind me. She was the kind of woman who talked to her students and would offer herself to us effortlessly. Then my manager at McDonalds gave me a place to stay when the choices were either go back to a home where an adult cousin was sexually inappropriate or the streets. In high school I had friends (some of them unknowingly) protect me from the pedophilic ex-husband. At school, people thought I was smart, a good cheerleader, a positive person. I even had a local doctor’s daughter and people with lives I could only imagine look up to me.
Yes I was truly happy when friends saw me smile. That’s because I instinctively found light. I avoided going into dark. I would volunteer for shifts or just sit at McDonalds even when I did not work. I would steal a piece of happy from anywhere and did it practically everywhere. Light was at church, in school, at a football game, at work … I always found light
I will thrive by stepping back into light
Before last Sunday, I often felt guilty and like an ungrateful wretch. Why was everything so hard? Launching my blog almost caused a meltdown. Knowing I was the blog’s brand and would need to post my picture everywhere would send me in my closet for a good cry. WTH! I handled childhood abuse better than I was handling my blessings!
I realized just as I found light, it was as if I was seeking darkness. Only at this stage of my life, light was all around me. Could it be that I was naturally drawn to that dark spec since it took up so little of my life? Maybe my brain thought it was the little specs of light instead of registering that now I was surrounded by light. Now when I get disoriented, all I have to do is step forward, backward or to the side and I’ll be back to light.
I made a decision like Sunday to let go of the boat. I am ready to surrender. My instinct to find light is still there. I just have to remind my brain that light is no longer a small spec and that I should not go toward that small spec — that is where darkness live. I am also ready to do trust fully and wholly again.
You too can find light in your darkest hour.
How you can find yourself back to light
Remember first and foremost that vulnerability is GOOD. Show me someone that can be vulnerable and I’ll show you a strong, courageous soul. Vulnerability has its place and purpose. There are so many ways to find yourself back to light:
- Spend more time thanking those that are there for you than you spend complaining about those that are not.
- Pray. God is part of you so just reach out to the piece of God that lives in your soul. Prayer is the time you talk to God.
- Meditate. Meditation is when you listen to God. Often times, people think meditating on God’s word is limited to reading the Bible. Close your eyes and open your soul — you have a direct line from God’s mouth to your ears.
- When you lose faith, reach out to someone. God always has foot soldiers ready to assist. Your faith can be renewed just by someone understanding what you go through It’s up to you to not become so blinded and bitter that you are unable to see God’s living angels all around you.
- Find your blessing and your lesson. Even in your darkest hour there are blessings and lessons in the darkness with you. Don’t leave them behind — together they give you wisdom.
- Write your story. Think of your hard times as the challenging part of the movie and write your happy ending. Turn your tragedy into triumph and inspire others.
- Do something for someone else. I not only give back when I feel good, I give more when I feel bad. Trust me and try it. It feels good and it gets you into light.
We are all human which means we are susceptible to darkness. I am going through a spiritual journey that I hope will take me to a level that many don’t achieve. As I do this, I have to go places in me that most people would want to keep buried. There are times I am so turned around I wouldn’t know how to follow my own advice. However, in those times my heart and my soul can sense love and I stumble into the presence of love. You simply find light by finding love. Where there is love, there is light and where there is light there is God.