The night is darkest just before the dawn. The hardest part is believing in the promise of the coming light.
When the days are cast in shadow, when crawling into the abyss seems as safe as curling under the covers, it can be difficult to imagine light on the horizon. But the light is always there. And in those moments–when hurt & frustration threaten to drag us under–we owe it to ourselves to seek the light.
Luckily, finding the light is not chasing windmills: we can find more than ourselves in the process. We just may need a few pitstops along the way.
Stop One: Temporarily embrace the darkness.
Sometimes there’s no way out of the funk except through the “dark and twisty”. Pretending only deepens the hurt. We have to wrap our arms around the holes in the pits of our stomachs. Shout. Dance. Pommel a punching bag. Pour every thought into a letter, a journal, an empty room. When I can’t find my own words, music calls to me. There’s nothing quite like the wisdom of Metallica’s “No Leaf Clover” shouting about how “the soothing light at the end of your tunnel…is a freight train coming your way”. Singing with all my might alongside one of my favorite metal bands bleeds away the tension, leaving room for peace. Once that angst is spent, even just a little, we can breathe, and welcome clear thoughts, not simply those clouded by the thickness of emotion. Whenever I try to sidestep my emotions- instead of walking through them- any progress I make toward feeling better is small. Unresolved emotional baggage is a boomerang poised to slap us in the face when we least expect it. The path forward is always through.
Stop Two: Channel your inner warrior.
Inspiration is a powerful fuel, but so is friction. Invincibility is all about perception. Remember what it felt like to believe that we could do anything if only X, Y, & Z would get out of the way? That spirit of rebellion is just as effective in the wake of adversity. For every challenge, for every time someone tells us we can’t, we have to fight for authenticity. Find the nearest phone booth & unwrap the superhero suit we’ve been hiding beneath our daily duds. Summon the courage to smile, to trust in our strengths, to find common ground, to not just think outside the box but throw out the box altogether. We are strongest when we trust in our capacities.
Stop Three: Wear the silver lining.
Optimists get a bad rap. In a world of sharp retorts, witty barbs, and rampant sarcasm, hope & light are often lost in the Great Dreary. But the silver threads of every cloud’s lining are magical. Those silver threads are stronger than any bright white silk, than any dark twine. Those silver threads are a reminder that through the rain, we can still see the glimmer of the sun. We will surely face darkness again. Some days it may feel like we’re living in perpetual darkness, but the notion that the dark is forever is a scary misconception. A single light can illuminate a large path, and that’s all we need to believe. Wrapping ourselves in the glimmer of possibility keeps us moving forward. Wear the silver lining with pride. Optimism is not naive. Happiness is not a fool’s paradise. We create the life we want to live. So, for 2018, I wish for all of us, a closet full of silver threads.