Don't hide from the darkness: Light it up!

October 28, 2019

Happy Divali All!


Divali is the festival of light. It represents the triumph of light over darkness, of hope over despair and is celebrated by the lighting of millions of lamps all over India.



I love the idea (I’m not sure where it’s from but I’ve heard it in many places) that darkness can’t exist in the presence of light. Physically this is very true- darkness in a room disappears as soon as we turn the light on. When the dawn comes, day replaces night without even a hint of argument.


Sometimes in life I think we try to push our darkness away, try to rid ourselves of the darkness before we feel worthy of light or love. In life, ‘darkness’ might look like anger, depression, anxiety, jealousy - and other really normal human emotions! The problem is that in hiding or rejecting parts of ourselves, we create shame - which usually leads to pain and unhappiness, to spirals of self criticism, and often to us repeating the same patterns we have been ashamed of in the first place. (Research from Brene Brown and Kristen Neff among others supports this). Not only this, but shame causes us to hide ourselves away: we hide from the world, we hide from loved ones, and we hide from the light and love that could actually lift and help us.


What I’ve seen time and time again is that if we can be brave enough to let light in, even to the places we’re ashamed of, suddenly there’s hope. If instead of pushing our darkness away or down, we can accept it, have compassion for it, and bring light to embrace it, the darkness itself begins to transform.


Shame melts away. Trust blossoms. The heart opens, and we find that goodness was already inside us. We just couldn’t see it clearly in the dark.


So I wish you a very happy Diwali, where there is no more fear of the darkness but a blossoming into the joy and wholeness that comes when the light embraces the dark.



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